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The More Things Change

The Diary’s researchers have taken a peek into the archives to see what was happening in Warrandyte a century ago and guess what they found?

Hawthorn and Camberwell Advertiser Friday, October 18 1918, Page 4.

WARRANDYTE NOTES

About 100 returned wounded soldiers were entertained at luncheon and afternoon tea on Sunday, October 13.

The display inside the hall was most inviting, the tables being stored with the choicest of edibles, tempting in the highest degree and sufficient to satisfy the most exacting of epicures.

As the soldiers arrived they were all directed into the hall, the weather being wintry, and a gusty wind prevailed. Among the visitors was Mr Pearson, who has been such a prominent figure in this particular mission of conveying them to the different centres of attraction.

After luncheon, they sallied forth to see as much as they could of the little village and to gather the beautiful tinted leaves which at this season of the year are the glory of the bush.

One young fellow who had undergone six or seven operations on the table of the operating theatre, and was the wonder of the medical faculty, came sauntering back from his ramble looking happy carrying a little forest of green leaves, and pleased with the thought of taking a touch of nature back with him to gladden the hearts of those left behind.

The topic, however, was not of Warrandyte or its possibilities, but General Pau, who was to visit the hospital next day, and to them the prospect was a highly interesting one.

About four o’clock the cars began to move away, the occupants being none the worse for their outing, but much benefitted by the fresh air. Mr W. Aird, formerly of Ringwood, catered for the guests, and after the visitors had departed those who remained behind were invited by Mr Aird to partake of what refreshments were available, which was done ample justice to.

The whole of the arrangements were under the supervision of the Warrandyte Patriotic League. A welcome home was tendered on Saturday evening, October 12, by the residents of Warrandyte to Corporal George T. Clarke, better known as “Bobby”, who had seen four years’ service right through from the peninsula to western Europe.

He was the pioneer of the little town to enlist, and sailed on October 19, 1914. Corporal Clarke has been three times wounded, the first occasion being at the landing at Gallipoli.

On arrival in the township, he was given an ovation by the school children, and the reception in the evening was a hearty one, some of his mates from the 8th Battalion carrying him shoulder high. Being a general favourite, he was made the recipient of warm eulogiums.

Mr A. Aird congratulated him on behalf of those present on his safe return, which was endorsed by Sgt Thompson, of the 8th Battalion, and others.

Corporal Clarke responded in simple language, and expressed his pleasure at the welcome given him.

Cheers were given again and again for the guest of the evening. Items were rendered by Queenie Robertson, Francey Sloan, Mr Archie Clarke (a brother of Corporal Clarke), Mr J. Cooke, and Miss A. Mullens. Mr Woodford Smith (violin) and Mr A. Aird (piano) supplied the musical programme for the evening, and Mr C. Jones acted as M.C. Dancing was kept up late, and a most enjoyable evening spent, refreshments being provided gratis by Mr and Mrs Aird.

But the saddest of all was the homecoming to that vacant chair, for the mother who had said farewell and bade him “God speed”, had passed away during his absence.

Perhaps the blow had been softened, as not long after he had departed he had received the news that his mother had died suddenly, which came as a great shock to her many friends, but only he alone could the feel the full significance of his loss.

Articles in “The more things change” sourced through the National Library of Australia’s online archive Trove: https://trove.nla.gov.au/

image courtesy of Warrandyte Historical Society website.

War, climate change and our future


ON MAY 8 1970, Melbourne witnessed a then unprecedented event: a demonstration of around 100,000 people in Bourke Street against the Vietnam War.

In all, some 200,000 people protested throughout Australia that day, sending a powerful message to the government that the tide of public opinion was turning against Australia’s involvement in the war.

Nearly 33 years later, on February 14 2003, there were again massive protests throughout Australia – and elsewhere in the world – against the proposed invasion of Iraq.

Estimates of the numbers at the Melbourne rally alone ranged between 100,000 and 200,000.

I remember marching down Swanston Street to Federation Square and being stunned by the vastness of the crowd.

Fast forward to 2018, and we’re now facing a crisis of a very different kind.

A crisis that can fairly be regarded as the greatest in human history – climate change.

Throughout the world, average surface temperatures are rising.

Globally, 17 of the 18 warmest years on record have all occurred since 2001, with 2016 ranking as the warmest on record.

This is one aspect of what we call “climate change”, but the term also refers to a broader range of changes that are happening to our planet.

These include rising sea levels, shrinking mountain glaciers, accelerating ice melt in Greenland, Antarctica and the Arctic, and shifts in flower/plant blooming times.

They also include weather events of increasing severity and frequency, like cyclones, droughts, and floods.

The effects of climate change are everywhere to be seen:

  • The Great Barrier Reef is dying largely as a result of increased water temperatures due to global warming.
  • Low-lying nations, particularly small island states, face inundation as a result of rising sea levels.
  • With increased temperatures and frequent heatwaves worldwide, there is increased evaporation of water which provides fuel for storms, exacerbating extreme weather events like cyclones or hurricanes, especially in tropical regions.
  • The melting of the cryosphere (frozen water in the polar ice caps and elsewhere) means that we’re seeing not only sea level rises, but also the exposure of dark ocean waters, which absorb more sunlight than ice – heating the ocean more and speeding up a relentless cycle of melting and heating.

The international Paris Agreement, supported by world scientific opinion, has recognised that the situation we face is one of urgency:  we need to take drastic measures to limit average global temperature rises to a maximum of 2oC (since the start of industrial times) — and pursue efforts to limit the average increase to 1.5°C — if we’re to avoid the worst impacts of dangerous climate change.

Given the great weight of scientific opinion and that our planet’s future is at stake, it’s not unreasonable to expect our politicians to show strong national leadership on the need for urgent, effective action on climate change.

However, leadership has been sadly lacking on this issue.

Instead, the climate crisis has become mired in short-sighted political expediency, climate denialism, and party politics — including the destructive Liberal Party in-fighting that recently caused the (second) downfall of Malcom Turnbull.

In the absence of proper political leadership, the pressure for urgent climate action needs to come from the community.

The People’s Climate March in Melbourne in November 2015 was attended by an estimated 60,000 people.

But we should be seeing far bigger demonstrations in our streets calling for urgent climate action, on the same scale as the one against the Iraq War in February 2003, if not larger.

For various reasons, however, this has not yet occurred.

Climate change has crept up on us gradually, especially over the last 50 years or so.

The adverse effects of climate change are worsening, but they’re occurring intermittently over an extended time-frame of years and decades.

Most of the time, our weather conditions appear normal and the urgency of the climate situation is not readily apparent to many people in the community.

Unlike the threat posed at times by war or terrorism (for example, by the looming invasion of Iraq in 2003), climate change does not present the same sort of imminent and tangible threat that people feel they can do something about, such as by taking to the streets in protest.

Part of the problem in getting people to accept the need for urgent climate action arises from the process of psychological denial, whereby people choose to deny the existence of unpleasant realities in spite of the evidence.

Likewise, the climate change problem is so huge that many people feel overwhelmed and powerless to do anything about it.

So they “switch off” and opt to do nothing at all.

The key challenges for the climate action movement are to engage with the community to a far greater extent, and to understand and overcome the barriers to widespread popular support for urgent climate action.

The proposed Carmichael (Adani) coal mine and rail project represent an excellent focus for community engagement.

In the face of the climate emergency due to the burning of coal and other fossil fuels, the federal and Queensland governments are ardently supporting and facilitating the Adani mine, which will be the world’s biggest coal venture.

WarrandyteCAN condemns the recklessness of both these governments, and urges everyone to do what they can to support the Stop Adani campaign.

WarrandyteCAN would like to know what readers of the Warrandyte Diary think about climate change and asks them to take part in the following poll:

Global warming is a serious and pressing problem. We should begin taking steps now even if this involves significant costs.


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Tasmania’s temptations

I asked our resident Tasmanian expert Anna, a Tasmanian herself, how best one should spend a lazy few days on the beautiful Apple Isle.

If you are a foodie and love the outdoors, it will be hard not to resist her recommendations.

Upon arriving at Launceston Airport, collect your car and travel about 10 minutes to your first stop.

Enjoy a winery tour, tasting and lunch at Josef Chromy Wines, a state-of-the-art winery located near Launceston. Surrounded by beautiful landscaped gardens and vineyards, the winery offers a range of cool-climate wines, delicious food and warm service.

Start by walking in the vineyard and learning about the estate’s high-tech winemaking process.

Sip some samples served by a friendly wine expert then head to a two-course lunch paired with wine.

It’s the perfect way to explore Tasmanian wine country. Head o for a beautiful drive looping the vineyards and providores on both sides of the Tamar Valley.

Exploring the Artentwine Sculpture Biennial on o er over October and November 2018.

Next day drive to Cradle Mountain, roughly a two hour drive.

On the way keep an eye out for Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm Café.

This place has an unending supply of raspberries and raspberry menu items.

Stop in, if only to buy some chocolate covered raspberries. is is important.

They are fantastic and will be perfect for an evening at Cradle Mountain Lodge with a good glass of red — I promise.

Spend your time in Cradle Mountain taking in the beauty of this amazing National Park.

The park contains an extensive network of walking tracks to suit everyone’s tastes.

A day walk map should be purchased from the visitor centre if you want to go on any day walks.

Start at the visitor centre will also provide tailor-made advice to match your walking needs with the tracks available.

Strahan is a harbour-side village with a dark and fascinating convict past set on the edge of the World Heritage listed Franklin–Gordon Wild Rivers National Park.

Strahan is full of stories from the days of convicts and pioneers toughing it out in Tassie’s “wild west”.

Strahan is also the departure point for the West Coast Wilderness Railway which do a half day tour journeying deep into Tasmania’s rainforest.

A scenic road trip will see you in Hobart for a city sojourn to end your gorgeous getaway in Tasmania.

What are you waiting for?

Our travel expert Carolyn is the manager of Warrandyte Travel and Cruise.

Email her at — carolyn@warrandytetravel.com.au

How can we get motivated to exercise daily?


FITNESS: Chris Sharp

I’VE BEEN in the health and fitness industry for over 25 years now and the thing I see most that stops my clients achieving their goals is self-doubt and not believing they can actually be the best version of themselves.

Life’s pressures such as relationships, work and illnesses will halt them and, on many occasions, they give up.

“Don’t be too hard on yourself; if you get off the fitness wagon, you just have to get back on.”

It’s always important to look at the big picture; one of my favourite sayings is “health is not just for now, it’s for life”.

Dealing with Setbacks: How to Stay Motivated When Feeling Flat

It is estimated that 60–70 per cent of the Australian population does not engage in regular physical activity.

The most common reasons as to why people fail to stick to a regular exercise regimen include lack of time, inability to get to a gym, lack of motivation, fear of injury, and misconceptions about exercise.

Barriers such as these have caused a majority of us to sacrifice regular physical activity, an element that is as vital to our health and well-being as food, water, and shelter.

By taking a closer look at the barriers that keep us glued to our couches, I hope to help anyone out there who is struggling to overcome them.

Here are some common excuses and ways to combat them on days you’re feeling flat: “I don’t have the energy to exercise.”

It can be a struggle to get moving at times.

But I can guarantee that once your body becomes accustomed to regular workouts, not only will your energy levels soar, but sitting still will become the struggle! I still remember being new to exercising on my own, not playing a team sport and sometimes dreading what lay ahead, but before I knew it, I began craving the workouts because I loved the way I felt afterwards.

“I don’t have enough time to exercise.”

This is the one I hear most of all and I often use this equation to quantify my response.

There are 168 hours in a week.

If you exercised at least three hours, that’s only 5.6 per cent of your time consumed by exercise.

It’s really not much is it?

One of the leading reasons many of us fail to stick to a regular exercise routine is the belief that we never have extra time.

With the busy lifestyles most of us lead, it can seem almost impossible to fit in a workout every day.

However, studies have shown that if we can commit 30 minutes a day to some form of physical activity, our health, well-being and productivity can improve dramatically.

I don’t believe there is anyone out there who is unable to dedicate just a half hour a day to their fitness, even if that means splitting 30 minutes into two sets of 15 minutes or three sets of 10.

Whether it be taking the stairs instead of the lift to the office, taking a walk during your lunch break, kicking the footy or throwing a ball or Frisbee around with the kids after work (I’m sure they would appreciate it!) or hiring a mobile trainer to train you at the destination/time of your choice, there are plenty of ways to keep active throughout the day.

When we exercise, endorphins (AKA ‘happy hormones’) are produced by and released into the body, causing an overall sense of happiness, relaxation and well-being.

So, if low energy levels are preventing you from staying active, focus on how fantastic you will feel if instead you were wide awake from working out!

“Exercise is boring…”

This is one I also hear a fair bit!

This is only the case if you choose boring activities!

You wouldn’t wear the same clothes all week, or eat the same food every day, so if physical activity is as vital to our well-being as these things, why choose the same boring exercise?

Choose something you enjoy, whether it is dancing, a sport, or having a personal trainer provide you with a program that caters to your likes and dislikes.

Ensure that you mix up your exercise routine, so you are not taking part in the same activity every day (e.g., Monday night dance class, Wednesday night personal training session, Friday afternoon beach jog/walk).

Do whatever it is you enjoy doing.

This way your mind stays motivated and your body stays challenged.

“Exercise is too painful”, or “I’m afraid I’ll injure myself”

The old saying “no pain, no gain” is one that should be disregarded completely! Exercise DOES NOT and SHOULD NOT need to be painful to be beneficial and effective.

Yes, it may be true that if you are training towards an elite level of fitness (such as an athlete or bodybuilder preparing for competition), you will need to endure an elevated level of intensive training.

However, for those of us who wish to exercise for the sake of general health and happiness, a moderate level of activity will suffice.

Still, it is important that as fitness increases, the intensity of our workouts increase as well to ensure that our bodies continue to respond to the activity by getting stronger and more capable.

You can do this on your own by increasing duration of activity, or number or sets per exercise.

Alternatively, a good personal trainer will be able to provide a program suited to your goals and adjust it according to increases in your fitness levels.

At NO stage throughout a workout should any pain be experienced, and if it is, the activity should be ceased immediately.

But there’s a difference between the pain of injury and the burn you feel when challenging your body.

A great instructor once told a class I was participating in, “This is not pain. This is just necessary discomfort!”, and I think a life of looking and feeling fantastic is worth enduring a bit of “necessary discomfort.”

The barriers mentioned above are only a few of the ones that can prevent us from engaging in regular physical activity, and I have only offered several of the many ways you can overcome them.

The main idea is to work on changing your perspective to get the motivation you need.

Next time you are tempted to put off your workout regimen until tomorrow or next week, remember all the benefits of exercise awaiting you, pull on those trainers, and get yourself on the track towards achieving the optimal health, fitness and well-being you deserve!

 

Chris Sharp owns and operates rivvaPT at 4/5 266 Yarra St Warrandyte

A place to call home

There are numerous native animals that are dependent on naturally hollowed out sections of trees.

These cavities can occur within both living and dead trees, with an entrance to the outside environment where the animals can enter and exit from.

Natural hollows range in size from small cracks to large vertical hollowed out cavities similar to a chimney.

These hollows can occur in the trunk or horizontal limbs with the hollows and entrances at any height.   

Bush fire, lightning strikes or breaking branches can expose the trees to the elements and the cavities are then largely created by termites, beetle larvae and moth larvae which feed on the internal dead wood of the tree (heartwood).   

Fungus can also assist with rotting the timber and fire can further influence the enlargement of the cavities.

These cavities allow the animals to shelter and breed.

Most native trees in Greater Warrandyte are around one hundred years old and are regrowth from the last large scale mining ventures that ended around the beginning of WWI, in 1914.

Some of Warrandyte’s native animals such as gliders, phascogales, possums, parrots, ducks and owls are unable to create their own hollows.

Different animals have different nesting requirements, mainly due to their size.

Nest boxes provide an important supplement to the lack of naturally occurring hollows, in particular the larger ones.

Increasing in popularity is the creation of artificial hollows cut into the trunks of dead trees.

Throughout Melbourne I have seen a growing trend of large dead trees being trimmed of branches and cavities being cut into the upper trunk.

Most of these animals use multiple hollows and regularly change hollows.

This helps keep their hollows clean and free of parasites or disease.

It also helps them avoid predators such as owls which quickly learn which hollows are in use.

Because they rotate homes we need to provide multiple nest boxes to support each individual animal.

I aim to provide two to three nest boxes for each target animal.

Natural tree hollows provide excellent insulation against the cold/heat and last for a very long time.

It is very important to use thick timber or materials that are strong, rot/rust proof and have adequate insulation properties for animal comfort.

I use treated pine that is at least 25mm in thickness as this will begin to provide enough thermal insulation for wildlife.

I also use screws and hinges that are corrosion free and paint the interior and exterior for aesthetics and longevity.

I fasten internal ladders for both marsupials and birds.

They will also provide grip for the young animals that might struggle with climbing.

I also cut external grooves entirely around the entrances for possums to grip on.

I have studied possums exiting the nests at night and they tend to immediately climb upwards so it is important to have grip around the entirety of the entrance.

When installing the nest box I will select a location away from general disturbance and bright lights.

I like to orient the nest box on the side of larger trees and on the south side of the trunks away from the hot afternoon sun.

As most animals will use boxes at about four metres high I usually install the box using a large ladder such as an extension ladder.

Ensure the ladder is tied to the tree for safety and remember that you will want to access your box to inspect it later.

The higher the installation the further away from disturbance the animals will be.

I usually fasten the boxes using plastic coated wire.

As the growing tree trunk expands this may require adjustment over time as it gets tighter.

Spring-wire can assist with allowing the attachments to expand and require fewer adjustments over time.

Generally, you do not need to clean your box.

I will deposit fine mulch in the base for comfort and further insulation.

Most wildlife keep their nests clean.

A few species, such as the phascogale, will soil the inside of their boxes.

That is their normal behaviour.

Cleaning your boxes may stress the animal and cause the animals to temporarily desert the box.

A few small holes or gaps in the base of the box can help drain any water and keep it dry.

It may only take days or weeks before animals such as possums move in whereas others that are seasonal, such as birds, you may have results during the breeding seasons, usually in spring.

Also remember that wildlife move between hollows (and nest boxes) on a regular basis so some of the boxes will be vacant at any given time.

You will often find signs that your box has been used (feathers, scats or nest material including bark or leaves) even though the animal is not at home.

I usually incorporate folding lids that are the easiest way to check inside boxes.

Increasingly popular is the installation of cameras either inside the box or by installing an automated wildlife camera on a nearby tree.

This will monitor what comes in and out of the box.

These pictures are a sample of some of the recent success I have had with providing homes to our local animals in Warrandyte.

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The lingering infection of terra niullius


By JIM POULTER

EVERYBODY is familiar with the term “terra nullius”.

Australia was purportedly owned by no-one and the British used the term to justify colonisation.

Nowadays, almost everyone rejects the validity of this notion, but very few of us really understand its full implications.

We remain essentially unaware of how terra nullius still insidiously and unconsciously influences our thinking.

Aboriginal people hate the term terra nullius with a passion, and rightly so, because it strongly implies that Aboriginal people had a vacuous culture and achieved nothing.

After all, they were just a primitive bunch of people wandering around bumping into trees.

They did not use the land, had not even invented the wheel, and their only technological achievement was a bent stick that came back when you threw it.

Aboriginal people did of course cultivate the land, but not in the intensive, exploitative and unsustainable way that most other world cultures did.

All Aboriginal knowledge was integrated through the totem system to ultimately serve ecological purposes.

So whether it was knowledge related to science, art or religion, it was all focussed on ecological outcomes.

Even the nursery rhymes sung to little children had an ecological message.

Think of all the descriptors usually applied to traditional Aboriginal society.

Words like simple, primitive, pagan, uncivilized, nomadic, stone-age, hunter-gatherers.

These are all pejorative terms that put western civilisation at the highest level and Aboriginal society at the lowest level.

Never mind that western society has over the last 3000 years had a history of internecine war, conquest, rolling plagues, overpopulation, social inequality, gross disparities of wealth and poverty, plus religious and political persecution.

Aboriginal society had none of this, but ironically the sustained warfare of European and Asian history created the spur for technological achievement.

This technological advancement is then taken as a sign of a “higher” civilization.

Darwin put forward the idea of natural selection and this was immediately seen as a justification for western conquest and colonisation of others.

It was simply “survival of the fittest” in action. Many world cultures are so inured by their histories of warfare, that it is regarded as part of human nature. Many people therefore flatly refuse to believe there were never any wars of conquest or invasion in Aboriginal Australia.

The proof that there were no wars of conquest is simple.

Show me one myth, story, legend, dance or song from anywhere in Australia that depicts either the victories of a warrior king, the subjugation and enslavement of others, or an uprising against a despotic ruler. It just never happened.

The real problem is that spurious notions like this have seeped into our consciousness and we do not know how to challenge these received wisdoms.

This is the foundation of institutional racism, the process by which prejudicial ideas are ingrained into present day social perceptions.

However, this should not be interpreted as meaning that Australians are racist.

Australians are overwhelmingly fair minded people who meet and greet people as equals.

This is the cornerstone of our national culture. But what we fail to understand is how the prejudices of our forefathers continue to unwittingly shape our thinking.

The idea of terra nullius is in fact behind our inability to recognise a road or highway we are travelling on as an ancient songline.

It is behind our inability to recognise a river rapids area, like at Warrandyte township, as an original site for fish traps or a mussel farm.

It is also the reason why many historians make blatant errors when they try to interpret Aboriginal behaviours.

Their assumptions are often unconsciously based on ideas of European superiority.

Before giving a classic example of this fallacious thinking I will cite two facts.

First, Aboriginal people had ingrained cultural habits of listening and sound replication that made them gifted linguists. All Aboriginal children were brought up multilingual.

Second, Aboriginal people travelled extensively and safely through other tribal areas as long as they stuck to the designated songline and observed proper protocol.

However, when Aboriginal people tried to communicate these protocols to early colonists, it was wrongly assumed that Aboriginal people were frightened to leave their own country.

In 2008, AFL historian Gillian Hibbins, dismissed the possibility of any connection between Marngrook and Australian Football with the comment, “Aborigines….lived within quite clearly defined tribal areas, speaking a language different from those of other tribal areas.

“Aboriginal tribal strangers were regarded with suspicion and did not trespass without being killed.”

This comment clearly painted Aboriginal people as a simple, primitive, xenophobic and violent bunch.

Its roots were clearly embedded in the notion of terra nullius.

The comment is a glowing example of institutional racism by a historian who claims for herself the highest standards of academic scholarship.

Unfortunately, it is just one of many examples of the lingering infection of terra nullius.

It’s a jungle in the garden

Caught in the act

IT WAS JUST on dusk.

The male blue banded bees were erratically flying near the stems where they usually roost.

They should have begun to settle by now.

Only one or two had settled near the end of a stem that seemed to have an unusual bit of bright green foliage further down the stem.

This foliage was swaying and it was not from the wind.

I realised I was seeing an adult false garden mantis, usually enchanting to me, but this one was preying on one of my male blue banded bees.

Was I ever torn!

Should I take photos and let nature take its course, or save my special bees?

Perhaps as a compromise I took a quick photo then gently grasped the mantis and removed it from the area to discourage it from becoming a serial bee killer.

I felt a bit guilty that I caused it to drop the bee in its grasp which was already dead.

I guess a mantis has to eat too.

Philosophically, I might think that near the end of the season for blue banded bees most of the females may already have mated.

So perhaps one could say that the males had served their life purpose and that feeding a mantis could be their last remaining service.

Just two days ago I was marvelling at the lovely sight of the roosting blue banded bees.

I photographed them quickly before the sun touched them with a magic wake up call.

They were like a string of precious beads to me.

I had seen scattered ones earlier in the season but on this day I counted 17.

Each used its yellow jaws to clasp an arching dried stem where it would spend the night.

Their wings and hair on their bodies appeared undamaged so I assumed they had recently emerged from their nests.

Near the same spot last season, I first watched males jostling for the best roosting position in my garden.

That year I never counted more than nine.

I believe the population is growing as my pollinator garden develops.

Females must be nesting nearby but so far I have searched for their nesting burrows in vain.

If anyone in the greater Warrandyte region has discovered the female blue banded bees’ nests on their patch, please tell me.

My first leaf-cutting bee

Before I leave the topic of native bees I want to announce I have at least one leaf-cutting bee species in my garden.

This one is almost as large and its buzz is nearly as loud as the blue banded bees.

It is unlikely to use my bee posts where, closely related, the resin bees are quite at home.

I now search the broad-leaf plants in my garden for the perfect circle these bees cut out to line the cells of their nests.

Of course this may be occurring in my neighbours’ gardens.

Rose bushes, not found in my garden are a favourite.

However, they must have used indigenous plants in the past.

So far, my photos of them aren’t good enough for the Diary.

Finding the nests and getting better photos are my next challenge.

Caught in the act number two

“What is this very colourful bug on my eucalyptus tree?”

I’m often asked this time of year.

Hearing, “It is yellow-orange with blue diamonds on its back”, I suspect a juvenile of the aptly named eucalyptus tip wilter bug, amorbus species, as seen in my photo.

The adult in the next photo is larger with impressive looking hind legs but a rather drab brown by comparison.

Many are in my garden but little harm has been done.

Yellow-spotted epicoma moth

These notodontid moth caterpillars are very hairy and may be processionary as they move from one place to another.

Their hairs can cause a painful allergic reaction in people.

The larvae feed on the foliage of casuarina, eucalyptus, leptospermum and melaleuca species.

They are dark grey and hairy, but the head capsule is white with red sides bordered with black.

Pupation takes place in a sparse elliptical cocoon amongst the leaves or leaf litter of the food plant.

Some of the irritating hairs are attached to the pupal case.

The adults are frequently seen in summer to early autumn around Melbourne.

The month ahead

Until we have good rain, remember to leave drinking water at ground level for a range of small animals as well as keeping the birdbaths clean and full.

Honey bees may also visit but native bees get the liquid they need from nectar.

March is still a good month to watch for interesting insects including butterflies.

Let us know what you observe in your area.

Son-of-Kev: The legend lives on


By KATRINA BENNETT

Nothing says Aussie summer more than a beer and a barbie on the deck, surrounded by gum trees and your mates.

If you’re lucky enough to live in our fair suburb bisected by the Yarra, then you can probably add a few snakes, a half-dozen cashed up hippies and a couple of kookaburras.

Yes, let’s discuss dacelo novaeguineae.

Our chortlelicious feathered friend. The laughing kookaburra, known also as the kingfisher.

I’ve lived on the banks of the Yarra for a few years now and not once have I seen these jokers of the bush fish a king out the river.

Although, if recent photos are accurate, our king in all but name, Prince Phillip, looks like he’s just been fished out of somewhere.

But my personal favourite name for these fiendish feathered rapscallions is the laughing jackass.

The name conjures up images of toothless locals from the dirt farm, Idaho or a schoolie returning from the Gold Coast.

Now, don’t go thinking of me as some sort of amateur ornithologist.

Of course, not to be confused with an orthodontist, although, like the damn kookaburras, they also laugh when they see me coming.

Think of me more as an overcooked snag that the local kookaburra population has their beady eyes on. They’ve always had their eyes on me.

Just three years ago, I credited Kev, the tame patriarch of my property’s bird population for saving my life.

Yes, you read correct.

Saved.

My.

Life.

Kev had seen a few summers I reckon.

He was a bit scrawny and missing a few feathers but my little friend faithfully followed me around whenever I cut the grass.

One day, when I was nearing the end of pushing my lawn mower around for six kilometres in 40 degrees, Kev wacked me clean in the ear with his beak and growled as he swooped past.

Startled, I looked down and froze with my foot approximately two centimetres above a coiled tiger snake.

Needless to say Kev didn’t have to follow me anymore, he got to sit on the handle of the lawnmower and casually flutter down to the ground whenever he spied a tasty morsel in the grass.

But like all living legends his time eventually came and he became a legend. Fast forward three years and the son of Kev is now a grown up.

With his cocky strut and punk hairdo, he heads up the local avian chapter now.

Like all younger generations he wants to do things differently.

Mums and dads are soooo lame.

The minutest click from the BBQ starter button sends a ripple through the trees as Son-of-Kev and his mates desert the skate park, leaving their West End fish and chips for the pigeons.

By the time we attempt to sit down and eat, we are surrounded on all sides.

One by one my brave family slink away with their dinner plate to the sanctuary of indoors, heads tucked in their t-shirts.

Until it’s just me, three chicken wings and a Greek salad left to defend the family name.

Before I know, I’m one chicken wing and an olive down.

That’s OK, Son-of-Kev’s reaction to the olive is not dissimilar to mine.

My mirth over watching him trying to spit the wretched thing out is short lived as one of his cronies’ swoops from the pool fence and I’m left nursing some fetta and the final chicken wing.

Time slows down as we eye each other off. My world recedes to just Son-of-Kev, myself, and a water sprayer.

Like an old time gunslinger, I’m onto that trigger and spraying my nemesis fair in the feathers.

Turns out birds aren’t like cats; they don’t recoil from the spray, no, not Son-of-Kev.

Son-of-Kev lifts his wings, pirouettes to get full coverage, angles his head and winks at me.

Stymied, I’m hungry and I’m losing my sense of humour. It’s become woman vs wild. What would Mrs Bear Grylls do?

Option one: Backflip out of a plane.

Pointless, Son-of- Kev flies for a living and would probably show me up by doing a 720 cork.

Option two: Drink your own urine.

Seems extreme, I still have my water sprayer.

Option three: Defend yourself.

My eyes slide across the deck to where we keep our sports equipment.

Nodding my head, I glide out of my chair.

Turns out some Kookaburras are made of willow.

And nothing says Aussie summer more than cricket.

 

   Photo: Thomas Hudec

 

 

 

We wish you a Merry Excess-mas


‘TIS THE SEASON to be Jolly… But how often do we really feel that way during the festive season?

I would feel more jolly if the whole thing was a little less excessive!

Most jollies are felt when getting excessively merry at a social gathering, or that special feeling of unbuttoning your pants after over-indulging on a ridiculous amount of food at the Christmas table.

These states would better be described as drunk and bloated, but for some reason, “jolly” seems to make these behaviours acceptable at this time of year.

I propose we rename the day to what it has actually become… Excess-mas.

Let’s be honest, the number of people who celebrate this day based on the birth of Christ is declining.

What has the day become about instead?

Well, excessive consumption basically.

If you’re a kid, it’s about Father Christmas, and what presents you’ll get from whom.

If you’re not a kid (or you’ve been naughty), then it’s about the gifts you must get for others, the maximum volume of food and drink you can possibly buy, prepare and consume, and how you should participate in all the other traditional rituals… the symbols of which have mostly become quite materialistic.

Take for example the act of buying a Christmas tree.

There is a tradition of cutting a baby pine tree down, thus killing it, so we can put it inside for a couple of weeks during December.

Some buy a plastic one to avoid the mess or allergies, and hopefully reuse it year-on-year.

And then we decorate it, usually with disposable plastic ticky-tack bling, which we often want to replace the following year.

Decorating the house is something that can quite a joy, but so many people seem to go right over the top, running excessive strings of lights and/or inflatable Santa’s and so on.

For those hosting their family on the big day, so much fuss goes into the house being just so; the table must be a work of art fit for Mr and Mrs Claus themselves to sit at, there cannot be a blade of grass out of place, and the massive amounts of food being prepared has to be exactly perfect.

So much stress.. excessive.

Then there is the buying of gifts, which seems to be something often done through obligation, rather than love.

I remember when the art of gift-giving was valued, and people took time to think about what their friends and family members might enjoy or be able to use.

It’s now the trend to “just get them a voucher, so they can choose”, thus avoiding having to make a decision, or risk making the wrong one.

Kris Kringle must surely have been conceived by either a Communist or an accountant, overwhelmed by the excessive number of gifts they felt obliged to buy.

This logically constructed system efficiently simplifies the task of gift giving, but it leaves a lot to be desired in terms of sharing love and respecting personal connections.

I’m Dreaming of a Green Christmas!

I have a few ideas to help us be a little lighter on the planet this festive season, and to get back in touch with the festive spirit.

I’m certainly not aiming to take the fun away, rather lets contemplate what might happen if we started doing things a little bit differently.

How about if we all used living Christmas trees in pots (preferably natives), and planted them after we’re done.

Result = Carbon sequestration, and wildlife habitat creation

Consider if we gifted only second-hand or hand-created items, or at least had a “no plastic packaging” rule amongst the family.

Result = Recycling, creativity, cost-savings, reduced plastic waste

Imagine we took the time to create personalised cards (perhaps with our own art or a meaningful photo) with some thoughtfully chosen words, to empower all of our loved ones for the coming year.

Result = Sharing love and gratitude, creative self-expression

For the person that has it all, or really is “impossible to buy for” could we buy something for a less privileged person on the other side of the world instead?

I’m imagining gifting my mother with a card, showing that her gift is going to provide an education to a girl in Africa, or similar.

Result = the joy of changing someone’s life is long-lasting, deeply fulfilling, and humbling

How about creating beautiful unique looking gifts, wrapped in recycled paper or newspaper, with glamorous and/or functional ribbon / rope / dried flowers etc to decorate them.

Result = all the fun of unwrapping, with less waste

Could you get by with less dead animals on your table?

Perhaps one type of meat is enough.

Result = Cost saving, better digestion, less animal suffering

Much of what is special about Christmas is tied to traditions.

It’s important to respect and honour traditions that bring us together, and it’s also healthy to move on from bad habits which no longer serve us.

We don’t want to end up looking like the bulging hairy man in red, carrying around a heavy bag of “stuff”!

So Come All ye Faithful, lets enjoy the 12 Days of Christmas in moderation, and bring Joy to the World, with a Silent Night or two Away in a Manger, to keep calm and preserve peace on Earth.

The way of the Ninja


After growing up on video games like Tehchu and Shinobi, I recently discovered that I could actually practice Ninjutsu and become a Ninja master myself — well who could resist that opportunity.

Jokes aside, Ninjutsu is a serious discipline which teaches its students self-defence from both physical attacks and weapons, when there is one opponent or many, as well as stealth, camouflage and bush craft skills like shelter building and first aid.

The classes are held weekly and go through training cycles of punches, kicks, stealth and weapons — the week I joined the class was weapons, so after a lengthy — but necessary — warm-up we each collected a rubber knife and set about learning how to defend ourselves against an attacker with a knife.

The small group was fun to train with and I am glad the knives were rubber as this reporter is feeling particularly sliced and diced after going through the process of learning five knife attack techniques and the ways in which these are blocked. Now, hold off on your letters to the editor accusing us of encouraging people to start knife fights, the emphasis in the class is very much on the way to defend yourself and to use your opponents weight and momentum against them, to “stop the force” or “follow the force” as our instructor said.

After learning the techniques and sparring in pairs, we got the opportunity to put our skills into practice in a free-for-all sparing session where you had to watch not only the person in front of you, but those around you as well.

I have tried both Karate and Jujitsu as a child and it has been a long time since I tried a martial-arts class but this was lots of fun.

The focus is on using your opponent’s strengths to your advantage, which teaches the philosophy of avoiding fights, not starting them, they even teach techniques to deal with bullying in everyday life.

If you are involved in any of the Warrandyte Primary School after hours programs you may (or may not) have seen these black clad silent warriors practicing in the Bampi. Either way, if you are looking for a martial-art with a difference, this may just be the one to try.

Now, with a subtle act of distraction [throws smoke bomb], I’m off to my next active assignment.

If you would like to train to be a Ninja too, visit: khninja.com.au

Planning a trip to the USA?


No matter the season, an American sojourn is always a fabulous idea.

From coast to coast, a litany of adventure awaits, here are a few handy hints on what to expect.

First up, get your flight documents in order America’s Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows effortless passage through US customs but to be eligible for the VWP, you’ll need to apply prior to jetting off.

Pack the plastic fantastic

Unless you’re off the grid in the backend of the Appalachians, and probably even then, chances are card will be the preferred payment method.

Prepaid multi-currency travel money cards are also an excellent option.

The early bird gets the flight

Security can be fairly, shall we say, “thorough” at American airports, so get there early to avoid stress.

As a general rule most hubs suggest at least three hours for international flights, and two for domestic.

Wear your best socks, as you’ll need to remove your shoes, it’s still a thing there.

Don’t mess with airport security

There’s little room for dodgy humour at the American security gate, this is not the place for amateur hour.

American Customs officials are particularly fastidious and sensitive to things said, so leave any travel-related quips at home.

When it comes to eating, loosen your belt

In the land of turducken, the Luther Burger, the Quadruple Bypass burger, the Fat Darrel, the Redonkadonk, and various other sandwiches that will do their darndest to tickle your tastebuds, it’s likely that your USA adventure will add a few centimetres to your waistline.

Serving sizes can surprise; so if you’re not super hungry, order an “appetizer”; the US version of an entrée.

Observe the local customs

Just sayin’, Americans — like any nationality — have their own etiquette and unwritten rules.

The short list: doggie bags are permissible; don’t jaywalk; and make sure to tip — seriously, don’t forget that last one. The “official” line says tipping is voluntary, but with low minimum and base wages — particularly in the service industry — millions of American workers rely on tips for their livelihood.

Not good at maths? a calculator is a diner’s best friend especially when it comes to calculating taxes at the end of the meal — with that in mind, stock up on a fat wad of one dollar bills.

Make sure you’re insured

If you do yourself damage en-route, you could be up for some hefty medical bills.

Best sort out your fully comprehensive travel insurance prior to flying.

Embrace and enjoy!

Our travel expert, Carolyn Allen is Manager of Warrandyte Travel and Cruise. Contact her on Carolyn@warrandytetravel.com.au

August has always been a season of its own

AUGUST — it’s when many of us head north and if we can’t do it, we dream about it.

We’ve had enough of the chills and ills of winter and the cold weather seems to have taken over our lives.

It’s in all our conversations and seems all consuming.

Recently, I heard someone mention that August was a season of its own and it struck a chord.

August is often a difficult month for me, and for many of those in my inner circle.

Sickness seems to just hang around and motivation flies out the window at its earliest convenience.

I was an immediate convert to this idea of a new season, so I did a little investigating.

Seems it’s not a new thing after all.

Allow me to explain.

Across Australia there are many Indigenous calendars.

Most have six or seven seasons, including that of the Kulin nation – the five Aboriginal language groups that make up what we know as Greater Melbourne and Central Victoria, including the Wurundjeri People.

According to Museums Victoria:

“The Kulin have a detailed local understanding of the seasons and the environment.

Each season is marked by the movement of the stars in the night sky and changes in the weather, coinciding with the life cycles of plants and animals.”

Their calendar has seven seasons and, not surprising, August is a season of its own:

It’s called Guling Orchid Season, and it is marked by orchids flowering, the silver wattle bursting into colour and male koalas bellowing at night.

Poorneet Tadpole Season, (September and October) is when temperatures rise, rain continues and the pied currawongs call loudly.

The days and nights are of equal length.

Buath Gurru Grass Flowering Season, (November) is warm and it often rains.  (A good thing to remember as we start planning picnics.)

Kangaroo-Apple Season, (December) is marked by its changeable, thundery weather, longer days and shorter nights.

Biderap Dry Season, (January and February) has high temperatures and low rainfall.

Iuk (Eel) Season, (March) is when the hot winds stop and the temperatures cool, while the manna gums flower and the days and nights are again equal in length.

Waring Wombat Season, (April-July) has cool, rainy days and misty mornings, with our highest rainfall and lowest temperatures.

Seven seasons seem to make a lot of sense.

In my research, I stumbled across some notes from a workshop that was held in Warrandyte, in March 1994.

The workshop was initiated by Alan Reid, now a renowned naturalist and environmental writer.

He was interested in including Aboriginal knowledge of seasonal change together with local knowledge from regions of Australia, and had suggested the workshop to pool observations within the region to look for seasonal patterns.

This seemed to be the catalyst for ongoing work by other naturalists into the seasonal calendars of the Melbourne area.

Monitoring was undertaken by many birdwatchers, plant surveyors and others with an interest in documenting changes in local flora and fauna, and, later that year, an interim local calendar of six seasons for the middle Yarra region was launched.

Some years later, more observations were added, and the calendar was adjusted.

In brief, it seems they have done away with autumn for this six-season calendar, but here are some key points from their findings:

  • high summer, from early December to early February, when beetles and xenica butterflies appear and young fish come up from the estuaries
  • late summer, from early February to early April, when the Yarra River becomes muddier, young platypuses emerge and eels move downstream
  • early winter, from early April to early June, when morning mists are in the valleys, migrating birds arrive from Tasmania and casuarinas flower
  • deep winter, from early June to late July, when the weather becomes colder, heavy rains fall, orchid rosettes appear and silver wattles flower
  • early spring, from late July to late September, when more wattles begin blooming, many species of birds begin nesting and joeys emerge from the pouch
  • true spring, from late September to early December, when seed-eating birds, such as finches and parrots, begin nesting, platypuses lay eggs, the Yarra rises and tadpoles are in the ponds

Personally, I don’t want to do without the word autumn as it conjures up so much colour and meaning, but having a local calendar that incorporates indigenous knowledge seems to fill in the gaps and paint a more complete picture of the world immediately around us.

So, with a greater understanding from those that lived dependent on the rhythm of the seasons combined with the findings from the workshop in Warrandyte, perhaps we can all approach this next season a little wiser, be a little more prepared, and just maybe next winter won’t seem so long if we acknowledge Guling.

References:

museumsvictoria.com.au/forest/climate/kulin.html

emelbourne.net.au/biogs/EM01345b.htm

Calendar source: Museum Victoria

Nature: our wonderful wildlife


WARRANDYTE ABOUNDS with opportunities to enjoy natural landscapes and wild animals, birds and reptiles up close.

Although sometimes people would prefer the reptiles to be a little more at arms length!

The natural beauty of our lovely town and its environment is probably the reason a lot of people move to and live here, happily, for a very long time.

It seems fairly obvious, but certainly researchers are in agreement that being connected to and exposed to natural environments has a very positive effect on our mental and physical health, for a whole variety of reasons.

In fact, the research has shown that even just looking at pictures of nature on a regular basis can reduce stress and improve quality of life.

Enter the Warrandyte Nature Facebook page

People love being in and capturing their special experiences of nature, and then sharing those experiences with others.

The Warrandyte Nature page is a vehicle for that purpose.

It’s also a great way to find out about parts of Warrandyte you might never have know existed! Get on it.

The Diary has limited space in the print edition, so for the web find attached a bumper gallery of the images we received for this month’s Nature column.

If you like the selection of photos and would like to see more, please visit the Warrandyte Nature Groups Facebook page by clicking here.

 

Marsupials

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Birds

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Landscapes & the micro world

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Voting for change with our hip pocket


PURCHASING TRENDS change what’s available on the shelves of supermarkets and we all cast our votes every time we buy something.

Where demand lies, supply follows

If our spending can shape the market, then we consumers can change the world.

Sometimes becoming more eco conscious is simple, as certain actions align with some of our other social values or preferences.

But sometimes they don’t, very few people will give up everything they love for the planet, but most of us do want to do something — that’s a great place to start.

Last month I explored the consumption of animal products, and the heavy environmental impacts of that industry.

I understand that reducing meat consumption seems unfathomable to some, so this month let’s look at some of the simpler things we can do to be kinder to the earth and benefit the future of humanity.

Where does your food come from?

Many of us already like to source fresh produce that is grown locally, as we prefer to support our local businesses, and the Australian economy.

Home vegie gardens, local farmers’ markets and food co-ops are thriving, with more and more people also wanting to avoid foods sprayed with herbicides and pesticides.

A side benefit of locally grown produce is that the reduction of transport required to deliver produce (known as “food miles”) also reduces carbon emissions.

Energy use relating to refrigeration of fresh fruit and veg is also reduced or eliminated by buying from local farmers — eating what is “in season” within our regional climate is a great way to keep it local.

Food wastage is a major source of methane emissions from landfill sites; composting food scraps can be a great way to nourish your vegie garden, while reducing these emissions.

Importantly, compost needs to be turned every week, to allow oxygen in; If not, methane-producing microbes become active in anaerobic (no oxygen) conditions, just as they do in landfill.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

After years of this mantra, most of us are pretty good at recycling our rubbish, the biggest issue is often working out what should and what shouldn’t go into the recycling bins (look this up on the local council website).

But we are still not so great at reducing consumption, or reusing things

Apart from excess packaging, we don’t often consider wasted resources when we purchase.

How often are we really going to use that thing? If not very often, we could consider hiring or borrowing one locally instead.

Perhaps we can buy a second-hand one, then pass it on afterwards.

Unlike some other parts of the world, Australia has not fully jumped on board with the sharing ideology of “collective consumption” yet, despite Time Magazine calling it one of the 10 ideas that will change the world.

This concept will reach the Uberesque critical mass at some point soon and we will see a great leap forward, with an online platform for local sharing economies within the next few years.

Let’s be honest, there are times when we — women at least — just feel like a bit of retail therapy, we can avoid the “fast-fashion” industry, and seek out a unique piece (or bag full) of pre-loved clothing at the Op Shop, or on the Warrandyte Secondhand Page.

When we recycle clothing, we reduce the energy and water consumption, pollution and land-clearing impact of the textiles industry.

Rather than encouraging wage exploitation of people in developing countries, which is usually the method of producing “cheap” clothes and appliances for mass consumption, we can instead give that money to charities through op-shopping.

You are not just a number

Western capitalist society is not designed to encourage this sort of consumer.

The ideal citizen seems to be one who spends all their hard-earned cash in our retail economy, constantly trying to keep up with the Joneses.

Life becomes an endless pursuit of happiness, chasing your tail hoping the next purchase will give you that satisfaction you are longing for.

But material things very rarely bring lasting fulfilment; how quickly the “new car” or “new phone” feeling wears off these days!

We have seen powerful ethical swings effect real market change, for example through the mass boycotting of cage eggs.

Conscientious consumers are now prepared to spend more for better treatment of animals; many people choose recycled or sustainably sourced paper to avoid the destruction of our native forests, or elect to support renewable energy ahead of coal power.

More and more of us are taking responsibility for the future — and the more numbers creating demand for a higher standard, the more the market will supply that standard.

Where to start?

We mere-mortals do struggle to adjust our behaviours, like remembering to take our green bags into the supermarket.

How about practicing other things that can prompt us to reduce waste, like getting a quality refillable pen, a nice drink bottle, and some rechargeable AA or AAA batteries?

Check out how good you feel and for how long after spending $100 at the op shop.

Grow some organic vegies at home, picking as you need avoids waste and gardening is good for our health by reducing stress levels.

Consider borrowing that random tool rather than buying one next time — I’ve just joined Peerby, and hope that you locals hit me up for a lend of any of the excessive “stuff” I have.

I find that purchasing consciously and congruently with the future I want, brings me a greater sense of fulfilment than anything I might purchase for a short-term gain.

For more information on how to lighten your carbon footprint, get on board the Victorian Governments new “Take 2” program.

Timely tax tips – getting ready for June 30

JUNE IS THE month when our minds turn to tax and the obligation to lodge our tax returns, which brings to mind Kerry Packer’s memorable claim, “I pay what is due and not a penny more.”

The purpose of this column is to assist you in adopting the same philosophy which you are perfectly entitled to do, providing you understand the important difference between tax evasion and tax avoidance.

Tax evasion is acting contrary to the law and incurs severe penalties, whereas tax avoidance involves working within the law to avoid paying more tax than you need to.

So what do you need to understand in order to implement Kerry Packer’s advice?

Claim all deductible expenses

Make sure you claim all expenditure incurred in the tax year that is tax deductible.

This will require you to keep either paper (invoices, receipts etc.) or electronic records that contain date of expenditure, description and amount.

Bank statements and credit card statements may suffice if they contain sufficient identifying information.

Alternatively download the ATO myDeductions App and use it to record your deduction records on to your mobile or tablet.

This App is suitable for use by individuals and sole traders.

Work related expenses totalling less than $300 do not require supporting documentation but you will be expected to have a reasonable basis for arriving at the amount you are claiming.

This may apply for example when claiming laundry of uniforms or protective work clothing.

Claiming all expenditures such as donations, work related expenses, business and investment related deductions etc. can be quite complicated, so give consideration to using the services of a registered tax agent whose fees and your travel time to visit are deductible.

Your tax agent will also be able to advise you on the appropriate records you will need to claim the deductible component of motor vehicle, phone, computer, home office expenses, laundering of uniforms and protective clothing, self-education expenses and depreciable assets etc.

Use timing to increase deductions

We have probably all heard the saying “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”. This equally applies to tax by bringing forward deductions into the current year and reducing your tax liability for the current year rather than waiting a further 12 months or more before you claim the tax saving from the deduction.

Deductible expenses such as insurance premiums should be timed to fall due in June rather than any other month of the year.

The same goes for depreciable assets that are deductible such as computers, rental property depreciable contents, and particularly tools, plant and equipment and motor vehicles used in a business.

If you donate to charities, school building funds etc. give a thought to making these donations in June rather than earlier in the year, reducing the time period between the cash outlay and the receipt of the tax deduction benefit.

Delaying receipt of
assessable income

Timing benefits can also be accessed by delaying the receipt of income until July rather than having it paid to you in June.

This strategy could be applied to timing the sale of investments that are likely to trigger a capital gain where there are no offsetting capital losses available.

Wage and salary earners entitled to a year-end bonus may be able negotiate payment in the first pay period in July rather than the last pay period in June.

Sole traders selling on credit could consider delaying invoicing for work done in June until early July.

Tax saving and impact on
cash flow

The income and deductions strategies explained above whilst reducing your taxable income will have a significant impact on your cash flow if you are entitled to
a refund and lodge your tax
return early.

Example: A sole trader on an otherwise taxable income of $60,000 brought forward the purchase of an item of plant costing $15,000 from July to June which is fully tax deductible being under the $20,000 cap for a small business.

She also delayed billing customers for work done in June until July 1 amounting to $6,000 thereby reducing her taxable income by $21,000 to $39,000.

With tax levied at $0.34 per dollar in the range from $37,000 – $87,000 her tax saving and increased cash flow would amount to $7,560 including a low income tax offset of $415.

Tax-free gift of up to $500

Your homework is to Google “Super Co-Contribution” to discover whether you are eligible to receive your free gift.

Disclaimer:

The content of this article is not intended to be used as professional advice and should not be used as such. If you have any questions you should consult a registered
tax agent.

Brian Spurrell – FCPA CTA, Director

Personalised Taxation & Accounting Services Pty Ltd. 0412 011 946

Gardening as an art form


A rusty bucket of daffodils, a vintage copper insert filled with water and waterlilies, or an old turquoise bowling ball nestled amongst the arctosis.

Garden art can cost you anything from the petrol it takes to drive around checking out garage sales to thousands of dollars spent at a gallery or nursery.

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” is a common quote but nothing is more true than what people see as “art” in the Warrandyte Garden.

Rust lends itself perfectly to the Australian bush backdrop that our properties are surrounded by.

Gums, bursarias, wattles, native grasses and shrubs all huddling around an old piece of metal, the natural tones of the setting sun on gum leaves compliment the brown, orange and black tones of the rusted metal making it a natural addition to the garden.

Looking at the garden art entries at the Melbourne Garden Show this year gives you some ideas of how we can adorn our gardens.

From mosaics, to carved limestone blocks, the barbed wire balls, to plastic chairs painted with zebra stripes burrowing into the ground.

Swimming pools, fish and frog ponds show reflections of the trees above and the autumn leaves floating on the surface add tranquillity to the scene (except for the pool boy/girl who swears at the inconvenience of having to scoop them out).

The rusted barb wire fences bordering properties give us a sense of days gone by but rolled into balls become “art” with a $100 plus price tag.

Rusty fire pits are all the rage and now is the perfect time to invest in one.

A fire and a glass of wine in the garden in the evening is one of life simple joys.

Cane baskets, gum boots, kettles, fire grates, buckets, baking tins, all become receptacles for bulbs and succulents.

Allowing art to spill down stairs, to be clustered under trees in a huddled group waiting out the winter when they will then burst forth into floral tributes.

Water features add the element of movement and noise to a garden or courtyard echoing the sounds of the Yarra river, a drawcard for birds, bees, insects and frogs to your garden.

Vintage gates that lead to nowhere nestled at the bottom of the garden and used as trellis in vegetables gardens, long sticks tied together to form tee pees for climbing beans and peas, tomato frames in jaunty colours in clusters, old screen doors with the wire stripped out leaning against walls — all are the perfect frameworks to hide an eyesore in the garden, to create the illusion of depth or make the garden feel bigger and more interesting, to divide the garden into rooms or to add height to the newly planted garden.

So remember to find original pieces, try not to buy the commonplace “art” but think outside the box and see what you come up with.

Garden benches, garden chairs, hammocks or a simple swing invite visitors to sit a while in the garden, to contemplate the plants, smells and sounds, to be a child again.

Now is the time to look out for environmental weeds.

These include agapanthus, asparagus fern, bluebell creeper, cape broom (Genista), Cootamundra wattle, cotoneaster, English ivy, holly, weeping willow, Japanese honeysuckle, pampas grass, and Spanish heath to name a few.

They spread too easily by seed and cause destruction in bushland and forested areas by smothering native plants.

Autumn and winter is a time to flick through gardening books and think of other alternatives for these plants in the garden.

Plant evergreen trees in May. the soil is warm and with the autumn rains we have been having the soil is moist and easy to turn over.

Evergreen trees can be planted now acacias species, eucalypts, jacaranda, malaleuca, peppercorns, camellias, michelias.

Remember a hole dug to plant a tree should be at least twice the size of the root ball.

Don’t be stingy when digging a hole, never try to jam the trees roots in a hole that is too small especially when you have purchased bare rooted trees.

Remove the plant from the pot and gently tease out the roots, place a hand full of slow release fertiliser in the hole a, place the tree in the hole and replace the soil making sure the soil is good quality.

With feet or hands firm down the soil around the plant and water deeply. Make sure you mulch to help conserve moisture in the soil.

To avoid “collar rot” make sure the mulch is not resting up against the trunk of the tree.

If you are planting kangaroo paws remember they like to be planted in a mound slightly above the ground to ensure perfect drainage.

If you want to be happy for a lifetime — be a gardener.

Ponderance


The first Saturday of the month is always marked on the calendar: **MARKET**

I don’t want to miss it, but often do and I’ve been known to harbour that disappointment for several hours upon realising the day or time has passed.

All other plans for the day are made around this all-important trip to the market.

I phoned a couple of friends, set up the rendezvous point and we met, with kids in tow, to wander along the river.

I’m sure most readers have enjoyed the market walk so I will not go into details of stalls and stallholders, sights and sounds.

You know it well. But this particular market trip stands out amongst others.

We set off with the idea that the children, four of them, aged between six and nine, would be happy souls, wandering under gum trees with money in pockets and the promise of frozen yoghurt to spur them on if they grew weary.

We had visions of children skipping through the dust under a canopy of gum trees, happy to be beyond walls.

It didn’t take long before this vision of ‘free range’ had turned into the dusty reality of hot and grumpy children, and the coffee van seemed to be an ever moving mirage, just out of reach.

Our dreams of being earth mothers wandering by the river were fading with each utterance from the mouths of our babes.

We didn’t walk the full stretch of the market last month, although we did make it to coffee, run into friends and join the queue at the frozen yoghurt van.

As we headed to our cars we laughed at ourselves, we are just not the earth mother type.

 Blessed are we who can laugh at ourselves for we shall never cease to be amused – Proverb 

In the weeks since this market trip I have been pondering the idea of “the absence of annoyance”, a phrase often linked to the Danish concept of ‘Hygge’, pronounced ‘hue-gah’, that is described as the philosophy of enjoying life’s simple pleasures.

The “absence of annoyance” is a place in which we can reside between ease and effort. Where gritted teeth are replaced by a calm breath — an eternal yoga session.

Grace seems to be the key to this place of residence, grace in movement, in thought and in response.

Effort is required, but, as in all things worthwhile, the more I practice this mindset, the easier it is becoming.

I observed our household one afternoon, I sat back deliberately and listened to everyone interacting; I heard in them what I hear so often in myself — annoyance.

I listed the things that annoy each of us all regularly: the dog that is underfoot as we work in the kitchen, is also the dog that greets us when we walk in the door and sleeps at the feet of the one that is burning the midnight oil; the child that causes me to grit my teeth is also the one that hangs on for a longer cuddle at the end of the day; the dishes left on the dining table are evidence that someone has stopped awhile and been at home rather than rushing out the door.

We don’t want to take away the things that are annoying us, for life would be lonely, that I am certain of, instead I choose the absence of annoyance.

Next, I decided to tackle rush.

The idea is not new, I know, but it’s new to me.

Deciding not to rush to the next task but instead to stay focussed on what is at hand, is, I can honestly report, keeping my heart rate down a little.

This insight came after spending time with my 23-year-old daughter recently.

We had gone supermarket shopping together and I heard myself say in so many different ways, hurry up; I used “come on”, “let’s go”, “you go get this, I will get that”, “let’s get this over and done with,” and other phrases that maybe you have used too.

We rushed, we sighed impatiently at the queue at the checkout, (how dare everyone else be shopping at the same time we are), we loaded and unloaded, then moved on to the next thing in our day.

Later, I reflected on the shopping trip and realised that it was more about spending a few hours with her than getting the job done.

We don’t shop together very often, actually we don’t do a lot together these days.

I was thinking over how that time could have been different had I switched off ‘rush’, all that was needed was a little tweak.

So next market day my friends and I will meet up again to grab a coffee and wander – with kids in tow – I’ll let you know how it goes.

Songlines in Warrandyte


When British settlement in Australia began in 1788 the colonists were essentially blind to Aboriginal technology. The manicured environment they saw had been carefully shaped by constant burning off and it looked for all the world like an English gentlman’s estate. However, it was nevertheless thought of as the “natural” state of affairs. These misapprehensions permeate our history books and continue to influence our thinking right up to the present day. So in this sense we have been brought up to be virtually blind to many aspects of our Aboriginal heritage.

It is exactly the same situation with Aboriginal trade and travel routes, which are known as Songlines. The reason they are called Songlines is because the landmarks, ecological features and creation stories along each route were coded into a song. Aboriginal people had to learn hundreds of these songs that had verses patching into each other, thus enabling them to diverge at any given point onto a different trail and a different song.

These Songlines criss-crossed the whole of Australia with the important travel routes covering many hundreds of kilometres. These major Songlines were even coded celestially, so that the various landmarks were represented in the constellations. For instance, one such celestially coded Songline goes from Alice Springs to Byron Bay.

Now just pause and think about this for a minute. Why would people from Alice Springs want to travel to Byron Bay and vice versa? The answer is both simple and stunning.

People from the central desert wanted to go to the far east coast to witness the local people working in co- operation with dolphins to catch fish. Every dolphin was known by name and responded to their name in working as a team to drive shoals of fish to the shore. Aboriginal people would net the fish and then share the fish evenly with the dolphins. On the other side of the ledger people from the far east coast of Australia wanted to travel to the central desert to see the majestic Uluru for themselves.

When settlers first arrived in Melbourne in 1835 they simply got on their horses and in their carts and started spreading out into the hinterland. They of course followed the ridge lines, valley lines and easy contours that seemed to be remarkably free of trees and offered convenient travel routes. These Songlines then became established cart tracks and were progressively gravelled then bitumenised.

So while Melbourne itself was established on a surveyed one mile square grid of north-south and east-west roads, all the meandering roads out of Melbourne were originally Aboriginal Songlines. If you take an aerial view in your mind’s eye, you can see all the main roads radiating out of Melbourne: Geelong Road, Ballarat Road, Calder Highway, Sydney Road, Plenty Road, Heidelberg Road, Maroondah Highway,

Dandenong Road and Nepean Highway. They were all originally Songlines, but are not recognised as such, and our kids at school are not taught this part of our heritage.

It is in fact quite easy to identify Songlines and being on the Yarra, Warrandyte has an abundance of them. You can for instance be certain that any shallow rapids area on the Yarra was the point at which a Songline crossed the river. The street where the Police Station is situated is one such place where the Songline taking you to Research crossed the river to follow the Research-Warrandyte Road. Barely a couple of hundred metres further up where the bridge stands, is where the Songline to Kangaroo Ground starts. Take a trip along the Kangaroo Ground Road and see how it follows the ridge line and gives you 360 degree views. It is of course also a Songline.

Another good example is Tindals Road. Take your kids along it and enjoy the panoramic vistas to the east and west. Tell them, “Hey kids, this is an Aboriginal Songline, You know this because you can see for miles.” Originally the Tindals Road Songline branched off from Doncaster Road to follow Old Warrandyte Road. It then went past the Donvale Christian College, followed the ridge line and dropped down into Pound Bend. However, it is now bisected by Warrandyte Road where a cutting has been put in.

Much of Warrandyte Road itself was also a Songline. The route followed the ridge line as it does today past Warrandyte High School, but the original Songline then followed Melbourne Hill Road. With a little bit of thought it is relatively easy to identify the original route of these Songlines by seeing where cuttings and diversions have been put in.

So if you have any information that could help to map these local Songlines and restore knowledge of this part of our heritage, please let me know.

Fond farewell to our Kibbled King

I have just been helping Herself make this year’s Christmas cake. The Christmas puddings were made a few weeks ago and at the moment, they are sitting in the fridge waiting for the flavours to meld and develop. Actually, there are two different puddings in the fridge as we now have family members who are gluten intolerant and others who are vegan and run screaming from the room if confronted by any ingredient that, at some time in its life, has had a face. The result is that for any extended family meal, before a dish can be made, all ingredients must be scrupulously scrutinised for evidence of gluten and uttering eyelashes.

When Christmas Day dawns and we are all around the table and the puddings come steaming to the table, Herself, saint that she is, will assuage the questioning glances by indicating which of all the offerings on the table pass muster. I don’t remember Mum having to worry about such things. The food was served and if you didn’t like it, wouldn’t eat it or were philosophically opposed to currants or orange peel, then you would be assured that there was always the dog waiting for your leftovers. My fading memory suggests that the dog usually went hungry.

But back to the cake – let them eat it! I am eternally amazed at how recipes come into being. Surely there wasn’t some tireless cook who was chained to a kitchen bench, endlessly experimenting with the proportions and types of ingredients. And I cite the Christmas cake as an example.

My bench chaining was brief but in that time, I was instructed to weigh several tonnes of currants, sultanas, cranberries, raisins and candied peel. To these was added a sack of our, several kilos of brown sugar, slabs of butter, a lorry load of slivered almonds, a farm load of eggs, most of the remaining spices from Batavia, salt and all the orange juice and zest from Sunraysia. All this was poured into a cement mixer and moistened with the odd keg of Muscat, Port and Brandy. All this is now regularly churned and left to ‘prove’, ‘cure’ or do whatever a mixture like this does over night.

How on earth was this recipe concocted? Perhaps a castle was besieged and there was nothing better to do to while away the months than experiment with whatever was left in the cellar pantry. How many failed, trial Christmas cakes were fed to the chained prisoners and how much reheated and tipped over the ramparts onto the vegans below?

Eventually, perhaps over generations of trial and error, we arrived at a recipe that works. Over that time the excesses have been eliminated and what remains is a balanced, fail proof recipe. It seems that we only advance through trial and error.

I suppose the same is still going on. In the never ending quest for novelty or to gain a hat for a restaurant, chefs seem determined ‘to go where no man has gone before’. Occasionally, I glance through one of Herself’s food mags and I’m gobsmacked at some of the offerings. Why, in the name of baked beans on toast do they have to try and convince us that turnip and lime macarons are worth trying? Yes, I know I’m a boring old fart but I’d like to think that I’m a BOF with some taste and discretion.

I know that on Christmas Day, I will devour the turkey and ham, gobble up the roasted potatoes and whatever vegetables are deemed suitable. I will have a few servings of pudding, complete with delicious animal by products. Both before and after CD I will enjoy the slabs of Christmas cake, subtly complemented by shortbread and chocolate-dipped, candied orange peel. All without a politically correct thought! You see, it’s time to pass over that task to others as this is my last ‘Kibbled’ column.

It’s sobering to reflect on the fact that some of you out there were not born when I started writing ‘Kibbled”, 34 years ago. Of course, I was just a youngster at the time. We had built a house in North Warrandyte, our two kids were going to WPS, I was involved in the Warrandyte Drama Group, Herself was at the Eltham Living and Learning Centre and we were ‘happy locals’.

In my years with The Diary, under the professional editorship of Cliff Green and more recently, Scott Podmore, I have been privileged to be able to share my life with you; my joys, my gripes and reflections on life. Throughout those 34 years, Jock’s fabulous cartoons have improved whatever I have written.

I have kept copies of all my articles and one day, I will sit or lie down and read the lot to discover what sort of man I have been. Whatever I discover, I know that without Herself I would have been a lesser one.

That said, all I have to do now, is press my … last … full…stop.

ROGER KIBELL

Ah Roger, it’s a sad, sad day saying farewell to one of our greats! On behalf of the Diary I offer a heartfelt thank you for all your wonderful columns, engaging and entertaining turns of phrase. We also thank the lovely Herself for being the subject of so many great yarns. You will always be a part of the Diary. – Scott P, editor.

Wine and dine at Dolans

Say hello to our epicurean super hub

Two years after being awarded Best New Winery in Australia by James Halliday, Rob Dolan has opened his schmick new cellar door in Warrandyte South. Set on 100 acres of rolling farm- land and vineyard, and just 30 minutes from Melbourne CBD, Rob has “location, location” sorted.

The space is open seven days per week (10am-5pm) offering complementary wine tastings of 15 wines (we recommend the Black Label Four + One – a Mediterranean style blend of Grenache, Sangiovese, Barbera, Tempranillo and Shiraz sold exclusively at the cellar door).

The stunning tout was designed by Dale White and Bek Gallagher (The Public Brewery, The Cellar Door by The Public Brewery, Bekendales and The Farm Yarra Valley) and makes a statement with restored original features, reclaimed timbers and a huge wrap around recycled timber deck. Wine is available to purchase and take home or enjoy on site with picnic blankets and games such as Finska or Bocce provided free for guests.

The winery is also home to the Stone and Crow Cheese Company’s “Crow’s Nest”. Founder and cheesemaker Jack Holman may be better known for his role as head cheesemaker at Yarra Valley Dairy for the past 12 years, making him an integral part of our region’s food and wine heritage (some like to refer to him as “Cheesus”).

Ever the innovator, Jack sees Stone and Crow as a vehicle to move the Australian cheese scene forward by creating his own styles without boundaries, and this is his opportunity to be truly experimen- tal. The core range of cheeses are readily available in the cellar door to take home or enjoy as part of a platter on site. Our personal favourite would have to be the Galactic – a 1-2 week old cow’s milk cheese – think soft and delicate with bread flavours and some acidity – perfect with the True Colours Field Blend.

To complete the offering Rob has commissioned the chefs at neighbouring dining and events venue The Farm Yarra Valley to source and make in-house a selection of crackers specifically to suit Jack’s cheeses. Chef Ben Van Tiggelen has worked for the likes of Jacques Reymond, Dan Wilson and Neil Perry so knows a thing or two about sourcing the best produce.

It also doesn’t hurt to have kitchen gardens on-site that are lovingly tended to by Fabian Capomolla (aka the Hungry Gardener). Fabian also co-founded The Little Veggie Patch, the company behind the famous Pop up Patch at Melbourne’s Federation Square.

And if for some reason you still find yourself wanting more why not try something from Rob’s accompaniments range – perhaps the Cucumber Pickle or the Pinot Noir Jelly? All of his accompaniments are made exclusively for the cellar door by Caroline Grey from A Bit of Jam and Pickle.

Rob Dolan Wines Cellar Door, 21-23 Delaneys Rd, Warrandyte South. Open 7 days 10am-5pm.