News

Power to the people

SIXTY years ago this December 23, the electricity supply was finally extended to Warrandyte.

Can you imagine how wonderful that must have been? We take our electricity supply so much for granted whether it’s for lighting, cooking, heating or cooling or running the many and varied electronic devices so essential to modern living.

Imagine houses that had to rely on kerosene lamps for lighting, kerosene or ice-block fridges for cooling food, combustion stoves for cooking and open fires for heating? Then imagine being able to flick a switch to undertake these tasks. It was revolutionary.

Yet Warrandyte had to wait a long time to become connected. Many areas surrounding it, such as Eltham and Doncaster, had an electricity supply long before Warrandyte.

Up until the establishment of the State Electricity Commission of Victoria (SECV) in the early 1920s under the chairmanship of Sir John Monash, various small private and municipal companies had provided electricity to different areas. Warrandyte was not one of them. The general push initially was to have good street lighting. There were three street lamps in Warrandyte requiring a measured amount of fuel to light and the services of a lamplighter.

It was generally felt the lack of electricity was holding the town back. In 1924 a newspaper reported Warrandyte as one of the worst lighted districts. Pressure for connection mounted and all through the mid-to-late 1920s there were various deputations and agitation to have the supply extended to Warrandyte.

In 1926 when arguing for connection, Councillor Angela Booth pointed out Warrandyte was only 18 miles from Melbourne and the district had grown rapidly. She was given to understand, however, that projected revenue was too small and the distance too great. For whatever reason, no electricity supply was forthcoming at that time. In that year the Warrandyte Progress Association was very active in trying to get a hydro-electric plant established using the Pound Bend tunnel. However, a civil engineering investigation found that the capital cost of establishing this would be greater than that of providing a transmission line.

That had already been deemed too costly. The SECV also would not support any undertaking that might involve it in future expense. The commission’s policy was to set electricity prices according to the cost of providing supply. In 1927 a guaranteed annual revenue of £A520 (approx $40,000 in today’s currency) was sought from township residents within a two mile radius.

This, however, was found to be too high a cost for the relative size of the town and after surveying residents, the Doncaster Council reported such a guarantee could not be obtained. Some deputations continued but nothing definite emerged.

By early 1935 discussions between the commission and Eltham and Doncaster and Templestowe councils were taking place about an electricity supply to Warrandyte. The commission was reported to be anxious to install lighting. Each council was asked how many street lights it would support (Eltham three, Doncaster and Templestowe 12-14) which together with strong consumer support from within the community meant the cost of supply would be defrayed.

By October the SECV had made the decision to supply electricity to Warrandyte. Advertisements soon appeared in local papers for the supply of electrical appliances. Work on the scheme was well underway by November with completion expected by that Christmas.

On December 23 in 1935 Warrandyte became the 285th town to be supplied by the SECV. A well attended of official ceremony was held to switch on the supply. This was performed by W.H. Everard, local member and speaker of the Legislative Assembly. He praised the work of Sir John Monash and thanked the SECV for expediting the system before the commencement of the Christmas holiday season.

‘Let there be light’ was the apt heading in the Hurstbridge Advertiser on 3 January 1936. It reported over 30 Warrandyte subscribers had the supply installed at their properties. The Doncaster and Templestowe shire had provided 10 lights in Main Street and Eltham Council three road lights on Kangaroo Ground Road. While considered a good beginning, the road lights were thought to be too far apart and that more would be required to make the scheme a success. Over time the supply was gradually extended outwards though it was many years later before some of the more far-flung properties in the area were connected. It was the 1960s before the SECV turned to equalisation of tariffs, which meant rural areas were not so disadvantaged cost wise and more remote areas were serviced. The SECV continued operations until 1993 when it was broken up and sold to private companies under the government of Jeff Kennett.

Now wind and solar power are ever increasing elements in the supply of electricity. However, no matter how the power is generated electricity is a major part of modern life. It is indeed very difficult to imagine a life without the capacity to obtain lighting, heating and cooling and so many other necessities of daily living without it.

And as the Christmas lights are switched on in December to sparkle and glow, surely those early residents who fought so hard for its supply 60 years ago are worth a thought – and our thanks. Enjoy the festive season.

Cr Yang is new mayor of Manningham

Koonung Ward Councillor Jennifer Yang has been elected mayor of Manningham for 2015-16 and her fellow Ward councillor Dot Haynes as deputy mayor at the annual meeting of council.

It will be Cr Yang’s second term as Manningham mayor having held the position in 2012/13.

“I am honoured and humbled to have been chosen by my fellow councillors to be the mayor of Manningham for a second time. It is a rare honour and I am absolutely delighted to again have been given the opportunity to represent the residents of Manningham,” Cr Yang told the Diary.

Cr Yang believes her role is to build on the exceptional work of previous councils while keeping an eye on future opportunities.

“Manningham is an outstanding city and we have been left with a wonderful legacy and I am determined to work with everyone in the community to ensure Manningham remains one of the most liveable, prosperous and inclusive communities in Australia,” she said.  “Local government is facing challenging times and it is my hope that this term of council is not only a time of consolidation, but also a time for innovation and new thought to help us move into the future with confidence.”

Pantry full of joy

THERE’S nothing quite like the bond between mother and daughter. But for Warrandyte duo Helen and Kirsten it’s more than just family: it’s business.

The mother and daughter are the proud owners of The Joyfull Pantry, a gift hamper company that specialises in gourmet goodies and wine.

More than just a business or profit plan, The Joyfull Pantry is a flexible lifestyle choice for Helen and Kirsten; one that allows them to work closely together from their homes in Warrandyte and nurture that special bond.

“My mum is my best friend. We’d had a few different business ideas, but we both love cooking and we both love food, so [The Joyfull Pantry] seemed like a natural progression, a good idea,” daughter Kirsten says.

“We started the business after we had been making hampers for our friends and family at Christmas time each year. So we didn’t buy people gifts, we started cooking for them instead.”

What sets The Joyfull Pantry apart from other foodie institutions is its guarantee of wholesome and honest products, all sourced locally and made with organic ingredients.

“Our vision is to make everything that we possibly can, except for the wine and olive oil which we source from local producers. We try to keep our ingredients
as healthy as we can, all free
from pesticides and herbicides,
so it’s wholesome. We know the growers, so we know exactly what orchards our products are coming from and exactly what kind
of fruit is going into our jam,” Kirsten says.

“So we support local farmers and producers, and we’re reducing our carbon footprint at the same time.”

The Joyfull Pantry seems to be a little local business that can, with support and orders coming not only from Warrandyte, but from all across Australia.

“We’re always inventing new products to put into the hampers. We spend a lot of time taste testing and going around to farmer’s markets and finding all the products and ingredients, and then coming up with all the recipes, which we have so much fun doing.”

It’s something a little different for Christmas, but the hampers can also be purchased for other special occasions (baby showers, mothers day) and also as gifts for clients or co-workers. And while they’ve got their sights set on conquering the national market for gift hampers, Warrandyte is a place they’re proud to call home.

“We’ve got some great support from the Warrandyte Cellars, where we get a lot of our wine from,” Kirsten says.

“We’re also going to be doing some taste testing at the Warrandyte Market so that potential new customers can try our products before they buy them,” Kirsten says.

You can find more information and make purchases at thejoyfullpantry.com.au

Online shopping arrives

SHOPPERS in Warrandyte and surrounding suburbs now have the luxury of ordering their groceries online from Quinton’s SUPA IGA thanks to the installment of a cutting edge new ordering system.

By clicking into the easy to navigate site quintonssupaonline.com.au you can order all your groceries from the store and have them delivered to your door.

“We’re really excited about what we can now offer our loyal customers,” Quinton’s IGA manager Dale Farrugia told the Diary.

“It’s been a long-time coming, but it’s a really efficient system and we know a lot of locals are excited by it. Let’s face it, we live in busy times and by the time a person jumps in the car, drives to the supermarket, shops, drives home and unpacks, it can be anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half on average, so now they only have to spend 10-15 minutes on the computer or their smartphone and it’s all sorted.

“While we have a beaut system that works, all we ask is that residents have a little bit of patience as we fine tune it into a well-oiled machine.

“So far, so good, and we expect it to be a seamless process. We’ve already got people shopping online and they love it. Early days, though, we may be missing the occasional photo or an item is in the wrong section but ultimately it’s all up and running.”

And after test-driving the online ordering system designed for both your desktop and mobile (iPhone, iPad etc), I’m happy to report the experience is excellent. The site, created on the NoQ platform has slick design, is simple to use and everything is secure. Simply register and enter your details, and you’re ready to go.

“We have a support phone line available on the site and, of course, our staff are more than happy to take questions and help people.”

Delivery is Monday to Friday from 10am to 6pm.

Orders must be in by 11.59pm the previous day. Minimum order delivery is $50 and there are four zone delivery areas going as far as Chirnside Park, Ringwood, Croydon Hills, Bend of Islands and Wonga Park, among others. See the site’s “delivery” page for more info.

Delivery is free for orders of $200 or more, while orders under that amount only incur fees ranging from $5 (Zone 1) to no more than $10 (Zone 4).

Visit: quintonssupaonline.com.au

Ready to rock

TALENTED young musicians from the Greater Warrandyte region are putting on a not-to-be-missed show this month.

The annual Wonnies Battle of the Bands, hosted by Wonnies Music and Sport, will showcase the hard work of Warrandyte’s best primary school bands and music groups.

Students from Anderson’s Creek Primary School, Donvale Primary, Eastwood Primary and more will have the chance to perform in front of a live audience, on a stage equipped with professional sound and lighting gear. The school bands have been preparing for months to compete in the competition, hoping to wow their family and friends and the all important judging panel.

“It’s something I never got the opportunity to do when I was younger, get up on stage and be in a rock band. It was always concert bands or brass bands, orchestras and stuff,” says Scott Van Gestrel, director and founder of Wonnies.

“Nowadays with shows like The Voice, these kids want to get up on stage and perform in front of an audience.”

The professional set up of the event is an added bonus, Scott says, and really gives the kids a taste of what it feels like to play a live music gig.

This year, the battle will be recorded and filmed, giving the kids a memento of their experience. And a few years down the track, when they’re famous, it might even be evidence of their musical career beginnings.

There are two coveted prizes to give out this year. On top of the overall winner of the battle, there’s a new award for an up and coming band, chosen by the judges.

“It’s for young bands, kids who are eight or nine who have never been on a stage before. They get to perform on a stage, so instead of competing for the big prize, which is a challenge, they get to compete for a junior prize,” Scott says.

High school students have an opportunity to perform as well in super bands, made up of past winners and students from Wonnies. Quiet Bedlam, an acoustic trio from Warrandyte High School, are headlining this year’s battle.

The community is heavily involved in the event—not only are they encouraged to attend, but there’s a strong Warrandyte presence in the judging panel, which features a music teacher, a representative from one of the primary schools and a keen member of the community.

“I’d love to get a celebrity judge one day, that’d be cool,” Scott says.

Sponsors are another huge part of community involvement, and Scott is incredibly thankful for the support of local businesses, including the Diary, Quinton’s IGA, Bunnings Warehouse and more.

Wonnies Battle of the Bands will be held at Anderson’s Creek Primary School at 12pm on November 29

More details can be found at www.wonnies.com.au