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Gerard’s Giant Steps

Warrandyte’s Gerard Stevenson, pictured with wife Sue, may be paralysed from the neck down after a horrific fall at home almost two years ago, yet he powers on with what is a new way of life but with the same old love from family and friends. With that kind of support and finding inspiration in a famous Sir Isaac Newton quote, Gerard enters the blogosphere with his new blog ‘Stand on the Shoulders of Giants’ – www.standontheshouldersofgiants.com.au. Picture: REFLECT PHOTOGRAPHY (www.reflectphotography.com.au)

WARRANDYTE’S Gerard Stevenson suffered a fall at home in August 2014, leaving him paralysed from the neck down, but he has been nothing short of inspirational in readjusting to a new way of life. That includes starting a new blog about his experiences called Stand on the Shoulders of Giants, inspired by a quote from Sir Isaac Newton.

In a recent exam the question read, Who was Sir Isaac Newton? One young student answered: “He was the man who invented gravity!”

Well, he didn’t invent or discover gravity but he did revolutionise scientific thought with his theory of universal gravitation, the sticky stuff holding together the universe.

Sir Isaac was an outstanding scientist and mathematician. He literally changed the way we think about the world. He revolutionised our ideas about light. He invented the world’s first reflecting telescope. He invented calculus, making it possible to measure curved areas and determine the rate at which things change.

With his insights, world knowledge took a giant step forward. When he was pressed to explain how he could make so many important discoveries and inventions, he said: “If I have been able to see further than others it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants.”

Gerard has taken his lead for his blog from that quote. He weaves into his blog inspirational stories from the lives of greats as diverse as Columbus, early Australian sheep breeder John MacArthur and filmmaker Stanley Kubrick among others.

He describes the medical procedures he has had since his injury in easy to understand language. He keeps a keen eye on the latest developments in spinal research and brainwave technology.

Warrandytians are urged to be a part of Gerard’s journey by reading his blog at standontheshouldersof giants.com.au

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.”