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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.

The great Warrandyte milk bar odyssey

IN THE 1960s, Yarra Street was a milk bar trail.
Amazingly enough, then, there were eight milk bars in Warrandyte, stretching from West End to Pigtail Hill at the East end of town.
Sadly, there are no milk bars here today, but plenty of cafes where you can sit down to a café latte and a plate of smashed avocado on sour dough.
L overs of Drumsticks, Choc Wedges, bags of chippies, liquorice allsorts, sherbet bombs, root beer and milkshakes were in business.
When it came to sugar addiction, we local kids were spoilt for choice.
The milk bar trail was blue heaven on a stick.
Sugar was not a dirty word in 1963!
The first stop at the Melbourne end of town was The Golden Gate.
Run by George and Voila Leek and family, the white building — with a sizeable car park out the front — housed a large and busy shop selling fruit and vegetables, a selection of newspapers and magazines, as well as the usual fare of ice creams, biscuits, lollies and other groceries.
The old building has been pulled down and today; Bocca Pizzeria occupies the site.
George also ran a green grocery home delivery service and drove fruit boxes full of produce to our homes once a week.
George would cheerfully park his truck at the bottom of our driveways and run the box of veggies up to our doors, then come inside and heave the box up onto our kitchen table.
He had time for a natter and a bit of local gossip, before driving on to the next customer’s house.
Locals from West End, Jack “The Hat” Williams and his wife Pat, also ran The Golden Gate in the late 60s.
Across the road was the White House at the recreation reserve.
Attached to the end of the large hall which comprised the White House reception venue was a little milk bar, which was always open on Saturdays.
Howard and Joyce Bensch ran the reception area during the week and Joyce manned the milk bar during Saturday’s football and cricket
matches.
She specialized in selling pies, pasties and sausage rolls from her pie warmer as well as the usual selection of ice cream, lollies and packets of chicken chips.
Before the Bensch family bought the business, well known character Alice Watson lived upstairs there.
The White House was sadly demolished in 1991 after serving the community for 150 years.
The next port of call was Dottie McKay’s milk bar opposite Stiggant Street.
The shop front is still there, but today it serves as a studio for reverse glass artist Bruce Jackson.
Dottie was an elderly eccentric spinster who was always polite to us local kids when we were sent down there to buy milk, cereal and boxes
of eggs.
She was none the wiser when some of the local kids would sneak around the back of the shop and pinch the empty soft drink bottles stacked in crates.
They would come around to the shop counter, cash the bottles in and buy choc wedges, chicken chips and bottles of Passiona, (a passion fruit flavoured soft drink) with the refund money.
After drinking them, these young entrepreneurs would bring back the soft drink bottles to cash in yet again!
A confirmed spinster, Dottie surprised the locals by marrying Fred Bawden Sr. when she was in her 60s.
They lived happily ever after.
Moving eastward along the trail you would eventually arrive at Dixon’s milk bar situated in the village where currently Now and Not Yet Cafe is serving café lattes.
Then the shop changed hands and became “McDonalds” long before the hamburger franchise came to Australia.
There was no red wigged clown running the show, instead the new proprietor, John McDonald quietly went about the business of serving
locals their pies, pasties, sandwiches and milk shakes and also selling the latest newspapers, books and magazines.
Many Warrandyte kids had their first job at McDonalds, selling and delivering the newspapers of the day: The Sun-News Pictorial, The Sunday Observer, The Herald, The Argus, The Truth and Women’s Day.
The McDonald paperboys would wander into the Grand Hotel and sell The Herald to the news hungry patrons.
Their famous catch cry, “Hee errrrald!” echoing down Yarra Street.
During the days of “early closing” laws, kids had to sell their papers before six o’clock, because, amazingly enough, the pub stopped serving
beer at 6pm right up until 1966 when licensing hours were extended.
Aggie Moore’s milk bar sat right next to the Mechanics’ Hall, which held a matinee movie session every Saturday.
During interval, the theatre crowd would swarm over to Aggie’s shop to swill down her specialty: lime or coke spiders.
The spider consisted of a tall glass full of soft drink with a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream floating on top.
The concoction fizzed loudly as kids hurriedly sloshed them down before returning to the matinee.
Kids also bought Minties, Chocolate Frogs and Fantails to take back into the theatre with them.
And especially Jaffas.
The round orange, chocolate filled sweets were perfect for naughty kids to roll down the aisle during a Hopalong Cassidy feature.
Next on the trail was Bennett’s milk bar, right on the corner just past the Mechanics’ Institute Hall where the Sassafras Sweet Co. is now situated.
Mr and Mrs Bennett both worked behind the counter.
The large ice cream cone that advertised their wares still hangs off the front of the building today.
Next in line was Les Gilholm’s milk bar [Now Folk Art] that was situated opposite the bridge.
Les, a popular character, would enthusiastically sell us his specialty – iced pineapple.
He’d reach into a refrigerated canister with a huge soup ladle and pour the sweet-tasting yellow, icy liquid into a big chunky glass.
It was an exquisite way to quench our thirst on hot summer days, as we listened to Les’s amusing and teasing banter.
We ended our milk bar crawl at Selby Store at the eastern end of town.
The beautiful old historic stone building is now The Yarra Store.
It was the perfect place for local kids to get a hit of carbs before attacking
the bike track that ran around the swampy area beside the river.
All in all, the milk bar trail was a wonderland of chips, ice cream and chocolate treats and for us kids, a great way to spend our weekly
allowance, which in the mid 60s was about two dollars if we had generous parents and were willing to do the chores required to earn our weekly ‘salary’.
One wonders if our collective sweet tooth, not only helped keep these’eight milk bars in business, but also supported the nearby dental clinics in Ringwood!

Photos courtesy Warrandyte Historical Society

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Queen’s Birthday Honours for two local stalwarts

Congratulations to Jan Davies and Doug Seymour who have each been awarded an OAM in this year’s Queen’s Birthday honours.

Doug Seymour

Doug Seymour has been recognised for his work in the Warrandyte Community, most notably with the Warrandyte Community Association, where he has been on the central committee since 2012.

Doug was also a foundation member of the Warrandyte Environment League in 1970, where he served as President for more than six years.

Doug told the Diary he was surprised by the award, but said it was “much appreciated, as the nomination must have been put forward by some of the wonderful Warrandyte people I have worked with in the interests of sensitive planning and conservation values over the past 40 years”.

“We value our heritage bushland character and conservation values and you are never alone when the battle goes forward in this town,” he said.

More recently he has been on the committee of the Warrandyte Community Retirement Cooperative, which has been working to enable older Warrandyte residents the opportunity of staying within Warrandyte when the typical Warrandyte block becomes too much to maintain.

The cooperative built the award-winning Creekside retirement village, and are nearing completion of the new Riverside development in West End Road.

The honour has also recognised Doug’s tireless work for the community of Warrandyte on his work on numerous committees, including the WCA’s Be Ready Warrandyte campaign, which promoted fire safety throughout the community, as well as his volunteering with Friends of Warrandyte State Park, where he has been a member since its inception in 1982.

He has also been involved with the Warrandyte Historical Society since 1976, and managed the Warrandyte Organic Food Cooperative.

Jan Davies

Dr Janice Davies (B.Sc Hons, Grad Dip HRM, MBA, PhD) has been recognised for her considerable contribution both to health care throughout Australia and to her local community in Warrandyte over the last 40 years.

Jan Davies’ two faceted award acknowledges her generosity with her time with pro-bono and community activities, in addition to her considerable achievements in her professional life.

Health

As a leading innovator in the health sector in Australia, she has introduced “communities of practice” to clinicians around the country — helping health service leaders identify ways to improve the clinical services they deliver to patients.

Jan initiated innovative approaches to address educational, social and health inequalities in rural, disadvantaged and Indigenous communities.

She established the National Institute of Clinical Studies (NICS) in collaboration with Professor Chris Silagy AO and worked with Alzheimer’s Australia to introduce new programs designed to improve the care and design of services for people with Alzheimer’s.

Jan has an abiding commitment to protecting some of the most vulnerable people in the community.

Jan has also been actively involved in a national bullying prevention program, and in caring for and supporting victims of sexual assault.

One of her earliest projects, in the 1990s, was to head up and coordinate the establishment of the North- East Centre Against Sexual Assault (NECASA).

Community

The legacy of Jan’s volunteer work is enjoyed by the thousands of people who use the Warrandyte State Park, the Warrandyte Community Centre and our many cultural and social facilities.

Her passion for community health is seen in the many trekking tours she has organised, and her leadership of the Heart Foundation Walking Group.

Her enduring legacy in the Warrandyte community is her achievements as Co-Chair of the Warrandyte Environment League.

In this role, she spearheaded a campaign advocating for the State Government to purchase land in North Warrandyte now known as Koornong Reserve and was instrumental in convincing the then Eltham Council to purchase the environmentally sensitive Professors Hill land as a Council Reserve.

She also persuaded the then Doncaster and Eltham Councils to purchase vacant garage land in central Warrandyte as a site for a Community Centre.

The Warrandyte Community Centre was later developed by Manningham Council to house the community library, Warrandyte Diary, the Neighbourhood House and facilities to host many other community functions and activities.

VEC: Nillumbik Representation Review

Final report released

The Victorian Electoral Commission(VEC) have released their final report and recommendation for the Nillumbik Shire Representation Review.

The review, a process which takes place every 12 years, aims to ensure residents in municipalities are fairly represented by local council.

Over the course of the process, which began in April, a total of 157 public submissions were received by the VEC across the Preliminary Submission and Response Submission phases.

In its Preliminary Report, the VEC’s preferred option was a multi-councillor, three-ward structure which would have seen the distinct urban and rural areas covered under their own ward.

However, in the Final Report, the VEC has recommended the Shire retains its current representation structure of seven wards with one councillor per ward, a decision which will be welcomed by Council who have been submitting for the status quo since this process began.

Read our full analysis of the Nillumbik Representation Review in June’s Diary,  which will be available online on Monday.

Click here to read the Final Report.

Health and Safety

Prepare for flu season

By SANDI MILLER

THE STATE Government has launched a new campaign encouraging Victorians to get their flu shot ahead of winter and do their part to stop the spread of flu.
More than two million free vaccinations are expected to be administered before the flu season takes hold.
Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos says vaccination is safe, effective and it saves lives.
“You never forget the flu, so don’t forget your flu shot.
“Coming down with the flu is not like catching a cold.
“It hits you quickly and hard, and it can last for weeks — and for some people, it can be deadly.”
A horror flu season in 2017 saw more than 48,000 Victorians diagnosed with influenza.
That number fell to 11,612 cases last year, but flu diagnoses in 2019 are currently triple what they were compared with the same time last year.
Vaccinations are free for kids aged six months to less than five.
Pregnant women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and Victorians with a chronic condition are also eligible for a free flu vaccination as part of the National Immunisation Program.
Victorians over the age of 65 are also covered and the vaccination can be obtained from your local GP.
Flu shots are also available at some pharmacies — without the need to visit a doctor.
Warrandyte Pharmacist, Chris Farmakis says the Terry White Chemmart at the Goldfields Shopping Centre has established a flu clinic to administer vaccinations.
The Terry White Chemmart website provides a booking service where you can schedule an appointment, or you can pop in for a walk-up consultation.
Go to terrywhitechemmart.com.au and click on Health Services to make your booking for a flu shot.
The vaccination costs $19.95 and it is administered on site.
Flu symptoms can include a sudden high fever, headache, body aches and feeling extremely weak or tired.
For children, the elderly or people with a weakened immune system, the flu can have devastating outcomes.
Mr Farmakis says the flu is very easy to catch, and good hygiene is imperative to avoid the disease.
“It is not merely passed on through coughing and sneezing, it hangs around — even on door handles it can survive up to eight hours, and then if you open the door it is on your hands. “It’s very easy to catch, but very easy to prevent by having a flu shot,” he said.
Anyone who thinks they have the flu should visit their doctor, a pharmacist, or call Nurse-On-Call on: 1300 60 60 24.

Electromagnetic Sleep Study, Participants sought

Nicole Bijlsma is a building biologist and CEO of the registered training organisation — Australian College of Environmental Studies based in Warrandyte.
She first became interested in environmental medicine following two events in her life: firstly working as a naturopath and acupuncturist she noticed many of her patients with asthma, allergies and chronic fatigue syndrome were sick following exposure to mould, electromagnetic fields (EMFs), and/or toxicants like pesticides in their home.
However it wasn’t until she moved into her home in Warrandyte, that she experienced insomnia and ten miscarriages which she believed arose from sleeping near the meter panel.
After relocating bedrooms, she subsequently gave birth to her twins (natural conception as she didn’t qualify for IVF) and spent the next two decades investigating the impact of hazards in the built environment.
In 1999 she established the college and the building biology industry in Australia and wrote the best seller — Healthy Home Healthy Family — now in its 3rd edition, which attracted numerous television and radio interviews.
Nicole lectures about environmental sensitivities at medical conferences both in Australia and abroad.
Nicole and her husband Mark, sold their home in Warrandyte to invest in a manufacturing facility in Bayswater to create the cleaning product range — Abode — specifically for people with chemical and skin sensitivities.
The products are sold in health food stores across Australia.
Nicole is also looking for couples who would be interested in taking part in a short study which studies the effects of electromagnetic fields on sleep.
If this is something you and your partner would be interested in, check out the details below:

Electromagnetic field sleep study. We need you!

RMIT researchers seeking healthy adult couples who live in a detached house in the Eastern suburbs to participate in a study to find out if electromagnetic radiation affects sleep and brain function. You may be eligible if you are a healthy non-smoking adult, who sleeps well, aged between 18 and 55 and who is prepared to avoid digital devices at least one hour before bed for a 4 week period. Participants will receive a healthy home pack valued at $100, access to their sleep data and a free electromagnetic field assessment of their bedroom. If you  interested in participating, please call Nicole Bijlsma on 0417 310 002 or email info@aces.edu.au.

You can also download a copy of the sleep study participation form in advance from here.

 

DIGITAL HEALTH: TIPS FOR DETECTING SCAM EMAILS

By IAN CRAIG

WE OFTEN see news items in the popular media about people being scammed and defrauded out of thousands and sometime hundreds-of-thousands of dollars.

It was not until I witnessed this first hand — when a close member of my family was scammed — that I was able to comprehend not just how easy it is to be tricked but the extent of the emotional impact this can have on someone.
>According to government website Scamwatch , in 2018 there were 177,516 reporting cases of scams, 9.9 per cent of these involved the loss of money totalling $107,001,451.
That is a lot of money and these are just the figures for the ones that are reported, so who knows how many of these scams go unreported.
Top five scams for loss of money are investment scams, dating and romance, false billing, identity theft and hacking.
Billing scam emails seem to be the trend in scamming at the moment with my friends telling me they repeatedly receive emails claiming they have an unpaid invoice or bill.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) frequently post information about scams on their website and has this to say about false billing scams:
“Often a scam is disguised as an outstanding invoice to get the business to sign-up for unwanted advertising or office supplies.
Another common ploy involves sending invoices for the renewal of a non-existent domain name registration.
In some cases, false bills and invoices are followed-up with phone calls demanding payment or legal threats.”
Although I work in IT, I am not a safety online expert and I am not writing this article to scare everyone into going back to writing cheques and switching off their phones or computers — because I cannot work or play without them.
So why write about it?
The answer is simple, if we don’t talk about it and warn our friends and neighbours about the potential of a scam, the ‘scamsters’ will continue to take what doesn’t belong to them.
We are all familiar with the concept (like it or not) of the door to door salesperson who will knock on your door and try to sell you something — immediately we take a defensive approach, ascertain where they are from and do we trust them.
So, the point here is that the internet is like putting your front door in front of every person with something to sell or scam on a global scale.
With the right software, it is easy to send you an email, text message, phone call or some novel electronic message with some kind of hook, opportunity, link, attachment or instruction.
The ACCC’s Scamwatch website is a great place to educate yourself about current scams and I highly recommend you read their section on how to protect yourself against scammers.
But for now, here are some top tips on how to reduce your risk of being scammed while online.
Be alert to the fact that scams exist.
Know who you’re dealing with.
Do not open suspicious texts, pop-up windows or click on links or attachments in emails — delete them.
Don’t respond to phone calls about your computer asking for remote access — hang up.
Be wary of unusual payment requests.
The site also has useful clues for spotting a fake document, email or dating profile.
My safety tip is to have a friend or family member who has your back when it comes to validating any online communication that you think is suspicious.
Or, if you have some experience and skills in this area then maybe you could offer your services to those in your circle.
Scammers often use fear and threat to get money out of us, which is why the billing scams are often used by scammers, so having someone who is able to look at the email objectively and is tech-savvy enough to be able to spot a scam or suspicious email can mean the difference between getting scammed or putting their email in the junk folder.

Priceless Community Crutches

By JOCK MACNEISH

LIKE ALL communities, the Warrandyte community is built on friendship, generosity, care and respect.

We don’t measure out these qualities in units like metres, dollars or litres.
We choose not to speak about how many units of kindness people display, or the exact width and breadth of their unselfishness.
But in Warrandyte there is something that symbolises and represents the care that people have for one another.
Surprisingly, it’s a pair of well-worn arm-crutches that, technically, belong to Adrian.
I say “technically” because the crutches are almost never at his place.
For more than a dozen years the crutches have been in continuous circulation around Warrandyte.
They have been “borrowed” by Adrian’s friends and neighbours to help them get back on their feet after various operations.
The crutches are once again back at my place, as I hobble around on my second knee replacement.
My first knee was replaced eight years ago and I’m pleased to report that the crutches are none the worse for wear.
I’m not sure the same could be said about my legs.
My wife Diana has had both her knees replaced, and yes, she also used the crutches to get back into her stride.
I know Jack and Jonathan were also restored to being upright citizens while hanging onto the crutches.
Warrandyte’s walking tracks bear the imprint of many steady journeys back to health, and those arm-crutches epitomise a spirit of generosity that pervades the place.
You can’t put a price on that.
Thank you Adrian.