Bulletin

Category for WD Bulletin originated stories

State of the pandemic

IN THE 24-HOUR reporting period before July 19, there were 244 new COVID-19 cases reported in Manningham, taking the active caseload up to 1,322.
In Nillumbik, there were 131 new cases, totalling 656 active cases.
These numbers are consistent with what is being reported in our neighbouring Local Government Areas (LGAs) and in LGAs across the state — Coronavirus is everywhere.
There were 12,201 new cases state-wide, with 9,953 of those detected through RAT kits. In Victoria, as of July 19, there are 65,416 active cases of COVID-19 that have been reported.
With pandemic measures significantly relaxed and, in many situations, mask-wearing a recommendation instead of a mandate, vaccination is one of our most effective defences against this virus.
While first and second dose uptake hit 95–97 per cent, the uptake of the boosters (third and fourth doses) has slowed since the end of March, when the eligible population (16+) raced to 64 per cent in three months.
Reporting figures on July 19 indicate in Victoria that 73.5 per cent of the eligible population has received three or more doses; nationally, that figure is 70.9 per cent.
Residents of Manningham and Nillumbik who have been able to and have received at least three doses should be proud as our municipalities are ahead of the curve at 75.7 and 78.2 per cent respectively of those eligible vaccinated.
There is some concern in the community regarding the three-month window between being infected with COVID-19 and getting a booster and the new understanding that the current Omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5 can cause reinfection of those who have had the virus within 28 days (four weeks).
Reports from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) and the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) address this issue.
AHPPC notes in its COVID-19 winter update:

“BA.4 and BA.5 are associated with increased immune escape, and we are likely to see rates of reinfection rise among those who have previously been infected with an earlier COVID-19 variant and those who are up to date with their vaccinations.
Vaccination continues to be the most important protection against severe illness.
Given reinfections may occur as early as 28 days after recovery from a previous COVID-19 infection, the AHPPC advises that the [official] reinfection period be reduced from 12 weeks to 28 days.
People who test positive to COVID-19 more than 28 days after ending isolation due to previous infection should be reported and managed as new cases.”

On July 13, ATAGI agreed with the AHPPC report but still recommended interval between infection and vaccine remain at three months.
“Evidence suggests that BA.4/5 is associated with a higher re-infection rate compared to previous variants, and this is likely to be due to immune evasion,” the ATAGI statement said.
ATAGI explains there is not a lot of data on the additional protection a booster provides in the short term, if it is administered soon after infection, adding:

“Immunologically, a longer time interval between vaccines enhances the ‘booster response’ and subsequent clinical protection, particularly against severe COVID-19 disease.
The COVID-19 vaccines have a modest, short duration of impact against infection and as the primary aim of the program is optimising protection from severe disease, a three-month interval, therefore, remains optimal.”

Masks Pandemic

(Public Safety) Order 2022 (No. 3), which came into effect on July 12 and will be in effect until October 12, states that masks must be carried at all times and people should wear a mask when visiting hospital and care facilities and when using public transport.
All levels of government and healthcare professionals are also recommending that people wear masks indoors in a public place (such as a supermarket or shopping centre) or in a situation where it is not possible to social distance.
In addition, the Victorian Department of Education and Training, Independent Schools Victoria, and the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria sent a joint letter to parents and carers stating they are asking students and staff to mask up for the remainder of winter.

“Students won’t be required or expected to wear masks when outdoors, and this expectation won’t stop student participation in the full range of school activities, including music, sport and performances.
We are asking for your support in explaining to your child or children the importance of this simple step that will help keep our schools as safe as possible.
We also ask that you make sure your child (or children) takes a mask to school (and wears it if they are travelling on public transport) or collects a mask when they arrive at school.
We all appreciate how important it is for students to be back at school.
This action will help make sure as many students and staff as possible are protected from COVID and other winter illness.”

Pandemic payments

To help reduce the spread of COVID-19, the Federal Government reinstated the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payments, which, in accordance with the COVID-19 Disaster Payment (Funding Arrangements) Act 2021, which expired on June 30, 2022.
Following a meeting of the National Cabinet in mid-July, the following statement was released:

“In recognition of the risks associated with more infectious new variants through the winter period, the Commonwealth agreed to reinstate the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment to 30 September 2022.
Eligibility for the payment will be backdated to July 1, 2022, to ensure that anyone unable to work owing to isolation requirements in this period, without access to paid sick leave is supported.
Access to these payments will commence from Wednesday, July 20, with existing eligibility requirements to continue.
We have agreed to share the costs of the payment 50:50, between the Commonwealth and the States and Territories.”

These payments are targeted to help those on lower incomes and casual workers maintain a basic income while sick with COVID-19. To apply and to check your eligibility, visit Services Australia at www.servicesaustralia.gov.au.

Planning prevents party disasters

PARTIES ARE an excellent chance for people to get together, socialise and have fun.
For teenagers, when they may encounter their first experience of alcohol and other drugs, risky behaviour becomes more likely.
This means things like: drinking too much alcohol (sometimes called binge drinking) unprotected or non-consensual sex drink driving — or getting into a car with an intoxicated driver drink spiking drug overdose or alcohol poisoning getting into a fight getting injured Domestic security expert Naomi Oakley is encouraging parents to take greater control of teen parties with the rise of pre and post-event parties seeing teens as young as 14 getting intoxicated at friends’ homes before going on to other events.
She warns that the parents of the host teen could be liable should adverse incidents occur.

“Parents need to step up and ensure that they’re doing the right thing and not allowing the kids to roll out of their house drunk off their faces.
“There is a responsibility when these young ones leave their house after drinking.”

She says parents need to be aware of “secondary supply” legislation, which would see parents fined over $7,000 per offence for supplying alcohol to minors without written consent from parents.

“Even with a note from parents, some parents are not providing any kind of duty of care,” she said.
“What parents need to do is if they are having pre-parties — or any party really — is to make sure that the alcohol is managed properly.”

She recommends having a person that has experience serving alcohol.

“It would be great if you could use someone with a Responsible Serving of Alcohol certificate (RSA), but not everyone has that.”

She said certification could be obtained online for around $60.

“This will give parents an understanding of the effects of alcohol, responsible serving, and that sort of thing.
“When their kids come up to them and want a party, at least they have an understanding of how to observe someone who’s intoxicated, what sort of things that you can have in place to ensure that the young ones are not going to drink too much — such as a responsible person, serving or managing the alcohol; plenty of food and water, and also having a mixture of beer and wine, and moderating any sort of spirits.”

Ms Oakley said that even if the party is not at your house, parents should work together to help manage the party.
These parties are not an opportunity to drop and run to have a night without the kids.
She suggests one responsible adult for every 20 teenagers.

“Things can happen, and parents need to understand they need to make sure they cover every base, so there’s no push back on them, because you’re dealing with young ones, and you should have alert parents with the correct ratio of parents to kids.
“It might be parents serving food, parents monitoring toilets, parents watching the back fence for gate-crashers. You have a list of which parents are present and what they are doing. That might include in your bar setup, and food service.
“You know it’s always a good party when you don’t see security within, and that’s true, providing that you’ve had your parents tasked to do certain things, you have your security at the gate and parents can do something like serving food because then it’s low key.
“But then if they see anything they can get amongst the group, with some food distraction, if they still can’t sort it out, they go and get Security from the front to deal with it.”

She said parent helpers have to commit to remaining sober throughout the night because there is no point in having parents that want to “get on the sauce” because that adds to the chaos.

“If you can afford it, engage security. You should also notify the local police and your neighbours.
“We found that if you have some systems in place for these private parties, then there are strategies to ensure that the guests have a good time — safely.
“At least have parents at the front to ensure the kids have safe modes of transport.”

Naomi said she spent 13 years within Victoria Police and responded to a large portion of out-of-control parties.

“I left the police force to develop a Party Security service.
“What we found is with the events we do, and I’ve probably planned over 5,000 of these events, is if there are some boundaries in place, then the young ones will respond.
“They find it’s not over the top; they just know that we’ve got the systems to ensure they have a good night.”

She said 14 is the new 16.

“Our high-risk age is between 14 and 16 — experimenting with alcohol and other substances — and on top of that, you’ve got cabin fever, COVID lockdowns all that, and you have a lot of young ones who have been pretty anxious over the last few years as well, so there are all these factors.
“But whatever party it is, there is an absolute responsibility for parents putting on these events not only to ensure that there is parental consent for underage drinking but also to manage any party responsibly and provide a duty of care.
“With the planning that we put in place, I do a risk assessment with every event that we do, and that means meeting people at the property, liaising with the parents, and talking about the risk.
“We know the kids are the priority at the end of the day, so it’s essential to red flag all those issues.”

She said that despite all the measures, sexual assaults can still occur.

“The parents are worried that they will be liable when some of those situations happen, but because they have done everything a reasonable person could, it doesn’t come back on them.”

She said she defines any event under 30 people as a gathering, but parents still need to look at strategies for harm minimisation.

“Parents can contact me for advice; it’s not going to cost them anything, or ring me when it gets over that number.
“We say parties are over 40 to 50, and that’s when you need to start considering professional security, not private — there’s a big difference.
“Professional security is a business with the right insurance.
“If you get inexperienced guards, or your uncle, or your mates, or whoever to do it, they may not have the skills to cope when there is a fight, or someone advances on someone without consent — just about every scenario — and gate-crashers on top of that. You can minimise most of your risk with these private events, but there are some things that you also can’t predict, so it’s about just making sure that we have those plans in place to protect our young ones.
“With social media now you just need to let it drop that there’s a party at 47 Smith Street — or Snap Maps are a nightmare, kids can see where there are 200 people gathered — and the word is out.
“It is a legal minefield, and if you are going to consider having these parties, you need to make sure that you have the right systems and staff members in place to assist you with the event,” Ms Oakley said.

Naomi Oakley is the Director of U-Nome Security and provides party security, domestic violence support and safe party education. u-nomesecurity.com.au

Site announced for Community Hospital

THE STATE Government has again bewildered the community in its choice of a site for the Eltham Area Community Hospital.
Minister for Health Martin Foley and Member for Eltham Vicki Ward have announced that a government-owned parcel of land at 405 Ryans Road, Diamond Creek, will be home to the new multi-million-dollar facility.
While the new hospital will be a welcome asset to the community, the selection process for the site has been nothing short of contentious.
While many see a no-brainer option in the Nillumbik Council’s preferred site, the former Council Offices in Main Road Eltham, the government has dismissed the option out of hand, first attempting to acquire land in Apollo Park, at Civic Drive, Greensborough, much to the dismay of residents.
With Council agreeing with the community and blocking the land sale for Civic Drive in late 2021, the selection committee has now returned with the announcement of the Diamond Creek location.
Documents seen by M&N Bulletin obtained under FOI by Friends of Apollo Parkway note that the Ryans Road location was ranked eighth out of 12 potential sites, scoring just 53 out of 100, whereas the Main Road site scored 85.
There is concern already from the community regarding the Ryans Road site’s lack of connection to public transport and other township infrastructure, its proximity to powerlines, that it sits across a wildlife corridor, and provides a home to kangaroos and Gang Gang Cockatoos.
When asked by M&N Bulletin if Council were supportive of the announcement, a spokesperson for Nillumbik Council said:
“The Eltham Area Community Hospital is a Victorian Government project that is being undertaken by the Victorian Health Building Authority.
Nillumbik Shire Council has not been involved in the decision to locate the hospital in Diamond Creek.
We are still to gain a comprehensive understanding of the proposal and its impacts and therefore cannot comment further.
However, we will be advocating for the best possible outcome for our local community as a result of the proposed development including an efficient and safe road network, and ensuring amenity impacts are minimised.
Nillumbik Shire Council welcomes any boost to heath care services in the north-east region that will benefit our community.”
We asked Ms Ward about some of these concerns expressed, she told us a number of sites were considered against a broad criteria, with Ryans Road chosen after meeting that criteria, including its location which is close to a range of community facilities and links to
public transport.
“An ecological consultant will be undertaking a detailed survey of the Ryans Road site to provide advice on vegetation, wildlife and other ecological matters.
In response to questions about why the Main Road site was not considered, she said the old shire office site would require moving the protected Shillinglaw Trees, as well the sale of the kinder, memorial hall, and the senior citizens hall.
“There is also no guarantee Nillumbik would sell the site, as they refused to sell Apollo Parkways,” she said.
So it seems this is now a done deal.
To be operated by Austin Health, the Eltham area Community Hospital (interim name) will be a public hospital providing a range of day hospital and primary health care services, including unplanned urgent care, general medical and specialist appointments, day surgery and chronic disease management — what Ms Ward described as “a huge benefit for locals.”
She said the hospital’s strong links to specialists, community health and social support services will improve follow-up treatment and support for those requiring complex care.
Ms Ward said the Ryans Road site is close to a range of community facilities and services, including playgrounds, schools, and sporting facilities, and is serviced by several bus routes connecting to surrounding areas, including Eltham Station Greensborough, Diamond Creek and Hurstbridge.
“This location is a great outcome for our local community; it’ll mean we’ll be able to get a number of everyday health services close to home, without having to travel in traffic to the Austin or Northern Health,” Ms Ward said.
The new hospital is one of 10 new community hospitals in major growth areas, funded as part of a $675 million investment by the Labor Government.
Once complete, the 10 community hospitals will be able to treat at least 114,000 more urgent care patients and 55,000 dialysis treatments and enable more than 100,000 additional allied health sessions each year.
The Community Hospital Program will create an estimated 1,900 jobs during planning and construction and more than 1,000 healthcare jobs once completed.
Delivered by the Victorian Health Building Authority, the designs for the community hospital will be released later this year when construction begins.
The project is due for completion in late 2024.

 

Image courtety Victorian Health Building Authority

Community School gets new digs

A TINY SCHOOL has been changing lives for almost 50 years, and it will now have the facilities it deserves after an $18 million redevelopment is completed.
Croydon Community School opened as an “alternative school” in the 1970s and has been catering to students who do not fit — or do not want to fit — within the mainstream system.
Having operated largely out of portable buildings at the old Croydon Primary School site in Mt Dandenong Road, it is now moving to a brand-new, purpose-built facility in Croydon Road at the vacated Croydon High School site.
Principal Bronwyn Harcourt said the school’s student population has been kept small.
“It was 23 when I started; it is 126 this year, but we had deliberately reduced our numbers before moving to the new site, but we’ve got about 73 this year alone on our waiting list.
“And we get enquiries from Grade 4 families for Year 7 transitions and Year 11 kids who are struggling in the mainstream.”
She said the Big Picture Learning model the school uses is becoming more and more an option of choice.
Bronwyn said that Big Picture Learning allowed them to engage with students based on their passions.
“When they are engrossed and loving a topic and are able to explore it fully — students have followed passion projects including a school-wide scale model of the Tasmanian Rail system and a taxidermy project — the learning and the confidence that is picked up along the
way — they learn how to learn,” she said.
Assistant Principal Kaye Bhan told M&N Bulletin that the school is a public school, so it is open to accepting all types of students and, in essence, is run like a gifted program with student-directed learning.
She said if they attract only bright kids, “who are wonderful to have, and we want them, but we want the others who are at risk of falling through the gaps”.
Education Minister James Merlino and Member for North East Metro Sonja Terpstra recently toured the close-to-completed school.
Mr Merlino described the project as “really critical”.
“Every school project is important, but this is the last stop for these kids, and if we can engage with them and deliver them a pathway, we set them up for life,” he said.
The school redevelopment follows the ethos of the school community, with the architects consulting with the students to enable the school to be fit for purpose.
The new school offers townhall-style performance space for the music faculty, which opens onto the main courtyard, with a creek running through the outdoor areas, a multi-purpose outdoor court, stationary bikes where students can add charge to the school’s power supply, classrooms (called advisories) including Science, Food Tech, Physical Education and Technology facilities, there is even a wood-fired oven, computer lab, 3D printing workshop, and a wellness centre with private spaces for counselling or other medical interventions.
Bronwyn said the school also has an integration area for students that are disengaged from the education system.
She said school staff can work one-on-one or even two on-one with the students to build trust.
“Trust with young people who have none in adults — and young people who are used to transactional relationships.
“It is about them having a having a home here, where they feel comfortable and welcomed.”
The integration area even has a separate entrance to the main school so students can come and go on their terms.
Students were all able to participate in work experience with the various trades during the construction.
One Year 12 student, Marcus Joy, had been on-again, off-again with his school attendance but has become engaged with his learning, and, Bronwyn says, “he shows up every day, coffee in hand” and will graduate at the end of the year.
Marcus stood out as part of his work placement with the project’s landscaping team and has now been offered an apprenticeship with the firm.
During his tour of the facility, Mr Merlino offered the school community, the architect practice Crosier Scott and building company McCorkell Constructions his congratulations on the project.
“This is one of the best projects I’ve seen in my eight years, so well done,” he said.
Students will say farewell to Mt Dandenong Road at the end of Term 2 and move to the new campus at the beginning of Term 3.

Fresh warnings on the dangers of picking wild mushrooms

WITH THE damp and cooler weather, fungi can, once again, be seen emerging from the ground in nearby parks and bushland.
While freshly picked, wild mushrooms are a delicious treat, Victorians are being warned not to trust apps that claim to identify poisonous mushrooms.
The cool and wet weather conditions make it a perfect growing season for Death Cap mushrooms and Yellow-staining mushrooms.
Victoria’s Deputy Chief Health Officer, Dr Angie Bone, urges people not to pick wild mushrooms in Melbourne and regional Victoria.

“While commercially sold mushrooms are safe to consume, it can be very difficult to distinguish between toxic and edible varieties of wild mushroom.
“There is a serious risk of misidentification when using mushroom-identifying apps, and there can be major consequences to your health of getting it wrong,” Dr Bone said.

Recent rain has been ideal for poisonous mushroom species to sprout in regional and metropolitan Victoria, and it’s important to avoid them.
The most dangerous variety is the Death Cap, which is found near deciduous trees such as oaks in Melbourne suburbs and rural areas.
Death Cap is a large mushroom with a greenish or yellowish cap and white gills and has a cup-shaped sac around the base of the stem.
Symptoms of poisoning by Death Cap can include stomach pains, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea within hours of consumption, but organ failure can also occur 24–48 hours after ingestion.

“Consuming just a single Death Cap mushroom can result in liver failure and death, so if you are not an expert and certain of the species of mushroom, do not pick it or eat it,” she said.

The Yellow-staining mushroom turns yellow when a thumbnail bruises the cap or stem.
Symptoms experienced after consumption include nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.
Dr Bone said anyone who becomes ill after eating mushrooms should seek urgent medical advice and, if possible, take samples of the whole mushroom for identification.
She said wild mushrooms ingested by pets can cause illness, ranging from gastroenteritis to severe life-threatening disease and death.
Parents and pet owners should be aware of mushrooms in gardens and parks frequented by children and domestic animals.

If you suspect you have consumed poisonous wild mushrooms, do not wait for symptoms to occur; seek medical attention immediately.
Contact the Victorian Poisons Information Centre immediately on 13 11 26 (24 hours a day, seven days a week, Australia wide).
If your pet has ingested a wild mushroom, you can call the free Animal Poisons Centre on 1300 869 738 for advice.

Celebrating our volunteers

NATIONAL VOLUNTEER Week took place from May 16 to May 22, and this year’s theme was “Better together” – exploring how volunteering binds our communities and makes for a better society.
National Volunteer Week is a fantastic opportunity for government and communities to recognise its volunteer organisations and for those same organisations also to put themselves in the spotlight for a change.
So often, volunteers in the community go unnoticed as often the service they provide makes someone else the focus of the attention.
The Victorian State Emergency Service (SES) is one of these volunteer organisations in which the actions of its volunteers are often only highlighted as a response to tragedy.
As part of National Volunteer Week, communities across Australia were encouraged to participate in Wear Orange Wednesday on May 18 and use the hashtag #WOWDay and #ThankYouSES on Social Media as a way to thank and celebrate the work of SES Volunteers who serve their communities 24 hours a day, seven days a week through storm, flood, road crash rescue, and much more.
In recent years, the team that produces the Manningham & Nillumbik Bulletin and the Warrandyte Diary has witnessed and reported on the efforts of local SES teams who have assisted communities of the Yarra Valley and Ranges after severe storms and floods.
As part of WOW Day 2022, M&N Bulletin spoke with Manningham SES member Jen Selmore about what it means to be a member of Manningham SES and why she keeps turning out.

“We all have our reasons for joining Manningham SES as a volunteer — many along the similar lines of helping the community, giving back, learning new skills and supporting those in need.
“But why do we stay and dedicate so much time to a volunteer role?
“If you ask any SES units, they all have several members who have been there 10 years, 20 years, some even 30 years!
“We stay for our team, for the good we do that you can tangibly see out in the community, sometimes for the thrill and potential — there is nothing better than a successful result from a boating rescue or land search for a missing person.
“The specialised skills we are exposed to are incredible.
“It’s funny to think many of us started as complete novices — desk workers with somewhat low practical skills but with time, patience, lots of training, and ongoing practise, we are now capable chainsaw operators and can set up temporary repairs on your roof to stop rain getting in, and will search for you if you get lost during your hike or day out on the water, and have the skills to assist with other agencies to get successfully get you to safety.
“Being able to attend requests for assistance, especially during times of crisis, and actually first-hand seeing how you are directly helping someone is a feeling like no other,” she said.

M&N Bulletin thanks SES and other emergency agencies for the efforts of their volunteers in keeping communities safe.

“Better together” in Nillumbik

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In addition to Council’s many volunteers, thousands more people throughout the Shire contribute their time to a range of community groups, services, facilities, clubs, causes and organisations.
Mayor Frances Eyre said National Volunteer Week is a time to appreciate the selfless contributions of all our volunteers.

“Nillumbik benefits from high rates of volunteerism, which is a wonderful reflection on the sense of community that runs through our Shire.
“On behalf of Council, I’d like to thank, recognise, and celebrate the volunteers who do such great work in Nillumbik.
“From our L2P driving program through to Community Transport, Friends Groups, and In-Home Family Mentoring — to name just a few — our volunteer programs are broad-ranging and something we should all be truly proud of,” she said.

 

As part of National Volunteer Week, Nillumbik Council puts the spotlight on one volunteer and one organisation to highlight some of the volunteering that helps make the Shire a community.Linda Hagen is a volunteer with Council’s Community Transport team and helps out with the Social Support Group as a volunteer driver and group assistant.
Linda enjoys her volunteering roles and says what she loves most is “meeting people and hearing their stories about the area, and helping those who are vulnerable and lack transport options”.
She encourages others to explore volunteering and help make a difference.

“The more people get involved with volunteering, the better we can be,” she said.

Nillumbik Council also put on a special volunteer celebration event for the volunteering community; some photos from this event have been printed with this story.
You can read more about Nillumbik Shire Council’s Volunteer celebration event in June’s Warrandyte Diary.

Volunteering in Manningham

Manningham Council also held a volunteering appreciation event at the end of National Volunteer Week, and we will have more on that in June’s Warrandyte Diary.
Don Hughes volunteers for several community groups, including Warrandyte RSL, Warrandyte Historical Society and Warrandyte Scouts. He is a volunteer contributor for Warrandyte Diary and spoke to M&N Bulletin about being a volunteer.

“Many local groups have a diverse range of opportunities to volunteer.
From a young Joey scout who serves you a cuppa and a scone at the market, through the parent running out the water bottles at a footy match, to the volunteer bar staff at the RSL, the opportunities are broad.
Fundraising often underpins many of these groups.
Our Op shops capture much of the ‘tourist’ dollar that can be injected towards worthwhile community priorities.
Spectacular results can be achieved through volunteerism, such as our very own wonderfully run Warrandyte Festival.
Our volunteer Fire Fighters and Emergency Service volunteers work alongside career professionals providing an ultimate level of safety and protection for our community.
For many of us, available time is a huge issue.
However, much can be achieved by even the smallest offering of assistance.
There are innate rewards of satisfaction, coupled with the gift of learning and sharing knowledge in volunteering.
All of us can make a difference.”

There are opportunities to learn new skills and connect with your community through volunteering.
If you are inspired by this feature to volunteer but don’t know where to start, visit easternvolunteers.org.au which encourages and supports volunteering in the community in a range of areas including aged care, environmental, sporting and community organisations.
If you are part of an organisation desperate for more volunteers, contact us at M&N Bulletin to see how we can help spread the word.

Another blitz for Fitzsimons Lane project

AS THE FITZSIMONS Lane project begins another major phase, motorists are warned that major disruptions will be occurring as a section of Porter Street is closed for around six weeks.
Major Road Projects Victoria’s Project Director Dipal Sorathia said creating a more reliable Porter Street junction is one of the biggest priorities for the Fitzsimons Lane Upgrade team.
New traffic lights will be installed at a Porter Street intersection in Templestowe to deliver a safer and more efficient crossing for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.
Removing the Fitzsimons Lane/Porter Street roundabout will ensure better traffic flow for all road users and will help clear a significant bottleneck and improve safety.
Construction crews will work around-the-clock for seven weeks, from 6pm Tuesday, April 26 to 5pm Sunday, June 12, to remove the roundabout and install traffic lights, with associated kerb and channel works, drainage works, build footpaths, earthworks, pavement replacement, line-marking and lighting.
“We thank locals for their patience as we get on with this upgrade and complete about six months’ worth of work over the next seven weeks,” said Mr Sorathia.
He said this intersection is one of the busiest in Templestowe.
“As traffic volumes return to pre-pandemic levels, congestion during the morning and afternoon peaks regularly leads to queuing — causing delays, frustration and distress.”
Mr Sorathia said replacing the Porter Street roundabout with traffic lights will reduce congestion for the more than 60,000 vehicles which use Fitzsimons Lane every day and make the community safer.
Two lanes of traffic will remain open on Williamsons Road/Fitzsimons Lane in both directions when works kick off on Tuesday, April 26.
Temporary traffic lights will guide north-south motorists through the intersection.
During this first phase of these works through to Saturday, May 14 — the eastern leg of the Porter Street roundabout will be closed, meaning traffic will need to detour via Foote Street/Reynolds Road, Blackburn Road and Warrandyte Road.
Access to nearby businesses, Templestowe Reserve and BlueCross Silverwood will be maintained.
Maps describing the detour in place can be found below:
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A second stage of works will be carried out over the remainder of May and into June, with one lane to re-open for those travelling from Eltham turning left into the eastern leg of Porter Street towards Warrandyte.
With restrictions on traffic movements throughout the entirety of the major works period, motorists are encouraged to plan ahead and allow extra time for their journey.
Delays of approximately 20-minutes are expected along detour routes although access through the closed road will be maintained for emergency vehicles and public transport.
Pedestrian and cyclist access has been maintained on select shared paths however, some verge areas are fenced off to ensure the safety of road workers.
A pedestrian detour is in place through Templestowe Reserve.
The temporary roundabout will be removed, and the upgraded intersection will be open by early June.
Finishing works — including asphalting, line- marking and signage works — will continue throughout 2022.
The upgrade will also improve the reliability of public transport with the introduction of bus prioritisation signalling.
Once traffic lights are installed at Porter Street, the project team will then turn their attention to major construction to upgrade the Foote Street intersection in Templestowe.
For more information or to sign up for updates, visit roadprojects.vic.gov.au/fitzsimons.
For up-to-date travel information visit:
ptv.vic.gov.au and vicroads.vic.gov.au.

Exhibition a time capsule for the Shire

PUBLIC ART can tell a lot about a community; what it cherishes, what are its hopes and dreams, its fears, and its joys.
For more than 70 years, the Shire of Eltham, now Nillumbik, has collected works into its civic and public art collections.
A free exhibition at Montsalvat is showcasing significant works from across these collections and it offers a window to the past — how we saw ourselves then, and a mirror on the present — how we see ourselves now.
The exhibition, Local|Remix, opened in early April and runs until the end of May.
Opening the exhibition on behalf of Council, Deputy Mayor Cr Ben Ramcharan noted that the collection shows the history of the Shire over many years.

“It highlights the strong artistic heritage of our area here in Nillumbik and the contribution of artists across the Shire.
“It is interesting to see the contribution made over many years and how it has evolved from what it used to be to what it is today.
“The exhibition considers what is local and how we can connect through art and creativity and the importance of this to our Shire’s identity,” Cr Ramcharan said.

He said importantly the exhibition highlights the work of women artists.
Historically often overlooked in accolades, the contribution of women artists to the Shire is significant, and many works in the collection highlight their strong artistic practice.
In a direct response to a recent gender audit of the Nillumbik Shire Art Collection register and to promote the under-representation of women artists, he said this exhibition flips the statistics of the current collection and presents an exhibition featuring more than 60 per cent women artists. Cr Ramcharan also highlighted the Indigenous works that form part of the collection.

“We have some amazing local artists who are Indigenous, but when you look at the history of the works — when you go to the true history of what is now called Australia — a lot of that’s lost, so being able to foster that culture and keep it alive is incredibly important, and it’s a really powerful thing that we are actually able to do that here,” Cr Ramcharan said.

One of the most recent acquisitions in the Council’s collection is from an emerging Indigenous artist. Nicholas Currie says his piece, Scars and Bruises, reflects on his cultural identity.

“The work shows pain — but it also shows healing — there is a mark left and a history there, but there is also a future that we know will be OK.
 “Normally, my practice is just about making and being present and acknowledging history and carrying on the traditions of my ancestors, and I am proud to continue making, creating and telling our story,” Mr Currie said.

Built-up by Council and the community over many years, the Nillumbik Art, Civic and Public Art collections now have around 600 works, many with strong connections to the local area and its artistic heritage.
Curator Angela Bailey told M&N Bulletin that the selection process was extremely difficult.

“When you’re choosing anything from such a broad range of works like this, 600 plus works — I just wanted to make it so that there were elements across the breadth of the collection, and more recent works too that people haven’t seen yet.”

In an interesting juxtaposition, she noted that the oldest piece on display was a work by the founder of the Cottles Bridge artists’ colony, Dunmoochin, Clifton Pugh, which is hung beside a 2022 acquisition from current Dunmoochin resident, Fionna Madigan.
The Nillumbik Shire Civic Collection presents intriguing insight into the history and heritage of both the Council and community, and this exhibition includes some fascinating artefacts. One of the highlights, the Tarcoola/Coolamon, is a gift from the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung to the Shire and is featured as part of this exhibition.
The exhibition is free and will run until Sunday, May 29, at the Barn Gallery at Montsalvat.

For details visit: nillumbik.vic.gov.au/local-remix

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Love Montsalvat

Coming up, Montsalvat will be presenting two jazz music concerts on Sunday, May 22 to raise funds to help build back from COVID impacts.
The Barn Gallery will play host to two live performances starting with Jackie Bornstein at 5pm.
Jackie Bornstein is one of Melbourne’s most captivating jazz, chanson and bossa nova singers, known for her rich tones and ability to get to the heart of a tune.
Performing alongside Jackie will be the world-class jazz pianist Mark Fitzgibbon.
Mark’s swinging touch and virtuosity is the reason why he’s one of the most in demand players in Australia.
Enjoy a light champagne supper and then hear piano maestro Joe Chindamo from 7pm.
Joe Chindamo is routinely described as one of the best jazz pianists in the world, though his art transcends jazz, having composed concertos, chamber music and film music.

Sunday, May 22
The Barn Gallery
5pm: Jackie Bornstein
6:15: light champagne supper
7pm: Joe Chindamo
Event concludes at 8pm
Book online via Trybooking or tickets are available at the door.

Traders unsatisfied with Council

Macedon Square development has traders up in arms

THE MACEDON Square Traders Association (MSTA) is deeply unsatisfied with Manningham Council’s actions with regard to the Macedon Square streetscape redevelopment, according to MSTA President Gary Cyganek.
Mr Cyganek provided the M&N Bulletin with a copy of a letter addressed to Cr Deirdre Diamante expressing the Association’s resistance to proposed development plans.
Mr Cyganek outlined his reasons in detail in a statement to M&N Bulletin on behalf of MSTA.

“Why we fight?
14 years ago, the Council took a carpark, which was paid for by the Traders, and stuck a liquor store on top giving us reduced car spaces underneath and we stood by and let it happen.
Now they tell us we need to have an open space (in a strip shopping centre!) narrow the road from 6.2 metres down to 5.3 metres near the minimum for an Aisle carpark and this is a road!
And they expect us to stand by and say thank you! For a plan that will be less safe and destroy retail! As they have said they want to turn us into Templestowe Village!
A restaurant precinct that killed all the significant retail over 20 years ago.
No butcher, no fruit shop, no bakery, no fish shop et cetera, and if you talk to the shop owners up there, they would love these businesses back!
Retail flourishes in Macedon Square but for some reason the Council either by design, or ignorance, or arrogance because they are supporting the Landscape Designer whose vision this is!
They have no regard for the retail businesses that their plan will ruin!”

At the September 2021 Ordinary Council Meeting, a “modified” Option B was presented to Council in an Officers’ Report which was moved by Cr S Mayne, seconded by Cr Diamante and carried unanimously by all councillors present, with no speakers against.
Mr Cyganek told M&N Bulletin the movers of the motion “collectively should be held accountable for their actions and hence this is why we are now campaigning to vote them out of office in 2024”. Mr Cyganek, as the spokesperson for MSTA has expressed that the Association feels extremely let down by Council and it feels the Association’s point of view has been disregarded.
In the early phase of the Macedon Square consultation in late 2020, early 2021, the Traders presented a petition for Option C, as discussed in the October 2021 edition of WD Bulletin.
The Option C petition proposed the following:

  • The overdue upgrade of the sidewalk with a material to be chosen by the Council and safety being the priority.
  • Attention shown to the management of the trees and their location.
  • We would like to have a consultation with the traffic management engineer to maximise the parking possibilities.
  • We would like to be consulted on the location of bins and street furniture, with the idea of maximising the existing abundance of open space in the centre.

A review of meeting minutes and Officers’ Reports from September 2021, indicates in the consultation period for Council’s community consultation on the community’s preference for either Option A and Option B, 192 responses were received, but only 62 were in direct response to whether or not the respondent preferred Option A, or B, or neither.
The Traders Association Option C petition and another petition titled “Stop the destruction of Macedon Road” combined make up more than half of the feedback, but it seems the petitions did not contribute to the final yes/no tally, as their response did not fit the parameters of the original survey.

Campaign sign outside Egon’s Bakery in Macedon Square

M&N Bulletin approached Manningham Council with a number of questions regarding the frustration and lack of confidence expressed by the Traders Association.
Council’s responses below are attributed to Manningham Mayor Cr Michelle Kleinert and Manningham Council CEO Andrew Day.

“Council consulted on the draft concept plan on four separate occasions throughout 2020 and 2021.
Council adopted the concept plan at its Council meeting in August 2021, and has now proceeded the project through to a detailed design phase.
We expect to engage further with the community on specific design outcomes from mid 2022.
There are still final design elements that we will be seeking feedback on in coming months.
These include:

  • permanent safety treatment within the centre; • further investigation of other suggestions such as locations for new trolley bays, electric vehicle charging station, car share spaces and smart waste bins;
  •  design elements and street furniture that best suits the needs of existing traders in appropriate locations throughout the centre; and
  • an opportunity to hear from traders regarding how to best manage and mitigate construction impacts and timing.”

M&N Bulletin asked Council for a response to Mr Cyganek’s “calling out” of Crs S Mayne and Diamante.

Its response:

“Council has adopted the concept design. Councillors have been present at community engagement sessions held both with the wider community and trader focused events.
Noting that any decisions on this important community project are made by all nine Councillors, Cr Stephen Mayne is the Ward Councillor and Cr Deirdre Diamante the Ward Councillor for an adjoining Ward.
Both Councillors have been actively listening to community feedback.”

M&N Bulletin also asked Council for a response to the vote of “no confidence” by MSTA.

They responded:

“The concept design has been developed through consultation with the community and traders. “Expert advice has been sought in regards to key elements including safety, parking and traffic movement.
The design seeks to primarily address pedestrian safety issues in the centre, improve ageing infrastructure and maintenance issues, and provide a dedicated community space to support the local precinct.
The design took on the feedback from the consultation and has incorporated features such as:

  • No net loss of parking spaces from what is currently available (132 spaces).
  • Refine road widths along Macedon Road to improve safety for pedestrians.
  • Provision of a new gathering space for community to connect and thrive.
  • New loading bays along Macedon Road.
  • Provision of a new roundabout at the intersection of The Mall and Rosa Street.
  • New and relocated pedestrian crossings to improve pedestrian connectivity and assist to reduce vehicle speeds and congestion.
  • Repositioned accessible parking bays.
  • Increased footpath widths for outdoor dining and trading areas.
  • Safety barrier treatments for improved pedestrian safety.
  • Improvements to the western laneway for large truck loading and access.

Mr Cyganek has made it clear to M&N Bulletin that he holds the individual councillors and council officers to account for the rift which has formed between Council and the Macedon Square traders community and Mr Cyganek has stated MSTA is “now campaigning to vote them out of office in 2024”.
But the 2024 Local Government Election is a long way away, hopefully, Council, Councillors, and MSTA are able resolve this issue before then.

Where do you stand on the Macedon Square development?
Email bulletin@warrandytediary.com.au and let us know.

Manningham’s new pet plan

HOW MANNINGHAM’S cats and dogs are managed over the next four years is in the final stages of review, with Council currently seeking community comment on its draft Domestic Animal Management Plan 2022–2025.
Local Councils in Victoria must develop a fresh Domestic Animal Management Plan (DAMP) every four years under the Domestic Animal Act 1994.
The plan exclusively manages cats and dogs; other animals and livestock are managed under different legislation, such as the Livestock Management Act 2010.
In June 2021, Manningham Council began developing its latest DAMP.
At that time, Warrandyte Diary contacted local animal advocacy group Friends of Manningham Dogs and Cats (FOMDAC) about what they would like to see in the 2022–2025 DAMP.

“FOMDAC would like to see cat curfews explored, especially in environmentally sensitive areas.
It is now rare to see dogs roaming in the streets, and we would like to see owners confine their cats to their own backyards.
It would be sensible for owners to keep their cats indoors/confined at night (we must protect our local flora and fauna).
We would like to see plans to safely assist residents in evacuating their animals in an emergency.”

In their statement, FOMDAC went on to talk about the need for more off-lead dog areas and better access to poo bins for dog owners.

“FOMDAC would also like to see more poo bins along walking trails.
Aranga Reserve has been a great success and a model which other councils have followed.
FOMDAC believes there is a need for more secure off-leash parks similar to Aranga.”

Talking points in the proposed DAMP include a 12-month pilot for a 24-hour cat curfew, a review of the number of dog waste bins, and investigations into fenced, dog off-leash areas east of the Mullum Mullum Creek.
The 29-page draft DAMP is available to read on Council’s Your Say website, which also includes a feedback form; anyone with a vested interest in the welfare of cats and dogs, in Manningham, over the next four years is encouraged to read the draft plan and supply any relevant feedback before April 12.
According to local government data, 10,410 dogs and 4,155 cats are registered in Manningham, which is an increase from data collected in 2019/20.
Visit yoursay.manningham.vic.gov.au/damp to have your say on this important issue.

Breaking Biases on International Women’s Day

MANNINGHAM Council was host to an International Women’s Day Morning Tea adopting the theme of #BreaktheBias.
The free event was held on March 8 in Manningham’s recently refurbished Function Centre and included a presentation and a lively panel discussion facilitated by TV and radio presenter Shelley Ware.
Shelley was joined by Asherly Bradac (disability advocate / Manningham Disability Advisory Committee), Varvara Ioannou (Food For Thought Network), Sally Goldner (Founding member of Transgender Victoria) and Aunty Irene Norman (Mullum Mullum Gathering Place).
The 2022 #BreaktheBias campaign seeks to create a gender equal world that is free of bias, discrimination and stereotypes.
Manningham Councillor Laura Mayne said that as a local council in 2022 they aim to achieve gender equality in every policy they do.
“We have just recently established a gender committee, which I am a part of, and it’s a really big action — also in gender diversity we have just established a new LGBTIQA+ diversity action plan.
“We are also undertaking a gender audit and considering our staff and operations, which is something we are continuously reviewing,” she said.
Guest speaker Aunty Irene Norman, a proud Wailwan woman and a Mullum Mullum Elder, said that breaking the bias means teaching
people — from going into schools and talking to the children and educating the teachers — is the first step to seeing change.
“One of the first things we say to teachers is, there is no such thing as a bad question, people are very uncomfortable about asking questions to first peoples of this country — gender bias, women’s issues, men’s issues, acceptance issues — don’t be frightened to ask is the biggest thing we teach them.
“How are you ever going to learn if you don’t ask questions, how are people going to learn if we don’t teach them?” she said.
Panellist Sally Goldner, an LGBTIQA+ diversity educator and founding member of Transgender Victoria, said transgender people
are not being represented at the higher levels.
“I feel mistrustful to people in positions of power because I feel trans people were often spoken for and spoken about without our consent and in ways we shouldn’t be talked about,” she said.
Ms Goldner said the value of curiosity and being open to learning is essential to breaking the bias.
“I hope we get to the point where International Women’s Day is celebrated with just the positives and we don’t have to talk about the
negatives,” she said.
Asherly Bradac single mother of four children, all living with disability and additional needs, said breaking the bias is looking within
ourselves and to understand what our own biases are — “it doesn’t take a genius or a degree to be kind.”
Facilitator of the event Shelley Ware, who has over 20 years’ experience in the media as a radio and television presenter on both
local and national AFL football news shows, said that although she has literally lived bias her whole career, we are now seeing more
women talking about AFL and having different conversations.
Aunty Irene Norman finished off the #BreaktheBias International Women’s Day discussion panel by saying: “It doesn’t matter who is biased against you, don’t hide — show yourself and your abilities, be yourself, hold your head up high and look people in the eye.”

NaNY Gallery off to a great start

THE NEW NaNY art gallery in the main street of Warrandyte has been an instant hit with locals and visitors alike.
Located inside the Now and Not Yet café and featuring local artist Jacinta Payne’s work as the first exhibition, the feedback to the gallery has been extremely positive.
Seven of Jacinta’s paintings have been snapped up by eager purchasers.
The next exhibition will be of North Warrandyte artist Tori Swedosh’s work. Entitled Can you see the beauty in it? this exhibition will feature works of mixed media, paintings, and sculptures.
“It all started by taking photos of mud”, said Tori.

“I’m a member of an awesome Facebook page called Warrandyte Nature.
“There are gorgeous photos of all the amazing birds, animals, flowers and sunsets around this beautiful place where I live in northeastern Melbourne.
“It was lockdown, and we were all confined to a 5km radius of our homes.
“I was meditating one morning down by the Yarra, and as I opened my eyes, I found myself looking at sloppy, mushy mud and some strands of grass that were growing out of it.
“It struck me then how we mostly don’t even notice the beauty of the earth beneath us.
“It’s easy to appreciate a great photo of a kangaroo, a wombat or an Eastern Rosella. “But dirt and leaves? I posted some photos on the page where a very funny conversation ensued. “’What is it?’, ‘Is there a snake?’.
“My response: ‘Nope. Just mud.’
“It made me laugh.
“Then I started to notice the exquisite quality of the fine details around me.
“A feather stuck in some leaves, bark from various trees, shadows and reflections.
“It’s endless if you dive into the minutiae of nature; the closer you look, the more detail you can find.
“It’s really quite wonderful.
“And it’s awesome to know that we are connected to all things and everyone.”

Nillumbik Council has provided a grant for the exhibition through their Nillumbik Artist in Own Residence program.
This program has been developed to commission opportunities for local creatives to create for, or with, community from their own unique art spaces.
Tori’s work has been produced in her home studio in North Warrandyte.
The exhibition opening night is on Sunday, February 6, from 5pm to 7pm.
The gallery will be set up as an immersive experience of the Warrandyte forests.
Wine and canapes will be served.
Other upcoming Exhibitions are as follows, with the opening night to be held from 5pm to 7pm on the dates below:

  • Kim Charbonneau, from April 3, 2022.
  • Myra Carter, from June 5, 2022.
  • Bronwyn Elmore, from August 7, 2022.

To stay informed of future exhibitions and events at NaNY Gallery follow their Facebook page at fb.me/NaNYGalleryWarrandyte.

Photo’s supplied

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Expect delays around Fitzsimons Lane construction blitz

**UPDATE 21/01/2022
Stage 1 works have now finished as part of the blitz, finishing five days ahead of schedule.

As of the morning of January 21, traffic can once again travel northbound from Templestowe to Eltham on Fitzsimons Lane with detours in place via Bolton Street for traffic travelling towards Eltham from Lower Plenty.
MRPV maintain Stage 2 works will finish on February 13, as per the December announcement.
For further details, read the story below.

WORKS ON THE Major Roads Project along Fitzsimons Lane are picking up during the school holidays, with plans for around-the-clock construction at the Main Road intersection from January 4 until February 13, 2022.
A statement from Major Roads Projects Victoria (MRPV) said upgrades to key intersections in Eltham and Templestowe are set to improve safety and traffic flow for the 60,000 people who drive through the area every day.
Continuous day and night works
From Tuesday, January 4 until February 13, 2022, construction will be occurring 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to complete six months of work in six weeks and upgrade the Main Road roundabout to traffic lights.
Major construction will occur during the school holidays while traffic volumes are reduced; however, intersection closures will result in significant delays throughout the area.
Works will include:

  • installation of new drainage and new pavement,
  • installation and placement of new kerb,
  • underground services and foundation installation for the new traffic signals and lighting,
  • installation of traffic signals and lighting, and
  • completion of new sections of footpaths and driveways for the new intersection.

MRPV said it would continue to work closely with residents, businesses and drivers to undertake these works safely and efficiently.
However, during major construction, there will be lengthy disruptions, detours, and lane closures, and significant delays when travelling through the area
Residents will be impacted by noise from equipment and machinery such as generators, excavators, trucks, vibrations, dust, and light from the work area.
Speeds will be reduced to 40km/h and traffic management will be in place 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The 901 buses will continue uninterrupted, and 902 buses will be given priority travel through the work area during major construction works, so the route is also unchanged.
The 513 will be detoured via Bridge and Bolton streets.
MRPV said it was working closely with emergency services to ensure that emergency access is maintained throughout this period.

Traffic changes
The construction impacts and planned traffic management will be broken into two stages.

Stage 1
From January 4, 2022, there will be significant delays throughout the area.
Where possible, MRPV recommends drivers seek alternative routes, avoiding the intersection during peak-hours and allowing an extra 30 minutes travel time.
One lane will remain open through the Main Road intersection for those heading south towards the city via Fitzsimons Lane from Eltham.
If you are coming from the city heading north towards Eltham or travelling between Lower Plenty and Eltham, a temporary detour via Bolton Street and Bridge Street will be in place.

Stage 2
The intersection will be reopened from January 26, 2022, to allow traffic movement towards Eltham from the city via Fitzsimons Lane.
Travel delays of up to 15 minutes are expected during this time, and detours will still be in place via Bolton Street for those travelling between Lower Plenty and Eltham.
Throughout this period, Souter Street and Jayson Avenue will be closed.
While the road is closed, Souter Street will have a temporary detour via Falkiner Street.
Jayson Avenue will be detoured via Homestead Road to Fitzsimons Lane.

Managing impacts
MRPV stated it would monitor noise, vibration and dust levels at all times to ensure these impacts are kept to a minimum.
If you have any noise concerns, please contact MRPV on 1800 105 105.

For more information, visit bigbuild.vic.gov.au/projects/mrpv/fitzsimons-lane-upgrade/roads/main-road

Jazz takes up residence in Hurstbridge

IT WAS ALMOST like the “old days” at the launch of the Hurstbridge Jazz Club on Friday, December 10.
For a few hours, patrons could forget about lockdowns and all the restrictions endured due to the pesky pandemic and enjoy some world- class jazz.
Of course, there was still the COVID check-in process to do (effortlessly managed by the organisers), but the buzz of excitement from both the audience and performers was palpable.
Joy would be how I would describe the feeling in the room — joy and awe that such top-notch music was being delivered so close to home. Following an incredibly tough two years for the creative industry, it was an exciting night for musicians and music lovers alike.
With the continued uncertainty around the globe as we emerge from COVID, musicians’ opportunity to perform in their own community is more important than ever.
The club was launched by the Kimba Griffith Quintet, who are musicians at the top of their game.
Equally impressive were the young musicians who performed as special guests.
Jazz, I am told, is often a divisive genre — you either love it or hate it.
The audience was a mixed bag; yes, there were some seasoned jazz lovers in the room, but there were just as many people experiencing this type of music for the first time, and I would say that “love it” was the vibe for the night.
The music was divine, energetic, and foot tappingly addictive.
The musicians were masters of their craft, visibly delighted to be performing again and even more so in their own community.
And then there was the venue — the Anglers Club in Cherry Tree Road, Hurstbridge, is a tiny building you could be forgiven for never noticing.
Yet, it has been there for over 50 years.
Once a Guides’ hall, it is now a converted black box theatre managed by Eltham Arts Council, also the setting for the regular Comedy at The Anglers sessions.
This unique venue is intimate and interesting. Patrons are seated at cafe tables or on comfy couches with coffee tables.
There are candles, the odd red velvet curtain, a house piano, and a small, excellently lit stage.
Bring Your Own is the go, although a generous platter was also provided for those who forgot to bring any nibbles.
The venture was a huge success, led by local musician Ryan Griffith and supported by a Nillumbik Community Fund arts and culture grant.
Ryan said the idea for the club came about due to the impact the pandemic had on live music performance.
“Everything, all gigs, stopped or were cancelled. “I have many professional jazz musician friends who live in the area who were naturally in the same boat, so I thought wouldn’t it be great to bring some live jazz to our local area and foster a scene here for local players of all ages.
“We have some of Australia’s finest jazz musicians living in Nillumbik.
“Traditionally they wouldn’t play much around town because they are always touring or playing city clubs.
“Hopefully this jazz club will provide a dedicated place for jazz in Nillumbik,” he said.
Ryan went on to speak about the club’s mission to foster younger jazz artists and will feature an up-and-coming jazz musician at each event. “They are incredibly talented and I know that our audience on December 10 loved our young artists as much as they did the feature band,” he said.
Three hours whizzed by.
The interaction between the band and the audience was a bonus, being refreshingly humorous and engaging.
The stories behind the songs and personal reflections were all part of the performance.
You get the sense that this is just the start of something special.
And at just $20 a ticket, it is not only a very affordable night out but one that doesn’t require a trek into the city.
The Anglers Club is destined to become a hidden gem in Nillumbik’s cultural repertoire.
Due to the size of the venue, tickets are limited, so book soon for the next event in January 2022.

Next performance

January edition of Hurstbridge Jazz Club featuring the Gideon Brazil Quintet and The Forbidden Groove.
7–10pm, Friday, January 21, 2022.
Anglers Club, 31 Cherry Tree Rd, Hurstbridge, Tickets: www.trybooking.com/events/ landing?eid=848960&

Birrarung has a new voice

North Warrandyte resident, Charlotte Sterrett has been appointed a Yarra Riverkeeper, the first woman to take up the role.
The Yarra Riverkeeper Association (YRKA) is the voice of the Yarra, an independent, communityled organisation of advocates who represent and protect this iconic Melbourne waterway.
Charlotte said, as Melbourne’s population grows, the river is under increasing environmental pressure, pollution, and habitat fragmentation.
“Riverkeepers are vital to keeping the Yarra healthy”.
Much of Charlotte’s career has been with aid charities Oxfam and World Vision on climate change education and community adaptation
projects in countries such as Bangladesh, Vanuatu, and South Africa.
She is a member of WarrandyteCAN (Climate Action Now), as well as a local Landcare group, and is a regular environmental columnist for
Warrandyte Diary.
She told the Bulletin that working with Warrandyte CAN has shown her the impact local action can make.
She said her role is as the chief spokesperson for the organisation and “she will be telling the story of the Birrarung/Yarra and lobbying local and state governments”.
Charlotte joins another Warrandyte resident, Warwick Leeson, who is chair of the YRKA.
She replaces outgoing Riverkeeper, Andrew Kelly.

Photo BILL McAULEY

Macedon traders unsatisfied

MACEDON Square’s proposed streetscape upgrade has been in the works for over a year, with traders fighting to keep the centre functional and safe.
In August 2020, Manningham Council released two concept designs aiming to upgrade Macedon Square, one with an open space plan (Option B) and one without (Option A). Traders and community members identified several sore points in the proposed plans, leading Council to prolong consultation and work alongside community members to address these issues.
Four key areas were identified for improvement: parking, safety, accessibility, and other design features. “Consulting with the community is a top priority for Council,” Director City Planning and Community, Angelo Kourambas, told WD Bulletin.
Officers created a revised plan based on this feedback, which was endorsed by Council in its September 28 Ordinary Council Meeting.
However, traders in the centre are still left unsatisfied. Gary Cyganek, owner of Egons Bakery and representing the Macedon Square traders, spoke with WD Bulletin about the points of contention in the revised plan.
“All they’ve done is revise the plan we’ve rejected.
“We feel safety has been compromised,” he said. Although the revised concept design increases road widths along Macedon Road (5.6 metres) compared to prior plans, traders are unsettled by any narrowing of the road at all. Council will also install a 0.6m wide central traffic median to limit east/west car movements along Macedon Road. Traders are apprehensive about the prospective narrowing of the road, due to fears of potential safety hazards, increased collisions, and congestion.
“I think it’s still very dangerous on the road, which is our number one priority.
“By narrowing the road you’re putting people closer to moving vehicles when they’re loading and unloading their car.
“We know the feedback from our customers — they don’t like the congestion [in the centre] and this is going to make it worse.”
Mr Cyganek goes on to say the traders are not convinced the restructuring of the road will create any benefit to Macedon Square patrons and traders alike.
“We’re going to call for an independent TAC report because we feel we need to be shown that this will be best practice, because we just can’t see it.
“We feel this is not functional nor is it safe,” Mr Cyganek says.
In the September 2021 engagement report, Council re- surveyed the community, prompting individuals to choose between Option A, Option B or Option C.
19 per cent voted for Option A (without open space), 56 per cent voted for Option B (with open space) and 24 per cent voted for Option C (neither).
With majority community support for an open space concept, Council is now preparing to progress with the detail design phase of the project, with construction expected to commence in early 2023.
Mr Kourambas said Council will continue to engage with the community on the Macedon Square project.
“Council will continue to engage with traders during the detail design stage of the project in early 2022.
“This may include further investigation of other suggestions such as locations for new trolley bays, electric vehicle charging stations, car share spaces and smart waste bins,” says Mr Kourambas.

A new chapter for Zul and Café Z

CAFÉ Z, HAS BEEN an important part of the Research and broader Nillumbik community for more than 20 years. Owner Zulal “Zul” Rogers opened the café in June 8, 2001, converting it from the Nillumbik Country Café to Café Z with the aim of introducing the community to Turkish culinary culture.
But after two decades of introducing Research and the surrounding community to Köfte, Döner, Baklava, and Kahvalti, and being a general all-round community superstar, Zul has hung up her apron and handed the café over to new owners in late-September.
To mark this new chapter in her life, WD Bulletin spoke with Zul about the last 20 years.
Prior to owning Café Z, Zul ran a catering business from home, selling food at the Eltham Market and teaching Turkish cooking classes at the local Living and Learning Centre.
The balance between raising young children and running a small business from home was stressful, not being able to “call home, home” is one of the reasons why Zul decided to open Café Z.
“Everyone dreams of owning a café, but I had to work my butt off.”
The first five years were tough, and she initially struggled to attract customers to come and try Turkish cuisine. “Research was a very anglo area and I was introducing Middle Eastern Turkish cuisine, so I had to find the right balance to keep the customers happy”.
Zul found that her food was “accepted, and not accepted” with people making comments belittling the type of food she was making, such as falafel.
But, over time, the community discovered the delight of Turkish cuisine, and she watched her business grow.
It is nearly impossible to chart the journey of a business, especially a café, without mentioning the current pandemic. Like many, government restrictions meant Zul needed to pivot to keep Café Z afloat.
She did this by providing freshly cooked, packed foods, take away coffee, and a bright, positive attitude to everyone who came to her front door.
The community response was a true testament to how Zul has made an impact within the community, with regulars not only showing their support with their wallet.
“The number of bunches of flowers and cards we got from people saying thank you for getting us through COVID was just beautiful, touching and humbling.
“We were fortunate, very fortunate and lucky.”
Doing anything for 20 years is a long time, so WD Bulletin asked Zul what her favourite part was of owning a café. “Meeting beautiful people and customers who have become friends”.
Over time, Zul has developed a two-way relationship with her customers, from an “outpour of love and support for the café and staff ”, to customers bringing in fresh, home-grown lemons for her desserts.
Looking forward, Café Z continues under the stewardship of new owners Rosa and Paul, adding their own take on
Image supplied, Facebook
what regulars of Café Z have become accustomed to, and the new owners have her blessing.
As for Zul, she continues to provide Turkish cuisine and cooking classes under the banner of Hart & Sole Catering and is also looking forward to going back to school in 2022, with the aim to become a teacher and is looking forward to a change of pace from the stresses of running a café.
Zul would like to the thank the community of Nillumbik for the kindness and generosity over the years.
“It’s been a beautiful humbling experience and I’m glad they liked what I did, thank you, thank you, thank you”. Zul would also like to thank her four children, Jess, Dylan, Will and Hamish for their love and support over the years. We wish Zul and her family all the best for their future endeavours.

Locals plea to save Apollo Park

THE APOLLO PARK Community is battling to save their identity and the public space around Civic Drive, Greensborough.
In recent years, the renovated playground, fitness centre, library, along with ample parking, has made the space very popular.
However, a $675M State Government initiative to build 10 community hospitals close to major growth areas across Victoria has identified Civic Drive as the preferred location for the Eltham area Community Hospital.“The Victorian Government is building community hospitals so families can have peace of mind that help is just around the corner when something is not quite right or when a loved one gets sick,” a Department of Health spokesperson told the WD Bulletin.While not against the idea of a new community hospital, residents around Apollo Park are concerned the choice to site the proposed community hospital at Civic Drive will take away existing parking, forcing facility users to spill out into local streets, or avoid the area completely.Apollo Parkway resident Kelly Farrow, told the WD Bulletin why her family moved to the area, and the concerns she and her three year old son Clyde have about the works and the impact it will have on the green spaces and congestion in the area.

“He [Clyde] loves playing at the Rainbow Snake park and running around on the sloped hill and amphitheatre, which will both be loomed and shaded over by the hospital and carpark.
He is genuinely really worried about it and keeps asking me how we will save the park.
We moved to Apollo Parkways from the inner-city two years ago and one reason was that open green space and facilities on Civic Drive.
Clyde will go to the Apollo Parkways Primary School in two years, which is directly opposite the hospital site.
Due to the steep roads around here, we will have to drive there, and I’m already worrying about where I’ll park to drop him off as I’ve seen (and got stuck in!) the insane bottlenecks during peak times.
You can’t even enter the IGA carpark from 3pm as it’s completely chokkas with parents, as is every road and
carpark around there.
As his mum, I’m really worried about the greatly increased traffic that will go in past the playpark and sports centre, and out past the library, as kids like Clyde are fast runners and are used to being able to tramp around this green area quite safely,” Kelly said.

WD Bulletin also spoke to community members Rosemary Burdett and Dr Svetlana Ryzhihk, who have been active in the fight to save Apollo Park.
“I’m just disappointed that the hospital is going to be built on all the parking that services the facilities in the area — the stadium, the library — and that parking is also used by the parents of Apollo Parkways Primary School.
“I don’t understand why they think they can take all of that parking and then leave none for the local people who have been accessing those facilities for decades.
“All those community hospitals are a terrific thing, nobody is arguing against it, it’s just the site,” says Ms Burdett.
Parking pains are exacerbated with the expansion of the fitness centre — now hosting regional matches and more training sessions, increasing the demand for parking space.
There are currently no guarantees of free parking, as Austin Health will be managing future parking pertaining to the hospital.
Locals fear that potential paid parking in the precinct could deter activity in the centre and create congestion in nearby streets.
“If you take away the parking, where are people going to park?
“People are either going to use local streets or they won’t use the stadium,” says Ms Burdett.
Dr Svetlana Ryzhihk, President of Friends of Apollo Parkways (FoAP), has gained immense community support with her Save Apollo Parklands Now petition, receiving over 1,300 signatures nearly reaching its goal of 1,500.
Dr Ryzhihk says the community is also concerned by the “non-existent” public transport access.
“Public transport access is non-existent.
“There are two bus stops one 500 metres away and one 600 metres away — the terrain is very steep, so for people with limited mobility that won’t be an option,” said Dr Ryzhihk.
The open space in Civic 0Drive has been well loved by its community — many locals utilising the space for picnics, gatherings and walks with furry friends.
“Putting in one more high use facility will kill the community.
“The community is asking Council not to sell the land,” says Dr Ryzhihk.
In the coming weeks Council will decide whether or not to sell — however, if the August 24 Nillumbik Ordinary Council Meeting is an indicator of things to come, regardless of the verdict, the fate of Apollo Park could already be sealed.
Cr Peter Perkins told the meeting:

“Council has not yet resolved a formal position on whether or not to sell the land.
It is important to note that if Council resolves not to sell the land to the State Government, the option of compulsory acquisition is still very open to it.
Council will consider all available information at the time before making any decision.”

The Department of Health told the WD Bulletin they are considering community views. “We’re continuing to work with Nillumbik Shire Council to ensure community views are heard around the preferred location for the Eltham area Community Hospital.” However, a report from a member of FoAP following a Victorian Health Building Authority (VHBA) information session on September 8 would suggest VHBA’s community engagement is as tokenistic as the engagement other community groups have experienced with Big Build projects, as reported in September’s Warrandyte Diary.
Of the 40+ questions submitted by FoAP at the information session, FoAP says many were not answered or VHBA provided answers that qualified community concern.
As a verdict draws near, the local community are adamant that they will not give up their fight to preserve Apollo Park.
“We can’t let anything else happen to this land, we’re trying our hardest,” says Dr Ryzhihk. Nillumbik has an online community feedback portal on its Participate website for the Eltham area Community Hospital project, which is open until September 26. Following this, Council plans to decide on whether or not to sell the land to VHBA at the October 26 Council Meeting.
To have your say, visit: participate.nillumbik.vic.gov.au/hospital
To learn more about the community concerns at Apollo Park visit: www.facebook.com/Friends-of-Apollo-ParkwaysInc-101202678897604
To learn more about the Community Hospital Program visit : www.vhba.vic.gov.au/health/community-based-care/ community-hospitals-program

Sawdust in his veins

RYAN GASKETT HAS spent the last 10 years with the smell of sawdust and two stroke in his nostrils.
The filmmaker has been filming chainsaw artist Leigh Conkie since 2012 for the feature length documentary Leigh, which will have its premiere screening at ACMI in December.
Ryan first met the iconic Eltham artist while at film school.
He said he had always loved looking at the sculptor’s “outdoor gallery”, which is a feature of everyone’s commute along Eltham’s Main Road, so he jumped at the chance to interview him.
“We had to make a short documentary, and I chose to do stories from the neighbourhood, and a friend introduced me to his neighbour, and I interviewed him for two hours and made a 10-minute documentary about him,” he told WD Bulletin.
Ryan said the initial short film could not do the chainsaw artist justice, as there was so much more he wanted to tell about Leigh, so the initial interview was the first of many filming sessions they had over several years.
In late 2014, Ryan filmed Leigh sculpting a female asylum seeker holding a baby.
Then, Ryan said, they did a late-night installation of the work on the lawn of The Age’s then headquarters in Collins Street, Melbourne.
Within hours, security guards had removed the sculpture, but the installation had made its point — raising awareness of refugee issues and generating thousands of “Likes” online.
While Leigh Conkie is known around Eltham for his chainsaw art, Ryan said the film is not really about that, it is about the man behind the artist.
“He’s had a pretty hard life, he was abused as a child, had been in a major car accident, and he was in a pretty down place”.
Ryan said at one stage, Leigh lost the passion for his art and was just producing playground features for the money.
The bulk of the film was recorded between 2014 and 2016, when Leigh made the decision to turn his life around.
“He was going through a pretty low point in his life at the time, and he decided to give himself a goal and go to Japan to climb Mount Fuji,” he said.
Ryan said while that was a pretty “out there” thing to do, anyone who knew Leigh thought it was totally something that he would do.
“I actually have the moment he made the decision to do it on camera, he made his mind up while we were in the middle of an interview,” the filmmaker said.
From then, he stopped drinking and started running and working out and eating healthy — although he wouldn’t give up the cigarettes.
Ryan said it was a big deal for Leigh to attempt something as big as climbing Mt Fuji, because at the time he could barely walk to the local 7Eleven.
But Ryan was there with Leigh every step of the way, documenting the long road to his health and his art.
Originally crowd sourced through Pozible, the filmmaker managed to get a host of local collaboration on the film, including local composer Charly Harrison scoring the documentary, and including music from the Teskey Brothers, and Gotye.
The film was originally due to be premiered in October, but due to COVID, the screening has been moved to December, and has already sold out.
A second ACMI screening in February has just been announced, and if you get in quick, tickets can be booked via Eventbrite.

‘Leigh’ – Documentary Trailer from Ava Grace Productions on Vimeo.

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Photos courtesy: RYAN GASKETT

Get out on the green

LAWN BOWLS has seen a resurgence over recent times and the sport is growing in popularity around the world as people of all ages see the benefits of getting out on the green. And in Manningham it is no different.
With multiple clubs across the municipality, residents are spoilt for choice when it comes to finding a green close to them.
Each club offers something slightly different, with everything from barefoot bowls to Pennant competitions, there really is something for everyone.
Greg Hodson from Templestowe Bowling Club said members enjoy a club atmosphere and ethic that values sporting participation.

“It is a club that demonstrates community spirit, honesty and friendship, good sportsmanship but most importantly promotes having a good time,” he said.

The club offers Saturday and midweek Pennant Competition in the summer season.

“Interclub challenge matches and Intraclub Tournaments are also eagerly anticipated and highly enjoyable events,” Greg said.

Recreational and casual bowling is made available, and Saturday social games are played outside of the summer season, and Wednesday social games are played all year round.
He said Barefoot Bowling is scheduled every Sunday or upon request.
Donvale Bowls Club’s Robert Fairweather said his club has a vision for its future, developing a strong administration, member participation, and importantly, coaching and encouragement, expressed as “Donvale a vibrant, growing and successful club”.
He said the club has overcome some hard times, but has been successfully embarking on a determined and assertive recruitment program, a program designed to attract and retain new bowlers.
The Club’s membership has grown in the last five years to 242 members and continues to grow.

“With 13 affiliated and qualified coaches, a coaching and development program in place, we are ensuring all our members, receive ample opportunities to achieve their potential as bowlers, coaches, umpires, committee members or selectors,” he said.

Rob said many new bowlers who join, are initially only interested in social bowling, have fun, enjoy the fellowship a club such as Donvale provides, lots of opportunities to keep them involved.
However, he said for those with a competitive spirit, Pennant sides provide an opportunity for all abilities. Donvale has both grass and synthetic greens, enabling members to play or roll up all year.
Rob said the club is indeed fortunate enlisting the services of current senior and highly credentialed playing Coach Scott Rees.
He said Scott has played an active and integral role in the success story associated with the Donvale Bowls Club. “Scott, our current Club Champion, continued on to win the coveted Champion of Champions — indeed a mighty effort,” Rob said.
Last season, Donvale had a remarkable Pennant season with eight teams qualifying and playing finals, including a promotion to Division 1.
New members are always welcome, and both the Templestowe and Donvale Bowls Clubs encourage anyone interested to get in touch.
No matter where you live, once play resumes after lockdown, there is a club ready to welcome you on to the green.

feature image: pixabay