Monthly Archives: February 2021

Breaking ground on trail extension


WORKS BEGAN ON Stage 2 of the Diamond Creek Trail extension following a ground-breaking ceremony on February 6.
Stage 2 of the trail extension will link Wattle Glen to Hurstbridge.
Once the Diamond Creek Trail is fully extended to Hurstbridge, the 5.5-kilometre trail extension will complete a 55-kilometre continuous trail from Hurstbridge to the CBD, incorporating the Main Yarra Trail from Eltham Lower Park.
The trail extension is primarily funded by the Victorian Government with $4M for Stage 1 through VicRoads’ Towards Zero initiative and Stage 2 utilising $5.1M from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning’s (DELWP) Suburban Parks Program.
Nillumbik Shire Council also contributed approximately $5M to the project through land acquisition for the 14.4 hectares of land the trail is built on.
Once completed, the trail extension will have a concrete-paved path for pedestrians and cyclists and a separate, parallel natural-surface trail for horse riders.
In attendance at the ground-breaking were members of the community, Nillumbik Shire councillors, Member for Eltham Vicky Ward, Member for Yan Yean Danielle Green, and Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio.
Nillumbik Shire Mayor, Peter Perkins commended the efforts of all those involved in the trail project.

“That the Diamond Creek Trail project is now well on the way to completion is a great result for our community and a credit to the efforts of others on their behalf – including the Victorian Government, Danielle Green MP the Member for Yan Yean, and Vicki Ward MP the Member for Eltham.
“Our community, in particular the efforts of our Regional Trails Advisory Group and Trailblazers Inc. are also to be commended.
“Their tireless advocacy and passion for this project has been integral to bringing us to where we are today.
“The trail is an important community asset, providing a fantastic outlet for physical activity and a safe transport connection between the urban parts of the Shire and our rural townships.
“Also critical, is that it will attract more visitors to our Shire, boosting our local tourism industry and other businesses,” he said.

Bunjil Ward Councillor Karen Egan said the commencement of Stage 2 works was a major development for not only the townships, but the Shire’s rural community.

“I’m very pleased that work is starting on the final stage of an infrastructure project that is of such critical importance to many sectors of our community, being a shared trail open to all,” said Cr Egan.

Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio spoke about the benefits to the local economy and the improved quality of life the trail will bring to the area.

“In the past year, many of us have rediscovered the simple pleasure of going for a walk, run or bike ride.
“Through projects like the Diamond Creek Trail extension, we’re giving people more opportunities to enjoy the outdoors.
“Construction of the trail extension will create as many as 100 jobs over 12 months and boost the local economy by attracting visitors to the trail and surrounding communities.”

Stage 1 of the trail extension, linking Diamond Creek to Wattle Glen is due to be completed and opened to the public in October 2021.

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Market under threat


THE ELTHAM Craft and Produce Market has been a staple of the Eltham community for 44 years but its future is now under threat.
Founded in 1978 along the driveway of the Living and Learning Centre on Main Road, the Eltham Craft and Produce Market has served as an outlet for locally and homemade crafts and produce.
I remember going to the market as a young boy, buying heat packs at the start of every winter with my parents and sister.
We would walk from home to the market and as you entered Alistair Knox Park, the aromas of the food trucks would draw you in.
Soon, aromas mixed with music, conversation and laughter — the sound of a happy and connected community.
These are memories that I hold dear to my heart, and now, it may all come to an end.
On Sunday, February 21, 2021, possibly the last Eltham Craft and Produce Market took place.
Following conversations with the Market organisers Bianca and Di, and Wingrove Ward Councillor, Geoff Paine, I learned the market is under threat of discontinuing due to the complicated process of obtaining licenses and the grounds to continue hosting the market.
The main issue revolves around having a committee properly in place and obtaining a permit to use the area behind Eltham Library.
The market has been using the location between Panther Place and Library Place since October of 2004, an area with great parking and easy accessibility for anyone to visit.
Both stall holders and market goers expressed their sadness over the potential discontinuation of the market and its end will have a long-lasting impact in the Eltham community.
Market organisers are asking Eltham residents and market goers to lobby the local community and market regulars to let Nillumbik Shire Council know that they want the market to stay.
The Warrandyte Diary and WD Bulletin will have further updates on this story as it develops.

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Price of progress


Eltham residents have come out of lockdown to discover that hundreds of trees that graced the Eltham Gateway roundabout have been removed.
Under cover of COVID, Major Roads Projects Victoria (MRPV) moved in on February 15 to clearfell the intersection of Main Road and Fitzsimons Lane, and then removed the large Lemon Scented Gums from the Porter Street intersection on February 16.
Resident Vicky Shukuroglou described the scene as residents who had left their home for the four reasons and came across the Main Road demolition site.

“People started pulling over and parking their cars and were in shock, complete shock,” she said.

Consultation deficit

Community groups are outraged that there had not been extensive community consultation around the project, with many residents unaware of the impending works until Eltham Community Action Group placed red ribbons around the doomed trees in early 2020.
MRPV said they had 300 responses to their community consultation, but admitted to ECAG that less than 100 of them had come from Eltham residents.
In contrast ECAG had received over 3,000 signatures from locals on its petition.
ECAG have spent around two years negotiating with MRPV to compromise on the project to retain the treed gateway intersection.
Secretary of ECAG, Sue Dyet, said the group had first been made aware of the plans when they were told by local member Vicky Ward some months after the plans were put out for consultation.

“She showed us some plans and we went away looking at them and the enormity of the situation sunk in.”

The group managed to hold some meetings with MRPV but, Ms Dyet said the group feel they have been “managed”.

“They listened to us, they gave us time, but when we asked particular questions, and asked for information it was not always forthcoming,” she said.

Nillumbik Council passed a resolution in December 2020 to request MRPV conduct further community consultation, but this did not occur.
Ms Shukuroglou had organised a protest rally for February 13, which had to be cancelled due to the COVID lockdown.
However, the lockdown did not deter the construction workers who brought out the chainsaws, which was seen as a massive slap in the face to the community.

“Even it had been planned for six months, it was in bad taste,” said Ms Dyet.

Major Road Projects Victoria Program Director Dipal Sorathian defended the works occurring during lockdown.

“This project is essential work, like many other projects that have commenced and continued through various stages of COVID-19 restrictions over the past year,” he said.

Overkill

The project will see the intersection widened substantially, with eight lanes (four lanes each way) on the Main Road, eight lanes on Lower Plenty Road and eleven lanes in total on Fitzsimons Lane.
Although Mayor of Nillumbik, Peter Perkins notes that this was reduced from the original plans.

“Council has advocated on behalf of the community since the announcement of this project.
“These efforts have helped to influence MRPV to revise its design, including the reduction of the proposed intersection from 11 to eight lanes, saving more than 200 trees along the corridor.
“Fitzsimons Lane is a key gateway to the Shire and is of significant aesthetic, environmental and economic value to the community.
“Council supports the government’s efforts to minimise traffic congestion while at all times seeking to ensure that the community’s voice is heard and appropriately acted upon,” said Cr Perkins.

Ms Shukuroglou said that with the massive changes in the way people are working and moving around the city the plan should have been reconsidered.
She said the project also does not take the road use changes projected by the North East Link.

“MRPV made their case by using figures that were not really all that accurate, because their traffic modelling and numbers were based on 2027, and then 2028 is estimated for the NEL opening, which suggests traffic will drop by quite a large percentage.
“Then we also need to contemplate there is also a current ban on immigration and the trend of working from home, and that it most likely to be the thing that remains.
“Once the pandemic is abated, people will start getting back on the trains and will be working from home — these things have not been taken into account,” she said.

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Photos: VICKY SHUKUROGLOU

Alternatives ignored

Ms Shukuroglou  went on to say: “We realised as a bunch of volunteers on community planning issues we needed to get hold of some people who knew more about this game than we did.

“So we subsequently got three experts in the field, one a retired VicRoads person, one transport manager from AECOM in London, a huge international firm, and more recently someone who is an expert on roundabouts.

The group had their experts draw up alternative plans in attempt to reduce the footprint of the works and to retain the roundabout, and therefore the trees, but despite being told their plans were as affective as the official plans they would not be considered.
Mr Sorathia told WD Bulletin as part of the development process, “a number of designs options were investigated”, and he said it was found that upgrading to a signalised intersection was the best option to make the road safer and less congested.

“Compared to signals, a roundabout solution will be less safe, increase congestion and travel times, and will not alleviate the traffic queues,” he said.

Objectors to the roadworks were resigned to the fact that the project would go ahead no matter what their objections, but Ms Dyet said she felt that MRPV played lip-service to community consultation.

“I would say that they feel that they ticked all the boxes,” she said.

Enough is enough

Ms Shukuroglou said MRPV has been asking the wrong questions.

“They went in and said, ‘well there is a traffic problem how are we going to solve the traffic problem’.
“As opposed to ‘there is a traffic problem, how can we solve this while respecting the community, the area, and all the values that are within this place’,” she said.

She said she wants to see a dynamic change in how major projects such as this are managed.

“It seems to us very clearly, is the greatest needs of society, which is social and environmental health, which are not just boxes to be ticked and they ought to underpin all decisions, and infrastructure ought to serve purposes in response to these things,” said Ms Shukologlou.
“It starts creeping inwards, it is the thin edge of the wedge, this is where we can slowly chip away and say ‘now that road is there, we are going to have to do this duplication, we are going to have to add extra roads’.
“At what point do we say, ‘actually, enough is enough’?”

She said the community has learnt from this “absolutely horrendous” process and the “devastating” outcome.

“The one thing we need to do is maintain hope for what we can achieve for anything that is happening in the future.
“There are a lot of demoralised, tired people, there are people who feel like they have there is no point in attempting to have a go.
“But that, in all sorts of ways, the system is working in that way.
“It would be much easier if we all sat down and said nothing, there would be a lot less hiccups, work could be done a lot more efficiently.
“But we are not just going to sit down and accept this — we will organise the protest again to say, this must change, this is not an appropriate example of community consultation.
“This is not a good example of how things must be.”

Replanting plan

“We have heard from the local community that they appreciate the natural environment, which is why we are planting more trees than we remove on the Fitzsimons Lane Upgrade,” said Mr Sorathian.

Local member Vicky Ward has announced that 5,000 trees will be planted around Eltham to offset the trees that have been removed.
In a statement, she said approximately six new trees will be planted for every tree removed as part of the project.
This calculation makes the tally of trees lost at approximately 830.

“This program will leave an important legacy that all participants and the wider community will enjoy for years to come,” she said.

Ms Ward’s announcement stated local secondary school students will also be involved in a propagating project to create a new supply of native plants and trees, which will be planted and grown in the local area.
However, Ms Shoukoglou said even 5,000 trees, will not replace what has been lost.

“One of the main issues is there are very few hollow bearing trees left, and it is a serious problem.
“So planting a one-year-old, or five-year-old tree is nothing like it.
“Even if you have 5,000 of them, it is nothing like one mature tree that has lived for 50, 60, 100, 200 years.
“You are never going to regain that,” she said.

Cr Perkins said Council and the community lament the recent destruction of so many trees at this key gateway.

“We look forward to the completion of the project when the benefits will be realised and landscaping completed,” he said.

Display of grief

On Saturday, 20 February, locals gathered for a demonstration at the intersection, gathering in small groups to place “letters of love and loss”.
Ms Shukuroglou told WD Bulletin due to COVID restrictions the community was unable to protest in the traditional sense.
To ensure the event was conducted safely the organisers opted for a multi-site staged gathering over the course of the day.

“It was an independent demonstration, a COVID-safe solution, and an opportunity for people to express their grief, which is immense and rippling through the community”.

She said people came on their own mournful walk, delivered letters, had conversations, and shared their feelings of dismay, anxiety, shock.

“People’s worlds have been rocked — how can that be allowed in our system which is touted as fair?
“Others said their anxiety is through the roof… so much more,” she said.

What now for the future?

Protest organisers are asking concerned citizens to visit their website, to send messages, and keep updated on future actions.
elthamroundabout.wixsite.com/my-site
The WD Bulletin and Warrandyte Diary will continue to follow this developing story.

 

ComBank Closure in Macedon Square


LAST YEAR, The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) made the decision to temporarily close their branch located in Macedon Square, Lower Templestowe to address growing COVID-19 related concerns.

In a letter addressed to Manningham Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Day on January 21, 2021, CBA stated they would not re-open the Lower Templestowe branch due to a shift in customer behaviours — citing that more customers have opted to do their banking online and over the phone.

On January 28, 2021, Councillor Stephen Mayne brought the motion to the monthly Manningham Council Meeting to undertake an advocacy campaign with the CBA to delay or reverse this decision.

Councillor Mayne felt strongly that the closure of the Lower Templestowe branch would be detrimental to the community space, considering Macedon Square is a bustling hub for Manningham residents.

Increasing concerns of potential loss of foot traffic in the centre grow, as the February closure date looms ahead.

“Bank branches drive visitation to local activity centres so it is important to fight to retain the last bank in any centre,” said Cr Mayne.

“Macedon Square is the number one community meeting place in the Ruffey Ward that we are considering spending two to three million dollars on improving in the period ahead.

“I am hoping our engagement will lead to a change in decision here.

“We are publicly signalling to the bank that we are disappointed with this decision,” Cr Mayne said at the January Ordinary Council Meeting.

The council resolved by majority vote to pass the motion.

The Bulletin contacted Councillor Mayne for further comments and updates regarding the motion.

As Councillor Mayne stated in the January council meeting, the council understands that technology is changing and internet banking is becoming the norm.

However, it is still important to look after the needs and interests of everybody in the community, specifically our elderly population.

“Manningham has one of the oldest communities in Victoria so it is particularly important to look after their needs, and many of our elderly residents still like to visit bank branches,” he said.

In a letter addressed to Councillor Mayne on the February 1, 2021, a final verdict on the matter had been reached.

“CBA has written [to the council] confirming the permanent closure, blaming it on a 34 per cent drop in branch activity in recent years,” he writes.

The ATM at the Lower Templestowe Branch will only remain until 12pm on Friday, February 19, however CBA advises that there are 12 nearby ATMs within 5km of the Macedon Square branch.

Cash withdraw services are also available within nearby supermarkets, service centres as well as Australia Post, who also extend their services to deposits and bill payments.

The letter from CBA goes on to say:

“While our decision is final regarding the closure of Lower Templestowe branch, we recognise that some older customers do prefer to do their banking face to face and this is one of the reasons why CBA is proud to maintain the largest branch network in the country.”

As of February 19, the nearest bank to Macedon Square, CBA or otherwise, is located at Westfield Doncaster, The Pines East Doncaster, Tunstall Square Doncaster and Bulleen Plaza, all of which are at least 2.5km away.

Groove on the Green


After a year of lockdown and isolation, February 6 saw Warrandyte emerge to remember its Year of Wonders, at a photo exhibition and live event held at Taffy’s hut at the newly opened Lion’s Park (see page 22 for a selection of the Year of Wonders photographs).

While the exhibition was a celebration of the wonderful creativity that abounds in our photographic artists, what was discovered over the course of the evening is the amazing potential for our new Village Green as a gathering space and place for all manner of purposes.

However, this Green may be short lived, as it is planned to be incorporated into an extended playground in Stage 2 of the site development.

Yarra Ward Councillor, Carli Lange attended the event and said, “it was clear — the vision for Lions Park upgrade had come to life”.

“The new, treasured and beneficial open space in front of Taffy Jones Hut has become a connection for all — families, groups, couples, individuals, everyone!

She said the grassed area between the playground and the Lions Park extension was a “Groove on the Green” — enjoyed by everyone.

She said the green had potential to be a picnic area, a game field, a social buzz and an audience arena.

She said many locals had spoken to her to say “thank-you” for this flat grass area to host presentations, speeches, entertainment, shows, rehearsals and galleries — a much needed connection point for all.

“Many locals said ‘Please, please, keep this new grass area — just as is — please keep it open, flat, grassed’,”Ms Lange said.

Warrandyte Resident Doreen Burge noted how well the new Green was utilised during the event, and said the extension of the playground, “seems very short-sighted given the possibilities for this lovely lawn and its proximity to the natural stage of Taffy’s Hut”.

Warrandyte Historical Society made a submission to Council in December, saying the Stage 2 upgrade would: “result in an overdeveloped Park with insufficient space for simple activities, such as sitting or playing on an open grassed area”.

“We feel that an extension to the playground is unnecessary given the many new features of Stage 1 that can be utilised by older children.

“We are concerned that the open views to and across the river will be compromised by the addition of more play equipment.

“We feel the current grassed area is an asset to this new park and would be well-utilised by families and all age groups if it were to become a permanent feature.

“It would be disappointing to see this area covered with play equipment.”

Karen Mew who coordinates Pottery Co, which backs onto the space told the Diary they are planning a series of events in the area, including Indigenous talks and music events.

This grass area will be the start and part of many community events of Taffy’s Hut, but to do that we need to keep our green.

Ways to stay connected


THE BRAWL between the Australian Media and digital platforms, moderated by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) through the News Media Bargaining Code turned an ugly corner this morning as Facebook pulled all Australian news content from their platform.

All content deemed “news” both domestically and internationally has been pulled from Australia and has also impacted pages such as Bureau of Meterology (BOM).

While mainstream media platforms have the budget and personnel to weather the storm and find alternative ways to connect to their audiences, small community publisher – such as the Warrandyte Diary are less fortunate.

For many, who have been adapting to an increasingly digital landscape, Facebook’s action sends them back to the dark ages.

Maybe this is a good thing.

Maybe this is a chance to get away from the dancing cat memes and incessant trolling, but Facebook’s action caught everyone off guard and media companies across Australia and now pivoting to reconnect with their audience.

Warrandyte Diary and WD Bulletin are still here and now has even more ways to keep you engaged, informed and up to date.

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More to come…

We are actively working on more ways to connect digitally, so watch this space for exciting new announcements about ways to catch up on local content.

Council facilities during COVID restrictions


MANNINGHAM and Nillumbik Councils have advised a series of closures of council facilities, following the Victorian Government’s announcementof the return of Stage 4 COVID-19.
Essential services will continue, but the following council facilities will close to the public for the duration of the lockdown period unless otherwise specified:

Council Offices
Shire Offices in Civic Drive, Greensborough, and Manningham Civic Centre in Doncaster will be closed to the public.
However, both councils will be operating call centres during usual business hours.

Waste Disposal
Nillumbik’s The Recycling and Recovery Centre will be closed on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 February but will reopen on Monday February 15 for essential workers.
The Reuse Shop will be closed for the entire lockdown.
Manningham’s Green Waste Centre has been closed indefinitely, but Green Waste Drop Off sessions planned for next weekend is still set to proceed.
Waste collection services including kerbside landfill, recycling and green waste collections will continue as normal as well as booked hard waste collections.

Sport and Leisure
All sports stadiums including Aquarina Aquatic and Leisure Centre, Eltham Leisure Centre, Mullum Mullum Stadium as well as outdoor basketball and netball courts, tennis and lawnbowls facilities golf courses, BMX tracks, and mini-golf courses are closed.
The Diamond Valley Sports and Fitness Centre is already closed for redevelopment.
Playgrounds, skate parks, ovals, fields and parkland will remain open, including the Tom Kelly Athletics Track.
All community sport is cancelled for both training and competition.

Arts and Community Facilities
Edendale Community Environment Farm, but essential workers will continue to care for our animals.
Library branches including the mobile library and return chutes.
Members can continue to borrow from the eLibrary collection and place holds.
Facilities such as Manningham Art Gallery, Manningham Art Studios, Eltham Community Reception Centre, council operated halls, libraries and venues for hire, council buildings leased to community groups, are closed.
Eltham and Panton Hill Playhouses, except for children of essential workers.

Health Services
Maternal and Child Health Services will operate as usual, with the exception of first-time parent groups who will have a telehealth option.
Immunisations will continue with COVID-safe practices in place.
Services for older and vulnerable residents continue to operate.
Community transport will operate for medical and health-related appointment only.

More information
Residents and businesses can find more informaition regading council services and facilities via your Council’s websites nillumbik.vic.gov.au, or manningham.vic.gov.au.
For up-to-date information about the Victorian Government restrictions, go to the DHHS website.

East Metro Women’s Social Competition


SUNDAY SAW the Warrandyte Social Sixers Women compete in the first ever East Metro Social Competition, played against other Social Sixers participants from various other cricket clubs.
We were all very proud to represent the club and the Warrandyte community, and it was a great success.
The format was an eight-a-side, 14 over innings, with nothing taken too seriously, and we all had a laugh.

Round 1
Warrandyte Vs Koonung Heights

Warrandyte won the toss and decided to bat, we sent out our openers and we got the score ticking away nicely.
We lost a few early wickets after that, but our tail-enders were up to the task and held their ground.
We faced economical bowling from Koonung and ended the innings 7/52.
After tea Koonung sent out their batters.
We took a few early wickets, a catch and a run out and we were on track for an even game, their middle order then picked up the pace and the runs started to get away from us a little.
Koonung finished their innings with 5/94.
The score unfortunately did not reflect the quality of play from Warrandyte, but as the game was purely social and for fun, we all really enjoyed ourselves and the game.

Top Scorers
Batting
Ronda Arthur 11
Renelle Trayford 9
Jillian Garvey 5

Bowling
Sandi Miller 2/10
Samantha Saunders 1/11

 

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This Girl Can … Mountain Bike

WARRANDYTE Mountain Bike (MTB) Club has joined VicHealth’s This Girl Can program for a fun weekend of MTB action.
Wendy Snowball, President of Warrandyte MTB Club told the Diary the events were free, all participants need to do is register.
Saturday Morning is a beginner skills session, meeting at Beasley’s Car Park.
“All you need is a bike you can ride on the dirt, and an Australian standard helmet, to learn the ‘what’ and ‘how to’
of MTBing,” said Wendy.
Saturday Afternoon will be an intermediate ride, leaving from the Smith’s Gully General Store.

Register at:
warrandytemtb.com.au/events
Ladies Introductory MTB Skills
Saturday, March 27,
09am – 11am,

Warrandyte
Intermediate to Advanced Ladies MTB Ride
Saturday, March 27,
1pm – 3:30pm,
Smith’s Gully
These events are part of the This Girl Can initiative

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Volunteers recognised in Community Awards


SOME WONDERFUL volunteers have been recognised in various Australia Day awards across the country.
Our own local volunteers were recognised in ceremonies held in Menzies, and in the electorate of Menzies, which incorporates Manningham.
Federal Member for Menzies, Kevin Andrews awarded 20 individuals for their contribution to their local communities.
“They are people who just selflessly go about their own quiet ways of contributing to the community —people who don’t seek recognition, but deserve recognition — and I believe this is an important day for us as a broader community to recognise those people who quietly build the community in which we live,” Mr Andrews said.
He said over the almost 20 years of holding the awards, there have been almost 1,200 people recognised.
The Menzies Awards also recognise community groups who enhance the lives of the people of Menzies.
“It is through those community groups that we are such a strong place, such a wonderful place to live, because of that unseen work that so many people do, which is the glue of the local community that we build together,” he said.
Cr Andrew Conlon, Mayor of Manningham, which makes up a large part of the Menzies electorate, said that it was wonderful to be able to express gratitude to those in the community who have selflessly served the greater good and have made a positive difference to someone else’s life.
Cr Conlon said they were “great examples of what it means to be an Australian”.
The individual awards went to; John Barnes, Steve Buys, Gee Wing Chung, Colleen Danaher, Ross Dawson, Zakir Fakhri, Malcolm Ferguson, Ila Franklin, Trish Hargreaves, Sue Hudson, Alston Jerome, Tony Louey, Adrian Mullins, David Ryan, Christian Sharkey, Liz Stewart, Stuart Steiner, Ron Twining, and Cheryl Watt.
The 2021 Community Organisation Award was presented to the Women’s Friendship Group, who was presented with an Australian Flag, which had previously hung at Parliament House in Canberra.

Captain Adrian Mullens
Warrandyte CFA

Captain Mullens has given over 36 years of volunteer service, including eight years as Captain and over 25 years as a senior officer in the CFA.
Captain Mullens has responded to and commanded numerous life-threating emergency situations resulting in the protection of life and property, including the Warrandyte Fire in 2014, for which Captain Mullens was the Incident Controller and successfully contained the fire, which had great potential of causing devastation across Warrandyte.
Adrian commenced with the CFA in 1984, has attended numerous fires throughout the state and indeed Australia, his strong and experienced leadership style ensures his crews are well able to protect the Menzies community.
Adrian told the Dairy he was humbled to accept this award, but stressed that it is a team effort, and the award acknowledged the work of the whole brigade.
“We have seen with the different leaders over the years, the brigade has got bigger and stronger — it is a matter of us working as a collective team,” he said.

WO1 David Ryan
Warrandyte RSL

David Ryan deployed as an active Regimental Sergeant Major with the Victorian Army engineers during the 2019/2020 bushfire crisis.
Utilising the experience gained in a 32-year career in Army Reserve including in East Timor, border protection operations and numerous exercises in Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines, he produced outstanding results, helping to coordinate relief operations for the Victorian community.
As President of the Warrandyte RSL for the last four years, David has excelled in providing remembrance and social activities for the Warrandyte and Menzies community.
Following the ceremony, David told the Diary he felt it was good to have people recognised for the contribution they do to the local community.
“But it is always humbling and hard to accept, but it is an honour to be recognised for the work you do over the years.”

Christian Sharkey
Wonga Park Scout Group

Christian joined Wonga Park Scouts as a volunteer in 2013, since this time he has been supporting young members actively encouraging them in their endeavours.
Christian assists with numerous activities, ensuring the smooth running of the group, does a great job in planning and running events for the Youth members, and often fills in for other leaders when they are not available.
Each year, Christian plans and leads the families in assisting at several local community activities including Anzac Day ceremonies, he provides significant time and commitment to the group.

Stuart Steiner
Wonga Park Scouts

Stuart joined Wonga Park Scouts as a volunteer in 2013.
During this time, he has worked tirelessly assisting young members mentoring them in a variety of different skills and knowledge.
He provides guidance and support to youth in reaching their potential.
Stuart is also instrumental in maintaining the scout hall, providing
significant time and commitment to the group.
Each year Stuart plans and leads several family hikes for the entire group ranging from day hikes to weeklong hikes.
He ensures all of the aspects of these hikes, from gear to transport, food and navigation all run smoothly.

Ron Twining
Templestowe RSL

A Templestowe resident for more than 30 years, Ron Twining has served as a Justice of the Peace in Manningham since 1983 and has attended to the needs of local residents for more than those three decades.
A former criminal investigation branch squad detective of Victoria Police, Ron is currently President of the Templestowe RSL and has conducted Anzac and Remembrance Day services for the past 18 years.
A much-loved neighbour and member of the local community Ron’s commitment to Manningham in many areas has been outstanding.
Spending 13 years in Victoria Police as a senior detective, he also made great contributions in commerce in 20 years as national general manager of an Australian transport company.
Ron has been a proud recipient of the Victoria Police Medal, the Australian National Service and Australian Defence Medal, and in 2017 he was the Manningham Citizen of the Year.

Cheryl Watt
Doncare

Cheryl’s connection with Doncare commenced close to 30 years ago when it was a much smaller organisation, in her typical capable style she looked after administration and finance.
As the organisation grew, she introduced the idea that in the better interest of Doncare, the growing complexity of the business required an accountant, Cheryl remained to support the accountant.
Close to 10 years ago, Cheryl made the transition to social support for seniors’ program and very quickly became integral in the many lives of Manningham seniors, arranging opportunities for them to enjoy hundreds of social activities, assisting them to make friends and avoid social isolation and loneliness.
She has an amazing ability to organise and run the programs, encourages the people around her, has an amazing sense of humour, and is a great listener.
Cheryl was not able to attend the Ceremony, but the award was accepted on her behalf.

Nillumbik awards

Nillumbik announced their Australia Day awards at a ceremony in Eltham on January 26.
Mayor Peter Perkins said the award recipients and their achievements — and those of others nominated — underlined a strong legacy of community service in Nillumbik.
“Today’s award recipients highlight the strength of commitment to helping others that exists in our community,” Cr Perkins said.
“While their ages and backgrounds may be diverse, this unwavering commitment to bettering the lives of those around them is the thread that draws them together.
“It is also a reflection of an attitude among the broader Nillumbik community.
“I congratulate and extend my heartfelt thanks to today’s award recipients — and to all those in our community who work so selflessly to help improve the lives of others.”
Cr Perkins said the theme of this year’s ceremony resonated strongly with the community.
“Today is an opportunity for us all to reflect, show respect and to celebrate as we are all part of the story – and this is especially so after the year we’ve just been through.

Josh Allen
Nillumbik’s 2021 Citizen of the Year

Through his work with the CFA as a member of the Diamond Creek Fire Brigade, Josh has been involved in the response and recovery from significant events including the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires and the Christmas Day flash floods of 2011.
A member of the Rotary Club of Diamond Creek, Josh’s work in the community has been notable for his energy and enthusiasm, along with his ability to collaborate with various local groups and services, including the Men’s Shed, Lions Club and Diamond Creek Traders’ Association.
He was instrumental in securing the W-Class Tram, which now occupies such a prominent place in the new Diamond Creek Regional Playspace and operates as a community café.

Peter Talbot
Volunteer of the Year

An active member of Community and Volunteers of Eltham (CAVE) for 20 years, he has also been Liaison Officer for Eltham High School and Eltham Lions Club President.
Over this time, he has been tireless, despite his own health setbacks and challenges, in driving fundraising efforts for various important community causes.

Jan Aitken
Senior Citizen of the Year

Jan Aitken has been fundamental to the development and success of the Nillumbik Reconciliation Group.
For 13 years as President, she has worked to connect communities through passion, warmth and a commitment to Reconciliation.
Numerous other community organisations, including schools and individuals have also benefited from Jan’s dedication to giving over the years.

Finn Deacey
Young Citizen of the Year

Over the past year Finn has balanced the completion of his Year 12 studies with his commitment to volunteering for a variety of community organisations.
These include the Eltham CFA, Nillumbik’s FreeZa Group, Nillumbik Unplugged and Eltham Life 3095.

The Rotary Club of Diamond Creek
Community Group of the Year

Despite all the challenges of 2020, the club managed to push ahead with a range of initiatives and projects to help those in need of support.
These included the Second Bite project (providing food to the disadvantaged) as well as a range of arts and education initiatives.

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Now is the time to create some healthy habits


HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Let’s hope 2021 is a successful year in your chosen endeavours after the turmoil and instability of last year.
Personally, it was tough for me as I am sure it was for many of you.
Besides losing my studio in Warrandyte, I lost my way and didn’t feel I had a real sense of purpose.
I found it a challenge to function day-to-day, finish tasks, and wound up isolating myself more.
This led me to a path of what I’d call self-destruction where I’d fall into bad habits.
I struggled for motivation; I was staying up too late, therefore sleeping in too late.
I was drinking more alcohol than normal and just generally partying too hard.
My body and brain were not functioning as they should.
They were real “groundhog days” just accumulating until things got back to some normality.
I can’t afford to lose sleep nor over-jam my schedule.
I need to keep up with those good habits for the sake of my heart, mind, and physical health.
I believe this is the same for everybody.
When you’re stressed or emotionally distressed, your heart is one of the first organs in your body that will feel the pain and react.
But here we are in February 2021, we are back working hard, kids are now at school, holidays are over, so I thought I’d share some healthy habits with you.
There are so many of them, but I thought I’d give you five that will hold you in good stead this year and beyond.

  1. Get a morning routine that suits you

How you start your day really matters.
The way you approach a morning determines what mood you’ll be in that entire day.
If you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, rush to get dressed, skip breakfast or shove something in your mouth and rush to work, you’ll most likely feel rattled for the day.
A morning routine will help you ease into your day and start off on the right foot.
If you have had a goal to have more time in the mornings, start in 15-minute increments.
Wake up 15 minutes earlier each day until you are happy with the time.
More time in the mornings means more time and attention to work obligations and people you care most about.

  1. Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day

Don’t just grab another cup of coffee — get up and move.
Have a PT session, do a fitness class, lift some weights, go for a jog followed by some stretches.
It is great for your body and mind. Just 30 minutes of walking, five times a week, may help keep the blues at bay.
And if you can’t do it all at once, short bursts help, too.

  1. Organise your home or workspace for 15 minutes

15 minutes of cleaning a night (or morning, whichever works best) will add time to your life.
Your home should be your oasis.
A clean place is vital for stress management.
I just let my place build up with untidiness, clutter, and dust, I just could not face cleaning it.
It affected my mood and motivation.
Make sure all the dishes and washing are put away and the beds are made in the morning.
Shower before bed and enjoy fresh sheets on the bed, it really does make a difference.

  1. Develop your evening routine

An evening routine can consist of reading, Yoga, meditation, cleaning and organising, or doing an exercise.
Winding down is critical for mental health management.
Three hours before bed might be the time you want to start allowing your brain and mind to relax.
Your evening routine can entail anything that promotes peace and serenity.
If something relaxes you and gets you prepared for bed, do that.
To make a health goal into a habit, set a time to stop working.

  1. Keep a journal

This is something new for me, but I love the idea and think it’s really helping me.
It can be done in three to five minutes.
Try logging what you accomplished each day and what you need to do the next.
Create a comprehensive outline showcasing how much you have achieved and what else needs attention.
You will be amazed when you realise how much you’ve done in a day and hopefully will stop being so hard on yourself.
I am ridiculously hard on myself, unnecessarily so, and it’s unhealthy for the heart and mind.
This journal writing saved me in a lot of ways.
I’m now ready to make 2021 my most successful year ever and I hope it will be for you too.
Yours in good health, Chris.

Chris Sharp is a Personal Trainer at Advance Fitness-Doncaster East and can be contacted 0419 553 058

 

Life in the times of COVID-19


RUNNING FROM February 5 to April 5, Montsalvat will be host to an exhibition titled Art in the Time of COVID-19.
The Exhibition consists of over 40 local and national artists, all of whom have been commissioned to share their artwork that responds to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The exhibition features works in the Local category from Elisabeth Bromley-Kulugitago, Michelle Caithness, Clive Murray-White, Jonathan Crowther, Karena Goldfinch, Lana de Jager, Carl de Jager, Siri Hayes, Emmy Mavroidis, James McMurtrie, Angela Nagel, Mandy Ord, Camilla Tadich, Ronak Taher, Melisa Savickas, Tara Stubley, Jennifer Dellaportas, Peter Wegner, and Gali Weiss.
Open category works from Dale Collier, Jane Crappsley, Fan Dongwang, Minna Gilligan, Tyler Grace, Michelle Hamer, Spencer Harrison, Paul Kalemba, Robbie
Karmel, Deb Mcfadzean, Anna McDermott, Valentina Palonen, Jenny Pollak, Zorica Purlija, Greer Townshend, Luigi Vescio, James Voller, Joel Zika, Liz Walker, and Yu Fang Chi.
The arts community, like many others, has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic.
Nillumbik Mayor Peter Perkins said Council was proud to support the Shire’s vibrant arts community through such an important project.
“History has shown that adversity brings out the very best in communities and this response from the arts community has been no different.
“The pandemic has touched us all in one way or another and these works are a reflection and reminder of life during 2020 and the struggles, challenges and uncertainties we all continue to face,” said Cr Perkins.
The works are a mixture of both reflective and experimental pieces, presented in a variety of mediums including painting, printmaking, photography, drawing, mixed media, sculpture, installation, textile and video.
The Diary spoke with local artist Siri Hayes, an artist who specialises in photography, video, and textiles, particularly botanical dyes.
Siri, like many people, used the 2020 lockdowns as an opportunity to take on “COVID projects”.
“Something they have always wanted to do but have not had the time for,” she said.
With the free time Siri said it meant that she could investigate indigo dying, which she says is probably the most complicated of the botanical dyes to make.
“It is quite scientific; it requires all the conditions to be right.”
The fruits of this labour will be on display at the Art in the Time of Covid-19 exhibition in the form of a three-metre-long weaving of yarn titled Wurundjeri country, Chux Blue.
The weaving was made using her indigo dye made from the native plant Indigofera australis.
Aside from being used to make dye, Siri told me the Wurundjeri people would crush the leaves and add them to water which would stun or kill fish and eels.
Her weaving was originally meant to be, essentially, “a really enlarged Chux cloth”
“I actually found one on the ground all covered in clay and a photo of that is also going to be in the show as well, so there’s a relationship between the cloth that I have made and then there is also the photo next to it.”
The Warrandyte Diary was given access to the gallery and those involved prior to the exhibitions opening.
To hear more about what the exhibition means to those involved and arts in Nillumbik generally, see our video on the Warrandyte Diary website.
Art in the Time of COVID-19 is presented in conjunction with Nillumbik Shire Council and on at Montsalvat in the Barn Gallery, The Skipper Studio and the Montsalvat Grounds until April 5.
Due to COVID restrictions, tickets must be pre-purchased.
Bookings and more information at www.montsalvat.com.au

Photo exhibition captures Manningham during lockdown

THE LIGHTS are on and everybody’s home.
Manningham Art Gallery’s first exhibition of the year, Empty Streets and Stacked Chairs, documents life in the final two weeks of Australia’s first COVID-19 lockdown in May 2020.
Photographers Bill McAuley and David Wadelton captured this historic moment in a series of poignant images featuring deserted shopping centres, desolated streets, closed schools and masked baristas.
Manningham Mayor, Cr Andrew Conlon said the exhibition has allowed us to document a shared experience from the pandemic and tells many stories of our community and how we have been affected in different ways.
“The exhibition tells a tale of the perseverance of the human spirit during an unprecedented time, and explores fear and adaptation with a glimmer
of hope shining through,” he said.
“It provides a portrait of Manningham and a snapshot of the different experiences our community has gone through, whether sad or heart-warming.”
The exhibition is open now until Saturday, March 27 at Manningham Art Gallery, 687 Doncaster Road, Doncaster.
In person and online artist talks with photojournalists Bill McAuley and David Wadelton are also scheduled during February.
Booking is essential.
Bill McAuley Artist Talk Tuesday, 16 February 11am to 12:30pm
manningham.vic.gov.au/artist-talk-with-bill-mcauley
David Wadelton Artist Talk Tuesday, 23 February 11am to 12:30pm
manningham.vic.gov.au/artist-talk-with-david-wadelton
For more information about the exhibition, visit
manningham.vic.gov.au/empty-streets-and-stacked-chairs

 

Photos below by Bill McAuley

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Photos below by David Wadelton

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Groove on the Green


AFTER A YEAR of lockdown and isolation, February 6 saw Warrandyte emerge to remember its Year of Wonders, at a photo exhibition and live event held at Taffy’s hut at the newly opened Lion’s Park (see page 22 for a selection of the Year of Wonders photographs).
While the exhibition was a celebration of the wonderful creativity that abounds in our photographic artists, what was discovered over the course of the evening is the amazing potential for our new Village Green as a gathering space and place for all manner of purposes.
However, this Green may be short lived, as it is planned to be incorporated into an extended playground in Stage 2 of the site development.
Yarra Ward Councillor, Carli Lange attended the event and said, “it was clear — the vision for Lions Park upgrade had come to life”.
“The new, treasured and beneficial open space in front of Taffy Jones Hut has become a connection for all — families, groups, couples, individuals, everyone!
She said the grassed area between the playground and the Lions Park extension was a “Groove on the Green” — enjoyed by everyone.
She said the green had potential to be a picnic area, a game field, a social buzz and an audience arena.
She said many locals had spoken to her to say “thank-you” for this flat grass area to host presentations, speeches, entertainment, shows, rehearsals and galleries — a much needed connection point for all.
“Many locals said ‘Please, please, keep this new grass area — just as is — please keep it open, flat, grassed’,” Ms Lange said.
Warrandyte Resident Doreen Burge noted how well the new Green was utilised during the event, and said the extension of the playground, “seems very short-sighted given the possibilities for this lovely lawn and its proximity to the natural stage of Taffy’s Hut”.
Warrandyte Historical Society made a submission to Council in December, saying the Stage 2 upgrade would: “result in an overdeveloped Park with insufficient space for simple activities, such as sitting or playing on an open grassed area”.
“We feel that an extension to the playground is unnecessary given the many new features of Stage 1 that can be utilised by older children.
“We are concerned that the open views to and across the river will be compromised by the addition of more play equipment.
“We feel the current grassed area is an asset to this new park and would be well-utilised by families and all age groups if it were to become a permanent feature.
“It would be disappointing to see this area covered with play equipment.”
Karen Mew who coordinates Pottery Co, which backs onto the space told the Diary they are planning a series of events in the area, including Indigenous talks and music events.
This grass area will be the start and part of many community events of Taffy’s Hut, but to do that we need to keep our green.

No flies on this young entrepreneur


WARRANDYTE teenager Jett Appleby (15) is taking the first steps in what
could be the beginnings of an entrepreneurial journey.
In December 2020, Jett launched Thebinsronus, a community focused bin-run enterprise in which, for a very modest fee, Jett will put your bins out, and bring them back in, every week.
The Diary sat down with Jett, at his home in Warrandyte, to talk about this new community service.
I started off by asking him what motivated him to start his venture.
“We’ve all got to start somewhere, it would be good to build up a portfolio,
future employers would probably like that.
“Plus if I feel good about myself, being able to get involved in the community and I make some cash along the way as well,” he said.
Jett also spoke about the other ideas he had.
“I thought about washing bins for a bit but I don’t think it is something I
want to do.
“I had some other ideas — like mowing the lawn, but that was immediately crossed off.
“There was mowing the lawns, there was washing bins, there was washing cars but this seemed the most suitable.”
The rolling hills and large blocks which characterise the Warrandyte landscape can often make the weekly walk to the street an arduous task and the community were invested in Jett’s service from the moment he pressed send on his first Facebook post.
“I think it was the night I posted the ad, about two hours after I posted.”
Jett’s client base, is still relatively small, covering about 12 streets at the bridge-end of town.
His business is still in its very early stages, and while there is no immediate plan to extend his operation, it would appear the demand is there.
“Most of the feedback I get is ‘expand to other areas’ because these are people who want the service in their area.
“But it takes time to expand and that is most of the feedback I really get.
“I don’t think I can expand to everyone, but you never know.”
Jett’s approach to this new venture is pragmatic and, after speaking to him, I come away with the impression that if this project was to not work out, he would simply move onto something else.
But Jett has taken the time to think about marketing and setting himself up as something more professional than the more common teenaged job enterprises.
“Thebinsronus, I am trying to brand it as one word, except to make it shorter we are using the letter r instead of the word ‘are’.
“I just want to seem a bit more professional.”
Father, David, also sees great potential in Jett’s enterprise.
“I am delighted to see that he has got this enterprise and I am very proud of him.
“I think it is great and the fact that he is getting out there and doing work is great, character building and providing a genuine service for a modest fee.
“I think it is a good idea, I can see it taking off it was done really professionally,” David said.
If you would like a break from the bin-run, and support community enterprise, get in contact with Jett via his Facebook page
facebook.com/thebinsr or via phone/text on: 0478 583 505

Community notice: Come join the Lions Club of Warrandyte


The Lions Club of Warrandyte would like to invite any interested member of the wider community to our first meeting for 2021.
At the moment we have 10 vacancies in our Community Lions Club for people with an interest in helping others and raising money for not only local persons in need of support, but any where assistance is needed through our magnificent OpShop.
For those of you who have been watching the redevelopment of Lions Park down near the bridge, you may have noticed the installation of four exercise work out equipment installed by Council and paid for to the tune of $45,000 donated by the Lions Club Of Warrandyte, from the op shop and the support of the Warrandyte Community Market.

So if you think you like to help your community and be able to attend a meeting for a couple of hours a month, and participate in Club activities including the Op Shop you would be made most welcome.
Our next meeting will be held at Bocca Italian Restaurant near IGA on Tuesday, February 9 at 7:30pm.

RSVP by Monday, February 8 by contacting Mr Denis Robertshaw Club Membership Coordinator on 0407-533-342