My Geelong with Alex Hamilton

River's Gift co-founder Alex Hamilton. (Ivan Kemp) 388253_09

Highton’s Alex Hamilton co-founded River’s Gift following the death of her firstborn son River, from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in 2011. She speaks with Jena Carr about the charity and what she enjoys about living in Geelong.

What is your connection to Geelong?

I moved here in 2012, just after the loss of my first baby, River, to SIDS.

We were living in Torquay when he passed away, so a small move to Geelong gave me the respite I needed whilst still being near to my friends. I’ve lived here for 12 years now.

My children go to two fantastic Geelong schools, and I have also co-founded a charity here.

What do you like about where you live?

Starting a charity isn’t easy, but the people, community and businesses of Geelong got behind us from day one, and we always wonder if River’s Gift would exist now if we had lived somewhere else.

I live in Highton, which has that beautiful village feel but with the city, beach and shops five-to-20 minutes away. I’m also quite partial to a long black, with great coffee shops right on our doorstep.

What, if anything, would you change about where you live?

Possibly the school traffic and the weather, but other than that, Geelong has so much to offer, and I love seeing the progress made here.

Where is your favourite place to spend time?

I love the beach as the water has such a calming effect on me, and it’s where I feel close to River.

Time at Torquay or Point Addis beach searching the rock pools with my 8-year-old Bodhi and 11-year-old Shiloh is one of my favourite things.

I am also a big movie fan, particularly horror movies, so going to one of the cinemas nearby, with a trip to Kosaten for sushi, sounds like my perfect night.

If it’s a date night, Alma is always at the top of my list, followed by a cocktail or two at 18th Amendment and a dance at Piano Bar.

What is something people may not know about you?

Besides my love of shark and zombie movies, I’m originally from the UK and moved here on a working holiday visa in 2006.

Before moving to Australia, I studied in New York at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and worked as an actor.

What do you like about your role with River’s Gift?

I have a fairly eclectic role at River’s Gift, from marketing to speaking engagements, stakeholder engagement and everything in between.

We’re a very small team of three, so we all wear multiple hats. Predominantly, though, I love that I get to be called River’s mum regularly.

As a bereaved mum, people often forget how important that is. I’ll have people say that they don’t know my name but refer to me as River’s mum, which I think is pretty special.