Featured

Meet our new Yarra Riverkeeper

Photo: Bill McAuley

WHEN CHARLOTTE Sterrett came to Australia at the age of 19, she fell in love with the Yarra River.
She has now been appointed its keeper.
Melbourne’s “upside-down river” is a unique ecosystem that brings nature, culture, and people together.
It wends its way 242 kilometres from near Mt Baw Baw, through the Yarra Valley and finishes in the Port Phillip Bay.
It is an important part of Warrandyte’s identity.
This is why the Diary is delighted that Warrandyte resident, Charlotte takes up her mantle as Melbourne’s third Yarra Riverkeeper in January.
Working with the Yarra Riverkeepers Association (YRKA), she will continue her lifelong work as an advocate for the environment. Warrandyte Diary caught up with Charlotte following the announcement of her appointment.

WD: Firstly, what is a Riverkeeper?
CS:
The Riverkeeper, along with the Birrarung Council is there to be a voice for the Birrarung — a voice for the Yarra — to tell the story of the river from source to sea.
There are lots of stories there, historical stories, stories of now, stories of people and all the creatures.
And to educate people about the problems facing the Birrarung, which we know are litter, pollution from chemical waste, unsustainable development, water flow, and climate change — to educate people about those issues but also work together on the solutions.
There are lots of people who use the river and are involved with the river. There are 16 Councils that the river runs through, plus Melbourne Water. But this role is very much about educating people about those problems and working on the solutions together.
The YRKA also does a lot of the clean-up work as well as work with community groups to clean up the river.
The Association has done a lot of research on the types of plastic pollution — polystyrene balls being the number one — and then there are about eight regeneration sites along the river, including Westerfolds, where YRKA does that regeneration work. So, my role as Riverkeeper is to really talk about all the things that the organisation is doing, and connect people with the river, whether they are a politician or local community group, school, or local council.
I will be the third Yarra Riverkeeper, Ian Penrose was the inaugural one, he used to live on my street, and started the Yarra Riverkeepers Association as a volunteer group, and then Andrew Kelly took over about six years ago. YRKA CEO Warwick Leeson is also from Warrandyte, he became involved a couple of years after it started. Warrandyte has got some amazing people.

WD: Why is the Yarra special to you?
CS:
When I first came to Australia I found the Australian environment very different to the English countryside. When I first came to Warrandyte, doing some volunteer work with a local Landcare group, it was on Hamilton Road near where I live now, I remember seeing the river and it was so different, the colours, the smells, the trees, just the natural environment was so different, so captivating.
Nature sometimes does this — it makes you feel a different way, it makes you feel calm and peaceful and relaxed, I love being surrounded by nature, and I remember thinking at the time I really wanted to live here. I love being on the river canoeing, I do that quite a lot, and we are very fortunate in Warrandyte that we can swim in the river, which you don’t get to do farther downstream.
You can be at the waterhole down near the end of our street, you feel like you are really out in the bush in a big way, and you can really feel why the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people see the river as part of their identity.
I would love for other people to feel that way too, that they really see the river as part of their identity.

WD: What was your journey to this point?
CS: I used to work in outdoor education for schools and that was part of the journey, I used to take kids out into the bush canoeing, rafting, lots of bushwalking, some rock climbing, so I have always liked nature.
I then worked with Oxfam in southern Africa, and very soon after that, I became interested in Climate Change. I have been working in International Development for about 17 years.
I have worked in about 20 countries worldwide including lots of countries in the Pacific.
My most recent role was working with World Vision providing support to countries that are trying to adapt to Climate Change.
Locally, I have been with Warrandyte Climate Action Now (Warrandyte CAN), and Osborne Peninsular Landcare Group.
This role helps me combine all these roles that I love – working on environmental issues, working with local communities, working on solutions, and advocating for the right kinds of solutions, that are good for people and the planet.
I guess COVID has shaken things up a bit and I decided I would like to do something more local.
I think being at home has really helped me reconnect with the area and the Yarra has been somewhere that has really helped lots of people, and myself included, to get through the various lockdowns.
I have really come to appreciate it, which is why I want to do this work. We are very lucky in Warrandyte to have the river right there.

WD: What are you looking forward to in this role?
CS: I am excited to learn more about the work that is happening to protect not only the Birrarung but the other waterways that come into the Birrarung, like the Maribyrnong, there is a Riverkeeper for that river too, and a Port Phillip Bay Keeper.
In fact, in Australia, there are about seven waterway keepers and over 300 around the world, so I am really interested to learn about what are the issues that all these people have been working on with their communities.
The river to me is like a living breathing entity, the lifeblood of Melbourne, so it is a real honour to speak for the river.
Since it was announced I was the riverkeeper, people have contacted me out of the blue like a lady up in Millgrove talking about the regeneration work they are doing alongside the river, and Port Phillip Eco Centre spoke to me about the things they are doing at the mouth of the river.
I have worked a lot internationally on some of the international transboundary issues like the Mekong or the Brahmaputra that comes off the Himalayas, and now I get to work on this river, so it doesn’t feel like a job, it is something I would do anyway, so I am very excited about that.
I will be working with the government as well, there is a whole bunch of Yarra River planning controls and a Strategic Plan, including a 50-year Community Vision.
I’ll be working with Government and Melbourne Water to implement that, but also hold them to account.
As well as working with the Birrarung Council and the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Corporation.
I am really excited about working with First Nations people.
I have worked with First Nations groups overseas, so to be able to do that in Melbourne is fantastic.
I look forward to educating people in a way that they learn more about the river and the river’s history — and it is a fascinating history, especially since white man came and really changed it, diverted it, it is a very different river downstream than it used to be.

WD: What can we all do to help the Yarra?
CS: Looking after the river is everyone’s responsibility, I might have the title of the Yarra Riverkeeper, but we are all riverkeepers.
We love the river, we love where we live, and it is our responsibility to look after it.
It is a personal responsibility to treat the river with respect, not dropping litter and not polluting the river, but it is also talking to people about the issues that face the river.
I think we are very lucky in Warrandyte that we have quite a strong community that has been able to keep the character of Warrandyte alive for a long period of time.
But urban development along the river corridor is a big issue, obviously closer to the city we see more of this issue.
Until recently, Warrandyte had septic running into the river, and there are fertilisers running into the river from people’s gardens, and broader issues of Climate Change, and people becoming educated about the impacts of Climate Change on water flow — the river doesn’t have enough flow for it to be fully healthy — so people recognising that and talking to local and state government about those issues.
One thing that has been interesting during COVID was that people have been more connected to their local environment.
It is important that we don’t take these areas of natural beauty for granted.
The Yarra/Birrarung provides 70 per cent of Melbourne’s drinking water, so while people might see their river as being a brown river, they might not realise the catchment provides our drinking water, so we need to protect that.

WD: What is your favourite part of the river?
CS: I have a couple of favourite spots, at the bottom of Osborne Road, just off the path on the right-hand side, just below one of the rapids, where Jumping Creek comes out, you can swim there, depending on the river level, I love going down there.
Not far from there is a beautiful spot with a massive rock that in the morning gets all the sun on it and the whole side lights up with beautiful orange light and it is just glorious.

The sky’s the limit for Doomsday Pilot

Winners of Rockfest 2021, Eltham Festival Battle of the bands 2020, Doomsday Pilot is a four-piece heavy rock band formed at Templestowe College, made up of group members Pablo Benzon Tuke (Vocals), Skyte O’Malley (Guitar), Gus Foletta (Bass), and Halley Simpson (Drums). Making a name for themselves, and starting to work the pub circuit, the Diary’s KIERAN PETRIK-BRUCE sat down with the group to discuss everything Doomsday Pilot.

How was the band in its current iteration formed?
Halley: Back in the midst of 2019, around mid-year, we were placed in a music performance class. It was just Skyte and me in that class, everyone was forming groups and whatnot, and I think we were the last ones.
Skyte: The nerds!
Halley: And we just looked at each other and were like, hey, you want to play together? Sure. Then we were thinking, who plays bass? I think Gus played bass a few times.
Gus: I never had, you were wrong, but it didn’t matter.
I originally joined as a guitarist but then Skyte was better so I was like, ok, I’ll pick up bass then.
Halley: Pablo was a more recent addition
Pablo: They had another vocalist.
Halley: But they changed schools, which made it hard.
Pablo: Skyte and I have known each other for a while, so when he didn’t have a vocalist, it took him a while, but eventually he texted me, “do you want to do vocals for us”?

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How has being at the same school together helped the music?
G: I don’t know if it would have worked if we weren’t at the same school
H: Obviously access, the facilities the music program has is unreal, a professional-standard recording studio we have access to whenever we can.
P: I think the way it was organised it’s very supportive, if you’ve got a lot of passion the music program will just kind of let you pursue that, even if that meant you sitting in the music room all lunchtime, every lunchtime.
Who are your musical influences?
G: Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, and Royal Blood made me want to play bass.
S: Very into The White Stripes, Royal Blood, and Jeff Buckley is very important in expanding the more complicated parts of my writing that isn’t just power chords.
H: Queens of the Stone Age, Foo Fighters, really anything influenced by Dave Grohls drumming.
P: I sort of picked up singing, with early 2000s pop-punk so Panic! At The Disco, Fallout Boy, My Chemical Romance.
Now the singing I’m doing sounds a lot like Jeff Buckley, but I’ve never listened to Jeff Buckley!
How did you get the name Doomsday Pilot?
H: We basically had a sheet of random song names and album names and we simply pieced them together Doomsday Pilot and we were like, damn, that’s a pretty epic name. It doesn’t have any real relevant meaning behind it. Also, the fact that it’s really easy to find on Google and streaming services as no other artists run by that name.
How did it feel to win at Rockfest?
H: We were absolutely off the walls when the winners were announced! We were incredibly doubtful as to whether we could win just due to the great number of artists that entered and at such a high standard. It’s a confidence booster, if we get this music to the right people, yeah, they will appreciate it for what it is, and we can get results like that.
P: Yeah, it was a nice confidence booster
G: It feels like a bit of an ego booster, but I don’t want it to be!
H:Wellhe(Gus)gotnominatedforbest bass player as well.
And you only picked up the bass two years ago?
G: Yeah about that long.
Over lockdowns, have you picked up any new instruments, or played around with any new sounds you might incorporate?
S: Saxophone Solo!
P: I want to play some piano.
H: Pablo is a bit of a freak on the piano, so imagine we would be incorporating some of that.
G: And more Cowbell!
Is the progression of the sound something discussed, something you’re trying to do?
S: It just sort of happens, it gets very boring if you do the same thing over and over again.
P: I think the way the band kind of works, everyone is in the band because the other band mates want them to do whatever their thing is.
So what’s next, anything new and exciting brewing?
S: Well, we are working on an EP, four tracks and we are in the final stages.
P: Most of these we have had for ages.
S: We just want to get them out, we hope within a month.
H: I would hope by the end of the year.

For those wanting to hear Doomsday Pilot’s newer music before their EP drops, the tracks are a part of their current set list, and with lockdown ending the group hope to have a few gigs in November.
Keep a lookout on their Facebook and Instagram Pages for upcoming event details.

Sawdust in his veins

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

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

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Photos courtesy: RYAN GASKETT

A Woi-wurrung name for our park

THE UPGRADED park and land along the Yarra River in Warrandyte, locally known as Lions Park, will be given an official Woi-wurrung name to reflect the language, culture and heritage of the local Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung people.
Once endorsed by Council at its September meeting, the park will be officially named wonguim wilam.
Following earlier consultation with key stakeholders, Manningham Council met with the Warrandyte Lions Club and Masterplan Community Reference Group, who showed support to adopt a Woi-wurrung name for the park.
Council has worked with Aunty Doreen and the Wurundjeri Woi- wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation, who has provided the park name of “wonguim wilam” [pronounced “won-goom willum”], which means “boomerang place”.
Manningham Mayor Cr Andrew Conlon said Council’s commitment to reconciliation is underpinned by respect for the rich and complex nature of the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung culture and heritage and thanked the Warrandyte Lions Club for taking up this important opportunity in reconciliation.

“While Council has committed to creating equity, equality and building relationships, and is close to finalising our Reconciliation Action Plan, reconciliation requires a commitment from the whole community,” he said.
“The Lions Club has shown their willingness to be a community leader by supporting this name change.”

In the coming weeks the precinct will officially adopt the Woi-wurrung name approved by the Wurundjeri Woi- wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation, honouring the original owners of the land.

“We would like to thank past and present members of the Warrandyte Lions Club of the last 40-plus years for maintaining the park and the tennis courts, as well as contributing $45,000 towards the latest exercise equipment,” Cr Conlon said.

Warrandyte Lions Club President David Englefield said it was an honour to look after the park and provide a much loved gathering space for the community over the last four decades.

“The Lions Club has always been looking to make a difference and improve the lives of the Warrandyte people and others in our community,” he said.
“Reconciliation is important and this is an incredible opportunity for us to work with Council and with due consultation, provide leadership in honouring First Nations communities.”

Works on the playspace upgrade are anticipated to begin early next year and completed by mid-2022.
The completed upgrade of the park will feature significant signage taking visitors on a journey through its history and the involvement of the Warrandyte Lions Club.
Manningham will continue to work with the Warrandyte Lions Club on recognising their contributions on a plaque and interpretive signage.
Manningham will continue to work with the Warrandyte Lions Club, Warrandyte Historical Society and the Warrandyte Community Association on the maintenance of the park to ensure it honours its past and present custodians.
An official naming ceremony is planned to be held when COVID restrictions allow.

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Lions Park “Taffy’s Green” set to stay

CONSTRUCTION IS set to commence on the Lions Park upgrade along the Warrandyte River Reserve, following Manningham Council being awarded a $300,000 grant as part of the Victorian State Government’s Local Parks Program. Manningham Mayor Cr Andrew Conlon said Manningham was successful in securing the maximum value of the grant per project from the Government’s $10 million program, and works are anticipated to begin early next year. At the end of 2020, Manningham consulted with the community on the concept plan for a new play space as part of the park’s upgrades. When the completed Stage 1 works were unveiled at the start of 2021, there were many that attended the highly successful Year of Wonders exhibition at the site who asked Council to retain the grassy area adjacent to Taffy’s Hut and happily, this has now been incorporated in the amended plans. Council said results showed there was a good level of support for the new play space, designed to connect children with nature and offer play opportunities for children of all ages and abilities.
“Thank you to everyone who provided feedback. “We’ve reviewed these and have adjusted the final plan,” Cr Conlon said. Overall, the community were in favour of the concept’s direction, including the natural look and feel of the space. However, Cr Conlon said there was large support for the existing grass space to remain, which required planners to reduce the size of the play space.
Changes to the final design include:
• retention of the open grass space
• reduced number of picnic tables
• smaller footprint on the main structure
• one less spinner.
The stage two upgrade includes:
• full play space design and upgrade
• new shelter, drinking fountain,
BBQ, picnic area to accompany the play space
• new art piece with an indigenous focus and community art piece.
“The successful grant application will enable us to make the necessary amendments and carry out the works, improving the amenity of the park,” said Cr Conlon. Works on the upgrade of the play space are anticipated to begin early 2022 and to be completed by June 2022. The existing play space will be completely removed for the duration of works. Council says the new upgrades will expand the existing play-space and aims to further connect the community with the natural habitat of Warrandyte. The play space is inspired by the animal crossing structure completed in Stage 1, and gives children the impression of moving among the trees like native animals. It will feature play opportunities for children of all ages and abilities. In addition, the ceramic leaves produced at the Warrandyte Pottery Expo have now been installed along the Warrandyte River Reserve. During the 2021 Warrandyte Pottery Expo, Warrandyte ceramic artist Jane Annois and Clay Talk at Montsalvat led a children’s art activity in creating these colourful “leaves” representing leaves from the local area. Landscaper, Crafted Landscape has now installed the new art element along the path edging by the new shelter under the bridge. Stage 2 works are anticipated to be completed in mid-2022.
The final plan is now available on: yoursay.manningham.vic.gov.au/lions-park.

Roos to be locked out of golf course

Cull cancelled but questions remain

AFTER A HUGE community outcry, the Heritage Golf and Country Club has decided not to proceed with a planned cull of kangaroos on its two courses, instead installing fencing to lock the roos out of the fairways. The Club put out a press release in July announcing that they had listened to community concerns and decided to cancel the “Council approved cull”. Local Councils came out swinging as Heritage Golf Club attempted to implicate them in approval of the now aborted kangaroo cull at the club. In a strongly worded statement, both Yarra Ranges and Nillumbik Councils refute the claim in their press release that the cull was “Council approved”.
Yarra Ranges statement said:“Council wishes to advise it was not involved in any decision to approve the culling of kangaroos at the Heritage Golf and Country Club. The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) not Council, is responsible for managing wildlife in Victoria. Council understands the management of kangaroos is a sensitive topic that is of great concern to our community. We will be contacting Heritage Golf and Country Club to ask them to correct their media release.”
Nillumbik Shire Council also issued a statement to “correct unequivocally for the record, inaccuracies contained in this statement”.
The land owned by the proprietors of the Heritage Golf and Country Club encompasses three separate Local Government Areas — Nillumbik Shire Council, as well as Yarra Ranges and Manningham. Councils, however, do not have the authority to make decisions on the culling of native wildlife. Permission to do so can only be sought and obtained through the appropriate State Government agencies – the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) or the Game Management Authority. A key consideration in this matter is that the area in which the club is situated is a significant protective corridor for native wildlife and any use of the land must therefore take this status into account. Our community places a high value on the protection of native wildlife and the environment in which they live, and Council makes it a priority to act in the community’s interests on this issue. At its Planning and Consultation Committee Meeting on 8 June 2021, Council resolved, unanimously, to express its concern over initial reports of a planned kangaroo cull and subsequently wrote to the club to inform it of this resolution. Council also requested that the club consider alternative (nonlethal) approaches to managing the kangaroo population, should there be an absolute need to control the numbers on its property. In light of recent developments, Nillumbik Shire Council also wishes to express its deep concern at reports from the community — including from animal rescue service Wildlife Victoria — of the killing of kangaroos in the area.”
Heritage’s Press Release went on to say there was a meeting on May 6 where interested parties including Wildlife Victoria, Club management and residents met and discussed plans to cull kangaroos at the Heritage Golf and Country Club property. Club management claim their plans to cull the kangaroos was due to a “tripling of the population in 12 months due to a breeding surge during the drought and the advantages of easy access to a carpet of grass on golfing fairways”.
However, Wildlife Victoria CEO Lisa Palma said a tripling of a kangaroo population in 12 months is “simply biologically impossible and absolutely ludicrous”.
“Female kangaroos commonly have one young annually, with the mortality rate in the wild for joeys typically at 70 per cent in the first year of life,” she said.
New club Managing Director Dr Cher Coad has blamed Parks Victoria for not managing the population in neighbouring Warrandyte State Park.
“If the Victorian State government was doing its job, in terms of managing the land bordering the Heritage Golf and Country Club, then we wouldn’t have this problem,” she said.
She says the lack of golfers during the recent COVID lockdown has provided kangaroos with unlimited access to the Heritage Golf and Country Club and they are reluctant to move, with management raising fears of the bigger male kangaroos becoming aggressive towards people.
“While the risk of this happening is quite small, the responsibility of the HGCC is to club members, visiting golfers, residents and their families and young children,” said Dr Coad.
“We have excessive numbers of kangaroos on our fairways and grounds, and they are powerful and potentially dangerous.
“The last thing we want is for a large grey kangaroo to cause harm to a golfer or children visiting their grandparents,” she said.
Ms Palma said she absolutely refuted the notion that the kangaroo population is dangerous with Wildlife Victoria receiving no reports kangaroo aggression towards people at the site.
“Some of the larger male kangaroos are known by the locals to be peaceful creatures, who enjoy the natural habitat of the local landscape.
“Indeed, the big fellow known as Scar Face is beloved by many in the community,” said Ms Palma.
“In direct contrast to Heritage’s statement, Wildlife Victoria has received an inordinate number of calls from concerned members of the public, residents, golfers and staff who are terribly worried for the safety and wellbeing of the kangaroo population on site.
Dr Coad said while the treatment of kangaroos is fraught with regulatory and ethical difficulties, the Heritage Golf and Country Club recognises the need for golfers and kangaroos to co-exist. Growing evidence leans towards the idea that the kangaroo population must be managed via more humane means. Ms Palma said that since the meeting of May 6, no further discussion had taken place between those parties.
“Instead, we have witnessed the result of stealthy cruel and violent attacks on the kangaroo population night after night at the site — this has been ongoing for months now!”
The recent spate of kangaroo deaths at the Club is currently subject to a multi-agency investigation. Ms Palma said to date, Wildlife Victoria has seen a significant number of cases of kangaroos that have been savaged by dogs, shot, dismembered and driven over by vehicles.
“We have taken many calls and received letters from members of the public who are too afraid to walk on or near the grounds for fear of the dogs turning on the locals,” Ms Palma said. DELWP issued a statement, saying the Conservation Regulator is “continuing its investigation into alleged fatal and harmful dog attacks on kangaroos at Heritage Golf and Country Club in Chirnside Park”. The statement said Victoria Police and local councils are assisting the Conservation Regulator with the investigation and Conservation Regulator Authorised Officers are conducting patrols in the area. Dr Coad said the task to oversee the management and protection of kangaroos lies with the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP). She said the “kangaroos will be relocated back into the Warrandyte State Forrest [sic] and the property will be fenced”. Ms Palma said it is outrageous, unacceptable and illegal for the Heritage Golf and Country Club to relocate the kangaroos without the required authorisation from the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning. Despite this, Ms Palma said Wildlife Victoria remains hopeful that Heritage Management will consult with the group to achieve a positive outcome for the remaining kangaroos on the site.
Anyone with information about the alleged dog attacks or other cases of wildlife crime should contact Crime Stoppers Victoria on 1800 333 000.
The Diary will continue to follow this story over the coming months and hopes to speak further with Club management and Wildlife Victoria in time for the September edition.

(UPDATE) This story was originally in the July Bulletin and has been updated for the August Diary.

Going for Gold in Tokyo

WARRANDYTE’S OWN will be going to Tokyo 2020. In December 2020, Rachael Lynch, Federation of International Hockey 2019 goalkeeper of the year, was dropped from the 2021 squad by then coach Paul Guadoin, But in a wonderful turn of events, it has been confirmed that the now- Perth-based nurse will represent Australia in Tokyo, in her second Olympic Games. Lynch’s international debut with the Hockeyroos was in 2006 and since then has chalked up numerous international fixtures, including three Commonwealth Games. Since the decision to drop her in late 2020, major change has occurred throughout the Hockeyroos setup including the appointment of a new coach, two-time Gold medal Hockeyroo, Katrina Powell. Over the past 12 months, Lynch, a registered nurse, has been simultaneously working on the front line of the pandemic, conducting COVID-19 tests for a mining company in Perth, while tirelessly training to fight for her place on the 16-player squad. Lynch told the Diary that this time playing for the Green and Gold felt, “way bigger”, adding that since the brunt of the pandemic the players have a
“new-found gratitude for international travel, for competition, and for being outside without a mask.” While initially focused on her performance and what she needed to do to break back into the squad, Lynch, as an experienced player, focuses as much of her time helping the rest of the girls in the squad, especially the newer players, saying
“I know that it (also) helps me and my training.” Adding that she has been to an Olympics already and that it helps to impart that knowledge and to
“shed some light on some of the things that make the girls nervous”. The Hockeyroos will be chasing medal placing at Tokyo, currently they are ranked 4th in the world, yet Lynch feels that all the teams are on a
“level playing field.” With very few international competitions, most of the nations have not been able to scout other teams, something that, according to Lynch, allows teams to
“have the opportunity to go away and work on things essentially in private.” Most of the scouting and information on other teams — their strategy, and their set-up — will all be done during the Games; Powell and the coaching team will have their work cut out for them, having to apply game plans they have trained, while accommodating for what other teams are doing. Lynch believes that the most important thing will be to
“keep calm” in those high-pressure situations, adding that medal placings
“will come down to who can adapt quickly.” Lynch’s return to the squad is a boost, not just for her work in goal, but for her knowledge and calm demeanour,
“that’s what I bring to the group.
“That will give the girls a lot more confidence.”
Tokyo 2020 will be vastly different to any of the modern Olympics, with no friends, family, or fans in the stadiums, and with players isolating away from most of the other athletes. Lynch believes that there will be less distractions, although socialising in the village, while distracting “is an enjoyable part of the experience”.
An experience athletes will miss out on, but one that will not be too isolating, as most of the time players are with the rest of the squad or in the hotels.
One of the reasons the athletes socialising is important is it allows for time to “switch off when you need to” Lynch said, you need to
“have a bit of fun within the confines of what you can do.”
While the lack of family and friends present may be challenging mentally, a lack of a crowd may provide an advantage to the athletes. On field players rely on hearing communications from coaches and other players which, without needing to shout over thousands, is something Lynch said they
“don’t have to worry about too much.” While the hopes of the nation can weigh heavy and add pressure, Lynch said that
“knowing that there is a couple of million people watching on TV, that goes out of your head soon as you start the game.” So without the screaming fans there is less to distract you as
“when you have a packed house that adds pressure, that can de-rail you.”
Reflecting on the fact that there had been a few moments she thought Tokyo 2020 would not go ahead, along with her axing and reinstatement to the squad, Lynch said that representing Australia at Tokyo will feel special.
“For me personally, given what I have been through, this feels special to do it, and to do so on a world stage will be even better.”
The Hockeyroos campaign for Gold begins with a match against Spain on Sunday, July 25, at 10am Japan Standard time (JST) (11am AEST).

Heart and soul of our community

WE LOVE our pub.
In fact, we love our pub more than any other town in Victoria.
Grand Hotel Warrandyte has taken out the Heart of the Community award at the recent Australian Hotels’ Association Victorian awards.
The AHA Awards recognise venues who do over and above outstanding service and contributions to the industry and the community.
The Grand’s General Manager, Peter Appleby is rightly proud of this award, and of his Functions and Event manager, Nicole Irvine, who has taken out the Emerging Leader award at the same event.
“We nominated for six awards — then it goes through a mystery shopper process, and we were a finalist in all six of those awards, and the best part was, and you can’t nominate for the Best Overall Hotel, Metropolitan — on the back of our success during the program we were then elevated into that category, which was fantastic,” he said.
Peter said he is particularly excited to have taken out the Heart of the Community award.
“It is very dear to my heart, because we have been in this town a long, long time.
“I grew up in the town as well, so it is a pretty proud moment to snare that one for, not just myself, but also the team, and the community who has invested in us over the years, and we in them,” he said.
Peter said he nominated Nicole for the Emerging Leader of the Year.
“That was a CV and then interview process, and she nailed it, she got the top gong in the state as the emerging young leader.
“She is our Function and Events Manager but took on a hell of a lot more through lockdown last year, and once we reopened, I saw her advance her skills on the floor, and take a lot more management opportunities.
“I am very proud of her and what she went through last year in lockdown — she chose to swim when others chose to sink — and that is not just here, that is across everywhere — and every industry.
“She self-educated, she did courses online to better herself and I think that shone through with the recognition of that award, so we are super proud of her,” Peter said.
Nicole told the Diary she was honoured when Peter chose to nominate her.
“Entering this award is not something I would usually do and was completely outside of my comfort zone.
“The support and encouragement I received from my team was incredible, it really helped me prepare for the judging process.
When they read out my name to win the award, I was so shocked and so proud, I began to cry.
“I could not believe it — it is a moment I will never forget”.
Nicole said like everyone, she found 2020 to be a challenge, with The Grand closed, she was not in a position where she could work from home.
“We all had the option of sitting back or stepping up and I chose to step up,” she said.
“Throughout lockdown, I was determined to not let COVID beat me, and I took that time to better myself and my knowledge by signing up to as many training resources as possible.
“When we re-opened our doors in late October of 2020, I was prepared and ready to go.
“This award is a true testament and acknowledgment of all my hard work and dedication, and I could not be more proud of myself,” she said.
Nicole’s award includes a $10,000 scholarship, which is a joint initiative from the Australian Government and the AHA Victoria.
She said the scholarship can be used on training courses or a hospitality experience, such as a seminar.
“I will use this opportunity to gain new skills, and grow as a hospitality professional,” she said.
Peter said the Grand is now eligible for the national awards, which are held in September in Tasmania.
“It would be great to be recognised not just in Victoria as the Heart of the Community, but in Australia, it would be pretty special for our little Warrandyte pub,” he said.

Best of contemporary art on show

THE BARN GALLERY at Montsalvat is once again the setting for the Nillumbik Prize for Contemporary Art.
The 17th iteration of the prestigious art competition saw 323 entries, responding to the theme “Return”, with the 40 shortlisted finalists currently on show.
Emily Wubben, Exhibition Curator and Collections Management Officer for Nillumbik Council, said there was a good mix of local and national entries.
“The finalist exhibition is a good representation of the entries we received, both locally and nationally, with eight local artists among the 40 finalists.”
The contemporary biennial acquisitive art prize open to artists working in any medium in Australia.
The winner was announced at the exhibition opening on May 6, and for the first time, the Prize has been awarded to a digital artist.
James Nguyen, of Murumbeena, was presented the $20,000 prize in the Open Category for his moving image, The Camelia Economy.
The 20-minute, 29 second video tells the story of a handful of seeds given to the artist by his late grandmother on his return to Vietnam.
In Australia, his family grew the seeds into tea plants which they use to trade and swap with the community, symbolising the preservation of their culture of storytelling, care and entrepreneurship that has survived war and political exile.
Georgia Cribb, Director of Bunjil Place Gallery and one of the three prize judges, said it had been immensely challenging to determine a winner from a strong field across a range of media.
“We are delighted to learn that this is the first time that the prize has been awarded to an artist working in a digital medium,” she said.
The $10,000 local prize was won by Eltham artist Nusra Latif Qureshi for Remnant Blessings-I, an acrylic, graphite, gouache and gold on illustration board.
Nusra told the Diary the award means a lot to her on a personal level, as it is representative of the inclusiveness of the community.
She moved to Eltham about five years ago and says she has found it is a “very nurturing community”.
“I am finding that I am part of the community in a very interesting way, and I know that Eltham has always been a place where artists love to live and make it home.”
Nillumbik Mayor Peter Perkins said this year marked the 17th anniversary of the prize, which was highly regarded around Australia.
“This is a prestigious exhibition for artists to showcase excellence in contemporary art and is a celebration of Nillumbik’s rich artistic and cultural community,” Cr Perkins said.
“Council prides itself on being a strong supporter of the arts on all levels.
“Congratulations to the winners and all the finalists for their impressive and inspiring works.”
Sculptor Clive Murray-White, an artist-in-residence at the Dunmoochin art collective, took out the $500 Mayor’s Award for his work, Assisted Suiseki No: 9.
Cr Perkins said, “This striking piece can be viewed from any angle and immediately caught my eye as it is both contemporary and timeless.”
The open and local prizes are acquisitive, and the winning works will be included in the Nillumbik Shire Art Collection.
Emily said the calibre of the works was extremely high and there was a wonderful cross-section of works in all different media.
She said “Return” has been interpreted in a variety of different ways by the artists.
“These have included an exploration of returning to a sense of ones-self, of true identity — also stories of migration and connections to or memories of home as well as ideas of what returning to normal might be in the COVID context as well as an exploration of retuning to different techniques and methods.
“So there has been a very diverse range of very insightful and creative responses to the one theme,” Emily said.
The biennial prize was judged by Miriam Kelly, Curator at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art; Georgia Cribb, Director of Bunjil Place Gallery and Victoria Lynn, Director of TarraWarra Museum of Art.
The finalists were shortlisted by an independent panel of industry experts: Francis E. Parker, Curator of Exhibitions at Monash University Museum of Art, Jade Bitar, Visual Arts Officer at the City of Stonnington and Helen Walpole, independent art and museum curator.
The Finalist Exhibition is now open at Montsalvat until July 1, 2021.
Entry is free.
Montsalvat is currently open Thursday to Sunday, 10am–4pm.
Visitors are encouraged to vote for their favourite artwork in the People’s Choice Award, which will be announced on July 15, 2021.
For more information about the Nillumbik Prize for Contemporary Art, go to nillumbik.vic.gov.au/npca

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Lest we forget

Anzac Day services were held across the country, and after missing the camaraderie during last year’s lockdown, this year people were eager to gather together to remember our fallen heroes.
Across Manningham and Nillumbik moving services were held during Anzac morning.
Well-attended dawn services in Eltham and Doncaster preceded a mid-morning service in Templestowe, along with marches and commemorations in Warrandyte, and Montmorency, where moving tributes to veterans old and young were held.
The new tradition of remembrance at home saw people light up the dawn in their driveways, with livestreams from national and local services allowing connection from afar.

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Jack does it for MS and mental health

JACK WHELAN met a cheering crowd outside Grand Hotel Warrandyte on March 23, after completing a 2,043 kilometre ride around Victoria, raising money and awareness for the charities MS Australia and Outside the Locker Room.
Setting off from Lake Hume on March 9 and averaging 145km a day, Jack, along with a dedicated support crew, cycled through iconic landscapes such as the Murray River and the Great Ocean Road.
On the afternoon of Wednesday, March 23, he reached the final landmark of his epic journey — The Grand Hotel, Warrandyte — where a joyful crowd had gathered to toast the end of a long two weeks in the saddle.
Surpassing double his original target of $50,000, on Wednesday afternoon he had raised more than $119,000 for his chosen charities, and the Diary was there to welcome the saddle-sore Park Orchardian home, where he spoke to us about his adventure.
“It was a great adventure and I loved absolutely every minute of it.
“Obviously parts were more challenging than expected, and parts were maybe a little bit easier, and more enjoyable than I expected.
“The highlights were the time spent with family and friends around the campfire laughing, telling jokes in the night time.
“We got to ride through some of the most beautiful spots in the world.
“The Great Ocean Road, through the Otways, and we got to spend a lot of time along the mighty Murray River as well, which was really, really, special, and to share that with people I love the most made it really special.”
Jack was riding for two Charities; MS Australia and Outside the Locker Room, two charities Jack has a close personal relationship with.
“I lost my cousin to Multiple Sclerosis at a fairly young age.
He was diagnosed at 28, and from the day he was diagnosed he never worked another day in his life, and sadly passed away about four years after that.
So if I was ever going to do something, MS Australia was the one.
Moving onto the mental health side of things, I experienced some of my own mental health challenges, which a number of us have and a lot of us will do.
I was fortunate enough to have a front row seat to some of the stuff Outside the Locker Room do, so I decided they would be the charity that I also wanted to support.”
Before heading into the Grand Hotel for a well deserved pint of Stone and Wood, Jack had one final message for his supporters and sponsors.
“I would love to say thank you to everyone who has donated so far, we have had over 280 individual donors, which is mind blowing, and I would say I only know 25 per cent of them.
“So people who don’t even know me have done it out of the goodness of their heart, so I will be forever grateful.
“The guys at Port Melbourne Cycles looked after the bike, gave us a heap of hydration and energy and all that kind of stuff — advice and knowledge and wouldn’t take any money, so I would like to give them a massive shout out as well.
“I am extremely appreciative for everyone’s support.”
Since completing his ride, Jack’s Miles for Smiles fundraiser has increased to $122,600.
Jack is planning to keep the fundraising page open for a few more weeks, and will close it off once the “thank you” video that documents his journey is released.
A link to the website where you can donate to his cause can be found at www.facebook.com/Miles-for-Smiles-106216371138548

Pottery Expo celebrates 21 years by the river

THE 21ST POTTERY Expo was held on the riverbank on the last weekend of February, with ceramic artists from around Australia showcasing their work to, what organisers say, was the biggest crowd ever.
With live music, 70 stands filled with spectacular creations, demonstrations, talks and a weekend of sunshine and minimal restrictions, it was “a buzz”.
“These are the biggest crowds we have ever seen and I’m anticipating more sales than I’ve ever seen also,” says event coordinator Jane Annois.
“This is great for the local businesses too; the cafes and shops have also benefitted this weekend.”
Along Yarra St the cafes and restaurants were brimming, and Andi from Calla Collective said: “There is a good energy here this weekend, it has certainly lifted the atmosphere around the place.
“There is more excitement in the conversations, there is a buzz, and we need a bit of a buzz.”
There seemed to be a giddiness amongst the crowd, perhaps it was the mixture of sunshine and the opportunity to just be out, somewhere beautiful, amongst lots of people, and feel safe.
As a passer-by bumped into me and apologised profusely, she laughed and said, “I think I need to learn how to do crowds again.”
Perhaps she is right, I walked into people and lost track of my companion several times.
Minna Graham, from Daylesford, is an Expo stalwart and says the weekend was “crazy, busy and fun!”
“It has been amazing,” she said, as she continued wrapping items in tissue paper.
“Everyone is just happy to be out.
“Maybe it’s that and that there is a new appreciation for ceramics.
“Over the last few years people are loving and appreciating ceramics more.”
As Minna ties a package carefully with her trademark black ribbon, a customer smiles, and says,
“It really is good to be out and about, and the works here are just beautiful.”
Adam Cox (South Gippsland) has been exhibiting at the Expo for over ten years and says the weekend has been fantastic.
“People are keen to come out and do something out of lockdown,
“It is always a good weekend and a great opportunity to meet other potters.”
Sunday lunchtime, and his stall is almost empty, so Adam strategically places the few remaining items for sale a little further apart to fill the space.
“I’m almost cleaned out,” he said happily.
“It’s months’ worth of work, it’s the biggest event of the year and I have been keeping my nicest pieces for this.”
Special guests this year were Australian members of the International Academy of Ceramics (IAC).
The Academy is the principal organisation representing the interests of ceramics worldwide.
Based in Geneva, the IAC is an official partner with UNESCO in the cultural sector.
Jane Annois has been a member of the Academy for two years and is honoured to be part of such a global community of ceramic artists that focus on networking, education and raising the standards of excellence within the art.
Jane is thrilled to have an exhibition of such high-end ceramics from many of the Australian members of the Academy at the Expo.
“There are 12 Australian IAC member artists represented here this weekend and it is very exciting.
“Collectors have been here, buying this weekend, and it has lifted the profile of the Expo.
“It has also been very inspiring for the potters to see these works, which are rarely seen together, in one exhibition.”
Sally Wise, from Preston, is also a member of the IAC and has been a ceramist since she was 17 years old.
Her journey started when an influential teacher in high school introduced her to the art.
She went on to study a four-year ceramics degree, and says, “it’s been my passion and obsession ever since”.
“It is exciting to have higher end ceramics at the Expo,” said Sally, “and nice to see collectors here, buying.”

Prize-winners

Winner of the Warrandyte Lions Best Presented Stand was Tian You, from Tian Ceramics, Footscray.
Tian says, “It is always the best event of the year.
“It takes months to prepare and this is the grand opening of my new work.
“It was very well received, there were lots of customers first thing on Saturday morning, determined to get in early.”
The Potters Prize is the peer favourite, voted by the potters, and this year’s winner is Arnaud Barraud, from Kalorama.
Arnaud’s prize is a piece from last year’s winner, and he in turn will donate a piece for next year’s winner.
Su Hanna (Bendigo) and Marina Pribaz (Daylesford) shared the Michael Hallam INCA Award for innovative contemporary ceramics, presented by the Warrandyte Riverside Market.
Su is one of a small group of wood-fire ceramists represented at the Expo, with fellow guest artists Sandy Lockwood, Rob Barron and Jann Kesby.
Wood firing is ceramics at a whole other level, it is earthy and rough.
Someone explained to me that wood firers see “the beauty in the natural colours of ‘brown’ and in the complexity of ‘rough’”.
Many wood-fired ceramists design and build their own kilns and after the backbreaking work of collecting, carrying and splitting wood, are known to have a moment of ceremony as they light the match.
Su says, “You have to be a bit crazy to be a wood-firer.”
“Just splitting the wood is a lot of work, and we are limited with the fire season.
“We have to time it and try and get it done before it hits.
Su and her husband take it in shifts, day, and night, stoking the fire, keeping it to temperature for four days.
“It’s a lot of work,” she repeats, and pauses, “and a lot of wood prep”.
Another pause.
I sense that the work of the firing stays with her long after the fire has gone, and as she looks at the piece in front of her, she says quietly, “but you can’t get the random surfaces, and those colours that I love any other way.
“It’s worth it.”
As I leave her stall, I realise making art is hard, and I have a fresh appreciation for both the art and the artist.
Once again, The Pottery Expo was a huge success, and the riverbank was alive with music and colour and stalls and people.
Quite simply, it was pure fun, and the people were visibly happy.

Photos: BILL McAULEY
 

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Price of progress

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

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

Consultation deficit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overkill

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

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

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

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

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Photos: VICKY SHUKUROGLOU

Alternatives ignored

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enough is enough

Ms Shukuroglou said MRPV has been asking the wrong questions.

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

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

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

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

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

Replanting plan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Display of grief

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

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

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

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

What now for the future?

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

 

Life in the times of COVID-19

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

Photo exhibition captures Manningham during lockdown

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

 

Photos below by Bill McAuley

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Photos below by David Wadelton

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Community notice: Come join the Lions Club of Warrandyte

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

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

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

 

Clifford Green OAM: December 6, 1934 – December 4, 2020

IT IS WITH sadness that Warrandyte Diary marks the passing of our Founding Editor, Cliff Green.
Cliff established Warrandyte Diary in 1970 and guided the paper until his retirement in 2014.
There was much more to Cliff than his role at the Diary.
Cliff’s talent as a writer has blessed children with plays and books, television watchers with top rating shows and film audiences with classic screenplay, Picnic at Hanging Rock.
He wrote stories — not just of local, but of national importance.
Through them, one gets a sense of Cliff’s commitment to truth and fairness, his love of history and his determination to give Warrandyte its own unique voice.
The following will tell you a lot about Cliff Green’s earlier life as a writer.
What it will not tell you is how, as a newspaper man, he fought to stave off the bulldozers of over-zealous developers.
How he said “NO” again and again to those who would so easily erode Melbourne’s Green Wedge.
And how he let council officials know when their town plans — which might sit well in Doncaster — definitely did not suit Warrandyte.
Warrandyte is, as Cliff called it, “a special little place”.
Because he helped make it that way.
CHERIE MOSELEN has compiled this recollection of Cliff Green’s time at the Diary.

To accompany this story, I went looking for photos of Warrandyte Diary’s founder — hoping to find pictures from the “back when the Diary first started” days of the ‘70s.
I tried the obvious places: the office, historical society, Diary photographer Stephen Reynolds.
The lack of results should not have surprised me.
As I have come to learn, the Diary’s modest front man is happier behind the scenes.
One photo turned up, which I shared with a family member who posed this curious question: Cliff Green or 1930s bank robber Baby Face Nelson?
I jumped on the internet and sure enough… the same good crop of hair, the youthful, boyish face.
I could have used a photo of the notorious gangster and most would not be the wiser!
Both men “made headlines” too — although only one inspired a series of wanted posters.
Thankfully, the other started a newspaper.
He started small.
His contribution to the local community as an editor, and to the wider community as an Australian screenwriter, has been anything but.
Already creating little sketches from the age of 10, Cliff Green knew he wanted to be a writer.
However, he originally trained as a compositor, earning a Diploma of Printing at RMIT.
He did not enter the publishing trade after all — “too many highly qualified graphic designers about” — but went instead into primary teaching.
A bush romantic, Cliff longed for a rural posting and he soon got one, moving to a small town in the Mallee with wife Judy.
He recalls those 10 years in the country as some of the happiest of their lives.
The change also set the stage for his headway into writing.
“It was the ‘50s and I was teaching at a tiny school in Rainbow — less than 10 kids.
“I wrote an end of year play, Christmas at Boggy Creek,” Cliff said, “and showed it to a writer friend, David Martin, who suggested it was good enough for the ABC.
“I thought he meant radio as we did not have TV out there, so I adapted it and sent it off.”
A letter came back that it was unsuitable for radio, too visual, and would he like to adapt it for television instead.
With the help of the BBC’s How to Write for Television — or how NOT to write for TV, as Cliff fondly remembers it — he adapted his script and the ABC produced it as a secular Christmas story.
The fact that it was at least 40 minutes long also qualified him to join the newly minted (six-month old) Australian Writers’ Guild.
Many years later, the soon to be “ex” primary school teacher would become a vice- president and life member of the organisation, receiving the Richard Lane Award for service and dedication to the guild, in 1990.
In 1969, the Greens (now a young family) transferred to Warrandyte, ostensibly for Cliff to take up a teaching position.
However, he had been pinpointed earlier by the Education Department and ABC collaboration “Schools Broadcasting,” as a teacher with writing experience.
Cliff created 13, 20-minute dramas and social studies documentaries for their production team.
It would bring him a step closer to becoming a full-time writer.
“One of the producers, Jonathon Dawson, had gone across to Crawford Productions in Melbourne.
“He called me one day and said they were looking for writers.
“He wanted to send me out an audition kit,” Cliff said.
“I had to write a few scenes and an episode of Homicide.
“It must have gone alright because soon after Hector Crawford hired me as a staff writer.”
Cliff began contributing episodes to police dramas Homicide and Matlock.
He describes his three years with Crawford as “the best way to learn the trade” and respectfully refers to the influential radio and TV producer as the “father of Australian television drama”.
“You worked with everyone there, the camera crew and the production team — if needed, you rewrote on the spot.
“We were doing three cop shows a week, 48 weeks of the year, and every six weeks one of your episodes went to air,” he said.
Given the six-week turnaround, Cliff began working a lot from home.
It gave him the flexibility to respond to an appeal by the Warrandyte Community Youth Club for a newsletter.
He decided to expand the format, and in 1970 Warrandyte Diary was born.
“I do not know how I managed both jobs, but teaching helped provide me with the necessary discipline.
“I edited the first four Diary issues on my own and then experienced journalist Peter Lovett helped out,” he said.
Age columnist Bob Millington would also step in to help, managing the paper for seven years.
However, in 1974 when Cliff and Herald journalist Lee Tindale joined forces, the little paper struck gold.
“We were great colleagues.
“Lee was managing editor and co-editor at times, and sports editor right up until 2006 when he sadly passed away,” Cliff said.
“He was our page-two columnist and a marvellous sports writer.
“He would work and re-work each story until it shone like a polished gem.”
The Diary is financed solely through advertising.
Paid only as recently as the last few years, Cliff managed the paper alongside his scriptwriting work.
Some might be surprised to learn the extent of his reputation within the Australian film and television industry.
After going freelance at the end of 1971, Cliff wrote for such distinguished TV series as Rush, Power Without Glory and I Can Jump Puddles.
In 1975, he agreed to help out overcommitted playwright David Williamson, who had been signed to write the screenplay of Picnic at Hanging Rock but could not do it.
His haunting adaptation of Joan Lindsay’s novel went on to make cinematic history, anchoring the drama in the harbour of popularity as one of Australia’s top 10 movies of all time.
The landmark Australian film earned Cliff Green an Australian Writers’ Guild Award for Best Screenplay and a Best Writer nomination, U.S. Science Fiction Film Awards, bringing him international recognition.
In the film and television world, where only one in 10 projects ever get made, Cliff’s screenwriting star blazed like a supernova.
His credits include TV drama series such as Homicide, Matlock, Rush, Against The Wind, A Country Practice, The Flying Doctors, Mission: Impossible, Embassy, Stingers, Something In The Air, Blue Heelers and Marshall Law, among others.
He created two well-known TV mini-series: Marion and The Petrov Affair.
And adapted for television the work of Australian authors such as Henry Lawson, Alan Marshall, Frank Hardy and Norman Lindsay.
Later work includes the original screenplay for the prize-winning children’s TV film Boy Soldiers, and award-winning episodes of the highly successful ABC-TV series Phoenix and Janus.
In 1995, he created the critically acclaimed ABC-TV series Mercury.
A literary all rounder, his stage play Cop Out! was first presented by the Melbourne Theatre Company and was the Western Australian Theatre Company’s contribution to the Festival of Perth.
He also published three children’s books in his Riverboat Bill series, a novel Break Of Day, and a collection of short stories.
During his recollections, Cliff salutes others who shared his writer’s journey.
“I left Crawfords after a blue I had with Hector.
“He wanted me to take up a training role, but I had left teaching to write, so I said ‘no’ and essentially sacked myself.
“Still, Hector remained a great supporter over the years.
“He would ring me up whenever I had something on the ABC: ‘Good stuff fellow! Keep it up!’”
He warmly recalls a meeting with media personality David Frost (licensee of the English network, London Weekend) to discuss the making of Power Without Glory.
“I had suggested the book to the ABC, who started negotiations with Frank Hardy for the rights.
“David Frost was coming here to make Frost Over Australia.
“He did not know anything about Australia.
“So he bought a paperback at the airport because it had a map of Australia on it!
“That book was Power Without Glory.
“By the time he had finished it, he was asking for the rights,” Cliff said.
“So now two outfits wanted it.
“But Frank was clever, rather than creating a conflict he suggested a co-production.
“ABC writer Howard Griffiths and I met David Frost at a pub somewhere in Melbourne.
“He was terrific — ‘Just send me the drafts, otherwise it is your project.’
“Howard and I brought on more writers and it ended up with the best rating the ABC had ever had for drama, possibly for anything up to that point.”
Not once in our three-hour interview does Cliff mention the awards he has received.
I cite some of them here, not least because they reflect the tremendous variety within his work.
His TV quartet Marion and the plays End of Summer and Burn the Butterflies won a total of 17 industry awards.
He received the Australian Writers Guild major AWGIE for Marion in 1974 (eight AWGIE’s throughout his career).
A Best Writer nomination followed at the 1978 Science Fiction Film Awards in Hollywood, and AFI nominations in 1992 and 1995.
Boy Soldiers won the Liv Ullman Peace Prize at the 1990 Chicago International Festival of Children’s Films and was a finalist in the International Emmy Awards in 1991 (the first Australian drama to receive an Emmy nomination).
And his Janus episode Fit To Plead won a 1995 Australian Human Rights Award.
Clearly, Cliff Green is a successful writer.
However, donning the cap of a newspaper editor requires something more.
Meeting his editorial responsibilities sincerely — but not always submissively  — Cliff mapped the Diary into a landscape that reflects Warrandyte’s strong community character.
Of course, he did not do it alone.
Numerous volunteer editors, writers, photographers, artists and advertising managers helped him.
He also had a North Star — Cliff credits wife Judy as being the Diary’s moral compass.
“Judy does more than manage ‘out of the inbox’; sometimes I would get a bit excited about a story and she would caution me against publishing it,” he said.
Consequently, Diary readers have witnessed the celebration of their town through an editorship underpinned by solid community principles.
Protector of Warrandyte’s Village Identity?
Cliff is far too modest to assume this tag on the paper’s behalf.
But as someone who appreciates Warrandyte’s unique flavour and local efforts in trying to preserve it, I believe the Diary wears it well.
He does acknowledge the paper is “a part of Warrandyte”.
The attachment is stronger than that.
In fact, many locals think of the Diary a bit like the next-door neighbour who you can invite over for a cuppa.
One of Cliff’s subtle strengths as managing editor has been to foster this sense of accessibility, binding the paper to the community.
For a small-town, largely voluntary effort, the Diary is peerless in its sophistication.
Typically, Cliff plays down its many accolades, but says he is particularly proud of a Fire Awareness Award bestowed by Radio ABC Gippsland during a bad bushfire year.
He is also proud of the Diary’s role in nurturing journalist cadets: Clinton Grybas, Georgi Stickels and Sam Davies, among others.
In 2001, shortly before retiring from screenwriting, Cliff Green received a Centenary Medal “for service to the community”.
He accepted an OAM in 2009 for “service to the Australian film and television industry as a screenwriter and educator”. (The ‘educator’ component refers to teaching screenwriting for institutions like Victorian College of the Arts and RMIT University.)
And did I mention he was a founding member of the board of Film Victoria and founding vice-president of the Melbourne Writers Theatre?
He must have drunk a lot of coffee over those 50 years!
As a Diary contributor, I am most grateful Cliff decided to give local writers a voice in their community — not to mention the opportunity to practice their craft in a newspaper of the highest standard.
On a personal note, I am grateful he taught me the economy of “not using seven words when three will do”.
We miss you.

The Editors, staff and contributors of the Diary send our condolences to Judy, their children, and the extended Green family.
Personal recollections of the extraordinary life of Cliff Green will be published in the February 2021 edition of the Dairy.

Celebrating community spirit

IF THERE is one thing that the townships of Warrandyte, North Warrandyte, Wonga Park and Park Orchards do well, it is community.

A big component of our community spirit is the efforts of volunteers, and Community Bank Warrandyte is once again honouring our community heroes with the Community Spirit Award.

In 2019, the award recipient was wildlife carer Maxine Rosewall who has spent more than 20 years rehabilitating injured wildlife from her home in North Warrandyte.

Our world has shrunk in 2020 and our everyday lives and habits have seen significant disruption.

But, throughout the pandemic, the communities of Warrandyte and its surrounds have maintained its connectivity, compassion and camaraderie.

To be Warrandytian means to be part of this community and you will be hard pressed to find a member of our community who has not donated their time, energy or expertise to a local cause, club or event.

Community Bank Warrandyte Director, Claire Jones, told the Diary how our altruistic nature contributes to Warrandyte being a special place and why the Community Spirit Award is an important signifier of these works.

“Warrandyte is a unique place to live and is incredibly special because of all the work so many in our community do voluntarily.

“I think the importance of this process is actually to acknowledge all the great work these volunteers do within and for our community, not only the recipient.

“And how having people like them around is such a great asset for our community,” she said.

Claire went on to discuss how Coronavirus affected how priorities changed and how local volunteers came through.

“People’s plans suddenly changed (almost overnight) during the pandemic.

“What was acceptable beforehand — sporting games, concerts, festivals with crowds, fundraising at a sausage sizzle suddenly became unacceptable.

“Volunteers and organisations had to pivot and change their plans and the way they operated.

“This required a lot of thought and extra work, which for volunteers, when they’re trying to maintain paid work — suddenly from home — with kids and partners there as well — trying to navigate different ways of interacting with their colleagues or fellow volunteers was a big ask.”

Despite the tough year, the community came out in force during the 2020 Community Spirit Award nomination period.

The nominees and their contributions are described below, then read on to discover who was crowned this year’s ultimate winner.

 

Nominee: Warrandyte Festival Committee

Nominated by Warrandyte Festival Committee member Phil Ashfield, for the ongoing efforts of the wholly volunteer run Festival Committee.

Phil added to his nomination how important it was to nominate the Festival Committee given the current crisis.

“While COVID-19 is currently restricting our ability to be able to put on a festival in the current environment, once things are back to normal, no other event will have the ability to bring the community back together just like the Warrandyte Festival will be able to.”

The Diary spoke with Warrandyte Festival Committee President Jamie Ferguson, who described the challenges of putting on the annual event and told us what the nomination means to him, and the rest of the committee.

“I think our biggest challenge each year is ensuring that we create a vibrant event that has all the traditional features that people love but also some new surprises.

“All these take so much input by the committee and many other community members.

“Each year there are new challenges…bushfires, huge rains, and the odd global pandemic.

“While they all create some pretty difficult and unique circumstances I’m always so thankful for the way the committee comes together and sorts stuff out.

“It’s a great privilege to be nominated for an award like this.

“I see so many people doing extraordinary things in a volunteer capacity in our community…many without the same pay off at the end that the festival gives us,” he said.

 

Nominee: Dick Davies, on behalf of Warrandyte Community Association(WCA)

Dick Davies was nominated by current WCA President Carli Lange.

Dick has been the linchpin of many WCA projects including Be Ready Warrandyte, Warrandyte Riverside Market, the Creekside and Riverside retirement villages, as well as speaking for the WCA, and in turn the community, at Council, on both sides of the river.

As part of her submission, Carli wrote: “Dick Davies has been an outstanding and inspirational community leader in Warrandyte for many decades.

“He has worked selflessly on so many projects which have provided continuing benefit to the community, from the Be Ready Warrandyte fire preparedness program through to the establishment of the Retirement Housing in Co-operative and the Community Market.

“It is hard to think of anyone who has made a greater and such long-lasting contribution to the community.”

On receiving news of his nomination, Dick requested that his nomination be on behalf of the Warrandyte Community Association.

Dick told the Diary: “It’s all a bit embarrassing, but it is an opportunity to celebrate how much so many people do to make Warrandyte a vibrant community,” he said.

 

Nominee: Martin Rakuscek

Nominated by Greg Warren for his work with the Warrandyte Junior Cricket Club and Warrandyte Junior Football Club.

Working in Team Manager roles, Martin has been integral in expanding junior participation in cricket and footy.

In his nomination for Martin, Greg noted: “Martin was never a cricketer, but has two boys who are now playing in our Senior teams… and about three years ago we convinced him to ‘pull on the whites’ and play in our Father/Son side.

Like everything he does, he got involved and became a valuable member of the team and had a bit of fun (and he’s still playing !!!).

“Martin is extremely well liked and respected throughout our club and the broader community.

“He sets a tremendous example for all club members and his involvement at our club has ensured that we continue to grow, play sport in the right spirit and gain respect for our club in the community”.

Martin told the Diary what he enjoys most about volunteering at the sports club and what it means to be nominated.

“The best part of volunteering at both sports clubs is seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces when they meet up with their mates for training, and game day.

“Seeing them build life-long friendships outside of school and having fun is a great part of being part of the Warrandyte Community.

“Everyone here loves where they live, and enjoying the great outdoors whether that is playing outdoor sport or just walking along the Yarra river.

“Being nominated for the award was a surprise, as most of us volunteers don’t do this for awards.

“Giving time to such a great community provides its own rewards through the friends you make along the way, and seeing the kids grow up to be fine,” he said.

 

Nominee: Tim Dawson

Tim was nominated by Nigel Kelly for his role as a Sports Chaplain and Committee member for Park Orchards Football and Netball Club.

Nigel writes: “During his time there he has supported and provided welfare to the club’s players, club officials and supporters with great care and commitment.”

Tim spoke to the Diary about the importance of having a person, in a community, who you can turn to for support and advice.

“I believe it’s important that everyone, no matter what age or gender, has the opportunity to turn to someone other than their family if they face a crisis.

“Over the past five years, I’ve worked to build relationships with everyone who is connected to the club so that in a crisis they know that there is someone to turn to for help.

“Often this spreads into the community too.

“Matters that I try and help with and support extend to job hunting, stress, injury, being dropped from a team to mental health, depression and suicide.

“I also have the opportunity to influence leadership and training of the young players.

“I believe that no man, women or child should ever walk alone in this life and I truly hope that the little I do in my community makes a massive difference

“Park Orchards Football Netball Club is a wonderful place to be a part of, and has a fantastic set of core values and morals,” he said.

 

Nominee: Lisa Ryan

Nominated by Judith Lightfoot for her five to ten years of voluntary service.

“Lisa shows virtue of good citizenship.

“She has touched and enriched the lives of others, particularly those who are vulnerable or less able to help themselves.

“Lisa has shown ongoing initiative, leadership and dedication.

“She has devoted herself to sustained and selfless voluntary service and has earned the respect of her peers and become a role model in their field,” Judith wrote.

 

Nominee: James Harris

Nominated by Anderson’s Creek Primary School Principal Sue Dyos for his role as School Council President for the last four years.

Sue writes: “Having worked with many Presidents over the years, James certainly gives above and beyond the expected role and continues to both support and lead many school activities.

“Through his positivity, enthusiasm and leadership skills he continues to inspire, lead and promote community and connectedness within and beyond the ACPS school community.”

 

2020 Community Spirit Award Recipient

On November 9, in what would usually be a packed room at the Warrandyte Sporting Group complex — but due to COVID-19 was a little more discreet this year, Community Bank Warrandyte announced the recipient of this year’s award as … (envelope please)… The Warrandyte Festival Committee.

The Diary spoke with Jaime Ferguson, who spoke on behalf of the Festival Committee.

Jamie accepted the award, on behalf of the Festival Committee.

“Amazing! I’m very proud of our committee.

“We are extremely thankful for the support the Community Bank Warrandyte has provided us and many other local organisations over many years.

“We’re looking forward to putting on a special event next year in whatever capacity is possible and sharing celebrations for making it through this year with the whole community,” he said.

Arguably the community event of the year, Warrandyte Festival weekend sees Warrandyte and the surrounding townships at their best.

It’s delivery, the music, arts and events on offer draw thousands of people and even though it is organised by volunteers, the scale, efficiency and professionalism in planning are not compromised.

Festival is a time for celebration, for catching up with old friends, making new ones and seeing some ripper live music.

The Festival is, in many ways, the embodiment of volunteering in Warrandyte.

A walk into Warrandyte’s history

MANNINGHAM CITY Council and Warrandyte Historical Society have installed another four historical plaques highlighting the rich history of the township.

Historical Society Secretary Valerie Polley said plaques were installed on the Warrandyte Mechanics Institute on the wall facing Yarra Street adjacent to the path leading to the outdoor area, on the front stone wall of the Old Fire Station, on the front wall of the Wine Hall, and on the right hand side of the stone retaining wall behind the War Memorial.

The plaques have been installed on historical buildings around Warrandyte and join another five, which were installed in 2017 at the Warrandyte Grand Hotel, Old Warrandyte Post Office (now museum), Warrandyte Bakery, Gospel Chapel (now Stonehouse Gallery) and the former Butcher’s Shop (now Riveresque).

The Historical Society provided the pictures and text and the council produced and installed the plaques.

The plaques tell the history of each building, providing residents and visitors an insight into the important history of the Warrandyte Township.

The owners and representatives of the properties were consulted on the placement of the plaques in a prominent position.

The new plaques add to the rich fabric of Warrandyte historical documentation and provide a COVID Safe friendly way for those interested to engage with and explore the history of Warrandyte township.

 

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Artist, Miner & Sapper: Penleigh Boyd

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How had I not heard of him?

This needed further research.

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

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

Who is a Sapper?

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

One who digs saps, is therefore called a sapper.

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

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

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

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

The Artist and “The Robins”

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

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

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

The Foundation described its architectural and artistic heritage:

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

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

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

The biographer Brenda Niall describes that:

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

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

Mining

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Traditionally, undermining castles.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Drunken Lion Tamer (The First Warrandyte Festival?)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All three lying fast asleep!

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

They were permitted to sleep on.

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

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

Robin Boyd was 4 years old at the time.

His wife, Edith, lived until 1961.

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Saving Gooligulch

MANNINGHAM COUNCIL has responded to an outcry from Wonga Park residents around the redevelopment of the historic Golligulch Playground.
Council initially released three options for the playgrounds in Wonga Park, to remodel two areas, the Gooligulch Playground and the Dudley Reserve playground.
Council’s Your Say website proposed removing the current Gooligulch playground and replacing it with either a Nature Playspace for young children, a ropes course aimed at teens, or a small basic facility, which would be offset with a “destination” playground constructed in Dudley Reserve.
However, following a flurry of comments on social media, a petition and numerous letters to Council, the website was amended to acknowledge the importance of the Gooligulch Playspace, Council added a comments section to the survey, which they extended by two weeks.
Frank Vassilacos, Acting Manager Integrated Planning at Manningham Council said in a letter to the Warrandyte Community Association, which has been provided to the Dairy: “We acknowledge that the initial material we provided through our website may not have adequately represented the existing historical elements.
“For that, we sincerely apologise for any angst or concern this may have created”.
Niall Sheehy , Manningham Council’s Acting Director City Planning and Community told the Diary: “Manningham Council is currently seeking feedback on proposals for play spaces in the Wonga Park area, including at Wonga Park Reserve and Dudley Reserve, to understand the needs of the local community and how they may have changed since the play spaces were first installed”.Wonga Park resident, Ros Forrest told the Diary that the community is upset both about the lack of consultation to this point, and that none of those options for the redevelopment include keeping the current unique playground.
Mr Sheehy said the three proposals outline new possibilities for Wonga Park Reserve and Dudley Reserve that may increase play options for a wider range of ages.
He said that the nature play space would “retain the theme and style of the existing Gooligulch Playspace”.
The Gooligulch Playspace was created in 1998, designed by Cathy Kiss, a former Planner with M

anningham Council, themed around a Graeme Base book My Grandma lived in Gooligulch.
The author was in attendance at the opening, signing books for people.
“It was a big event for our little suburb and a great talking point with all the school children in the community.
“It was so nice to have a playground that was very unique, but one which also blended in well in our semi-rural environment — it still does to this day,” Ms Forrest said.
She said many people have contacted her on Facebook saying that they use the playground, they appreciate that it is unique and do not want it demolished.
“Having said that, I have no objection to Council adding extra play equipment to the area for older children, but not at the expense of the current infrastructure,” she said.
“I would love to see this unique piece of history remain and I gather a lot of other people feel the same.”
Other people within the community have welcomed the proposal, with local resident Amy Cresswell posting that: “Council are wanting to provide us with beautiful new, innovative, safe and exciting new play spaces for our children and I can’t believe that anyone would be against this.
“I’m 100% for my rates dollars going towards this cause, it’s wonderful!”
She reminded objectors that first and foremost “children’s happiness is what this is all about”.
The Diary spoke with Author Graeme Base, who was pragmatic in his response to the news that the facility may be revamped.

“After 20 years I’m sure it must be in need of work — I’d love to see it live on, but everything has its day and it’d be silly to hang on to something if it is past its useful life.
We had heaps of fun designing and building all the bits and pieces for the playground back in the day but it’s a mistake to be too precious about one’s creations — if it can be refurbished for a reasonable cost then great — if not, let’s all hope some else fun and imaginative can be created to take its place.”

Following the public outcry Council amended the Your Say website to reflect that the Gooligulch theme would be retained in one of the options.

The council has three options on the table:

Option A
Gooligulch’ playground is replaced with a destination nature play space, that will retain the theme and style of the existing Gooligulch play space, while including a wide range of new nature play experiences and an informal picnic area designed for children between the ages of two and 12 years.
The current play equipment at Dudley Reserve will be replaced with a small local play space suitable for children between the ages of two and 12 years.

Option B
Gooligulch playground is removed and a new nature themed destination obstacle/ropes course aimed at children over 13 years and young adults.
This would be installed near the BMX track and tennis courts.
The current play equipment at Dudley Reserve will be replaced with a small play space suitable for children between the ages of two and 12 years.

Option C
Gooligulch playground is removed and minor improvements are carried out to an existing small playground alongside the lower oval at Wonga Park Reserve.
This playground caters for ages of two to 12 years.
The current play equipment at Dudley Reserve will be replaced with a large destination play space suitable for children between the ages of two and 12 years.

Mr Sheehy said Council understands that the existing Gooligulch play space “is unique and a very cherished feature in Wonga Park”.
“In the 25 years since its installation, Gooligulch Playground at Wonga Park Reserve has experienced considerable deterioration and is in need of replacement,” he said.
Mr Sheey said the images on the Your Say website were chosen to help illustrate the possible options, “but no designs have been prepared at this stage”.
“We are currently consulting with the community to seek feedback and hear suggestions.
“We acknowledge that there is also a strong community connection to the Gooligulch Playground, particularly with the historic elements of the existing play space.
“We are keen to hear from the community to let us know which elements are important to them and how we can best address these themes as part of a customised design,” Mr Sheehy said.
He said following the current consultation to understand the location and type of play space the community would prefer, a detailed design proposal will be prepared and made available for community feedback later this year.
Former Councillor and now declared candidate for Yarra Ward in the upcoming election, Meg Downie has blamed the Council for lack of maintenance that has led to the deterioration of the playground.
“I was frustrated to hear that some time ago Council decided not to maintain this unique playground and now plans have been drawn up without input from the community,” she said on the Your Say forum.
President of the Warrandyte Community Associate, and candidate for Yarra Ward in the forthcoming Manningham Council election, Carli Lange-Boutle, told the Diary that she has advocated for a community consultation panel to work on the final design for the play space.
Ms Lange-Boutle said she has been advised the Council will “involve the relevant historical society and community representatives… to incorporate their input into a future customised design”.
Mr Vassilacos said: “a detailed design proposal will be prepared and made available for community feedback later this year – no doubt, incorporating the existing unique character”.
The initial round of community consultation has been extended and will now close on Monday, September 14.