Monthly Archives: March 2018

Saturday’s Festival program cancelled

Due to the SEVERE Fire Danger rating and a Total Fire Ban in place, the SATURDAY program for the Warrandyte Festival has been cancelled.

The Warrandyte Festival Committee have released the following statement.

It is with regret that the Warrandyte Festival Committee has decided, in accordance with our Cancellation Policy, to cancel all festival activities and performances for Saturday 17th March.

This decision was made in consultation with the CFA, Victoria Police, the SES and Manningham Council.

Prior to this decision, the Victorian Education Department had already issued a directive prohibiting local government schools from participating on the Saturday.

Our decision is not taken lightly, but community safety is our priority.

All Friday evening and Sunday activities and performances will proceed as per the published programme.

Thank you for your understanding, and please stay safe.

The Warrandyte Diary is across all Warrandyte Festival updates and will post here and on our Facebook page if there are any further changes to this plan.

Information on the current and Fire Danger ratings and when and where Total Fire Bans are in place can be found here.

Warrandyte runs around the Pound

THE FIRST WEEKEND in March was once again a busy one as over 600 people flocked to Warrandyte Reserve for the eighth iteration of the community running event to either run or volunteer.

A little rain overnight kept the morning temperatures down which was a welcome relief to most who would have been training in the weeks leading up to the run where average temperatures were around the high 20s–low 30s.

This year, the run organisers managed to negotiate a tweak to the existing courses which made the run both easier to manage and a more challenging run.

For the 2.2K runners, this meant they only had to run one lap, instead of two as in previous years but saw them climbing all the way up Everard Drive and Pound Road, alongside the 5, 10 and 15K runners.

For the longer distances the course still looped through the Pound but thanks to the cooperation of Parks Victoria and property owner Jan Day, runners passed through her property after exiting the Tank Track and joined the bushland trail which follows the river between the Ranger Station and the Tunnel carpark.

Despite what was viewed by the run committee as a more trail-like and technically challenging course, and the fact that each lap of the longer runs were around 150 metres longer than five kilometres, the feedback on the finish line and around the event village was extremely positive.

David Dyason, chair of the Run Warrandyte committee spoke to the Diary about the success of the event.

“This year’s course was highly acclaimed by all participants, we have received many compliments and no negative feedback… one participant made us promise not to change the course next year ‘it was so good…’ which we have had to do for various reasons in the past,” he said.

Warrandytian Brynton Ashton placed in the top three of the 15K distance since it was introduced in 2016.

Brynton once again dominated the longer distance finishing 1:25 ahead of 2nd place Alex Tracey and despite the tougher course, only 29 seconds slower than the previous year.

After the race, Brynton spoke with guest commentator and Member for Warrandyte, Ryan Smith.

When asked how he was feeling Brynton said his legs were “a bit sore given the new course” but that it was overall an enjoyable run.

The buzz around the event village after the run was great with numerous medal ceremonies taking place, Run Warrandyte also had a number of runners running for charitable causes, both local and afar.

The event’s official fund raising page gave participants the opportunity to raise money for organisations including the Warrandyte Netball Club, Warrandyte Football Club, Warrandyte Junior Football Club, Warrandyte Cricket Club, Warrandyte CFA, STOP One Punch Can Kill, and Rivers Gift(SIDS).

Through the event, runners managed to raise over $2700, cementing Run Warrandyte as a great platform to inspire people to raise money for a good cause.

Mr Dyason went on to talk about the unique opportunity a fun run in Warrandyte presents and praised Parks Victoria for their assistance in making the course run a possibility.

“We think that, for a fun run, our course is truly unique.

“The mix of urban streets, fire trails and State Park single trails, with much of it having Yarra River views we think it’s an awesome treat.

“Parks Victoria are to be commended for working with us and allowing us to use these trails and we feel the responsibility of ensuring this section of Warrandyte bushland is respected and appreciated by our participants — and we think it was.”

If you ran on the day, make sure you visit the event page on GeoSnapShot for official race photographs.

Run Warrandyte will be back in 2019.

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Medals were awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd in an Under 8, 12-17 and Open categories for most distances, medal winning runners and their official times are listed below.

Spelling of names and official times sourced from Tomato Timing.


Open Male: Brynton Ashton (1:02:50), Alex Tracey (1:04:15), Marcus Boxall (1:06:36)

Open Female: Narelle Cormack (1:08:41), Melissa Hansford (1:11:16), Eloise Thompson (1:13:53)

12–17 Male: Brown Vermeulen (1:18:10), Nicholas Alexander (1:23:22), Brown Vermeulen (1:27:56)

12–17 Female: Alicia Callahan (1:18:46)


Open Male: Aron Class (41:12), Ben McKinnon (44:13), Robert Clark (48:01)

Open Female: Naomi Peters (52:15), Clare Oliveira (52:18), Atsuko Sasaki (52:48)

12–17 Male: Benjamin Reid (43:04), Max Savill-Bentley (43:36), Lucas Todd (1:09:26)

8–11 Male: Cambell Stark (54:33)


Open Male: Nicholas Brooke-Anderson (20:04), Hudson Rostrom (21:42), Michael Cullum (21.49)

Open Female: Sherry Street (22.40), Veronica Bence (24.56), Nicole Lavender (25:35)

12–17 Male: Ben Munks (22:28), Adam Gillard (23:10), Jed Harrowell (23:19)

12–17 Female: Ruby Maher (22:30), Chloe Woollard (24:55), Julia Rooney-Watson (27:43)

8–11 Male: Lenny Reddaway (25:55), Wes Callow (26:36), Michell Harrison (27:23)

8–11 Female: Anni Tatten (27:19), Rose Rostron (29:21), Millie Hurley (30:03)

U8 Male: Hamish Dwyer (28:10), Archie Andrew (28:39), Ethan Sampimon (30:08)

U8 Female: Sophia Marelas (43:51), Jade Trewarn (1:14:29)


Open Male: Luke Brewis (8:18), Charles Johnstone (8:55), Martin Baldock (10:32)

Open Female: Alice Van Rijn (11:44), Yvette Harbinson (12:01), Lynda Madams (13:03)

12–17 Male: Samuel Ferguson (9:34), Odin Harbinson (10:05), Dylan Thompson (11:00)

12–17 Female: Amber Louw (8:21), Cassie May (10:50), Stella Thompson (26:17)

8–11 Male: Jacob Close (9:30), Elliot Butcher (9:37), Reve Pearce (10:26)

8–11 Female: Eva Graham (11:26), Jasmine Knowles (11:41), Zara Veal (12:38)

U8 Male: Taylor Aldenhoven (11:24), Hunter Veal (11:38), Marlon Damcher (11:44)

U8 Female: Chole Baldock (10:31), Millah Townshend (14:05), Greta Fitzgibbon (15:07)

U8s Kids Run

Open: Sophie Linden (18.54), Xavier Forsyth (19.38), Austin Stainer (19.59)

It’s a jungle in the garden

Caught in the act

IT WAS JUST on dusk.

The male blue banded bees were erratically flying near the stems where they usually roost.

They should have begun to settle by now.

Only one or two had settled near the end of a stem that seemed to have an unusual bit of bright green foliage further down the stem.

This foliage was swaying and it was not from the wind.

I realised I was seeing an adult false garden mantis, usually enchanting to me, but this one was preying on one of my male blue banded bees.

Was I ever torn!

Should I take photos and let nature take its course, or save my special bees?

Perhaps as a compromise I took a quick photo then gently grasped the mantis and removed it from the area to discourage it from becoming a serial bee killer.

I felt a bit guilty that I caused it to drop the bee in its grasp which was already dead.

I guess a mantis has to eat too.

Philosophically, I might think that near the end of the season for blue banded bees most of the females may already have mated.

So perhaps one could say that the males had served their life purpose and that feeding a mantis could be their last remaining service.

Just two days ago I was marvelling at the lovely sight of the roosting blue banded bees.

I photographed them quickly before the sun touched them with a magic wake up call.

They were like a string of precious beads to me.

I had seen scattered ones earlier in the season but on this day I counted 17.

Each used its yellow jaws to clasp an arching dried stem where it would spend the night.

Their wings and hair on their bodies appeared undamaged so I assumed they had recently emerged from their nests.

Near the same spot last season, I first watched males jostling for the best roosting position in my garden.

That year I never counted more than nine.

I believe the population is growing as my pollinator garden develops.

Females must be nesting nearby but so far I have searched for their nesting burrows in vain.

If anyone in the greater Warrandyte region has discovered the female blue banded bees’ nests on their patch, please tell me.

My first leaf-cutting bee

Before I leave the topic of native bees I want to announce I have at least one leaf-cutting bee species in my garden.

This one is almost as large and its buzz is nearly as loud as the blue banded bees.

It is unlikely to use my bee posts where, closely related, the resin bees are quite at home.

I now search the broad-leaf plants in my garden for the perfect circle these bees cut out to line the cells of their nests.

Of course this may be occurring in my neighbours’ gardens.

Rose bushes, not found in my garden are a favourite.

However, they must have used indigenous plants in the past.

So far, my photos of them aren’t good enough for the Diary.

Finding the nests and getting better photos are my next challenge.

Caught in the act number two

“What is this very colourful bug on my eucalyptus tree?”

I’m often asked this time of year.

Hearing, “It is yellow-orange with blue diamonds on its back”, I suspect a juvenile of the aptly named eucalyptus tip wilter bug, amorbus species, as seen in my photo.

The adult in the next photo is larger with impressive looking hind legs but a rather drab brown by comparison.

Many are in my garden but little harm has been done.

Yellow-spotted epicoma moth

These notodontid moth caterpillars are very hairy and may be processionary as they move from one place to another.

Their hairs can cause a painful allergic reaction in people.

The larvae feed on the foliage of casuarina, eucalyptus, leptospermum and melaleuca species.

They are dark grey and hairy, but the head capsule is white with red sides bordered with black.

Pupation takes place in a sparse elliptical cocoon amongst the leaves or leaf litter of the food plant.

Some of the irritating hairs are attached to the pupal case.

The adults are frequently seen in summer to early autumn around Melbourne.

The month ahead

Until we have good rain, remember to leave drinking water at ground level for a range of small animals as well as keeping the birdbaths clean and full.

Honey bees may also visit but native bees get the liquid they need from nectar.

March is still a good month to watch for interesting insects including butterflies.

Let us know what you observe in your area.

More power problems plague Warrandyte

ELECTRICITY consumers in Warrandyte and North Warrandyte have experienced a number of planned and unplanned power outages in the last three months with further planned outages still to come.

Urgent work on critical pole

A spokesman from AusNet Services spokesman Hugo Armstrong has advised the Diary that a wooden power pole in the RSL grounds to the southwest of the bridge roundabout is riddled with termites and has to be replaced as a matter of urgency.

This pole carries 22kV High Voltage (HV) 3-wire cables east and west along Yarra Street and also joins the newly-installed bundled HV electrical cable which spans the river and carries power up Kangaroo Ground Road and to adjoining residential properties.

The work has been scheduled during the day on Tuesday March 20 and a power outage will affect the approximately 500 residents and businesses who were also without power on January 19 and 20 for the bridge works.

This work will be done by AusNet subcontractors.

AusNet advise that they will do their best to keep power on for the businesses in Yarra Street served by this cable, either by means of generators or by reconfiguration.

This job will be particularly tricky as the pole is in a difficult place for access, and while it is intended to keep Yarra Street open there will be complex traffic management issues and traffic delays are expected on March 20.

Further work in relation to bridge widening

To complicate matters further, as a completely separate issue the bridge contractors need further work to be done on the HV cable crossing the river and associated poles.

As a result, the same consumers will have two further daytime planned outages.

That work will be done by licensed electrical subcontractors to VicRoads.

AusNet are insisting that this latter work not be done in March but be spaced out to give long-suffering consumers some breathing space.

All affected customers will be notified in advance of these planned outages.

AusNet have asked the Diary to convey their sincere apologies to the affected customers and emphasise that they are well aware of the inconvenience caused and are doing their very best to minimise disruptions.

Later work

We announced in the May 2017 issue that the Victorian Government’s Powerline Bushfire Safety Program was completed and this had replaced 3-wire HV powerlines in North Warrandyte areas with bundled cable to reduce bushfire risks.

However, this work did not extend to replacing existing old bundled cable such as that spanning the river.

The works on January 19 and 20 replaced the old bundled cable across the river for about 5 poles up to Castle Road, but we believe that the old cable continues on past that point.

We have come across a statement from AusNet regarding the North Warrandyte power supply: “AusNet Services will replace the remaining sections of HV aerial bundled cable along this line in the coming months.

“No dates have been set as yet, but we will advise affected residents well in advance.”

Recent outages

AusNet Services released a bulletin dated January 18 entitled “Update on North Warrandyte Power Supply” which was sent by text message to all those North Warrandyte residents who had experienced recent power outages and who had a mobile phone number notified to their electricity retailer.

The bulletin lists the causes of unplanned power problems in the previous six weeks including:

  • On December 9, a tree brought down overhead powerlines, which caused an extended fault and required tree clearers, traffic control and construction crews to rectify.
  • On January 6, a 40 degree, extreme fire danger day, there was a burnt out HV overhead cable fault near the bridge, which caused a ‘flashover’ along the overhead wire.
  • On January 11, a possum came into contact with an HV switch on Bradleys Lane, causing an outage, and as a result, the switch configuration has now been modified to prevent further possum incidents.

Additionally, on January 19 and 20 an overnight scheduled outage enabled replacement and rerouting of the HV cable across the river.

The bulletin concludes: “We are optimistic that both the reliability and safety of this part of the community have been enhanced, and you will experience better reliability in the future.”

On March 7, another possum incident caused further unplanned outages.

Mr Armstrong told the Diary “Following the possum incident on January 11 we had hoped that the modifications to the switchgear would prevent further similar incidents.

“Unfortunately, the possums had other ideas and we are now researching further solutions in attempt to minimise possum problems”.

One resident in Aton Street claims to have had a power outage every day between January 4 and 19 and has made a formal complaint to the Ombudsman.

Unplanned outages and compensation

One of the benefits of the Victorian Government’s Powerline Bushfire Safety Program completed last year was touted as being that it would improve reliability, a claim which residents are continuing to doubt.

Community frustration is growing at the continuing number of unplanned “recloser trips” being experienced almost on a weekly basis.

The recloser trip is a safety mechanism that cuts power to a localised area when there is an overload or abnormality (such as caused by possum activity) and then attempts to restore power a few seconds later.

This generally causes desktop computers and modems to reboot and causes clocks on microwaves or ovens to flash until reset.

AusNet Services are obliged to comply with a complex list of Guaranteed Service Levels (GSL) which provide for compensation if unplanned outages exceed certain targets in any calendar year.

There is no inclusion of planned outages in the GSL targets, that is those interruptions which have been notified to the consumer in advance, nor any provision for compensation for same, although sometimes ex-gratia payments are made.

The compensation starts at $30 if there are more than 24 momentary interruptions in a year, and $40 for more than 36 momentary interruptions.

Unfortunately, AusNet Services do not provide online access to the service interruption records for any property, and although details can be requested it takes a few days for a response.

The compliance with GSL targets for each residence is evaluated in February each year, and compensation payments where due are advised to the customer’s retailer in March and a credit allowed on the next bill.

However, the point at which the compensation starts is set so high that payments are — relatively speaking — rarely made, and the compensation of $30 or $40 feels like a drop in the ocean when compared with the $400+ fee per year that consumers are being charged for “service to property” before they have even started to consume any electricity.

Thousands turn out to defend Green Wedge

OVER THREE thousand people took to the streets of Eltham in a recent rally to protest the plans for Nillumbik Council to sell 17 parcels of public land.

The Council claims a lack of funding from State government for their plans to extend the Diamond Valley Trail and upgrade other sporting facilities as the reason why they have turned to the sell-off to get their infrastructure projects delivered.

But the community aren’t buying it.

Rally organiser Nerida Kirov from Save Community Spaces told the Diary that this flies in the face of the platform that Mayor Peter Clarke was elected on.

“This Council was elected on a platform of fiscal responsibility, they chose not to raise rates last year, despite the fact they knew costs would continue to increase”.

She says now Council are crying poor.

“The truth is that the rate of council debt is not high compared to other councils,” Ms Kirov said.

In an open letter to Council, State Member for Eltham Vicky Ward said that government have given Nillumbik Council $22 million dollars in the last few years for public infrastructure projects.

Ms Ward refutes claims that the government has not provided funding for the proposed works.

“The Andrews Labor Government has provided $1.2m for Stage 1 of the trail, an underpass for the rail line at Diamond Creek.

“This is in addition to $2.8 million for the Diamond Creek netball courts, $2.5m for the Diamond Valley Sports and Fitness Centre, $800,000 for Eltham Central Clubrooms and $416,650 for Marngrook Oval.”

Ms Ward called on Council to seek alternative sources of funding, such as from the Federal Government, rather than sell off the urban reserves.

The protesters are at a loss to understand the Council’s urgency to complete these projects.

“We don’t understand the rush to get this all done at once,” said Ms Kirov.

“The land that they want to sell is designated public land in the most built up part of the Shire, land that developers were required to set aside for public use.

“We are not against the walking trail at some stage, but not at the expense of public space,” Ms Kirov told the Diary.