News

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