My Place: Belle Hadiwidjaja

Belle Hadiwidjaja as Moana. Photo supplied

Benjamin Millar

When the coronavirus lockdown put a freeze on Belle Hadiwidjaja’s beloved ice skating, she strapped on her rollerskates and took to the streets of her own neighbourhood. Now the “Princess On Skates” is delighting Yarraville and surrounds as she whirls by in her colourful costumes. She spoke with Benjamin Millar

What’s your connection with Yarraville?

Prior to living in Yarraville I lived in Kensington, where the community bond is strong and apparent. Our family was growing, we needed more space in our home but we couldn’t find that in Kensington. That brought us to Yarraville, a place that we knew also has a strong community vibe. We have been here for two years now and are really loving it.

What do you like most about the area?

I really love the village-like community. Everyone here is very friendly, always up for a chat. I have gained many friendships through just being at the park and starting a conversation.

What are your favourite local places?

Cruickshank Park is my favourite spot. It is very tranquil, yet there are lots of surprises that the community has put together, like the fairy garden, the BMX track, the funny signs along the walking track, the flamingo house etc. If you haven’t been to Cruickshank Park, it is definitely worth a visit!

How did you become involved in skating?

I have been skating since I was little; it has been my passion since then. My main sport is ice figure skating. But since the pandemic started the ice rinks are closed. This made me turn to rollerskating daily at Cruickshank Park. When I do my dance on skates, passers-by always stop to watch, clap and cheer. This gave me an idea to wear character costumes and ‘perform’ to the character’s movie soundtrack.

What feedback have you been receiving?

It has been overwhelmingly positive! I could not believe how far it has gone! I started with one costume and now I have nine – some are donated from locals. Parents have been requesting me to do birthday performances for their children. Recently I started teaching people how to rollerskate. The name “Princess on Skates” was born, and my social media channels are getting busier than ever!

What is something people may be surprised to learn about you?

I am actually a quiet person in day to day life. A woman of few words, if I must say. But give me my skates and I’m a different person.

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