Featured

Royal Proclamation to the people of Warrandyte

TODAY, WE stand before you with great pride as we celebrate the timeless virtues that define what it means to be a Warrandytian. In this remarkable village on the edge of the city yet nestled in a bushland valley, we find ourselves bound together by a shared spirit that sets us apart. We say that your willingness to volunteer and contribute selflessly underscores the true essence of Warrandyte. Whether in times of celebration or adversity, we come together, embodying the spirit of community that makes our village flourish. We firmly believe that, while we differ in talents, beliefs and cultural history, this place is sacred to all of us. In this place, fortunes have been won and lost, great men and women live, and remarkable children play. Music, art, and social discourse flourish here. The Monarchs of Warrandyte remind you that our unique culture is valuable. People of Warrandyte, continue to support your friends and neighbours whenever there is a need. Take joy from volunteering or just saying g’day to a fellow Warrandytian. Smile, and pass your cheerfulness on at the Festival and every other day of the year.

H.R.H Andrew, Chris, Don and Zeus Warrandyte Festival Monarchs 2024

Time to Celebrate

By CLAIRE HARRISON

WE ALL KNOW it takes a village.

This is especially true when it comes to hosting the Warrandyte Festival.

This year’s event will be celebrated on Friday, April 19, and Saturday, April 20.

“Our cherished community event is only possible thanks to the hundreds of volunteers and contributors behind the scenes who make the weekend so special,” says Festival President Dwayne Schuyler.

This year’s 2024 Monarchs are community volunteers Don Hughes, Chris “Chewy” Padgham and Andrew Yen, who serve to represent all the other fabulous volunteers who make make our community what it is.

“A big thanks to the mums and dads who are making costumes and have volunteered at the school stalls, the emergency services volunteers on site all weekend, the Scouts and local sports clubs running activities, and the artists taking time to make the reserve look amazing,” says Dwayne.

A new activity this year, Clay play: community art making, is being hosted by Gabie Mello from Warrandyte Pottery.

“I’m really excited to give people the chance to be creative with clay. “Imagine all of the amazing creatures that will come to life over the weekend,” says Gabie.

Clay play will be held on Friday night from 5pm to 7pm and Saturday from 10am to 2pm in the rotunda on the Riverbank.

Gabie is also the honorary guest judge for the en plein air painting competition hosted by NaNY Gallery.

Artists can sign up on Friday, April 19, from 9am at the NaNY Gallery tent before spending the day creating their unique artwork.

Completed artworks will be on display and for sale on Saturday at the NaNY Gallery tent on the Riverbank.

Money from sales (less processing fees) will go to the artist.

Claire Bloom from Warrandyte High School will once again host the Dog Show and Pet Parade.

A beloved event for 30+ years thanks to Claire’s dedication, you are invited to show off your cuddly, cute, and curious household creatures at the new time of 5pm–7pm on Friday.

As always, local schools, community groups and emergency services will get the chance to be cheered, celebrated and thanked as they promenade down Yarra Street for the annual Street Parade on Saturday.

Starting at Mitchell Avenue at 10am and ending at Stiggants Reserve, the Parade is a colourful and quirky celebration of all things Warrandyte.

“We have a long-standing joke that there are more Warrandytians in the Parade than watching it,” says volunteer Parade organiser Kerrie Boyle.

“Seeing the Parade participants enjoying themselves is a heart-warming reminder of all the amazing teachers, volunteers, activity leaders, emergency services volunteers, artists, sports people, local kids, and their parents who contribute to our community.”

Festival organisers would like to remind everyone that Yarra Street will be closed to traffic (including buses) between Warrandyte Bridge and the Harris Gully Road roundabout from approximately 9:30am until 11am on Saturday for the Parade.

Please plan ahead.

On Saturday, Monarchs Andrew Yen and Chris “Chewy” Padgham, both Scouts leaders, will coordinate their volunteers to help run the Scouts inflatable climbing wall on the grass below the Community Church and the Scouts giant waterslide, which runs down the hill adjacent to Stiggant Street.

Both will run between 11am and 4:30pm.

“There will be something for everyone this year,” says Andrew.

“There’s nothing quite like sliding down the hill in river water to bring a smile to your face.”

Members of the Warrandyte Netball Club will run Jellybean races from 1pm to 2pm on Saturday.

Younger kids are invited to test their skills by balancing a jellybean on a wooden spoon.

Our town’s very talented Warrandyte Artisans will have artwork to view and for sale in the foyer of the Community Church from 10am to 5pm.

Away from the Festival precinct, Warrandyte Historical Society Museum will welcome the public on Saturday between 10am and 5pm and Sunday between 1:30pm and 4:30pm at 111 Yarra Street.

Festival organisers would like to thank Jenny Drummond and Peter Hanson for offering to run the Gold Mine Tour following John Hanson’s recent passing.

John ran tours for more than 45 years, starting from his home, where he and Peter uncovered an underground mine shaft and side tunnel in the 1970s.

This year, Jenny and Peter welcome anyone interested in Warrandyte’s rich gold history to join them on Saturday from 2pm at 104 Webb Street.

Please wear sturdy footwear and bring a hat, sunscreen, and water.

See the full program on Pages 16–17, or find out more about the Festival at warrandytefestival.org.

Enjoy short films on the banks of the river

A TOTAL OF 12 short films have been selected for the 2024 Warrandyte Film Feast on Friday, April 19, at Stiggants Reserve.

“It’s always an entertaining evening showcasing the talent of emerging and experienced independent filmmakers,” says event host Rosalie Ridler.

“The films are diverse and eclectic, ranging from comedy to drama, thriller, surreal, abstract, and documentary.”

Rosalie, from local film production business Striking Productions, volunteers to organise the event for the festival.

She will kick off the screenings by presenting a short, simple film titled Number 11 (not in competition).

The Film Feast will feature four local filmmakers in the mix this year.

Jamie Kulin is part of the team that brings you Gem Amongst The Gold, a heart-warming documentary set in Warrandyte.

Stranded by Stephen Jenkins is set in the Yarra Valley — a precautionary tale of a lone young woman whose motorbike breaks down in the remote Australian bush.

She encounters a good Samaritan.

Is he what he seems, or does he have nefarious plans?

Lawrence Phelan has produced Favour on the Fourth Floor.

It is set late at night at a hotel where a guest solicits a cleaner for a rather unique favour.

Miras Tale, written, produced, and directed by Gary Hegedus, follows a lost mermaid who attempts to escape two seedy fishermen.

Come on down

Food trucks and bars will be open from 5pm, including during the 30-minute interval.

Tickets are limited and usually sell out, so please get in quickly to secure your seat.

Ticketing information and the full lineup of films is available on the Warrandyte Festival website at warrandytefestival.org/filmfeast.

Dust off your dancing shoes for this year’s Festival line up

With Autumn in full swing, Friday night at the Warrandyte Festival will feature live music on the Riverbank Stage from 5pm–7pm in the twilight.

One of Australia’s leading rock bands, Sisters Doll, will play an acoustic set in the Now and Not Yet Festival Lounge on the Riverbank.

With over 700 shows under their belts and crowned runners up on Australia’s Got Talent, they have toured and shared the stage with past KISS members Peter Criss and Bruce Kulick, along with many other rock legends.

Supporting Sisters Doll is local lyrical artisan, Emma Jury, who effortlessly weaves Taylor Swift’s storytelling finesse with the raw emotionality reminiscent of Lizzy McAlpine and Ethan Cain.

Infused with R&B and jazz nuances, her authentic voice crafts melodies that blend folk, pop, and soul influences.

On Saturday, high energy blue-billy-grass-rockin’-roots band, 19-Twenty will headline a solid line up of mostly local musicians for a fun day and night on the Main Stage.

This will include locals the Riffmasters, an eight-piece blues, soul and R&B band, as well as Cath Rutten, Tall Dan & the True Story’s, and festival-favourites, the Scrims.

Shine your dancing shoes!

On the Riverbank Stage, discover emerging talent when young bands and musicians aged 12 to 25 complete in the Battle of the Bands from 2:30pm–5:30pm.

Would you like to have a go on stage too?

This year there will be two Open Mic sessions from 9:30am–11:30am and 12:30pm–2:30pm.

Performers of all ages and capabilities are welcome to perform two to three songs each.

You can sign up in person half an hour beforehand (i.e. 9am and 12pm) at the Riverbank Stage — it’s first in, best dressed.

Down-to-earth business changes hands

Warrandyte’s favourite soil shop has changed hands.
It now has a new name — Wonga Garden & Building Supplies — with new owners committed to continuing to provide the service that has had locals returning to Mahoneys Court, time and again, for their landscaping supplies.
Since the site first opened in the 1980s, avid gardeners and landscapers have made use of Warrandyte’s “soil shop” on the corner of Warrandyte-Heidelberg Road and Mahoneys Court when it was time to load up on sand, soil, mulch, and stone.
It also boasted a plant nursery for a short time, but when Ron and Jan Day purchased what was then called the Soil Shop in 1992, they focused the business on garden supplies and being a community-focused business.
“We had a thriving business here for 20 years,” Jan Day told the Diary.
The Days then sold the Soil Shop to local excavator Sean Ramak, who ran the business for a short time, and it was then known as Supersoil.
In 2008, the baton was passed to Shane McMullin and Leisa Dabrowiecki, who rebranded as Riverside Sand & Soil in 2019. Shane and Leisa’s customer service has won a loyal and loving following from Warrandyte residents and customers who are further away.
That legacy is set to continue as Shane and Leisa pass on the business to a new family — albeit under a new name.
The Thompson family, Craig and Deb, and their son Ben, along with Craig’s brother Russell, who own Wonga Garden & Building Supplies in Warranwood, took over the business at the start of February.
Shane and Leisa put on an event to say farewell, and to welcome the new owners.
The event was attended by owners, past, present, and future, as well as many of Riverside’s loyal customers, where everyone enjoyed a few bevvies (with the bucket of the loader pressed into service as an esky) and some delicious Bocca pizzas.

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Leisa told the Diary she and Shane were sad to go.

“I want to thank the Warrandyte community — the Cricket Club, the kindergarten, the primary school, and everyone that’s supported us — and I do really want to thank our drivers — we wouldn’t be anything without them,” she said.

Leisa reflected on the huge learning curve she had when she started 15 years ago.

“I had no idea about the industry — I had my first customer ring me on my first day, asking me for some bar chairs*, and I had no idea what they were.
“But I know everything now, and the tradies love when they walk in, and they say, ‘Where’s the man?’ and they’re quite impressed that I can drive the loader,” she said.

But Leisa said it was time for her and Shane to have a new adventure.
“We are going to have a break for the moment, and a little bit more work/life balance for us, and to be available to be there for the grandkids — I’m looking forward to being able to be a nan”.
Shane agreed that some work/life balance is needed.
“Six days a week, you have no real holidays, no weekends.
“But the business has been really good, and I have loved the people — I will miss the people — we’ve formed friendships, real friendships.
“A fellow brought me a bottle of wine on our last day, and another customer brought us a TattsLotto ticket.
“That’s what it’s like; we have friends out of it, and it’s hard to get that,” he said.
Shane said there was no question that the team at Wonga were the right fit for the business.
There was a synergy — we didn’t even advertise, Leisa just made the call and spoke to Craig, and one afternoon, they were looking at it, and we came to an agreement, and that was it — they loved it, they loved the area and are a fantastic fit,” Shane said.
Craig Thompson said his family has been running Wonga Garden & Building Supplies for over 40 years.
“I’ve been in the industry since I was 18, and it has always been something I enjoyed.
“It gives you a lot of outlets for meeting people, but I have always loved machinery, and I’ve always loved landscaping too, and I get to deal with all those products as well as dealing with people, so it’s good.
“Shane and Leisa spoke to us last year about the possibility of being interested in Riverside.
“We thought it would complement our existing business,” Craig told the Diary.
Craig said despite the name change, they are not looking at changing too much about the business.
“We’ll bring it all under the one banner, so it’ll be one business with two depots.
“But we want to keep the feel of the Warrandyte business because I think it’s really good, and the yard looks great.”
Craig said they will continue offering the same staple of products — of all the garden and building supplies — sand, cement, stone, soil, and mulches.
“But we will also probably have more, specialty pebbles and decorative stones, and so forth.
“We would love to expand our range too,” he said.
Leisa said the community can still get all the special blends that Riverside has been famous for.
“We have handed over all the secret recipes,” she said. So, drop in to say hi to the Thompsons next time you need a metre or two of sand, soil, pebbles, mulch, or even a couple of bar chairs.

*[Editor’s note — bar chairs are clips used to hold concrete reinforcing bars in place]

Balance is the key to a successful sporting life

THE “GREAT WALL of Warrandyte”, Rachael Lynch OAM was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in the 2024 Australia Day Honours for her services to hockey.
Rachael was awarded for her distinguished career on the hockey pitch, alongside her significant work off the pitch as a mental health ambassador, and as a nurse.
Australia’s “most capped goalkeeper ever”, the two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist, Rachael was also a dual Olympian, a World Cup silver medallist, and played 233 games for Australia across her international career.
Off the pitch, she is a nurse at Austin Hospital, a hockey coach, a Performance Lifestyle Advisor with the Victorian Institute of Sport (VIS), and a passionate advocate for mental health, serving as an ambassador for RUOK? Day.
Rachael told Warrandyte Diary she has followed the different honours and awards given to Australians over the years and some of the incredible things that they do.

“It is something that is very special and highly regarded, so I am absolutely privileged and honoured to receive one,” she said.

She said she has always tried to keep a life balance, which she is trying to instil in the athletes she supports at the VIS.

“I have four different sports I am looking after at the VIS, none of them being hockey, so I get to share some of my experiences around — like the importance of having a bit of life balance as an athlete.
“I was working as a nurse throughout my whole career, and it was something I was incredibly passionate about, because having those other areas and those other identities allow you to become a better person and a better athlete as well,” she said.

She said while the gender pay gap was a reality, having employment away from elite sport was grounding.

“It was something that gave me perspective, and health is good for that, but I think every athlete is going to go through those ups and downs in their career, and it just allows you to keep you grounded.
“Having something else that you are good at as well, if things aren’t going well in your sport, you have also got those other areas and those things that you are passionate about.
“If I ever met someone for the first time and they asked what I did, I always said that I was a nurse — I didn’t say I was an athlete — I am equally proud of my sporting career, but nursing is something I think is a bit more relatable to people.
“As much as we want the pay gap to close and we want female athletes to have some equality, it would not matter what someone was getting paid; I would always suggest or encourage them to have those other areas outside of their sport.”

Rachael said while she has many highlights on the pitch, it is her legacy of life balance she instilled in the Hockeyroos during her time on the squad she feels most proud of.

“Normally, in an Olympic year, you don’t work or study, just because of the increased load, but I pushed hard to be able to work in that year because it was really important to me and gave me the perspective and balance throughout the year helps me play better.
“At the time, there were only three of us who were working, but then, for the leadup to the 2020 Olympics, nearly everyone in the team was working or studying, and that was a bit of a legacy for me, and I wanted to encourage and educate the importance of that.”

Her hockey career has not always been smooth sailing. In the leadup to Tokyo, players’ lack of confidence in the off-field leadership of Hockey Australia was brought to a head by a decision by selectors to drop Lynch and fellow Hockeyroo Georgie Morgan from the team, only to have the decision reversed on appeal, and the selection panel resign.

“I did six months in the lead into the Tokyo Olympics training by myself because I wasn’t in the team; I had to go through a legal battle to get my spot back, which I did.
“There was a lot that needed to change in the sport, which is what happened, and it was just great to see the group so happy and able to be themselves.
“It was unfortunate how it all played out, but I was happy to be a part of it,” she said. She said the challenges leading up to the Tokyo Olympics made the event even more sweet.
“To be able to get there and go away with a group of girls who felt we were doing something really special, and I guess that was what allowed me to retire feeling pretty content because the sport was in a much better place by that point.”

Rachael has been an ambassador for RUOK? Day, Lifeline, Live to Give, Donor Mate, and also coaches and mentors rising athletes.

“I like to keep myself busy and do several different things, and certainly, in my coaching, I have been fortunate.
“I have got so much out of hockey over the years and to have the opportunity to give back, whether through different mental health activations or my coaching — looking after up-and-coming goalies.
“I am always trying to grab opportunities to share some of the special things that I got from the sport with other young athletes or even older athletes; I really enjoy that,” she said.

Rachael took the opportunity to give a special thank you to her mum, dad, and brother.

“Because they have been there for every step of the journey with me, and I know there were a lot of sacrifices very early on for them to allow me to travel and compete, and so I am also very grateful for that.”

Rachael’s mother, Anne Lynch, spoke to the Diary and said she was very proud of her daughter.

“She is just a beautiful person, she works very hard, and does a lot of community work — she deserves it.
“We are just so excited for her, and based on the messages I have received, the rest of the community are too,” Anne said.

Rachel still gets out on the pitch, playing in local and national competitions.

“I play for Camberwell in the Melbourne competition, and then I also play in the Melbourne team in the national league, so nothing international, but I still love the sport.”

She said she doesn’t think the honour will change things too much for her. “I try to have a positive influence in any environment that I am in, whether it is work or coaching sport.

“The thing I value the most is having balance, perspective, and just being kind to people.”

Rachael joins a number of athletes who were recognised for their services to sport in the 2024 honours.
Commonwealth Games Australia President Ben Houston noted their recognition and congratulated all on their service to sport and their community in Australia.

“Commonwealth sport is at the heart of Australia’s story, and we welcome the continued acknowledgement of those that have contributed to the green and gold at the Games,” said Mr Houston.
“Our congratulations to those who were elevated to and received a Member of the Order of Australia, as well as the recipients recognised with a Medal of the Order of Australia.”

The Governor-General congratulated the 1,042 Australians who received honours this Australia Day.

“Recipients have made a difference and had an impact at the local, national, and international level.
“Individually, they are inspiring, and collectively, they speak to the strength of our communities.
“Recipients come from all parts of the country. “They have served and had an impact in just about every field you can imagine; their stories and backgrounds are diverse.
“We value their service, thank them for their hard work and selflessness and celebrate them.
“To each recipient: know that you have the thanks and respect of your nation. “In my experience, most are humble and often try to deflect attention or praise — please enjoy the moment because your country has decided that you deserve recognition,” the Governor-General said.

Five million reasons to celebrate

WHEN THE GOING got tough, and the last bank left town, the Warrandyte locals of the early 2000s made a plan to start their own bank — and I don’t think they could have imagined that just two decades later it would result in more than $5 million invested back into the community.
This year, Community Bank Warrandyte celebrates 20 years of banking in Warrandyte; that is, 20 years of building an institution that has become a consistent funding source for our community.
While 20 years is a milestone on its own, recently, at our annual Grants and Presentation night held at the Warrandyte Sporting Club in November, Community Bank Warrandyte committed another $400,000 to local projects and initiatives, bringing the total contributions to over $5M, since the bank has been in operation.
Looking back on history, there have been some significant impacts over the 20 years, and here is how we have given back to the communities of Warrandyte, Wonga Park, and Park Orchards:

  • Arts — $520,262
  • CFAs — $574,321
  • Charities — $179,982
  • Community defibrillators — $64,812
  • Community services — $270,891
  • Education — $455,968
  • Environment — $222,654
  • Other — &890,495
  • Scholarships — $140,595
  • Seniors — $158,775
  • Sporting clubs — $1,582,269
  • Youth — $168,025

Chair of Community Bank Warrandyte, Aaron Farr, explains that banking with your local, community bank is a win for the whole community.
“Our profits come from accounts opened at the local branch.
“Then we return up to 80 per cent of these profits to the community through our grants and sponsorship program.
“It’s a win-win for everyone”.
This social enterprise model of banking not only benefits the community with funding support but keeps local retail banking in town, together with staff that you get to know by popping into the branch whenever you like.
As 2023 draws to a close, we reflect on some incredible achievements from our community investment.
This year alone, we have helped create new classrooms, playgrounds, saved heritage buildings, improved training facilities for our CFAs, provided new sporting uniforms and equipment, and continued the support of local institutions like the Festival, Art Show, and Pottery Expo — not to mention the new initiative of Pinking Up Warrandyte.
From our volunteer Board of Directors and staff, Community Bank Warrandyte wishes all our customers and community partners a Merry Christmas and a safe and Happy New Year.

Celebrating two years of NaNY Gallery

IT IS HARD to believe that NaNY Gallery has only been a part of the Warrandyte community for two years.
It came into being during the end of the COVID-19 lockdowns in 2021.
In the true community spirit he is well known for, Now and Not Yet Café’s Derek Bradshaw offered to provide the space when I was looking for somewhere to host my exhibition.
Then came the idea to start exhibiting local artists’ work every two months.
A grant from the Bendigo Bank allowed for a gallery hanging system to be installed, and NaNY Gallery was officially founded.
I then invited local artist Jacinta Payne to have the first show.
Jacinta’s Bushscapes and Moonlight exhibition featured her atmospheric abstract landscapes and included some pieces made on reclaimed denim, with many works snapped up by local art lovers on opening night.
We hit it off, and Jacinta joined the team.
My award-winning show Can You See The Beauty In It? was exhibited next, and I also found many new collectors during my show, proving the idea of a gallery wall in a café in the heart of town was one that the community would embrace.
Relaxed and accessible, the opening nights have become highly anticipated by regulars.
With no shortage of local talent, the calendar quickly filled up into the following year.
NaNY Gallery has supported many first-time exhibiting artists, such as Kim Charbonneau, who discovered her photographic talents during lockdown and has gone on to contribute to many group shows.
Wildlife illustrator Sarai Meyerink has a YouTube channel and offers online drawing courses.
As well as an exhibition of his natural ochre paintings, established artist Gary Upfield also offered up two very interesting ochre workshops in the space.
Bron Elmore’s bird & bloom exhibition was incredibly successful, selling many pieces and cultivating her growing following.
This year started with the nearly sold-out show of Warrandyte-born Michaela Bumpstead with her beautiful bush and riverscapes.
David Hewitt also had great success with his first show.
We did a Salon hang for oil and watercolour painter Leanne Savory with over 50 pieces on the wall.
She has joined the stable at Tacit Gallery in Collingwood.
Local living legend Bill McAuley filled our walls with portraits from his fantastic career as a photojournalist.
NaNY also held its first book launch with Bill McAuley’s Portraits of the Soul, which was a huge evening.
The October/November show features established ceramic artists Chris and Mary-Lou Pittard, Jane Annois, and prints from Angela Nagel, gracing the wall in their combined show What Feeds Me.
Finally, our last show for 2023 is an open-call group show — from December 3 to February 3.
We have put together an exhibition of 30 artists, which we feel will captivate the NaNY crowd — we received over 79 submissions by artists from all around Melbourne.
Once again, the Bendigo Bank has generously donated money to help us with some proper gallery lighting, which will be installed soon.
Jacinta and I are very proud of what NaNY Gallery has become and the calibre of artists we have attracted. It is so sought after that we have decided to go monthly with our exhibitions next year to give more artists a chance to show their work.
Our exhibition opening nights will be held on the first Sunday of every month in 2024.
Come along, have a glass of wine and some nibbles, and meet our exhibiting artists.
We cannot wait to see how NaNY Gallery will flourish into the future with exciting artists such as Tim Read, Ant Owen, Deb Mawdsley, and touring motorbiking artist Christine Keeble, to name a few for 2024.
Watch this space!

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NaNY Gallery is volunteer-run, and Now and Not Yet Café is a not-for-profit community organisation.
If you would like to donate to the Now and Not Yet organisation, contact them via their website www.nowandnotyet.com.au. For artwork enquiries, contact nanygallery@gmail.com.

Gathering Circle takes shape at wonguim wilam

VISITORS TO wonguim wilam will notice a stunning new installation, with the completion of a Gathering Circle as the first part of an Indigenous art installation at the riverside park.
The work, by prominent Melbourne-based fine artist, muralist and creative, Simone Thomson, will be installed this year and includes an entrance sculpture and Gathering Circle.
This new addition highlights the significance of the area to Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people and reflects the preservation of culture.
“The Gathering Circle is a place where community comes to connect with one another.
“This is how our oral history has been passed on for thousands of generations,” said Simone.
The gathering circle takes advantage of sightline across to the Birrarung and is three metres in diameter, to invite the community to come together.
Edged by stone seating the gathering circle is organic in form and features Simone’s intricate design in stone and paint, mirroring the natural palette of the surrounding environment and reflecting on themes of country, culture and community.
A sculpture will be installed during the summer months, making up the second part of Simone’s artwork at wonguim wilam.
Simone is a Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung and Yorta-Yorta Traditional Owner through her mother, and her art is inspired by her, “spiritual connection to Country and the rich colours and textures of the earth and sky”.
Simone said, “In the Aboriginal way, the Gathering Circle or meeting place is a place where community comes to connect with one another, to sit down and discuss cultural business and family matters and to learn and share stories.”
“This is how our oral history has been passed on for thousands of generations — by facing one another with respect and hearing our songlines and men’s and women’s business from our Elders, our knowledge holders and leaders who are our teachers.”
Simone added that the Gathering Circle would represent the importance of community and the preservation of cultural practices significant to the oldest continuous culture on Earth.
“It will be a place of reflection on country and offer a peaceful connection to the lands and waterways in which it sits along the beautiful Birrarung, the river of mist and shadows.”
Manningham Mayor, Cr Deirdre Diamante, touched on the significance of stories to public art.
“When it comes to public art, it’s so important that we consider the works’ appearance within the context of what inspired it and the story it is telling.
“Through the Gathering Circle, Simone is extending the whole community an open invitation to come together, connect and reflect on the incredible cultural significance of Warrandyte.
“This art is also functional and immersive, providing a special place for residents and visitors to do just that,” the Mayor added.
The entrance sculpture will be in the form of a boomerang to be installed in the coming months.
It will be situated at the entrance of the park and standing tall from hand carved cedar pine, the boomerang sculpture will welcome all visitors to wonguim wilam while also acting as an invitation to return as visitors depart.

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Photos: CHARLIE KINROSS

Council conducted the commission in consultation with Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation.
Find out more about the work at www.manningham.vic.gov.au/news/wonguim-wilam-public-art-commission.

Supporting young artists

A CELEBRATION of the next generation of artistic talent saw friends and family gather recently at the Warrandyte Community Centre for the 2023 Warrandyte Arts & Education Trust’s Youth Arts Award.
This biennial event is a chance for the Trust to support an aspiring artist with a significant financial contribution of $10,000.
The money for this award was funded solely with profits from Warrandyte Diary’s newspapers (Warrandyte Diary and Manningham & Nillumbik Bulletin), which means advertising in the Warrandyte Diary and Manningham & Nillumbik Bulletin, by extension, supports a young Warrandyte artist.
The evening’s guest speaker was Yarra Ward Councillor and teacher Carli Lange, who spoke about Warrandyte as “the home of the artist” and the importance of nurturing artistic endeavours in today’s youth.

“We are here, this evening, supporting young artists through this community arts award.
“We are actively encouraging young artists in their endeavours while experiencing the enjoyment of their art from a young person’s perspective, and that is one of the best perspectives to have.
“You have made an incredible success, and you are incredible, every one of you.
“You took the courage to nominate yourselves to go through and express your ideas and your heart through an expressive and creative art form.
“With joy, we say what an outstanding achievement you have made in the expressive field you have chosen.
“You are an incredible example to young artists in our community, and tonight is a tribute to each one of you.
“Youth community arts awards like this one provide a vital role in providing opportunities for young people to engage with the arts and develop their skills and talents.
“I am honoured to be here tonight, I can see the work, the journey, of young, professional artists, and I am honoured to be celebrating, joining in, and embracing their wonderful sense of the world, because we are all the better for it.
“You, as young people, as young artists, are vital to our community’s longevity and sustainability and to the arts, and with joy, I say congratulations,” said Cr Lange.

Award recipients Agnieshka and Bridie with Youth Arts Award Committee members David Tynan, Mary Ann Gibson, and Jock Macniesh

Since 1989, the award has helped talented artists such as Bridgett Liddell, Gabrielle Davidson, Peter Daverington, Loughlan Prior, and Ruby Martin. Now, we can add and celebrate Bridie Frances and Agnieshka Markwell to this list of recipients. Bridie and Agnieshka shared the $10,000 prize, taking home $5,000 each.
Bridie and Agnieshka were two of five finalists who were met and assessed by up to three talented experts in the young artists’ discipline.
Bridie, a singer/songwriter who listed amongst her influences Ruby Fields, Jack River, Missy Higgins, Gang of Youths, Slowly Slowly, and Spacey Jane, met with her musical mentors Heather Jamieson, Cath Rutten, and Lisa Young for her assessments.
Bridie’s assessors said:

“Bridie has a strong sense of the sound and artistic qualities that she is aiming for.
Despite her age, she is, in the truest sense, an artist moving very authentically towards her own sound.
Her dedication and love of all aspects of music is commendable.
Her volunteer work, songwriting, and singing show her experience and creativity.
Bridie is a warm and passionate young musician, committed to recording and performing her original works and working in other music industry roles.”

Agnieshka is an opera singer and listed Amy Manford, an Australian-American soprano singer, among her influences.
Her assessors, Carrie Barr, Jamie Moffat, and Nina Korbe, described her passion as:

“Agnieshka’s voice is very lovely, with her technique developing well. I was impressed with the vocal maturity in one so young.
She showed musicality in expression and connection to the text, good range, extensions, nice stagecraft and facial expressions communicating her character.
I am confident that Agnieshka has great potential, and if her training and career are correctly guided, she will emerge as a very fine singer.
She has an unusually strong connection with the music she sings, which is rare for someone so young, and I am impressed by her musical intelligence.
Agnieshka has a sweet, warm, youthful tone with a good sense of line and poise.
Her natural musical instincts and diverse experience in her career so far have served her well.”

After the award presentation, the Diary spoke with both Bridie and Agnieshka about what winning the award means to them.
Both recipients spoke about the excellent opportunity to meet with and be mentored by talented artists and experts in their preferred artistic discipline.
“Just talking with them, asking for advice about my future, and getting their advice on my performance was just incredible — that process alone was enough,” said Agnieshka.
Agnieshka will use the $5,000 prize to help give her a chance to study at the Royal Academy of Arts in London.
“The whole thing is just awesome,” said Bridie.
“Even this event, just being able to meet all the other finalists.
“There are so many people in the music and arts community in Warrandyte, and they all have so much talent and knowledge to give, so it is just amazing to be able to recognise that as well.”
Bridie went on to say she would use her share of the prize to book some studio time and record an EP. The Diary would also like to congratulate the other finalists, Isabel Khong (painting — abstract, contemporary and surreal), Eddie O’Rourke (monochromatic figure drawing), and Ariel Price (painting — nature, buildings, people), for going through the assessment process.
The Warrandyte Arts & Education Trust Youth Arts Award will return in 2025.

Fireball Finale and the reincarnation

THE DANCE FLOOR was heaving, with sparkle and glitter everywhere, then add a touch of Elvis and feathers, made for the perfect Fireball finale showstopper.
On Saturday, July 29, Fireball held its fourth gala ball with almost 300 locals in attendance. Bramleigh Estate — the queen of the evening — put on her best show with delectable food, impeccable service, and the most generous sponsorship the event has ever had in donating the complete venue, staff, food, beverages, table settings, and flowers; completely free in aid of raising money for our CFA volunteer firefighters.
Viva Las Vegas, did we have a performance!
Showgirls and boys carved up the dancefloor, but the highlight was special guest dancers — our local Fireys. For several weeks now, these firefighters have been adding a new skill set to their résumé, and we don’t think they’ll ever jump out of a fire truck with so much pizzazz ever again.
And boy, did their efforts deliver.
Thanks to their fancy footwork and feather-filled booty-shaking, the sparkly red Fireball hats were passed around and raised $2,900 cash from the audience.
A $5,000 diamond was won from the Quinton’s and Grand Hotel Champagne Bar.
A wine fridge completely stocked with Boat O’Craigo wines also went home with one lucky winner.
And if you did not get the chance to win a prize, well, you had the opportunity to bid on absolutely nothing, with the successful bidder paying $2,000 just for the glory of donating to the cause.
The Fireball Committee have outdone themselves again, with a total of $60,000 raised on the evening, which will go towards purchasing a new light tanker for Wonga Park CFA.
Captain of Wonga Park CFA, Aaron Farr, said:

“To raise this amount of money, in the short time frame we had, is not possible — Fireball have made it happen in one amazing night.
“This reduces the burden for our members, who already spend significant time carrying out essential duties as volunteer firefighters.
“The efforts of the Fireball Committee cannot be overrated,” he said.

Fireball started with the groundswell from the Warrandyte community to thank the CFA volunteers following the 2014 fires in Flannery Court.
Since the inception of Fireball in 2014, the Committee have run four events, each resulting in the purchase of an appliance for each of the Greater Warrandyte CFAs:

  • 2014: Closed the final gap in fundraising for a new tanker at North Warrandyte CFA.
  • 2016: New Slip-On for Warrandyte CFA.
  • 2018: New Forward Command Vehicle (FCV) for South Warrandyte CFA.
  • 2023: New light tanker for Wonga Park CFA — coming soon.

Over the four events, Fireball has raised over $260,000 and celebrated the volunteer Fireys in a way unmatched by any other fundraising initiative for fire services in decades.
Each event has been continually supported by some major sponsors and donors that have stayed with the event time and time again.
The contributions from local businesses have been integral to the event’s success.
But the major sponsors allow the Committee to turn smaller amounts of sponsorship dollars into hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations to the CFA.
Special heartfelt thanks go out to Community Bank Warrandyte, The Grand Hotel, Quinton’s IGA, Warrandyte Diary, Dyason Legal, Olivigna, and the former MP Ryan Smith for consistently valuing the efforts of our local volunteer Fireys.
The 2023 event welcomed some new contributions from Moonstone Photography, Kellybrook Winery, Lions Club, and the Riverside Market Committee, who also found it in their hearts to recognise the efforts of our CFAs. And then there was the special announcement.
The Fireball Committee has been working hard to package up Fireball in a Box.
A complete suite of all their learnings, documents, and templates, ready for another community or entity to fundraise for emergency services. During the event, community member Sandi Miller announced that she would helm a new committee, using Fireball in a Box as an initiative to fundraise for Manningham SES.

“We’re going to make orange the new red with Thunderball in 2025,” she said.

We have loved every minute of our journey as a committee — the laughs, the tears, the awe in generosity, the pride we feel to support the original vision of Julie Quinton, and the support of our wonderful community to make such a difference to our local brigades; will stay with us forever.
But for now, this is Fireball signing off: “Over and out”.

Photos: SANDI MILLER

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Glamour, sparkle and firefighters

THE DIAMOND of the Warrandyte social calendar, Fireball, is less than one month away.
This grass-roots gala event is coming home, offering a chance for valued guests to don their sparkliest frocks or their most dashing duds for a night of glitz, glamour, great food, and amazing entertainment, right on your doorstep.
Love is in the air for our volunteer firefighters, the place to be is Bramleigh Estate, and the night of nights is July 29, when the who’s-who of our amazing community will be Strictly Fireball.
Prepare to immerse yourself in an evening of splendour as you step into the beautiful Bramleigh Estate.
Throughout the night, guests will be treated to an uplifting array of entertainment, carefully curated to ensure an enjoyable, inspiring, and enchanting evening.
Prepare to be mesmerised by breathtaking live performances, from talented musicians and dancers.
No gala ball is complete without a delectable culinary experience.
Bramleigh’s expert chef has meticulously crafted a four-course menu that will tantalise your taste buds.
Savour the sumptuous flavours of gourmet cuisine, indulge in delightful desserts and raise a glass to toast the power of community.
All food, drinks, and entertainment are included in the ticket price.
The evening will feature various opportunities to further contribute and support the cause that lies at the heart of the ball.
Returning guests will be familiar with the event’s champagne bar; this year, featuring delicious Pommery Champagne and offers all purchasers an opportunity to win a diamond valued at $5,000.
Don’t miss out.
Secure your tickets now to ensure your place at the gala ball of the year.
They really are the hottest tickets in town.
Ticket sales will not only grant access to an unforgettable evening but also contribute directly to fundraising efforts.
Visit Fireball Warrandyte’s website, www.fireball.org.au, to secure tickets and obtain further information about the event.
Please note, ticket availability may be limited, and it is encouraged to act swiftly to secure a spot.
Fireball is the local Fundraising Gala Ball of the year, where elegance meets philanthropy, and together, we can make a real difference.
Let’s make this evening one to remember.

Even if you are little, you can do a lot!

WHS presents Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical

WARRANDYTE High School’s Matilda will captivate an eager audience with high energy dance numbers, catchy songs, and a wonderful production.
On stage for four performances, from June 16-18, this is one production not to be missed.
Living with unappreciative and uncaring parents, Matilda Wormwood (played by Sophie Dibb) is sent to an excessively olde-worlde school – Crunchem Hall.
Armed with a sharp mind and a vivid imagination, Matilda dares to take a stand at this cruel and oppressive school, with miraculous results.
With the help of a kind hearted teacher, Miss Jenny Honey (played by Rhianna Cummings and Amber Gedge), Matilda uses her telekinetic abilities to settle the score after her tyrannical headmistress, Miss Agatha Trunchbull, brutally bullies her and her fellow students.
The diabolically evil Miss Trunchbull is superbly played by Curtis Konynenburg.
Bullies, however, can’t take on people who put up a fight.
The audience will be taken on a heroic journey of intrigue and wonderment as justice is restored.
Highlighting the senses, the visual glamour of the production will bedazzle an audience with sets and lighting by Gavin D Andrew, music by Tim Minchin, and an all-star cast from Warrandyte High School.
An array of fun effects has been added with pigtails being thrown around, magical chalk writing on black boards, and students (in particular, Bruce Bogtrotter played by Stephanie Lawry) being forced to eat whole Scrumdiddely chocolate cakes in three minutes.
The costume department, under Jho Suckling and Lilli Rose Lawrence, help showcase the fun, raucous and exciting characters with a smorgasbord of wonderful garments.
Keep an eye open for the injection of genuinely sourced local garments in When I Grow Up, a song that sees the young children looking at themselves in the mirror reflecting their grown-up selves.
See if you can guess what they become from just what they are wearing.
It is a truly touching moment in the show.
The overall student cast is superb.

Miss Honey, played alternately by Rihanna Cummings and Amber Gedge, is a heartening character and the epitome of the teacher we all wish we had.
Miss Honey is the only role which has been “doubled”.
Not because of any COVID protocols but simply because they both just suited the role perfectly.
Rhianna said “the production has been a lot of hard work but it’s worth it”.
As Matilda, Sophie Dibb, in Year 7, found herself in the title role in her first year at high school.
In this massive role, her beautiful singing voice, willingness to work hard and an innate cheekiness, makes her the ideal hero of this production.
“I feel lucky that I get to experience being part of such a great community and that I am able to be involved in this really fun performance in Year 7.
“I have worked very hard and I am excited to get the show on the road, and I really hope others will enjoy it as much as I do,” Sophie said.
Matilda Wormwood’s parents are truly horrible.
The audience will be teetering on the edge of their seats whether to laugh out loud, or just boo them off stage.
Playing the horrible Mr and Mrs Wormwood, Amber Robertson and Chloe Minogue, were both sceptical.
“We didn’t even like each other’s characters, but being part of this production has formed a new-found friendship.”
The hilariously evil Miss Trunchbull is superbly played by Curtis Konynenburg.
His wonderful blend of comic timing and portrayal of tyrannical brutality is reason alone to experience this production.
Bringing together this fine cast and ensemble is Director Gavin D Andrew.
Gavin said, “Matilda is an absolutely inspirational and fun show to direct.
“Roald Dahl can start off and then slowly (and often without you realising it) enter a heightened reality that if you sat and thought about it – couldn’t really happen – but somehow in a Dahl story it does.”
Gavin added, “Dahl makes a clear distinction between the heroes and villains and always makes sure the villains get their just desserts.”
A wonderful production is not just about a superb cast and a timeless story.
Gavin was quick to point out the enormity of the production encompassing not only the technical aspects of the show.
Broader support is required by not only students, parents and teachers and staff of the school, but also tentacles reaching into and strengthening relationships with the Warrandyte community.
Warrandyte High School uses its home advantage well.
“Having their own theatre is an absolute blessing,” said Gavin.
“It greatly assists with all aspects of the show, allowing students for example, to develop skills in lighting and audio over the course of the production.
“Many schools can spend thousands on these aspects of a production.”
Great support from parents turning up at working bees, handing out flyers or helping with hair and make up greatly enhances the overall production.
The plethora of support provided by school staff and teachers underpins and enhances the production in both a practical and magical way.
Lisa White, an art teacher, along with her band of students make regular visits to the theatre and keep adding to the fun and playfulness of the set.
Linga Naidoo, another teacher at the school specialising in woodwork, has been creating the foundation of the set along with some fun props that greatly assist in telling the story.
Gavin said, “Working closely with Jake Newton, Linga Naidoo and Lisa White has been an absolute joy for me.
“Even just walking into reception and the warm greetings from Bev, Anne and Sandra is always a lovely way to start a day.”
“Principal Rachel Lynch has been wonderfully supportive and even the intrepid groundskeeper, Bucky, seems to appear from nowhere whenever I need rescuing from a blown fuse or other calamity.”
Overall, an enthralling production not to be missed.
Well done Warrandyte High School.
For tickets, head to: trybooking.com/events/landing/1052960.

Celebrating 20 years of giving back to the community

THIS YEAR, the Community Bank Warrandyte celebrates 20 years since opening its doors and establishing itself as the major contributor to local charities, arts organisations, educational facilities, sporting clubs, emergency services, and infrastructure projects.
In the early 2000s, the mainstream banks were packing up shop, and Warrandyte was left with no banking options.
Too early for the digital banking age to be suitable for most residents, our community was left with a big hole in the retail streetscape.
It was the bravado of a few locals that we owe thanks to today.
Headed up by John Provan, 10 Warrandytians came together with a proposal to bring a community bank to Warrandyte.
To do this, Bendigo Bank required them to raise $600,000 in capital, and while it was a tough feat, thankfully for Warrandyte, they got there.
This milestone was celebrated on Friday, April 28, 2023, marking 20 years of charitable giving with a birthday party at The Grand Hotel Warrandyte’s venue space, Next Door.
Around 90 guests including shareholders, staff, directors, dignitaries, and community partners, celebrated the evening reminiscing the success and the projects the bank has had the honour to be a part of.
Meredith Thornton, former Director, and Secretary during the time the bank was forming, reflected on the bank’s inception.
“John Provan said to me, ‘What are we going to do about this?’ and we decided if it was good enough for Hurstbridge to have a Bendigo Bank, then it was good enough for Warrandyte”.
But Meredith said that it was incredibly hard work, meetings every week, a lot of governance and an enormous challenge to raise the capital in time.
Finishing her speech on a high, the room agreed it was an “incredible achievement and a true success story”.
Today, 20 years later, the Community Bank Warrandyte still graces the same site on Yarra Street for all residents to access valuable banking services.
Not only that, but the Community Bank Warrandyte, over those years, has returned up to 80 per cent of its profits back to the community, year-on-year.
These profits, returned through grants and sponsorships, offer a community service unrivalled by traditional banking models.
In fact, back in the beginning, social enterprises were not as common, and it was a rare occurrence for businesses to give away most of their profit.
The demonstrated longevity of this banking model has meant the ability to offer impactful financial contributions back to the community.
Following the reflection, the best birthday gift was given to nine lucky grant recipients – each receiving a share of $360,000.
This additional/special round of funding will be used to support our local infrastructure in schools, community centres, kindergartens, the RSL, and the Mechanics’ Institute (see the story behind that on page 7).
After 20 years of giving back, the total investment sum injected back into the communities of Warrandyte (central, North, and South), Park Orchards, Wonga Park and surrounds now totals $4.8 million.
Chair of Community Bank Warrandyte Aaron Farr, said: “It’s a privilege to work on a volunteer board that has such a significant impact on where we live.
“I can’t wait to see through to the end of the year, tipping over the $5M mark in contributions.”
The evening rounded out with guests enjoying some live music by Nick Charles and Liz Frencham, a delicious birthday cake supplied by Scrumdiddely Cakes and Cafe, and an opportunity to enjoy historical images and media clippings of the bank’s journey through its time in Warrandyte.

Farewell Dee

Finally, the evening farewelled a much-loved member of staff.
Dee Dickson, who readers may know, has been responsible for the Community Liaison role and local relationships with many clubs and groups over the last eight years.
A treasured and community-minded individual that will surely be missed.

Community asset

On reflection, 20 years and $4.8M leaves you thinking, what would our community do if the bank closed its doors?
Where would your group, large or small, turn to for Warrandyte’s next needed $5M?
Happy birthday to Community Bank Warrandyte; its staff, volunteer board members past and present, shareholders, our community partners, and of course, our customers – you are why we are celebrating 20 Years in Warrandyte.

Community Bank a white knight for Mechanics’ Hall

By SANDI MILLER

IN AN ARTICLE in the March 2023 Warrandyte Diary, Grant Purdy of Warrandyte Arts called for financial help to restore the aging Mechanics’ Hall in Yarra Street.
As the hall’s centenary approaches, Grant said they needed more than $50,000 to complete urgent repairs to the roof.
The Diary is pleased to report that the Warrandyte Community Bank has provided $64,551 in funding for a repair of the roof to prevent the collapse of our beloved hall.
It was noted that the hall is “of the community, for the community” because the building, and its grounds, are owned by everyone within two miles (3.2 kilometres) of the Mitchell Avenue site – a true community asset.
The funding was announced at the 20th birthday celebrations of the bank, where Community Bank Chairman Aaron Farr discussed the importance of the hall to the community and why the bank provided the generous support to Warrandyte Arts.
“The Mechanics’ Institute in Warrandyte has provided a home for the arts for 144 years – the present hall has been in use for 95 years.
The Warrandyte Mechanics’ Institute and Arts Association (WMIAA), now known simply as Warrandyte Arts (‘for good reason,’ he quipped, having stumbled over the cumbersome historical name), and its home at the Mechanics’ Institute Hall has, for many years, provided an essential and easily accessible venue for all forms of art and performance to the residents of Warrandyte and the surrounding community of Manningham.
Today the arts community associated with the hall is flourishing.
Most years, there are over 120 members of the association engaged in a range of artistic activities and groups.
The hall is almost in constant use by those groups and by other hirers who hold meetings, exercise sessions, events, shows, and social occasions in the hall.
Thousands of people, each year, use and enjoy the venue.
Warrandyte Arts and the hall are an incredibly valuable and well-recognised cultural asset to the local and wider community.
However, the building, with its original methods of construction, has begun to deteriorate to the extent that the hall’s future has been in jeopardy.”
Grant Purdy then explained the “mechanics” of the repairs, thanking Jock Macneish for his design work.
He said the new roof supports will remove the need for the metal tie rods that run the width of the auditorium holding the walls together, which are themselves at risk of failure due to age.
Without the works, Grant explained, if these rods failed the existing truss design would push the walls out “with a scissor action,” he demonstrated, lacing his fingers together like in the children’s rhyme Here’s the steeple.
There is much work to be done, he said, with the hall closing over the summer while the work is undertaken.
Grant said the funding from the bank was most welcome, with income made by the association from drama productions, room hire, and other fundraising roughly matching outgoings on regular maintenance and upkeep of the elderly building – so try as they might, a significant expense like this was beyond the means of Warrandyte Arts to fund themselves.
Warrandyte Rotary and the Warrandyte Riverside Market Committee have also pledged $5,000 each towards building works, for which Grant says the association is grateful.
He said once these works are completed, he hopes the hall will be around for another 100 years.

Warrandyte Festival 2023: A colourful celebration of community

Feature photo: STEPHEN REYNOLDS

WITH EXPECTATIONS high for a spectacular festival, there was disappointment when the Saturday festivities had to be cancelled due to the CFA issuing an Extreme Fire Danger rating.
But better to be safe than sorry; with the day also being declared a Total Fire Ban, when the hot north winds picked up on Saturday afternoon, everyone agreed it was probably for the best.
The fabulous Festival Committee pulled out all the stops and gave us a bumper Sunday program so that everyone could enjoy the best Warrandyte has to offer.

The town came out in force to enjoy the entertainment.
As we arrived at Stiggants Reserve, we were greeted with the fantastic sculptures loaned to the festival by Tim Read of Tread Sculptures, from the giant whistle to the enormous bugs, all made from recycled steel.
First up was the Billycart Derby, where a range of contraptions, piloted by the bravest kids in Warrandyte, zoomed down Police Street into the waiting mulch pile.

  • 1st place: Sophie in For Heaven’s Sake
  • 2nd place: Eliza in Pink Wheels
  • 3rd place: Owen
  • 4th place: Hugo

The local emergency services had each built a cart, with North Warrandyte CFA, Warrandyte CFA and the Warrandyte Police going head-to-head in the Emergency Services race.
Hugo Lightfoot from Andersons Creek Primary School won the privilege of piloting the police cart by winning the billycart design competition and then won the Emergency Services race.

Meanwhile, on the River Stage, the pet parade played host to pets of all shapes and sizes — mainly of the pooch variety, but there was an appearance from a blue tongue lizard who took out the most unusual pet award.
Pet Parade Results
Biggest dog: 1st Enzo, 2nd Clover, 3rd Dash
Smallest dog: 1st Bonnie, 2nd Gizmo, 3rd Zuggy
Waggiest Tail: 1st Suri, 2nd Mali, 3rd Millie
Best groomed: 1st Cookie, 2nd Popeye, 3rd Enzo
Shaggiest dog: 1st Gooba, 2nd Iggy 3rd, Rueben
Cutest dog: 1st Winnie, 2nd Cosmo, 3rd Bowie
Dog with the most appealing eyes: 1st Millie, 2nd Rueben, 3rd Popeye
Best trained dog: 1st Bosley, 2nd Gooba, 3rd Clover
Dog most like its owner: 1st Chester, 2nd Suki, 3rd Gooba
Dog with the most appropriate name: 1st Dash, 2nd Scout, 3rd Ziggy
Loudest dog in Warrandyte: 1st Millie, 2nd Gooba
Best in Show: 1st The trio of siblings, Ziggy (and co.), 2nd Gooba, 3rd Popeye
Most unusual pet in the show: Thelonious, the blue tongue lizard

Activities on the main stage commenced with some local students participating in the World’s Greatest Shave to raise money for the Leukemia Foundation.
A hard act to follow, the weekend’s musical entertainment was kicked off by legendary local a capella group the Vocal Agents, who wowed the early crowds with gorgeous renditions of classic songs.

By this time, the Kids Market was up and running, where local kids sold their homemade wares, as was the art and craft market and food stalls run by the local clubs, schools, and businesses.
And, of course, the Scouts’ Giant Water Slide, which had a slower trade than they would have had during Saturday’s 36-degree day, but it was still a popular attraction for many of the kids who wait all year for their chance to make a splash.

Gallery photos: SANDI MILLER

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To make up for the cancellation of Saturday’s parade, the Monarchs lead a mini parade through the festival precinct, with the roving entertainers combining to make a mass band and some of the local clubs and kinders parading along with some very talented stilt walkers.

The day continued with all the old favourites — and some new ones — such as (deep breath) the Duck Race, Dodge Ball, Silent Disco, The River Dragon, Battle of the Bands, Gold Mine Tour, Mountain Bike Ride, Jelly Bean Races, The Community Garden, Open Mic, magicians, T-shirt painting, circus skills, art installations, SES, CFA, FOWSP, Woodturning, basketball skills.

The main stage grooved through the afternoon, emceed admirably by Warrandyte Theatre Company’s Emma Wood, with music from Stephen Grady, Katie Bates, Sunday Lemonade, Hana + Jessie-Lee’s Bad Habits, then a Welcome to Country from Wurundjeri Elder, Uncle Ian Hunter and official opening by the 2023 Monarchs, Ronnie Pederson and Connie Solty.
The stage rocked into the evening, with The Scrims, 19-Twenty, Ella Thompson, and Jazz Party getting the crowds on Stiggants Reserve dancing as the sun went down.

After sunset, the festival lanterns came into their own.
Produced at the Neighbourhood House’s lantern workshops with the help of Lachlan Plain from Sanctum Studio, the lanterns provided a festive atmosphere around the evening’s events.

Whew — what a day!
Congratulations to the Warrandyte Festival Committee for putting on a great show and to Warrandyte for their resilience and flexibility in making this a festival to remember. Warrandyte really did show their true colours — and it was glorious.

To see our full coverage, pick up or download a copy of the April 2023 edition.

Potters paradise on the banks of the Yarra

THE RIVERBANK was alive at the end of February for the 23rd annual Warrandyte Pottery Expo.
Ceramic artists from across Australia presented their work to another record-breaking crowd.
More than 60 stands featured over 90 local and interstate potters.
The event also combined local live music, food and wine, hands-on clay activities, talks, and demonstrations.
Various ceramic techniques and clays were used to create an extensive selection of sculptures, functional ware, and garden ceramics.
The excitement around the event commenced on Friday as potters and volunteers set up.
Saturday became a burst of energy.
Eager buyers and collectors filled the Expo site on the riverbank.

New for 2023

A new event at this year’s Expo, the Pottery Throw Down, took place on Sunday.
Sponsored by Northcote Pottery and run by Ray Laurens, crowds gathered to watch competitors compete to throw a pot on the wheel using 2.5kg of clay.
One of our winners was a visitor all the way from Ireland.
In conjunction with the Expo, the Valley Potters opened a pop-up ceramics exhibition featuring works from their members that ran from Friday to Sunday.
This new event attracted over 200 visitors.

Special guests

A highlight of this year’s Expo were special guest potters from Western Australia (WA).
Fremantle will host the next Australian Ceramics Triennial in 2025, and the Expo was an opportunity for Western Australia to connect with other Australian ceramic artists and show their work.
While only six WA artists could travel to Warrandyte, the Ceramic Arts Association of Western Australia shipped selected works from 12 other artists to be featured in the guest artist marquee.
Following the Expo, WA ceramic artist Bernard Kerr held a workshop for potters to demonstrate the coil and throw technique for building larger-scale pots.
He combined this technique with paper stencils, slip decoration and sgraffito.
Attendees were treated to insights and techniques to help them with their own ceramic practices.

Prize-winning potters

The annual potters’ prizes are a highlight of the two-day event.
The judges this year were our guest potters from WA.
Two potters shared the Michael Hallam INCA Award for innovative contemporary ceramics, presented to the artists by Rob Edwards from Warrandyte Riverside Market, who sponsored the award.
The winners were Gillian Martin and Natasha Chant.
Gillian was awarded for her innovative techniques using terra sigillata bands of intense colour.
Gillian said she was “excited, and it was an honour to receive the award and be part of such an encouraging ceramics community”.
Natasha constructs visually exciting asymmetrical organic forms; Natasha’s work is unglazed, which allows various clay colours to speak and connect with the viewer.
The winner of the Warrandyte Lions Best Presented Stand was new stall holders Wonki Kim and Jeaha Lee.
The stand stood out with its elegant minimalist design, well-considered tableware display, and large white vessels.
The harmonious and superbly integrated stall also greatly utilised the natural surroundings.
Their pottery uses the Korean method of Buncheong, a traditional technique that utilises a white slip over a dark clay body.
Wonki said, “It was a great opportunity for us to be surrounded by so many other admirable potters and seeing their work motivates us to improve even further”.
The Potters’ Prize was announced on Sunday and is for the work of the favoured potter at the Expo.
The potters selected the winner, and this year’s winner was Minna Graham from Sailors Flat near Daylesford.
Minna’s prize is a piece from last year’s winner, Steve Williams, a potter from New South Wales.
Minna has donated a beautiful piece that is waiting for the 2024 winner.

Art installation

Eltham-based artist Danni Bryant installed a new piece of work amongst the trees on the Expo site.
Titled Suspended Sanctuary — the multifaceted work made from porcelain consisted of hundreds of articulated pieces and fine porcelain beads strung between the trees.

Clay activities

This year, local studios Warrandyte Pottery Studio and Claytalk Monsalvat hosted one of the most popular parts of the expo, with clay provided by Northcote Pottery Supplies.
Budding sculptors used different coloured clays to re-create the Yarra river in 3D.
Others created and decorated leaves that will be added to an installation to create a wishing tree on the grounds of Warrandyte Pottery Studio, where tiles created by kids at last year’s Expo have become a bench seat.

Artist talks

Visitors learned from former Northcote Pottery Supplies artists in residence Claire Ellis and Emma Parker on the benefits of being in an artist residency.
Valley Potters shared insights from their members on their group and preparing for an exhibition.
Visitors also heard from WA artists and Max Campbell on how clay is made ready for potters.
Once again, The Pottery Expo was an enormous success, and the riverbank was vibrant with artists, local musicians, colour, stalls, locals, and visitors.
Planning is already underway for next year, where we hope to welcome back international artists and continue to grow the event and raise the quality of ceramic art on show.
Thanks to the Manningham City Council, Community Bank Warrandyte and our supporters and volunteers, the organisers and potters cannot wait to welcome you back in 2024.

Photos by Anna Marie and John Douch

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Staying safe by the river

THE YARRA is a large part of life in Warrandyte, so when the weather gets hot, our river becomes a popular place to swim, paddle, and have fun in the water for locals and tourists alike.
However, it is important to know the risks when swimming in nature.
Tragically, people drown each year in lakes, beaches, rivers, waterfalls, and bays across Victoria.
The dangers of swimming in the Yarra were brought home recently when the search for a man who vanished after telling his friends he was going swimming in the river ended in tragedy.
Frank Mellia was visiting Warrandyte with friends at Taroona Reserve, Warrandyte, on January 14, when the 39-year-old left his friends to head towards the river at about 3pm.
When he did not return, his concerned friends later tried to find him before contacting police to report him missing.
Police and SES searched through the bush and used inflatable paddleboards to comb the water.
The police air wing and divers also assisted in the search.
The following Monday, Victoria Police confirmed he had been found dead.

Staying safe by the river

On January 19, 2023 — about the halfway point of summer, the Royal Life Saving Summer Drowning Toll recorded that 43 people have drowned across Australia since December 1, 2022.
The majority of people who have drowned are men aged between 18 and 64 years.
With another month of summer to go, Royal Life Saving (RLS) is urgently warning people to stay vigilant around water and emphasises that drowning can happen when we least expect it.
Royal Life Saving Chief Executive Officer Justin Scarr is pleading with people to exercise caution around water, even if they are familiar with the environment and confident in their knowledge and skills, especially men.
“Sadly, we’ve seen a number of people drowning when attempting to rescue family members and when swimming alone,” Mr Scarr said.
“This summer, 43 families and communities have lost a loved one to drowning — one drowning is one too many.
“The leading activities at the time have been swimming, boating, and kayaking.
“These deaths have occurred at both inland and coastal locations.
“We urge people to consider their safety around the water by checking the conditions, being aware that weather and water conditions can change quickly, knowing your limits, avoiding alcohol, and wearing a lifejacket.
“If you see someone in difficulty, go and get help and alert emergency services as soon as possible.
“We want everyone to have a great day out and come home safely,” he said.
It is important to be aware of the risks and stay safe.
Whether you’re swimming, boating, or even just relaxing on the bank, there are many hidden dangers that you may not be aware of.
The Yarra is famously known as the upside-down river due to its muddy waters that hide many dangers beneath the surface.
Especially following the recent flooding events, there are many submerged objects that can prove to be very dangerous.
It is important to be aware of the dangers and always take care around water.
Remember that water conditions that may have been suitable one day can change hourly with the current.
There are no lifeguards along the river, and many people enjoy swimming in secluded spots, meaning should someone get into trouble, there may not be anyone there to assist you.
RLS has provided the following tips for staying safe while enjoying our river:

  • Strong currents and fast-flowing water.
    Check the current by throwing a leaf into the water to see the speed it travels.
If you get caught in a current, float on your back feet first, and go with the current — don’t panic.
  • Submerged objects such as rocks, snags and tree branches.
    Check the depth of the water and look for submerged objects using a stick.
Don’t jump or dive into the water.
Enter the water slowly and feet first.
  • Slippery banks and uneven surfaces.
    Unintentional falls into water are a significant risk.
  • Changing seasonal patterns and floodwater.
    Make sure you check the weather forecast and water conditions before venturing out.
Never drive through floodwaters.
  • Cold water.
    Water temperatures in rivers, lakes and dams can drop to freezing in winter and cause cold water shock if you fall in.

Know your risk factors

According to data collected by RLS, rivers and creeks claim more lives each year than any other type of waterway in Australia.
Drowning in rivers and creeks:

  • 25 per cent of drowning deaths occurred in rivers/creeks
  • 37 per cent of drowning deaths in rivers/creeks involved alcohol
  • Most deaths involved people aged 18 to 45 years
  • 81 per cent of all drowning deaths in rivers/creeks were male
  • 72 per cent of people lived within 100km of where they drowned

What happened immediately prior to drowning:

  • 21 per cent of people were swimming and recreating
  • 18 per cent of drowning deaths were due to an unintentional fall
  • 11 per cent of people were boating

Statistics from 2019/20 indicated that of all the drownings in Victoria during that period, 15 per cent were due to unintentional falls into the water.
This is a particular risk factor in children aged 0 to 4 years and people aged 65+ years.
Falls also play a part in alcohol and drug-related drowning incidents, as well as those where people have misjudged the hazards, such as uneven or slippery banks, strong currents and submerged objects.
Of drowning deaths in Victoria during that period, unintentional falls into water accounted for:

  • 75 per cent of children aged 0 to 4
  • 15 per cent of people aged 65+
  • 11 per cent of children aged 5 to 14
  • 10 per cent of men aged 25 to 64
  • 7 per cent of young people aged 15 to 24

Plan to survive

Simple safety measures can make all the difference between a great day out and a tragedy; RLS has a list of tips to help make your day on the river safer.

  • Take a phone with you.
  • Let someone know where you’re going and when you will be back.
  • Check conditions before entering the water.
  • Never swim alone.
  • Do not overestimate your ability and underestimate the dangers in rivers.
  • Actively supervise children around water.
  • Enter the water slowly, feet first.
  • Take care around crumbling riverbeds and slippery edges.
  • Avoid underwater obstacles such as rocks, branches, and rubbish.
  • Take care when walking on unstable or slippery riverbeds.
  • Avoid crossing flooded waterways.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs around water.
  • Wear a lifejacket when boating or using watercraft.
  • Learn first aid and CPR, so you’re prepared if an accident is to happen.

Tree dangers
It is not just in the water that you should be alert.
Recent flooding events followed by dry conditions have seen several trees fall over as their shallow roots let go in the changing soil conditions, often without warning.
A man was airlifted to hospital on January 28 after a falling tree hit him as he picnicked with friends at Normans Reserve.
North Warrandyte CFA and Ambulance Victoria attended the scene in Bradleys Lane, North Warrandyte, and transported the man to a waiting helicopter.
The chopper landed at Warrandyte Reserve around 6pm, interrupting the 1st XIs match against Wonga Park.
Warrandyte 1st XI Captain Ben Taylor told the Diary they were in their 70th over when the helicopter began circling overhead.
“It became pretty obvious it needed to land on the oval, so we pulled up stumps to make way for it,” said Mr Taylor.
Members of Warrandyte CFA were on hand at the oval to support the ambulance crews and facilitate vehicle access to the oval.
While it is wonderful to be out enjoying our State Park, remember the dangers both on the water and on land.
In the case of an incident, phone emergency services on 000 and use the emergency markers along the river to provide an accurate location.
Alternatively, download the emergency plus app on your smartphone for assistance providing your exact location and contacting appropriate help.

North East Link gets set to get boring

MAJOR WORKS are back up and running after the summer break on the North East Link, and 2023 is shaping up to be a massive year for the major road project.
Acting Premier Jacinta Allan announced the first pieces of the enormous tunnel boring machines (TBMs) are now being built, ready to arrive later this year.
Ms Allan said the project brings many big and important benefits to Melbourne’s northern suburbs communities.

“With tunnel boring machines on the way, locals are going to see a huge amount of construction as we get ready to start tunnelling in 2024.”

She said five road headers, including some used on the Metro Tunnel, are being refurbished to dig a section of the North East Link tunnels in Bulleen.
CEO of the North East Link Authority (NELA), Duncan Elliott, explained that crews were currently building the launch site box.

“This is basically a large concrete launch site for the TBMs, and they’ll launch [from Watsonia] and have a six-and-a-half kilometre journey south to Bulleen.”

The launch box will be 40 metres deep and 200 metres long and will include more than three Olympic swimming pools worth of concrete and 1,700 tonnes of steel.

There are 379 piles that will anchor the sides of the box with steel reinforcement. 

“Parts will come in later this year to assemble the TBMs, and we look to launch them in 2024,” he said.

Member for Ivanhoe Anthony Carbines said the project has been talked about for a long time.

“It is exciting to be preparing for the arrival of our TBMs — this is another important step in removing congestion from local roads.”

Away from the tunnels, Ms Allan said there’s also a range of works going on across the footprint of the North East Link project, including works at Lower Plenty Road to begin excavating tunnel ramps; realignment of Bulleen Road to make room for the new Yarra Link Green Bridge; and the major interchange connecting an upgraded Eastern Freeway to the tunnels — making sure traffic can keep safely moving on this busy road during construction.
She also highlighted the construction of Melbourne’s first dedicated busway, “which will become a big boost to bus public transport services for the northern suburbs”.
As well as the 34 kilometres of walking and cycling connections and new recreation and sporting facilities for this part of Melbourne.

“And then there’s also the Bulleen Park and Ride facility that will be completed by the middle of the year,” she said.

M&N Bulletin asked Ms Allan what support was being provided to affected businesses and institutions like Heide Art Gallery.
She said from the beginning NEL has had extensive and ongoing conversations with households, businesses, and with cultural organisations like Heide about how some of the construction disruption is impacting the local community.

“We do understand the construction of a project of this size and scale will have an impact on different parts of the local community, and will move along the corridor as work progresses.
“There’s a range of different support measures that are in place depending on whether you’re a trader, a business, or a householder, and we’ll continue to have those discussions on a one-to-one basis, tailored to what those individuals are looking for support during the delivery of the project.”

She said at the end of the project, there will be many benefits that come from getting trucks off local roads, “and we’re already seeing the additional sporting and recreational facilities that have been constructed as part of the project, and we’ll continue to have those discussions and conversations with the local community”.
Member for North-Eastern Metropolitan Region Sonja Terpstra said there is much to look forward to on North East Link this year.

“From the completion of Bulleen Park and Ride to the completion of the TBM launch box — this project is going to be a game changer for so many Melburnians.”

North East Link is a significant employer, with 2,200 workers already on the project, including 160 apprentices, trainees, and cadets, who have worked more than 143,000 hours.
Over the life of the project, North East Link will create 10,000 local jobs.
Ms Allan said the Labor Government is investing more than $20 billion in Melbourne’s northeast to improve the transport network, including North East Link, Hurstbridge Line Upgrade, Fitzsimons Lane Upgrade and removing 21 level crossings.
M&N Bulletin asked Ms Allan, considering the North East Link was set to deliver major local traffic improvements, if the works conducted at Fitzsimons Lane Project, which saw the destruction of the Eltham Gateway, were premature.
She said she did not believe that it was.

“The interface with the North East Link project was considered as part of that project [Fitzsimons Lane], but it was seen as a project that we needed to support.
“We needed to improve the ability for traffic to move in and out of the Eltham community to make sure it could be done in a safe way.
“And that project is now being delivered,” she responded.

The North East Link tunnels and freeway upgrades will be complete in 2028.
NELA forecasts travel times will be reduced by up to 35 minutes and the project will take 15,000 trucks off local roads.
The project is jointly funded by the Commonwealth and Victorian governments.

Calling all Warrandyte artists aged 18-25, be in with a chance to receive a $10,000 cash award to help you develop in your artistic field. Simply click on the QR code or visit the following link and fill out the simple form.

Entries close January 20, 2023.

Connection in the community at wonguim wilam

Feature photo: Michelle Doran

WHAT A WONDERFUL evening in the green space of wonguim wilam with the opening of the Connection Photography Exhibition in Taffy’s Hut.
Many turned up to enjoy an evening of music, singing, and outstanding photography.
The fabulous singer Neeko, whose EP is How Deep started the evening and was followed by Ben Ackerley with Floyd on saxophone.
Councillor Carli Lange opened the exhibition, bringing the relevance of the theme to us with her beautiful words outlining different forms of connection.

“This photography exhibition reminds us of the importance of being connected to our environment and the wildlife that lives within it as well.
We see joining or being joined, the union connection.
We see influential means through whom one can become connected.
We see two or more people interacting with each other without judgment, known as nourishment connection.
We see Time Spent Connection, where connecting with someone or something doesn’t always have to include words — it’s actually about time spent in relatively close bonding.
We all know that connection matters no matter what example of connection we see.
Strong ties with family, friends and the community provide happiness, security, support, and a sense of purpose.
Being connected to others, the land and our spiritual being matters.”

The colour of the ominous-looking clouds remained a focus throughout the evening, but it turned out the weather worked perfectly in favour of the night, with the rain starting right on cue to move people quickly to the location of the dry space under the bridge, in time for the projection event.
This began with Bill McAuley’s Colours of your Soul, sung by Leslie Avril and accompanied by Ricky Ozimo.
Over 100 photos from all the talented photographers that submitted entries then appeared in the slide show, set to music by our favourite Warrandyte artists.
It really did bring people together, and the event was especially lovely in this tranquil setting, with the sound of the swollen river rushing by adding to the atmosphere.
This is the third photography exhibition in Taffy’s Hut, and many people who visit comment about how great it is to see it used for this purpose.
The current exhibition will remain until at least March next year, so if you didn’t get the chance to be at the opening, there is still plenty of time to drop in for a look.
Thanks to all who came and to those who helped make it happen.
Special thanks to Manningham Council Community Grants program.

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A river runs through it

RIVERS are an essential asset for all forms of life.
Humans use them for drinking water and food, business and recreation, and cultural heritage.
The water and the surrounding land are important ecosystems for indigenous plants and wildlife.
Starting near Mount Baw Baw and finishing in Port Phillip Bay, with a total length of 242 kilometres, the Yarra River touches the lives of people, plants and animals through the Yarra Ranges, the Yarra Valley and metropolitan Melbourne.
But 242 kilometres is a long way, and the river we see at Docklands can often feel a long way from the river we see at Warrandyte or Warburton.
To bring awareness and context to the lifeblood of Melbourne, Yarra Riverkeeper Association Chief Executive Officer and accomplished ultramarathon runner Karin Traeger recently ran “from source to mouth”.
Covering 280 kilometres over six days, she has explored the changing landscape of the Yarra river as it meanders from its source to the middle of Melbourne.
That journey, naturally, took Karin through Warrandyte and the Diary, met up with Karin and her entourage to talk about her adventure, which began in the Yarra Ranges beyond Reefton.

Photo: Hilary McAllister

“It’s a pretty, pristine area, really beautiful — lots of forests; pretty remote and isolated, but it’s a pretty nice place, you get to see lyre birds, lots of bush.”

Running 73km with friends from the source to the Reefton hotel, along access tracks and over Mount Horsfall, they took in views of the catchment.

“It was really nice to see the upper catchment, we can see how pristine it is, and it really puts into perspective the change of the river between the origin to what you see in the city.
“It’s such a nice place; it’s very green and lush and has lots of birds, and once you get to the city — it just changes a lot.”

From the Upper Yarra reservoir, Karin made her way down to Warburton, then followed the ranges to Wonga Park and Warrandyte via Healesville, but said that despite some challenging road sections — such as along the Melba Highway — it was interesting to watch the landscape around the river change.
The obvious question at this point is why?

“I’ve been running ultra-distances for the last six years, and I thought, how can I combine my passion for the environment — the river — and my passion for running?
“So, I thought it would be cool to join the whole river in just one run and show people that the same river in Warburton, or Warrandyte, is the same river that is going into the city — because a lot of people don’t seem to be able to connect the two together.
“I thought it would be a good, unique project that lots of people can connect with and use running as a way to advocate for a healthy river.”

The Diary asked Karin what had been her most disappointing and most amazing experience on her journey.

“We found some litter in really like remote places, and we couldn’t understand why people would do that, go out there and dump stuff.
“Why would you go out into the bush to enjoy it and then do that — leaving behind empty cans of beer or broken glass and stuff — it just doesn’t make any sense.
“That was a bit upsetting because it’s so hard to get the stuff out of there.
“We also got an idea of how invasive species affect the environment too; we saw lots of blackberry bushes, stuff like that.”

While some humans are causing environmental damage through littering, Karin said she has also seen a lot of the good that people are doing through their local community or “friends of” groups, volunteering to help restore and maintain the riverbanks and riverine landscape of the Yarra river and the creeks that feed it.
But volunteering doesn’t just mean getting your hands dirty; there may be other ways you can support a local environmental group.

“Some groups might even need help, like, setting up an Instagram page, or you can donate money or supplies and equipment; it doesn’t need to be big.
“Or if you see some rubbish, see if you can pick it up — even carrying one piece of rubbish out of the bush can make a big difference.”

Our lives have developed around the Yarra river, and as Karin has witnessed, the river and its surrounding environment change extensively from a little stream at the source to the vast mouth below the Westgate Bridge.
But it is all the same river, and to advocate for it, we need to be aware of it and actively engage in its protection.
Like Karin says, you don’t need to run an ultramarathon to understand and protect the river; you just need to be aware that whether you are in the heart of the city, at a swimming hole, or deep in the forests of the Yarra Ranges, it’s all the same river, and our impact in the environment affects it all.

New Fire Danger Ratings

THE NEW Australian Fire Danger Rating System (AFDRS) is here, and it’s time for you to know what it means to us here in Warrandyte.
As of September 1, the whole of Australia has moved to a standardised fire warning system that is much easier to grasp and more efficient to act on.
While many of us clearly understand that on a Code Red day, Warrandyte will be a ghost town, it was in response to one of Australia’s largest surveys that it was clear that the old ratings system caused issues for many Australians.
Common concerns were that the previous system was confusing, that there were too many levels and that there was little understanding around the different ratings represented, especially towards the orange and red end of the wheel.
The result is a new AFDRS, backed by research, with significantly increased contributing data indicators and, most importantly, is more easily communicated.
The new rating system moves towards a pinwheel with the following four colours; each requiring some level of action.
In addition to this, there is the white bar across the bottom left (beneath the moderate rating) where the arrow can sit to indicate when no specific action is required.
Moderate: Plan and prepare
Most fires can be controlled.
High: Be ready to act
Fires can be dangerous.
Extreme: Take action now to protect life and property
Fires will spread quickly and be extremely dangerous.
Catastrophic: For your survival, leave bushfire risk areas
If a fire starts and takes hold, lives are likely to be lost.
These periods of low fire danger no longer require a rating and are covered by the general advice of being aware of potential fire hazards in the home and workplace.
What does that mean for Warrandyte?
Warrandyte CFA welcomes the clearer descriptions and encourages all residents to revisit their bushfire readiness plans to take into consideration the risks that come with our beautiful green wedge and to determine what your trigger points are under the new system for your family, animals, and neighbours.
Lieutenant Camren Jones is responsible for the Warrandyte Brigade’s bushfire preparedness strategies and said the new ratings would mean the Brigades and the general public can be better prepared and make more informed decisions during the Fire Danger Period.
“The Warrandyte community will still get the same fire trucks and the same service from our volunteers,” he said.
Standardising the rating system Australia-wide also means the rating means the same, whatever state lines you cross or environments you may find yourself in when you travel.
The current model has been in place since the 60s, and it stands to reason that science and research have come a long way since then.
The old system is based on forest fire and grass fire indexes.
In reality, there are many other variations in fuel and landscapes, including shrublands, woodlands, and more desert-like environments that are more common as you get closer to the outback.
The new system draws data from eight different fuel types to provide a more comprehensive analysis – but for the folks at home, it is fine-tuned to the four action indicators of the new pinwheel.
Speaking to the science behind the new system: “Warrandyte will not change much with a largely forest-based environment,” said Lt Jones.
“The current system was developed in Victoria in the 50s and 60s and largely suited the terrain of Warrandyte and its surrounds,” he said.
“However, now there is more accuracy, less ambiguity, and with 64 data points for each category rating (rather than the previous two), there is less confusion around when you should act.
“You may find Pound Bend, state parks and playgrounds closing with more clarity; the messaging will be easier to interpret,” he said.
He added that despite the wet weather, now is the best time to review your fire plan.
“Despite the wet seasons of recent times, this is a timely and critical reminder to the community that now is time to re-evaluate your bushfire plans,” he said.
Where can I find the new ratings?
Information on the new AFDRS can be found on CFA’s website.
Forecasts will appear via all the regular media and emergency service channels, with VIC Emergency being your go-to for real-time updates.
It is important to note that these channels are the best source of information about current conditions.
While many local brigades have social media pages or a direct phone number – your best source for the most up-to-date information are the state-wide communication channels.
How to learn more about the system?
If you’re like our Lt Jones and find the science behind the new system interesting, then you can go to www.afac.com.au.
If you don’t need to get into the nitty-gritty, visit www.emergency.vic.gov.au.
When will the road signs be updated?
Emergency Victoria has been tasked with the enormous undertaking of updating more than 3,000 signs state-wide.
While the local signs in the Warrandyte vicinity have not yet been updated, you can expect them to change sometime in the near future.
What do you need to do?
Warrandyte CFA encourages you to think about your preparedness plans, how they change with the new system, and to revise your triggers.
“We are asking all Warrandytians to familiarise themselves with the new rating system, be aware that some old signage may exist for a while, and not get confused by the differences.
“Most importantly, we want to make sure that every person, business, club and group, are making it a priority to review their preparedness plans to include the new AFDRS,” said Lt Jones.
Warrandyte CFA will soon commence their annual pre-summer training for the season ahead.
The brigade operates at an above-the-benchmark standard.
Members not only possess the minimum required skills but are also mandated to take on additional wildfire training, including entrapment exercises and hazardous tree training.
All members planning to participate in the summer season must undertake a pre-summer season practical challenge.
Always remember; if a fire starts near you, act immediately to protect your life.
Do not wait for a warning.

“Why not both?”

Libs to ditch rail plans in favour of health infrastructure

THE VICTORIAN Liberal and National parties  have announced that if they win the November election, the $35 billion first stage of the Suburban Rail Loop (SRL) would be shelved, with the funds to be diverted into the health system.
Opposition leader, Matthew Guy said in a press conference on August 17 that Cheltenham, Clayton, Monash, Glen Waverley, Burwood and Box Hill stations would be put on hold until Victoria “can afford it”.
This also means an indefinite delay for the remaining stages of the project, including Doncaster station.
Minister for the Suburban Rail Loop and Minister for Transport Infrastructure, Jacinta Allan, said in a statement:

“Victorians voted for this project, that will create thousands of jobs — and Matthew Guy has finally come clean: the Liberals will cut the Suburban Rail Loop.”

Ms Allan said major projects of this scale take time, like with the City Loop — discussions on that project began in 1929 and construction was only completed in 1981.
Ms Allan said our growing city now needs an orbital rail loop to give effect to the vision laid out in Plan Melbourne.
This means that even if the SRL stays on track it will not be ready for decades, but placing it on the back burner will almost guarantee it will not be completed in our lifetime.
M&N Bulletin asked both Mr Guy and Member for Warrandyte, Ryan Smith, what the Liberal Party would be doing to improve public transport in Manningham, and the associated local jobs, to make up for the loss of the SRL.
Mr Smith told M&N Bulletin the Victorian Liberal-National Party is committed to strengthening public transport options across Victoria — particularly for regional communities — and will have more to say on its “comprehensive plans” over the coming months.

“There is no short to medium term plan by the Andrews Government for public transport improvements in Manningham,” Mr Smith said.

Mr Smith said the Liberal and Nationals’ plan to rebuild Victoria’s health system includes the construction or upgrade of 20 hospitals across Victoria — “delivering thousands of construction jobs and ongoing employment opportunities across these key sectors”.
He said it is “nonsense” to suggest that transport infrastructure jobs will be lost “without acknowledging the jobs created on hospital construction and upgrades, as well as the ongoing and broad-ranging health-related roles.”
He highlighted that the Andrews Government’s own documents indicate that services on the northern section of the planned rail line, from Box Hill to Reservoir, via Doncaster, would not commence until 2043/44, some 21 years away.

“There is currently no funding, no timeline, and no detailed plan for the northern section of the rail loop,” he said. 

Naomi Oakley, Labor Candidate for the Warrandyte electorate in the forthcoming State Election told M&N Bulletin the Andrews Labor Government has released a comprehensive Business and Investment Case and it shows that the SRL project stacks up.

“The SRL East project is underway and people in Warrandyte are incredibly enthusiastic about the overall project and how it will make their lives easier.
“I speak to people every day who love the vision in this project and know what it will bring to our suburbs,” she said.

Legislative Council Member for Eastern Metropolitan Region and the Leader of the Transport Matters Party Rod Barton MP said he was “very disappointed” to see the Liberal-National Party take this stance. 

“It certainly seems short-sighted.” 

He said Melbourne’s population is continuing to grow, expecting to reach a population of nine million in 2056, the size of London today.
Mr Barton said the SRL is critical to the future liveability of Melbourne, and without it, the outer suburbs will continue to get the short end of the stick.
Mr Barton pointed to Doncaster to illustrate just how important the SRL is. 

“Doncaster is located in the City of Manningham, which is the only metropolitan municipality that is not connected to rail, relying solely on bus services.
This has resulted in overcrowded bus services, forced car ownership, high private vehicle usage, and extensive traffic congestion.
The City of Manningham has been waiting for over 130 years for rail services.
This is despite governments repeatedly proposing and promising rail for Doncaster for decades.
Residents are desperate to be better connected.
The SRL will be critical public transport infrastructure that will change the lives of those along the line, better connecting hospitals, universities, and retail.” 

Mr Barton fears that by not taking action to address connectivity issues now, Melburnians will be restricted to their cars for decades to come. 

“Monash, the biggest university in Australia, would be left without any prospect of a train station.
“We cannot let that happen — the SRL is an opportunity that must not be wasted.
“When I saw this announcement, I thought ‘why not both?’ — Victorians deserve a functioning and effective health care system and accessible public transport,” Mr Barton said. 

Ms Allan said the SRL – to be built in partnership with the Albanese Labor Government — will be a network that connects Victoria’s fastest-growing centres of jobs, tertiary education, a major hospital and research centres and the airport. 

“But it’s not just the Suburban Rail Loop — Matthew Guy also wants to scrap — he has also threatened the Andrews Labor Government’s Big Build Program that currently supports 50,000 workers,” she said.

Ms Allan said Level Crossing removals, road upgrades and train line works would all be at risk under the Liberals.

“He’s walking away from the transport connections that these projects deliver, the jobs they offer, and the wages that support Victorian families,” she said. 

Ms Allan said SRL East and SRL North will take around 606,000 car trips and 2.2 million vehicle kilometres off our roads every single day by 2056.
She said this will result in a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, as well as other environmental benefits.
By 2056 it is anticipated there will be more than 230,000 daily extra public transport trips across Melbourne, and an additional 2.4 million walking or cycling trips each day.
Government figures suggest the SRL will deliver up to $58.7 billion in benefits to Victoria and will return up to $1.70 to the economy for every dollar spent.
On August 18, the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO), commissioned by Mr Guy, produced a report that estimated by 2053 costs for the completed rail project, Cheltenham to Werribee, could end up being more than double the initial government estimate of $50 billion.
But Premier Daniel Andrews  said “one sure way to make sure the SRL would cost more would be to scrap it, delay it, shelve it”.

Council calls for better services in Manningham 

Manningham Mayor Michelle Kleinert told M&N Bulletin, Council has always worked with the government of the day to improve public transport options for the Manningham community. 

“For years, we have advocated for a station in Doncaster and were incredibly disappointed that Doncaster was left out of Phase 1 of the Suburban Rail Loop.”

She said with Phase 2 of the SRL 30 years away, Council will continue to advocate for better public transport options to allow residents to travel to the CBD and major employment, health, education, and retail centres throughout Melbourne.

“Limited public transport options exacerbate Manningham’s lack of health services and tertiary education options — our young people and people needing to access health services deserve better,” Cr Kleinert said. 

With no rail option in sight, she said Council’s Transport Action Plan and draft advocacy priorities include several bus options, including an express bus route that mirrors the SRL alignment.

 Health Plan

Part of the Liberal National plan is to introduce an Infectious Diseases Response Centre.
Mr Smith said the centre would benefit Victorians across the state, including those in Manningham. “It will provide acute care to those in need and be a nation-leading training and research facility to protect communities from future infectious diseases.”
He said in the lead up to the November election, the Victorian Liberals and Nationals will be making further significant announcements about plans to fix the health crisis and ensure all Victorians can get the care they deserve. 

“We will build or upgrade at least 20 hospitals across Victoria — including hospitals in Melbourne’s east — and will have more to say over coming weeks and months,” he said. 

Mr Smith said to support and encourage greater public transport utilisation and as an important measure to attract, retain and reward of the healthcare workforce, the Victorian Liberals and Nationals will provide free public transport for more than 260,000 Victorian healthcare workers.