News

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.