News

Hold the line

Warrandytians are well versed in a weekly whinge when it comes to telecommunications. So who ya gonna call? We called in Diary super sleuth David Hogg to investigate. He has some tips that just may put a smile … ahem … on your dial

HOME phone not working? Internet slow or dropping out? Warrandyte residents seem to think that there are unacceptable levels of problems in Warrandyte, but it is difficult to get specific evidence of this and the Diary is keen to get your feedback.
We are aware of recent prob- lems in the Brackenbury St area where Telstra contractors replaced a 50-pair cable and got the connections wrong leaving several households without phone or inter- net and it took multiple visits over two weeks to resolve all the problems.
But these things happen. Obviously with its hilly and semi-rural topography, one can expect slightly more disruption to services than city-dwellers would experience, but is there really a problem with the system here or are the problems more with the user? We’ll try to shed more light on this with a number of tips below.
Home phone
Pick up your home phone and dial 1 (to remove the dial tone). What do you hear? It should be pretty near to silence. If you hear a high-pitched hash noise you may have ADSL broadband and have neglected to fit a filter. If you hear crackling, there is some bad connection fault between your phone and the exchange. Check the connections at your phone and the wall. If it persists you may have to lodge a fault report with your supplier.
ADSL internet
If your internet service drops out or is intermittent, it is possible that you have other devices connected to the line which do not have a filter installed.
You must have an ADSL filter fitted at every phone socket in your house where equipment is connected; this includes fixed and cordless phones, fax machine, answering machine, security or medical alarm system, and any Foxtel box which connects to the phone line, and with the exception of the ADSL modem itself these should all be plugged into the “Local Phone” socket on the filter.
If, after checking this, the problem persists then the next time it drops out check the lights on your ADSL mo- dem. There should be lights for “ADSL” and “Internet” and these should be green or flashing. If they are not on or are red, there is some problem with your service. Start by unplugging everything in your home connected to the phone line except the modem and see if the problem persists. If so, you may need to call your supplier.

Does your internet seem slow? Then let’s do a speed test and find out exactly how fast it is. These numbers may sound a little technical but bear with us; if we can find out what you’re actually getting as opposed to what you should be getting, we can see if you have a problem. In Google type “ADSL speed test” or go to www.whistleout.com.au/ Broadband/Speed-Test

Find out your download speed in Mbit/sec. This will depend enormously on the length of the cable between you and the exchange. Theo- retically the maximum speed possible with ADSL2+ here is 20 Mbit/sec but in practice that isn’t what you’ll get. The table below shows very approximately the speed you should be getting.

If your download speed is way short of this, you have a problem. New customers are now being connected to ADSL2+ equipment in the exchange but some existing customers are still connected to outdated ADSL1 equipment which will restrict you to around 5 Mbit/sec.

If you live less than 3km from the exchange and are only getting 5 Mbit/sec down- load speed, check with your supplier that you do, in fact, have an ADSL2+ service, and if not ask to be moved across to ADSL2+. This they can do and it shouldn’t cost you anything.
Wi-Fi internet
Your ADSL modem may provide you with a Wi-Fi signal in the home for your phone, laptop, iPad or tablet. Even though the Wi-Fi speed be- tween the tablet and the home modem might be hundreds of Mbit/sec (which is great if you are transferring files locally between devices) your inter- net speed will only be as good as your ADSL connection. For good Wi-Fi, your device does need at least two out of five bars of signal strength. If your Wi-Fi does not reach to the far ends of your house, consider repositioning your modem centrally, or you can buy a Wi-Fi extender unit.

Wireless internet and mobile phones
You might be connecting your computer or phone to the internet using a 3G or 4G SIM card in a mobile phone, a USB dongle that plugs into your computer, a dedicated mobile hotspot device, or via a dongle in a clever modem that uses ADSL when available but switches to wireless when the ADSL goes down. There is now reasonably good coverage of 3G and 4G for phones and internet throughout War- randyte, but there are many dead spots. The three major suppliers, Telstra, Optus and Vodaphone, have quite dif- ferent coverage areas, but all have very good maps on their websites showing this, so you need to check carefully which supplier is best for your location.

For internet purposes, you can again run the speed tests as outlined above. On a 3G system you should get download speeds around 6 Mbit/ sec, on 4G anything up to 25 Mbit/sec, and if you’re for- tunate enough to be in your supplier’s 4GX or 4G+ areas they claim up to 100M bit/sec.

National Broadband Network
Warrandyte is not on the NBN, and if you search their website you will see that the NBN rollout has not started in this area. A year ago their website indicated 2018 as a possible timeframe for start of NBN rollout. The Diary sought information as to when this rollout would start, and was advised that it would not be within the next two years. We are advised that since the new Government has come into office they have required the NBN to remove specific date indications from their website.

When NBN is eventually available you will get a basic service at 12 Mbit/sec for roughly the same cost as now, with options to pay extra for various speed increments up to 100 Mbit/sec.

Speak to us
Do we have an unreasonable level of phone or internet problems which are specific to Warrandyte? The Diary welcomes your feedback.

Contact davidhogg99@bigpond.com and stay tuned for a fol- low-up in the next edition of the Diary. We would love to hear your thoughts

On the write side of the road

Cherie Moselen talks to two local poets about shared geography and an award that puts them both on a prestigious literary map.

WHAT are the odds that two Warrandyte poets who live on the same road would win the same major poetry award, one after the other?

Somewhat doubtful, given the Melbourne Poets Union (MPU) International Poetry Competition annually sees 300-400 poems narrowed to a shortlist of a dozen or less.

Chance is a fine thing, but artistic skill is most likely the reason residents John Jenkins and Carmel Macdonald-Grahame are hot property as the 2013 and 2014 winners of this high profile competition*.

It’s a good thing I manage to interview them together as neither are the type to toss accolades on their own literary bonfires.

Carmel is glowing about rising stars like Eltham writer Lisa Jacobsen, who has been published in Australia, Canada, Indonesia, the UK and the United States. (One of Warrandyte’s treasured Grand Read performers, Lisa also won the Adelaide Festival John Bray Poetry Award last year and was shortlisted in four other national awards.)

However, she makes no mention of having two poems recently longlisted in this year’s fiercely contested Ron Pretty Award.

“It’s a remarkable achievement on the back of the 2014 MPU win and recent publication of her first novel by University of Western Australia Press,” John Jenkins says, filling me in on Carmel’s successes, but waving away any attempt I make to talk about his own as an award-winning poet and celebrated writer of over 20 books published in various genres.

There are more than a few literary triumphs between the two, and while both allow awards establish credibility and garner peer recognition, their value to each seems to lie in the confidence they generate: that the work was on the right track.

“Sometimes I revisit old writing that I’ve abandoned and resuscitate it, because I feel there is still something vital there and a particular competition might be a likely place for airing it,” says Carmel. “It gives me an endpoint and makes me finish the unfinished work, which is a reward in itself. It’s an added bonus if it wins.”

John agrees: “I often persist with a piece of writing, drafting and redrafting, and the formal appreciation means the extra work was worth it. It validates the process – I’ve sent it off to a competition and the judge liked it, the piece is finished and it’s as good as it can be.”

However, Carmel says she is “chuffed” about winning this particular award.

“Part of the pleasure with the MPU prize was being able to follow in John’s footsteps a little, as we’ve occasionally worked on poetry together. Also, the Melbourne Poets Union is a special point of connection for me,” she says.

“When I moved to Victoria seven years ago, it was through this ‘union of poets’ that I found out what was going on in Melbourne for writers.”

“Of course, now I have an abundance of artistic connections virtually at my doorstep, many of whom come together from time to time at the Grand Read.”

Her mention of The Grand Read – a Warrandyte Festival event, in its 18th year – launches John onto a topic he is happy to talk about and is clearly fond of.

“We have a wealth of literary talent in our shire, an embarrassment of riches really, and Warrandyte is lucky to have a fantastic annual event in which to celebrate some of them.”

“There’s lot’s of lovely food, and drinks at the bar, which gives The Grand Read an enjoyable and festive buzz,” he says.

“Every year there are special guests, some with international reputations, so the literary quality of the work is very fine. But there’s never anything stiff or stodgy about it. MC Jock Macneish sets exactly the right tone and the readers are great performers of their own work, so there’s a dimension of entertainment.”

He adds: “Diary readers, certainly anyone interested in writing, should come along and be prepared to be surprised and delighted by a great night out.”

Both Carmel (as an organiser of the event) and John will be appearing at Warrandyte’s Grand Read, upstairs at The Grand Hotel at 7.30pm on Tuesday March 24.

For more information about the event, contact Warrandyte Neighbourhood House on 9844 1839 or email info@warrandyteneighbourhoodhouse.org.au

*John’s 2013 MPU winning poem is titled When he read the poem in the room above the stairs. Carmel’s 2014 MPU winning poem is titled Wreck.

Doncare produces iMatter app

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 12.34.52 pmSOME people may find it hard to realise the warning signs of a potentially violent partnership at first. Young or old, no one is immune to the psychological predatory behaviour that domestic violence abusers use to isolate victims before subjecting them to more physical abuse.

Unfortunately, when family and friends try to intervene they are pushed away because the victim is in denial about their situation: their judgement clouded by emotion.

As is common in abusive relationships, the victim may experience feelings of shame, intimidation and fear, compounded by the isolation from support networks that generally accompanies domestic abuse.

To combat this, local Manningham counselling service Doncare has developed a revolutionary new app called iMatter, which takes the perceived judgement and pressure out of identifying and accepting that one may be in a harmful relationship.

The app is designed to help young people recognise the early signs of abusive and controlling behaviour and empower them to avoid and leave unhealthy relationships.

iMatter includes images, quizzes, videos, a diary and links to information about domestic abuse services in every country in the world. It also includes positive messages designed to encourage resilience and self-esteem in young people.

The project is managed by Youth Foundation facilitator Katherine Georgakopoulos and Doncare’s placement student Jo Maddock, who both oversaw the launch of the iMatter app on February 14 by Australian of the Year and anti-domestic violence campaigner Rosie Batty.

“These types of relationships aren’t always as obvious as a black eye or split lip, so it is vital victims are empowered to deal with psychological abuse as well,” Rosie says.

“I think throughout our communities, at any age, we’re learning it’s not just about physical violence,” she said. “Violence is also psychological, which includes verbal. It’s not just about physical harm, it’s far more complex than that.”

Batty said it wasn’t until she was 40 that she finally realised the psychological and physical abuse wasn’t her fault, proving the importance of young people being able to recognise the warning signs early.

Recent Australian research has revealed that 22% of women under the age of 20 have experienced intimate partner violence and what’s even more concerning is that many young women misinterpret behaviour like extreme jealousy and controlling tendencies as signs of love and affection. From these figures it is clear that an app of this kind is long overdue and the creators have already seen an overwhelming response.

Doncare director Carmel O’Brien says, “We hear again and again from young people that they are putting up with things in relationships that are really very disrespectful and sometimes frightening.”

Working closely with domestic violence victims, the Doncare team is aware that young women feel they are rarely warned about the very fine line between controlling behaviours and abuse. The app also promotes self-esteem and confidence, as Batty believes low self-esteem can lead young women to enter and remain in damaging relationships.

“If you’re approaching a relationship when you have no self-esteem, you’re most likely to enter into a toxic relationship,” Batty said. “It will not get better, it will wear you down and will reduce you to a very low point.”

Her most important message? “If (the relationship) doesn’t feel right, get out of it. Get out.”

If you or someone you know is impacted by domestic violence, call 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au

In an emergency, call 000.

The iMatter app is available at iTunes and Google play stores.

Calmer waters for Melbourne Hill Rd

A SOLUTION to Melbourne Hill Road’s drainage issue could become the benchmark for other ecologically sensitive catchments within Manningham.

An epic struggle by residents for sustainable, cost effective stormwater management has inspired a new approach by Manningham council.

Although originally set to enforce an unpopular and costly scheme for localised flooding issues in the catchment, after sustained community campaigning council engineers are now considering alternative solutions.

Council has obtained a $50,000 grant from the state-funded Living Rivers Program (a previously unexplored option), which will be matched from council coffers to provide a $100,000 budget. This will allow investigation of more environmentally sustainable stormwater management possibilities in the troubled catchment.

Consulting engineering group BMT WBM has been appointed to conduct this feasibility study, which is planned for completion by the end of May.

Council has also undertaken a more consultative approach to management of the issue. Formalised in a ‘Terms of Reference’ document instigated by the community representative panel, this approach is an effort to bring more open and informed discussion around the issue.

Highly regarded strategic environmental engineer and president of Stormwater Australia, Andrew Allen, was a welcome new addition to the recent reference panel meeting.

It is expected Allen, who had been seconded from Manningham council to the office of Living Victoria during much of the original resident/council debate, will add his considerable depth of knowledge in sustainable flood mitigation to the project.

Cr Sophy Galbally, who has continued to campaign for a balanced solution to flood management in the catchment is satisfied with the progress so far.

“I was pleased to meet the senior executives from BMT WBM at the recent reference panel meeting where residents, council engineers and ward councillors were able to convey the issues they hope this study may be able to address. I sincerely hope the consultants’ report, which is welcomed by all, will provide council with innovative and sustainable options for all areas in need of flood mitigation, particularly in the Mullum Mullum ward,” Cr Galbally said.

Residents’ spokesperson Peter Noye told the Diary: “The representative panel stand committed to a more environmentally sustainable and economical outcome. We thank the councillors for voting towards seeking a more cost effective and sustainable alternative.”

The next community meeting on the Melbourne Hill Rd issue will be held at Warrandyte Uniting Church, Taroona Ave tonight (March 10) at 8pm.

VIDEO: Warrandyte chooks

The Diary checks out some chooks and their owners to see what has Warrandyte buzzing about free-range chickens … and a few ducks!