Monthly Archives: December 2015

Warrandyte police station ‘will not close’ says Victoria Police superintendent


VICTORIA Police Force superintendent Richard Watkins says Warrandyte police station will “definitely not be closing” after recent rumours suggested the Warrandyte station was on the way out.

“Not true,” Superintendent Watkins told the Diary. “There’s no one size fits all when it comes to police stations and when there’s such a high bushfire risk in the area there is absolutely no intention of closing down Warrandyte police station.

“We’re still rolling out fire setter patrols (for anti-arson measures) during the warmer months and also going ahead with preparation and communicating with the local CFAs in the other months of the year.”

A source close to insiders at VicPol called the Diary earlier this week saying “it’s a done deal, 100 per cent” regarding the topic of the station closing. It follows more recent, and alarming, downsizing at suburban stations including Ashburton which has gone from being manned seven days to two, while Somerville has a brand new $16mill station completed last year but is yet to be manned and there are reports of a station in the Geelong area operating well below it’s full complement officers among several other examples.

A post earlier this week on the Diary Facebook page asking the question about whether the Warrandyte station would be closed down prompted mixed reactions from locals, most of whom were clearly against the idea of no police station in Warrandyte. “We have been here for two and a half years and had to use the station five times; seriously stupid idea (closing it),” one new resident said. Another pointed out, “No point staying open if no one is ever there,” while others said they would be shocked and disappointed given the station is only relatively new in addition to what many locals believe is a spike in crime in the area and the fact Warrandyte is one of the biggest bushfire risk suburbs in the country.

The topic of the future of the Warrandyte police station, along with how frequently it is unmanned, as well as the recent rejection of local MP Ryan Smith’s call for a 24-7 station with greater police numbers have been big talking points in recent weeks: particularly with the increased number of break-ins and burglaries to businesses, homes and cars within properties and on the street in the lead up to Christmas – and indeed the past two years – which have been of great concern to residents, business owners and community.

From documents received by the Diary showing Mr Smith’s requests (note plural) in August, October and November in relation to his and the community’s preference (1200 signatures were received) for a greater police presence in Warrandyte, official letters to Mr Smith show it is obvious both offices for the Minister for Police and the Chief Commissioner of Police were saying the other was responsible for making the decision about the allocation of additional police. Mr Smith’s letter to Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton in October also suggested “direct communication be made with the Warrandyte community as to why Victoria Police believe the current staffing level of seven officers is sufficient”. Clearly, that suggestion has been ignored.

Interestingly, Mr Smith did eventually get official response and in a letter from the Chief Commissioner’s office it stated: “There is currently no evidence to suggest that Warrandyte requires a 24-hour station or additional resources … statistics released by the Crime Statistics Agency in March this year indicated a decrease in the total number of offences in the Manningham PSA. I trust this advice clarifies the position of Victoria Police concerning the delivery of policing services to the Warrandyte community.”

However, through our own research, the Diary checked the Crime Statistics Agency website and found there has been an increase in offence counts in Manningham year on year for the past four years. Further to this, there has been a surge in thefts and break-ins in Warrandyte in recent months leading up to Christmas.

In one of the major ones, a pop-up gem shop called Rock and Mineral Store near the Roundabout Cafe was broken into on December 8 but security camera footage of the couple caught in the act resulted in the man and woman eventually handing themselves in to police over the burglary of more than $30,000 in jewellery and gems. The man, 39, and the woman, 37, surrendered at Doncaster police station last Wednesday with a large amount of jewellery and are in the process of being questioned and charged.

Furthermore, a recent report in the Herald Sun pointed out how Manningham had become so affluent that it was becoming a hunting ground for thieves, with police warning residents to beef up home security.

And there are more contradictions.

Despite the Chief Commissioner’s office claim there was a “decrease in the total number of offences in the Manningham PSA”, Manningham crime prevention officer Carla Reardon advised the Diary only last month that burglaries were on the increase and thieves often were from out of town specifically travelling to the area and targeting homes for their valuables. Even a roadside sign was placed on the side of Ringwood-Warrandyte Road at the entry point to the town – for traffic coming from the east – warning of a rise in thefts in the area and encouraging residents to beef up security and to be alert.

In Manningham over the past four years, burglaries were up 7 per cent to 533 a year, thefts were up 7 per cent to 1509 and drug use up 71 per cent to 163 people charged with drug offences, according to the latest Crime Statistics Agency data.

MP Ryan Smith believes it is one big mess.

“Warrandyte residents have real concerns about the escalation of crime and anti-social behaviour in their community,” he told the Diary.

“Unfortunately, while the Minister for Police and the Chief Commissioner pass responsibility between each other, these concerns remain unanswered by either party, while the call for an increased police presence falls on deaf ears. This latest development that Warrandyte Police Station may close will only add to the community’s fears that it is not being heard.

“Let’s face it, there has been an alarming trend this year in suburban police stations either closing or reducing the days they are manned.”

The Diary will provide a follow-up report in the New Year.

Anyone with any information about crimes being committed or suspicious activity is urged to call Warrandyte Police on 9844 3231 or Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000.

 

 

Crowds flock to first ethical market


WARRANDYTE loves a market. And the community was given a chance to embrace that passion, along with their ethical spirit, when over two thousand people flocked to the Ethical Night Market on a balmy December evening at the Warrandyte Community Church.

The venture was hosted by the Warrandyte Community Church, who threw open its doors for the event. The church’s minister David Molyneux was delighted the community had come out to make the market such as success.

“We received around 2400 people registering their intention to attend on Facebook, and by 7pm we estimate that we had already had 1200 people through the doors,” David said.

ethicalThe brainchild of five 19-year-old young women from the Warrandyte area, the Ethical market promoted values that tied into their beliefs around social justice, which they began to take an interest in as students at Donvale Christian College.

One of the young organisers Laura Tepe said: “We are just passionate about these issues and have turned them into something, which is really great.”

Co-organiser Jordan Barton said they developed a list of criteria for stallholders to be part of the market, and they had over 40 stallholders step up to the mark.

“They had to be Fair Trade, Organic, Vegan, Environmentally Friendly, Locally or Ethically Sourced, or a Social Enterprise, so that they can raise money for good causes,” she said.

Ms Tepe added: “Any excess money raised through entry donations and stall fees will be donated to the church’s international aid agency, TEAR Australia which deals with global poverty and injustice.”

The women are buoyed by the support they have received from the local community and intend to run the market again.

“It has turned so much better than we expected… and it turned into something a lot more than we thought.”

 

Health & Wellness Warrandyte


The health and wellness industry is thriving in Warrandyte as a diverse offering of both conventional and complementary services is available to all residents.
There is no doubting the necessity of a more traditional medical route and all of science’s benefits on the health front, but a universal shift in approach and thinking allows all of us so much more choice today.

Don’t miss the Health & Wellness Warrandyte special four page guide in our physical edition of the December Warrandyte Diary. The guide showcases just some of the wonderful options available whether it be homeopathy, massage, reiki, energy healing, reflexology, NLP life coaching, integrative pathology, yoga, osteopathy, dental care, hearing health, personal fitness training, neurostructural integration technique (a form of Bowen Therapy), psychotherapy, meditation, crystals, and creative dance.

That’s just scratching the surface.

“It’s not so much ‘alternative’, which is the term that’s been traditionally used for a long time now – which is more of a separation when it comes to describing it – but it’s now complementary in an integrative way with orthodox and natural working together,” says Jane Offer, owner of The Purple Dragonfly in Yarra Street.

A relative newcomer to Warrandyte with her now well known “complementary services” hub, Jane’s business also offers workshops and all sorts of interesting modalities to suit your needs and interests.

She says the “shift” in the way people approach their health and wellness has  infiltrated around the world for some time now.
“Many people need a medical route, of course, but they can also help their own body to deal with that and heal quicker,” she says.
“In America we worked with a hospital where there was a whole wing that was working with acupuncture, massage and qigong, and those sort of things, so there was a big opening and the integrative side of it has become very much more well known and really wanted by people.”

Jane points out Warrandyte has a wealth of resources and every person is unique, so it’s about finding the right fit.

“Warrandyte is fabulous, it’s a place where people are very much aware and more open than some areas I’ve been to, and it’s really heartening to see that,” she says. “For complementary therapies it’s about finding what resonates with you and the person who resonates with you and who understands your uniqueness. There are people in the Warrandyte area who are skilled in doing that.”
So step inside and find your perfect match…

State call ups for our boys


WHEN Basketball Victoria is identifying players from your side for state selection camps, it’s a good indicator your program is in good shape.

In the past year, numerous players from Warrandyte Basketball have attended camps and tryouts in the hope of selection for state programs and teams.

In the 2014-2015 season, two Warrandyte affiliates represented Vic Metro; Under 16 player Casey DeWacht made the Under 16 Vic Metro Men’s side and coach Nicole Howard was head coach of the Under 14 Southern Cross Challenge Vic Metro Girls team.

This list has continued to grow in recent weeks with announcements for the 2015-2016 season. Young guns Emma Dowling and Alan Ure from the Under 14 Warrandyte Venom program have earned places in the Southern Cross Challenge (SCC) Vic Metro sides, while Nicole Howard will retain her head coach role at the SCC.

The SCC involves four days of competition and will take place in January at the State Basketball Centre, where Emma, Alan and Nicole will represent Vic Metro against Vic Country and other state sides.

Further selections include Warrandyte Venom Under 18 junior Fraser Trenfield, who will don the navy singlet for the Ivor Burge Vic Metro Men’s side, and Ryan Holloway, who joins the side in an assistant coaching capacity. Both Ryan and Fraser will travel to Queensland in February to compete in their national competition and will be able to use lead up games and tournaments to prepare. The Under 18 Vic Metro teams selections are also underway, with squads being whittled down to low numbers. Casey DeWacht (Venom Big V player) has reached the top 24 players for the 18 Men’s and will travel to NSW to compete in the East Coast Challenge in early January.

Joining him in NSW will be WBA director of coaching Nicole Howard, in an assistant coaching role for the Under 18 women’s side. The Under 18 national competition will take place in Adelaide in April, which Casey will be eligible to compete in if he earns final selection for the state side.

With a strong pathway now from Aussie Hoops all the way to Big V basketball, Warrandyte Basketball is helping to develop the skills of young players and coaches, who are able to represent Victoria Metro with pride.

Crikey Crickets


MOTHER and son duo Nicole and Joel have seized a window of opportunity in the business world through their new entrepreneurial initiative, Crikey Crickets. The pair teamed up to breed and sell live crickets from their home in Warrandyte to local reptile owners.

school crickets - joel 3 copy

The idea stemmed from Nicole’s light-bulb moment when she was fed up with spending excessive amounts on crickets to feed Joel’s five hungry bearded dragon lizards: Jupiter, Rocky, Regis, Hamish and Charlie. It was costing the family about $36 every 10 days to keep the lizards healthy and satisfied.

With that, Nicole suggested to Joel they go into business to breed and sell crickets themselves. Although initially apprehensive towards his mum’s ambitious venture, Joel was quick to jump on board.

“My mum’s like my business partner. She helps a lot with the crickets and everything because, after all, it was her idea. She does a lot of the work because she was the one who learnt how to do it and then you know she’s kind of teaching me.”

Anderson’s Creek Primary School allowed Joel to survey the school in order to gauge the level of interest in their endeavour. He then proceeded to design and hand out fliers to local reptile owners, offering a cheaper alternative to the leading cricket vendor.

“I just went down and asked who has reptiles. There was a fair few and I gave a flier to whoever wanted them.”

Many instructional YouTube videos later, Nicole and Joel came to realise that the process of breeding the critters would not be easy.

“It takes around 8-12 weeks for them to fully grow and there’s a lot of death with the babies,” Joel explained.

“They’re all very dumb, they like to go into the water and drown them- selves or clog up together and eat each other, and then get squished by things. We have to make [their enclosure] pretty much baby proof.”

Eventually the pair came to perfect the science and business began to boom. Joel also handles the marketing side of things and designs the buckets for delivery.

“I have around eight or so customers at the moment all wanting crickets every now and again. And I just got my school to purchase crickets from me for the Animals Program. I’ve got a few kids from there getting crickets and then a few mothers from ACPS,” Joel said.

When asked how he goes about getting the product to his customers, Joel told the Diary he sometimes does the deliveries himself.

“People come here [for pickup] but with the people at school I bring the crickets to them on the bus. The bus driver sort of gives me a weird look but I just make sure to greet them and say goodbye and then they’re happy.”

Joel advises other like-minded, entrepreneurial young people to “just research what you want to do and pursue it”. For his next ambitious venture, Joel intends to establish his own part-time dog grooming business.

Joel told the Diary the teachers at Templestowe College are very supportive of his goals through the Animals Program.

“I want to be a part-time dog owner when I’m older. I’m already going to groom two dogs tomorrow at school,” Joel said.

For inquiries, contact Joel and Nicole via sales@crikeycrickets.com.au or check out their website at www.crikeycrickets.com.au

Do you know a child or teen in Warrandyte exploring their entrepreneurial side? Let us know at info@warrandytediary.com.au

Bridge of discontent


THE Warrandyte Bridge is a source of community anxiety once again as summer arrives and bushfire season starts early as residents are left waiting for a much-anticipated traffic report and more so a solution to a serious problem.

VicRoads now expects “to present and seek community feedback on a preferred option by mid-2016”. If an emergency event were to strike Warrandyte tomorrow, an estimated 2502 vehicles per hour per lane would be able to evacuate the area, causing total evacuation time to exceed three hours. That’s time Warrandyte residents simply don’t have in the event of a bushfire, Member for Warrandyte Ryan Smith told the Diary.

“I’m glad there has actually been some progress around identifying some options to ease the congestion and make the community safer during a fire event. However, the timelines are too long and we actually need to see some progress from VicRoads a lot sooner than the timelines that they’ve flagged,” he says.

“I will certainly be continuing to put pressure on the government to ensure we do get some progress in a more timely manner.“

Back in June, VicRoads regional director Adam Maguire informed Mr Smith in a letter that traffic modeling of the Warrandyte Bridge road network would be conducted and a report handed down by the end of August. An additional $140,000 was committed in the 2015–16 budget to investigate ways to improve traffic capacity of the Warrandyte Bridge during an emergency.

VicRoads has since completed the traffic modelling investigation assessing potential options to provide additional vehicle crossing capacity of the Yarra River in the vicinity of the Kangaroo Ground-Warrandyte Road Bridge in the event of a fire evacuation scenario. The report is said to comprise emergency traffic plans to assist in evacuation in the event of emergency and an update on the daily bumper-to-bumper traffic.

A community forum was held on November 12 at the Warrandyte Community Church by VicRoads and Emergency Management Victoria to discuss with residents and authorities the possible scenarios for action in the event of a bush fire, and the construction work that should be done in regards to the traffic flow on the bridge.

David Teague, VicRoads’ director transport and planning metro north west, told the Diary: “Information and supporting documentation on the potential options will be made available on the VicRoads website in early 2016.

Among the options considered as part of the investigation were upgrading the existing bridge to three lanes and building a second pedestrian bridge on Bradleys Lane, which could be opened to vehicles during emergencies.

“VicRoads, in conjunction with councils and emergencies services, expect to be in a position to present and seek community feedback on a preferred option by mid-2016.

“In partnership with Warrandyte Community Association, emergency services and Nillumbik Shire Council we are committed to delivering new traffic cameras in the Warrandyte area over the coming months which will be strategically placed to provide real-time traffic information to the community.”

VicRoads has also installed new traffic management signs and Disaster Plan boxes in the area, which contain equipment needed to assist with traffic management during emergencies and together with Victoria Police and CFA has “also developed improved traffic management plans to better cope during emergency evacuations”.

Three scenarios were proposed by VicRoads at the forum including:

+ Upgrading the bridge to three lanes, two southbound and one northbound, with new T-intersection signals at Research-Warrandyte Road and a wider entry road prior to the bridge on Kangaroo Ground-Warrandyte Road.

+ Building a second bridge at Bradley’s Lane/Everard Drive for emergency use only.

+ Combining both scenario one and two for optimum results, saving over two hours of evacuation time and costing between $7-$10 million.

Warrandyte is in for a hot and dry fire season that all residents need to be prepared for, says emergency management commissioner Craig Lapsley and local fire chiefs.

“The presentation by VicRoads about the Warrandyte Bridge and the options available to help with the access and egress was a worthwhile start to the discussion but it also highlighted that no matter what option progresses, those who live in Warrandyte have to make good decisions about their safety early, and to know what they need to do in the event of a fire, or a high fire danger day,” he says.

“Victoria’s future emphasis is on safer and more resilient communities. Creating a resilience-based approach is the first step in creating a modern emergency management system for Victoria. Empowerment of local communities to drive their own emergency management processes is core to this, working through existing networks, local leadership and community priorities to ensure that planning and recovery process are tailored, meaningful and self-sustaining.”

Bush fire threats aside, residents are still up in arms about the daily traffic congestion at the bridge during peak times.

“Most residents are more concerned by the day-to-day gridlock,” says Dick Davies, president of the Warrandyte Community Association.

“I think in order to resolve the daily gridlock issue in Warrandyte, it needs to be tied into the emergency management planning. We’re [Warrandyte] too far down the list of priorities and I think the two need to be done together.”

If you have more information on this issue, or you want to voice your concerns about local issues, send an email to info@warrandytediary. com.au. To see the full report from the forum visit www.warrandyte.org.au and letters to the editor can be emailed to editor@warrandytediary.com.au

Down the drain


WARRANDYTE’S Melbourne Hill Road catchment residents say they are “outraged”, “devastated” and “extremely disappointed” with Manningham City Council’s decision to vote for a scheme that a 97% majority of affected residents didn’t want and also say they feel “abandoned” by two of our Mullum Mullum ward councillors, Meg Downie and Paul McLeish.

And our third Mullum Mullum ward councillor Sophy Galbally has entered the fray and blasted her two fellow councillors Downie and McLeish and the decision, which effectively means homeowners will be forced to pay a large sum from their own pockets to help x council drains.

Only 3% of the 125 affected residents in Melbourne Hill Rd supported the idea of paying for Manning- ham Council’s $2.2 million scheme to prevent what it describes as a “significant flooding problem”.

Homeowners where the drainage work takes place will be hit with varying amounts to help pay for the costs.

In a document lodged with the Ombudsman, there is an extract from the Manningham Drainage Strategy 2004-2014 published on the council website http://www.manningham.vic.gov.au/drains that reads “Council’s current policy requires 75% support of all properties within a contributory scheme”, yet council still advises that MHRC residents will incur a Special Charge Scheme at a cost to be determined.

Cr Galbally told the Diary: “Why did Cr Mcleish and Cr Downie support the officer recommendation? Beats me, I was under the impression we were trying to find a sustainable flood mitigation option. Yes, I am disappointed in both ward councillors. If the Melbourne Hill Road catchment area residents had their support we would have been successful in rejecting Scheme 1, the of officers’ preferred option.

“Considering that all along we understood the scheme’s aim was primarily ‘flood mitigation’, why would council approve one that causes more disruption to residents, clear 170 mature trees which will change the landscape in an area which has an environmental significant overlay?

“And for that, residents and all ratepayers are paying $2.2 million plus. On the other hand, the alternative, less invasive option would have cost $1.3 million … and it was reported by the consultants as providing the equal level of flood mitigation.

“The reason why the resident preferred option, Scheme 2.1 modified, lost is it didn’t provide a drainage outlet to all properties … it wasn’t about flood mitigation but about future development!”

Cr Galbally didn’t stop there, saying the damage to the Melbourne Hill Road Catchment streetscape with the removal of some trees that are more than 50 years old was clearly something the residents did not support.

“The residents of Melbourne Hill Rd will have many of their front gardens destroyed and pay for their own landscaping after they pay for the pipe connection from the roadside to their homes,” she said.

“These costs will be above what they will be liable for under the special rates and charges … all for the benefit of having something 100% of the residents didn’t want.”

In fairness to all parties, the Diary has given residents of Melbourne Hill Road Catchment, Manningham City Council, and councillors the chance to respond on pages 10 and 11.

The author of the article no longer resides in Melbourne Hill Rd.

Community bank delivers


MORE than 130 representatives from local community groups and organisations along with shareholders, directors, regional and branch staff filled the Warrandyte Sporting Group clubrooms last month for the Warrandyte Community Bank Branch AGM and grants presentation night.

The substantial sum of $350,000 was allocated to almost 70 groups to be used over the coming year in a range of projects, community programs and infrastructure within the community. Warrandyte Community Bank Branch has now returned an impressive $2 million in grants and sponsorships to local community groups.

It clearly sends a message for locals to bank with our community bank.

With a buoyant energy in the room there was a strong sense of gratitude and inspiring stories of community hope, compassion, growth and change.

One very happy recipient was Warrandyte Primary School, which received $30,000 for its project, All Sports, All Year Round. The school sought funding to upgrade the school oval and create a space that can be used by students, teachers and community groups all year round.

WPS principal Gill Binger was thrilled upon hearing about the school’s successful application.

“We look forward to getting rid of a dry, rocky and dusty area that is difficult to play on in winter and prickly in summer, we now hope that a new oval with synthetic grass can be used all year round,” Principal Binger said.

“The redevelopment of the school oval has only been a dream so far.

“The area where the school oval is was developed with money received from the sale of the pine trees being cut down in 1991 to make way for the oval (like many state schools, WPS had a pine plantation; often a commercial venture for schools). It sits on the side of a hill where rocks/shale tumble onto the playing surface and grass is difficult to grow. Past students often talk about looking for fossils on the shale embankment.

“Warrandyte Primary is a large site but has limited ‘flat’ spaces or areas for a structured physical education. Physical education is a very important element of school activities as we recognise it can boost self-esteem and confidence. The new improved oval will enable students, teachers and other community groups to have access all year round.

“We are thrilled to have received this grant from the Warrandyte Community Bank. It will make a huge difference to the school and the students.”

Sports Chaplaincy Australia (Eastern region), represented by Doug Lyte and Stuart Rooke, shared stories of engagement with youth in sporting organisations across Australia and more specifically within the eastern region.

“Chaplains provide healthy strategies for club communities to care for players, coaches and members who can occasionally struggle to connect,” Doug said.

Sports Chaplaincy Australia is a network of volunteers relying heavily on community funding to implement their programs. It takes a fresh approach to caring for our youth with meaningful and emotion- al engagement.

“Our chaplains discretely and carefully work with vulnerable youth to bring about real change for individuals and sporting groups as a whole,” he said.

Also in attendance was Diary editor Scott Podmore, who said “it’s a fantastic result and we’re super appreciative of what and how the Warrandyte Community Bank can benefit our community.”

“It really sends a simple and clear message: imagine how much this amazing local institution could benefit the community if we all changed our banking over to our Warrandyte Community Bank? There are nowhere near enough local singles, couples, families and businesses banking with them. If you aren’t already, it’s time to wake up and make the change. There’s still only a small percentage with them, but just imagine the benefits if we doubled or tripled the amount who committed to the simple process of getting our bank to help us change over to bank with them and use its products. Way better, smarter and of much greater benefit to the Greater Warrandyte community than going with the Big 4.”

The Warrandyte Community Bank Branch Grant has already resulted in our “communication hub and heartbeat” of Warrandyte purchasing multimedia equipment for cadets and contributors. The Diary has been able to purchase a state of the art camera, recording and editing equipment for Diary TV.

If you are interested in seeking sponsorship from Warrandyte Community Bank branch, 2016/17 grant and sponsorship applications will be accepted in July/August 2016. It pays to plan ahead. Speak with your committee sooner rather than later. Look out for the grants information night in June 2016.

More can be found at bendigobank.com.au/public/community/ our-branches/warrandyte, by visiting the branch or contact Dee Dickson, assistant to board and marketing, on 0414 505 533 in the new year.

Power to the people


SIXTY years ago this December 23, the electricity supply was finally extended to Warrandyte.

Can you imagine how wonderful that must have been? We take our electricity supply so much for granted whether it’s for lighting, cooking, heating or cooling or running the many and varied electronic devices so essential to modern living.

Imagine houses that had to rely on kerosene lamps for lighting, kerosene or ice-block fridges for cooling food, combustion stoves for cooking and open fires for heating? Then imagine being able to flick a switch to undertake these tasks. It was revolutionary.

Yet Warrandyte had to wait a long time to become connected. Many areas surrounding it, such as Eltham and Doncaster, had an electricity supply long before Warrandyte.

Up until the establishment of the State Electricity Commission of Victoria (SECV) in the early 1920s under the chairmanship of Sir John Monash, various small private and municipal companies had provided electricity to different areas. Warrandyte was not one of them. The general push initially was to have good street lighting. There were three street lamps in Warrandyte requiring a measured amount of fuel to light and the services of a lamplighter.

It was generally felt the lack of electricity was holding the town back. In 1924 a newspaper reported Warrandyte as one of the worst lighted districts. Pressure for connection mounted and all through the mid-to-late 1920s there were various deputations and agitation to have the supply extended to Warrandyte.

In 1926 when arguing for connection, Councillor Angela Booth pointed out Warrandyte was only 18 miles from Melbourne and the district had grown rapidly. She was given to understand, however, that projected revenue was too small and the distance too great. For whatever reason, no electricity supply was forthcoming at that time. In that year the Warrandyte Progress Association was very active in trying to get a hydro-electric plant established using the Pound Bend tunnel. However, a civil engineering investigation found that the capital cost of establishing this would be greater than that of providing a transmission line.

That had already been deemed too costly. The SECV also would not support any undertaking that might involve it in future expense. The commission’s policy was to set electricity prices according to the cost of providing supply. In 1927 a guaranteed annual revenue of £A520 (approx $40,000 in today’s currency) was sought from township residents within a two mile radius.

This, however, was found to be too high a cost for the relative size of the town and after surveying residents, the Doncaster Council reported such a guarantee could not be obtained. Some deputations continued but nothing definite emerged.

By early 1935 discussions between the commission and Eltham and Doncaster and Templestowe councils were taking place about an electricity supply to Warrandyte. The commission was reported to be anxious to install lighting. Each council was asked how many street lights it would support (Eltham three, Doncaster and Templestowe 12-14) which together with strong consumer support from within the community meant the cost of supply would be defrayed.

By October the SECV had made the decision to supply electricity to Warrandyte. Advertisements soon appeared in local papers for the supply of electrical appliances. Work on the scheme was well underway by November with completion expected by that Christmas.

On December 23 in 1935 Warrandyte became the 285th town to be supplied by the SECV. A well attended of official ceremony was held to switch on the supply. This was performed by W.H. Everard, local member and speaker of the Legislative Assembly. He praised the work of Sir John Monash and thanked the SECV for expediting the system before the commencement of the Christmas holiday season.

‘Let there be light’ was the apt heading in the Hurstbridge Advertiser on 3 January 1936. It reported over 30 Warrandyte subscribers had the supply installed at their properties. The Doncaster and Templestowe shire had provided 10 lights in Main Street and Eltham Council three road lights on Kangaroo Ground Road. While considered a good beginning, the road lights were thought to be too far apart and that more would be required to make the scheme a success. Over time the supply was gradually extended outwards though it was many years later before some of the more far-flung properties in the area were connected. It was the 1960s before the SECV turned to equalisation of tariffs, which meant rural areas were not so disadvantaged cost wise and more remote areas were serviced. The SECV continued operations until 1993 when it was broken up and sold to private companies under the government of Jeff Kennett.

Now wind and solar power are ever increasing elements in the supply of electricity. However, no matter how the power is generated electricity is a major part of modern life. It is indeed very difficult to imagine a life without the capacity to obtain lighting, heating and cooling and so many other necessities of daily living without it.

And as the Christmas lights are switched on in December to sparkle and glow, surely those early residents who fought so hard for its supply 60 years ago are worth a thought – and our thanks. Enjoy the festive season.