Monthly Archives: August 2019

Soak it up while it lasts

THE DAYS HAVE been short, and the landscape has been at perhaps its most hydrated.

The sky seems drab, but quite literally, soak it up while it lasts!

Before you know it, we’ll be back to dust and searing heat.

For the naturalist in mid-winter, things can seem uninteresting.

Many animals are tucked away in hollows and burrows and the “higher” plants (trees, grasses, flowers, etc) are at a standstill.

However, a whole different slice of biodiversity has been doing its thing this month.

The trick is just knowing how to spot them.

The large “flushes” of mushrooms may have passed, but the fungi are by no means silent.

Turning a clump of soil or leaf litter may reveal fine white hairs — hyphae — the roots of the fungi.

As these are highly sensitive to drying out, winter is their time to break down all of last season’s organic matter and cycle it back into soil.

Springing from the soil after a good drink are the ferns.

Their fronds emerge as coiled bundles known as fiddle heads, for their resemblance to the end of a classical string instrument.

Thriving in low temperatures, there is a clear connection between ferns and trees.

The canopy trees shield out the harsh sunlight of midday, whilst allowing the gentle, angled light of dawn and dusk to nourish the fern.

Often at sunrise and sunset, you will see a small beam of light, with a fern waiting in just the right spot to take full advantage.

The mosses and lichens too revel in the wet, and those fuzzy banks of moss play host to other species with their high moisture content, whilst simultaneously smothering out the weeds.

These will continue to drip out water for many months to come, helping those heavy rain periods nourish the landscape for a longer period.

With water so widespread, life is good for our amphibious friends, the frogs.

Their habitat is at its greatest extent at this time of year.

Small dams and even dips/trenches in the landscape may be full of water now, but not so in summer time.

As the summertime grasses are drowned by water, a host of macro-invertebrates — water bugs — move in to feed on the decaying grass, triggering the beginnings of the freshwater food chain.

Without fish to eat their tadpoles, and nice small, tadpole sized meals swimming about, these little puddles are the perfect place for frogs to complete their life cycle.

Such water logged soils, when combined with high winds prove the down fall of many trees at this time of year.

Some healthy giants, but also many smaller dead trees that lost the race for top spot.

If you’ve had such an event at your house/your local bit of park, look out for weeds that may germinate in these areas come spring.

As if this didn’t make life hard enough for the poor possums, with very few moths about, many possums subsist only on the odd gum leaf in winter.

Our wildlife doesn’t truly hibernate like bears; however, many possums enter a low energy state or “torpor”, sleeping deeply but still waking nightly for a little snack and a stretch.

Winter is when a hollow in a dead tree becomes prized real estate.

As the inside of the tree rots it releases heat, much like a compost heap, just enough to keep a hollow a little warmer than the outside world.

The first few acacia flowers signal an explosion just around the corner.

More subtle signs of spring appear in the form of orchid leaves appearing on the ground surface, and various lilies putting out some foliage ready for the spring time delight.

So, chuck on your favourite trench coat, some good boots and get out in the bush while it is still full of life’s most precious element — water.

Ian Hawkins is a local ecologist, operating his own small business, Magpie Ecology.

Bloods fighting for finals

WITH THE Home and Away season drawing to a close, all three tiers at Warrandyte Football Club are playing for a spot in the Finals.

Seniors

Warrandyte arrested their run of losses with a strong win over Chirnside Park.

But concurrent defeats in the following weeks against Ferntree Gully and South Belgrave leave the Bloods fighting for the last spot in the Division 3 Finals.

Josh Appleby and Nicholas Johnstone returned to the side for the home clash against Chirnside while Josh Huntly was named for his first senior game, Warrandyte’s 13th debutant of 2019.

With Chirnside Park intent on logging their first win of the season, the Bloods were mindful of the Panthers’ fast start in their previous encounter but two quick-fire goals ensured history would repeat itself.

Goals to Jack, Tom and Nathan Grimes sparked a six-goal run to the Bloods who took an 18-point advantage into the first break.

They pulled further away in the second quarter as Josh Meyers and Jack Grimes dominated around the park while forwards Quinn Clark and Luke Dunn hit the scoreboard.

Clark struck twice more in the third term and the 40-point three quarter time deficit proved unassailable for Chirnside as an eight-goal-to-five second half sealed a much-needed 53-point win for Warrandyte.

Kyle Thompson continued his fine season, sparking multiple rebounding efforts out of defence where Warrandyte’s kicking efficiency going inside fifty led to Warrandyte having eight multiple goal-kickers for the day.

Clark led the goal-scorers with three for the day and Jack Grimes was appropriately named Best on Ground for his performance.

In extraordinary playing conditions at Ferntree Gully the following week, the Bloods were forced into a hard slog in a hail-storm up the mountain.

Against second placed Ferntree, Warrandyte’s back six were under pressure for the majority of the match as the Eagles made the most of the mire to kick the only four goals of the game.

The loss of backman Andrew White just 10 minutes into the first quarter would hurt Warrandyte as the game progressed.

While the goal-kickers column was empty for the day, the efforts of Versteegen, Powell, Oliver and Thompson in defence were outstanding.

While Chris Tout was solid in the midfield on a day where it was hard to find much precision in a forgetable 29-point loss.

Warrandyte faced their hardest match of the year in Round 14; facing off against the undefeated South Belgrave.

The Bloods made their intentions known early in a physical first quarter, with both sides sharing the honours.

A goalless second quarter and six to South Belgrave put the Bloods on the back foot, trailing by 45 points.

Tout, Grimes (Jack) and Donahoo worked hard in a bruising midfield encounter and quick-fire goals to Dunn, Beasley and Jaffrey to start the third quarter launched Warrandyte back within four goals.

But another five to the Saints following left the side needing to overcome a 56-point at the final change, a margin that proved insurmountable for Warrandyte.

Despite the ten-goal defeat, a highlight to come out of the match was defender Versteegens performance on Division 3 leading goal-kicker Leigh Odermatt, who he kept to just one goal to take out the Bloods Best on Ground, his second in as many weeks.

With four rounds to go, Warrandyte is currently in fourth spot but tied on wins with Waverley and Donvale.

The Bloods will take on both teams in the run home in what’s sure to be a thrilling conclusion to the home and away season.

Round 12
Warrandyte 18.9–117 def
Chirnside Park 9.10–64

Goal Kickers: Q. Clark 3,
T. Grimes 3, J. Grimes 2, S. Jellie 2,
M. Cullum 2, N. Brooking 2,
L. Dunn 2, N. Grimes 2

Best Players: J. Grimes, J. Meyers,
S. Jellie, K. Thompson, T. Grimes,
C. Tout

Round 13
Warrandyte 0.3–3 def by
Ferntree Gully 4.8–32

Best Players: T. Versteegen, C. Tout, J. Powell, L. Oliver, K. Thompson,
N. Grimes

Round 14
Warrandyte 6.7-43 def by
South Belgrave 16.9–105

Goal Kickers: L. Dunn 2, M. Jaffrey,
C. Tout, N. Grimes, J. Beasley

Best Players: T. Versteegen,
K. Thompson, N. Grimes, J. Grimes,
C. Tout, P. Donahoo

Reserves

The Reserves dished out a 100-point drubbing to Chirnside Park but fell to both top placed sides in Ferntree Gully and South Belgrave and currently need everything to go their way for a shot at finals footy.

On-baller Tim Beasley was everywhere early and Andre Balemian put in his best game of the season playing off the wing with two goals to his name, winning him Best on Ground honours.

Gareth Hitchman and Josh Beasley enjoyed a shoot-out inside the Bloods’ forward line with Hitchman edging Beasley five goals to four in Beasley’s first game back from overseas.

Warrandyte took an imposing 10-goal lead into half-time and never looked back, slamming on another eight goals to take out a 96-point win.

A sterner test awaited them against Ferntree Gully and like the Senior side they were subject to the worst of the winter weather.

In a low-scoring affair, Josh Hale and Kyle Speers rose to the occasion to slot the Bloods only two goals of the match and were strong around the contests on a day suited for hard ball gets.

Warrandyte found themselves just eight points behind the second-placed Eagles at half-time but suffered the loss of backman Drew Corke to a season-ending knee injury during the second quarter.

Clean marking from Tim Foster down back was instrumental to keep the Bloods in the game, needing to overcome a 13-point three-quarter time deficit to pull off a famous win.

Both sides played the ball down the middle of the ground in a wet and wild back and forth but an early goal to Ferntree in the last quarter put the game to bed, Warrandyte falling to a 17-point defeat.

The challenges kept coming for Warrandyte who took on first placed South Belgrave in Round 14.

With a good side in, the Bloods were intent on causing an upset and keeping their season alive but the class of South Belgrave was immediately obvious.

Tim Beasley and Josh Appleby worked hard in the midfield for the majority of the game to move the ball forward but Warrandyte’s attacks were repelled by an experienced opposition.

With a half-time deficit of 10 goals, the Bloods were forced to work hard to get something out of the game and a move up the ground proved fruitful for Tim Foster who slotted the Bloods’ first early in the fourth quarter.

Dave Wilson gave the Bloods their second but Warrandyte were consigned to their second heavy defeat to the Saints.

The Reserves currently sit sixth, two games behind fourth spot and need to win all four remaining games along with favourable results elsewhere to be a chance of playing finals footy.

Round 12
Warrandyte 18.16–124 def
Chirnside Park 4.4–28

Goal Kickers: G. Hitchman 5,
J. Beasley 4, C. Prior 3,
A. Balemian 2, T. Beasley, L. Hogg,
N. Thornbury, L. Brewis

Best Players: A. Balemian, T. Beasley, C. Whitfield, C. Prior, N. Thornbury, G. Hitchman

Round 13
Warrandyte 2.4–16 def by
Ferntree Gully 4.9–33

Goal Kickers: J. Hale, K. Speers

Best Players: T. Foster, J. Hale,
K. Speers, H. Buyn, J. Appleby

Round 14
Warrandyte 2.2–14 def by
South Belgrave 15.14–104

Goal Kickers: D. Wilson, T. Foster

Best Players: T. Beasley, R. Reardon, T. Foster, K. Speers, J. Appleby, J. Hale

Under 19s

Warrandyte’s U19s are all but locked into Finals, sitting in second and displaying imperious form on the back of some strong victories.

The Bloods were toppled just once in July football, falling to ladder leader South Belgrave by 20 points in their rematch at Warrandyte Reserve.

Boell, Addison and Van Der Ree had their hands full in defence against some slick ball movement but weathered the storm well down back for Warrandyte.

Blake Trevorrow continues to be one of the sides most consistent performers, named in the best players for the fifth week running.

Darcy Poole made it 11 goals in three games as he hit a purple patch, but ultimately Warrandyte will be forced to wait for another crack at the Saints come finals time.

The Bloods didn’t miss a beat against their previous opponents, however.

In squalid conditions up at Ferntree Gully, Warrandyte’s big three forwards in Poole, Padfield and Clark combined for 11 of the Bloods’ 13 goals while the back six managed to keep the Eagles goalless for the match in an exceptional all-round performance.

Just one win behind 1st placed South Belgrave, Warrandyte will be looking to sew up the double chance on the run home.

Round 12
Warrandyte 11.5–81 def
Chirnside Park  2.7–19

Goal Kickers: C. Padfield 3,
L. Durran 2, D. Poole, L. Downie,
F. Swedosh, B. Davies, L. Garrick,
M. Philpots

Best Players: D. Poole, E. Boell,
B. Trevorrow, L. Vaughan, C. Addison, J. Van Der Ree

Round 13
Warrandyte 13.9-87 def
Ferntree Gully 0.1-1

Goal Kickers: D. Poole 6, Q. Clark 3,
C. Padfield 2, B. Trevorrow,
C. Addison

Best Players: D. Poole, B. Trevorrow, B. Vermeulen Brown, C. Addison,
M. Baynon, O. Bell

Round 14
Warrandyte 7.5–47 def by
South Belgrave 10.7–67

Goal Kickers: D. Poole 4, C. Martin,
C. Padfield, Q. Clark

Best Players: E. Boell, D. Poole,
O. Hodgson, C. Addison,
J. Van Der Ree, C. Martin

August 2019


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Vale Sigmund Jorgensen

Image: Where the blue shadow dances under the cream panama, SYD TUNN

THE ARTS COMMUNITY is in mourning for the passing of Sigmund Jorgensen OAM, a cornerstone of the arts in Nillumbik, aged 79.
He was the son of Montsalvat founder Justus Jorgensen and served as chief executive and artistic director of the historic artist colony from 1969 to 2005.
Justus and his partner, Lily Smith, established the beautiful artist’s colony in Eltham in 1934, naming it after the home of the legendary Holy Grail.
Originally built for Justus and his family, Montsalvat attracted many artists, artisans and intellectuals over the years, including Clifton Pugh, Betty Roland, Leonard French, Helen Lempriere and Albert Tucker.
Sigmund and his brother, Sebastian, are the children of Justus and colony member Helen Skipper.
Lily and Justus remained married and reportedly dined together with Skipper each night, much to the chagrin of the less liberal-minded.
Current Executive Director of Montsalvat, Jacqueline Ogeil expressed the sadness of the whole Montsalvat community at Sigmund’s passing.
“It is a very sad end of an era for us.
“His contribution and dedication to Montsalvat was all encompassing and his love for his heritage and artistic expression was ever present,” she said.
Sigmund, known lovingly as the Godfather of Eltham, is remembered for his significant and considerable contribution to the arts and the broader Nillumbik community.
He made Montsalvat a haven for local and international artists.
His contributions to art and culture were many, including the Melbourne culinary scene, running the award winning restaurant Clichy, being a judge at the Melbourne Asian Food Festival, food critic for the Melbourne Times and played host to, and support the formation of, the Montsalvat Jazz Festival, which has gone on to become one of the major Melbourne cultural events.
Sigmund was also a supporter of the acclaimed student orchestra, the Geminiani Chamber Orchestra.
Sigmund was a Nillumbik Shire Councillor from 1999 to 2002 and served as Mayor from 2000 to 2002.
Nillumbik Shire Council Mayor Karen Egan acknowledged his important involvement in Nillumbik’s arts and culture scene.
“We are deeply saddened to hear the news of Sigmund Jorgensen’s passing and offer our condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.
“Sigmund leaves an enduring legacy as a passionate advocate for the arts, and we are grateful for his tireless promotion of Nillumbik and Montsalvat as significant cultural centres,” she said.
Bend of Island’s artists Syd Tunn and Ona Henderson recalled fond memories working with Sigmund for several years on projects at Montsalvat.
The couple said they found Sigmund to be “a warm-hearted generous and honest supporter of so much in the cultural life of Eltham and beyond”.
“His passion was legendary, innovative and determined — for all art forms.”
They invited Sigmund to sit for them in their studio for an Archibald portrait, however Ona says initially he was shy.
“I said I’d make a gorgeous lunch, and Syd said (being a quick painter) that it would only take a couple of hours.
“Well it was memorable! And we dined in style with a classy vintage red to wash it down.
“Syd painted this portrait (above) in several hours, it sold at The Archibald Salon and Sigmund asked for a framed print of Syd’s acrylic on canvas,” recalled Ona.
In 2013 he was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for service to the arts.
He is remembered as a friend and supporter of the arts and artists all his life.
Sigmund Jorgensen is survived by his partner Sue and brother Sebastian.
Montsalvat will be holding a public memorial service at 2pm on August 9 and will be closed to visitors that day.

Baldessin Studio – a legacy in pictures

THE BARN GALLERY and Residents Gallery at Montsalvat are both currently playing host to a collection of works created by a variety of artists at a remarkable studio nestled in the beautiful St Andrews bush.

The story

The Baldessin Studio was established and built in St Andrews in the 1970s by the artists George Baldessin and his wife, Tess Edwards.
The untimely death of George Baldessin (1939–1978) might have robbed art of one of its creative giants, however Baldessin’s legacy has only intensified.
Following George’s death Tess moved to Paris, in part to run away from her grief, and in part to work as an artist in her own right, without the pressure of the Baldessin name.
“By going overseas, nobody knew the name, and I changed my surname to my maiden name of Edwards,” she told the Diary.”
“I had also wanted to give my kids space, so they did not grow up as tragic figures who had lost their father, because when George died, in the art world it was huge, because he was so well known as an artist and a teacher at RMIT.
“During that time, George’s work, which had been in storage, was really not seen because there was no one was championing his posthumous career.
“I knew I had to come back to do the right thing by George, and so I girded my loins and put my own career on hold, and I came back here and moved into the house,” said Tess.
She returned after 17 years to a studio which was largely left as George had left it.
“It was almost like Miss Havisham’s wedding feast, with the garlands of cobwebs adorning every surface.
“George’s studio had always been somewhere where people dropped in — there was always somethings to do — it was a lot of work but there was always a lot of good will and collegiate spirit,” she said.
So, in 2001 Tess decided to open up the studio and called it Baldessin Press, in George’s memory.
The space is still dominated by his large-scale electric printing press, used with pride by many artists, and by his sculptures in the grounds.
“I didn’t know what form it would take, we started with a few etching workshops and then things went on when Silvi Glattauer came along and she was instrumental in getting it all together,” Tess said.
Since then, the studio has gone from strength to strength and in the last few years they have forged an alliance with the State Library.
“Two of their fellowships are now residencies with the Baldessin Studio, one is sponsored by Rick Amor, and the other is the Tate Adam’s memorial residency — sponsored by Morag Fraser — they are very prestigious,” said Tess.
They have also recently joined with Australian Galleries and Fox Galleries for two further residencies.
“Apart from that, we do workshops in all types of print making and photographic processes,” she said.

The exhibition

This exhibition is an exploration of George Baldessin’s legacy.
“Many people don’t understand what the history is” said Tess, explaining last year’s National Gallery of Victoria exhibition, Baldessin/ Whitely: Parallel Visions, put George’s posthumous career back on the map.
It was a perfect time for the Baldessin Press to delve deeper in to George’s legacy and for the artists following in his footsteps, to show their work.
The exhibition showcases 39 artists who have a connection to the Baldessin Press, including Rick Amor, Michael Leunig, Rob Hails, Lloyd Godman, Chris Ingham and Tess Edwards, and the works are as diverse as the artists who produce them.
Several stories are told via videos screened at the exhibition, one outlines the history of the studio itself, and there is a heart-warming story of five young men who studied at what is now the Monash University’s School of Pharmacy in 1915.
The men gave up their studies to fight in the Great War — and gave their lives in the process.
Curator of the exhibition Christine Johnson worked at the Baldessin Press to produce floral artworks to represent each of the soldiers, which were presented to each of the families of the fallen solders as they were presented with posthumous degrees a century on.
The exhibition is complemented by a selection of George’s own prints and by The Baldessin & Friends Commemorative Folio, which celebrates the 15th anniversary of the Studio’s operation as a not-for-profit organisation.
The folio brings together seven celebrated Australian artists — Rick Amor, GW Bot, Jock Clutterbuck, Michael Leunig, Jan Senbergs, Imants Tillers and John Wolseley — each of whom shares a personal connection to George Baldessin or to the Studio.

Baldessin Studios — The Story is on at Montsalvat, with works in the Residents Gallery on display until August 18 with the remainder of the exhibition on display in the Barn Gallery until September 15.