Monthly Archives: August 2016

Warrandyte junior footy teams chase flags

LOCALS are urged to put a few hours aside this Sunday to lend their support to two Warrandyte Junior Football Club teams who have made it through to the grand final in the Yarra Junior Football League.

The two teams are the Under 14s (above, celebrating a recent victory) and the Under 15s (below), who both will play at Victoria Park Lower at 12.30pm and 2.45pm respectively, which means the Red & White army of supporters can set up camp at the one venue and watch the two Grand Finals in a row.

Both teams have not only made the big dance, but are red-hot favourites and had the luxury of a weekend off after smashing victories last Sunday week.

The U15s finished their year second on the ladder with an impressive nine wins from 14 matches. They came into their semi final full of confidence after winning their last three matches of the season.

In the first week of the finals the Bloods travelled to Bundoora, who finished on top of the ladder, only losing four matches all year. Our boys dished out an impressive performance and gave the home team a lesson as they smashed Bundoora 14.14.98 d 5.4.34. The win meant the U15s could progress straight to the Grand Final and have a week off.

bloods 15s

Eugene Hanson, coach of the U15s, spoke passionately about how the boys were ready to go and had the potential (playing at their best) to win the Grand Final but had to learn to control their emotions.

“I told them don’t think about the game itself, it’s very important to make the build-up as normal as possible,” he said.

“We have been training to manage and help the players understand the emotions coming into the game. The boys lost a grand final in the U10s competition five years ago and some of them have a fear of losing, so we want to make sure their emotions don’t get the better of them.”

The U15 boys will go into the Grand Final clear favourites as they do battle with Macleod at Victoria Park Lower in Kew at 2.45pm this Sunday (August 28). The good news is our Bloods have beaten Macleod twice throughout the season by comfortable margins. A flag is looking good.

On the same day the U15s rocketed into the grand final, shortly after the U14s followed suit, giving Doncaster no chance of even a sniff of victory as they ran over them 13.5.83 to 5.12.42.

The U14 team’s road to the finals was solid as they finished the regular season on top of the ladder, winning 11 of their possible 15 games, including only one loss in the last 11 (to Preston who was bundled out last week). What made the U14s semi final win even more impressive was that Doncaster finished second, also on 11 wins, with only percentage separating the two teams.

Warrandyte will battle it out with Banyule in the Grand Final after the Bears beat Doncaster in the preliminary final by one goal on Sunday.

U14s coach Andrew Wallace says he is very confident and reckons if the boys “stay strong and work as a team” and “keep their heads up until the final siren” they can pull off a win.

Warrandyte’s U14s will play Banyule at Victoria Park Lower, Kew, at 12.30pm this Sunday (the match before the U15s).

Both coaches and the rest of the WJFC urge Warrandytians to head down to the grand finals this Sunday and support our young Bloods as they hunt for flag glory.










Warrandyte in the 1950s

Growing up in Warrandyte in the 1950s was pretty special. We had the river and the bush and a strong feeling of belonging. Call it plenty of community spirit if you like.

We McAuleys were a mongrel breed, part Irish, part German and with a bit of English and Scottish thrown in. Back then Warrandyte was still a country town but quickly developing into a suburb. My family had lived here for generations, my grandmother Eva Belzer came from German stock and attended the local stone-built state primary school that was built by my great-great grandfather William Masterton back in the 1800s. She married Sam McAuley, whose father James was born in County Tyrone, Ireland.

My grandparents set up their orchard and stable on a tract of land next to the school, raised their own livestock, baked bread and grew vegetables for their dinner table.

There was no electricity for cooking, heating or light. It was a time when people made their own music at special events such as births, weddings and wakes. My grand- father played the concertina and people danced and sang in the old homestead in the light of flickering hurricane lamps and candles. They had six children Evelyn, Gertrude, Jack, Bill, Lillian and my father Ralph, the youngest.

The family suffered many setbacks over the years, losing their home in the devastating Black Friday firestorm of 1939. Three years later, during WWII, my uncle Bill was shot dead as he led his troops across a beach in what was then New Guinea. I was proudly named William in memory of my Uncle Bill when I was born six years after the end of the war.

My father came home from WWII after serving in the Middle East and New Guinea. He met and married my mother Patricia and built our family home from fieldstone gathered in nearby hills and transported back to his building site on a horse-drawn dray.

In due course, my sister Sue and I were born and we grew up running gloriously free in the small town, through which the Yarra River meandered.

The river was the focal point of our lives. We kids met by the river, swam together in the river and with a trembling heart, when I was still as innocent as an angel, I had my first kiss by the river.

Our village consisted of a series of shops and included the Mechanics Institute Hall, the Post Office and a pub.

Across from the pub was Jack Moore’s general store. The atmospheric old shop was full of sacks of grain, hardware items and tools, glass jars filled with nuts and lollies and rows of biscuit tins. Buying a brown paper bag full of broken biscuits was a heavenly treat for us kids. Scotch fingers, Iced Vovos and Milk Arrowroots were my favourites.

The store was crammed with little treasures hiding in the shadows on the dusty wooden floor, a great place for a child to explore. Unfortunately, the old shop, a remnant from another age, burned to the ground when I was still a child; it was never rebuilt and the site has been used as a car park for the Grand Hotel ever since.

Jack Moore’s sister Aggy ran the milk bar next to the Mechanics Institute Hall, right where the community centre is today. In the late 1950s, matinees were shown at the hall every Saturday and the town’s young film-goers would gather in her shop at interval to drink the ‘spiders’ she made and to buy more Jaffas to roll down the aisles during the Hopalong Cassidy or Tom Mix feature.

Lime ‘Spiders’ were Aggy’s specialty and consisted of a scoop of ice cream stirred into a big sundae glass of lime cordial and lemonade. The delicious creamy concoction fizzed and oozed over the rim of the glass, the bubbles tickling your nose as you tried to drink it before there was too much spillage.

In June, winter rain turned the river into a muddy torrent that coursed through the valley. Rising above the yellow-brown river, the rain-misted hills were mostly capped with grey leaden skies. Winter months were cold, wet and depressing, the dullness broken only by local football matches, which were the absolute highlight.

In summer, the ever-dwindling river ran through tinder dry gum trees that shimmered in the oppressive heat. Wattle trees were laden with bright yellow blossom and the sharp scent of eucalyptus hung in the hot January air. The crack of ball on bat could be heard as the local cricket team crafted their way through another innings.

Sometimes during stinking heatwaves my father would wake me at first light and we’d drive down to the river in his 1951 Bedford truck for a swim before school. Steam rose from the cold muddy river as we waded in together to cool off. I’d cling to my father’s broad shoulders as we swam clear across the current to the tall rocky cliffs on the other side. I felt safe in the water with him.

The other local lads and I climbed cliffs and trees and dived into shallow water from heights of up to 20 metres. We were fearless and I suspect slightly mad, as we risked life and limb every day with our daredevil stunts. We congregated at a swimming hole called ‘The Log’, where a rope hung from a tall gum tree on the other side of the river. Time after time we’d swing out over the water and let go of the rope, flying like acrobats through the air as we somersaulted down into the owing brown water.

Our bread was baked in a wood fired oven in the village and delivered daily to each house, sometimes still warm. And milk was delivered each day by a local character, “Tiger” Flowers. He always wore a sleeveless Richmond Football Club guernsey.

He was our unofficial town crier: all our breaking news came from Tiger as he called out during his milk deliveries, “Mrs Chapman has had a baby boy”, or “The bush fire is coming from the north”. Though I knew Tiger all of his life, I never knew his Christian, or given, name; I always called him Tiger.

The iceman came once a week, a huge block of ice carried on a shoulder protected by a potato sack. Once in our kitchen he’d hoist up the heavy block and unceremoniously plonk it in our icebox. It was the time before electric refrigerators were common in 1950s homes.

The “dunny man” came once a week, too, to collect the pan from our outdoor toilet, with a grunt he’d lift the frighteningly full pan up and on to his head and carry it down to the dunny truck. It was an endless joke with us kids: what would happen if the bottom of the pan gave way as he balanced it on his head? Shit and disaster! That’s what!

Our old-fashioned telephone was attached to the wall. To make a call you held the earpiece at the end of a cord to your ear while winding a handle to ring the local exchange. Mrs Fitch, the operator, worked her magic from the post office, now the Historical Society Museum. Speaking into the mouthpiece on the wall, you’d tell Mrs Fitch the number you required and she’d connect you via telephone lines tangled like spaghetti on her switchboard.

Our mail was delivered by horse- back each day by old Bill McCulloch. Wearing a pith helmet, he’d ride his horse Silver right past our letterbox, up the drive and deliver the mail by hand saying, “Good morning, Mrs McAuley.” When we heard the clip clop of Silver’s hooves we’d scurry outside to pat the friendly old horse.

NEXT MONTH: The coming of television and the Melbourne Olympics.

Junior Bloods’ flag tilt

Any fly on the wall at the Warrandyte Junior Football Club would be in for a real treat over the next few weeks.

With as many as five of the Bloods teams set to play in the Yarra Junior Football League finals, there’s going to be the full gamut of excitement, nerves and the pure adrenalin that comes from performing on the big stage. And, with a bit of luck, the euphoria that only a premiership victory can bring.

“It’s pretty exciting,” says Warrandyte Junior Football Club president Sarah Drew.

“As a club this is the best thing that can happen and we’re really happy for the boys.”

“The Colts [Under 16s] have been relegated into their comp with four losses and they had to make it up to get into finals. They’ve all been training hard and listening to their coaches, so it’s very exciting.”

Warrandyte has a junior side for each age division between Under 8s and Colts. As of recent competition rule changes, the Under 8s, Under 9s and Under 10s do not have official results or ladders.

Round 15 was played on Sunday to close out the home and away season before finals begin this Sunday.

With 11 wins from 15 matches, the Under 14s finished on top of the ladder to be the most successful Bloods team in the home and away season while the Under 11s ended up in second position with 10 wins and a draw from 15 games.

The Under 13s and Under 15s have also booked finals tickets. The Under 13s finished third on the ladder with nine wins for the season, while the Under 15s had a thumping 104-point victory in the last round to finish second and claim the double chance. The Under 12s had a solid year but finished eighth. The Colts scraped into the four and play finals Sunday.

The senior club will support the juniors this weekend. WFC president Peter Hookey says the senior players are excited at the prospect of inspiring the young Bloods through their finals campaign.

“We’ve sent a couple for seniors down to the Colts and Under 15 training to give a bit of leadership and education,” says Hookey. “We’re hoping they’ll see the professionalism that’s expected at a senior level and the desire to improve their football skills.”

Green with envy

Warrandyte will be turned into a swamp this month as everyone’s favourite ogre hits the stage for one of the first times in Australia. Students from Warrandyte High will be bringing the much-loved movie to life in Shrek the Musical Jr.

The school is renowned for its quality productions that our community continues to enjoy year after year. With all the hilarity you’d expect and a toe-tapping, contemporary rock score to boot, it promises to be a great show for the whole family.

You’ll be green with envy if you miss out! Show opens Thursday August 27 with a show on Friday August 28 and then two shows on Saturday August 29 to follow. Tickets start at just $12 and can be purchased at or phone the school in office hours on 9844 2749.

Pictured above at rehearsal are Shrek (Jake), Princess Fiona (Kristen), Donkey (Nick) and Lord Farquaad (Damon).

Bridge over troubled water

Change of direction at VicRoads forum

About 350 residents attended an information session run by Vic Roads at the Warrandyte Community Church last month, an event facilitated and encouraged by (not run by) the Warrandyte Community Association.

Residents were somewhat unclear as to the form this event would take. Some had expected a sit-down meeting with presentations, some had expected workshop sessions and others had expected a less formal static presentation where residents could “drop-in” at some point in the evening. It was also unclear beforehand as to whether VicRoads were using this as a method of disseminating information as to what they were proposing or alternatively seeking community views before the design being finalised.

Attendees were asked to register their details and were provided with a brochure Information Update.

On entering the main hall attendees found a number of tables displaying the proposed plans, each staffed by one or more VicRoads staff who were kept busy all evening discussing details with residents. It was difficult to know whether each table was displaying some different scenario so attendees were expected to attend each table, or whether the information was the same at each table. Police were present and happy to discuss evacuation scenarios.

Two “focus group” sessions had been scheduled in another room.


Much of the information provided in the Information Update has already been covered in earlier editions of the Diary. It became obvious, however, there had recently been a serious re-think of the strategy. The original proposal announced by the minister in March was for a bridge widening project based solely on the need to evacuate the area in the case of a serious bush fire. Now VicRoads were presenting us with alternative solutions which also take into account the ever increasing daily traffic congestion in Warrandyte.

The major changes under review:

CONSIDERATION is being given to a providing a roundabout on the north side of the bridge instead of the proposed traffic lights.

IT is intended to increase the length of turning lanes on Research Rd for traffic approaching Kangaroo Ground Rd.

A NEW turning lane eastbound on Yarra St is proposed to be introduced at the roundabout, so there will be a separate lane for left turning traffic going across the bridge (able to hold about four vehicles), and a right-hand lane for vehicles proceeding straight on towards Ringwood.

THERE is mention of a new pedestrian crossing at the roundabout on the west side, but details of this are scant.

NONE of this work will commence this year; it will be done after the upcoming bush fire season in time for the 2017-2018 season. It was previously planned the traffic lights would be installed by November this year: this will not happen.

The proposed revised timeline is… July-November 2016: Design, services and pre-construction. December 2016: Advertise works. Early to mid 2017: Contract awarded. Construction begins. Late 2017: Construction ends.


Most of the attendees the Diary spoke to during the evening did not want these changes at all, and although frustrated by the current traffic jams and bottlenecks felt these changes would not only detract from the village atmosphere of Warrandyte but would attract even more vehicles to the area. There was almost universal acceptance a roundabout north of the river would be far preferable to traffic lights operating 24 hours per day which would be a complete eyesore. However, some Kangaroo Ground Rd residents expressed concern a roundabout would complicate the morning traffic flow and southbound traffic on KG Rd would be locked out by south-turning traffic from Research Rd.

A diagram was provided on the reverse of the Information Update brochure, which purported to show the morning and evening congestion overlaid with other plots showing a vast improvement after the works would be completed. This was met with disbelief by many and VicRoads staff, when asked, were unable to provide any data to back this up or substantiate these projections which most people did not think were attainable. The general consensus was all this work was just fiddling around the edges and the real solution was to take the long-distance traffic away from the area by completing the north-east link of the ring road.

It was disappointing at this stage there were no artists impressions of what the updated bridge would look like, and more particularly what the cantilevered pedestrian walkway would look like. We did, however, gather the latter is to be on the west side of the bridge.


Reports from those who attended the workshop sessions indicated most people were of the opinion they did not want the bridge upgrade and associated works, and had not ever been consulted on same. We are told the mood became quite agitated, and senior VicRoads staff were summoned to come back into the room to be told this. Again this showed the disconnect between the expectation of the attendees versus that of VicRoads. VicRoads has funding for these works and their brief is to go ahead and implement them. What VicRoads presumably wanted to get out of the evening was information as to how to implement the changes. Many attendees, however, were trying to make a point that they did not want the works at all, which was not VicRoads decision to make! To VicRoads it is a done deal.


A feedback form was provided to attendees and they were encouraged to complete it and send it to VicRoads. Their online engagement page on the web stayed open until July 31, and residents were encouraged to log in and leave comments. VicRoads would not commit to a specific timeframe or process for further community discussion or for their making a decision, particularly with regard to whether to go ahead with a roundabout or traffic lights on the north side. Rather, they would produce a report which would go to senior VicRoads management and a decision would be made in due course following community input. Obviously rm decisions would have to be made before December as that is when it is proposed to advertise the work for tender.

WCA spokesman Warwick Leeson told the Diary WCA continued to be very concerned at the lack of ongoing process for community views to be taken into account. WCA would be organising more opportunities for community engagement in early October and would invite the Minister for Roads and Road Safety Luke Donnellan, Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley and senior VicRoads staff to be involved.

Mr Leeson indicated that although originally launched as an initiative for bush re and emergency evacuation, they now understood the bulk of funding was in fact coming out of the general allocation for traffic improvement. WCA was particularly concerned as a huge amount of local effort over the past few years had gone into making people aware of the bush re dangers and the need to leave home well in advance on Code Red days or on other danger days if householders are not capable of staying and defending. Yet some say this latest government action lies in the face of that advice and implies the bridge will be safe and last minute evacuation will be acceptable.

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