Columns

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.

Council elections arrive

Elections are underway. Look closely at the candidates…and their promises, writes Val Polley

We’re having elections again – this time it’s local government elections this month.

We don’t have to turn out and queue this time, however. It’s a postal ballot in both Nillumbik
 and Manningham but if we intend to treat it seriously there’s some work to do. Local government is the closest level of government to where we actually live. It deserves some of our time to give some attention to the candidates and their promises.

North Warrandyte sits in the Sugarloaf Ward of Nillumbik Shire Council. This is a single councillor ward and there are 14 nominations to ll the seat left vacant by Ken King who has retired. Warrandyte is included in the Mullum Mullum Ward of Manningham City Council. It sees the three sitting councillors renominating as well as a further 10 nominations for the three seats. With the move to postal ballots the only guaranteed information voters can access comes via the candidates’ own 200 or so word CV.

These can be found on the Victorian Electoral Commission website. They should also be included in the posted out papers.

If you care about the issues in Warrandyte then it pays to read through the candidates’ CVs and what they have to say on our two page spread showcasing them on pages 14-15 of the Warrandyte Diary, October 2016 edition.

There are very few public meetings, door knocks and personal interaction. Very few of us will meet our candidates before we fill out our ballot papers. It comes down to their words to capture your interest and encourage you to vote for them.

When looking for your ideal candidates there are a few things to keep in mind. Have they submitted a CV?

If so, look at what they write. Are they truly involved in the community through sport, schools, organisations or other interests or just paying lip service to community involvement? This can be a major indicator of their real interest in being a councillor. If they haven’t provided a CV then are they really serious about their chances of election?

Are they standing on just one particular issue? The work of a councillor is all encompassing and councillors have to be involved across the range of subjects that will come before them.

Do you want them to be independent or can they represent a political party?

The Greens candidates have clearly stated their allegiance. Other candidates’ possible party allegiances appear more opaque.

Are they setting preferences in their CV to benefit one particular group looking for specific outcomes? Recent Electoral Act changes were designed to eliminate the practice of dummy candidates, it remains to be seen if this will be the case.

Would you like them to live locally?

Both wards are very large and a truly local representative can often be a major asset. Incumbents enjoy a privileged position. Their names are usually more recognisable particularly if they have played a major role in the local community.

That said, do you want to re-elect a sitting councillor? Is their record good enough, how long have they served and have you been pleased with their efforts on your behalf?

Being a councillor is an arduous four year long round of meetings, decisions, negotiations and con- stituent involvement across the whole of the City or Shire. It is not for the faint hearted and indeed it is very encouraging for local democracy that so many of our fellow residents are prepared to put up their hand for the privilege of serving their community.

If we want the best possible out- come for these elections and the next four years then we must take the time and make a balanced and considered decision on how to mark that important ballot paper. If not we will have no-one to blame but ourselves if we don’t like the result.

Gold adventures

What to do when the school holidays arrive and winter has the whole family shivering in its collective boots?

You head north, hit the east coast and soak up the sun in between theme parks, that’s what. But it’s not for the faint-hearted.

A Gold Coast adventure with theme parks on the agenda in a Griswald-style escape may be an oldie, but it’s certainly a goodie and the perfect way to elude the Victorian winter chill for a week or so. With five kids – aged 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14 – stacked into a people mover, the good news is cabin fever only lasts in small doses, especially if you prepare, book and deliver properly, so the “are we there yets” are few and far between. This is how we did it…

First on the list is book flights and accommodation early. For a party of seven you’re crazy if you don’t, and one of the first things you should do is be registered for updates from low cost carriers Tiger, Jetstar and Virgin. Tiger was the winner for us as we got in early and managed to snag seven return airfares for under $1200. Next on the list was self-contained accommodation and the ultimate scenario was to have a venue right smack bang near all the action – in Helensvale – so a three bedroom cabin was locked and loaded at Gold Coast Holiday Park, but more about that later. For more visit Tiger Airways, Jetstar and Virgin websites to sign up to newsletters.

Book a people mover at DriveNow for the best deal. Yep, you can’t go past this website which is akin to Wotif in the world of car hire, and we bagged a big Hyundai Imax, an eight-seater, plenty of room for suitcases, aircon and auto for less than a grand for 10 days! The process is simple in that you search for people movers in desired location and eight or 10 options pop up with the best deals. We had wheels and there was a party going on in the cabin above them! A great website that’s easy to navigate, book quickly and be all sorted for transport while away. More drivenow.com.au

Gold Coast Holiday Park, a big kick-arse cabin with the works. You can either shell out and get a fancy hotel on the Goldie or you can lower your sights and get a home away from home in a more down to earth location like a modern caravan park – which are like mini resorts these days. GCHP is not just any holiday park, but a Big 4 holiday park and anyone who has stayed at one knows exactly what I mean: they’re the upper echelon for raising the bar in facilities and standards. Aside from a superb spacious cabin, with kitchenette, bunk beds, great lounge area and widescreen TV was the fact Gold Coast Holiday Park is an entertainment hub in its own right with an amazing pool and waterslide adjoining Nibbles Cafe, an upmarket camp kitchen, bike track, tennis court, outdoor cinema and loads more. But the piece de resistance? It’s literally five minutes by car to Movieworld or 10-15 minutes to Dreamworld! All the kids admitted a holiday spent entirely at this great park would be worth the trip to the Gold Coast alone. More goldcoast holidaypark.com.au

Brace yourself for the rides of your life. The instructions were clear from the kids: leave your fear of heights back in Victoria and strap yourself in. The best thing about staying at Gold Coast Holiday Park is they can offer the best multiple park ticket deals going – a must if you want to save some serious dollars. So with our stomachs flipped upside down, sideways and round and round multiple times over the next few days what were the highlights? The kids voted Dreamworld and Movieworld and their accompanying water parks as the best for all the action. Here are some rides that rattled our bones and insides: The Giant Drop, Wipeout, Shockwave, Superman ride, Scooby Doo Spooky rollercoaster, Arkham Asylum, the Batwing, and the Tower of Terror. Speaking of which, see inset for how we grown-ups were processing the Superman ride while our two blonde teenagers in front of us were already looking for something more dangerous! Of course, there’s plenty more features to explore and absorb, including a tiger cub being walked around the grounds at Dreamworld which is a cute surprise. More movieworld.com.au and dream world.com.au

The NightQuarter night markets in Helensvale are unmissable. When you’re not kicking back in the great facilities at Gold Coast Holiday Park or going nuts in the theme parks, this market experience is an absolute treat for both grown-ups and the kids. A hive of activity, there are more than 120 food trucks/stalls, micro-restaurants, bars, craftspeo- ple, musicians and other quirky points of interest in a real carnival atmosphere. Otherwise known as “shipping container city”, the concept is catching on all over Australia. The food is everything from tapas, oysters, BBQ ribs and Asian choices to cronuts, chocolate fountains, amazing icecreams and more. More nightquarter.com.au

Warrandyte in the 1950s

Growing up in Warrandyte in the 1950s was pretty special. We had the river and the bush and a strong feeling of belonging. Call it plenty of community spirit if you like.

We McAuleys were a mongrel breed, part Irish, part German and with a bit of English and Scottish thrown in. Back then Warrandyte was still a country town but quickly developing into a suburb. My family had lived here for generations, my grandmother Eva Belzer came from German stock and attended the local stone-built state primary school that was built by my great-great grandfather William Masterton back in the 1800s. She married Sam McAuley, whose father James was born in County Tyrone, Ireland.

My grandparents set up their orchard and stable on a tract of land next to the school, raised their own livestock, baked bread and grew vegetables for their dinner table.

There was no electricity for cooking, heating or light. It was a time when people made their own music at special events such as births, weddings and wakes. My grand- father played the concertina and people danced and sang in the old homestead in the light of flickering hurricane lamps and candles. They had six children Evelyn, Gertrude, Jack, Bill, Lillian and my father Ralph, the youngest.

The family suffered many setbacks over the years, losing their home in the devastating Black Friday firestorm of 1939. Three years later, during WWII, my uncle Bill was shot dead as he led his troops across a beach in what was then New Guinea. I was proudly named William in memory of my Uncle Bill when I was born six years after the end of the war.

My father came home from WWII after serving in the Middle East and New Guinea. He met and married my mother Patricia and built our family home from fieldstone gathered in nearby hills and transported back to his building site on a horse-drawn dray.

In due course, my sister Sue and I were born and we grew up running gloriously free in the small town, through which the Yarra River meandered.

The river was the focal point of our lives. We kids met by the river, swam together in the river and with a trembling heart, when I was still as innocent as an angel, I had my first kiss by the river.

Our village consisted of a series of shops and included the Mechanics Institute Hall, the Post Office and a pub.

Across from the pub was Jack Moore’s general store. The atmospheric old shop was full of sacks of grain, hardware items and tools, glass jars filled with nuts and lollies and rows of biscuit tins. Buying a brown paper bag full of broken biscuits was a heavenly treat for us kids. Scotch fingers, Iced Vovos and Milk Arrowroots were my favourites.

The store was crammed with little treasures hiding in the shadows on the dusty wooden floor, a great place for a child to explore. Unfortunately, the old shop, a remnant from another age, burned to the ground when I was still a child; it was never rebuilt and the site has been used as a car park for the Grand Hotel ever since.

Jack Moore’s sister Aggy ran the milk bar next to the Mechanics Institute Hall, right where the community centre is today. In the late 1950s, matinees were shown at the hall every Saturday and the town’s young film-goers would gather in her shop at interval to drink the ‘spiders’ she made and to buy more Jaffas to roll down the aisles during the Hopalong Cassidy or Tom Mix feature.

Lime ‘Spiders’ were Aggy’s specialty and consisted of a scoop of ice cream stirred into a big sundae glass of lime cordial and lemonade. The delicious creamy concoction fizzed and oozed over the rim of the glass, the bubbles tickling your nose as you tried to drink it before there was too much spillage.

In June, winter rain turned the river into a muddy torrent that coursed through the valley. Rising above the yellow-brown river, the rain-misted hills were mostly capped with grey leaden skies. Winter months were cold, wet and depressing, the dullness broken only by local football matches, which were the absolute highlight.

In summer, the ever-dwindling river ran through tinder dry gum trees that shimmered in the oppressive heat. Wattle trees were laden with bright yellow blossom and the sharp scent of eucalyptus hung in the hot January air. The crack of ball on bat could be heard as the local cricket team crafted their way through another innings.

Sometimes during stinking heatwaves my father would wake me at first light and we’d drive down to the river in his 1951 Bedford truck for a swim before school. Steam rose from the cold muddy river as we waded in together to cool off. I’d cling to my father’s broad shoulders as we swam clear across the current to the tall rocky cliffs on the other side. I felt safe in the water with him.

The other local lads and I climbed cliffs and trees and dived into shallow water from heights of up to 20 metres. We were fearless and I suspect slightly mad, as we risked life and limb every day with our daredevil stunts. We congregated at a swimming hole called ‘The Log’, where a rope hung from a tall gum tree on the other side of the river. Time after time we’d swing out over the water and let go of the rope, flying like acrobats through the air as we somersaulted down into the owing brown water.

Our bread was baked in a wood fired oven in the village and delivered daily to each house, sometimes still warm. And milk was delivered each day by a local character, “Tiger” Flowers. He always wore a sleeveless Richmond Football Club guernsey.

He was our unofficial town crier: all our breaking news came from Tiger as he called out during his milk deliveries, “Mrs Chapman has had a baby boy”, or “The bush fire is coming from the north”. Though I knew Tiger all of his life, I never knew his Christian, or given, name; I always called him Tiger.

The iceman came once a week, a huge block of ice carried on a shoulder protected by a potato sack. Once in our kitchen he’d hoist up the heavy block and unceremoniously plonk it in our icebox. It was the time before electric refrigerators were common in 1950s homes.

The “dunny man” came once a week, too, to collect the pan from our outdoor toilet, with a grunt he’d lift the frighteningly full pan up and on to his head and carry it down to the dunny truck. It was an endless joke with us kids: what would happen if the bottom of the pan gave way as he balanced it on his head? Shit and disaster! That’s what!

Our old-fashioned telephone was attached to the wall. To make a call you held the earpiece at the end of a cord to your ear while winding a handle to ring the local exchange. Mrs Fitch, the operator, worked her magic from the post office, now the Historical Society Museum. Speaking into the mouthpiece on the wall, you’d tell Mrs Fitch the number you required and she’d connect you via telephone lines tangled like spaghetti on her switchboard.

Our mail was delivered by horse- back each day by old Bill McCulloch. Wearing a pith helmet, he’d ride his horse Silver right past our letterbox, up the drive and deliver the mail by hand saying, “Good morning, Mrs McAuley.” When we heard the clip clop of Silver’s hooves we’d scurry outside to pat the friendly old horse.

NEXT MONTH: The coming of television and the Melbourne Olympics.

Pricking up the pieces

ASK Karina Templeton about the way people approach health and wellness these days and she believes we’re seeing some balance in integrating a more clinical Western approach with traditional Eastern methods that are steeped in history.

With a double degree in Health Science and Chinese Medicine, she’s a practitioner who certainly appreciates and respects conventional practices but who has a real passion for Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine principles and associated treatments.

“I’ve studied in a very clinical based environment and I guess I’m now going back to more traditional ways,” she told the Diary. “There’s definitely a way to integrate both in using Western and Chinese Medicine.

“The principles of Chinese Medicine, like eating through the seasons and that kind of thing, have always been there, but we just somehow lost it when there was such a shift to Western medicine. Then, of course, processed foods and busy lifestyles causing stress came into it and I think now people are realising those things are not good for them.”

She believes we’re becoming a lot more conscientious and informed, there’s greater awareness – especially with the internet coming into play on the research front: “I went to a conference recently and they pointed out the importance of knowing what we’re prescribing because it’s so easy for people to simply jump on Google and tell you what’s happening. We certainly have to be on top of it.”

Karina moved to Warrandyte this time last year and is setting about establishing her Chinese Medicine practice from home in Lorraine Avenue to be able to enjoy our village lifestyle and environment while raising a family with husband. Karina uses Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine as part of her “compassionate, supportive treatments” and incorporates modalities such as Cupping, Electro Stimulation, Moxibustion and Chinese Diet and Exercise Therapy.

She studied myotherapy at RMIT in her early 20s, but says she knew it just wasn’t quite for her as the process was taxing on her body as well as the patients’, and she found it was very much about the same musculoskeletal conditions, “of which it works really well for, but it just wasn’t all I wanted to do”.

“So while doing that I had to do some clinical placements where I worked with a whole variety of practitioners and I did it with a Chinese Medical practitioner and was blown away,” Karina says. “It was so gentle, I watched what he did, and took detailed notes of what I was doing. Putting these needles in, which are just so quick and fine, and being able to leave the room and allow a person to rest themselves while not being physically draining on me was something that appealed.

“And the scope of people and conditions he was seeing in that day was just incredible so I was really drawn to the variety, and I could see the changes that were happening.” So what’s the lowdown on Acupuncture and how it works? “There are acupuncture points all along the meridians, there are 12 main ones that run through the body and par- ticular organs, such as the spleen meridian, the kidney meridian, the bladder meridian and so on,” Karina explains. “So they’re not working exactly on those organs, as we say in Western medicine, because it’s a totally different theory, but they’re passing through and that’s why they’re named after them. There are thousands of points we can choose from. Essentially, by using those points we’re inserting messages into the body and how we want it to function. We can use one point on its own or we can couple them by using certain points together where they can have a different effect altogether.”

As for the conditions she treats, they’re wide and varied. “Common ones I’ve seen here in Warrandyte include musculoskeletal, from the majority of men that are coming, but all different types of things. I’m doing a lot of birth work, digestion and insomnia issues, dizziness and, of course, stress is a big thing,” Karina says.

Among a long list, other treatable conditions include: low energy, respiratory infections, hay fever, migraines, stress, digestive issues, constipation, loose stools, pain, IBS, insomnia, vertigo, musculoskeletal conditions, women’s health – menstrual health, natural fertility, assisted repro- ductive support, pregnancy and positive birthing support, pregnancy associated conditions including morning sickness, heartburn, fatigue, pains and turning breech babies.

“I’ve seen some people trying Western medicine to get well with their condition but for whatever reason it’s just not getting them over the line, and they come with an open mind and try the Chinese Medicine approach, it’s worked, so of course they tell their friends about it,” Karina says. “I’m certainly seeing a shift in that regard. I think it definitely picks up where Western medicine can’t come in, for example, I focus a bit on pregnancy and there’s so much medication you can’t take – Acupuncture is something you can have safely throughout your entire pregnancy.

“I’ll treat anyone and everyone, but I’ve done a lot of women’s health,” Karina admits. “Women’s health is the main thing and that’s mainly because I got into a women’s health clinic and was mentored really well through that. Otherwise here I’m seeing people with all sorts of conditions and I’m enjoying the variety.

Karina is registered with AHPRA & AACMA. She is covered by all major health funds and her patients are eligible for private insurance rebates and consultations. Consultations are $70 (after an initial $90 consultation) and are available by appointment on 0415 443 148, ktch- inesemedicine@gmail.com or visitktchinesemedicine.

Light therapy tackles Lyme

Less than six months ago, the Diary published an article on a cluster of Lyme disease patients in Warrandyte. Sufferers were at wits end, frustrated at the lack of support and indifference shown by the government, which still refuses to acknowledge the debilitating dis- ease even exists in Australia.

Andrew Barrett, Warrandyte’s colour and light healing expert, has been treating a Melbourne woman who is also afflicted with the disease. Using a machine called the PhotonWave, the style of therapy has had positive effects on patients suffering from Lyme disease as well as other ailments.

Colour light therapy uses coloured light on the body to create balance and flow, which helps the body heal itself. I was lucky enough to experience a session with Andrew as we spoke about the ancient style of healing. He explained how he had just returned from the International Light Association conference in Vienna where he had learned about using light therapy for heavy metal toxicity and immune mobilisation.

Andrew specialises in Syntronics, the process of shining selected light frequencies through the eyes, impacting key systems of the body. The light therapy session was incredibly relaxing and Andrew explained the colours and lights can be used to treat a whole range of ailments, not just physical pain, but also emotional pain and mental struggles from which people are looking for relief. The coloured light can also help with getting better rest or alternatively offer relief for those with low energy levels.

Set at the back of The Purple Dragon y in Warrandyte, the location was perfect with the scents of soaps and body oils yet another treat for the senses.

Andrew brought out two interesting looking instruments, the rst being the previously mentioned PhotonWave Rainbow Light Simulator, a new invention that has shown proven success in cases of chronic pain, ADHD, depression, heavy metal toxicity, dyslexia, skin conditions, eye diseases and allergies. This is the tool Andrew uses in his treatment of Lyme disease.

A difficult disease to treat with ongoing and chronic symptoms, the sufferer had tried many treatments to no avail until light therapy was suggested. Using the Klinghardt Protocol, a method of eliminating toxicity, Lyme disease sufferers are advised to attend 12 sessions over time to see results.

The second tool looked like a torch, with varying coloured disks that could be attached, before holding the different coloured lights over different zones of the body. I felt very relaxed after the session, a heavy but contented feeling, which I described to him as like floating on a dense flowerbed. It was hard to imagine anyone having trouble sleeping after a session like that.

As Andrew explained, the light therapy, while gentle and non-invasive, is designed to balance the physical, emotional and mental aspects of your wellbeing. Just some of the other issues Andrew can treat include migraines, depression, MS, chronic fatigue and skin dis- orders, while the therapy supports the functioning of bodily processes of the immune system, the lymphatic system and the endocrine system.

Many of his clients have tried everything else and have found the colour light therapy to be the only thing to have worked in their recovery and healing.

Andrew is offering a special of $75 for the first consultation and $60 thereafter and urges those living with Lyme disease to get in touch.

Family…and my FJ

WARRANDYTE’s David Cameron was born in Zurich in 1951. Five years later a brand new FJ Holden drove off the GMH assembly line in Australia, and David and the classic motor vehicle were destined to come together for a lifelong partnership.

The FJ eventually became David’s mum and dad’s family car and when he turned 18 his father presented him with the keys. What makes it really special is it was David’s first and last car.

Now, almost half a century later, he’s still driving the classic around the hills of Warrandyte.

“It’s been a member of the family for well over 50 years,” says David. “People often advise me to upgrade to a more modern car, but I just say to them, you don’t trade in your grandmother just because she’s getting old. We have to treat the old girl with great respect.”

David moved to Warrandyte with his parents Barbara and Don in 1962. “We moved to Glynn’s Road just after the great fire,” says David. After Grade 6 at the local primary school, David went to Norwood High School. “I completed my six year sentence at Norwood. It was a terrible time for me because I was so painfully shy. Life during those years was a bit of a misery. Later I played keyboard in a band called Pieces of Eight and that helped me with my shyness and gave me a passport into parties and social events,” he explains.

David studied biological science at Latrobe University and it was during his second year when he met his wife Lee who was studying medicine at Melbourne Uni.

“Laurie Ball was the matchmaker,” remembers David. “He got us together at his house in Research Warrandyte Road.”

Lee remembers the meeting too. “There was a little voice inside my head saying, ‘This man is going to be my husband’,” says Lee with a smile. “There was also another voice saying, ‘Why me? This little Swiss apple is too young and green’. But it has all worked out and we still really love each other.”

David adds: “Yes, we have weathered the obstacles together. But our fairy godmothers have worked overtime.”

Lee pipes up saying: “We’ve been held together by Angel’s Glue and it’s held well because we are soon to celebrate our 45th anniversary.”

David and Lee raised a family of six children, Marcel, 41, John, 37, Virgil, 35, Maria, 33, Felix, 31, and Angelica, 28. The family has grown up with the old FJ, too.

“We’ve brought up our six kids and they have all been driven to school in the car, learned to drive in the car and some of the kids were even conceived in the car,” says David with a twinkle in his eye. “Unbelievably, the 1956 car’s odometer still reads in miles not kilometers. And when we add up all the miles we’ve done driving the kids to the Rudolf Steiner School, it adds up to more than the distance to the moon.

“Sure, there have been accidents along the way, but the FJ is built like a tank from solid metal and not designed to crumple like modern cars. If somebody runs into me, they’ll come off second best. We always get the old girl patched up and back on the road.”

Lee has kept up the family tradition and driven a 1954 FJ special since ’85. “My cars first engine lasted from 1956 until 1970,” David says.
The first replacement-reconditioned engine lasted until ’88, the next replacement engine went until 2007 and David is confident the fourth engine will last until 2027. “Now I really look after the old girl and don’t push her too hard,” says David. As a botanist, David has ventured forth and driven his FJ on most of his field trips over the years, often taking Lee with him.

“The car speedo has probably been around the dial about five times,” he points out. “We’ve had some close calls in the car too. One night we were coming back from Goongerah with the whole family in the car when the fan belt gave out. I always carry rubber bands in my pocket so I put about 10 big fat rubber bands in place of the fan belt and off we went. Five miles down the road there was the smell of burning rubber and these strange pinging sounds coming from under the bonnet. We tried the rubber bands again but once again only got another five miles along the road before they gave out. Eventually a good samaritan stopped with a mobile phone and called the RACV.”

Another time David and Lee were travelling through the South Australian Outback with a group of botanists. Lee was pregnant at the time and the corrugations on the outback roads were creating a rough ride.

“We feared the constant bumps could have an adverse effect on the pregnancy and so we left the group and turned for home,” remembers David. “Nevertheless, it was a charmed and wonderful trip to make before we had a big family.

“Over the years people have got increasingly nostalgic towards these classic cars. People constantly wave and approach me at petrol stations to tell me their FJ Holden stories. I’ve had endless offers to buy the car and people ask me how much I want for her. I tell them that the car is priceless and that I never want to sell it. It’s a member of my family and I can’t part with it.”

Sometimes David and Lee have lived away from Warrandyte but like all good and committed Warrandytians they have gravitated back to where they belong.

David tells the Diary why he loves Warrandyte: “It’s a place that’s generous towards unusual and odd people. A place that’s tolerant of people who don’t quite fit into the suburban straightjacket.”

David, at 65, will keep working as a senior botanist with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and doesn’t intend retiring his trusty FJ Holden any time soon. It seems they will travel onwards together, for the whole journey.

Perhaps the Angels Glue that has bound David and Lee’s marriage will also keep the old classic car on the road forever, all the way to the moon and back.

Tom our TV man

TOMMY Kerkhof is Warrandyte’s best-known television personality. He is the man behind our TV screens. This year his television repair business celebrates a 50-year milestone. For almost half a century, Tom has toiled and tinkered with our Panasonics and adjusted our Samsungs and Sonys.

From the clunky boxes of the 1950s to the sleek flat screen models of today, he has kept us tuned in and switched on.

“But times have changed,” said Tom. “I’m basically in forced semi-retirement because hardly anybody gets their TVs repaired anymore, they just throw them away. But if any work turns up, I’ll do it.”

Tom and the rest of his family arrived in Australia from Holland when he was only nine. The year was 1952 and Tom could hardly speak a word of English. They first went to live in Hepburn Springs, but Tom’s dad heard about a house to rent at Warrandyte and he came all the way down here to inspect it.

“Dad was a nature lover,” said Tom. “And as soon as he saw the beautiful river across the road from the house, he knew it would be a great place for the four kids to grow up.”

The family, moved into 304 Yarra St and Tom remembers becoming excited the day they arrived.

“I saw the Warrandyte sign as we drove into town and thought to myself, this is the place where we are going to live.”

Tom attended Warrandyte Primary School the very next day.

“The first thing they asked me was, can you play football? Although I could only under- stand a few English words, I could understand the question,” remembers Tom. “I replied, yes, and they handed me a red oval-shaped ball and it looked nothing like a soccer ball.”

Although Tom knew nothing about footy at that stage, he was convinced by fellow student Ray Girling to barrack for Essendon and Tom’s been a red and black faithful ever since.

Tom’s lack of English was to get him into trouble early at his new school.

“My classmate Johnny Smith set me up a beauty,” he says, laughing. “He told me to go over and tell the teacher to go and get, well, a very rude word. She blew up and seemed surprised at my colourful language but she soon realised that I had been set up by Smithy and I was let off.

“Our teacher Mrs Cowden cottoned on to the fact that I could hold a tune and later that year she cast me in a school play that was held at The Mechanics Institute. She introduced me to the crowd saying that although I had been in Australia only four months, they should listen to me as I sang to my fellow student Margo Forder. The crowd stood up and applauded at the end of the song and I had to sing an encore.”

Tom picked up English quickly and today speaks without any accent at all. He attended Ringwood High School and remembers travelling on the school bus with fellow Warrandytians such as Frank Schubert, Daryl Pike, Laurie Warr and Willie Merbis.

“The bus driver Dick Termorshuizen wouldn’t take any nonsense,” remembers Tom. “And if there was any ruckus he’d pull over and throw the offending kids off the bus and they’d have to walk home to Warrandyte.”

Tom was keen on high jumping and joined Ringwood High’s athletics team. The ability to jump would serve him well in later years when he played first ruck for the 1966 Warrandyte premiership team.

Tom also became keen on electrical things and interested in radio. In 1956 when TV came in, Tom was even more interested.

“I thought TV repairs could be a good job because it was mostly indoors and would keep me out of the heat and rain.”

After finishing Year 10, a teacher gave Tom some good advice saying: “If you are interested in radio and TV then there is no point in staying on at school.” Tom took his advice and started his apprenticeship at Stoney’s, an electrical retail store in Ringwood. His course lasted five years as an apprentice radio and television technician, which included studying one day a week at RMIT.

“At Stoney’s I started out fixing irons, jugs and toasters but finally progressed to radio and TV,” said Tom. “I also met my wife Penny at Stoney’s where she worked as a sales assistant. I was 20 and she was 16. We’ve been together ever since.

“Penny and I got off to a slow start because I used to squire her around in Stoney’s Vauxhall ute. She wasn’t too keen to be seen in the ute, but she brightened up considerably in 1961 when I pulled up in my newly bought FC Holden.”

Eventually Tom and Penny were married in the Ringwood Catholic Church in 1968. They honeymooned in Surfers, driving there in the FC Holden that Penny much admired.

“The first night of the honeymoon was spent in a motel in Springvale,” remembers Penny. “We couldn’t understand why it was so hot and we spent all night trying to get cool. We opened all the windows and doors of the motel unit and it wasn’t until the morning that we noticed an air conditioner in the room. If only we’d switched it on!”

Tom started playing football with the mighty Bloods when he was 17.

“I started in the reserves but rapidly improved and within two years I was playing in the seniors,” said Tom. “I trained hard because I had a passion for footy, I just wanted to get better and better and better.”

Tom remembers when they won the 1966 Grand Final. “It’s a great feeling when you’re doing what you love, playing well as a team and actually winning the flag.”

Tom’s hard training paid off when he was voted Warrandyte’s best and fairest player in 1971. He was invited to train with Fitzroy but declined saying, “I just started my own business and I love playing with the local boys.”

Tom and Penny started up Tom Kerkhof Television in 1966 when his job at Stoney’s began to interfere with playing football with Warrandyte. It’s interesting to note they have loyally advertised their business in every single edition of the Warrandyte Diary since 1970. Tom fully acknowledges his wife’s involvement in the family business saying: “Penny has done all the paperwork for the past 50 years. She has also worked for 40 years as a medical receptionist.”

The Kerkhofs had one daughter, Melissa, now 43, and they spend a lot of their time with their granddaughters, Ebony 7 and Chloe 2.

Penny looks back on her time living in Warrandyte: “I really love Warrandyte even though I didn’t live here as a child,” she says.

“We do a lot of socializing with our friends and neighbours and have a long and close involvement with the tennis club.”

For Tom it’s been a wonderful journey for a little Dutch boy who came to live here 63 years ago. One who quickly learnt to speak English and then assimilated into the melting pot of our culture, business and sport and found a place to call his home.

Tom has the last word: “I’ve never had a reason to shift and never thought of leaving. We’ll probably live here forever.”

Fire & rain

THE drama of fire and rain featured in Chris Scott’s young life. She was born in Warrandyte in 1934, the year of the great flood, when the Yarra River overflowed its banks and spread as a single lake from Richmond to Warrandyte.

The heavy rain throughout the state caused the river to rise above Yarra Street and the locals had to wade across the river at the football ground to get to the township.

“I was only a couple of months old at the time,” Chris said. “So I have no memory of the flood, but I remember well the Black Friday bushfires of 1939.

“My mum Phyllis, sister Robin and I were sitting in the river opposite the cliffs when the fire roared across the top of us as we huddled under wet blankets. I wasn’t scared and thought it was exciting. I was only five at the time.

“Our house in Castle Rd survived, but the ferns growing alongside the house were all scorched. Unfortunately the family car was burnt. The next week when we passed some burnt out stumps in Everard Drive, I told my little sister that there were witches living in them.”

Chris was born into one of Warrandyte’s oldest families and can trace her ancestry back to the gold rush days of 1853, when her great-great Uncle John Hutchinson arrived here. John held the position of pound keeper from 1855 until 1872. Her great-great grandfather William Hutchinson arrived in 1855 and eventually owned all the land from the top of Melbourne Hill down to the tunnel.

Her father Richard Spetts married Phyllis Hutchinson and they both worked in the local butcher shop. They set up their home and started to raise their family in Castle Road.

“It was great living near the river and us kids spent all summer swimming there, but we had to scurry home for tea when we heard our father’s whistle,” Chris said with a smile.

When Chris was eight years old, her parents split up and both she and her sister were sent to live in a boarding school in Killara.

“We both hated it, some of the sisters were very strict.”

Two years later their dad came and rescued the girls from Killara and took them to live with him and their grandmother in Croydon.

“They were good years and dad tutored me in mathematics and algebra. After his tutoring I received top marks,” she said with pride.

Eventually Chris and Robin returned to live in Warrandyte when their father took them back to the family home in Castle Road.

“I loved being back in Warrandyte and it felt like I had come home,” said Chris. “We were much more independent and free living here. I loved it so much that after I married, I imported my husband Jack to Warrandyte.

Chris remembers walking to Warrandyte Primary School in the mornings.

“I mostly enjoyed school but wasn’t too happy when one of the teachers picked me up by the fringe of my hair,” she said.

“At school during WWII we used to train in case of air raid attack. The boys dug trenches and we had to crouch in the trenches with our erasers clamped between our teeth. The teachers made us do that in case a bomb went off and we damaged our teeth.

“We were also trained not to look up in case the Japanese fighter pilots could look down and see the whites of our eyes,” she added with an incredulous grin. “During the war when the men were away fighting, my mum drove Walsh’s bakers van and Babe Stewart drove the Ringwood bus.”

Chris was 17 when she met her husband Jack (then 22) for the first time outside the Melbourne Town Hall. They were friendly at a party three months later and married within two and a half years at the historic Christ Church in South Yarra.

“It was a year after the Queen visited that same church,” said Chris. “You couldn’t get down Chapel Street the day the Queen was there.”

After that the couple bought a house in Houghton’s Road.

“We worked hard and had the house paid for in two years,” said Chris. “It was a good start.”

They started a family of four children. Michael now is 61, Susan 59, Linda 58 and Macgregor 54.

Next March, Chris and Jack will have been married for 62 years.

“When I first met Chris, I asked her where she lived,” chimed in Jack. “She replied Warrandyte and I said where the hell is that? But there has never been a dull moment and we complement each other.”

Chris agreed. “We are both Libras and balance each other out. It’s funny though, all our kids have married Libras too.”

“Jack spent 10 years as a councilor on Manningham City Council and served for a year as mayor in 1977. He is very civic-minded and wanted to represent our town with a voice in council to keep from excessive development of Warrandyte. Not to stop development, but to make sure it was appropriate.”

The couple has four grandchildren and seven great grandchildren and keep busy tending their garden in Knees Road. But life is not all roses and about five years ago the Scotts were given a new challenge.

“Jack was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and that has slowed him up a bit,” said Chris.

Recently she was asked to share her experience with Alzheimer’s by being a guest speaker with Alzheimer’s Australia.

“I’m not used to making speeches but I think I did OK,” she said.

Jack immediately smiles and offers his heartfelt support.

“You did it well Chris, you did it well!”

Crikey Crickets

MOTHER and son duo Nicole and Joel have seized a window of opportunity in the business world through their new entrepreneurial initiative, Crikey Crickets. The pair teamed up to breed and sell live crickets from their home in Warrandyte to local reptile owners.

school crickets - joel 3 copy

The idea stemmed from Nicole’s light-bulb moment when she was fed up with spending excessive amounts on crickets to feed Joel’s five hungry bearded dragon lizards: Jupiter, Rocky, Regis, Hamish and Charlie. It was costing the family about $36 every 10 days to keep the lizards healthy and satisfied.

With that, Nicole suggested to Joel they go into business to breed and sell crickets themselves. Although initially apprehensive towards his mum’s ambitious venture, Joel was quick to jump on board.

“My mum’s like my business partner. She helps a lot with the crickets and everything because, after all, it was her idea. She does a lot of the work because she was the one who learnt how to do it and then you know she’s kind of teaching me.”

Anderson’s Creek Primary School allowed Joel to survey the school in order to gauge the level of interest in their endeavour. He then proceeded to design and hand out fliers to local reptile owners, offering a cheaper alternative to the leading cricket vendor.

“I just went down and asked who has reptiles. There was a fair few and I gave a flier to whoever wanted them.”

Many instructional YouTube videos later, Nicole and Joel came to realise that the process of breeding the critters would not be easy.

“It takes around 8-12 weeks for them to fully grow and there’s a lot of death with the babies,” Joel explained.

“They’re all very dumb, they like to go into the water and drown them- selves or clog up together and eat each other, and then get squished by things. We have to make [their enclosure] pretty much baby proof.”

Eventually the pair came to perfect the science and business began to boom. Joel also handles the marketing side of things and designs the buckets for delivery.

“I have around eight or so customers at the moment all wanting crickets every now and again. And I just got my school to purchase crickets from me for the Animals Program. I’ve got a few kids from there getting crickets and then a few mothers from ACPS,” Joel said.

When asked how he goes about getting the product to his customers, Joel told the Diary he sometimes does the deliveries himself.

“People come here [for pickup] but with the people at school I bring the crickets to them on the bus. The bus driver sort of gives me a weird look but I just make sure to greet them and say goodbye and then they’re happy.”

Joel advises other like-minded, entrepreneurial young people to “just research what you want to do and pursue it”. For his next ambitious venture, Joel intends to establish his own part-time dog grooming business.

Joel told the Diary the teachers at Templestowe College are very supportive of his goals through the Animals Program.

“I want to be a part-time dog owner when I’m older. I’m already going to groom two dogs tomorrow at school,” Joel said.

For inquiries, contact Joel and Nicole via sales@crikeycrickets.com.au or check out their website at www.crikeycrickets.com.au

Do you know a child or teen in Warrandyte exploring their entrepreneurial side? Let us know at info@warrandytediary.com.au

Christmas gift ideas

ethical girlCHRISTMAS is fast approaching and with busy lives it can be challenging to complete all the shopping in time.

This year, a little pre planning will take away some of that anxiety so you can forget the frenzy of last minute purchases.

Here are 10 clutter-free gift ideas that you can make/create/ buy that are useful, practical, fun and often consumable.

  1. Homemade voucher.
 Time is precious so make a voucher for someone special that would be meaningful for them. New parents: babysitting. Elderly: help in the garden. Busy family: cook one dinner a month for a year.
What are your talents? Sewing, cleaning, wash car, computer help. A voucher of your time is valued by everyone.
  2. Movie vouchers. Why not give them with a packet of popcorn and Maltesers.
  3. Classes. Yoga, dancing, pilates, gym; pay for a term and wrap
it along with a couple of health bars.
  4. Mani/pedi. Take one nice empty glass jar, add nail polish, acetone, cotton balls, nail file and wrap with ribbon.
  5. Homemade food treats such as chutneys, pickles, sauces, jams, biscuit, curry paste, baked goods and so on.
  6. iTunes voucher. Always a favourite with the younger ones.
  7. The gift of green. Succulents, cactus, native plants, maybe a trailer load of mulch? Think big.
  8. Tickets for fun and being active, such as mini golf, ten pin bowling, the zoo, Healesville Sanctuary, Melbourne Aquarium, a water park. Tailor it to suit the individual or family.
  9. Massage. So who doesn’t like a massage? A little pampering goes a long way.
  10. Wine or Beer, an all-time favourite but present it a little differently. I made these last year for my colleagues. I called them Rein Beers.

Giving us the Trotts

WE’VE laughed at them. We’ve marvelled at their mistakes.

But finally, after eight years or so of bringing us doozies like the Nevillectomy, Trotts creator Alan Cornell is waving them off, both in search of new horizons.

Warrandyte’s fallible family first appeared on page-two of the paper in July 2007 after Diary founder Cliff Green approached Alan to write a regular column.

Page 2 was precious to Cliff. It had been the nook of late Herald journalist Lee Tindale, his Smoky Joe column a superb fit.

“It took Cliff a while to work out what to do with it and he left it to me to come up with something,” says Alan. “I didn’t really have an idea, I only knew I didn’t want to do ‘Alan Cornell’s opinions; there were plenty of other people giving their take on things.”

He eventually decided on something amusing: a Warrandyte-flavoured situation comedy.

“It’s always confounded me, there’s so much comedy on television and radio but newspapers are dry. There’s barely a smile to be found – with rare exceptions.”

Alan says inventing the little family gave him a number of different characters who “could do all sorts of things and react to different situations”. He admits the character of Gran was “an afterthought”.

“It quickly turned out Gran was a very valuable addition who gave the writing an edge. She might only be in a storyline for a couple of sentences but could instantly give it the focus.”

I ask him, tongue in cheek, how much of Living with the Trotts is a case of art imitating life? (I’m thinking of the time Cinnamon penned the “balletic tour de force” Duck River after borrowing Black Swan, Billy Elliot and Flashdance from VideoEzy, curious whether Alan has a script tucked away in a drawer.)

He laughs: “Yes, a storyline can be based on something personal. But that’s a trap because then people presume you’re as crappy a handy- man as Neville is – which happens to be true!”

“The surprising thing is, after the initial enthusiasm when you seem to have any number of things around you to draw from, I always imagined it would get easier and easier. But it doesn’t actually. It gets harder as time goes on.”

Which brings us to his decision to end the popular chronicles.

“Everything has it’s own life. I’ve probably been finding it harder to write the Trotts over the past 12 months. When I looked back and realised I had been doing it for eight years – about 90 episodes – I just felt the time was right for something new.”

‘Something new’ is something of a tonic for creative people.

Along with various literary projects, (he’s written novel The Gentle Art of Tossing and had short stories published) Alan’s quick wit and stellar performances with a guitar are well known to Warrandyte Theatre Company audiences.

“It was a very Sunday-school-concert concept when I started performing in the Follies 30 years ago. With some awful things, some quaint things, and every now and then a good thing which sparkled by comparison. But it had a real naïve charm about it that I always liked,” he recalls.

The amateur production was Alan’s introduction to performing on stage. Low-key, he characterises his Follies involvement over three decades more or less by saying he “got quite good at writing silly songs”.

However, this belies his visible growth as a performer – his improved skills led to paid gigs outside of Warrandyte – and as a writer/director who has created about 100 Follies sketches and directed three productions.

One skit, which Alan developed with the help of his Bushfire Press colleagues into the musical Open Season, has since been published and performed by high schools and adult amateur theatre groups.

Follies aside, Alan recently co-directed The 39 Steps and this year directed one-act play Arctic Fevers, which has likewise been touring successfully, picking up awards.

“I wouldn’t say I have remarkable insight into theatre,” he says, “but interpreting someone else’s work is quite interesting. And then bringing your own ideas to it – so you don’t just reproduce what the last person did – I do enjoy finding ways of making that work.”

Alan also worked hard at serious song writing for a time but “never quite cracked” the music industry.

“I won a few awards and some of my songs were signed to a couple of record labels. Judith Durham was going to take one and record it as the title song on her new album; the seekers asked me to write a couple of songs for their comeback album,” he reveals.

“So, for a while there I was around the fringe. Unfortunately, it all just… fell over. Still, it was very enjoyable while it lasted.”

When he’s not doing “fun stuff” (or getting behind a microphone as an emcee) Alan works as a copywriter and creative director who has run small ad agencies.

And though he no longer lives locally, the Trotts author remains attached to the township he credits with unearthing his writer-self.

“I actually started out in economics but switched to advertising just before moving to Warrandyte,” he says.

“When my family and I arrived here some 30 years ago, everything gelled. You could say Warrandyte has been the inspiration for my creative side, because it gave me a sense of belonging I hadn’t experienced before.”

He talks of living in Balwyn before the shift.

“Not long after my wife Jan and I had our first child, we went to Edinburgh for a time. It was terrific; we felt a real sense of community. Then we came back to Balwyn, to a life of peering over 5-foot fences pretending you couldn’t see your neighbours, because that would be intrusive.”

He laughs: “We used to get mail from people in Scotland, but some of it accidentally ended up at the house opposite. Our neighbours kept posting the letters back to Edinburgh! And we thought – this is not a community.”

When they eventually bought Stonygrad, (a North Warrandyte stone pile, hand built by sculptor Danila Vassilieff) the Cornells found themselves part of a genuine circle.

“We met all these wonderful people through schools, groups, and the theatre company of course.”

He mentions the enjoyment of seeing his characters come to life each month through one of these “wonderful people”, Diary cartoonist and Living with the Trotts illustrator, Jock Macneish.

“Usually, you have an idea and when you pass it on you hope to see it made bigger. And that’s exactly what happened under Jock’s expert care”, says Alan.

trotts bookI wonder if the Trotts will ever return. (Imagine the travel stories… Gran bellowing on about the virtue of seeking adventure before dementia!)

“Probably not, but they could. I’m not purposefully driving them off a cliff or anything like that, so you never know,” he says.

Meanwhile, Trotts fans will be happy to know the little family is being immortalised in a book, to be launched locally next month (see ad for details).

Before talking future plans, I ask Alan what he has learned from the Trotts’ antics over the years.

“That we’re one big happy family here in Warrandyte. And that writing a column in the Diary is like riding a bicycle – you better be wearing a bike helmet because every now and then you’re going to crash,” he replies, true to his comic nature.

As to what’s next…

“Now that I have a bit more time, I might look at further directing. I’ll also keep doing a column for the Diary, something along the lines of ‘children’s stories written for adults’,” he says. “I think parents like to read something bright to their children but at the same time enjoy the language.”

Wilful and wickedly funny, the Trotts have left our building.

We leave you with an earlier memory of the Diary’s most loveable weekend warrior cocking up a camping trip in The Man from Yarra River.

Neville, Narelle, Cinnamon, Jasper and Gran, you will be very much missed.

Steeped in history

STRAWBERRIES, cherries and an angel’s kiss in Spring. Aumann’s Family Orchard Shop is really made from all these things. The iconic shop at the old packing shed on the top of the hill in Harris Gully Road sells plenty of other yummy, fresh and delicious fruits too, including apples, pears, peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums, oranges and lemons.

Barry Aumann, 69, is part of a family that has been growing fruit here since the 19th century. Four generations of Aumanns have lived and worked on this land since the 1890s when Barry’s grandfather Wilhelm “Bill” and his brother Harry bought 60 acres on the beautiful hilly slopes.

“Some would say too bloody steep and not an ideal place for an or- chard,” quips Barry as he shares his family’s story with the Diary.

“My grandfather and his brother cleared the land and tried growing potatoes while they waited for the fruit trees to come into production. But the potatoes must have been hit- ting the rocks underground because they weren’t very evenly rounded,” he adds with a cheeky grin.

Wilhelm Aumann married Maria and they had four children, one of them being Herbert who was Barry’s father. Herbert married Marjorie and they had four kids too: Gwen, Bill, Richard and Barry. Herbert took over Harry’s share of the orchard and worked it with his sons until his death in 1986.

Barry’s mother Majorie died when Barry was only five and his two aunts Ada and Mary bought him up on the amily property. Barry’s robust and direct energy softens for a moment as he reflects on the loss of his mother at such a young age. “The older I got, the more I realized how much I missed her,” he says.

The three brothers, Bill, Richard and Barry, started working in the orchard when they were only five or six years of age.

“We had watering duties during the summer holidays,” remembers Barry. “There was a real art in that, making sure all the trees got a good drink.”

The boys all went to Box Hill Tech for three years then started working in the orchard full time when they were 14.

“Back then there was still no electricity along Tindals Road. It didn’t come until 1960,” says Barry. “So we grew up with Tilley lamps to light up our homes.”

In Barry’s grandfather’s day, taking the fruit to market was a much more leisurely affair than it is now.

His horse drawn cart loaded with cases of fruit would head off towards the Queen Victoria Market about midnight. The patient horses knew their route well and the orchardist could afford to nod off and have a snooze as the horses plodded stoically along throughout the dark night. They travelled through Kew and Richmond and arrived at the market as the first blush of dawn crept over the horizon. Cruise control 1910 style and the first driverless vehicles!

Now, over 100 years later, driverless cars are finally coming into pro- duction. Going to market became a lot quicker in 1926 when Bill Aumann purchased a Chev 4 cab chassis for 269 pounds and started trucking his fruit to town.

The Aumanns worked hard in the old days. When they picked fruit there was so much double, triple and quadruple handling. The apples and pears had to be picked from the tree, packed in a box, loaded onto a trailer, then loaded onto a truck and taken to the cool store in Fitzsimmons Lane.

When they were ready to sell, the process had to be repeated in reverse. The fruit was taken back to the orchard and stacked in the shed, then repacked for market and loaded onto the truck. That was all done by hand, but the Aumanns were used to the strenuous work and just got the job done. That changed during the 1960s when forklift trucks and bulk bins were introduced.

Barry has spent all his life on the orchard except for two years during the 1960s when he was called up for National Service. Barry served in Vietnam with The Royal Australian Engineers. After the war and back on the land, Barry met Michelle at a dance in Hawthorn.

“I took one look at her and thought she looks all right,” says Barry. “ We were married two years later in 1975.”

Barry and Michelle built a house on the orchard and have been there ever since, raising their three kids, Susannah, now 38, Michael 36 and Caroline 32.

After four generations of hard work running their business, the Aumanns are looking to sell the freehold and business, which include five acres of land.

“We have already sold some of the land,” says Barry. “But I would love to see the business continue and see the land being utilised. Michelle and I intend to stay on in the house we love, but I won’t be growing fruit. As far as The Aumanns are concerned, that has come to an end.

“We could have relocated the orchard but because of the Green Wedge restrictions we’ve been denied the opportunity to realise the full potential of the land value. I’m disappointed that we haven’t had the capital to relocate like many of our counterparts who have been able to get a fair price for their land.

“Life on the orchard has been great though,” Barry says with a grin. “It’s been bloody hard work. What we do revolves around the seasons and it’s a seven-day-a-week job. When you consider getting ready to leave for market at midnight the hours worked add up. Mostly I’ve been working 80 hours a week for over 50 years. The women in the family have been working just as hard as the men too.”

What has been good about a lifetime of work on the steep slopes of the family orchard?

“We’ve always had good rapport with the other orchardists,” says Barry. “It’s a great place to live and the view is fantastic from our place. We enjoy the best of both worlds. Living in this beautiful spot but only 30 minutes from town.

“One thing I will miss after we sell the business is interacting with all the different people who come in the shop. I will miss that.”

True ‘friends’ of our state park

THE Friends of Warrandyte State Park (FOWSP) is a volunteer-based group that understands the importance of growing indigenous plants in our gardens. We can’t underestimate the group’s value to the community.

The nursery grows plants indigenous to the area not only to conserve these important species but also to try and encourage people to plant them in their own gardens. Too often we see garden runaways such as Pittosporum and Agapanthus invading the territory of beautiful native orchids, Eucalypts and other natural splendours.

‘Friends’ groups such as our Warrandyte team are of such value to the priceless bushland in our area.

They never get tired of pulling weeds and planting important indigenous plants around the park. The habitat created and improved by FOWSP will continue to house all types of native creatures from phascogales and sugar gliders to powerful owls; even the native bees are taken good care of.

Linda Rogan, an active member of FOWSP, reflects upon her time volunteering and believes she has “found a wonderful supportive community of people from various backgrounds, including enthusiastic youngsters as well as us elders, all with the common goal of supporting the State Park, the rangers and the local flora and fauna”. She says “FOWSP is now an important part of my active life”.

Linda joined FOWSP with the intention of “learning more about our indigenous flora and to do something positive for our local natural environment” and ended up becoming the newsletter editor and finding herself immersed in learning about the state park.

FOWSP has had many successes around the park including creating a wetland frog habitat near the nursery and revegetating many disturbed areas.

From my own personal experience it is so rewarding being part of this team. Every time I go out with them I feel like I have given something back to the environment and an area, which I enjoy visiting often.

As a great bonus the people are amazing and so much fun to be around and the morning tea is always astounding.

The state parks in Warrandyte are an integral piece in a much larger puzzle. The importance of it being looked after for rare and endangered plants and animals and also for the enjoyment of you all in Warrandyte is greater than I can describe in this article. You’ll have to go out into the park, enjoy the company of the wallabies and and feel the change in the air to appreciate its true significance.

The nursery is open to the public and to anybody who wishes to volunteer on Thursdays from 9.30am until 12.30pm and on the first weekend of every month when the Warrandyte Community Market is on.

For more info visit fowsp.org.au