News

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

 

Winter is the time to clean up Warrandyte

The Warrandyte Community Association has teamed up with the CFA, SES, Nillumbik and Manningham councils and Red Cross in urging Warrandytians to use the cooler winter months to maintain their properties in order to stay safe in case of fire, floods and storms.

“In the past, preparedness messages have been broadcast just before the anticipated bushfire season, not leaving too much time before fire restrictions kick in,” said Dick Davies, president of the Warrandyte Community Association.

North Warrandyte CFA captain Mick Keating admits he was one of the residents caught out last year when the re restrictions came into force in October, causing a mad scramble to get his property cleaned up ahead of the fire danger.

“Start cleaning up now for next year’s summer, rather than wait – because if it does come out early again you can get caught out very quickly,” Captain Keating said.

CFA community safety manager Tammy Garrett said this was the ideal time to get properties prepared, saying: “If you do it bit by bit, an hour on this weekend and an hour on that weekend, it doesn’t take as much as it would if you try and do it all at once.” Manningham City Council emergency management officer Helen Napier said while the focus for Warrandyte was generally about preparing for bushfire, the impact of floods and storms could be just as devastating.

“I think that sometimes people forget about the other hazards, and there is still the potential in some areas for that to impact just as much – the consequences are similar, you can be displaced, you might not have a home to live in, so the ow on effects can be the same as a bush fire,” she said.

SES community education officer Sue Whitten says there are things that can be done to mitigate the risks.

“Cleaning out the gutters and ensuring things like overhanging branches are checked regularly, making sure anything on your property is tied down… making sure that drains are kept clean, that any debris that comes down from the storm doesn’t end up in the drains and cause backlog and then potential for flooding,” said Ms Whitten.

Emergency management officer for Nillumbik council, Justin Murray, suggests it’s not just a clean-up that needs to be considered, but planning your garden to minimise risk is important when planting around your house.

“If people are designing gardens or making changes, have consideration to what that would look like, not only now in the short term, but also in the long term with regards to how vegetation develops and grows and also to consider what sort of vegetation they are putting in especially close to their dwellings,” Mr Murray said.

To get rid of green waste, residents have a number of options, either take green waste to council collection facilities, or larger properties, over 0.4ha, are able to burn off outside the fire restriction period, however smaller properties must obtain a permit from their local council.

Justin Murray said smaller blocks in Nillumbik were only permitted to burn off from October, so another option open to those residents is to pay for a second green bin.

“If one bin isn’t sufficient for you then the option is to have an additional one; so phone council to arrange that,” he said.

“There is no charge for the additional collection, but there is a small charge for the provision of the bin.”

Big cat on the prowl

Warrandyte citizens keep your wits about you, for the resident “big cat” has once again been seen in the community’s leafy surroundings. Fresh sightings of the freakishly sized feline have been reported all throughout early 2016, with multiple sources claiming to have seen the big black cat in different areas of Warrandyte.

Melissa Van Bergen and Ross Henderson recalled two incidents in which they came across the cat at their home in North Warrandyte.

“It was about three o’clock in the morning in the summer, and I looked out and I saw this black thing. It was big, I thought it was as big as a Shetland pony,” Ross said. “But it moved, it moved very quickly off into the bush, it was a cat-like movement.”

“About a week later at a similar time, I saw it in another part of the bush. I hadn’t heard any stories about it (the big cat), but my first impressions were that it was definitely black. I could see it in the moonlight because it was summer. It was sort of a panther type thing, something like that anyway. It had a fair size to it.”

Animals are often the first to notice a disturbance, and Melissa believes the family dog may also have noticed the presence of the black cat.

“Normally the dog barks and growls at everything. But this one time I found him at the door, growling, with his tail completely between his legs, and he’s never like that,” Melissa said.

Melissa, who has worked as vet nurse, also said she found large drop- pings in the area that didn’t belong to a kangaroo, dog or wombat.

Local woman Kassie Jones further alerted the Diary to the existence of the big cat on the community Facebook page last week, purporting to have seen the creature not far from the Shell service station in South Warrandyte.

“I saw it last Thursday (26/5) just before Gold Memorial Road intersected with Husseys Lane. It was around 1pm,” Kassie said.

“It was around the size of a Labrador but a bit bigger, was fully black and I didn’t see the head because when it saw the car it jumped off the road into the bush.

“I think it may have been a house cat or a domestic cat that got loose and started feeding off wildlife and grew, or a phantom cat from the Gippsland areas or from the Grampians area.”

The flurry of black cat sightings has thrust the creature back into the community spotlight, almost three and a half years after Diary contributor Jan Tindale took the original photo printed in the paper in December 2013.

“I’ll never forget when it was looking at me with those big illuminous eyes and slits. I won’t forget its tail, either; it was long and very brushy at the end,” Mrs Tindale told the Diary back then.

According to Cliff Green’s article in December 2013, eyewitness accounts going back decades have recorded sightings of “big cats” in the Warrandyte region as far back as 1979.

Furthermore, according to the Leader (August 27, 2003), Warrandyte residents should have no reason to feel a little crazy for sighting the cat, considering there have been about 20 documented sightings at Warrandyte State Park in the past 25 years.

Only time will tell if the creature, or indeed creatures, are still lurking in our midst, but if you see any big cats please contact the Diary at info@warrandytediary. com.au or phone 9844 0555.

Leaders in their field

Every month, the Warrandyte Diary showcases the extraordinary talents and kind hearts of our community. We love highlighting the in- credible work of locals and how their efforts are benefitting everyone.

Here we talk with two people not just doing their part for the community, but who are changing lives all around Australia and the world. Warrandyte may be better known for its artists, environment and cosmopolitan cafes, but now we’re known for being a home to leaders in scientific medical research and heart-warming charities. Meet Professor Doug Hilton and Dr Linda Worrall Carter, two Warrandytians making waves in the medical research community, with results having real-world impacts and which are changing lives. We hope you enjoy their stories and are encouraged to support their causes.

Professor Doug Hilton

(Walter and Eliza Hall Institute CEO)

Professor Doug Hilton

PROFESSOR Doug Hilton has lived in Warrandyte for most of the past 47 years – growing up here himself and now raising his children in our village. In our community, he’s a familiar face and a well-known referee at junior basketball matches.

Since 2009 he’s been the director and CEO of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, a 100-year-old organisation dedicated to innovative medical research, education and improving the lives of those struggling with illness or disease.

“I’m director and CEO, so on one level I’m in charge, but I also have a laboratory where I can do experiments and still work on research. I kind of have two roles – the overall running of the place and the other is to still do original research on blood cells and blood cell cancers.”

The institute has made many important scientific breakthroughs in medical research in its 100-year history. Recently, a pharmaceutical the institute helped to develop was approved for use in the treatment of leukaemia and lymphoma in America.

“It’s been a 30-year journey, a 30-year journey at the institute from the original discovery to now having a new pharmaceutical on the market that really is giving people with leukaemia, which was once a death sentence, some amazing hope [for recovery].”

Doug’s own research into blood cells and blood cancers is always making developments – an interesting area of research that he’s clearly passionate about.

“The goal of my work is to say you’ve got 30,000 genes … 30,000 different pieces in a jigsaw that make up your genetic blueprint. What I’m interested in trying to understand is which of those 30,000 are important in making blood cells normally, and which of those might go wrong when you get a disease like leukaemia and lymphoma, how blood production goes wrong.”

The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute is home to over 1000 staff and students, researches over 40 different diseases and conducts 100 clinical trials every year. They provide education and training to hundreds of young graduates that come through their doors. And they change lives for the better pretty much daily.

“It’s really exciting to be a part of that,” Doug says.

But no institution can exist and flourish without the support of others, and Doug says there are three key ways the Warrandyte community in particular can assist the institute with its mission.

“If they have an opportunity to talk to politicians, tell them that they value medical research generally. Lots of people in the community are really strong supporters of medical research. Talk about your support,” he said.

“And if you have kids that are interested in maths and science, in primary school or in high school, keep them interested and keep them studying for as long as they can. Melbourne has produced some amazing researchers and we’re always looking for the next generation. Having kids interested in maths and science is really critical to our future.”

Finally, Doug says the information and understanding is hugely important, too.

“Get interested in what we’re doing. We have discovery tours and opportunities to visit the institute and we have great info online. Get to know what we’re doing. If you like what we’re doing, then we can have a conversation about how the community can support us further.”

Doug is thankful for the communities support and says it’s wonderful to live in a place with our environment and people.

“It’s an amazing community that really looks after everyone, very egalitarian. It’s just a wonderful place to grow up and a wonderful place to bring kids up.”

You can find out more about the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research at www.wehi.edu.au

Dr Linda Worrall Carter

(CEO and Founder of Her Heart)

HER HEART

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr Linda Worrall Carter heads up Her Heart, Australia’s only charity dedicated to women and heart disease. Her Heart is the only not-for-profit in Australia focused on education and awareness of heart disease, the biggest killer of women in our country.

“I attend a lot of local events and activities to speak to women about heart disease. I must say the response is always the same ‘I didn’t know that heart disease is the biggest killer of women’. Each time I hear this, it makes me sad, but also more determined to make Her Heart a local, national and global success,” Linda says.

“As a society we educate women on many diseases such as cancer, almost all women know to have mammograms and Pap smears, however few women know that they should go and have a heart health check.”

In Australia, heart disease kills more women than all cancers combined. Global research shows us that 80% of heart disease is preventable and yet women are dying far too often in our country and all around the world. Women in the 25-40 age group are the largest growing demographic of people dying of heart disease – and Linda says her work aims to ensure women avoid becoming another statistic.

“This research has helped me identify the urgent need to make a difference, to take action and use my knowledge and experience to reduce this dreadful statistic. I founded Her Heart to go beyond research, to educate women and create national awareness of this deadly disease. Australia has 11 million wom- en who are all precious to someone and they deserve the opportunity to be in the know and live happy, healthy lives. Our goal is to reduce heart disease by 50% by 2025.”

Linda is passionate about awareness and education. After working as a nurse, and after many years nursing cardiac patients and teaching nursing, researching women’s heart disease piqued her interest. Fifteen years have since passed, and Linda has published over 100 research papers, presented at over 50 conferences and been a founding member of four different research centres.

Now, Her Heart is putting Linda’s research at the forefront of the conversation around women’s health. The not-for-profit takes a personal approach to education, encouraging women to speak with one another and with their doctor about their thoughts and suspicions.

“One of the issues we have is trying to encourage women to put themselves first, as they are often used to prioritising others above themselves. We often find women are very intuitive and have a sense that ‘something is not quite right’ – so they need to be encouraged to act on their instincts.

Linda has been a part of the Warrandyte community for over 15 years, raising her two daughters here and getting involved in Warrandyte’s school and basketball communities. She says the Warrandyte community has helped her immensely in the launch of the charity and can continue to support Her Heart through social media, local fundraisers, donations and sponsorship.

“There is clearly a huge sense of social responsibility within Warrandyte and it is flattering to be showcased alongside others who have been devoted to various causes… it is just wonderful to be acknowledged in this way.”

“As the founder of Her Heart, and a mum, a wife, and sister, I actively support women’s health and work hard to be a ‘Her Heart’ role model – so I walk the talk!

“ I am also passionate about getting the message out through any means that I can. The years of being a leader in research has allowed me to now y another ag, after all this research, what we need is to get the message out to women.”

You can find out more about Her Heart at www.herheart.org.au

Are you, or someone you know, our next leader in research? Tell us! Send an email to info@warrandytediary.com.au OR send us a Facebook message.

New CFA station for the South

BIG changes are afoot for South Warrandyte Fire Brigade.

The brigade is moving in July to their new home in Falconer Rd where the volunteers will be joined by a contingent of paid firefighters.

Greg Kennedy has stood down as captain, with the role being abolished as part of the integration process, and operations officer Jamie Hansen now appointed as officer in charge.

Mr Kennedy is returning to the rank of firefighter after six years in the captain’s chair and he says he is very proud of the work he has achieved.

“I have had a wonderful experience being involved in with the CFA over the past 32 years, it is a tremendous organisation full of tremendous people, which I will continue to serve from back in the ranks,” he said.

“We are very fortunate that other than the three houses that were lost in 2014, we have managed to ensure that Warrandyte remains safe, and there are lots of capable people ready to continue to do that into the future.”

There will be a roster of 20 new firefighters at the station, with many drawn from the local area.

“Two of the station officers live in Warranwood and another station officer was previously a volunteer member at Warrandyte … people who understand what we do in this part of the world, because it is, after all, a special place,” Mr Kennedy said.

Jamie Hansen is a staff officer in the CFA and has been attached to the brigade as integration officer for the past two years.

As incoming officer-in-charge, he says the move will see a benefit to the community in terms of faster response times across the whole of the Greater Warrandyte area.

“Having career staff within the brigade at the new station will significantly enhance the response times, we will have a minimum crew of four paid firefighters on a truck, out the door in under 90 seconds, and because of our quicker response times it enables us to get further a field and support more of the surrounding brigades, including the MFB,” he said.

The outgoing captain believes the difficulty of providing a consistent service to the community with volunteers is a growing challenge.

“There was a time 20-30 years ago when there were a number of people working every day in the Greater Warrandyte area but they don’t do that any more – there are always some members available, but there are times, not often, when the brigade struggles to have sufficient members available to respond to calls; as a captain of a brigade, the potential of not being able to re- spond to a call causes a great deal of concern,” he said.

He believes having career staff will alleviate most of that concern.

“There will be four fire fighters responding within 90 seconds of a call being received – 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. The pressure on brigades will be reduced significantly and, as a bonus, the ability of all brigades in the Greater Warrandyte area to improve our service delivery has increased tremendously – so why wouldn’t we want this result for our community,” he said.

Operations officer Hansen said another benefit for the Greater Warrandyte community is both career firefighters and volunteers will be trained as “first responders” for medical emergencies.

“You will see the South Warrandyte brigade responding to medical events that have been reported to Ambulance Victoria … we will be responded to assist the ambulance with specialist medical gear including defibrillators,” he said.

The brigade will still be active within the community with fire safety presentations and other programs.

“We will have more capacity to get to some of the schools in the area and I would encourage schools to visit the CFA website and register their interest in Fire Safe Kids program,” Mr Hansen said.

The construction and fit-out of the station is nearing completion, however, the brigade will continue to operate from Brumbys Road until the move to Falconer Road in July.

Mr Hansen said the new arrangements would begin on July 22.

“Day shift starts at 8am when the volunteer crews will be bringing the vehicles from the old station to the new station and hand over to the new staff,” he said.

See more in next month’s Diary.