Monthly Archives: September 2020

Shopping centres shuttered

OUR ONCE bustling shopping centres now resemble museums to commercialism — shop shutters locked in place, and lights dimmed.
While we often focus on how local businesses are doing; the butchers, the milk bar, the IGA, how often do we extend that thought to the traders at Eastland, The Pines, or Doncaster Shopping Town.?

Stockland The Pines, a once bustling hub for your everyday shopping needs, is now filled with visions of shutters and muted light amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Shopping has been hard the past few months, especially for those behind the counter, with many vendors having to constantly adapt to ever changing lockdown restrictions.

The combination of business restrictions and the public making shopping and lifestyle choices minimising their movement, the swathe of retail and hospitality businesses within The Pines have seen significant drop-offs in their customer numbers.

While some coffee shops and eateries within The Pines have opted to take up the takeaway only option — such as Indulgence Café and Chirpy Chix — and weather the pandemic, many, facing dwindling shopper numbers, have opted to close.

Indulgence Café has been a Pines favourite for the 15 years — with decadent cakes, coffees and a homey brunch menu, the café was often busy, as shoppers took time out during their shop.

Café’s Manager, Shantha, says it is important to continue trading during these tough times, to maintain a sense of normality.

“We want to look after the regulars and keep the community spirit around,” she said.

Shantha says the encouragement to keep going is reflected through their regular customers.

“Our regulars supported us so much,” she said.

While the new culture of take away and delivery has provided a buoyancy aid for many hospitality businesses, charcoal chicken shop, Chirpy Chix’s owner Madrit told WD Bulletin that the dine-in experience is a big part of cuisine culture for many businesses, and these businesses are beginning to feel the impact of reduced foot traffic.

“Weekdays are quiet, not like they used to be,” he said.

Recently, the Victorian Government announced the $3 billion business support package which Premier Daniel Andrews described as the “biggest package of business support” the state has ever obtained.

Over $1.1B in cash grants will be allocated to small and medium-sized businesses, those vendors most affected by tough lockdown restrictions.

As Melburnians patiently wait for metropolitan restrictions to be relaxed, the Victorian Government will invest $44 million to aid businesses in easing and adapting toward our new COVID Normal.

But Madrit says, for businesses like his who are reliant on the dine-in experience, this support is not enough.

With plummeting sales, loss of customers and staff concerned about catching Coronavirus, the emotional and financial losses are not offset by government payments.

The prolonged restrictions are also beginning to impact the day-to-day legal matters, like rent.

Negotiations with landlords can be stressful at the best of times, let alone during a global health crisis.

Madrit says small businesses are having to quickly learn and adjust to negotiating with landlords, often without help, making these conversations difficult to navigate.

Some, like Madrit, have resorted to employing a middleman to help with lease negotiations and he says this has eased some of the burden of having to deal with this crisis, and the mechanics of running a business.

However, there is a glimmer of hope, Madrit says small and medium businesses are “fighting every day”.

“Stress is there, anxiety is there — but we have to be positive about it.”

As active cases fall and regional Victoria beginning to open up, there is hope that a café culture will return soon, albeit through a COVID Normal filter.

WD Bulletin also spoke with The Pines Centre Management but they did not wish to comment.

However, when these restrictions took hold in late July, The Pines put out a statement on their website expressing their support for struggling businesses.

“The health, safety and wellbeing of our customers, retailers, team members and the wider community is our highest priority so we are taking extra precautions to ensure our centres are clean, hygienic and minimise large scale interactions.

“We know this is a unique and changing situation, but we’re all in it together.

“We’re proud to be part of a community that can support each other.”

Lease help for retailers

On Friday, September 18, the Victorian Government announced changes in the Retail Leases Act 2003.

The changes focus on making it easier for small business owners to get their security deposits back more promptly, in addition to making leases and legal obligations easier to understand.

  • Key edits to the act include:
  • Landlords informing tenants of rent increases prior to lease extensions.
  • An additional seven days to consider terms and conditions proposed in a lease.
  • A maximum of 30 days for the return of a security deposit.

The Government is also extending further support to affected parties through the Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme as well as the Commercial Landlord Hardship Fund.

The Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme, introduced on March 29, 2020, provides rent reductions for small-to-medium sized businesses who’s income has been directly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

It also puts a freeze on evictions for rent non-payment for those businesses with an annual turnover of under $50M, that have also experienced a minimum 30 per cent reduction in turnover due to COVID-19.

The Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme offers grants of up to $3,000 per tenancy to eligible landlords experiencing financial hardship due to rent reductions.

Additionally, the Government is offering free mediation through the Victorian Small Business Commission, whereby mediators are appointed to help resolve any persisting disputes between renters and landlords — creating an accessible service for businesses who do not have the means to outsource.

Minister for Small Businesses, Jaala Pulford said the scheme was about accessibility and a better understanding of retail leases.

“This is about giving business owners a fair go in tough times and providing certainty for all parties.”

The announcement will be good news for struggling commercial renters and will hopefully alleviate some of the stresses small businesses face when it comes to tenancy, especially when the state is a long way from business as usual.

On the campaign trail

CAMPAIGNING for the 2020 Local Elections has begun and, as we go to print, we are approaching the end of the candidate nomination period.

Those wishing to nominate will need to complete the registration process by 12pm on Tuesday, September 22.

Ballot packs will be mailed out between October 6 and October 8, and registered voters will have until 6pm on October 23 to return their ballot paper.

The Victorian Government has published a detailed breakdown of what campaign activities are permitted under the various steps of their roadmap to COVID Normal.

For candidates in metro-Melbourne, unless there is a further, dramatic and significant drop in active cases and the 14-day average drops below five — the threshold for Step 3 which would bring metro-Melbourne in line with regional Victoria — campaigning for the 2020 local elections is going to play out in our mail boxes, in our newspapers and on social media.

Under Step 1 and Step 2, candidates and their campaign team are permitted to conduct letterbox drops, and bill poster activities within the ward they are campaigning for.

Door knocking, public meetings and face-to-face campaigning is not permitted.

History shows that a public figure’s ability to effectively harness the power of a new communication tool can make or break their campaign.

From the first televised presidential debates in the United States of America in 1960 which historically dubbed John F. Kennedy as “the first television president” for his effective use of the “new” medium of television to speak directly to public, to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign which was significantly bolstered by his use of Twitter, a platform that to this day still plays a big role in commentary and analysis of his time in the White House.

The effective, and ineffective, use of social media platforms have become part of the fabric of national politics both here and around the world and COVID-19 may mean the October 26 local elections may be won and lost on the succinctness of a candidates words and the savviness of their social media.

In October’s Warrandyte Diary and WD Bulletin, we will give candidates in Manningham and Nillumbik the opportunity to present their campaign, ahead of the voting deadline.

In the meantime, now is a good opportunity for voters to get to know their wards.

A combination of the Victorian Electoral Commission’s Representation Review in 2019 and the change to ward structure as part of the newly implemented Local Government Act 2020 means the ward you have previously voted in may not be the ward you vote in this time.

Coronavirus: September 13-28

From midnight on September 13, metro Melbourne begins Step 1 of the State Government’s five step plan to get Victoria out of lockdown.
With curfew still in effect and the majority of Melburnians confined to home overnight, the updated restrictions will effective come into effect at 5am on Monday, September 14.
This is what the next two weeks look like for metro Melbourne, all the activities and restrictions listed below come into effect at 11:59pm on Sunday, September 13 and not before.
Curfew will continue to be a feature of our lives until we reach Step 3, which is currently projected to begin October 26, but the duration of the nightly curfew has been shortened to give Melburnians an extra hour in the evening, meaning curfew is now in effect between 9pm and 5am nightly.
As with conditions of curfew in the preceding six weeks, the only reasons to leave home during curfew are if you have a work permit to do so, or if it is an emergency.
Leaving your home to pick up take-away during curfew is not a permitted reason to leave home.
You are still able to purchase and consume food after 9pm, but by delivery only.

EXTENDED EXERCISE

The five-kilometre bubble will also continue, until we reach Step 3 but a major change is in leaving home to exercise and social bubbles.
The time allocated to exercise, off your premises, has been extended to a maximum of two hours and can be taken in either one or two sessions per day.
The type of activities that you can do, and who with, has also been expanded.
Whereas a feature of the previous six weeks was that, regardless of whether living in the same household or not, you could only exercise outside with one other person, this has been expanded to be either one other person, or the persons who live in the same household with you.
Outdoor playgrounds are allowed to open, but sports facilities and skate parks are still closed and activities such as reading a book or having a picnic in the park are allowed but must be with your household or one other person only.

BUBBLE BUDDIES

For people living on their own and/or single parents, Step 1 introduces the “social bubble” concept.
This additional measure will allow those living on their own to have one other person over in their home.
However, singles need to nominate their social bubble buddy now and must keep the same buddy until we enter Step 3.
You can visit your buddy and they can visit you as often as you like but, if they live in a shared household, then the other householders need to be out whenever you visit them.
Social bubble buddies can also spend the night at each other’s homes, but masks must be worn at all times and travel cannot happen during curfew hours.
However, if you and your bubble buddy are both living in metro Melbourne, the 5km limit does not apply.
This is different to an “intimate partner”, the rules of which continue from Stage 4.
Regional Victoria is still off limits.

NUMBERS IN STEADY DECLINE

When reporting on Saturday’s figures, the Chief Health Officer’s daily update stated the 14-day average for metro Melbourne was at 61.6.
This number is promising, alongside data which shows this is the first time the state has gone seven days with new active cases below 100.
The daily active cases condition for progressing to Step 2 for metro Melbourne is a 14-day average of 30-50 daily active cases and fewer than five per day for Step 3. Regardless of which way the active cases in Victoria go, the slightly relaxed Stage 4 restrictions will likely be in effect until at least September 28, so enjoy the extra hour in the sunshine, stay COVID Safe and look out for further updates in September’s WD Bulletin (Monday, September 21) and October.

Victoria prepares to vote

UNCERTAINTY around the October Local Council elections has been abated with the Minister for Local Government, Shaun Leane announcing on August 19, following advice from the Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton, the election can go ahead as planned on Saturday, October 24.

“As Minister for Local Government, I sought advice from the Victorian Government Solicitor’s Office and Chief Health Officer as to how best to proceed while Victoria is in the midst of the Coronavirus Pandemic.

“I also engaged with the local government sector to fully understand concerns regarding the impact of current restrictions in Victoria on campaigning, and relayed that I would act on advice from the Chief Health Officer.

“The Chief Health Officer has advised that October represents a period when risk is likely to be substantially lower than at present, and there are no compelling public health grounds for the elections to be delayed,” Mr Leane said.

This was reaffirmed by Professor Sutton at the September 6 Road Map Press Conference.

In a virtual press conference attended by the Diary, Victorian Electoral Commissioner, Warwick Gately said that he “welcomed the certainty that this announcement brings”.

He said the VEC has closely monitored Government advice in developing a COVIDSafe election plan.

The Plan puts additional measures in place to safely manage the Victorian local council elections being held by post this October.

Mr Gately has said postal voting is safe and of high integrity, and that the VEC is ready to respond to the changing environment.

“The situation remains dynamic and the VEC continues to actively monitor conditions and restrictions.

“Additional measures in place include increased distancing in election offices, limiting face-to-face contact, enforcing mask wearing where mandated by the Victorian Government, and moving operational activity online whenever possible,” he said.

The 2020 Victorian local elections will also be the first elections held under the Local Government Act 2020.

Under The Act, all election candidates are required to undertake mandatory training, regardless of whether they are new or an incumbent.

The training covers areas such as: how councils are run, election donation rules, councillor code of conduct, conflict of interest and what support is available to councillors.

Candidates will also have the opportunity to include a 300-word statement in the mailed-out ballot packs.

Councillors will also have to complete Councillor Induction Training within the first six months of taking office.

The 2020 Victorian council elections will be the State’s largest single election program, with a predicted 4.5 million voters and over 2,000 candidates participating in elections across 76 councils.

For the first time in Victoria, the local election will be the first to be held completely by postal vote, in 2016, 72 of the 78 Councils that held elections were by postal vote.

For 2020, 76 Councils will see their citizens, and ratepayers cast their vote, which is every Victorian Council excepting Whittlesea, Casey and South Gippsland, who are currently in administration.

In the change to council structure — with some Councils changing from multi-member to single-member wards — there will be 298 seats in contention across participating Councils.

With eight councils switching to single member wards, including Maroondah and Manningham, which will switch to nine, single councillor wards, the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) has stressed the importance of voters making sure they know what ward they will be voting for on October 24, as the ward names and their boundaries have changed.

Detailed information about the forthcoming election, at a local government level can be found on the VEC website.

The VEC is also encouraging voters to sign up for its VoterAlert sms and email service, which will provide those registered with prompts and other important information about the forthcoming election.

 

Dates for your diary

The enrolment deadline has now passed.

The next big milestone is the candidate nomination period which occurs between Thursday, September 17 and 12pm on Tuesday, September 22.

Eligible candidates wishing to nominate should visit the VEC website for further information on procedures and the required pre-nomination training.

Those who do qualify and choose to nominate will need to present at their municipality’s election office — by appointment — during the nomination period.

Ballot packs will be mailed out between October 6 and October 8, delivered via Australia Post.

Voters have until 6pm on October 23 to return their ballot paper, either posted before this date and time, or hand delivered to their municipality’s election office.

Election declarations are expected to take place before Friday, November 13, the deadline for declaration was extended to accommodate for COVID-Safe work practices for VEC counting staff.

Memoirs of a local councillor

BY SOPHY GALBALLY

WHEN I WAS first elected as Councillor in the Mullum Mullum ward, I felt proud and full of gratitude for the many people in the community who trusted me as their representative and advocate.

I remember that first day in the council chambers, my name plate, the officialdom, the other eight councillors, all with big personalities.

I asked myself “How did I get here?” I had a Talking Heads song recycling in my head!

It was not long before my head was full of facts and figures.

Newly appointed councillors are thrown into many strategic briefing sessions to help us get up to speed about what council does and how it does it.

That includes how decisions are made about how much to spend on roads, rubbish, open spaces, sport and activity centres.

At first, the cynic in me saw it as indoctrination by the “system”, with fellow councillors posturing to portray themselves as all-knowing.

I was determined to not become a part of the machine, and to stay true to those who elected me.

I noticed early that council had a distinct city vs country mentality in its approach to just about everything.

I am not referring only to trees!

There was a strong push for curb and channel and drainage schemes which did not entertain alternative options.

Business as usual was the motto. 

Readers of the Diary will most likely be aware of the magnitude of the battle for Melbourne Hill Road (MHR).

If it were not for the residents’ strong opposition to the drainage scheme (a seven-year fight), this area of Warrandyte would look like a suburban estate with no character and no mature trees.

My advocacy for MHR was my longest running battle.

The final result is also due to the efforts and collective knowledge of the residents who never gave up.

The MHR residents’ stand against council on this drainage scheme created benefits that flowed to all the residents of Manningham.

Their win effectively removed the Special Rates and Charges as a means for Council to proceed with works, and then charge residents.

So, if you happen to bump into a resident from Melbourne Hill Road, do not forget to thank them.

When the day comes that a drainage scheme is coming your way, you will not have to pay for it, because your rates are already paying for it!

There is a big lesson here.

When you have difficulty with council, approach your ward councillor and ask for their support.

Hopefully you have elected a person who is sympathetic and feisty enough to battle for you.

I loved being a councillor most when I could advocate for community groups and help individuals and families navigate the web of council rules, regulations and permits.

Communication from council is often dry and “official” and I often saw letters to residents which gave cool legalistic responses to issues that affect families in very emotional ways.

For instance, a brother and sister in Warrandyte wanted to subdivide five acres of inherited land into two lots.

Council had refused the application for two years and it was not clear why.

The residents asked for my assistance.

At a meeting with senior executives at the Council, the Officers said they had not approved of the line of division because the line was not front and centre.

I suggested they look at the site as Warrandyte has many dips and slopes and perhaps the siblings were trying to ensure they both had equal amount of usable land.

The result was that the application was quickly approved.

Two happy families finally able to enjoy their property.

Another example of advocacy concerned a senior citizen who lived alone on an acre in Park Orchards.

Due to council graveling the road and subsequent rain, a lot of gravel entered her driveway and garden, and also under her house.

Her pleas to council to remove it came with the response, “We cannot do work on private property”.

 

Bloods see change at the top end


By JOSH HUNTLY

WARRANDYTE Football Club is on the hunt for a new Senior Coach and President after Anthony McGregor and Jason Smith parted ways with the Bloods.

McGregor joined the club in 2018, and last season guided the senior side to their first finals series since the premiership winning year back in 2015.

He took the side from 11th to 3rd and an 11–7 record in the space of a season.

The club released a statement on his departure on August 7:

“The Warrandyte Football Club would like to formally announce that it will be seeking applicants for the senior coaching role for the 2021 season and beyond.

We are most appreciative of, and would like to thank, Anthony for all his hard work since joining to the club in 2018 and we wish him well with his future endeavours.

The club will now start the process of finding a suitable replacement to guide our talented playing group.”

The decision to re-open the senior coaching role has seen a task force made up of committee members and senior players begin the search for Warrandyte’s next coach.

Just four days after McGregor’s departure, first-year President Jason Smith stepped down from his role, with a statement from the club committee outlining the reasons for his departure.

“The committee of the WFC regretfully announces that Jason Smith has stepped down as Club President with immediate effect.

The role of the Club President is a pivotal one.

Jason had been reflecting on his position and felt that he no longer had the energy or capacity with his business and personal commitments to fully commit to the role.

That being the case he has made the difficult decision to resign.

The committee of the WFC would like to extend our sincere thanks to Jason for the work he has put into the role since his appointment.”

The Reserves and U19s roles remain unchanged, with the club announcing that Wayne Dalton and Clint Wheatley have been re-appointed respectfully.

Dalton joined the club this season after previously coaching at Scoresby Football Club, while Wheatley moved from the Reserves role into the U19s role to take charge of the young Bloods coming through the ranks.

Wheatley coached the U19s to their last flag in 2015.

Artist, Miner & Sapper: Penleigh Boyd


A CALL FROM the Editor of the Warrandyte Diary — startled me.

Still in my lockdown slumber, I soon reflected on the message intently.

“There is a mistake on the honour board at the RSL.
“T. Penleigh-Boyd” is not accurate.

It should be Theodore Penleigh Boyd, with no hyphen!
He prefered to be known as just “Penleigh Boyd”.

He is one of Australia’s noted landscape painters.”

Accepting responsibility for this dilemma; I was inspired to make good the mistake and seek out the deeper story.

When the Editor also mentioned that Penleigh was a senior member of the Boyd artistic dynasty, she casually included that he was an Australian Army Engineer (Sapper) in WWI.

As a current day sapper, my guilt went into overdrive.

How had I not heard of him?

This needed further research.

A man who combined two of Warrandyte’s great heritages — Mining and Art.

The current President of the Warrandyte RSL is also a sapper — David (Rhino) Ryan — who comes from a plumbing background.

Who is a Sapper?

A “sap” is a trench, dug usually in a zig zag alignment, to safely approach a fortification (such as a castle) to then undermine it, collapse it and allow the infantry access.

One who digs saps, is therefore called a sapper.

Modern day sappers’ clear obstacles (landmines, wire etc) and also provide engineering services (water, power, construction etc).

Well knowing the reputation of the renowned Warrandyte architect, educator and social commentator, Robin Boyd, I never made the connection that he was Penleigh’s son.

Also, I personally know Linda Noke and Andrew Sisson who live in The Robins on Warrandyte-Kangaroo Ground Road, but still I did not know that Penleigh was a WWI Sapper.

His reputation as an artist has been chronicled as equal to that of Arthur Streeton.

The Artist and “The Robins”

Theodore Penleigh Boyd (1890–1923) was a noted landscape painter born in Westbury, Wiltshire, England to parents who were both successful painters.

Before WWI he became a successful and profitable artist, travelling to Europe where he married Edith Anderson (1880–1961), before purchasing about 14 acres in the township of Warrandyte sloping steeply down to the Yarra River, to the north of the bridge, to establish the family seat — The Robins — occupying it in 1914.

Linda and Andrew, the current owners of The Robins, hosted a Robin Boyd Foundation open day on 15 May 2011.

The Foundation described its architectural and artistic heritage:

“At this time a flourishing community of artists began to settle around the township.

Chosen for its natural beauty, Penleigh designed and built a single-storey cottage with a generous attic that was broadly Tudor — with a crooked terracotta gabled roof, bay windows and cross-beamed ceilings.

The ground floor walls were constructed of earth mixed with concrete, an early example of in-situ concrete, and possibly one of the first examples of reinforced concrete being used to build a house in Australia!

The biographer Brenda Niall describes that:

“…. the style of the house and the physical and emotional energy that went into its building express the contradictions of Penleigh’s personality.

Venturesome and self-reliant, he carved his own space out of the Warrandyte bush, but the style he chose for the house was quaint, nostalgic and very English.” (Niall, The Boyd’s, 2002)

Mining

Penleigh Boyd (service number 5) enlisted as a Sapper in November 1915 into the newly formed Australian Mining Corps.

Soon he was promoted to Sergeant and joined a special Australian Army Engineer unit; the Australian Electrical and Mechanical Mining and Boring Company.

Jocularly called by the Diggers, the “Alphabet Company” because of its abbreviation — AE&MM&B Coy!

This unit had the responsibility of providing and maintaining the equipment required to light, ventilate and de-water the extensive tunnel and dug-out systems along the entire length of the Western front.

The unit deservedly earned many plaudits for the support it provided to all Imperial Forces.

Sergeant Boyd detailed lorry drivers and the distribution of stores and equipment.

Other Sapper units at the time included; Field, Mounted, Signals, Submarine Mining, Works & Fortifications (Fortress), Railway, Training & Survey (McNicoll, History of the Royal Australian Engineers 1902–1919, Volume 2, Making and Breaking, Canberra, 1979).

Underground warfare, or mining and tunnelling, is little known to most, but was prolific during WWI — particularly on the Western Front.

Throughout history tunnelling has been used by Sappers of all nations to breach enemy fortifications.

Traditionally, undermining castles.

A more modern example would include the infamous Viet Cong tunnels of Vietnam.

As one of Australia’s earliest deployed artists into France, he took the opportunity to become an unofficial war artist capturing impressions and images of a place, period and situation that otherwise would have gone unrecorded.

As a Sapper on the ground, he had a unique vantage point to record daily life on the Western Front.

Many of his drawings were published in his wonderful book, Salvage (P. Boyd, British Australasian, London, 1918).

Penleigh was badly gassed in Ypres in 1917 then invalided to England.

He repatriated home aboard the Euripides in 1918 to continue his painting and living in The Robins.

He suffered permanent lung damage but continued his artistic work with unabated energy including assisting fellow returned soldiers.

The Drunken Lion Tamer (The First Warrandyte Festival?)

The current owners of The Robins, Linda, a Project Manager constructing Victorian Police Stations, and Andrew, a School Teacher at Eltham Primary, share their favourite Penleigh Boyd story as reported in the Argus (Jan 1921) and digitised by the State Library of Victoria:

“As President of the Warrandyte branch of the Returned Soldiers’ League, Mr Penleigh Boyd, in order to build a soldiers’ institute, persuaded his neighbours to hold a week-long fete.

With their assistance, he transformed the glen at the foot of the bridge into a veritable fairy dell!

The pathway from the main road to the glen, were artistically illuminated with festoons of Chinese lanterns — all the way to the banks of the Yarra.

In the moonlight, with the reflection from the lights, the river appeared as if it were a stream of silver.

Hidden amongst the trees were gaily decorated stalls who did a roaring trade.

Food, drinks, dancing, fireworks and music along with many other attractions, entertained a multitude of residents from the whole district.

The proprietor of the travelling circus, reported to the local constabulary that; the Lion Tamer, who had a drinking problem, was missing.

All cafes and the hotel were searched in vain, finally, the Lion Tamer was found in the cage with the lion and lioness!

All three lying fast asleep!

The searchers tried to arouse the trio but were met with noisy and frightening protests!

They were permitted to sleep on.

After 8 hours the Lion Tamer awoke, patted the lions, adorned his cape, and then proceeded home to his wife for breakfast!”

Penleigh sold The Robins in 1922 but tragically died in a car accident at Warrigal in 1923.

Robin Boyd was 4 years old at the time.

His wife, Edith, lived until 1961.

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Tribute to Mick Woiwod


Mick Woiwod

March 31, 1929 – August 26, 2020

 

The wattles are in bloom and now it is my time to fly with Bunjil

TRIBUTES have flowed for local historian and founder of the Nillumbik Reconciliation Group, Mick Woiwod, who died on August 26, at the age of 91.

Mick was born in Ferntree Gully in 1929 during the Great Depression.

His parents were London born Alfred and Gertrude Woiwod (nee Rosenbrook).

Mick spent his formative years in Frankston.

A description in the school magazine included the phrase “Michael says little but thinks a lot”.

He married wife Marg in 1954 and children followed in quick succession with Louise and Christine born in 1956, Graeme 1958 and Deborah the following year.

In the seventies Mick signed up for a Council of Adult Education course in Archaeology through the University of Melbourne and attended summer camps at Wood Wood on the Murray and Yambuk beyond Port Fairy that opened up a window into the mysterious Aboriginal world.

This later led to further courses in geology and little did he know then that he would one day be writing a book, opening up to today’s world how the Aboriginal people had seen the land of the Yarra Valley of which they had long formed its most important element.

In the late 70s a friend mentioned to Mick that they had just purchased land in the Bend of Islands, which followed an offer for them to have a picnic on the new block.

Driving the last kilometre, Mick described: “at last I was home”.

At the age of 60 Mick enrolled in a Bachelor of Arts course in Australian History, which he completed in 1991.

While still at university he started a booklet about Christmas Hills first settler Joseph Stevenson.

This soon assumed major book proportions and was called Once Around the Sugarloaf: The Transformation of a Victorian Landscape and the story of its People and launched at the Christmas Hills in Primary School in 1992.

This also was the beginning of many an unveiling of commemorative rocks and plaques.

Over the last 30 years he has researched and written over 25 books, most of these on the history of the Yarra Valley’s Indigenous people, in particular the story of Coranderrk Aboriginal Station in Healesville.

All through his life, Mick searched for the truth about Victoria’s Indigenous people, always determined to fill in the missing layer of Victoria’s history.

He was Founding President, and later patron of Nillumbik Reconciliation Group (NRG).

NRG President Jan Aitken paid tribute:

“It was a vision for him of a group of people who would work together to promote reconciliation with the Traditional Owners of land which included Nillumbik Shire, the Wurundjeri people.

For Mick, reconciliation covered acknowledgment: he was instrumental in having the Shire give its regular acknowledgement at all Shire meetings.

It meant information: we need to know more about the lives of Wurundjeri pre-settlement and their lives after invasion of their lands by squatters, gold miners, and settlers.

Mick researched these topics constantly over the last 30 years or so.

I read his first book, The Last Cry when I arrived in Eltham in 1998.

It was that book which set me on the track of reconciliation.

Mick compiled his research into early original records into two large databases, Birrarung and Coranderrk, each with a searchable CD.

He then had copies distributed to all the schools in Nillumbik, at his expense.

Each of Mick’s books had two or three launches so that as wide a population as possible could know about them.

NRG was there for most of these.

They are solid volumes, filled with history, story, imagination and love for Wurundjeri.

A book he struggled with and worked on for years was the story of Coranderrk.

Not only the story of Simon Wonga, William Barak and Rev John Green and the success of the farming enterprise, Mick went further.

He explored what had happened to bring an end to Coranderrk as an Aboriginal reserve.

Barak and the Black Hats of Melbourne was the result, a moving tragedy of political takeover by ruthless men in the Victorian Acclimatisation Society.

This is a story not told in history books to date.

Mick also liked to have markers on the land so that the Aboriginal story was firmly acknowledged in ways that would remain.

Go down to the end of the Boulevard in North Warrandyte and you will find a rock there with a plaque commemorating the area as an Aboriginal reserve where the last corroboree was held.

Walk in Kangaroo Ground Cemetery and find a large rock with a plaque acknowledging the place as an earlier Aboriginal campsite near a spring which still flows.

And on the Eltham-Yarra Glen Road, the Gawa Wurundjeri Resource Trail was established on a Mick initiative.

The Barak Short Story competition was run by the NRG in the early years of the new millennium.

Mick wanted children who were writing stories about Wurundjeri life to have a hands on experience of what the land provided.

The Gawa Trail was built in partnership with Wurundjeri, the Shire and Parks Victoria and remains today as an important community resource.

I recall with affection the urgency and passion with which Mick pursued a story he was researching.

It was this passion and drive which fed the NRG.

Even when he had retired from being President, Mick was there: at meetings, at events, speaker, honoured guest, author, elder.

His legacy continues to inspire.

He has given us a significant example of what reconciliation requires: passion, commitment, honesty.

Thank you Mick for your gifts all of us.”

Fellow historian and founder of Reconciliation Manningham, Jim Poulter, said Mick Woiwod was a good friend, colleague and collaborator for more than 40 years.

“He made an invaluable, indelible and unique contribution to the telling of our local Indigenous history.

“He was a kindred spirit and I will miss our always animated chats,” said Jim.

Mick was also the co-founder of the Andrew Ross Museum at Kangaroo Ground and member of both the Warrandyte and the Eltham District Historical Societies.

Mick served on the Advisory Committee for the Kangaroo Ground Tower for 14 years, which saw the reserve brought up to its present highly commendable state.

This introduced a new fire-spotting cabin complete with spiral stairway as replacement for the ancient steep ladder to the top-deck, plus the iconic Moor-rul Viewing Platform with displays which speak of the Hill’s Wurundjeri Story to the thousands who now visit the site each year.

Jim Connor, President of Eltham District Historical Society told the Diary:

“Mick, as he was usually known… comprehensively researched and wrote extensively about European settlement in the Eltham and Kangaroo Ground districts, particularly commenting on the resulting impact on the local Wurundjeri clan.

He was honoured with the name Murrup Ngooloo ‘Spirit Voice’ and his work helped raise the awareness of settlement activities of the early pioneers of the area, while concentrating on highlighting the adverse reactions their introduced lifestyles had on the original inhabitants.

In researching and recording this information, Mick’s legacy is a valuable resource of local Indigenous history, culture and practices, particularly for current and future history researchers.

Mick was a decisive initiator of change in respect of practices and attitudes towards our earliest inhabitants.”

Warrandyte Historical Society also paid tribute to Mick.

Society Secretary, Valerie Polley said:

“Warrandyte Historical Society was saddened by the news of the death of Mick Woiwood, a leading advocate for Aboriginal history of the local area.

As a past member of the Society, Mick together with wife Margaret, were keen supporters over many years.

Mick loved to share his passion and great knowledge of local Aboriginal history especially with children during school visits.

Truly a sad loss.”

Nillumbik Councillors paid their respects to Mick.

Mayor Karen Egan said Mr Woiwod would be sadly missed by all who knew him.

“Mick was a true champion of history and heritage, a passionate advocate for Indigenous rights, and a revered member of the Nillumbik community,” Cr Egan said.

Cr Jane Ashton said:“Mick was a scholar and a gentleman, reading his books added significantly to my understanding of this area.

“From the first peoples, the squatters, gold miners and farmers, to the present-day story of The Bend of Islands Community, he brought the place alive and put people into the landscape.

“Passionate about the history, devoted to using his writing to shed light on the suffering of the Aboriginal people and the founder of our Nillumbik Reconciliation Group Mick was a champion for truth and justice.

“I was privileged to have met him, enjoyed very much listening to him, and can only imagine the gap he has left in the lives of those who knew him for so much longer than I did.”

He may be gone but never forgotten and the legacy of his books, knowledge of Australian Aboriginal history and the passion will live on in many for years to come.

Mick’s funeral was held on September 3 and was livestreamed.

Those interested can view the livestream at oneroomstreaming.com/family-and-friends until mid-October.
Contact the Diary for login details.

Thanks to the Woiwod family for their assistance in telling Mick’s story.

 

The road out is long, stay the course


ON SUNDAY, September 6, Punxsutawney Dan emerged from his burrow in Parliament House and, upon seeing his shadow, announced the numbers were still too high and Melburnians would have two more weeks of Lockdown, but at least there is a plan, a roadmap to an end to Groundhog Day, and towards COVID Normal.

For the record, I am penning this latest update on day 35 of Stage 4 Lockdown.

It has not been easy and I think you would struggle to find anyone who can genuinely say the opposite.

The new cases are steadily coming down with the seven-day average, as of Sunday, September 6, in the mid-80s.

As if living under curfew and with limited legal reasons to venture beyond the perimeter of your property wasn’t difficult enough, the severe storm that blew across Melbourne and the South East on Thursday, August 27 caused a critical failure at Silvan Water Treatment Plant, releasing untreated water into the water supply.

Yarra Valley Water released a boiled water notification on Friday morning, advising those living in affected suburbs to boil all drinking and food preparation water before use, as a precaution.

The storm also felled trees and powerlines with some households still without power the following Monday.

With certainty, I can say that at four weeks into Stage 4 restrictions, the added challenge of no power and no potable water was an additional test of Melburnians’ resolve.

Emergency legislation

The Lower House sat for the first time in three months at the beginning of September as Premier, Daniel Andrews sought to pass legislation to allow him to extend the State of Emergency for a further six months.

Under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008, the State of Emergency can be enforced for a maximum of four weeks at a time, at the end of those four weeks it can be extended, but by a maximum of four more weeks.

Under the act, the State of Emergency can only be in continuous enforcement for a maximum of six months.

Originally, Premier Andrews sought to extend the State of Emergency for an additional 12 months but this prompted fierce opposition from the Liberal Party, with both the Leader of the Opposition, Michael O’Brien and Party Leader, Peter Walsh stating they would oppose and vote against any attempt to extend the state of emergency another 12 months.

“This is the act of a Premier whose power has gone to his head.

“We will stand with Victorians whose rights and freedoms are threatened by this extraordinary power grab,” said Mr O’Brien.

Mr Walsh called the proposed action draconian.

“The State of Emergency hands enormous power to the Premier and a small number of unelected officials with very little oversight and accountability.

“There’s a reason it’s strictly limited to a maximum of six months – because no government should be able to write itself a blank cheque for extraordinary powers over Victorians’ lives and livelihoods,” Mr Walsh said.

With Labor holding majority in the Lower House, the real battle for this amendment to The Act was fought in the Upper House, where Labor needed to win support from cross-benchers for it to pass.

On Monday, September 1, amendments to the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008, debated as the Public Health and Wellbeing Amendment (State of Emergency Extension and Other Matters) Bill 2020 was eventually passed in the Upper House without amendments.

The Bill allows for an extension of the Victorian State of Emergency for an additional six months — but only in relation to a COVID-19 emergency and has lowered the threshold in which the CHO can authorise enforcement of directions, changing the trigger from “necessary” to “reasonably necessary”.

This should make it simpler for CHO Directives to be enforced more quickly during any future COVID-19 outbreaks.

Following the passing of the Bill in the Upper House, Health Minister, Jenny Makikos took to Twitter to publically thank the crossbenchers who tipped the vote in favour of the amendments, which scraped through the Upper House at 20 votes to 19.

“Thankyou to all Government MPs & to @AndyMeddickMP @FionaPattenMLC & @SamanthaRatnam who put public health above politics & voted to allow a declaration of a State of Emergency to continue for another six months if necessary to protect Victorians from #COVID19 #springst”

The Bill was then debated in the Lower House on September 3–4 and eventually passed, 33 to 23.

The Bill has now passed both houses and awaits Royal Assent.

Once The Bill becomes Law, the amendment to the Health and Wellbeing Act 2003 will be repealed one calendar year after it becomes law.

Amendments to the Victoria Police Act 2013 are also being debated in the Parliament, as part of the Police and Emergency Legislation Amendment Bill 2020.

The proposed changes extend the reach of Protective Services Officers (PSO) in relation to enforcement of public orders by expanding the definition of “designated places” as well as including an amendment to Clause 37b the Police Act which will allow deployment of PSOs in an area declared a State of Emergency or State of Disaster.

The Second Reading of The Bill is scheduled to continue on September 17.

The road out

On Sunday, September 6, the Premier laid out the roadmap to take us to COVID Normal.

Following a preamble from the Premier which indicated the news was not going to be good.

Mr Andrews outlined a roadmap which will see us at COVID Normal by Christmas.

However, this roadmap has checkpoints which must be met before we can begin the next phase out of the second wave.

Regional Victoria is on a different trajectory towards COVID Normal, the restrictions outlined below apply to those living in metro Melbourne.

For the moment, following a 14-day average which has new cases averaging at 100 per day, the numbers are still too high — so Stage 4 restrictions have been extended for an additional two weeks, to at least September 28, with some slight modifications which come into effect at midnight on Sunday, September 13.

Exercise will be extended to two hours per day, and can be split into two one-hour blocks, and has been expanded to include social interactions such as going to the beach, having a picnic, et cetera.

Social interactions outside will be expanded to two people or an entire household.

The nightly curfew will also be modified and will be in effect between 9pm and 5am.

Single parents and those living on their own can also nominate one person to visit them, at their home, during this extended lockdown.

On September 28, if the 14-day average is between 30 and 50 active cases per day in metro Melbourne there will be further easing of restrictions and some businesses will be able to reopen.

For businesses, the road out is very, very long with many sectors which are currently closed, remaining closed until at least Step 3 of the roadmap which, optimistically, is October 26.

For parents of children at the beginning and end of their education journey, a return to face-to-face learning is imminent, with Prep, 1, 2 and VCE students returning to the classroom from October 12.

Those students sitting General Achievement Tests and other essential assessments will be able to sit those, in a school setting from October 5.

More broadly speaking, the roadmap as it currently stands will see curfew and the 5km bubble in effect until the conditions are met to enter the Third Step, which may not be until late October.

The timeline for the five steps to COVID Normal is another 10 weeks of staged easing of restrictions and while we could outline, in full, the roadmap in this story, Victorians need to tread carefully to ensure our efforts keep driving down numbers and moving us towards COVID Normal.

With the excepted easing outlined above, the Stage 4 restrictions we are all used to are still in place until the end of September and masks will continue to be mandatory.

A lot can happen between now and September 28, the Diary will have more information on the second stage of reopening in the September WD Bulletin and in October’s Warrandyte Diary and on the Warrandyte Diary website and social media channels.

 

A framework for surviving the challenges of COVID-19


By BRIAN SPURRELL

THIS MONTH’S article moves away from the customary focus on tax tips and tax information and is dedicated to my readers who may be struggling to cope with the pressures and uncertainties we are experiencing under the ravages of COVID-19.

Resilience and wellness are key concepts I explore in the holistic life-planning sessions I usually hold with my clients.

Good financial planning is about having a holistic approach, and the lessons we learn from holistic life-planning can be applied to surviving the challenges of COVID-19.

The tasks we face of surviving both the financial and health impacts of COVID-19 are more likely to be successful if we focus on and accept the importance of building up our resilience and our wellness.

Resilience and wellness

I will define resilience as simply the degree of willingness to overcome obstacles.

Resilience develops from the knowledge and experience of how to cope in spite of setbacks, barriers or limited resources and the ability to bounce back when things do not go to plan.

It also requires good mental health, sustained positive emotional strength, good physical fitness and physical health.

Obviously, there is no magic drug to take in order to develop resilience, but developing a history of surviving challenges helps.

Those who have coped with disasters, such as the loss of their home through a bushfire, the death of a child or life partner, or overcome severe physical or mental disabilities, will understand what resilience is.

Those who have survived wartime and recessions/depressions will also understand the importance of resilience.

Wellness could be viewed as a pathway to — or the process of — becoming aware of and making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life.

Once achieved, it is a state of complete physical, mental, and social wellbeing supported by beliefs, principles, and values that give meaning, purpose, and direction to our lives.

Walking the road

As is the case with world wars, financial depressions and recessions, bushfires, droughts, floods and plagues, we can be certain that it will end, so instead of asking “how long will it take?” we should be asking “how can we manage the journey?”.

There is only one road out, and we are all on the same road, but how we walk this road is important.

We can walk it reactively, or proactively.

If you choose to travel reactively, you will sit and wait and when the situation affects you in whatever shape or form, you then react to it by borrowing money, calling your accountant, calling on a friend or family member, visiting a medical practitioner or a psychiatrist or simply panicking.

If you choose to travel proactively, you will be thinking ahead, planning what outcomes or goals you want, thinking through how you are going to get there, and when and how it will occur.

Planning in proactive mode

Most successful businesses and entities have a plan or a budget.

How else could you know how you are tracking if you do not have a plan to compare your actual outcomes against?

So, now let us apply these concepts to the family unit, couple or individual level.

In many other areas of our life; holiday, bushfire, household budgets, we often have a plan in place to maximise the outcome.

Regardless of whether you plan, or live from-day-to-day, if there was ever a time to be planning ahead, it is now.

Emotional health plan

There is a strong likelihood you or a member of your family may experience a bout of depression or a sense of helplessness, experience the loss of your job or business, a breakdown in a relationship, children not coping with home-based learning, or it all just getting too much to deal with.

Are you going to wait until the situation reaches crisis point, or will you work on a contingency plan?

Even just a list of health professionals, support services such as Beyond Blue or your GP, along with their contact details, may suffice as a plan.

Talking through your feelings and concerns with a trusted friend or family member is usually a positive starting point, as you are acknowledging that you have a problem, that you are willing to talk to someone about it, rather than just internalising your pain and retreating to within yourself.

There may also be things you could plan to do to assist in reducing stress levels either in your person or your household, such as walking your dog, or offering to walk your neighbour’s dog, or even considering buying a pup to nurture.

Other alternatives you may consider in your plan might be taking up yoga, meditation — or even a relaxing massage.

The important thing is to have thought ahead in “what if” mode, and recorded some notes and discussed it with your partner, family or friend.

You may also keep an eye out for Stephanie Foxley’s monthly Mental Health column or Maree Zimny’s Wellness column.

Physical health plan

It is widely acknowledged that there is a strong connection between physical health and emotional health.

A regular cardio work-out seems to kick in the endorphins which can relieve stress and produce feelings of wellbeing.

In my case, I have found on the days I have a one hour workout first thing in the morning that I am cognitively sharper and better equipped to deal with the more challenging mental demands of the day.

I have observed over the years a number of people who have experienced major emotional traumas and have taken up walking or jogging, even running in marathons as a means of coping with their depression or loss of self-worth.

I strongly recommend you put together a physical exercise plan that embraces a range of exercises including cardio.

You may have to be more creative while confined to home by using substitute objects to facilitate certain exercise routines.

You may also wish to check out Chris Sharp’s monthly Fitness column for some great ideas.

Human contact plan

Stage 4 restrictions are challenging and the drastic change in lifestyle can exacerbate feelings of aloneness and isolation which can impact on our emotional health.

It is therefore important to use the digital and visual media such as FaceTime, Skype and Zoom to regularly stay in touch.

Plan to contact family and friends at regular times and do not be reluctant to discuss how you are coping with everyday challenges.

Sometimes, comforting exchanges between family and friends that are experiencing similar challenges can be just as therapeutic as a visit to a psychologist or counsellor.

Financial plan

Finally, we need to address the most challenging aspect of surviving COVID-19 and that is finance.

When we refer to finance in this context, it embraces the income you earn from employment, your business, your investments, plus your access to borrowed funds through mortgage loans, and other forms of bank finance, credit card and pay later finance, and assets you own that could be sold to release funds such as investments, superannuation, financial support from family, friends, your community and the government in the form of pensions, JobKeeper, JobSeeker and numerous other types of support currently listed at dhhs.vic.gov.au/financial-support-coronavirus-covid19.

Once again, I hope you will choose to travel proactively and prepare a financial plan for your household and for your business if you have one.

The greater the uncertainty we face, the more crucial it is to plan ahead rather than wait for financial disaster to hit you unexpectedly, with no pathway to guide your financial decision making.

A good financial plan should enable us to project where our financial resources may be sourced from and how much we may need to fund our projected expenditure.

Available financial resources are what fuels our daily activities and needs in the same way as petrol or diesel fuels your travel needs.

If you run out of fuel your vehicle grinds to a halt.

The same drama can occur in your home if you run out of access to financial resources, so your financial plan in this time of great uncertainty should take top priority.

A useful starting point if you do not already have a personal or household budget in place is to go on to the ATO website (ato.gov.au) and look for the personal living expenses comprehensive worksheet (NAT 72959-12.2015).

Alternatively, for an excellent and more sophisticated budget planner with the option of using an excel based spreadsheet go to moneysmart.gov.au/budgeting/budget-planner.

Tips on preparing a budget

Select the most appropriate time frame, weekly, fortnightly or monthly, depending upon your pay period or most convenient period for estimating your cash flows and convert all income and expenditure amounts to the equivalent amount per period.

Access the last 12 months bank statements and credit card statements and any other necessary supporting documents in order to build a record of past actual income and expenditure for the time period chosen.

Sort your expenditure items into those that are essential or unavoidable and those that are discretionary.

Use your historical data as the starting point in estimating your budgeted amounts for the first period of your budget.

Ask yourself whether the historical amounts are likely to be repeated or not, and note why your estimates are expected to differ e.g. now working from home or children are learning from home.

Amounts received or paid quarterly or annually etc., will need to be entered into the period they are expected to be received or paid so your net cash flow will vary up or down each period accordingly.

Structure your budget to take you through to December 31, 2020 at least and subsequently extend it to March 31, and finally June 30, 2021.

There is a lot of merit in monitoring your actual monthly receipts and payments against your budget estimates and where necessary revising your estimates for future periods so that your finance plan becomes a living plan.

Preparing a personal or household budget is important because it will inform you — ahead of time — when you may be able to bank surplus cash flow to cover future commitments, or in the absence of cash reserves to draw down on, allow you to plan forward, proactively, and work on where the additional cash can be found, be it selling down shares, seeking additional paid work, cutting out certain discretionary expenditures, or discussing your financial needs with your bank, instead of just taking a punt on providence.

The content of this article is not intended to be relied upon as professional advice.

It reflects insights I have gained from my experience as an educator, small business owner, practicing accountant and custodian of my parents’ and grandmothers’ respective recollections of surviving the privations and challenges, resulting from two world wars, the Spanish flu epidemic and the 1930s depression.

Their stories have left me with a deep appreciation of how resilience and wellness are so essential for survival when the unknown overwhelms our consciousness.

Brian Spurrell FCPA, CTA, Registered Tax Agent.

Director, Personalised Taxation & Accounting Services Pty Ltd

0412 011 946

www.ptasaccountants.com.au

Parks closures


The Warrandyte Diary has been informed that Warrandyte State Park visitor sites have been closed due to danger from high winds.

According to an email from Parks Victoria sent to registered Volunteer Groups and Tour Operators,  Jumping Creek Reserve, Normans Reserve, Koornong Reserve and Pound Bend are currently closed to the public, and are scheduled to reopen on Thursday, September 3.

There are damaging winds warning in effect across South East Victoria and as many will have seen, during daily activity following the storm o Thursday, and from notifications on the Vic Emergency app today, trees are coming down.

Stay safe out there today!