Monthly Archives: March 2015

It’s festival time in Warrandyte

It’s got music. It’s got soul. Even designer ducks! Warrandyte Festival is coming your way March 20, 21 and 22. CHERIE MOSELEN walks you through the weekend that has it all.

BATTLE

Local youth bands amp it up in a battle for the top prize – a day in a recording studio – from 6pm on Friday March 20 at Stiggants Reserve. Feature headliners this year are Cash the Madmen and Selling Time. Soft drink, water and BBQ will be available for cash purchase on the night. This is a drug, smoke and alcohol free event. Admission is FREE.

ART

Enjoy Warrandyte Rotary’s 31st exhibition of work by local and interstate artists. Preview the art and join in the festivities at the gala champagne opening 7pm – 11pm on Friday March 20, at the Warrandyte Community Church in Yarra St. Tickets cost $25. The Art Show opens on Saturday and Sunday from 10am. A $5 ticket includes catalogue. Student entry is free.

ROAD CLOSURES

Yarra St, between the Kangaroo Ground Rd bridge roundabout and Harris Gully Rd roundabout, will be closed to traffic from 10.30am until about 12pm on Saturday March 21.

PARADE

This year’s festival monarchs and “Smart Arts” ambassadors, Cherry and Joff Manders, will lead the street parade from the Mechanics Institute in Yarra St to Stiggants Reserve. The official ceremony gets underway on Saturday March 21 at 11 am. Community groups, schools, sports clubs, vintage cars, fabulous floats to beat the band – don’t miss it!

MAIN STAGE MUSIC

The music starts at 12.15pm with local school and bush bands and continues with quality acts Winter Suns, Jakubi and Nudist Funk Orchestra among others. Sunday’s program features a variety of talent from 11.30am, including Wishful, The Solicitors and Davidson Brothers. Bring seating and a picnic, or buy food and drink across the weekend.

RIVERBANK STAGE

Uptown Brown kicks off the entertainment at noon on Saturday, followed by a diverse line-up including Sideglance, Tristan Bird and FLAXXON. Sunday’s program starts with everyone’s favourite Pet Parade at 9.30am. Triple J Unearthed High Acts will give music lovers plenty to look forward to in the afternoon.

DRESSED UP DUCKS

Pop in to the Top Tent, Upper Reserve, on Saturday between 10am – 5pm and Sunday 9am – 12pm to vote for your favourite designer duck in Warrandyte’s Most Decorated Ducks competition. Trophies awarded. Official winner announced Sunday at 11.45am.

RIDES

The Family Bike Ride meets at the Netball Courts in Taroona Avenue at 9am. Enjoy a leisurely ride through the festival precinct and Black Flat. Riders must provide own safety equipment and a responsible adult must accompany children under 15. Registration can be completed on the day. For rules and regulations visit the website www.warrandytefestival.org

BILLY CARTS

Have you got the ‘metal’ to join the billycart hall of fame? Carts line up at the top of Police Street from Sunday 9.30am. Registration takes place between 8.30 – 9.15am for children aged eight to 15 years. The event features a parent’s race, trophies and great prizes. Carts MUST meet strict safety criteria. For inquiries call 0418 357 282 or email contact@warrandyte festival.org

DUCK RACE

Up to 1000 plastic ducks take the plunge on Sunday at 2.30pm – the first to make it downriver from Police Street to Stiggants Street wins. Ducks can be purchased beforehand for $3 from local schools, or during festival weekend from the Information Caravan. Spec-quackular!

DISPLAYS

Discover a range of opportunities through local groups and service providers, including: Aboriginal art exhibition, Combined Emergency Services, Parks Victoria and Friends of Warrandyte State Park, Reconciliation Manningham, Warrandyte Community Garden, Warrandyte Community Association, Climate Action Now, Warrandyte Toy Library, local council, stationary and steam engines, miners, blacksmiths, woodcrafters, Animals on the Move, reptiles, and solar/ electric bikes. Warrandyte Tennis Club return with mini nets and radar gun.

SMART ARTS CENTRAL

On Saturday, this tent – located downhill from the Community Church – will give audience members an opportunity to get involved with some of the stage performers. Check out the Funky Monkeys children’s music and circus show from 12pm, followed by ukulele and African drumming workshops and pro- fessional storyteller. All for FREE!

NATURE ARTS PLAY

This popular activity, which returns with the help of Manningham council, can be found at Smart Arts Central this year. Children can build a unique play space of cubbies, nests and sculptures influenced by local flora, from 12.00pm on Sunday only.

FOLLIES

Written and directed by Warrandyte Theatre Company members, A Penny For Your Follies! is just the ticket to tickle your funny bone. Comic sketches and musical numbers will be staged on: March 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, 28 and April 9, 10 and 11, from 8pm at the Mechanics Institute Hall.

READ

In its 18th year, The Grand Read’s feature guest is Alex Skovron, author of five collections of poetry and a prose novella. Enjoy the work of quality poets and writers at Warrandyte’s annual literary night of nights from 7.30pm on Tuesday March 24, upstairs at the Grand Hotel. Tickets cost $20 (Concession $16) and include a light supper. Please purchase in advance from Warrandyte Neighbourhood House on 9844 1839. For more info visit the website www.warrandyte neighbourhoodhouse.org.au

Check out www.warrandyte festival.org for information including: program details, accessibility info, road closures, maps and registration forms. Facebookers can search ‘Warrandyte Festival’ for regular weekend updates.

Wild about our animals

THE towering Black Saturday bushfires in 2009 killed 173 people and led to an outpouring of grief among Australians.

But for Wonga Park firefighter Adrian Trigt, they had special meaning that added to the tragedy.

“I visited Kinglake after Black Saturday and the place looked like a warzone,” Mr Trigt said. “I opened an email from Wildlife Victoria and I saw that they needed more wildlife rescuers and so I jumped on board because saving wildlife is important: it does make a difference.”

Mr Trigt has since devoted his time to rescuing and transporting injured kangaroos to wildlife shelters for rehabilitation.

His work is highly specialised, with few people trained in how to rescue kangaroos.

It’s difficult to find volunteers who are willing to regularly spend several hours attempting to save an injured kangaroo, let alone buy the expensive equipment needed to rescue such large and speedy animals.

Car accidents are one of the leading causes of death for native animals such as kangaroos and much of Adrian’s work involves removing dead roos from roads and marking them with a white “X” so passersby know a rescuer has already attended.

“Unfortunately, most animals don’t usually survive car accidents,” Mr Trigt said. “If a kangaroo is lying there with two broken legs and it’s dying, I want to help put the animal out of its misery. You can’t just leave an animal there to suffer.”

Unfortunately, that’s how the overwhelming majority of wildlife injuries end.

Wildlife Victoria, a non-profit emergency response service for wildlife, sent volunteers to help injured animals on about 40,000 call outs last year.

The organisation’s relationship manager, Amy Amato, estimates 80 to 90 per cent of cases resulted in the animal being put down or dying before volunteers arrived at the scene.

“It’s pretty hard on our volunteers and sometimes they go weeks without being able to rescue a single animal,” Ms Amato says. “That’s when our job becomes about ending the animal’s suffering. Nearly every wildlife death or injury is directly or indirectly human-related, whether it’s a road accident, a kangaroo caught on a fence, a pet attack or a bird that has ingested plastic and needs surgery.”

Those animals with a chance of survival end up in the care of one of the organisation’s 500 active wildlife carers, such as Wonga Park’s Adriana Simmonds, who is a biologist and environmental educator from Columbia.

She has nursed around 2000 native Australian animals back to health and released them into the wild over the past 15 years.

Her immense love for Australia’s wildlife is evident to those around her, who haven’t seen her take a proper holiday in 15 years because her shelter always has animals needing her care.

Hello possum: Adriana Simmonds is passionate about her animal rescue work.

Running her wildlife shelter from her home is a 24-hour job, with baby animals requiring feeding throughout the night. It can also be heartbreaking work – sometimes all she can do is ease their suffering as they die from horrific injuries.

Yet Mrs Simmonds says she wouldn’t have her life any other way.

“You sacrifice yourself and at the end of the day you let them go and it’s like you’re letting go of your own child. It’s pure love,” she said.

“When they’re babies I’m a mum to them – I’m affectionate, I kiss them and hug them but as they start growing up I start the process of detachment. When I release them into the wild they are completely dehumanised so they don’t remember me. They need to be completely wild to survive on their own.”

During spring and summer, carers face an influx of orphaned babies, whose mothers have often been hit by cars as they migrate or they’re often attacked by cats whose owners don’t keep them indoors at night.

Mrs Simmonds says global warming is also making natural events such as bushfires more extreme and deadly for wildlife. But she says cutting down forests to make way for developments such as roads and houses have the greatest impact on wildlife, affecting the entire ecosystem.

“You’re limiting their source of food and shelter and the rate at which we destroy is never the same as the rate at which we restore habitat,” Mrs Simmonds said.

“Then animals can die trying to find other shelter. People often view possums in their roofs as pests and yet those possums are there because the trees they would usually live in have been cut down, but people don’t often make the connection.”

Wildlife advocates say many wildlife deaths could be prevented if the Victorian government established more wildlife corridors so native animals could migrate safely through Melbourne’s outer-suburbs such as Warrandyte and Wonga Park.

Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning spokesman Ewan Cook says a guide for wildlife corridors is being developed, which will be followed by a plan.

Meanwhile, Mrs Simmonds is busy looking after the animals in her care and visiting schools and community groups with her business Human Seeds, which educates people on wildlife issues while helping her fund the costs of running her shelter.

“I truly believe education is the only hope we have for the future and I teach people how to incorporate simple changes into their daily lives, which make a big difference to our wildlife,” she said.

“Probably the best thing people can do is plant native vegetation in their backyards – that way people are creating their own wildlife corridors.”

To report injured wildlife, call Wildlife Victoria on 1300 094 535 or visit www.wildlifevictoria.org.au

Hold the line

Warrandytians are well versed in a weekly whinge when it comes to telecommunications. So who ya gonna call? We called in Diary super sleuth David Hogg to investigate. He has some tips that just may put a smile … ahem … on your dial

HOME phone not working? Internet slow or dropping out? Warrandyte residents seem to think that there are unacceptable levels of problems in Warrandyte, but it is difficult to get specific evidence of this and the Diary is keen to get your feedback.
We are aware of recent prob- lems in the Brackenbury St area where Telstra contractors replaced a 50-pair cable and got the connections wrong leaving several households without phone or inter- net and it took multiple visits over two weeks to resolve all the problems.
But these things happen. Obviously with its hilly and semi-rural topography, one can expect slightly more disruption to services than city-dwellers would experience, but is there really a problem with the system here or are the problems more with the user? We’ll try to shed more light on this with a number of tips below.
Home phone
Pick up your home phone and dial 1 (to remove the dial tone). What do you hear? It should be pretty near to silence. If you hear a high-pitched hash noise you may have ADSL broadband and have neglected to fit a filter. If you hear crackling, there is some bad connection fault between your phone and the exchange. Check the connections at your phone and the wall. If it persists you may have to lodge a fault report with your supplier.
ADSL internet
If your internet service drops out or is intermittent, it is possible that you have other devices connected to the line which do not have a filter installed.
You must have an ADSL filter fitted at every phone socket in your house where equipment is connected; this includes fixed and cordless phones, fax machine, answering machine, security or medical alarm system, and any Foxtel box which connects to the phone line, and with the exception of the ADSL modem itself these should all be plugged into the “Local Phone” socket on the filter.
If, after checking this, the problem persists then the next time it drops out check the lights on your ADSL mo- dem. There should be lights for “ADSL” and “Internet” and these should be green or flashing. If they are not on or are red, there is some problem with your service. Start by unplugging everything in your home connected to the phone line except the modem and see if the problem persists. If so, you may need to call your supplier.

Does your internet seem slow? Then let’s do a speed test and find out exactly how fast it is. These numbers may sound a little technical but bear with us; if we can find out what you’re actually getting as opposed to what you should be getting, we can see if you have a problem. In Google type “ADSL speed test” or go to www.whistleout.com.au/ Broadband/Speed-Test

Find out your download speed in Mbit/sec. This will depend enormously on the length of the cable between you and the exchange. Theo- retically the maximum speed possible with ADSL2+ here is 20 Mbit/sec but in practice that isn’t what you’ll get. The table below shows very approximately the speed you should be getting.

If your download speed is way short of this, you have a problem. New customers are now being connected to ADSL2+ equipment in the exchange but some existing customers are still connected to outdated ADSL1 equipment which will restrict you to around 5 Mbit/sec.

If you live less than 3km from the exchange and are only getting 5 Mbit/sec down- load speed, check with your supplier that you do, in fact, have an ADSL2+ service, and if not ask to be moved across to ADSL2+. This they can do and it shouldn’t cost you anything.
Wi-Fi internet
Your ADSL modem may provide you with a Wi-Fi signal in the home for your phone, laptop, iPad or tablet. Even though the Wi-Fi speed be- tween the tablet and the home modem might be hundreds of Mbit/sec (which is great if you are transferring files locally between devices) your inter- net speed will only be as good as your ADSL connection. For good Wi-Fi, your device does need at least two out of five bars of signal strength. If your Wi-Fi does not reach to the far ends of your house, consider repositioning your modem centrally, or you can buy a Wi-Fi extender unit.

Wireless internet and mobile phones
You might be connecting your computer or phone to the internet using a 3G or 4G SIM card in a mobile phone, a USB dongle that plugs into your computer, a dedicated mobile hotspot device, or via a dongle in a clever modem that uses ADSL when available but switches to wireless when the ADSL goes down. There is now reasonably good coverage of 3G and 4G for phones and internet throughout War- randyte, but there are many dead spots. The three major suppliers, Telstra, Optus and Vodaphone, have quite dif- ferent coverage areas, but all have very good maps on their websites showing this, so you need to check carefully which supplier is best for your location.

For internet purposes, you can again run the speed tests as outlined above. On a 3G system you should get download speeds around 6 Mbit/ sec, on 4G anything up to 25 Mbit/sec, and if you’re for- tunate enough to be in your supplier’s 4GX or 4G+ areas they claim up to 100M bit/sec.

National Broadband Network
Warrandyte is not on the NBN, and if you search their website you will see that the NBN rollout has not started in this area. A year ago their website indicated 2018 as a possible timeframe for start of NBN rollout. The Diary sought information as to when this rollout would start, and was advised that it would not be within the next two years. We are advised that since the new Government has come into office they have required the NBN to remove specific date indications from their website.

When NBN is eventually available you will get a basic service at 12 Mbit/sec for roughly the same cost as now, with options to pay extra for various speed increments up to 100 Mbit/sec.

Speak to us
Do we have an unreasonable level of phone or internet problems which are specific to Warrandyte? The Diary welcomes your feedback.

Contact davidhogg99@bigpond.com and stay tuned for a fol- low-up in the next edition of the Diary. We would love to hear your thoughts

On the write side of the road

Cherie Moselen talks to two local poets about shared geography and an award that puts them both on a prestigious literary map.

WHAT are the odds that two Warrandyte poets who live on the same road would win the same major poetry award, one after the other?

Somewhat doubtful, given the Melbourne Poets Union (MPU) International Poetry Competition annually sees 300-400 poems narrowed to a shortlist of a dozen or less.

Chance is a fine thing, but artistic skill is most likely the reason residents John Jenkins and Carmel Macdonald-Grahame are hot property as the 2013 and 2014 winners of this high profile competition*.

It’s a good thing I manage to interview them together as neither are the type to toss accolades on their own literary bonfires.

Carmel is glowing about rising stars like Eltham writer Lisa Jacobsen, who has been published in Australia, Canada, Indonesia, the UK and the United States. (One of Warrandyte’s treasured Grand Read performers, Lisa also won the Adelaide Festival John Bray Poetry Award last year and was shortlisted in four other national awards.)

However, she makes no mention of having two poems recently longlisted in this year’s fiercely contested Ron Pretty Award.

“It’s a remarkable achievement on the back of the 2014 MPU win and recent publication of her first novel by University of Western Australia Press,” John Jenkins says, filling me in on Carmel’s successes, but waving away any attempt I make to talk about his own as an award-winning poet and celebrated writer of over 20 books published in various genres.

There are more than a few literary triumphs between the two, and while both allow awards establish credibility and garner peer recognition, their value to each seems to lie in the confidence they generate: that the work was on the right track.

“Sometimes I revisit old writing that I’ve abandoned and resuscitate it, because I feel there is still something vital there and a particular competition might be a likely place for airing it,” says Carmel. “It gives me an endpoint and makes me finish the unfinished work, which is a reward in itself. It’s an added bonus if it wins.”

John agrees: “I often persist with a piece of writing, drafting and redrafting, and the formal appreciation means the extra work was worth it. It validates the process – I’ve sent it off to a competition and the judge liked it, the piece is finished and it’s as good as it can be.”

However, Carmel says she is “chuffed” about winning this particular award.

“Part of the pleasure with the MPU prize was being able to follow in John’s footsteps a little, as we’ve occasionally worked on poetry together. Also, the Melbourne Poets Union is a special point of connection for me,” she says.

“When I moved to Victoria seven years ago, it was through this ‘union of poets’ that I found out what was going on in Melbourne for writers.”

“Of course, now I have an abundance of artistic connections virtually at my doorstep, many of whom come together from time to time at the Grand Read.”

Her mention of The Grand Read – a Warrandyte Festival event, in its 18th year – launches John onto a topic he is happy to talk about and is clearly fond of.

“We have a wealth of literary talent in our shire, an embarrassment of riches really, and Warrandyte is lucky to have a fantastic annual event in which to celebrate some of them.”

“There’s lot’s of lovely food, and drinks at the bar, which gives The Grand Read an enjoyable and festive buzz,” he says.

“Every year there are special guests, some with international reputations, so the literary quality of the work is very fine. But there’s never anything stiff or stodgy about it. MC Jock Macneish sets exactly the right tone and the readers are great performers of their own work, so there’s a dimension of entertainment.”

He adds: “Diary readers, certainly anyone interested in writing, should come along and be prepared to be surprised and delighted by a great night out.”

Both Carmel (as an organiser of the event) and John will be appearing at Warrandyte’s Grand Read, upstairs at The Grand Hotel at 7.30pm on Tuesday March 24.

For more information about the event, contact Warrandyte Neighbourhood House on 9844 1839 or email info@warrandyteneighbourhoodhouse.org.au

*John’s 2013 MPU winning poem is titled When he read the poem in the room above the stairs. Carmel’s 2014 MPU winning poem is titled Wreck.

Wildlife slaughter: Roo killers could face up to two years in jail

WARRANDYTE car wash workers hope CCTV footage will help police catch the person or group of people who dumped 11 dead kangaroos outside their workplace last month.

Six kangaroos were mysteriously dumped in an industrial bin outside the carwash near Goldfields Plaza in late February.

George Vattakuzhy discovered another five dead kangaroos in the same spot while working just one week later.

The carwash’s manager, Samantha O’Brien, said the business had never encountered such “worrying” behaviour before.

“They dumped the kangaroos in an area where it’s built up – there’s a shopping centre next door and there are always kids and families around. It’s frightening,” Samantha said.

“People live in Warrandyte because they like native wildlife and the environment but even if somebody does view kangaroos as pests it doesn’t give them the right to basically slaughter them.”

Workers say warm weather caused the bin to develop a strong, disgusting odour, which was unsettling for those who were left to remove the kangaroos and clean the bin after the shocking discovery.

“You just don’t go to work expect- ing to see and deal with something so horrible,” Samantha said.

“It’s a slow process but we’re reviewing the footage carefully with the hope that police will be able to identify whoever did this.”

Warrandyte Police senior constable Daniel Logan said the carcasses were so badly decomposed that police couldn’t determine how the kangaroos had been killed.

He said half of the kangaroos found were juveniles.

“This is a really nice area, this sort of activity is very disturbing and we’re very anxious to catch the people or the person doing this,” he said.

“We have to assume that it’s someone around this area, because you wouldn’t really travel long distances in a car with several dead kangaroos.”

Just one day after the five kangaroos were dumped in the industrial bin at the carwash, a council worker discovered the headless body of an adult female kangaroo on Brysons Rd, Wonga Park.

“The council worker who saw the kangaroo said it wasn’t an animal – animals tear and rip,” senior constable Logan said.

“A clean and sharp object had removed the kangaroo’s head.”

These recent incidents come after two kangaroos were shot in the head and neck with arrows in Templestowe in recent times.

Police are investigating whether the deaths are connected, with senior constable Logan saying it’s possible someone chopped off the kangaroo’s head to disguise the fact that it had been injured with an arrow.

Kangaroos are protected under the Wildlife Act 1975.

Anyone found guilty of killing or seriously disabling protected wildlife faces a possible jail sentence of up to two years.

News of the dumped bodies has spread on social media, with Diary readers labelling the incidents as “disgusting” and “horrible”.

Wildlife Victoria CEO Karen Masson was “sickened” to hear the reports about the kangaroos.

“We have an amazing team of volunteers who work extremely hard to assist sick and injured kangaroos reported to our Emergency Response Service every day, so it’s heartbreaking to hear that someone in the community would treat native wildlife in such an horrific manner,” Ms Masson said.

“We sincerely hope the culprits are found and held accountable.”

Police have urged residents to be aware of suspicious activity around Warrandyte and the state parks.

Anyone with information should contact Crime Stoppers on 1300 333 000.

The Warrandyte Diary will keep readers updated through our website.