THE VICTORIAN Electoral Commission (VEC) have released its preliminary report regarding the electoral structure of Nillumbik Shire Council in its representation review.
Following an analysis of the projected population/voter data and the comments made in the Preliminary Submissions the VEC want feedback on two options:
Option A: Seven councillors elected from three wards (one three‑councillor ward and two two‑councillor wards)
Option B: Seven councillors elected from seven single‑councillor wards.
The VEC has highlighted its preference is for Option A.
An extensive 36 page report has been produced by the VEC and can read and downloaded here.
The urban/rural divide and the challenge of fairly representing residents was a common theme during the submission period.
It is common knowledge that the 435 square kilometre shire, with an estimated population of around 50,000 struggles with the challenges of having a highly concentrated population in its urban areas (Eltham had a population of 18,314 in the 2016 census) but has a responsibility to conserve the Green Wedge which makes up 91% of the geographical area and a population of 13,000.
This, coupled with ideological differences between significant community groups within Nillumbik’s Green Wedge, make fair representation a challenge.
Under the Local Government Act 1989 (LGA89), a subdivided municipality needs to ensure that each councillor represents around 10% of the total voter population.
The VEC uses LGA89 to calculate the total number of councillors needed to accurately represent each ward.
The choice to keep the number of councillors at seven is based on population growth projections which estimates Nillumbik Shire’s voting population will increase by 9.51% by the year 2036.
A large number of the submissions called for a system based on un-subdivided proportional representation, and while its preferred multi-councillor ward system does rely on proportional representation, it decided to not adopt a single ward model:
“The VEC recognises that there are some significant advantages to an un-subdivided electoral structure for Nillumbik Shire Council.
It would mean the proportional representation system would be used at elections and ensure that all seven councillors would be subject to the same quota to be elected (12.5%), which increases the community’s confidence during elections.
The un-subdivided electoral structure would provide voters with the widest choice of candidates at elections, enable both geographic and non-geographic communities of interest to elect a representative based on the proportion of support by the whole community and promote a whole-of-shire focus for councillors in a local council area where urban and rural interests are deeply inter-related due to their shared concerns about balancing environmental and development priorities.
However, the VEC has observed that elections for Nillumbik Shire Council have consistently been highly contested.
…An un-subdivided election for Nillumbik Shire Council will result in a lengthy ballot paper with an unwieldy list of candidates.
In the VEC’s experience, longer ballot papers can be confusing for voters and more difficult to fill out correctly, leading to higher levels of informal voting through voter error thereby effectively disenfranchising these voters.
On balance, the VEC did not favour an un-subdivided electoral structure for Nillumbik Shire Council for the following reasons:
An un-subdivided electoral structure would result in a much larger ballot paper.
The preliminary submissions have tended to focus on the division between interest groups with conservation or development priorities in the Green Wedge.
However, the VEC has generally heard that there remain differences in experiences and interests between urban and rural voters in the Shire.
Unlike an un-subdivided electoral structure, a subdivided structure would ensure there remains recognition of the broad geographic communities of interest in Nillumbik Shire.”
The VEC’s preferred three-ward multi-councillor option divides the shire into urban and rural wards and the multi-councillor option “ensures that the same counting system will be used in all three wards (i.e. proportional representation).”
With more than one councillor per ward, it is hoped this would address the issues of polarised council policy, specifically in the Green Wedge as it will not be just one councillor representing the view of everyone.
However, this is only going to work if the views/opinions of two Green Wedge council representatives are different enough to bring balanced representation to both conservation and development factions within the Green Wedge.
The VEC does highlight that under the three-ward Option, the Artisan Hills Ward is disproportionately larger — in terms of area — than the other two wards and may mean long travel times for those elected councillors, but the VEC states that this two-councillor structure keeps with the 10% representation tolerance.
If Option-A is chosen, will it “fix” the legislative issues in the Green Wedge? — probably not. It is this journalist’s opinion that the ideological and policy issues of the Green Wedge transcend Local Government.
However, if having multi-councillor wards stops the trend of Council swinging dramatically between development and conservation and allows for some debate on how to address both sides of the Green Wedge debate, then it is a good thing.
The VEC wants to know your opinion on Option A and Option B, public submissions are open until 5pm, Wednesday, May 8.
Submissions must include the full name, address and contact telephone number of the submitter.
Submissions without this information cannot be accepted.
THE BUSHFIRES in Gippsland and an unexpected Total Fire Ban may have put some people off, but those who congregated at Warrandyte Reserve for the ninth instalment on Run Warrandyte were not left hot and bothered.
An expanded event village and an impressive array of businesses on the netball courts meant there was plenty for runners to see, do, buy, drink and chat about before the business of running commenced.
For the second year in a row, runners would ascend the slopes of Everard Drive before taking to the trails in The Pound, which included — thanks to the generous support of Jan Day — a mad-dash through the grounds of her property between Pound Road and the riverside walking trail.
Although some were caught out by the heat, most managed to complete their chosen distance with a smile, and a one-litre drink bottle courtesy of Warrandyte Community Bank was well received.
This year’s 15km race was taken by
Johnny Kingma, a runner from the northeast suburbs who, the previous week, placed 6th in the 42km course at the Roller Coaster Run in the Dandenong Ranges.
It is the first time that Johnny has run the course and he told the Diary how he was impressed at how scenic it is.
Early Morning warmup
Ryder Nummy crosses the line with his Dad Aaron
Very welcome drinks station at Jan Day’s
People of all ages, from all over Victoria came to Warrandyte to participate in our villages annual fun run and talk on the ground is that people were surprised by the course and thoroughly enjoyed it.
With a smattering of attendance from local running clubs including Generation Run, Diamond Creek Runners, Westerfoldians and Victorian Ultra Runners, race organisers hope talk of the Run Warrandyte course will spread and that attendance will be up for next year.
Of course, 2020 will be the 10th anniversary of the run, planning has already started on what should be another awesome instalment of Warrandyte’s most athletic event on the festival calendar.
Films take us places we have never been, even if it’s for just a few moments, offering us a window into the wider world, opening our eyes to new wonders.
They entertain us, they offer hope and inspire us, they challenge us and broaden our perspective.
Films take us inside the lives of people different from ourselves and take us to places different from our everyday surroundings.
Why, only recently, I was flying over rooftops in London, transported back to 1935.
I had been dropped into a world of beautiful costumes, fabulous music and dance and some clever lines delivered by handsome actors at just the right moment.
Along with the beautiful sets and a chance to revisit a classic, watching Dick Van Dyke dance up a storm again at aged 91 was sheer brilliance.
Going to the cinema, sitting in a darkened theatre, we are left alone to travel to those places, until often, all too soon, it’s over.
The transition is often abrupt as lights come on and people start to move.
They murmur and stretch and turn on their phones, they scratch around in bags looking for keys and stand up, dusting the popcorn from their laps and loudly share their opinions.
Meanwhile, the music invites us to linger on the edge of where we have been, and the long list of names and acknowledgments continues down the screen.
First, of course, are the names of the stars of the show, appearing in a fancy font, one by one, as does the director’s name and a few other special people.
Then the long list of names with job titles rolls while the music continues and the theatre empties.
But I stay seated, often to the frustration of my other half.
I am not quite ready to go back to my ordinary, I like to stay and I like to read that long list of names.
To find out where it was filmed, and how many units were set up in different locations and which townsfolk need to be thanked.
To see just how many people worked in the art department, on costume design and make-up, and how many stunt performers, camera crew and lighting technicians made the leads look so good and by the way, what even is a ‘grip’?
And then there’s the production babies.
In the credits of Toy Story, Pixar began the custom of listing the names of babies born to anyone involved in the film during production, paying homage to the length of time a crew spends together and the personal relationships established over the period of production.
What we consume in under 120 minutes takes years and a multitude of people to produce, and the credits are the signifier.
Let’s go back to Mary Poppins.
It took over 500 people to bring us that single opportunity of simple escapism.
There were the usual stars and of course a few street urchins, 26 leeries (lamplighters) and one ‘handsome man’, there were 32 in the make-up department, over 130 in the art department and I lost count on the camera and lighting crew.
And though filmmakers often add in a little reward for those that choose to watch the credits, I know that as I read those names I am, in just one small way, acknowledging the work of a large group of talented artists and craftspeople.
Warrandyte’s annual festival kicked off last month with popular evening events, Warrandyte Film Feast and Warrandyte Donvale Rotary Art Show.
The festival celebrated the town’s hallmark qualities over the weekend of March 22–24 via the theme “Stars of Warrandyte”.
Saturday’s trademark Grand Parade was filled with firefighters, councillors in classic cars, floats adorned
with superstars, theatre nuts blowing bubbles, community bank benefactors holding big cheques and
A star-studded cast came out with props and colourful costumes.
Sporting clubs, IGA apples, Ringwood RSL rat-a-tat-tatters, ultimate martial artists in full spin, Neighbourhood House knits, an old Dodge, a young Billycarter, Arty Farty umbrellas, the honourable Ryan Smith all fired up about Fireball…
Variety Bash “Benzey” — now there’s a star! Sixteen Variety Bashes throughout Australia, raising money for children’s charity.
Giant ducks, mountain bikes, Dylan’s trike (made at school from recycled materials), CFA pumpers, scouts getting about — and all this to the shout of Town Crier Ian Craig.
Commentators kept it entertaining, even trotting out a joke or two: “These ducks look like they have their eyes covered, but actually… they’re Peking ducks!”
Rain made a half-hearted attempt to dampen enthusiasm but never really had a chance.
You see, for locals, nothing speaks to community pride more than Warrandyte Festival.
This year, the town clocked up 43 straight festival runs, thanks to a committed band of volunteers who continue to come up with ideas and the gusto to see them through.
A week earlier, organisers were told by Manningham Council that due to safe food-handling regulations, the Kid’s Market would not be able to sell baked goods — staples for these stalls, really, but rules are rules.
Families were notified and organisers feared the worst: dozens of disappointed children and parents, doing their buns and pulling out.
But, that is not the Warrandyte way.
A prize-winning number of stalls were registered — 70, in fact.
One young stallholder said it best: “We just ate all our cakes and made pet rocks instead!”
Kids’ Market organiser Grace Johnstone told the Diary that many interesting ideas were presented on the day, but it was “Warrandyte’s spirit of cooperation that was truly on show”.
Taking the cake, for mine, was a repurposed duck-race duck —complete with potted plant — “Hugh Quackman”.
Sunday’s Billycart Derby action drew a few choice words from parade monarch and motorcycle racing champ Cameron Donald, who helped out on the mike.
Cam’s commentary skills were tested — a minor stack, a false start and several finishes that looked too close to call — but he came through unscathed. Phew!
Meanwhile, on the Main Stage, the smooth countrified vocals of local performer Jo Pearson and the Pearl River Ramblers set up a further flow of excellence from Sydney’s alternative Country combo The April Family, dirtgirl and Mother Earth.
Fabulous Tom Petty/Fleetwood Mac and feisty Janis Joplin tributes followed on.
A day earlier, Riverbank Stage audiences had kept pace with drumming sensation African Star, before local bands Velvet Lounge and Riffmasters chilled things down to create a relaxed vibe.
In a new move, festival organisers brought Friday night’s three-hour Battle of the Bands (BOB) to the Main Stage on Saturday.
Applause for first-time festival volunteer Opal Gough.
It was a huge hit, giving young acts the opportunity to play primetime on a stage that has seen local bands like The Teskey Brothers and The Scrims go on to achieve success further afield.
Among others, bass player for The Teskeys, Brendon Love, stepped up as a Battle judge, offering the young players valuable feedback and advice.
Also helpful was Ben Dennis, (ex BOB organiser and manager of award-winning Australian electronic music duo Peking Duk) who generously produced 12 tickets to an upcoming Peking Duk concert as an event prize.
Ethical Decimal, a four-piece all-girl band from Castlemaine Secondary College, won the competition overall.
Gozleme, crepes, salted caramel ice cream, those little pancakes that everyone loves, a giant spring roll — I couldn’t decide among some fab food choices this year, so tried them all — in one afternoon.
A good thing St John’s Mobile CPR Learning Lab was on standby.
A lifesaving initiative to build resilience by training more people in CPR, 12-year-old visitor from Shepparton Tom Di Petta did the training:
“It was fun and the instructions were clear, I learned CPR in 10 minutes.”
Tom looked very keen to practice his newfound techniques, (at the time we spoke I was slowly sagging under the weight of Polish dumplings and lychee infused beer!)
Later, lighting genius Hugh McSpedden boosted the night sky and transformed trees around the Main Stage with creative images.
But, stars eventually fade from view.
And just like that, another Warrandyte Festival slipped by like a wet child on a giant water slide…
If you lost your mind over Hugh’s light show, the Information Caravan has it and some other things as well! Watches, hats, mats and multiple pieces of Tupperware with the name Carla Thompson on them: contact Carolyn on 0411 789 922 with lost property enquiries.
Main Stage music medley
By IAN CRAIG
WHILE THE day started with the weather raining on our parade it ended with a twilight battle of the bands in Stiggants Reserve in what could only be described as a very pleasant and balmy evening.
Sitting in my favourite camping chair enjoying a pint of Kellybrook Ale, this sure was a good idea to hijack my wife Jo’s Warrandyte Diary assignment.
“You just keep working on your other writing assignments I will do this one for you,” says I, ha-ha, all part of my cunning plan.
With Greg Champion MC’ing the night and surrounded by three to four hundred fellow festivillians it was a pleasant night indeed.
As Greg Champion said to me when I asked him about the night, “The Battle of the Bands has brought more people in then our band … be young or die”.
Don’t take it personally Greg.
The competition started in the 80s with the back of a tray truck for the stage in the middle of the footy oval.
After a number of moves it has finally made it to the main stage and judging by the crowd it is there to stay.
The idea behind Battle of the Bands is that young aspiring musicians get a chance to demonstrate their creative “musicality” (I don’t know what that means but the judges told me that’s one of things they were looking for) in front of a good audience and the judges score them on the things that musically talented people look for in an up and coming band.
The judges are no slouches in this field with Fiona Steel (half of the indie folk duo GraceJean and session artist), Brendan Love (from Warrandyte’s own The Teskey Brothers), Joseph Dwyer (Moring After Girls), Fossa (Melbourne based Hip Hop Producer) and Kain Hardie (musician and music journalist).
Fiona told me she was, “looking for overall musicality, interaction with each other, interaction with crowd”.
I asked if it brought back memories for her.
“Yeah it does actually … I did a few of them when I was younger … it’s interesting being on the other side.”
Of course the audience got in on the act with the people’s award voted through the event page on Facebook.
Nice touch although there was a lot of voting happening before some of the acts even hit the stage, go friends.
Acts included Reborn Rebellion, Dead Pig, C-K-H, In The Works, Bleached and Blessed, Ethical Decimal, Suzi and Space Goats.
The winner of first prize (a full day of recording at Jet Studios) was Ethical Decimal, a young all female band from Castlemaine Secondary College.
Runners up were a young solo act, Suzi Yaghmoor from Mornington Peninsula and Dead Pig from Park Orchards.
First timer organiser Opal Gough, joined the Warrandyte Festival Committee in November last year.
“I think the kids were great,” said Opal, “they’ve pulled in an amazing crowd … that was really good support for them.”
Well done to Opal, her assistants and the committee for a great night, we thoroughly enjoyed the entertainment and the beautiful evening.
Blast into Warrandyte’s past
By JAMES POYNER
THE WEATHER was glorious for the Hanson’s annual Sunday afternoon Gold Mine Tour and a group of around 50 people made their way up to the top of Webb Street for this Festival highlight.
Entry to the tour is free, with a small donation requested to raise money for Oxfam’s Walk Against Want, which raises money to assist women in developing countries who have to walk tens of kilometres each day to fetch fresh water.
The tours have been running since 1978 and up until recently were run by John Hanson himself.
But 42 years is a long time to run Gold Mine tours and these days, John has passed the baton on to his children; Peter, Jenny and Christine.
But before we headed off on our tour with Jenny and Christine, John gave the group potted history of gold mining in Warrandyte and the popularity of the tour.
“Typical gold country has three different types of eucalypt, red box, long leaf box and red stringy bark and often if they saw those sorts of trees [the miners] would think there is gold in the area,” he said.
“In some years, I had 200 people turn up, I borrowed a loud-hailer and off we went, but with 200 people, it was pretty slow.
“One year I decided to split it into two groups, 1pm and 3pm — 1pm 35 turned up, 3pm 150 turned up so I went back to just one time,” he said.
A short, bushy walk through the Hanson’s property and we reconvene at the top of Tunnel Street where Jenny begins the official tour.
Jenny explains there are two types of gold found in Warrandyte, alluvial gold and gold found in quartz seams.
Alluvial gold was panned in the creeks and the Yarra and our tour would involve a walk down the hill to Andersons Creek to visit the cairn where gold was first found in Warrandyte.
But before that, Jenny took us to Forth Hill Gold Mine where the group could get a feel for what it was like to be in one of these mines, even if nowadays, people can only walk 10 metres inside the old mine.
Jenny’s knowledge of the mine is impressive and it is enthralling to watch her map out the layout of the mine in the dirt.
A lot of this knowledge extends from previous decades, before the mine was closed to the public when she was able to explore the network of mines around Warrandyte.
With public safety paramount, access to the mines is prohibited and we have to use our imagination as Jenny imparts history and personal experience.
The second, and last, stop on our tour is to the Gold Memorial cairn, on Gold Memorial Road.
“This is the spot where they first found gold in Victoria, in 1851”.
An exciting statement and given the regions history with gold mining, really helps place Warrandyte in Australian history.
“Louis Michel came here with a party of four who were panning in this creek and found a few specks of gold…that then started the gold rush in Warrandyte.
“They had sections of the creek, it was tent city for about five kilometres, between here and what is now Ringwood.
To add an extra pinch of excitement to the tour, descendants of Louis Michel, his great-great-great-grand-daughter and her children were on the tour.
Living in Eltham, it is fascinating to see that Warrandyte’s gold history still maintains a local connection.
With the tour torch successfully handed to his children, it looks like the Gold Mine Tour will be around for the next 42 years, we only scratched the surface of Warrandyte’s mining history but with the knowledgeable Hanson’s at the helm, I look forward to learning more about the history of Warrandyte’s gold mines in years to come.
A tail-wagging success
By CLAIRE BLOOM
THE PET SHOW is a long standing fixture of the Warrandyte Festival.
I can’t recall exactly when it started, but I suspect I have MC’d this event for more than 30 years.
And a wonderful and heart warming number of decades it has been.
This year, we again had sponsorship from the Warrandyte Veterinary Clinic who provided some wonderful hampers for the prestigious Best in Show Award.
This year’s big winner being a gorgeous spoodle puppy named Monty.
Other prizes included the Most Unusual Pet, going to a pigeon pair of ferrets (oops maybe don’t mention the pigeons.)
The usual categories such as Dog Most Like its Owner (loved the couple of Wonder Women.) and Shaggiest and Waggiest dogs were lots of fun.
The Loudest Dog in Warrandyte was ear piercing and won by a most vocal fox terrier.
This little rascal’s name is suppressed in case the Dog Ranger gets any ideas.
Well, not really, but it was certainly a noisy little dog.
Of course, Best Trained Dog always excites our imagination, Big Boy Bosley seems to have a new trick each year, and was happy to play dead when his Mum shot him (with her index finger, of course).
Molly, another spoodle, was most attentive as her trainer placed a treat on both front paws, and waited for the command to eat.
I thought I might try this with my black lab, but it’s never going to happen.
Overall, lots of bragging rights as most dogs (and the ferrets) managed to excel at something, including Dog with the Most Appealing Eyes or Best Groomed Dog in Warrandyte.
A big thanks to Judges, WHS Principal Dr Stephen Parkin and Warrandyte Vet nurse, Kimberley and their assistants Mrs Suzanne Martin and Bree.
THE QUEEN of the Shire is coming home, and her creator, highly acclaimed sculptor Deborah Halpern, is one of many that will be happy to see her back where
“I’m glad she is coming home,” said Deborah, “it’s exciting.”
Residents and visitors to the area have asked of her whereabouts and when she is returning.
“When a work is made for a special place and it is moved it is upsetting,” said Deborah.
Queen of the Shire, commissioned by Nillumbik Council and installed in 2015, usually stands 2.5 metres above the ground, on Kangaroo Ground-Warrandyte Rd just north of the bridge, marking the entrance to Nillumbik Shire.
Per the agreement between Council and VicRoads, the sculpture was removed for protection.
“She was in the way”, said Deborah.
Queen of the Shire was found to have some damage so was taken away
“She’s gone … to have a little revamp,” said Deborah.
Council spokesperson Mitch Grayson said the artwork underwent a standard condition report while roadworks were underway.
“This condition report applies to all public artworks exposed to natural elements that can cause some wear”.
Council attributed the damage to “almost three years of exposure to natural elements”, saying that the repairs only amounted to “replacing about five missing tiles out of a sculpture that has a couple of thousand tiles”.
He said the costs were minimal — “and well within the standard maintenance budget for keeping public artworks in pristine condition”.
As a gateway piece, Queen of the Shire has the role of both welcoming residents and visitors into Nillumbik Shire, and also of watching over
“If only she could speak,” said Deborah, “if only she could say, look — slow down, you have to be careful here.
“We have the river, and we love our river, we love our little village … so be careful.”
When the sculpture first went up, many people would tell Deborah how much they loved her, and that “she was magical”.
“Her eyes look at you,” they would say, and Deborah’s response was “yes, she is looking, she is looking at everything and she’s looking
Growing up in Warrandyte, Deborah has lived here for over 60 years and has noticed that many things have changed.
Perhaps the return of The Queen of the Shire is a good opportunity to remind us all that there is a law to the land and we must be careful, we need to treat the area with respect.
“There are a lot of people here who are new to Warrandyte,” said Deborah, “and you have to get into the vibe and understand it.
“You need to have a sensitivity to the place you are in and take time to find out about it.”
Although not aware of her official return date, having her ready to come back is a relief.
With the bridge now open as usual, people have been wondering when and even if the Queen would return but with a new footing poured and the giant truck warning sign relocated, the Diary has been able to confirm with both VicRoads and Nillumbik Shire Council that Warrandyte and Nillumbik Shire’s prized sculpture will return within a few weeks.
“I enjoy spending time with her because I get to revisit the process … but she has a job to do … and she is coming back to look over that intersection … to look over the area.”
“We have restored her and she looks beautiful again, we have cleaned her up… and now she is coming home.”
Mitch Grayson agrees, telling the Diary that the Shire Council is very much looking forward to her being re-installed.
“What a great day that will be for all the people who have missed her so much!” he said.
Deborah is part of the Nillumbik Artists Open Studios, and her studio will be one of many open on the weekend of May 4-5 (see page 9 for more details).
IN JULY 2016, Manningham Council endorsed the Jumping Creek Road Development Framework, a major project costing (then) $17.9M with a construction period of six years scheduled to begin in 2018.
The road currently carries over 8,000 vehicles per day, a number which is expected to double by 2035, and has had over 20 recorded vehicle crashes in the past five years.
An important link road between Warrandyte and the Yarra Valley, the road also gives access to the only river crossing within 10 kilometres for Wonga Park and the surrounding area.
A Jumping Creek Road Community Reference Panel was formed in 2017 and this consists of nine people comprising residents, businesses and community groups which are directly affected by Jumping Creek Road.
The works will include roadway realignment, emergency vehicle stopping bays and a shared pedestrian/cycling path which will run the entire length of Jumping Creek Road between Wonga Park and Warrandyte.
Roundabouts are to be constructed at the Warrandyte State Park Entrance, Hooper Road, Hartley Road and Yarra Road.
We ran a detailed description of this project in our July 2017 issue.
However, since then progress has been very slow and not a lot has happened.
The Diary asked Manningham Council for an update.
“Works to relocate water, gas and telecommunications lines between Ringwood-Warrandyte Road and Nelson Drive are progressing as part of stage 1A of the Jumping Creek Road upgrade,” said Grant Jack, Acting Director City Services.
“These works started in November 2018; over summer some electrical relocation works were delayed due to warm weather.
“While the relocation works are underway, Council is finalising the design of stage 1A of the road upgrade.
“This will include a planning permit process, which is anticipated to be advertised for public comment during April/May.
“The schedule of construction works for stage 1A will be set once the design is finalised.
“It is anticipated works will commence later in 2019.
“The upgrade is proposed to be constructed across a number of stages over an eight year period,” he said.
Manningham’s Yoursay website has a comprehensive map of the upgrade works.
However the website, and the responses from Manningham Council refer to various stages by number, but it is hard to determine which features are included in which stage and we have asked for further clarification of this and a mud map of the stage process with dates.
A further meeting of the Reference Panel has now been convened for Thursday, April 11 and we have been promised an update following this.
WARRANDYTE, and its surrounds, is home to many artists, and some are throwing open the doors to their studios to let the public see just how they work.
The next instalment of the Nillumbik Artists Open Studios program will take place on the weekend of May 4-5, with over over 30 artists participating, including relative newcomer to the program, Deborah Halpern, sculptor and creator of Warrandyte’s own Queen of the Shire.
The Diary caught up with Deborah recently, and she gave us some insight into what it’s like for an artist to welcome people in to their workspace. “Open Studios is a great time to have conversations with people,” said Deborah.
“It’s nice that people are interested and a lot of people don’t know what a studio looks like.”
Deborah says that much of what is within her studio is experimental or works in progress, and many of the works will not make it into public view.
“It is quite challenging to open your studio,” said Deborah.
“The good side is that you have to clean it up – tidying up is a good thing, you have to do it sometimes, but you also feel a bit invaded – it’s like people coming into your head,” she said.
Deborah’s son, Artek Halpern-Laurence, is a screen printer and, with his studio on the same property, will also be participating in the program.
Founding Open Studio artists and Diary regulars, Ona Henderson and Syd Tunn will also be opening the doors to their Bend Of Islands studio, an ‘Aladdin’s cave … abundant with magical adventures’.
The artists officially open their studios two weekends a year, in May and November, but many of the artists also run workshops at other times.
The weekend after Open Studios, May 11-12, Deborah will be holding one of her two-day mosaic workshops, where participants can create a mosaic piece from design to completion.
Later in the year, Research Potter, Jack Lätti will hold a workshop on wheelwork, hand building and raku firing.
Navigating around the 32 participating studios across the Shire has been made easier with the program being divided into geographical zones. Studios in Zone A centre around Eltham and Research and include Kate Hudson, Chris and Mary-Lou Pittard, Wendy Hicks, Linda MacAulay, Sue McFarland, Glynis Brown, Clare Dunstan, Jacquie Hacansson and Jack Lätti.
Zone B includes artists from Warrandyte, Panton Hill, St Andrews and Bend Of Islands: Artek Halpern-Laurence and Deborah Halpern, Annette Nobes, Nerina Lascelles, Bruce Mckay, Ona Henderson and Syd Tunn, Tim Read and Jess Jarvie.
While Zone C features artists from Hurstbridge, Cottles Bridge and Plenty.
Nillumbik Artist Open Studios will be held on May 4-5, with participating studios opening their doors from 10 am until 5pm.
More information on Nillumbik Artists Open Studios can be found at artistsopenstudios.com.au
This amazing artwork, which was commissioned to celebrate an international blockbuster film, now takes pride of place on the Tread Sculptures art trail in the Bend of Islands.
Artist Tim Read works with reclaimed steel to produce some incredible, imaginative works of art, often collaborating with fellow artists, such as glass artist Rob Hayley, who produced the glasswork for the eyes and wings on the sculpture Tim is calling Buzz.
“Rob is great to work with, very experimental and always up for a challenge, which is great as I knew we would be pushing the boundaries when it came to the glasswork for this piece,” Tim said.
Tread Sculptures is at 225 Catani Blvd, Bend Of Islands, Kangaroo Ground and will be open 4-5 May as part of Nillumbik Artist Open Studios, where local artists open their studios to visitors to meet the artists and get to see amazing pieces like Buzz in her natural environment.