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A bridge to Nauru from Warrandyte

WARRANDYTE Bridge is often a focal point for the community but last night (June 21) the bridge drew a different sort of focus.

Warrandyte’s Stephen Clendinnen organised a peaceful protest on the bridge using posters and banners to bring awareness about human rights issues at the Australian Immigration Detention Centres on Nauru and Manus Island. Many would ask why Warrandyte is holding a protest of this nature and why now?

“Yesterday was World Refugee Day and today is the Solstice so I think it’s a good time to bring this up,” said Mr Clendinnen.

Although the numbers were small to start with, the group soon swelled to about two dozen people who felt passionately about the plight of the refugees being detained in the offshore detention centres.

“(The Government) has the power to make the decision to allow these people (to stay); they are no different to post Second World War, post Vietnam refugees, they’re just the same,” said Gillian, a protestor.

The protestors who turned out were a mixture of ages, from the elderly to young families including Amy who had brought her young daughter along.

“I just disagree with the way these people are being treated, they have the same rights as we have,” she said. “My daughter has been asking what’s Nauru, what’s the detention centre … I think it is good for them to get that feeling of what it is to be together with people who feel passionately about a cause.”

Both offshore detention centres were opened in 2001 and briefly shut down in 2008 by the Rudd Government, but they were reopened in 2012 and still operate today.

Although this protest was an independent event, Mr Clendinnen feels he is part of a bigger movement.

“I know there are thousands of Australians who completely agree with what I am doing and thousands of refugees who are now citizens of Australia who are desperate to see their sisters and brothers free from cruel treatment.”

There are no more bridge protests currently planned but Mr Clendinnen is keen to drive this issue back into the media spotlight through political and artistic actions.

Also try a Bridge too far or Bridge over troubled waters

 

Warrandyte shops burgled

Our riverside cafes in Yarra Street, Riverview Cafe and Thyme on the Yarra, were broken into and burgled in the early hours of Sunday morning, June 5.

A thief was captured on video security footage at both cafes and a neighbouring business, however his face was covered.

The burglar broke into Riverview (pictured) through a bottom glass panel on the front door and set off with cash registers, cash and a laptop.

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It was obvious the thief injured himself (police believe his left forearm) as a large amount of blood was found on the floor of the cafe.

He also stole $40 worth of tips at Thyme on the Yarra and there was damage to the front door.

Riverview Cafe’s Nicole Salem said: “I can’t believe how someone could do this to a family business, it’s disgraceful.”

At the time the Diary went to print Doncaster Police said the thief hadn’t yet been identified.

If you have any information about the break-ins contact Crime Stoppers 1800 333 000.

This weekend in Warrandyte (June 3) …

Looking for something to do in Warrandyte this weekend? Try our Five for Friday …

One … The Warrandyte Community Riverside Market is on tomorrow! Made up of hundreds of small, mainly local, businesses. Crafts, arts, fresh food, flowers, plants, gift cards, coffee stalls … all set on our lovely part of the Yarra River on a day expected to be just 15 but with little chance of rain. Be there.

Two … The grand opening of The Night Owl is on tonight (the grown up version of The White Owl at Goldfields Plaza) from 6pm-10pm. Come along with your friends to enjoy some wine, tapas and live music. Also serving craft beer, cider, antipasto and cheese platters. Open every Friday night.

Three … The Grand Hotel Warrandyte is rockin’ with Ruckus tonight! Craft beers on tap, great food (check out our review in the Diary next week) and great local people.

Four … Blatant plug for a loyal advertiser. Low energy, stress, sore muscles, women’s health issues? Try Karina Templeton Chinese Medicine in Lorraine Avenue. Karina uses acupuncture and Chinese Medicine as part of her compassionate, supportive treatments and cinorporate modalities such as cupping, electro stimulation, moxibustion and Chinese Diet and Exercise Therapy. www.ktchinesemedicine.com or call 0415 443 148.

Five … It’s time to start thinking about the Greater Warrandyte Business Expo to be held at the Warrandyte Community Church on August 17. Learn from the experts and network, network, network. Visit the website http://www.warrandytebusinessexpo.com.au/ to find out more.

 

Alpacas do the bus stop

It was Warrandyte’s version of the Great Escape recently when four pet alpacas named Boris, Mr Snuffy, Kath and Kim pulled the wool over their owners eyes and ventured beyond the boundaries of their property in Research-Warrandyte Road.

But it was their appearance at the local bus stop where it really gets interesting. They’d clearly spat it and were well and truly on the move!

The Diary’s very own IT man Bora Seker was driving past and couldn’t believe his eyes, so he snapped a quick photo on his mobile and sent it into to yours truly before rounding up the naughty escapees and calling for help.

A week or so later and a Diary Facebook photo post about the incident has clocked up more than 660 likes, 75 shares and reached more than 20,000 people in an astonishing social media viral reaction.

The culprit? Owner Monique Jaksic, who was a little sheepish when quizzed by us.

“Yep, it was my fault, I left the gate open,” Monique said with a giggle.

“After a while I thought I’d better check on the alpacas and I started calling them. I couldn’t see them, so I went into panic mode and went into the forest, ringing all the neighbours – it was four hours later and I finally found out they were up the top.”

Originally the Jaksics went down the goat route to keep the grass down on their property, but “they were a real pain”.

“They used to get into the neighbours’ property, into the roses and that sort of stuff,” Monique says.

“In the end we got onto the alpacas and bought these guys from Kangaroo Ground. They’re so beautiful, they just nibble at the grass and don’t rip it like goats do, and they don’t run through the fences, they’re great with the kids and, of course, they’re great lawn mowers.”

Let’s be honest. Hands up who wouldn’t want a pet alpaca? Even Diesel the family pet dog is best mates with them at Jaksic central.

“They have their own individual personalities,” Monique said with a smile. “The baby, Kim, she will stare you down. She’s quite feisty. Being the males, Boris and Mr Snuffy (named after Sesame Street’s Mr Snufeupagus) fight over the girls all the time. They have these really funny neck fights – they can be quite noisy and annoyed at each other.

“But they’re pretty good. We love them all, of course, especially now they’re famous.”

Boogie brilliance at Warrandyte Festival

By CHERIE MOSELEN

THERE are some realities organisers can do without when readying a large group for an outdoor celebration. Like, for example, continuous rain.

Even Town Crier Ian Craig was heard trying to auction off his velvet frock coat to the lowest bidder in light of wet conditions before Saturday morning’s Grand Parade.

But the weather gods certainly took pity on Warrandyte Festival last month, ending heavy showers before they dampened crowd enthusiasm.

Kids in kangaroo tails, mini monsters, this year’s festival theme Boogie in the Bush produced some fantastic costumes. (See parade awards).

Warrandyte Neighbourhood House waved their boogie boards, while the team from Riveresque looked right at home wearing the curtains.

Light show projectionist Hugh McSpedden, (famously first to light up the Exhibition Building in Melbourne) and accomplished musician and botany lover Glen Jameson, were this year’s parade monarchs.

Warrandyte’s Emperor of Luminosity stole the show somewhat with his fanciful pairing of giant turban and cow print pants. Arabian Nights meets pyjama party, perhaps?

Monarchs and entourage floated down Yarra Street on a “magic carpet”, stately and dignified bar the occasional honk from a squeaky clown horn. (Vintage McSpedden).

Meanwhile, down at Stiggants Reserve, festival committee volunteers showed their true colours having shovelled mulch over much of the site to combat boggy conditions.

It helped.

Numbers were a little thinner on Saturday but wet weather aside, the popular village celebration unfolded with ease.

A Welcome to Country and introduction from local councillors, then it was time to put on those boogie shoes and get around some fabulous food and entertainment.

As you would expect from an event that attracts upwards of 10,000 people, there was a lot to see and do.

I didn’t make it to the tango lessons on Saturday evening, but heard they were a huge hit. Here are some things that kept me entertained over Warrandyte’s biggest weekend.

Crowd pleaser: Crazy energy and an irresistible beat from drumming ensemble African Star had audience members dancing up a storm at the Riverbank stage on Saturday. Nobody cared about the actual rain. Bow to the rhythm!

Gozleme grace: There was some- thing serene and comforting about the ladies in white from Turkish Kitchen & Catering, calmly rolling out their pastry amid the hubbub. Most importantly, weren’t those little parcels delicious?

Move over bananas in pyjamas: Colourful costumes, stacks of talent, the Funky Monkeys musical act and circus show made me wish my teen- age boys were small again. (Yes, they were that good.)

Who’s news? The Diary decided to put the community into the community newspaper this year, rigging up a frame so people could have their photo taken celebrity-style. Congratulations if you were front page news over the weekend!

Eastern FM 98.1. A long-time festival favourite, this community radio station kept the crooners coming, pumping out familiar tunes in between announcements. Because, who doesn’t love a bit of Harry Connick with their coffee?

Second is the new first. She didn’t win. She managed second. However, her happy grin said it was just as good. Aboriginal art exhibitor Loz told the Diary she’d been trying to win Sunday’s iconic duck race for years. Next year, Lorraine, next year…

Transport Tribute: Nillumbik council donated the use of a shuttle bus and two staff to take people who needed it, back and forth between the festival ground and the commu- nity centre. Hats off, for providing these much appreciated free rides.

Caravan of care: Whether the quandary was “toilet paper?” or “I’ve lost my children”, the staff in the information caravan dealt with it expertly. One shy little girl buying a drink admitted to “only having not really enough money”. Top notch volunteer, the man in the van Cyril Dixon gave it to her anyway.

Boogie central: I wish, like Michael Jackson, I could blame my dance moves on the boogie – and no, I hadn’t made one too many trips to the beer tent! This space was all about getting down: Hip-hop, Go Go, belly dancing and more. The lessons were tremendous fun (and Bollywood a touch harder than it looks. Just saying).

Dragon dance: If you decided to wait for the last band on Sunday evening, well done. Festival organisers pulled out a surprise finale. Huge silk dragons, lit from within, whirling through the picnic crowd. The look of awe on children’s faces: priceless.

Old favourites: It’s been a feature of this town for 39 years but still the sight of family-friendly, well-behaved festival crowds never gets old. I spent part of my weekend conducting a survey and almost everyone when I asked “what do you love about this event?” mentioned the strong sense of community.

It’s official.
Warrandyte Festival, you’re a gem.