News

Push for more police


IN response to the recent increase in anti-social behaviour and crime in the area, our local member Ryan Smith has launched an initiative in an effort to increase police numbers and operational hours for the Warrandyte police station.

A petition for the proposed change has been dispersed across multiple local businesses to gauge public perspective on the matter.

“I have had a number of constituents contact my office with concerns about the operating hours of Warrandyte police station and the low numbers of police stationed there,” Mr Smith said. “Warrandyte police station is not a 24-hour station and, at its full complement, has only seven police officers. Of course they are not all there at the same time but are spread out over the week’s shifts.”

Through launching the petition, Mr Smith is able to see if the wider Warrandyte community also share the view that an increased police presence in Warrandyte would be beneficial. With more than 550 signatures in less than a week, it appears the answer is a resounding yes.

Mr Smith said the rising number of crimes in the area has contributed to the community’s concern and has essentially fuelled the initiative. Several homes and local businesses have been broken into in the past few months alone, including Ruby Tuesday, Warrandyte Café and Quinton’s IGA.

“With the increasing population and this perceived rise in anti-social behaviour, there really should be more police and more operating hours,” Mr Smith said.

Julie Quinton – owner of Quinton’s IGA and advocate of the petitions – is hopeful the petition achieves its goal. After her store’s recent break-in she is led to question the level of safety in our town.

“I don’t think anything’s completely safe anymore and that’s always a worry,” Julie said. “We’re not immune from [criminal activity] here in Warrandyte, but I think people have often thought that we are immune – but we’re not.”

Julie said her No.1 priority as a storeowner is the protection of her staff and any initiative to support that is worthwhile in her eyes.

Once a significant number of signatures are attained, Mr Smith intends to take it to parliament.

“The aim of the game is to raise it in parliament, make sure the minister knows that my community wants to see some action,” Mr Smith said.

“A petition in parliament needs to be seen as serious and there’s not a finite number required, but the more names and signatures there are then the more the government should understand that there is a real need.”

“The government hasn’t demonstrated a real interest in the Warrandyte community which is unfortunate. But these things are about making as much noise as possible and if you can keep raising it in parliament, it gets to the point where the government has to give you a reason why they’re not acting, and sometimes that’s the thing that’ll push things along,” he added.

Mr Smith understands it’s ultimately the chief commissioner of Victoria Police who determines where police resources go. However, making the minister aware of the issue can lead him to direct the chief commissioner to where he believes resources are needed.

“I anticipate that the minister’s formal answer will be the allocation of resources is up to police command. However, we know that the minister has directed Victoria Police to place additional police in Bellarine, a marginal Labor seat.”

While most locals have responded positively to the petition, others have questioned if those measures were necessary.

“At the end of the day, my job is to be the voice of my community and one of the reasons why the petition’s out there is for me to gauge if there is more support for this out there then just a few anecdotal comments that I’ve heard or the emails that I’ve got,” Mr Smith said. “So my answer to people who would ask if it’s really needed – well I’m going to have a lot of signatures that say we do and my job is to make sure that those people are heard.”

To support the initiative for increased police numbers and hours, sign the petition at Quinton’s IGA, the Warrandyte Community Bank or other participating businesses in the area.

Hope for our teens with mental illness


A MANNINGHAM Youth Services project is set to launch next month in a bid to offer guidance and hope for Warrandyte teenagers affected by mental illness.

The String of Hope aims to encourage young people talk to about mental illness and reduce the stigma attached to mental health issues.

It’s a taboo topic, but with research figures showing one in four young people living with a mental illness, it can’t be ignored.

What started as a youth photography experiment, highlighting the prevalence of mental illness among young people, has blossomed into a multi-faceted project with school visits, a website and a festival in the works.

The String of Hope is being led by a group of dedicated youth volunteers. The group of 15 – from Warrandyte and surrounding areas – are determined to create a safe environment for teenagers to talk about mental health issues; in the schoolyard and online.

“The fact that String of Hope has been envisioned and led by young volunteers is this project’s biggest strength,” volunteer Lauren Lowe tells the Diary. “No one under- stands what young people are going through better than young people themselves.”

The String of Hope website will provide a platform for young people to share personal stories of mental illness and connect with others. The

site aims to arm teens with information about mental illness and direct them to the relevant support services in the area.

“Projects like the String of Hope are essential in an era where mental health is too often neglected and stigma- tised. This is especially true for younger generations, with poor mental health being one of the top ranking issues fac- ing Australian teens. We love the String of Hope because it empowers these young people to take control of their mental health and talk about their struggles and progress,” Lowe says.

The project has already launched in schools in the district with Warrandyte High School the first to experience the education sessions.

“Students participated in positive mental health activities, sports and music. They actively discussed and shared positive mental health strategies with the facilitators and each other. Lots of them seemed excited and engaged,” Manningham YMCA employee Kim Nguyen says.

The String of Hope team is putting their months of hard work on display at a festival next month during Mental Health Week. There’ll be activities, live music, food, a photography exhibition and more.

VIDEO: Sweet Valentine


SARAH Valentine is Warrandyte’s musical pride and joy. The 22-year-old wedding singer is a regular on Warrandyte’s main street and, in recent times, a regular on hundreds of thousands of TV screens in living rooms across the country.

Sarah’s just wrapped filming for Channel Nine’s The Voice, the hottest reality singing show on Australian television. As Sarah tells the Diary, there’s a big difference between busking at the local market and recording a TV performance watched by over a million people.

“My experience on The Voice was not what I expected it would be. I didn’t think that I’d get very far—but it just kept going and working in my favour,” Sarah said.

It’s been a wild ride for Sarah, who travelled between Sydney and Melbourne for months to film the fourth season of the show. Her blind audition has racked up tens of thousands of views and The Voice regularly tops the ratings, boasting over a million viewers every night. But it’s not all glitz and glamour, and Sarah assures the Diary that so much more goes on behind the scenes compared with what we see on our screens.

“The TV world is very different to anything I expected. The power of editing is second to none. It sur- prised me a lot,” she said.

“I’d done about seven auditions prior to even getting to audition in front of the coaches. One day, they took 10 hours to audition eight peo- ple. It’s crazy!”

Despite all the waiting, long hours, nerves and sitting around in hair and make-up, Sarah wouldn’t change a thing.

“It was very, very intense. But I loved every minute of it.”

The community of people working on the show ended up feeling like family for Sarah.

“Your backstage crew are the people that you latch onto. They’re the ones that show you the most support,” she told the Diary.

“I loved my stylist. She gave me the most amazing outfits—I remember coming out of the wardrobe each time and everyone else would say ‘Oh, Sarah’s got the best outfit again’. You literally feel like a rock star. It’s so awesome.”

So, what is it like working with the Madden Brothers? Are they as cool, calm and collected, as they seem on TV?

“They were so great. Their strength was setting the atmosphere and making it a relaxed environment. They treat you like friends. You’d never feel like there’s a status difference and they don’t act like celebrities—they talk to you like they would their pals.”

Sarah cites the support from her family and friends as one of the best parts of the experience and the support from her local Warrandyte community as “second to none.”

“I actually posted on the Facebook about my audition and everyone was commenting and wishing me luck.

“It was like ‘Team Sarah!’ and ‘Team Warrandyte!’ It was so cool.

“A week after I got booted from the show, I did a busking gig at the Warrandyte market. It was so great to interact with people who had followed my journey just because I was from Warrandyte, like I became their pride and joy. I loved that and I soaked it all up!”

What’s next for Sarah?

“I’m doing some gigs and the moment. I got a lot of work and traction from the show. I think next for me though is writing some songs and releasing an EP,” Sarah told the Diary.

She might not be on our TV screens any more, but one thing is for sure: you certainly haven’t heard the last of Sarah Valentine.

VIDEO: Rare block sells for $2.03 million


The Diary team heads to the auction of the rare vacant block on Keen Avenue. The 2.7 acres of untouched land is one of the few remaining allotments in Warrandyte which permits subdivision, selling for an impressive $2.03 million.

VIDEO: Jock Macneish’s life in cartoons

The Warrandyte Historical Society presents ‘A Cartoonist’s Insight into Living in Warrandyte,’ an inspiring and amusing presentation by Jock Macneish. The Diary captured the event and spoke to Jock and a few people of interest about his presentation.

The Cliffy is here


WARRANDYTE is renowned for its creative types and now the Warrandyte Diary is calling all aspiring writers, young and old, to enter The Cliffy, a new short story com- petition to be held annually.

The Cliffy aims to celebrate and honour the contribution to Australian writing made by Cliff Green (OAM, inset) and to promote the skill of writing and the pleasure of reading in the community.

The competition is open to everyone and will be judged by a panel representing the Warrandyte Diary and the Warrandyte Library.

The entries can be submitted by email as a word document and are to be strictly limited to 1000 words. There will be no restrictions on subject, however, the entry must be suitable for un-edited publication in the Warrandyte Diary and on the Diary website.

The competition is advertised (below) and was officially opened at the start of this month and will close by 5pm on November 30.
The winner will be announced
at the Warrandyte Festival Grand Read event next year (March) and the winner will be given the opportunity to present the material at the event.
 Successful entries will be published in the Warrandyte Diary and the winner will receive prizes in the form of book tokens from major bookshops.

The value of the tokens is yet to be determined but expected to be about $250.

Of course, in addition to the tokens, the winner will be officially presented with The Cliffy figurine.

WARRANDYTE is renowned for its creative types and now the Warrandyte Diary is calling all aspiring writers, young and old, to enter The Cliffy, a new short story com- petition to be held annually.

The Cliffy aims to celebrate and honour the contribution to Australian writing made by Cliff Green (OAM, inset) and to promote the skill of writing and the pleasure of reading in the community.

The competition is open to everyone and will be judged by a panel representing the Warrandyte Diary and the Warrandyte Library.

The entries can be submitted by email as a word document and are to be strictly limited to 1000 words. There will be no restrictions on subject, however, the entry must be suitable for un-edited publica- tion in the Warrandyte Diary and on the Diary website.

The competition is advertised (below) and was officially opened at the start of this month and will close by 5pm on November 30.
The winner will be announced
at the Warrandyte Festival Grand Read event next year (March) and the winner will be given the opportunity to present the material at the event.
Successful entries will be published in the Warrandyte Diary and the winner will receive prizes in the form of book tokens from major bookshops.

The value of the tokens is yet to be determined but expected to be about $250.

Of course, in addition to the tokens, the winner will be officially presented with The Cliffy figurine.

 

Too funny for words


DIARY cartoonist Jock Macneish is a gifted artist.

His Warrandyte Festival logos, superbly drawn to capture the iconic presence of the Yarra River within each theme’s graphic, have been a hallmark here for almost 40 years. He also paints an exquisite watercolour.

However, it was Jock’s brilliance as a cartoonist that lit up audi- ence members at a presentation by Warrandyte Historical Society last month.

Illustrated by just 30 of almost 2000 cartoons he has drawn for the Diary since it’s first edition, Jock’s talk covered the local paper, the community, the role of Warrandyte Historical Society “and a bunch of other stuff”.

His keen impressions of “this wonderful community” filled the hall at North Warrandyte with laughter and earned a nod from many who recognised themselves in more than one cartoon. While his observations carried with them a thought-provoking message about care and identity, two concepts Jock believes make Warrandyte a great place to live.

“Communities are the things we do and the things we share because we care for people and for the good of the place,” Jock said. “Warrandyte is a fortunate location, populated by a fortunate people who have what is known as a ‘care surplus’.

“Although we think of Warrandyte as the ‘home of the artist’, in fact it would be more accurate to describe the Warrandyte house as the ‘unfinished symphony’,” he joked. “Probably a result of homeowners spending far too much time at community working bees.”

About identity, Jock said:

“Warrandyte Historical Society does an excellent job of letting us know who we were and Warrandyte Diary is, and has been, an ideal way of finding out who we are. As to who we are becoming…”

“Tomorrow belongs to that happy band of mumbling, awkward, slightly smelly bunch of teenagers you’ll find slouching about in school play- grounds and skate parks,” he said. “I can’t understand much of what they are saying, but I do know that by growing up in Warrandyte they are acquiring an identity, which will serve them well throughout their lives. And they’re absorbing a capacity to care for people and place which is second to none.”

Although he’s “never really thought of himself as a cartoonist” because he “does so many other things” (like being an architect, author, artist and illustrator who spent 20 years working in media broadcasting and another 20 years as an independent communications consultant), Jock told the Diary he has “drawn cartoons for a living.” From 1969-70, Jock was the daily pocket cartoonist at short-lived Melbourne evening newspaper Newsday, alongside feature cartoonist Michael Leunig of today’s Age.

He was also the cartoonist for Papua New Guinea’s national newspaper the Post Courier, from 1973-75.

Outwardly, cartoons about Warrandyte, about anything, might look easy to create, but are they? I asked Jock to draw me a picture.

“The powerful thing about cartoons is that visually they are all about recognition, but cognitively they are about revelation. Cartoonists try to reveal aspects of the human condition and express those in a form of visual shorthand – a cartoon,” he explained.

“They ‘see’ what’s going on in the slightly more obscure world of human behaviour, the subtle inter-relationships between people and place that make up, say, the Warrandyte community.”

“Anyone living here can recognise Warrandyte at a glance, but actually ‘seeing’ is much more difficult. Seeing Warrandyte’s shapes and textures, its colours and its shadows is what artists do.”

(No, Jock. Seriously. I meant draw me a picture.)

While visual communication is undoubtedly Jock’s strong suit, the talented artist’s parting words were equally insightful.

“It’s been a privilege, having been part of recording ‘what happened’ to Warrandyte over the past 46 years,” he said. “It’s taught me how to better care for people and for the good of the place. It’s shaped my identity.”

VIDEO: Striking a chord


The Diary embarked upon a musical mission to get a taste of what Warrandyte and surrounds has to offer.  We had a chat to local bands The Scrimshaw Four, Sunborne, The Teskey Brothers and Selling Time to gauge their thoughts on the music scene in the eastern suburbs, as well as their own musical endeavours. Check it out below!

Servo to VCAT


WARRANDYTE residents are furious the final decision regarding the development of a 24-hour service station at 1-5 Yarra Street has been taken to Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).

A $1.5 million proposal was submit- ted by the applicant in April last year from site owner Platinum King Management Pty Ltd to develop a 250m/sq petrol station and convenience store accommodating six fuel pumps and 13 car parking spaces. Despite attracting a reported 69 objections, the proposal was neither accepted nor rejected by Manningham City Council.

The Diary understands the applicant has taken the matter directly to VCAT and is appealing for the proposal to be approved.

Manningham City Council informed the Diary just before going to print that a full council report would be available on July 16 and the matter would be addressed at a council meeting on July 28 outlining council’s position of not supporting the application.

In strong dialogue on social media pages in the past 12 months – and in particular last week on the Warrandyte Business & Community Network page – there have been mixed views for and against the service station being built at the site. Warrandyte Community Association (WCA) member Doug Seymour said it was surprising the community was not made aware of the decisions from Manningham council since objections were lodged 14 months ago.

“This is a complex issue and it is possible that council has not made a determination and therefore the applicant has lodged this application for review and decision. It would be helpful to all parties to know where council now stands on this issue,” Mr Seymour says.

Manningham council CEO Joe Carbone said objectors would be advised of council’s position on the application shortly. That position will then be advocated for at VCAT.

Only last week objectors to the proposal opened a letter in their mail to find that their objections to Manningham council had not been successful and the decision was to be finalised by VCAT at a hearing on October 29.

The letter, sent by the solicitor representing the applicant, stated July 10 (this Friday) would be the “closing date for objectors and referral authorities to lodge a statement of grounds with VCAT”.

Discussion on social media has been divided since the information was released. However, there are many concerns if the development goes ahead, including the environmental impact, compromising the character of Warrandyte, disturbance to residents, and safety concerns in the event of bushfires.

The development would require the removal of vegetation and six yellow box trees, as outlined in the initial proposal.

North Warrandyte resident Annie Watkins believes it is vital the environment in Warrandyte be protected at any cost.

“When you have a substantial and unique environment like Warrandyte, you have got to do what you can to preserve it,” she says. Ms Watkins is also concerned that, if approved, the proposal will set a potentially dangerous precedent.

“If we allow the service station, what else will be allowed to go up in Warrandyte?”

“We need to be a little more responsible as a society to recognise what’s valuable. We want to keep true to the essence of Warrandyte,” Ms Watkins says.

Other objectors believe a petrol station next to Andersons Creek is illogical particularly when the creek is prone to flooding which would allow pollutants and litter to enter the creek.

With the proposed development being next door to the Warrandyte Reserve Pavilion, others are concerned people’s safety will be com- promised in a bushfire emergency. According to the CFA, the reserve is the place of last resort for Warrandyte residents in the event of all other bushfire plans failing.

The disturbance caused by the construction of the petrol station is also a major concern. The WCA lodged an amended objection reit- erating the reasons why they object to the proposal, including the dif- ficulty at access and exit points at the Heidelberg Road / Harris Gully Road roundabout and the vague details relating to signage, lighting and hours of operation.

The impact on the character of Warrandyte is creating a lot of controversy. Resident Tricia Barrett believes the design of the building, along with the large bright advertising and signage, lighting and unnatural noise would affect all residents, especially those within close proximity to the site and visitors to Warrandyte.

“It is not within the character of Warrandyte and we don’t need it or want it.”

Nonetheless, not everyone is opposed to the petrol station. On social media some residents believe there is sufficient demand for it to be built, and consider the Yarra Street site to be a perfect location and a welcome alternative to the Warrandyte South petrol station.

Resident Elaine Raphael says while a 24-hour “monstrosity” is unnecessary, a petrol station in keeping with Warrandyte’s surroundings would be ideal.

Other concerned parties are asking the protestors to consider non-residents. Sheya Atherton points out that many commuters pass through Warrandyte for many reasons and having a petrol station in that spot would be convenient.

“Each community is made up of its locals and those that come into the suburb and there is as much of a positive and negative component to that,” Ms Atherton says.

In her objection to council, Ms Barrett expressed her belief that a petrol station at the proposed site is simply unnecessary.

“We (residents) are happy with nearest petrol availability in Warrandyte South, Fitzsimons Lane roundabout, and Reynolds Road – these facilities service Warrandyte residents adequately already.”

The Diary has been told that while a lot of the concern is stemming from the location and the imposing nature of the proposed petrol station, the prospect of a fast food or retail association being attached to the site is equally disconcerting with fears that would impact on local food and beverage businesses.

VCAT will hold a practice hearing on July 17 before the official hearing on October 29. The objectors are working together with the WCA before lodging their objections at the practice hearing.

 

Best in business


JULIE Quinton has some sound advice for business owners:

“You have got to be involved in your community in every aspect. You have got to be part of it, you have to get to know people and know what your customers want.”

Julie is the progressive owner of Quinton’s IGA in Warrandyte – and also the inaugural winner of the Manningham Business Excellence Awards, which return for a third time this year.

After losing her husband in August of 2007, Julie’s life changed in many ways. Brian Quinton bought the supermarket in 2000 and ran the business successfully for seven years.

Although Julie admits she was never inclined to run her own business, she felt compelled to continue her husband’s legacy.

“It’s been a real learning curve,” Julie says. “I had no aspirations before he passed away – now I do.”

After taking out first place in two categories at the 2013 Manningham Business Excellence Awards, including Manningham Business of the Year and Manningham Contribution to Community Business of the Year, Julie and her staff felt a great sense of pride and affirmation.

“When we won, that was the greatest reward and it felt like we were on the right track. It was a wonderful moment,” she recalls.

This year marks the third Manningham Business Excellence Awards, a joint initiative of the four Rotary clubs in Manningham; Doncaster East, Templestowe Village and Warrandyte Community Bank branches; Manningham Business and the Manningham Business Network.

The awards provide a platform for business owners to not only celebrate their success but to undertake a more detailed analysis of their business strengths and identify potential areas for improvement.

Event manager for the awards Liz Small says they are a great way for businesses to review their activity and an opportunity for businesses to look at their operations in a much deeper, analytical sense.

Tony Welsh, owner of H2Pro Plumbing and winner of the 2014 Manningham Business of the Year and Manningham Professional Services Business of the Year awards, believes the MBEA have helped his business move forward and plan more efficiently for the future.

“The Manningham Business Excellence Awards give you a chance to look at your business and its structure from the outside in and realise what you do have in place and what you need to put in place,” Tony told the Diary.

Recognising business achievements is important to Tony and although he regrets often being too busy to acknowledge his business’s success, the MBEA gave him the chance to do just that. Receiving recognition from others in the business industry, such as business coaches and marketing professionals on the awards judging panel, was especially gratifying, he explains.

Tony concedes running a business can sometimes be a “lonely road” because it can be difficult for owners to judge exactly how well everything is progressing. However, winning the awards pushed those feelings of uncertainty aside.

“It felt like the hard work had paid off and it was recognition that the business is moving forward,” Tony says.

Liz Small, of the MBEA, says while the awards provide an ideal opportunity for local businesses to showcase themselves and their achievements, one of the key criteria for nominees is the contribution they have made to the community.

“The key reason why they (the awards) were arranged was to recognise the businesses that give back to the community… that’s the big driving force behind the whole thing,” Liz says.

Quinton’s IGA aligns with that philosophy.

Julie says an important part of running her business is conducting forums with customers to determine what they like or dislike and what they want from the business.

“You need to work in your business and not just on it. Business owners cannot just do only what they want all the time,” she says.

The MBEA celebrate the point of difference offered by businesses and how that allows them to stand out from competitors. Both Julie and Tony share the philosophy that the quality of what they offer is foremost.

“I don’t think you could compare our produce to the larger supermarket chains. Our quality is superior and exceptional,” Julie says.

Tony says competitive pricing is something he considers, but he measures his business more on the quality of service provided and how the customers respond to that service.

“We always try to go beyond the call of duty and over deliver. We aim to give that ‘wow’ factor.”

Naturally, two successful business owners such as Julie Quinton and Tony Welsh know that running a business is not possible without commitment, energy and, most of all, passion.

“You can’t go into business half-heartedly. You have got to have a passion for what you do and always aim to be one of the best in your profession,” Tony says.

Julie’s passion stems from a significant personal experience and adds another dimension to her perspective on running her business.

“I’m not driven by money, it’s not my passion. My passion is Brian’s legacy. I focus on my staff and what we provide to our community and I truly believe that has been the secret to our success,” she says.

Julie and Tony believe the future for businesses in Warrandyte is bright, especially given the community’s willingness to support local business. “I think as long as you try and run your business to the best of your ability and do so with integrity, you’ll definitely succeed,” Julie says.

Businesses operating within Manningham or servicing suburbs within the municipality are encouraged to nominate themselves for the 2015 Manningham Business Excellence Awards. The awards breakfast launch will be held on Tuesday July 28 at the Manningham Function Centre. There will be an opportunity to hear from past award winners and how the Manningham Business Excellence Awards have benefitted their business.

For more information visit www.manninghambea.com.au

Bec hits the wall


From the hills of Warrandyte to the Great Wall of China, local fitness femme BEC ROSTRON completed a marathon from great heights recently and is this month’s guest travel writer. A proud Warrandytian for the past 12 years with her husband Marty and three children, Hudson (13), Archer (11) and Rose (9), Bec has also played a big part in our local community, including transforming many local women’s lives with
her fitness business called Femmex. That provided the building blocks to launch her into becoming our latest Marathon Woman.

RUNNING a small women’s fitness business for the past four years, I’ve really enjoyed specialising in high intensity workouts that are certainly not for the faint-hearted. I love motivating all those local dedicated girls who come to my classes and see them achieve their fitness and weight loss goals.

I work my butt off in the classes, too, so that girls are constantly pushed to another level. Through these classes my fitness has increased and so too did the length of my runs. I started my love of running about 10 years ago, but definitely was not doing big runs for the first few years. I have now done one marathon, three half marathons, three Puffing Billy runs and countless other fun runs in and around Melbourne.

I first decided to do a marathon in my 40th year as kind of a tick on my bucket list. I have had rheumatoid arthritis since I was 23 and was told I’d be in a wheel chair by the time I turned 40. So when, after limitless visits to hospitals, doctors, nutritionists, acupuncturists and so on, I found just a change in my eating habits sent my arthritis into remission (where it has now been for about eight years) and I decided to take my running a bit more seriously.

With 5164 steps and endless hills to be climbed, the Great Wall of China Marathon has been billed as one of the toughest running events in the world: which is why I eventually chose this one.

I was lucky enough to have talked a friend from Queensland into conquering this marathon with me. Chantal grew up in Park Orchards and attended Aquinas with me so I have known her for many years.

We arrived in China and had a day of sightseeing around Beijing before heading to the Tianjin Province, Jixian, to settle in before checking out the hardest wall portion of the run. The photos just don’t let you know exactly how steep the steps actually are, but the views are out of this world. I wasn’t expecting it to be as breathtaking as it was. The 3.5km section we completed felt really hard and woke up with sore calves the next day: we questioned whether we were ready for such a feat. What had we got ourselves into? Already sore with only steps and no kilometres!

We had a day to rest before waking up at 5am on Saturday May 16 and were shuttled on a bus to the Yin & Yang Square where the run would commence. It was a crazy atmosphere in the square as 2500 runners were all milling about waiting for their turn. We had a very funny 1980s aerobics-inspired warm-up for a few minutes and then it was time to line up at the start.

It was going to be 30 degrees and sunny so the morning chill didn’t last very long once the race began.

I started out strong and thank goodness for all the hours spent training on the hills of Warrandyte as there were a lot more hills than I was expecting. I felt strong climbing the wall and headed out to complete 26km around the villages for what I thought was the flat part of the run (I was wrong!).

Despite the continuous hills, this was also one of the best parts for me as the streets were lined with children wanting high fives and shouting words of encouragement. It definitely kept me in great spirits for the rest of the run. Despite accidentally taking a 5km detour (serious blonde moment and bad signage), I absolutely loved every part of it.

Climbing back up the wall for a second time was devastatingly hard after completing 36km, but I powered through it still on the adrenalin rush I began the race with – that and about five energy gels to help me along my way.

There were plenty of people struggling to get through this last part of the run and the steps were lined with exhausted and seriously depleted runners. To give you an idea of just how steep and hard this section was, ever kilometre on this part of the wall took about 18 minutes to complete.

Running back into the square and over the finish line was out of this world, I can’t describe how ecstatic I was. I couldn’t believe during and after such a hard marathon I was still feeling energetic and extremely elated.

Even after all the steps, heat, hills and accidental detours, I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.

I finished in 5:07hrs and with that time managed to come second in my age group (40-44) and was the 17th woman across the line.

Despite all the challenges it was one of the most scenic, beautiful and rewarding runs I have ever done. It was one of the best moments of my life.

Beijing also was a great place for a celebration, that’s for sure!

Simply China: From $2,179 – 9 Days, fully inclusive from Melbourne. For more details contact the team at Warrandyte Travel And Cruise.

Traffic report due in August


TRAFFIC modelling of the Warrandyte Bridge road network will be conducted and a report handed down by the end of August, according to VicRoads regional director Adam Maguire.

An additional $140,000 has been committed in the 2015–16 budget to investigate ways to improve traffic capacity of the Warrandyte Bridge during an emergency, including widening and strengthening the bridge, Mr Maguire confirmed in a letter to Member for Warrandyte Ryan Smith.

The traffic modelling will look at the road network around the Warrandyte Bridge in both day-to-day and emergency scenarios and is expected to accurately represent current traffic conditions.

Mr Maguire wrote: “The model will be used to assess future traffic scenarios, whether due general traffic growth over time or resulting from any particular emergency traffic movement.”

Once complete, results of the study will be discussed with both Nillumbik Shire Council and Manningham City Council.

Member for Warrandyte Ryan Smith said he is pleased that after six months VicRoads has offered some concrete information.

“We now have a timeline and something to which we can hold the government accountable,” he said. “As a community we should be pre- pared to make a noise if the report or funding fails to materialise.”

Warrandyte Community Association (WCA) President Dick Davies has also welcomed the news.

“Up until now everybody had a solution to Warrandyte’s traffic problems but nobody had the data.

“We’ve been advocating for this for a long time and want to see the results. The more transparency we get from VicRoads, the better,” he said. Mr Davies also saw this as an opportunity for the traffic issues to be looked at holistically, combining emergency traffic management alongside the day-to-day issues.

“It might help bring us further up the VicRoads priority list.”

In related news:

  • The WCA is also supporting the proposed construction of the Northern Arterial Route. According to the 2014 Manningham Link Roads Improvement Strategy Plan, the Northern Arterial Route would extend Reynolds Road beyond Tindals Road to Ringwood-Warrandyte Road. VicRoads does not have a timeframe for the project development. The proposed North East Link is also a potential solution to easing congestion in north eastern suburbs as it would provide an additional major Yarra River crossing for Melbourne, however, the government has not committed to the project.
  • Discussions continue with Nillumbik Shire Council to determine future improvements along the Kangaroo-Ground-Warrandye Rd corridor to address congestions coming off the bridge, a spokesperson for the Minister of Roads and Road Safety Luke Donnellan has confirmed.
  • Warrandyte resident Jan Freeman has started a petition to address the bridge issue. She says the petition is calling for another bridge to be built within close proximity to the exist- ing one. For more information or to show your support for the petition, visit the Petition to fix the problem of the Warrandyte Bridge queues event page or the Fix the Warrandyte Bottleneck page on Facebook.

Blacksmith’s Hut moves


ONLOOKERS outside the Old Post Office Museum recently were amazed to see a trailer, loaded with a dismantled building, being expertly backed onto the site. The move was the culmination of several months work to save a small relocatable building from loss.

The Blacksmith’s Hut, a small timber and corrugated iron building owned by the Warrandyte Historical Society, was listed on
the Doncaster and Templestowe 1991 Heritage Study as being of at least local interest. It was thought to have been occupied by one of the Sloan family who operated as a blacksmith. It was located for many years behind the then butcher’s shop in Yarra Street. It was later moved to the Getson’s site (Community Centre site) when the Historical Society set up its museum there.

The hut was a centerpiece of
a functioning blacksmith’s shop where every Saturday the blacksmith would undertake repairs and blacksmithing. With the closing down of the site to enable the building of the new centre in the late 1980s, the hut was removed to land in Tills Drive owned by Shirley and Ted Rotherham where it was used for hay storage for many years.
 Fast forward to 2014 and the Rotherham house and land in Tills Drive was about to be auctioned. Manningham’s Heritage Adviser raised a last-minute warning that the hut would be lost if the Society did not act urgently. Frantic phone calls and an obliging seller and purchaser averted this fate and the hut remained on site while the Society sought ways to transfer it to the museum.

Finding a way, funds and permission proved time consuming over the first few months of 2015. However, problems were eventually overcome culminating in the dis- mantling of the hut on-site, loading it onto a trailer and moving it to the museum site in ‘flat-pack’ form. Heritage carpenter Matt Jeffries (aka Crackajack) was responsible for the successful move (aided by a number of willing volunteers) and will also be responsible for reassembling the hut on the museum site.

The Heritage Architect has written a new citation for the hut that says it is rare and relatively intact example of a homemade black- smith’s wagon/sleeping quarters with an attractive ‘domestic’ appearance, probably to encourage trade, which demonstrates a way of life and business for a single man during the 1930s Depression. It’s also important for its association with blacksmith Paul Sloan of the prominent Sloan family, who from the 1850s practiced various trades and businesses in the district, including William Sloan’s Yarra St butcher’s shop established in 1901. The citation considers the hut is of local significance and may well be of state significance due to its rarity.

Photos of the move uploaded
on the Society’s Facebook page invoked an immediate response with several people remembering it as being located on the river bank or playing in it as a cubby. The hut has obviously had several uses over its life and will shortly enter another phase in the grounds of the museum.

The Society possesses blacksmith tools and equipment that may
be able to be displayed once the hut is reassembled. Plans are currently being made as to the hut’s placement on-site and its future use. It is hoped the next phase will commence soon with the support and advice of Manningham council. The Society thanks previous and present owners for their forbearance in moving the hut and all the volunteers involved thus far. It, along with many others in the community, looks forward to seeing it restored once more.

Free food and a big heart


WHEN Judith Lightfoot read about a laneway in Ballarat where food is free to anyone who wants it, she thought, “Why can’t we do this in Warrandyte?”

So last month that’s exactly what she did.

Instead of a laneway she uses the Rotary op-shop, which she manages as a volunteer. Vandals wrecked her first attempt to give away food, so she moved her operation inside.

Now, there are food racks filled fruit, vegetables, herbs, bread and even baby formula.

The food has all been donated— it’s fresh and free to anybody who needs it.

“In this job you hear a lot of sad stories and people come in who need some assistance. It’s such a simple idea. People have extra [food] in their gardens. They can bring it in and share it.”

When the Diary spoke to Judith, the project had been going just three weeks and already more than 100 people had taken food. Donations were being dropped in every day, aided by a call out on the Warrandyte Business and Community Facebook page.

“It just makes me all warm and fuzzy,” Judith says.

Aldi is also donating food, as Rotary fits under their charitable guidelines. “We pick it up every Monday and Friday,” Judith says. “It’s such an adventure. We bring it back and make it look pretty.”

Judith, who is a former chef, says it’s really heart-warming to see all sorts of people coming in and taking the food—even if at first they are a bit shy.

“It needs to be taken while it’s fresh. So I say, ‘Grab something for the kids’ lunchboxes. Take what you need’.”

There are gold coin donation boxes to help people feel more comfortable taking the food, Judith explains.
“I get that people are embarrassed, so we just want to make it an enjoyable experience.

“Anyone’s welcome to it. Rotary doesn’t mind who has it. We can’t sell the food, and it makes us cry to throw it out.”

Judith is at pains to explain this initiative isn’t replacing the long-standing Warrandyte Food Bank, run by Margory Lapworth.

“This is new and it’s different to the food bank because it’s fresh food. We just need to see what happens.”

The #foodisfree movement started in Texas in 2012—with free planter boxes given to schools and community groups as edible gardens. Since then it’s spread around the world. Founder John VanDeusen Edwards estimates it’s operating in around 190 cities world-wide.

Anyone wishing to donate fresh food can drop it into the Rotary op shop, behind the Yarra street shops near the roundabout.

VIDEO: Turning dryers into fires


The Diary’s new Around the home series meets avid repurposer, Andrew Driscoll. Andrew welcomes us into his fascinating workspace where he up-cycles old washing machines and dryers into top-quality fire drums! An inventive, practical and rewarding way to reduce waste.

Great wall of Warrandyte

IN the April edition of the Diary, we outlined the intentions and goals of the Warrandyte Community Association’s recent project, the Writer’s Wall. Its stall over the festival week- end received an overwhelming re- sponse as people of all ages and areas expressed their hopes and visions for the future of our town.

Festival-goers were encouraged to complete the thought-provoking sentence: “I want Warrandyte to be…”

WCA president Dick Davies ex- pressed the association’s gratitude for the amount of quality feedback received.

“We were blown away by the re- sponse (over 500 comments on the actual wall, many more on its virtual counterpart via social media), not only the aspirations that were left on the wall but the discussions that they generated,” Dick said.

The voices of Warrandytians and other local residents have been heard as contributions have been compiled and categorised into com- mon themes by WCA project manag- er Kim Humphris.

“A major theme was to preserve the unique quality of Warrandyte: its environmental, heritage, cultural and sporting aspects,” Dick said.

This desire for Warrandyte to remain unchanged shows the level of appreciation and respect for our town as it is. A number of other positive adjectives were also thrown around as locals hope for Warrandyte to remain a wonderful, friendly, creative, happy and healthy place to live and visit.

Conversely, many seized the opportunity presented by the Writer’s Wall to draw attention to areas needing addressing within Warrandyte. Issues concerning infrastructure, the envi- ronment, pets and animals, subdivisions, communications and politics were among those most discussed.

Traffic management was one of the most frequently raised points on the Writer’s Wall. Locals unanimously agreed that something must be done to improve the worsening bridge congestion.

Suggestions to resolve this issue include building another/widening the bridge, joining the ring road to Eastlink, discouraging non-local traffic and improving public trans- port services. Although it is difficult to determine the viability of these suggestions, the abundance of like-minded responses makes it clear that the issue must be addressed in one way or another.

Another proposal for infrastructural development was to install more bike tracks/lanes and footpaths for pedestrians. Not only would this improve safety for all commuters, but also help to promote active and healthy lifestyles.

Many Warrandytians also expressed their hopes for a fire-safe future. Although Warrandyte will always be a vulnerable bushfire area, contributors suggested practical ways to minimise the risk. These included maintaining bushscape to reduce fuel, more accessible escape routes and increased fire awareness.

This vision is on the road to be- coming a reality largely due to the WCA’s pre-existing Be Ready Warrandyte campaign. While the aforementioned traffic congestion over the bridge still poses as a problem in a bushfire situation, Warrandyte has come a long way in recent years in terms of bushfire awareness and preparedness.

Let’s hope our progress as a community continues in the right direction.

A lot of negativity towards roaming household cats was also received on the Writer’s Wall, reinforcing the rele- vance of the WCA’s proposed 24-hour cat curfew. Evidently, the project not only gave voice to new visions for Warrandyte but also reaffirmed the validity of issues currently under discussion.

Cats were not the only household pets, however, to receive a bit of flack. Conflicting opinions arose regarding dogs in public situations, such as whether or not they should be kept on a leash in populated areas. This is likely to be a contro- versial subject, but still one entitled to consideration.

Other popular suggestions included improving Warrandyte’s mobile and internet connectivity, prohibiting the subdivision of property and to be more respectful of our native environment and wildlife.

The contributions gathered from the Writer’s Wall are to be presented to the wider WCA for continued conversation. Informed by the priorities of our community, the WCA will put words into action to ensure a brighter future for Warrandyte.

The common themes and issues raised will also be focus points in WCA’s regular discussions with local councils.

Dick is positive about the potential of this inclusive project to determine a unified vision for our town.

“We’re really excited at the opportunity this gives us to develop a collective vision for Warrandyte that we can share, support and implement, in partnership with all those who help to make this a very special place.”

Do we have drug problems?

A LARGE drug bust in Warrandyte and conviction of a local man late last year has shone a spotlight on whether there is a local drug problem, a hot topic of debate among residents recently.

Richard James Pollard, 32, of Warrandyte, was found guilty of commercial trafficking and sentenced in the County Court to 11 years jail with a non-parole period of seven years, four months in October last year.

The court heard Pollard trafficked a range of illegal drugs via the website Silk Road and distributed them by express post, including MDMA, ice, cocaine, ketamine and other assorted substances in what Judge Paul Lacava described as a “sophisticated drug-trafficking business”.

Pollard’s assets, including tens of millions of dollars in the electronic currency of bitcoins, were also seized by police. Pending appeals, it is believed these will be sold and monies raised will be directed to the state’s consolidated fund, which is used for recouping costs and issuing compensation to victims of crime by the Department of Justice.

According to Sergeant Henderson of Warrandyte Police “drugs are a problem everywhere, but we don’t see a large aspect of drug-taking and drug-dealing here”.

Sgt Henderson, who has also worked in inner-city areas, told the Diary that problems associated with alcohol and teenage binge drinking constituted a bigger local issue, and while illicit drugs are readily available throughout Melbourne, Warrandyte is relatively drug-free and “does not have a deeply-rooted drug issue”.

Sergeant Henderson attributes Warrandyte’s active sports club culture as being responsible for the town’s ability to remain largely unaffected by the ice epidemic faced by other Melbourne suburbs.

His advice for parents is: “Avoid the big divide – keep open lines of communication, without judgement, with your kids.” At the same time, he said it was not advisable to be friends with your teenage children, “You need to remain vigilant and aware of symptoms of drug-use as well as the company kids keep.”

What are your thoughts? Does Warrandyte have a drug problem? Join in the poll online at www.warrandytediary.com.au

Fire strikes our local


A SMALL fire at the Grand Hotel resulted in the evacuation of patrons and structural damage before being brought under control by the CFA.

Flames were localised to a section of the balcony bar, which was hosting a function at the time. According to manager Peter Appleby the origin of the fire hasn’t yet been determined.

Although the lives of patrons were not threatened, a level of panic was reached when flames and smoke became visible.

After the duty manager was informed of the smoke, the Warrandyte CFA swiftly arrived on the scene and were backed up by units from South and North Warrandyte.

Evacuation of the function was a well coordinated by the authorities in front of a curious crowd of locals who gathered to witness proceedings.

Staff member on the scene Nick Schlueter described the day as a “rapid change of events”.

“Despite a fire breaking loose and the whole venue evacuated, I was confident we would still continue to serve customers, which we did,” Schlueter said.

Damage to the premise was limited by an excellent effort by the CFA.

“Minor repairs are required to the balcony section and the carpet needs to be replaced in the public bar due to water damage,” Appleby said.

Valiant efforts by the chefs and staff had the pub looking presentable enough to open the bistro, which was undamaged, for dinner at 7pm on the night of the disaster.

The public bar re-opened on Monday and all resumed as normal Wednesday afternoon.

Staff, patrons and owners are all relieved that the danger was so swiftly controlled and are well aware things could have been much worse, especially Appleby.

“We are extremely grateful that all of our wonderful staff and customers are safe, and that this beautiful 120-year-old building, is still standing to continue to serve the community proudly.”

 

 

 

Festival of favourites


THE much-anticipated Warrandyte Festival has come and gone for another year. The sun shone, the arts were embraced and our royal monarchs Cherry and Joff Manders rode a pair of curious camels down Yarra Street. It doesn’t get much better than that!

Warrandytians gathered in their thousands to enjoy the weekend that trumps most out east. The atmosphere was buzzing and it was smiles all round as the spirit of the festival took hold.

The festivities began with Battle of the Bands on the Friday evening. All bands were talented – their stage presence was electric and the extent to which they banged their heads was admirable. AMIKO were lucky enough to take out the title this year, scoring a two-day recording contract in a professional studio.

The iconic parade down Yarra Street was a treat for everyone as always. Special guests including Cr Paul McLeish, the mayor of Manningham, and Cr Ken King, representing the mayor of Nillumbik, enjoyed prime viewing from the community centre balcony. Warrandyte’s veteran MP, Ryan Smith, was there to catch all the action too.

Our King and Queen were dressed to impress in their regal attire, yet still somehow managing to climb atop their chosen camels. Fortunately, their royal steeds were not spooked by the fire trucks or bagpipes and our monarchs rode forth safely … despite our Queen’s “Kingsley” looking a little frazzled in the early stages.

Of course, all of Warrandyte’s favourite community groups and services, sporting clubs and schools also took part in the parade with gusto. Well-known businesses Warrandyte Community Bank and Quinton’s IGA were in full festival spirit, as well as the Warrandyte Theatre Group standing out in their vibrant costumes.

The 2015 theme Smart Arts became increasingly apparent as many little artists from Warrandyte Primary and Anderson’s Creek emerged. Equipped with their berets, palettes or own artistic creations, these kids were clearly ready for the big weekend ahead.

It’s hard not to appreciate the cuteness of the local tots of Warrandyte’s kindergartens and preschools. Crowded into the back of their trucks turned floats, nothing was going to stop them from waving enthusiastically to their families.

Warrandyte Neighbourhood House also embraced this year’s theme through the acknowledgment and celebration of Deborah Halpern’s newly installed sculpture. Calling themselves the Community Queen’s of Shire, the ladies walked forward with much grace and style.

Once again, Peter Norman drove his blue 1954 Fordson Major. Peter and his tractor represent the Diary year after year and always do us proud.

As the parade concluded, it was time for everyone to head down to Stiggants Reserve to engage in more festival fun. The trickiest part was trying to figure out where to go and what to do first!

Given the theme, art was certainly abundant within the festival grounds. The unmissable ‘Fat Ladies’ and their companions the ‘Skinny Men’ were back once more, continuing to draw many admirers.

For curious young minds, ‘Smart Arts Central’ was undoubtedly the place to be. The workshop space was transformed from a circus show to a ukulele studio, to a drama theatre and more. The amount of audience participation and level of enthusiasm within the crowd was infectious.

There was no shortage of artsy activities and events within the reserve. Many stalls presented opportunities for the kids to make or engage with something creative, such as paint a communal blank canvas while waiting for your turn to ride a camel, or colour a plaster model to keep as a souvenir.

Keen young readers’ needs were met as a beautiful tree adjacent the main stage had picture books and colourful pom poms hanging from the branches. It looked majestic and the novelty of it made it very inviting. Somehow, reading a book hanging from a tree becomes so much more satisfying than reading one ordinarily.

Other community stalls also embraced the festival’s smart arts theme. The Warrandyte Uniting Church offered simple but effective plate decorating fun, while the Yarra Warra Kinder gave the option to do some cool bush-style threading.

A unique jewellery store ‘Name on a grain’ also sparked interest and suited the festival theme. With precision, the stall managers would write a name or word on a tiny grain of rice and encapsulate it within a small transparent pendant. The dainty result made for a wonderful gift.

For that matter, gift opportunities were everywhere: from soaps that look good enough to eat to home made terrariums and potted cacti.

While the kids were easily entertained, adults at the festival were also well catered for with food, drink and entertainment. It also offers a chance to catch up with fellow Warrandytians and others.

Festival-goers were once again spoilt for choice when it came to food. The event embraced multiculturalism as reflected in the available food options. Take your pick from Polish dumplings, Italian-style woodfire pizza, French crepes, Dutch poffertjes, authentic Indian curry, or maybe the classic Slovenian kransky in bread from the Warrandyte RSL.

Twistos, Korean-style twisted potatoes (those intriguing fried twists on a stick), were another popular option, and one of those novelties you almost feel obliged to eat in the spirit of the festival – similar in that way to the CFA’s famous hot jam donuts!

Once you made your all-important food choice, the time came to pick a stage and performer to listen and/or boogie to. The music scene was outstanding this year with a lot of talent across both stages and days.

The riverbank stage featured a diverse range of performers, from the lovable one-man-band Uptown Brown to cool indie rock band Pinball Machine. Great sound and enthusiasm all round.

The main stage of course gave all the local schools a chance to shine, but it was later in the evening when the party really started.

Melbourne-based band Jakubi got everyone up and dancing with their unique mix of hip-hop, reggae, soul and synthesised rhythms. Their energy was contagious and created a positive vibe.

After their performance, the band posted on their Facebook page (which has close to 20,000 likes) that there was ‘somethin’ crazy in the air last night [at the] Warrandyte Festival.’ Along with a video of Stiggants Reserve going wild, the guys also wrote: ‘Thank you so much to everyone that came out and destroyed that poor grass with us. So much love!!!’ Cue all the young girls’ hearts to skip a beat!

A new acoustic tent also found its place at the festival this year. The performers Dan, Tom and Ruby sung stripped back covers of songs as well as original material. Their music was a delight.

Warrandyte High School’s dog show and pet parade was a hit as always with no shortage of cute pups under the big red top. Much to the amusement of the audience, many pets got distracted when attempting to perform their best trick. But Claire Bloom was always sure to console owners and pets with an encouraging “good try”.

Simultaneously, the tension was building over at the annual billy cart derby. This year saw various well-designed vehicles, including a new type of cart, the reverse three-wheeler. As competitors were narrowed down, the onlooking crowd continued their enthusiastic support – in particular, the always-loud ‘CherryBomb’ cheer squad, who made sure everyone knew who they were rooting for.

While there were a few close calls, everything ran smoothly and there were no major collisions. St John’s Ambulance Service, in conjunction with the trusty mulch pile, stood by regardless to ensure the safety of all drivers.

If you have an interest in our town’s past, hopefully you were able to make it to John Hanson’s historical gold mine tour. John’s vast knowledge about our town’s founding gold miners was fascinating as always, and after a number years the tour remains popular among Warrandytians and visitors alike.

When it comes to wacky Warrandyte traditions, the iconic annual duck race is right up there. The tension was building on the riverbank as onlookers counted down from 10 to the release of the decorated ducks. Three, two, one… and the race was on! Tension subsides as the ducks float slowly downstream. Duck owners follow their progression from the riverbank, hoping their ducks took out the title.

Other market and community service stalls also made their annual appearance.

The CFA had a strong presence as usual, offering food, drink and information about the continued need for fire safety coming into the winter months. Many took the challenge of squirting the fire hose in an attempt to hit the target, or hugging it out with the life-size smoke detector.

Furthermore, what would the Warrandyte Festival be without the Eltham Steam and Stationary Engine Preservation Society? Or Woodcraft Manningham? Or the Scouts’ Giant Waterslide? These are the golden treasures that you look forward to seeing each year. Their presence evokes feeling of nostalgia for many.

As the festival drew to a close, we returned home tired and foot-sore but with fond memories of the weekend that was.

It is important to acknowledge all the hard work and preparation that went towards bringing the festival to life. A big thankyou and well done to the wonderful festival committee, the emergency service teams and everyone else who graciously volunteered their time. Once again, they coordinated another fantastic event. Your efforts do not go unnoticed!

Until next year…