Rabbits on the hop

BRADLEYS Lane residents have launched a campaign to rid their street of rabbits, saying they are destroying gardens, causing erosion along the banks of the Yarra River and competing with native wildlife for food and habitat.

A group of residents have held a meeting with Nillumbik council hoping to mobilise local support for a pest controller to come out in March or April to bait the rabbits with Pindone, a poison commonly used to control rabbits in Victoria.

Their proposed baiting program would require around 20 days, with the poison generally taking six to 10 days to work, affecting the rabbits’ livers and causing them to die from internal bleeding.

One of the residents leading the campaign, Janice Davies, says 20 people in her street have expressed their concerns about the damage caused by rabbits.

“Over the last year we have noticed a lot more rabbit droppings across our property,” Mrs Davies said.

“I also planted a whole lot of native grass one day and I thought I’d put barriers around them in the morning but by the time I went out the next morning the rabbits had already eaten the grass down to ground level.

“This campaign is about getting as many people in the street involved as possible. We’re taking people’s concerns on board and we’re finding out how to do it without harming pets.”

Another Bradleys Lane resident, Paul Fitzsimons, noticed rabbit numbers increasing when they started destroying his garden last year.

“We plant native vegetation to attract wildlife so when rabbits come along and eat it all, it’s very costly and very frustrating,” Paul said.

Mrs Davies says Nillumbik council has offered to pay for half of the associated costs for hiring a pest controller, bringing the cost to $60 per household.

Nillumbik mayor Helen Coleman says council regularly offers subsidies when residents form a local rabbit action group.

However, the Diary didn’t receive confirmation that council would provide assistance for Bradleys Lane residents at the time of publication.

The anti-rabbit proposal comes as Melbourne Water and Parks Victoria

plan to launch their own rabbit-baiting programs along the Yarra River and through the state park.

Janice says while Melbourne Water and Parks Victoria support the plan, they cannot provide financial assistance.

The Diar y understands residents would have a greater chance of drastically reducing the rabbit population around Bradleys Lane if they start their program around the same time that Melbourne Water and Parks Victoria commence their rabbit control program this year.

A rabbit baiting program involving the Osborne Peninsula Landcare Group about four years ago inspired

the group of Bradleys Lane residents to start informing neighbours about the issue and gauging support for a unified pest control plan.

It’s estimated about 80 percent of residents in Osborne Rd, Hamilton Rd and Koornong Cres were involved in the Osborne Peninsula Landcare Group program.

Ann Penrose, who is part of the Osborne Peninsula Landcare Group, says the high number of households involved made the program successful at reducing rabbit numbers.

“We have baited every year, usually around February or March,” Mrs Penrose said.

“For the first three years we baited the whole peninsula but eventually we managed to get the rabbit numbers down so low that we didn’t have to do all of the area.”

However, rabbits have few natural predators and with females known to have up to 14 babies per litter several times a year, Ann warns that rabbit populations can quickly become out of control.

“We have noticed there’s an increasing number of rabbits recently and we can never eliminate rabbits – only control them. That’s where educating the community comes in,” Mrs Penrose said.

“Controlling rabbit populations is on-going and it’s the residents’ responsibility to keep their properties clear of rabbits.”

Nationally, rabbits are estimated to cost more than $200 million a year in control measures and lost productivity, and as Bradleys Lane resident Cameron Bailey knows, rabbits can affect one neighbour but not the next.

“I’ve only seen one rabbit on my property in the two and a half years that I’ve been living here,” Cameron said.

“They’re not a problem on our property but I would probably support the plan because we’re all for removing non-native wildlife.”

Some have expressed reservations about the plan.

“I’d be happy to get on board if there’s enough residents on board and it’s likely to be effective,” Paul Fitzsimons said.

“In the meantime, we’ve taken our own immediate steps to address the measure. Since we put in fences everything has been fine and our chocolate lilies are starting to come up again but if you fence all of your property then there’s the issue of limiting the movement of animals.”

Others say rabbits are causing problems across Warrandyte, including Mitchell Ave, Gold Memorial Rd, West End Rd and along the Mullum Trail.

One Warrandyte resident commented on the Diary’s Facebook page that she rolled her ankle while playing cricket in her backyard in a rabbit hole that appeared overnight.

Elizabeth Wood, who lives in Stiggants St, says she has been baiting her property for years, yet rabbits are still eating away at her garden.

“I have been killing the rabbits but as I get rid of one lot a new lot move in,” Elizabeth said.

“The rabbits live in Stiggants Reserve and the church yard where there is an area of undergrowth. We have asked for it to be cleaned up to no avail at this stage.”

Campaigners hope baiting will begin in March or April, with Mrs Davies indicating the plan could still go ahead with 20 participants.

“Even with 20 residents we would still have a really good chance of reducing the damage that rabbits are causing to vegetation around our street, but of course, the more people involved the more success you’re likely to have,” she said.

ENTER: Mural competition and short story

Grand Wall Entry Form

Calling all



THE concrete wall alongside the drive-through at the Grand Hotel Warrandyte may be looking a bit bare at the moment, but it won’t be for much longer when a grand design appears there in the near future.

All budding artists in Warrandyte are invited to design a mural to be painted on the wall, with prizes offered to the best five designs and a major prize for the winning entry.

Entries for the competition will close on March 10 and winners will be announced on stage at the Warrandyte Festival on Saturday March 21.

See more details in the advertisement on Page 28 and entry forms and conditions are available at and from

Five for Friday: Jan 23, 2015

1. It’s the long weekend! Loads on, cafes a hive of activity, go for a walk along our beautiful river, barbecues and, of course, there’s always something going on at our Grand Hotel Warrandyte whether it be sport on the big screen, entertainment, cold beer, tasty wines and great food!
2. Australia Day is Monday and Manningham City Council has some fun for everyone at MC2. Head there at 7pm Monday for free face painting, a sausage sizzle, magic show, family movie and lots more! Details:
3. We love our Warrandyte Community Bank Branch and we can thank the Bendigo Bank for its excellent scholarship program which has helped so many people in our community. So if you have your Uni offer and not sure how you’re going to afford it, apply right now – APPLICATIONS CLOSE TODAY – at
4. Yes, it’s still cricket season, but it’s also time to register for the 2015 footy season so the Warrandyte Junior Football Club is putting out the registration call. You can do this online from here
And while you’re at it, mark down in your diary Feb 8 (rego and meet the coach day) and Feb 22nd (season launch at Clifford Park). GO BLOODS!!!
5. The Diary is back (Feb 8) so if you’re a local business don’t forget to get your 2015 ad bookings in by no later than next Friday (Jan 30) and be a part of the first bumper edition of the year! It coincides with our excellent new website rolling out next week – great paper, great website, great social media integration and cheap rates. We look after our businesses who advertise with us, so give us a call – 9844 0555 – and find out how it can work for you and why so many other businesses have flocked to the Diary, the current CNAV ‘Newspaper of the Year’, in the past 12 months – it’s the people’s newspaper. Everyone reads the Diary!


Not your everyday bank

Warrandyte Community Bank notches up $1.7m in community grants

SHAREHOLDERS and representatives from organisations in Warrandyte and surrounds filled the Mechanics Institute Hall last month for the Warrandyte Community Bank’s annual general meeting and official announcements of grants and scholarships.

A total of $377,000 was allocated to almost 70 groups to go towards projects, community programs and infrastructure within the community.

Warrandyte Community Bank has now returned an incredible $1.7 million in grants and sponsorships since its inception in 2003.

With an upbeat energy in the room there was a strong sense of gratitude expressed to outgoing chair Sarah Wrigley.

Hands up who loves Warrandyte Community Bank: Staff, directors and grant recipients at Warrandyte Community Bank's AGM

Hands up who loves Warrandyte Community Bank: Staff, directors and grant recipients at Warrandyte Community Bank’s AGM

Many of the grants and sponsorship recipients thanked Sarah for the years of dedication and commitment she had made to the program and the bank itself.

One very happy recipient was Warrandyte High School, which received $25,000. In a joint submission with the Lions Club of Warrandyte, the school had sought funding to asphalt the car park behind the school basketball stadium.

Dr Stephen Parkin, principal of Warrandyte High School, thanked Sarah for her “significant contributions to the Warrandyte community and to the learning experiences of students at Warrandyte High School”.

Other major projects to receive a community grant or sponsorship included funding to acquire an inflatable rescue boat for Manningham SES.

Greg Mitchell, controller of Manningham Unit SES said it was a “great privilege” working with our community bank on the project.

“The understanding and support given by Sarah and Mark (Challen, bank manager) to our unit to help us replace a very old rescue boat was outstanding,” Greg said.

“Because of the Warrandyte Community Bank’s efforts and dedication to the community, I was honoured to collect a cheque at the AGM to purchase a new rescue boat that will support our local community and the larger Victorian community for many years to come.”

Manningham SES provides rescue services for a large part of the Yarra River from Wonga Park to Dight’s Falls and requires two rescue boats on the water in any situation.

Also in attendance was Manningham Community Health’s Jenny Jackson, who said Manningham Community Health Services was thrilled to partner with Warrandyte Community Bank to support the mental wellbeing of young people in the greater Warrandyte area.

“As CEO of the not-for-profit health service, I am constantly delighted to see the wonderful work of our local Bendigo Bank branches in bringing all members of the community together in such a meaningful way for the benefit of the whole community,” Jenny said. “Being present at the AGM was yet another opportunity to observe genuine community partnership and I urge all Manningham community residents to support their local Bendigo Bank branches so that this great community partnership work can flourish even further.”

Aaron Farr, in his address as incoming chairman, told the audience he has “some very large footsteps to follow” and in doing so looks forward to embarking on his new role.

“In continuing the role of chairman I look forward to leading our community bank in building on the foundations set in place,” Aaron said.

“With continued and ongoing growth, the Warrandyte Community Bank will be well placed to contribute more financially to the community into the future.”

Also in attendance were the bank’s scholarship recipients, Gabrielle Mitchell (2013), Mitchell Dawson (2014), Nik Henkes (2014) and Joshua McMullen (2014).

Josh said the scholarship had helped him immensely with tertiary studies.

“It took off a lot of stress normally associated with the beginning of a year at university with purchasing textbooks and other supplies, and helped me cruise on in to my year of study with a positive attitude,” Josh said.

“It’s not your everyday bank!”

Keep dogs on a leash

WARRANDYTE horse riders are urging dog owners to abide by on leash areas along the Warrandyte River Trail following aggressive attacks on horses.

Those who ride their horses and ponies along the scenic trail believe most dog owners are cautious and friendly, but say a small percentage of dog owners are putting riders and horses at risk of injury by not doing the right thing.

“Most dogs are fine but usually the most aggressive dogs have never seen a horse before,” Warrandyte rider Jane Sutherland said.

“Then there are owners who don’t abide by the on leash area signs.

“A couple of weeks ago my horse was chased by two dogs off lead. They tried to bite my horse’s leg and my friend, who was riding my horse at the time, asked the owner of the dogs to put them on lead because it wasn’t an off lead area.

“So off the lady went but then she came back the other way with the dogs off lead again and they attacked my horse again.”

In another recent incident along the trail a dog tried to bite a pony’s throat and another horse’s back legs, landing the owner a $2500 vet bill.

Jane says most dogs using the trail are friendly with horses.

Jane says most dogs using the trail are friendly with horses.

Jane estimates 50 riders use the trail each week.

However, horses won’t be able to use the trail for much longer.

Manningham council chief executive Joe Carbone says the Warrandyte River Trail is expected to be closed to horses in a year when another horse trail is complete.

“Council is working on an alternate horse trail along Gold Memorial Rd through Warrandyte State Park and ending at Ringwood-Warrandyte Rd,” Mr Carbone said.

“This route will be along quiet local roads and horse trails through the state park with horse and rider safety a priority.”

Removing horses from the Warrandyte River Trail was a recommendation of Council’s Warrandyte River Reserve Management Plan, following two dog attacks on horses in 2012.

However, Lauren, 19, and Eliza, 16, have been riding their horses along the trail since they were eight years old and say it would be upsetting if they could no longer bring their horses along the trail to exercise and swim in the river.

“It would be a major loss for the whole community, not just us,” Lauren said.

“Most people like seeing horses down here, kids especially. Horses

have been a part of this town for so long so it would be really, really sad if that gets taken away from us.”

Jane says many trails around Warrandyte Park have already been closed to horses, mostly due to environmental reasons.

She says the closure of a small trail near Tindals Rd, which many riders rode along to get to pony club, is just one example of how riders are being forced onto roads with potentially life threatening consequences for horses, riders and motorists.

“A couple of months ago a group of kids were riding back from pony club along the side of Tindals Rd and there was a guy on a motorbike flying up Tindals Rd,” Jane said.

“A girl, who was 12 years old, put her hand up to ask him to slow down but instead he deliberately sped up, went as close to her as he could and the horse freaked. She fell off and the horse was running up Tindals Rd without a rider.

“Thankfully there were no injuries but those sort of idiotic things happen often unfortunately. Surely these people wouldn’t put their own animals or their children in that sort of danger, so why would they do it to somebody else?”