News

Potters wheel into Warrandyte again

Around 70 potters from across Victoria and New South Wales will be descending on Warrandyte for the 17th annual Pottery Expo.

With a variety of wares, from fine porcelain to garden sculpture, the potters will display their creations along the banks of the Yarra on February 25-26.

The Pottery Expo at Warrandyte was instigated by local studio potter, Jane Annois in February 2001, after she saw the French Marche de Potiers [Potters Markets] of France.

“The first time I went to France, to Lyon, I was blown away, there was 170 stands of potters, and you couldn’t move, there were so many people, it was so exciting, the French said, ‘you don’t have potters’ markets in Australia? and they said you ’must start one’. So I did,” said Ms Annois.

The exhibitors have been invited on a basis of excellence, with variety and innovation foremost in the selection panel’s criteria.

This year’s feature artist at the Warrandyte Expo is John Tuckwell from Bellingen in NSW, who works in porcelain coloured slips.

“He is also going to give us a work-shop on the Wednesday March 1 at the Mechanics Institute, for beginners and experienced potters,” Ms Annois said.

Click here to book John Tuckwell’s workshop.

Several local artists will also join the expo, including three members of the Pittard family from Eltham, who have been taking part since the very first expo, and works by members of the Warrandyte Stonehouse artists’ collective will be on display.

Another innovative local artist whose works will be on display is Jack Latti from Research, who creates ceramic pieces for use in the garden.

“He is a horticulturalist as well and he actually designs the pots to suit the plant,” said Ms Annois.

Aside from the works on sale at the expo, there will be activities for both kids and adults, with Manningham Craft Works providing clay work-shops for children to make their own creations and demonstrations of clay throwing.

Forums on the business of art will be on offer for adults, as well as wine tastings, musicians and a Saturday night dinner on the banks of the river.

The Pottery Expo runs from 10am until 5:30pm on both February 25 and 26. Entry is free.

Fun in the vines.

Local winemaker, Rob Dolan Wines, have a great lineup of Summer entertainment amongst the vines at their South Warrandyte winery.

This Saturday (January 21st) they will be hosting a garden party, with local folk band, The Scrims providing entertainment while guests enjoy local beer, wine and cheese and an Aussie BBQ.

Marketing manager for Rob Dolan Wines, Kate Allen says and enjoy this free event will be a great day out for the whole family.

“There is no charge to get in, so it is a great opportunity to hang out and enjoy the music,” she said.

Then on the 10th February, they will be playing the cult classic Ferris Bueller’s Day Off on a big six-metre screen.

“We will be open from 6pm to allow people to grab a bottle of wine and deck chair or a bean bag before the sun goes down and the film starts,” Ms Allen said.

Bookings are not required for this weekends garden party, but tickets to the outdoor cinema can be purchased from Eventbrite.

Kayakers safe after river search

Police search and rescue were called out last night when, just on dusk, a concerned citizen reported an empty kayak floating down the Yarra.

Following a flyover from the police helicopter and the investigation of some cars left at the Jumping Creek carpark after dark, Police are confident that everyone on the river yesterday have been accounted for.

Sergeant Stuart Henderson of Warrandyte Police said that the owners of the kayak have been found safe and well, however they had hit a rock and tipped out of their boat and were unable to secure the craft as it floated downstream.

This is the second time in as many months when kayakers have run into trouble in the waters of Warrandyte.

The river is central to the Warrandyte community both residents and tourists and throughout the year people can be seen enjoying themselves in and around the river.

Victoria has experienced a particularly wet Spring and early Summer, the Bureau of Meteorology reporting this September as the second wettest September on record with rainfall at 94% above average across the state, a lot of the rivers in Victoria had flood warnings issued and this pattern is continuing into the new year.

To save anxiety, Police have reminded river goers that they should always let people know where they are and when they are expected back.

“We get this every year where people underestimate the time it takes to get downstream or get into trouble, if you let someone on the shore know what you are up to then everyone can get home safely” said Sgt Henderson.

The key to remaining safe when out on the water is knowledge, preparation and communication.

After consulting with outdoor education instructor and experienced kayaker, Jean Dind, The Diary has compiled a list of general tips and advice to help people play safely when on the river.

EQUIPMENT

Most sporting activities require specialist equipment, when one starts participating in adventure sports then the necessity for this equipment is paramount as it often directly related to one’s safety.

  • Transport Safety Victoria stress that A Personal Flotation Device (PFD) is mandatory and if you are going to be going down any rapids then a helmet designed for white water is also advisable.
  • There are a range of different types of canoe and kayak on the market all at different prices and made for different numbers of people or water types.

If you are thinking of buying one for yourself, make sure it is appropriate for the type of water you will be mostly paddling in.

KNOWLEDGE

Knowledge has both practical and theoretical importance here.

For the practical side, this translates into the skills required to effectively operate your kayak as well as the skills required to play safely on the water. To obtain these skills there are a number of options available:

  • Lessons

Whitehorse canoe club  is a local organisation that offer lessons with membership, an organisation like Canoe Victoria also offer courses.

  • River Rescue

Canoe Vic and Swift Water Training Group offer a range or course in river safety and rescue techniques. A casual kayaker wouldn’t necessarily do one of these courses so that they can rescue someone if they see them in trouble but more so give them the skills and knowledge to know what to do if they themselves or one of their kayaking party get into trouble.

KNOWLEDGE OF THE RIVER

Regardless of one’s level of skill, knowledge of the conditions and hazards one is likely to encounter when navigating a section of river is very important.

There is a system that grades rivers and rapids on their difficulty.

This system goes from Easy which means very light condition with very few hazards to Extreme which may mean going down a waterfall.

There are a number of websites that produce maps of rivers with instructions on popular kayaking runs and information about the class of water or rapid one is likely to encounter and even information about how to ‘walk out’ if you get into trouble, these sites are:

Enjoying the river ultimately comes down to one’s ability to be comfortable in and around the water and to be mindful of hazards such as fallen trees and submerged rocks.

It is recommended that whitewater kayakers/canoeists/paddlers are comfortable swimming in moving water and familiar with defensive swimming techniques including the whitewater safety position.

Christmas spirit flows in Warrandyte

Christmas good cheer was flowing as staff and volunteers at Warrandyte business, Now and Not Yet, opened its doors on Christmas day, so that no one had to spend Christmas alone.

 Café owner Derek Bradshaw was overwhelmed with offers of assistance from near and far as he provided free meals and company people who would otherwise have had a meagre meal alone.

“We shut it off at thirty as we had so many people volunteering… we had 100 customers last year, they seem to come in busloads as they come in from Ringwood,” he said.

“We had many locals who had lost family and didn’t have family to go to – one guy said to me this was great, I would have got a meal out of the freezer and sat by myself, so it’s good to come and have some people to be with,” said Mr Bradshaw .

From cooking, to waiting on tables or just lending a friendly ear, volunteers were enthusiastic in their duties.

One volunteer, Sammy, came all the way from Dandenong to help out and was just as eager to work behind the scenes as well as simply to be there for people in need.

“I want to come along and see amazing people with smiling faces and genuinely happy people – but I am happy to lend my hand in any way I can,” he said.

“We’ve had a great Christmas, but it’s not great for everybody, if we can make it a bit better, that’s great,” said another volunteer.

There were many locals who have been supported by Now and Not Yet in the past who were keen to give back to the café.

Local artist Andrea Glueck has used the café’s art space to work.

“It is such an amazing place I wanted to help Derek out, as he is so generous,” she said.

Support came from across Warrandyte, as The Rotary Club and local traders chipped in with donations.

Gardiner McGuinness put on a sausage sizzle that raised $700, which they turned into IGA vouchers, Pines Learning donated 38 handbags filled with women’s essentials collected from the local community, and all of the food for the day was donated by the café’s suppliers.

The diners were very grateful of the opportunity to feel connected to the community, as one woman told of her isolation that comes with separation from your loved ones.

“It’s nice to socialise with other people on a special day rather than sitting at home by yourself,” she said.

Mr Bradshaw said that with all the doom and gloom in the world, people are interested in what the true spirit of Christmas is about.

“It’s Warrandyte really isn’t it, it’s why I love Warrandyte, it’s such a good community,” he said.

For more on this and other Christmas adventures, see the February edition of the Warrandyte Diary.

Benschy’s last ride

One of Warrandyte’s favourite sons was honoured with a fabulous motorcycle funeral procession that roared through the township on Tuesday 13th of December.

Mark ‘Benschy” Bensch’s coffin was aboard a motorcycle hearse as it led a cortège of over forty motorcycles through the village after a touching memorial service at the local footy club.

The footy club wasn’t big enough to hold the crowd of over 600 people and the crowd spilled out on both sides of the clubrooms. Locals mixed with Mark’s biker mates as his family and friends paid tribute to a life well lived.

Mark was killed as he rode his beloved motorcycle from Springvale Road onto the Eastern Freeway last week. He died at the scene. It was stated that Mark died doing the thing that he loved and no one at the service disagreed with that observation.

Mark was the third son of Howard and Joyce Bensch. His brother Gary has already passed on and a touching tribute by Mark’s only surviving brother Ian was read to the attendees.

Mark’s four daughters Jessica, Carly, Sarah and Hannah all spoke proudly of their father and he would have been proud of them too.

Mark’s motorcycle club mate Neil Carter kept the crowd in stitches as he recounted some of Mark’s cheeky adventures. The service music was a soundtrack from the times as some of Mark’s favourite tracks were played, featuring Led Zeppelin, Crosby Stills and Nash and The Doors.

Mark played football and basketball for Warrandyte and was a member of the infamous Bay 13 group of football barrackers. He met his wife Sharon when she worked at The Golden Gate Milk Bar. They were married in 1982 and raised their brood of four girls at their family home in Brackenbury Street. Mark was always a loving and supportive father and Sharon considered him to be her ‘rock.’

People were saddened that Mark was taken early but there was laughter and friendship in the air as people gathered to honor Mark for drinks and food at the R.S.L. Clubrooms.

And Mark’s last ride through the township, well, that was nothing short of spectacular. Benschy would have loved it!