Monthly Archives: April 2016

Family…and my FJ

WARRANDYTE’s David Cameron was born in Zurich in 1951. Five years later a brand new FJ Holden drove off the GMH assembly line in Australia, and David and the classic motor vehicle were destined to come together for a lifelong partnership.

The FJ eventually became David’s mum and dad’s family car and when he turned 18 his father presented him with the keys. What makes it really special is it was David’s first and last car.

Now, almost half a century later, he’s still driving the classic around the hills of Warrandyte.

“It’s been a member of the family for well over 50 years,” says David. “People often advise me to upgrade to a more modern car, but I just say to them, you don’t trade in your grandmother just because she’s getting old. We have to treat the old girl with great respect.”

David moved to Warrandyte with his parents Barbara and Don in 1962. “We moved to Glynn’s Road just after the great fire,” says David. After Grade 6 at the local primary school, David went to Norwood High School. “I completed my six year sentence at Norwood. It was a terrible time for me because I was so painfully shy. Life during those years was a bit of a misery. Later I played keyboard in a band called Pieces of Eight and that helped me with my shyness and gave me a passport into parties and social events,” he explains.

David studied biological science at Latrobe University and it was during his second year when he met his wife Lee who was studying medicine at Melbourne Uni.

“Laurie Ball was the matchmaker,” remembers David. “He got us together at his house in Research Warrandyte Road.”

Lee remembers the meeting too. “There was a little voice inside my head saying, ‘This man is going to be my husband’,” says Lee with a smile. “There was also another voice saying, ‘Why me? This little Swiss apple is too young and green’. But it has all worked out and we still really love each other.”

David adds: “Yes, we have weathered the obstacles together. But our fairy godmothers have worked overtime.”

Lee pipes up saying: “We’ve been held together by Angel’s Glue and it’s held well because we are soon to celebrate our 45th anniversary.”

David and Lee raised a family of six children, Marcel, 41, John, 37, Virgil, 35, Maria, 33, Felix, 31, and Angelica, 28. The family has grown up with the old FJ, too.

“We’ve brought up our six kids and they have all been driven to school in the car, learned to drive in the car and some of the kids were even conceived in the car,” says David with a twinkle in his eye. “Unbelievably, the 1956 car’s odometer still reads in miles not kilometers. And when we add up all the miles we’ve done driving the kids to the Rudolf Steiner School, it adds up to more than the distance to the moon.

“Sure, there have been accidents along the way, but the FJ is built like a tank from solid metal and not designed to crumple like modern cars. If somebody runs into me, they’ll come off second best. We always get the old girl patched up and back on the road.”

Lee has kept up the family tradition and driven a 1954 FJ special since ’85. “My cars first engine lasted from 1956 until 1970,” David says.
The first replacement-reconditioned engine lasted until ’88, the next replacement engine went until 2007 and David is confident the fourth engine will last until 2027. “Now I really look after the old girl and don’t push her too hard,” says David. As a botanist, David has ventured forth and driven his FJ on most of his field trips over the years, often taking Lee with him.

“The car speedo has probably been around the dial about five times,” he points out. “We’ve had some close calls in the car too. One night we were coming back from Goongerah with the whole family in the car when the fan belt gave out. I always carry rubber bands in my pocket so I put about 10 big fat rubber bands in place of the fan belt and off we went. Five miles down the road there was the smell of burning rubber and these strange pinging sounds coming from under the bonnet. We tried the rubber bands again but once again only got another five miles along the road before they gave out. Eventually a good samaritan stopped with a mobile phone and called the RACV.”

Another time David and Lee were travelling through the South Australian Outback with a group of botanists. Lee was pregnant at the time and the corrugations on the outback roads were creating a rough ride.

“We feared the constant bumps could have an adverse effect on the pregnancy and so we left the group and turned for home,” remembers David. “Nevertheless, it was a charmed and wonderful trip to make before we had a big family.

“Over the years people have got increasingly nostalgic towards these classic cars. People constantly wave and approach me at petrol stations to tell me their FJ Holden stories. I’ve had endless offers to buy the car and people ask me how much I want for her. I tell them that the car is priceless and that I never want to sell it. It’s a member of my family and I can’t part with it.”

Sometimes David and Lee have lived away from Warrandyte but like all good and committed Warrandytians they have gravitated back to where they belong.

David tells the Diary why he loves Warrandyte: “It’s a place that’s generous towards unusual and odd people. A place that’s tolerant of people who don’t quite fit into the suburban straightjacket.”

David, at 65, will keep working as a senior botanist with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and doesn’t intend retiring his trusty FJ Holden any time soon. It seems they will travel onwards together, for the whole journey.

Perhaps the Angels Glue that has bound David and Lee’s marriage will also keep the old classic car on the road forever, all the way to the moon and back.

Warrandyte’s mighty hat trick

WARRANDYTE Cricket Club has experienced another successful year, taking home three senior premierships in the Ringwood District Cricket Association for 2015/16.

Victories for Warrandyte’s Third XI (Don Smith Shield), Fifth XI (Timothy Court Shield) and Sixth XI ensured the Bloods added more silverware to their recently bulging trophy cabinet.

It was a busy finals campaign for Warrandyte across the entire club with five of the six senior teams qualifying for the finals and all of those five winning through past the first week.

The impressive Third XI made it to the big dance the hard way. Arguably deserving to finish on top of the ladder, Warrandyte had to settle for third place and an elimination final against Lilydale due to an anomaly in the draw and a last round defeat.

Warrandyte made light work of the opposition in the knockout game, easily defending a monstrous 305 on the second day. Warrandyte reached the total thanks to the well-poised batting of Tom Ellis and Cameron Day, before Stuart Howarth and Shaun Ison brought the team home strongly.

Ison would prove to be the games X-factor, taking three wickets when Warrandyte had its turn with the ball, to compliment U16 player Ben Jackson’s four wickets.

The following week, Warrandyte faced Kilsyth to book its ticket into the Grand Final in what proved to be a tighter contest. After being restricted to 151 on a slow ground, (with Day doing most of the heavy lifting with the bat) Warrandyte’s skipper Stewart Smead delivered with the ball, taking 5/10 in a romp to ensure Warrandyte would play another week. Playing as the only senior team in the third week of the finals, Warrandyte had a large crowd in attendance as it took on the competitive East field at a neutral ground. The Grand Final was an intense affair and became a one-day fixture following rain interruption on the first day.

Warrandyte had 35 overs to play with and restricted Eastfield to 117, largely due to more terrific bowling from Smead. That left Warrandyte facing a tricky run chase in a high-pressure situation, and the Bloods needed to keep their heads. Consistent wickets kept East field in the game, until Chris Jackson and Dean Gidley combined for the ninth wicket to guide Warrandyte home to an unlikely victory.

The Fifth XI also welcomed 11 premiership players to the history books, with an emphatic Grand Final victory over Templeton at the Warrandyte Cricket Ground.

To reach the final, Warrandyte was required to chase down 100 against a tough Montrose team, but completed the turnaround thanks to some dogged batting by Peter Hanson. Warrandyte put on a nervous display with the bat in the Grand Final, which may have been influenced by the size of the occasion. The home side managed 125, with Nathan Croft providing a mature captain’s innings before Warrandyte took the ball to defend the total.

Thanks to clutch bowling by Aaron Dean and Ryley Reardon, Warrandyte pegged back Templeton, despite the away side needing just 40 runs with seven wickets in hand. Warrandyte was able to celebrate a truly incredible come-from-behind win because of a complete team effort.

The Sixth XI have also done the community proud with comprehensive victories over Olinda and then Eastfield in their finals campaign. In the first matchup, Warrandyte cruised to victory following a strong batting display from Travis Jackson and Bailey Thomas, with bowlers providing ample cover to defend 269. Bill Stubbs was the one to do the damage, with strong support from Brady Poole, Claire O’Brien and Max Coutts. Heading into the Grand Final, Warrandyte faced tough competition, highlighted when Eastfield put on 171 in its innings.

Stubbs and Andrew Thomas worked hard with the ball to ensure Warrandyte would have a strong chance of reaching the Eastfield score.

However, the total would turn out to be nowhere near defendable, with Graham Rees, Bailey Thomas and Brady Poole providing strong support to club president Greg Warren, who was the star of the show.

Warren would finish not out on 90 runs, an incredible effort by the club stalwart to ensure a team compromised of a mix of veterans, junior and seniors would take home the flag.

In the other grades, despite a first round win for the First XI and 13 wickets from coach Jake Sherriff in the finals, Warrandyte’s senior side would suffer a poor batting collapse in its preliminary final against North Ringwood.

Warrandyte’s Fourth XI would also be knocked out on the penultimate weekend of the year, with another batting collapse costing the team. The week before, five wickets from John Prangley and strong batting from Hoiberg and Goddard would guide them past South Warrandyte.

First XI

Elimination Final: Warrandyte 136 (Dehmel 39) d. Warranwood 117 (Sherriff 8/41). Preliminary Final: Warrandyte 74 (Dehmel 28) def. by North Ringwood 6/83 (Sherriff 5/25)

Third XI

Elimination Final: Warrandyte

9/305 (Ellis 69, Day 57, Haworth 41) d. Lilydale 165 (B Jackson 4/41, Ison 3/24). Preliminary Final 151 (Day 86) d. Kilsyth 49 (Smead 5/10, C Jackson 3/14). Grand Final: Warrandyte 8/118 (Ellis 18) d. Eastfield 7/117 (Smead 4/15)

Fourth XI

Elimination Final: Warrandyte 176 (Hoiberg 97 not out, Goddard 41) d. South Warrandyte 153 (Prangley 5/31). Preliminary Final: Warrandyte 64 (Kline 15) lost to Wonga Park 8/167 (Weatherley 2/4)

Fifth XI

Semi Final: Warrandyte 8/102 (Hanson 32) d. Montrose 100 (Woodhead 3/25). Grand Final: Warrandyte 125 (Croft 31) d. Templeton 115 (Dean 4/15, Reardon 3/10)

Sixth XI

Semi Final: Warrandyte 4/269 (Jackson 62, B Thomas 58) d. Olinda 83 (Stubbs 3/16). Grand Final: Warrandyte 2/176 (Warren 90 not out) d. Eastfield 171 (Stubbs 4/20, A Thomas 3/22)

Antony wins Cliffy

AT the end of last year the Diary launched a short story competition in honour of the paper’s founding father, Cliff Green.

Stories had to be 1000 words or less and about 30 entries were received, several of them fabulous tales by school-age writers.

Judges narrowed the field to three finalists who were recently announced at Warrandyte’s Grand Read: Robin Fitzherbert, Laura Wellington and Antony Pollock.

Before the big reveal, the Diary disclosed the winner of the competition’s encouragement award: 8-year old Keira Edmonds, for her story The Show.

(Keira will receive a $40 book voucher, plus free entry to an up- coming Eltham Bookshop writer’s event featuring Melbourne-based author of more than 90 books for kids and teens, George Ivanoff.)

The Diary is pleased to inform readers that the winner of the 2015/2016 Cliff Green Short Story Competition was Antony Pollock. He received a $200 book voucher and was also given the opportunity to read his entry The Hermit, about an old man who finds himself in a moral dilemma following his battle with a giant fish.

The Diary learned Antony had written the core of the story, which was somewhat poetic in style and rhythm, when he was 12.

“I’ve been at work on something with words my entire life,” said The Cliffy winner. “I initially trained and worked as a journalist on the Daily Mercury in Queensland, so got good experience there in writing stories.”

Adding, he’d had a “romantic view” of being a full time author for many years:

cliffy award“You know, the room above the bread shop in the old quarter, drinking coffee at an ancient sidewalk cafe while I produce the great novel,” said Antony. “But doing a PhD thesis in Classics at ANU shattered that myth for me. It took me seven years to do and was the hardest thing I have ever written. I now know writing full time is really hard and discipline is required.”

Antony said he is trying to use his thesis experience to produce fiction in a substantial way, but confessed he was still feeling his way as a writer.

“Writing is like a physical muscle: I am learning to write and am not very fit, so shorter stories are good for my level of endurance. Having said that, the story I am currently working on is five chapters and counting.”

The successful entrant described his win as “surprising”.

“It is the first writing competition I have ever entered, let alone won. Warrandyte is such a creative place, so to win here is something I think,” he said. “I was very humbled and honoured, to be honest.”

A relative newcomer to Warrandyte, Antony (who works in a Commonwealth department in Melbourne) said he moved here almost 12 months ago from Canberra with wife Jacinta and their two-year-old son.

“So we are Warrandytians now and I just love the alternative feel to the place, the small village like atmosphere, the friendly neighbours … the even friendlier possums!”

And we just love that Warrandyte has another would-be author in its mix of talented writers. See his award-winning short story below …

THE HERMIT by Antony Pollock

In the forest lived a hermit. He had lived in the forest for as long as he could remember and there was never a time when he did not seem part of the meadows and streams. He was an old man with skin as wrinkled as a prune and hair as white as the clouds which drifted across the sky. But his eyes remained young and were as blue as the sparkling sea. He wore a long robe which was as old as he was and he leaned on an old crooked staff when he was tired.

He lived in a small wooden hut beside a gurgling stream and drew his water from an old well nearby. But sometimes the water in the well froze over during winter and the old man knew then that times were indeed hard. He fed the deer and other forest creatures which left the woods to drink in the long summer twilights. In winter the deer gathered close to his hut looking for food and he fed them too. But some days, food was scarce and then both deer and the old man went hungry.

One day, the old man travelled high into the hills. A cold wind whipped through the trees and snatched at the old man as he gathered his cloak around him. Winter was coming and a chill ran through him. He walked for a day and a half, further than he had ever walked before. He spent the night wrapped in his cloak in the leaf litter beside a small fire and set off again in the misty dawn, leaning heavily on his old staff.

Presently he came to a small pond pooled like a glistening jewel in the hills. He had walked for a long time and was tired, so decided to camp by the pond. As he knelt to wash his face the old man saw a huge fish lying motionless just below the surface in the centre of the pond. It was an old fish with many marks and scars on its faded body and fins notched and torn. But his gills still pulsated powerfully and his flank rippled with muscle. Because he had travelled far and because he was hungry the old man decided to catch the fish.

So he drew from his pouch a line and his finest lure and cast it upon the water. There was a wet plop as it landed and the old man jiggled and teased it along the surface. No fish ever known to him could resist that. But resist it the old fish did and try as he might, the old man could not catch him. He tried every trick he knew. He cast the line long and drew in fast. He cast the line short and drew in slowly. He weighted the lure and let it sink before pulling it back to shore. He changed his lure then changed it back again. He fished and fished until the shadows lengthened and the late afternoon chill passed through his thin clothing and entered the marrow of his bones. He fished until he was spent and in his frustration and hunger waded into the water to shout at the fish. But nothing worked.

Soon the old man stood exhausted and empty by the pond, his lure and twine hanging limply from his hand. Twilight was fast approaching and the old man, dejected and defeated, looked at the fish. It was then that he noticed something he had not noticed before. The eyes of the fish were milky and stared into nothing and suddenly, like a flash of summer lightning, the old man knew. “He’s blind! He’s blind!” he shouted at the trees. And so it was with shadows lengthening and evening drawing close that the old man discovered the secret of the fish. In its old age it had gone blind. He could not see the fine lure case before him let alone see to bite it.

In the end, it was simple. The old man replaced his lure with a fat grub he dug from the soil and let it sink slowly in front of the old fish. The fish smelt the grub, bit and was caught. In his agony he thrashed on the end of the line. He dived to the bottom of the pond and leapt high into the air trying to dislodge the awful hook. But try as he might he could not release himself and soon lay gasping on the ground, his long life finally ebbing away in the twilight.

At first the old man whooped with savage joy. But then as he watched the old fish dying on the ground, his flanks heaving and quivering, he was overcome by deep sadness. For years this creature had lived peacefully in the pond growing blind in his old age. He had seen many winters and each passing of the season wrote another chapter on his body full of scars and crevices. And he was killing him.

Suddenly the old man could not stand it and he reached down and twisted free the hook from the great head. He lifted the fish and plunged it into the pond, moving him gently through the water. At first nothing happened and the man was afraid he had killed him. Then a fin twitched, then another. As evening fell the fish slowly revived and as he watched him swim away the old man felt a deep release and sighed with pleasure.

That night he slept peacefully wrapped in his cloak under a thousand twinkling stars. In the moonlight in the centre of the pond the old fish hung motionless in the water as he had for countless nights before. In the morning the old man made his way back up the trail and by the time the sunlight hit the surface of the shining pond, he was far away. Not once did he look back.

Bridge of confusion


THE announcement of changes to the Warrandyte Bridge reported in last month’s Diary has polarised the Warrandyte community.

While some residents are applauding VicRoads’ plan, there are many who are unhappy with the lack of community consultation.

President of the Warrandyte Community Association (WCA) Dick Davies said there had been a huge backlash over a lack of community engagement.

“It doesn’t really matter whether people were in favour of it or against it or want Warrandyte to remain the same. I think they have managed to antagonise most people because there wasn’t any community consultation,” said Mr Davies.

One plan that was mooted in the community forum last November, but is now seemingly discarded by VicRoads, was for another bridge for use during emergencies from Reynolds Road to Blackburn Road.

Jan Freemen, who has set up a petition to gather support for the second bridge concept, is angry authorities have made their mind up without asking the community.

“The state government seems hellbent on a solution in Warrandyte which many do not agree with,” she said.

State Minister for Roads, Luke Donnellan, and Parliamentary Secretary for Transport, Shaun Leane, have highlighted the re evacuation benefits with both citing modelling which will see evacuation times reduced.

“This plan will potentially reduce emergency evacuation times for drivers travelling south over the bridge by up to 90 minutes,” said Mr Leane.

Member for Warrandyte Ryan Smith said while he has had some very positive feedback about the plan, it was disappointing that community consultation did not eventuate.

“I still think there is an opportunity to put a public meeting in place so people can retrospectively talk about what they would like to see as enhancements to the proposal,” he said.

Since the announcement several Facebook groups have been the scene of heated discussion, some in support of the plan and others vehemently opposed to the changes to the bridge.

There is major confusion over whether the changes are being implemented to ease the notorious morning traffic congestion or as a public safety measure in the event of bushfire.

Spokesperson for the Facebook group Save Our Bridge, Sasha Reid, told the Diary the changes were being promoted as a public safety initiative, which is contradictory to the CFA’s leave early message.

“It’s being presented as a solution to doomsday catastrophic fire scenarios and if there are days when that is possible, such as Black Saturday, then perhaps people shouldn’t be here,” Ms Reid said.

Local fire brigades are also skeptical of the value of the changes in a bushfire scenario, Captain of North Warrandyte CFA, Mick Keating, high- lighted the fact there is more to an evacuation plan than getting over the bridge.

“It doesn’t matter what they do at the bridge, the problem is with the roads on the other side of the river, the feeder roads are only single roads, you can’t get lots of cars out of the area because the roads just don’t handle it – build a freeway along Yarra Street and you’ll be able to get all the cars out – but Yarra Street isn’t going to take all the cars out of the area very quickly either, so again you go back to getting out early,” Mr Keating said.

Warrandyte CFA captain Adrian Mullens agrees the supporting roads won’t allow a faster egress.

“If you had road infrastructure either side of the bridge that would be capable of coping with the traffic, but you haven’t got it,” Mr Mullens.

Hope that the changes will ease the morning peak hour are also meeting scepticism; spokesperson of the Fix the Bottleneck Facebook group, Jennie Hill, sees it as only a partial solution, but needed for the immediate needs of North Warrandyte residents.

“For the people sitting in kilometres of traffic every morning trying to get their kids to school, I see the bridge widening and lights as a short term fix, and now we have to start working towards the long-term fix,” she said. And the long-term fix in many people’s eyes is the completion of the M80, however most concede even an optimistic timeframe for the Ring Road solution is at least a decade. WCA’s Dick Davies is hopeful VicRoads will return for more consultation and has offered to facilitate a community forum.
“Given that they are going to do something, what’s the best thing? You need to listen to the people who actually use the road, and of course everybody has got different views depending on where people live and what time they use the road, whether they are taking kids to school or going to work or what ever you know and if you listen to people you will find out what their views are,” Mr Davies said.

“It’s no good saying ‘it’s better to have the Ring Road’ – well it is better to have the Ring Road, but it’s not going to happen, not in the near future, so really we have got to try and work on the best design.”

Phase 1 of construction is due to begin in August with traffic lights being installed and a widening of the intersection of Kangaroo Ground and Research roads.

New model Green machine


WHEN we heard there’d been a new signing, and the name Shelby Green had been dropped, we wondered which women’s soccer team had ensnared the up and coming North Warrandyte local and granddaughter of Diary founder Cliff Green.

Further digging revealed the athletic youngster was the centre of a very different signing. Australian fashion icon Chadwicks Models, with over 30 years in the industry, believe Shelby’s striking features and hard-working attitude just might make her the next big thing in an arena, keen to portray a fresh, healthy image for young Australian women.

“Shelby joins a select group managed and promoted by the highly respected company,” Chadwicks booker Nathan Rossenrode told the Diary.

“As agents we are always on the lookout for talent who possess an individuality that will stand them apart from their modeling peers. When I first saw Shelby I was struck by her uniqueness, she possesses a different kind of beauty from many girls we represent.

“Apart from her physical attributes Shelby is also a very articulate and intelligent young woman. As models, it’s important to have a confidence. Beauty can only take attitude and personality that takes you to that next level. Shelby is still very young, but is confident and has a maturity beyond her years.”

Shelby’s soccer is also on the up and up. After a season with the Victorian state team at the National Training Centre and a successful nationals competition at Coffs Harbour, the fast running full back is now a proud member of the Bulleen Lions Women’s National Premier League side for the 2016 season.

Balancing school, soccer and a potential modelling career will provide quite a challenge, but the focused 15-year-old told the Diary: “I’ll just have to prioritise everything, be organised and get things done, but I’m looking forward to the opportunity to see where this (modelling) might lead me.”

And when asked how she might find standing in a bathing suit in a cold day? “No problem, try smashing into grown women, on a six degree day in the middle of a wind-swept soccer pitch.”

The Diary will be keeping an eye out for Shelby, whether she be shooting goals or featuring in fashion shoots. There’s no limit to what this third generation Warrandytian can achieve.

Boogie brilliance at Warrandyte Festival


THERE are some realities organisers can do without when readying a large group for an outdoor celebration. Like, for example, continuous rain.

Even Town Crier Ian Craig was heard trying to auction off his velvet frock coat to the lowest bidder in light of wet conditions before Saturday morning’s Grand Parade.

But the weather gods certainly took pity on Warrandyte Festival last month, ending heavy showers before they dampened crowd enthusiasm.

Kids in kangaroo tails, mini monsters, this year’s festival theme Boogie in the Bush produced some fantastic costumes. (See parade awards).

Warrandyte Neighbourhood House waved their boogie boards, while the team from Riveresque looked right at home wearing the curtains.

Light show projectionist Hugh McSpedden, (famously first to light up the Exhibition Building in Melbourne) and accomplished musician and botany lover Glen Jameson, were this year’s parade monarchs.

Warrandyte’s Emperor of Luminosity stole the show somewhat with his fanciful pairing of giant turban and cow print pants. Arabian Nights meets pyjama party, perhaps?

Monarchs and entourage floated down Yarra Street on a “magic carpet”, stately and dignified bar the occasional honk from a squeaky clown horn. (Vintage McSpedden).

Meanwhile, down at Stiggants Reserve, festival committee volunteers showed their true colours having shovelled mulch over much of the site to combat boggy conditions.

It helped.

Numbers were a little thinner on Saturday but wet weather aside, the popular village celebration unfolded with ease.

A Welcome to Country and introduction from local councillors, then it was time to put on those boogie shoes and get around some fabulous food and entertainment.

As you would expect from an event that attracts upwards of 10,000 people, there was a lot to see and do.

I didn’t make it to the tango lessons on Saturday evening, but heard they were a huge hit. Here are some things that kept me entertained over Warrandyte’s biggest weekend.

Crowd pleaser: Crazy energy and an irresistible beat from drumming ensemble African Star had audience members dancing up a storm at the Riverbank stage on Saturday. Nobody cared about the actual rain. Bow to the rhythm!

Gozleme grace: There was some- thing serene and comforting about the ladies in white from Turkish Kitchen & Catering, calmly rolling out their pastry amid the hubbub. Most importantly, weren’t those little parcels delicious?

Move over bananas in pyjamas: Colourful costumes, stacks of talent, the Funky Monkeys musical act and circus show made me wish my teen- age boys were small again. (Yes, they were that good.)

Who’s news? The Diary decided to put the community into the community newspaper this year, rigging up a frame so people could have their photo taken celebrity-style. Congratulations if you were front page news over the weekend!

Eastern FM 98.1. A long-time festival favourite, this community radio station kept the crooners coming, pumping out familiar tunes in between announcements. Because, who doesn’t love a bit of Harry Connick with their coffee?

Second is the new first. She didn’t win. She managed second. However, her happy grin said it was just as good. Aboriginal art exhibitor Loz told the Diary she’d been trying to win Sunday’s iconic duck race for years. Next year, Lorraine, next year…

Transport Tribute: Nillumbik council donated the use of a shuttle bus and two staff to take people who needed it, back and forth between the festival ground and the commu- nity centre. Hats off, for providing these much appreciated free rides.

Caravan of care: Whether the quandary was “toilet paper?” or “I’ve lost my children”, the staff in the information caravan dealt with it expertly. One shy little girl buying a drink admitted to “only having not really enough money”. Top notch volunteer, the man in the van Cyril Dixon gave it to her anyway.

Boogie central: I wish, like Michael Jackson, I could blame my dance moves on the boogie – and no, I hadn’t made one too many trips to the beer tent! This space was all about getting down: Hip-hop, Go Go, belly dancing and more. The lessons were tremendous fun (and Bollywood a touch harder than it looks. Just saying).

Dragon dance: If you decided to wait for the last band on Sunday evening, well done. Festival organisers pulled out a surprise finale. Huge silk dragons, lit from within, whirling through the picnic crowd. The look of awe on children’s faces: priceless.

Old favourites: It’s been a feature of this town for 39 years but still the sight of family-friendly, well-behaved festival crowds never gets old. I spent part of my weekend conducting a survey and almost everyone when I asked “what do you love about this event?” mentioned the strong sense of community.

It’s official.
Warrandyte Festival, you’re a gem.