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Pottery Expo celebrates 21 years by the river

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

Prize-winners

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

Photos: BILL McAULEY
 

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Price of progress

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

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

Consultation deficit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overkill

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

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

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

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

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Photos: VICKY SHUKUROGLOU

Alternatives ignored

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enough is enough

Ms Shukuroglou said MRPV has been asking the wrong questions.

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

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

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

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

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

Replanting plan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Display of grief

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

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

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

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

What now for the future?

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

 

Life in the times of COVID-19

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

Photo exhibition captures Manningham during lockdown

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

 

Photos below by Bill McAuley

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Photos below by David Wadelton

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Community notice: Come join the Lions Club of Warrandyte

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Celebrating community spirit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Nominee: Warrandyte Festival Committee

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Dick Davies was nominated by current WCA President Carli Lange.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Nominee: Martin Rakuscek

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Nominee: Tim Dawson

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

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

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

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

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

“Often this spreads into the community too.

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

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

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

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

 

Nominee: Lisa Ryan

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

“Lisa shows virtue of good citizenship.

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

“Lisa has shown ongoing initiative, leadership and dedication.

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

 

Nominee: James Harris

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

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

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

 

2020 Community Spirit Award Recipient

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A walk into Warrandyte’s history

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Artist, Miner & Sapper: Penleigh Boyd

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How had I not heard of him?

This needed further research.

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

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

Who is a Sapper?

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

One who digs saps, is therefore called a sapper.

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

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

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

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

The Artist and “The Robins”

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

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

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

The Foundation described its architectural and artistic heritage:

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

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

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

The biographer Brenda Niall describes that:

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

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

Mining

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Traditionally, undermining castles.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Drunken Lion Tamer (The First Warrandyte Festival?)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All three lying fast asleep!

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

They were permitted to sleep on.

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

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

Robin Boyd was 4 years old at the time.

His wife, Edith, lived until 1961.

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Saving Gooligulch

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

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

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

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

The council has three options on the table:

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

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

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

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

Podcast weighs in on Teskey Brothers story

MUSHROOM HAS launched its first ever original podcast, 180 Grams, with a six-part rockumentary about Warrandyte’s very own Teskey Brothers.

180 Grams is an ongoing series which tells the stories behind remarkable albums, inviting fans into the lives of some of the most renowned and loved artists of our time.

Season one of the 180 Grams podcast uncovers the highs and lows and untold stories from Warrandyte locals to international rock’n’soul group; The Teskey Brothers.

From busking at the St Andrews Market to playing Red Rock Music Festival in Colorado the 10-year journey is explored by the boys themselves, and those that have been with them on that ride.

180 Grams is named because that is the weight of a collector’s edition vinyl record.

“Unlike the stories in the show, 180-gram records glide smoothly on turntables thanks to the weight,” said the Mushroom announcement.

Across six episodes, as the debut season of 180 Grams delves into the making of The Teskey Brothers’ acclaimed sophomore studio album Run Home Slow — listeners are taken on the journey from pre-production all the way through to sold-out international tours.

Run Home Slow, like Half Mile Harvest before it, was recorded right here in the band’s studio, built under their share-house on a typically Warrandyte bush block.

“The space really captures the whole energy of everyone there — the bustle of a share house with people — there’s gardening going on, there’s cooking going on, there’s yelling going on, there’s mostly good laughs from Josh and the rest of the boys,” reflected the band’s assistant engineer Soren Maryasin.

180 Grams is a tag-along adventure of creative struggle, teenage friendship and global fame with a universally loved band from Warrandyte.

Music journalist Mikey Cahill talks to the Teskey Brothers as they discuss learning the ropes of the music business and the pressures of making a second album filled with nuance, tension and carefully crafted songs.

The podcast explores how the band’s career skyrocketed in 2016 after uploading a track to Triple J Unearthed and being discovered by a record company.

Marihuzka Cornelius, A&R Manager at Ivy League Records, said she was sitting at her desk in Woolloomooloo, Sydney, trawling the Unearthed website then, hearing their song, sat up.

“When I heard them, I thought, ‘Oh my God, if I love this so much, off the bat, surely other people will love this too’ — and I just never had a doubt that it would cut through because I always say ‘you can’t fake good’.”

The conversation that followed spawned the release of their first album, Half Mile Harvest, which was just the start of their journey to international fame.

The band took their time courting deals for their second album, and the plan pays off with something rare and rather complicated.

They negotiated for the territories of USA, Europe and Australia to get favourable, big label, local representation in each.

Danny Roberts, from Decca/Universal said “I’ve signed many acts in my career, but signing the Teskey Brothers was without a doubt the proudest moment of my career, partly due to the fact that it took so long”.

The podcast is filled with little treasures for The Teskey Brothers super fans, including a pattern in the instrumental music used throughout the six-episode series.

In order of appearance on the album, instrumental tracks are used to score the narration and guests in each episode: Let Me Let You Down (track 1) before switching to stems from Carry You for the second half.

Many people who work intimately with the band were interviewed for the series; 32 in total across the USA, UK, Germany and Australia including Josh Teskey (vocals and rhythm guitar), Sam Teskey (lead guitar), Brendon Love (bass guitar) and Liam Gough (drums) who make up The Teskey Brothers.

Living in COVID-Melbourne: the basics

FOLLOWING days of record high numbers in Victoria, the State Government has taken steps to further restrict movements in an effort to halt the spread of Coronavirus.
As it stands today, of the 6,322 active cases in Victoria, there are 760 mystery cases — cases which investigators are unable to determine the source of infection.
In response to this, Premier Daniel Andrews has announced restrictions which severely reduce movement around metro-Melbourne and rural Victoria for the next six weeks (until September 13).
For residents of Warrandyte and surrounding suburbs, as of 6pm tonight (August 2) the following restrictions will be in effect:

  • Curfew from 8pm-5am
  • Shopping is limited to one person per household, per day, and must be within a five-kilometre radius of your home.
  • Exercise is limited to a maximum of one hour per day, must be within a five-kilometre radius of your home and can be with a maximum of one other person — regardless of whether or not you live with them.
  • From Wednesday, all students will return to remote learning.
  • Remember, if you can wear a mask or face covering, you must.

To help enforce this, the State Government has declared a State of Disaster which enables the Government and other authorities to lawfully enforce restrictions of movements and gives all relevant agencies the powers needed to effectively enforce these restrictions.
There are, as always, nuisances around people with young families, compassionate and medical reasons and which businesses can and cannot operate during Stage 4 restrictions.
The Government will release more information about these areas in the coming days and the Diary will update this story, as necessary.
Remember to read our comprehensive COVID-19 update in August’s Warrandyte Diary, which will be published on Monday, August 10.

The Story of Stan Bisset

Warrandyte son: hero of Kokoda

“I SAT WITH him for six hours — he was quite conscious at times — we talked about Mum and Dad, our good times and bad times, what we did as kids.

“I sat with him until about 4am, when he finally left us.

“We buried him beside the track.”

As Butch Bisset lay dying in his younger brother Stan’s arms, the battle to protect Australia along the track was intense.

Grossly outnumbered, the Australians needed every ounce of courage, luck and tenacity to slow — and then stop — the relentless thrust of a determined enemy.

Stan Bisset was born in Balaclava in 1912; he and his brother Butch spent their formative years in Warrandyte, an adventurous life of hunting, rafting and sporting pursuits.

Stan was a natural athlete, who just blossomed as a youngster in the bush around Warrandyte.

He was a fine baritone singer, tennis player, boxer and rower.

But it was with the ball he excelled; Stan was asked to try out for St Kilda in the VFL, however his preferred code was Rugby Union, in which he represented Australia.

Stan’s career as an international rugby player was, unfortunately, cut short.

After his Victorian debut against the touring Springboks in 1937, alongside fellow war-hero-to-be Edward “Weary” Dunlop, Stan was selected to join the national team, and head abroad with the Wallabies.

Stan described the events to Kokoda historian, Dave Howell:

“I was selected to go to England with the Australian Rugby Union team in September, 1939.

We met the King and Queen, but we never played in England because we arrived there the day before World War Two was declared.

The tour was called off.

We played one game — against the British army in Bombay, India on the way back to Australia.

We won comfortably.”

The tour was abandoned, and the team returned to Australia, many signing up with the Australian Imperial Force (AIF).

Half a century later, Special Forces soldier (Afghanistan) and Kokoda expedition guide, Andrew James, walked the track with Stan, who recounted his war experiences.

His terrific book, Kokoda Wallaby, is a lasting testimony to our heroic Warrandyte sons:

“Stan Bisset was a real hero, both in battle, on the rugby pitch and in desperate armed combat against the Japanese during the Second World War.

As a member of the ill-fated 1939 Wallaby touring team to England, he was a rugby legend.

In the Middle East and on the Kokoda Track, he was one of Australia’s most distinguished and heroic combatants.

But above all else, he personified so many attributes of the Australian soldier: moral and physical courage, compassion, selflessness, independence, loyalty, resourcefulness, devotion and humour.”

Growing up during the Great Depression, and a frolicking childhood in the bush around the Yarra, Stan enlisted as a Private in the 2/14th Battalion along with his brother Hal (Butch) in 1940.

Stan was rapidly promoted to Sergeant, and Butch to Warrant Officer.

Both were selected for Officer Training in the Middle East and graduated as Lieutenants.

Both brothers ended up defending Australia on the Kokoda Track.

Stan survived the war — but lost his brother and many friends.

Despite returning home with the honours of a Mentioned in Dispatches (MID), Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) and Military Cross (MC), he returned home a changed man.

Local resident Ken Crooks, who volunteers at the Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance, is a passionate advocate of the great legacy the Stan Bisset story brings to Warrandyte.

Secretary of the Warrandyte Historical society, Valarie Polley said Ken has organised a number of exhibitions highlighting the Bisset brothers.

Captain Stan Bisset MC, DCM, MID was also awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the Queens Birthday Honours, 2000.

He passed away on October 5, 2010.

Final rally for Bridge Tennis Courts

AFTER MORE THAN 110 years, the life of the tennis courts with one of the best views in Melbourne is officially over.

The courts were established in 1907 and had been used to varying degrees until they were seconded by VicRoads as a worksite during the recent bridge redevelopment.

Rallies by the River, a book produced by Judy Green and Keith Wilson in 2007 to celebrate the centenary of  Warrandyte Tennis Club, notes that: “In September 1907 ‘with valuable assistance from the Progressive Association’ the land was gazetted by the Government to be used for ‘public purposes’”.

The courts were built by volunteers and opened in May 1908, “to celebrate the occasion ‘a large number of members assembled and some very enjoyable games were played’”.

The years that followed saw regular inter-club tournaments with neighbouring townships.

However, devastating fire and floods wrought havoc on the riverside courts, with the floods of 1934 washing the courts away, and the 1939 bushfires melting the asphalt surface.

These were replaced by concrete courts, but construction was interrupted by WWII, with the courts at Mr Ted Hemsworth’s Yarra Street home being used in the interim.

The Warrandyte Tennis Club continued to grow over the following decades, but with threats of road widening and the position’s geographical constraints, the club moved to Taroona Avenue in 1974.

The courts were unused for some time after Warrandyte Tennis Club had established itself at Taroona Avenue.

Enter the Warrandyte Lions Club who has now been managing the tennis courts by the bridge for more than 40 years.

Ron Cuthbert was a member in 1978 and recalls when the Lions decided to bring the courts back to life after the courts were damaged.

“There was a truck that came down and took out the whole fence.

“We had the idea to restore the courts, but we couldn’t find out who had control of the courts, it was the local MP who came to sort all that out,” Ron said.

It turned out the land belonged to the Melbourne Metropolitan Board of Works, and once the Lions had established the ownership, they were able to undertake works to upgrade the area.

Long-time member, Denis Robertshaw said when the club took the courts over it was just asphalt.

“The Lions volunteers did all the work fixing it up, weekend after weekend, and then put the en tout cas [red clay] down.

Ron adds “Johnny Gilbert did the maintenance”.

Denis elaborates: “He was a stalwart gentleman, he was in his 80s, he used to come down here, and if he was going past and a branch had come down overnight, he’d be down here the next day.

“He was so diligent, even when it was not his allotted day, he would come down and have this place really clean and tidy and have it ready for anybody that was going to come and have a hit.

“First thing in the morning at 7am, he would be down here,” Denis recalled.

Ron said the club rooms were originally a small timber shack, but local bricklayer Eddie Ohlman constructed the brick clubhouse that stands to this day.

Current Lions President David Englefield recalls the honour system used when they rented the courts out to the public.

“We used to charge $10 per hour for a court.

“It was good fun, the lolly shop had the key, people would pay their $10 and collect the key and return it when they were finished,” said David.

At various times the keys were held by Riverview Café, Scandles, Landfield Real Estate and the Lolly Shop.

But it was not just social hit-ups that the courts were used for, at times Warrandyte Tennis Club and Kangaroo Ground Tennis Club would use the courts for competition when they needed extra courts.

Current Lions Club Secretary Lyn McDonald remembers using the courts in her youth.

“I played here when I was playing with Kangaroo Ground, we had to use it when there were not enough courts up there,” she said.

Former member Colin Davis told the Diary that Lions used to run a program for people with special needs.

“We called the program Everyone for Tennis, it started in 2007 and ran for four years.

“We had professional coaches and it was a good atmosphere, sometimes we would get 30 players,” he said.

However, Denis said the use of the courts had been in decline over the last few years.

“It was costing us a lot in maintenance each year to keep it up-to-date, and when you do not have the use, it is very disappointing.

“Then VicRoads announced they were going to remodel the bridge, they wanted to have it for extra space, so they commandeered the land,” Denis said.

David added “it was very disappointing when we lost it all, we put a lot of work into it to keep it up and going, and a lot of people wanted to keep it going, but the Council said, ‘it’s not your property, it is our property’.

“For the last three or four years it has just gone to wrack and ruin, VicRoads used it as a depot, parking the trucks and using it for their sheds.

“We are very sorry to see it go,” said David.

Current and former members gathered at the courts in late May to farewell the old courts.

Denis told the Diary they are donating $45,000 to purchase fitness stations to be installed in the new Lions Park and are pleased to continue to help people enjoy the area by the river.

“It is the Lions’ swan-song as tenancy of the tennis court area, but we are more than happy that the electric BBQ we built is going to continue on, so visitors to the area can still enjoy their snags and have a picnic… it’s going to turn out to be something usable — and nice,” Denis said.

The courts and clubhouse will now be demolished, and the land incorporated into Lions Park (see story below).

Rallies by the River by Judy Green and Keith Wilson is available from the Warrandyte Historical Society.

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Lions Park construction gets under way

By DAVID HOGG

THE CONTROVERSIAL Lions Park project might finally get underway this month to create a new dynamic park area running from the Federation Playspace to underneath the bridge on the south side of the river.

The Manningham Council meeting on May 26 approved a draft budget which included $600,000 for this project, and concluded in closed session to discuss and approve the tender responses for the works.

Angelo Kourambas, Director City Planning and Community, Manningham Council, told the Diary “Works on the first stage of the Lions Park upgrade at the Warrandyte River Reserve are anticipated to start in June and be completed by the end of November 2020.

“The upgrade will include new fitness equipment, which will be funded by the Lions Club of Warrandyte.

“A full list of works can be found in the document library at yoursaymanningham.com.au/lions-park

“Stage two works are planned for the financial year 2021/22.

“This will include a new playspace, picnic area, art project, and additional indigenous planting,” Mr Kourambas said.

There is slight confusion as to which of the works are included in Stage 1 this year, and Stage 2 in the 2021/22 financial year, particularly as the signs on display at the site are a later edition than the original master plan on the referenced website, but it looks safe to assume that Stage 1 consists of everything on the site plan apart from the four items listed above, and an extension to the existing Fire Garden.

We understand from the Lions Club that they have set aside $45,000 for provision of fixed-apparatus fitness equipment, which they had hoped would be out in the open but council has decided to locate under the bridge.

Progress on these works has been slow and controversial.

The original master plan was approved by council in September 2018 and we were assured at the time that work would be started shortly after completion of the bridgeworks in early 2019.

In May 2019 the Diary announced that council had allocated a total of $450,000 to the project in the financial years to June 2020, and that work would start shortly.

In fact, no work has been done since VicRoads vacated the site of the old tennis courts which they used as a depot for the bridge reconstruction, and it has been fenced off and abandoned.

Lions Club member Denis Robertshaw is concerned about the future of the 4-burner BBQ which is in good condition.

He tells us “This BBQ was a bicentennial project funded by Lions Club and all the bricks in the surrounds have people’s names on them; people in the community that we approached to donate money.

“I believe Council is going to retain the bricks even though they are going to repurpose them but it is a shame that they will be throwing out a perfectly good 4-burner BBQ and replacing it with a new 2-burner one; a waste of Lions Club donators’ and ratepayers’ money.

“Council tell us that the reason for this is that the area has to be made wheelchair accessible; we thought it already is!”

Lions Club Secretary Lyn McDonald tells the Diary “It is still to be called Lions Park, that’s what we have been told, emphasis that the Lions have had this space for so long, and it would be terrible to lose that history.”

The Diary is seeking clarification from Council on the funding for this project.

We know that $450,000 was allocated to the project in the 2018/19 and 2019/20 budgets although no work had started in these years.

We know that $600,000 has been included in the draft budget for 2020/21 but do not know whether this includes the $450,000 previously committed or whether it includes the Stage 2 works to be commenced in 2021/22.

We know that council debated the awarding of the contract for the works in a closed session in their May meeting but do not know who the contract was awarded to, the value of the contract, or whether this was for the whole project or just for Stage 1.

These are questions we have asked of Council, but they had not responded as we go to press, so we will seek to clarify next month.

Rather like the bridge widening project, we are sure it will be excellent when eventually completed, but final completion date and costs may differ from what was originally outlined.

Manningham’s short video walkthrough showing how the final implementation will look is very impressive and can be found at tinyurl.com/wlpk9

 

The first of many tentative steps

VICTORIAN PREMIER Daniel Andrews today announced some restrictions would be eased as of 11:59pm on Tuesday, May 12.
Following a National Cabinet meeting on Friday and a COVID-19 testing blitz which recorded 160,000 COVID-19 tests in two weeks, the Premier outlined the beginning of the road to a state of “COVID normal”.

“Today – thanks to the efforts of Victorians – I can announce our cautious next steps,” said Mr Andrews.

The Premier went on to say: “from 11:59pm this Tuesday night, there’s now a fifth reason to leave home: visiting friends and family — with a maximum gathering of up to 10 outdoors and having up to five visitors in your home.

“I know this will come as a welcome relief, but I need to be clear — although these are our first steps back towards normalcy — they are not an invitation to host a dinner party every night of the week.
“It’s not about having a rotating roster of acquaintances and associates — or your third best friend from primary school — over for a visit.
“This is about seeing those you need to — if you need to.”

These modified restrictions will be in effect until at least Sunday, May 31, with the State of Emergency being extended until that time.
Under the new restrictions, the following can occur:

  • Outdoor gathers of up to 10 people.
  • Indoor gatherings at home are permitted, with up to five people allowed to visit another household.
  • The ability to leave the house for exercise will be expanded to include outdoor recreational activities.
    These activities can occur in groups of up to 10 people outside, but the requirements on physical distancing remain.
  • 10 guests, plus the couple and the celebrant can now attend weddings.
  • For funerals, 20 people will be allowed at an indoor ceremony and 30 people at an outside ceremony.
    This is in addition to the minimum people required to conduct the funeral.
  • Religious gatherings and ceremonies will be permitted with up to 10 people, plus those required to perform the ceremony

There is also light at the end of the tunnel for grassroots sport.
The measures allow training to take place, with groups of no more than 10 — as long as physical distancing measures and “common sense” are adhered to.
Many clubs will now be waiting for an update from their respective governing bodies before announcing a restart of some sort of training regime.

However, the Premier made it very clear that competition was still off the table.
For many, the way of life in which they have adapted to in the past two months will continue to be the normal for the time being.
With fresh outbreaks in South Korea and Germany, and news from overseas showing huge opposition to the easing of restrictions and change of messaging in the United Kingdom, this pandemic is far from over.
With restrictions easing, it is even more important to be vigilant and practice good hygiene and physical distancing, a sentiment summarised by the Premier in this morning’s statement to the press.

“With more freedom comes more responsibility.
“I’m asking Victorians to use common sense — you should only spend time together if it’s safe.
“And you should only be undertaking these activities if you really need to.
“If it’s integral to your health and wellbeing.
“Use your judgement and think about the health of your fellow Victorians, because right now, staying apart is what’s keeping us together.
“And none of us want to squander everything we’ve achieved, none of us want to have to take a backwards step,” he said.

The State Government reiterated its message that if you can stay home, you should and if you have any symptoms, if you feel unwell in any way, go and get tested.
Drive thru testing clinics will continue to operate at major metropolitan shopping centres which include Eastland in Ringwood and Doncaster Shopping Town.
The Diary will continue to monitor the situation and provide an update in its mid-month bulletin, which will be published on Monday, May 18.

Back to school by June

On Tuesday, May 12, the Premier. Daniel Andrews outlined the plan to move away from remote learning, with Preps, Grades 1 and 2 and Years 11 and 12 scheduled to return to the classroom on May 26.
My Andrews recognised the challenges families had faced and thanked them for following the rules.

“As a father of three kids who have been learning from home, I know this has been a really challenging time for many families but thanks to everyone’s efforts in sticking to the rules and getting tested, we’re now able to start getting our kids back into the classroom.
“Having most of our kids learning from home has made a big contribution to limiting the number of people moving around the community and reduced the spread of the virus,” he said.

Following a pupil free day on Monday, May 25, the shift back to school grounds will begin
Students through Years 3 to 10 will continue to learn remotely until June 9, giving the government and health officials time to evaluate the return to school and to make decisions on how to proceed.
Starting today, all Victorian school staff will be prioritised for voluntary Coronavirus testing for a two-week period from both mobile and fixed testing sites.
This will enable school staff to seek testing during the preparation period before the return to on-site schooling.
Schools will be encouraged to implement a staggered drop-off system to reduce the number of adults congregating outside the school at any one time, as well as staggered break times to manage the number of students mixing across year levels.
Schools will also implement social distancing measures for all adults.
The strict health protocols that are already in place will be followed if a member of the school community tests positive for Coronavirus.
To keep the spread of the virus at bay, the Government is also investing $45m in enhanced, daily cleaning routines that will occur “every day, at every school across the state for all of Term 2 and Term 3”.

Remembering our Anzacs, as a community

This year on Anzac Day, the marching, the bagpipes, the veterans, the crowds and the choir were notably absent from the Warrandyte RSL.

However, at 10:45am on Saturday, April 25, RSL President David Ryan, begun his Anzac Day service introduction, and dozens of homes in and around Warrandyte heard his words, as the 2020 Warrandyte Anzac Day service was livestreamed for the first time in its history, in a collaboration between Warrandyte RSL, the Warrandyte Diary and 42K Media.

Warrandyte RSL has faced a number of challenges surrounding its Anzac Day service in the past few years.

In 2017, the memorial was vandalised the day before the service, with anti-anarchist graffiti.

In 2018, the RSL balcony, which is usually reserved for wheelchair bound veterans during the service, was condemned and had to be closed for repairs.

On both occasions, the branch, and members of the community pooled their resources and came together to ensure these challenges were merely bumps on the road to “another respectful service”.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting restrictions we have all be living with since mid-March threatened Warrandyte’s traditional service.

It became apparent very quickly that the traditional mass march from Whipstick Gully, followed by moving service complete with choir, bugler, bagpipes and sandwiches at the RSL after, would not be possible.

All over the state, country and world, public Anzac Day services were cancelled.

Officially, there was still reduced services at the Shrine of Remembrance and the Australian War Memorial, while Australians everywhere were asked to join in with the Dawn Service and Stand To in their driveways.

In Warrandyte, families stood with lit candles by the roadside, some even played the Last Post on trumpets and bagpipes.

Warrandyte RSL had planned on holding a small, private service at the Warrandyte War Memorial on Saturday 25th, but a chance meeting between Warrandyte branch President David “Rhino” Ryan and Sandra Miller, a former Army Reservist and cofounder of local video production company 42K Media, set in motion an idea which would allow our local community to participate in a local Anzac Day service from their living-rooms.

Using a series of 4G mobile internet routers, 42K Media was able to harness enough bandwidth to successfully stream the full 30-minute service.

On the Friday before Anzac Day, Member for Warrandyte, Ryan Smith laid a wreath and paid his respects at the cenotaph, and Mullum Mullum Ward Councillor, Andrew Conlon, inadvertently became part of the ceremony when he turned up to lay Manningham Council’s wreath on Saturday morning.

As well as readings by the RSL President, and Community Church Pastor Andrew Fisher, traditional hymns, songs and the Last Post were played from recordings.

The speeches, songs, prayers, wreath-laying and the two minute’s silence were all recorded on camera and between the livestream and the post-produced video, the service has been watched thousands of times.

With services being cancelled everywhere, this Anzac Day was always going to be different, but thanks to some local inspiration, a dose of technological ingenuity, and a pinch of luck (especially with the internet), Warrandyte was able to mark Anzac Day 2020 in its own special way.

You can watch the service on the Warrandyte Diary’s Facebook page, or YouTube Channel: bit.ly/DiaryTV

 

 

Anzac Day

They were all answering the Call of the Dardanelles,

Little did they know, they were entering a living hell.

The brave ANZAC’s, marched up the hill,

With their aim, freedom and to kill.

Fighting for our freedom,

With their families at home, who really, really need them.

At Gallipoli, 10,000 ANZACs lost their lives,

While a small amount of them, only just survive.

As the Reveille played, get them up in the morn’,

As they thought about what would happen after dawn.

They slowly chewed on the Anzac biscuits that their families had made,

As they hid in the trenches, extremely afraid.

For the families whose daddies, brothers and husbands who went to war,

And for those who didn’t come back, their heart is so sore.

The Poppy’s laid over the soldiers, who were laid to rest,

May all of the ANZACS, be well and truly blessed.

At the Anzac Day parade, the soldiers march, strong and tall,

These are the people, who answered the call.

Liam, Our Lady of the Pines Primary School

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A Warrandyte swimming hole odyssey

Photo: BILL SANDEL

AS KIDS, DURING the summer months, back in the 50s and 60s, our life was defined by Warrandyte’s many swimming holes.

Each well-known spot had its own nickname and peculiarities.

Sometimes we would enjoy a monster river swim and visit all of the swimming holes in one day.

We’d leave our towels and belongings at the west end of the town and troop up to The Island behind the stone built Selby Store [now known as The Yarra Store].

We’d hit the water there, beginning our half-swim/half-float with the current journey home.

The first spot we would arrive at was the Diving Rock where we would clamber out and execute a few running dives and bombs from the rock into the swirling current then continue on our way.

The Willows was next situated just on the Ringwood side of the bridge.

We’d often swim past Helen Couch as she conducted her swimming lessons under the willow trees that grew profusely along the northern bank.

Many local kids learnt to swim in the river here under her instruction.

The willows dangled their elegant swaying branches over the water as the current rushed us underneath them and straight towards the bridge.

We rode the rapids right under the bridge, looking up at the newly constructed span that had recently replaced the old wooden bridge.

We’d float down to The Rope situated opposite the wood fired Bakery.

Naturally, we’d stop and have a swing on the rope that was hanging from a tree on the northern bank, flying across the water and letting go as we neared the middle of the river.

Next stop was The Cliffs, one of the most exciting and most dangerous spots along our river odyssey.

We’d climb up the towering cliffs until we were over 35 feet above the water and launch ourselves out from the dangerous cliff wall and land in only eight feet of water.

Some of the more adventurous lads would dive face first from the cliffs but most were only game enough to jump.

But whichever way you got your kicks, it was an exhilarating ride!

After our dose of adrenaline, we’d shoot the rapids below today’s dog beach near the Dairy and float down to Hussey’s Pool.

Here, we’d luxuriate in the natural harbor that was created by a huge rocky barrier that stretched more than halfway across the river.

The pool was a great place to swim without being bothered by the currents.

It was a beautiful place to break our journey under the giant oak tree that presided over this special swimming hole, where I learnt to swim in 1956.

Next stop was at least half a kilometre from Hussey’s, so we’d float and swim along, past the picnic shelter, and enjoy the beautiful bush on both sides of the river.

We felt safe, for it was rare for a giant tree to fall over into the river in those days.

I once saw a local guy, Chris Emery, dive down in this stretch of water and return to the surface with a gold nugget clutched in his hand.

Heavy fines for breaching restrictions

PEOPLE ACROSS the State are waking up to the new reality of even tougher physical distancing restrictions.

Stage 3 restrictions came into effect at 11:59pm on Monday, March 30.

In a statement issued on Monday, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews explained the reasons for the new restrictions.

“My message to every Victorian is that there are only four reasons to leave your home: food and supplies, medical care, exercise, and work or education.

“Most Victorians are doing the right thing and I’m grateful to them.

“But we continue to see instances of people gathering in significant numbers so we must do more.

“That’s why we are also restricting gatherings to no more than two people except for members of your immediate household and for work or education.

“We will not be breaking up household family dinners — but BBQs with the neighbours cannot happen anymore.

“Playgrounds, skate parks and outdoor gyms will also close.”

The new restrictions mean, outside of the people you live with in your household, you are not allowed to mass, socially, as a group of more than two people.

Victoria Police has been given the authority to issue on the spot fines to anyone breaking the restrictions with individuals facing a fine of $1,652 and businesses $9,913 who breach this or any of the restrictions currently in place.

The roll out of restrictions has been complex with the restrictions targeting specific businesses and activities.

It is still okay to go to work, if you are able to and if you are able to comply with physical distancing rules, it is still okay to go shopping to buy essential supplies, it is still okay to leave the house (if you are not unwell or under quarantine) for daily exercise, but government and health officials at every level are reinforcing the message that if you do not need to leave your house, you should not.

The Diary would also like to reflect this message.

The staff and volunteers at the Diary are limiting their physical presence in the community, but that does not mean we are not still here working to keep you informed, engaged and entertained.

If you have something to tell the community, and to tell history, the Diary is a time capsule that will tell the story of how we got through this together.

Send your stories to the Editor and look out for the next Diary, which will be going to print next week.

To combat the spread of COVID-19 and to help sustain our local economy it is imperative we all respect the advice from government and minimise our movements to those which are deemed essential (food, health, and work).

To keep up to date on the latest developments, the Federal Government has released an app on the Apple App Store and on Google Play as well as set up a What’s App bot to help members of the community access the most relevant details regarding this pandemic.

The app is a straightforward and simple way to get the information they need to keep informed and is readily accessible from their smartphone and, like the Vic Emergency app, should be part of everyone’s app arsenal.

Getting behind Our Hall

NOT MANY people are aware that the Mechanics’ Institute Hall is a true community asset, it belongs to anyone, and everyone, lucky enough to live within a two-mile radius of the Hall.

And it is up to us all to give “our hall” the care it has provided to the community over the years.

While the Warrandyte Mechanics’ Institute is more than 140 years old, the current Mechanics’ Institute Hall is coming up on 95 years.

A recent grant from Warrandyte Community Bank for ongoing renovations continues a long history of community love for our little green hall.

A board of trustees was established in 1878, and the trustees were given the original schoolhouse in Forbes Street for use as a Mechanics’ Institute for the nominal sum of £1.

The next decade saw a concerted effort to construct a new building.

A meeting in July 1890 saw that good progress had been made to establish a building fund, having raised some £23 5s 9d towards a new building.

In December of that year the new building had passed inspection by the Board of Health and was ready for operation.

The Mechanics’ Institutes Hall opened on December 19, 1890 at the North West corner of Yarra Street and Web Street, on the site of what is now Rush and Hampshire Lawyers.

In 1925, they began fundraising for a new hall as the old hall was considered too small for the community’s needs.

The current hall was built on the site of the Warrandyte Hotel, which burned down in April, 1925.

A public meeting was held in the new hall to approve a set of rules and regulations and granting membership of the Institute to those residents over 21 years who lived “for not less than three months within a two-mile radius”.

The hall was immediately put to use with the first wedding taking place on December 8, 1928 between Alice (Pap) Schneider, the town’s first telephonist, and stonemason George Stringer.

The new hall also became the regular venue for the school’s Fancy Dress Ball and the Lilac Time Ball from 1930 until 1954.

There was an annual New Year’s Eve dance with locals gathering in the hall until midnight, then dancing along behind a Scottish pipe band to the bridge to ring in the new year — some years the young lads would let off a stick of gelignite to welcome in the new year with a bang.

Following WWII there were also regular Debutant Balls.

Moving pictures came to Warrandyte and were shown at the Mechanics’ Hall on Friday nights, providing a regular source of entertainment for the townsfolk.

One local remembers it cost ninepence to enter, however she only earned threepence delivering milk, so she saved her money for a month to go to the pictures, with threepence left over for an ice cream.

Then came Friday, January 13, 1939, and the disastrous Black Friday bushfires.

The fires destroyed some 160 homes — with all three churches, the post office, both cricket pavilions and the South Warrandyte Hall all falling to the flames.

The Mechanics’ became a Relief Centre for the community, which operated for some months, providing assistance to those in need.

On February 4, 1939 a dance was held at the Hall to raise money for the Lord Mayor’s Bushfire Fund.

Organised by Miss Renton and Miss Wagner (Popsy Bone) the dance raised £11 15s 6d for the cause.

Then WWII struck and the hall was the scene of some very emotional farewells to the departing troops, many whom never returned.

For the next six years, the Hall was host to many patriotic events to raise money for the war effort.

During this time, Warrandyte was given a fire fighting truck, and a fire station was constructed at the rear of the hall to house it.

The Fire Brigade leased the land from the hall for a rental of one shilling per year and a building was constructed with stone quarried from Whipstick Gully.

The shed was built in 1944 by George Stringer at a cost of £67.

During the 1962 fires the Hall was again used as a Bushfire Relief Centre.

In 1956, the Warrandyte Arts Association (WAA) was formed, and became an important tenant for the Hall.

Consisting of Craft, Drama, Musical, Paining and Pottery Groups, the main focus of the Association’s activities were classes for children.

The Arts Association was born as a result of a public meeting in November 1955 and the various groups emerged over the following months.

Not only could local people participate in the various groups, but professional musicians, for example, were brought out to perform in the Hall.

During the 50s and 60s the Mechanics’ Institute committee of management faced a constant battle to maintain the hall.

With a lack of film screenings, and lack of attendance at dances, the committee considered selling the land to developers and build a new hall at the Recreation Reserve.

Several meetings were held over the years to consider options, and at one well attended meeting in 1973 the members voted to stop negotiations on the sale of the hall.

While an important turning point for the hall, it did nothing to improve the financial position of the Institute.

WAA members maintained the building through fundraising, sale of debentures, loans from committee members, hours of voluntary labour and, above all, the drive to maintain the Hall.

At a public meeting in 1986, WAA was given the go-ahead to take over the full responsibility of the Hall and a new, incorporated association — the Warrandyte Mechanics’ Institute and Arts Association — was born.

Grandiose plans for extension as a fully-fledged theatre with foyer, exhibition space, storage et cetera were not fulfilled.

However, the association has devoted hours of work and thousands of dollars raised from theatrical productions, especially the annual Festival Follies, exhibitions and sales to undertake major refurbishment and purchase of equipment.

Major renovations began in 1991 and included, re-stumping, re-plastering and lining, insulation, internal and external painting and electrical work, installation of ducted heating, purchase of a new piano and lighting equipment.

This involved a huge investment of money and countless working bees and fund-raising concerts by members.

The renovations continued into the 21st century with the purchase of a new sound board, new tables, new chairs, new stage curtain, refurbishment of the committee room with cupboards, benches and flooring, installation of air conditioning, re-roofing and external painting and the creation of a garden with ramp access depicting the activities of the association through mosaics and dedicated to the memory of an outstanding volunteer.

More additions and improvements include the sealing of the rear car park, a professional building check for asbestos and some resulting modifications, purchase of additional theatre lighting, digital equipment and a motorised screen, as well as replacement of the rear stage doors and improved access in general.

President of the WMIAA, David Tynan, told the Diary that the Association has found funds largely from its theatre productions and from hiring the hall for community events.

“However, large expenses, such as improving the toilets, preventing the regular flood damage and major rotting of wooden structures in our buildings are beyond our modest budget.

“We have been very lucky to have forged an excellent relationship with the Warrandyte Community Bank, which has meant that we have been able to secure grant funding to refurbish the toilets and foyer area, and recently we have completed a major overhaul of our drainage so that future floods do not impact the buildings as severely as they have in the past,” he said.

Additional improvements are made each year, such as the installation of a toilet in the pottery studio, improved theatrical lighting and digital sound and light equipment, a rear deck and termite prevention work.

To date, the Bank has contributed almost $120,000 towards maintenance and refurbishment of the Hall.

This includes a recent contribution  of $32,000 toward current essential renovations.

“As custodians of the hall, we are conscious of our responsibility to maintain this historic building for future generations of Warrandyte residents, and we deeply appreciate the support of the Warrandyte Community Bank in completing this work,” David said.

He said that grants that come from the Bank “feel like support from our community”.

“The strength of the bank comes from our community’s investment in it, and the breadth and size of the Bendigo Bank Community grant schemes are what helps the local community groups to continue to thrive,” he said.

Direct assistance to the WMAII is also always appreciated, in the form of donations, labour, membership, or attending one of the many events the WMIAA holds each year.

Sources:
Bruce Bence, Celebrating the one hundredth anniversary of the first Warrandyte Mechanics Institute Hall.

Mechanics’ Institute of Victoria

 

This weekend in Warrandyte – February 29 – March 1

This leap year weekend has Warrandyte jumping for joy with a plethora of events happening to suit everyones’ tastes.

Run Warrandyte – Sunday March 1, 7:30am–10am

Over 300 people have signed up to take part in Warrandyte, nay Melbourne’s, premier fun run.
The weather on Sunday morning is looking very mild, which will make for perfect conditions to go for a 5km, 10km or 15km through The Pound.
If you have not already signed up this weekend: Saturday 9am–1pm outside Quinton’s IGA and Sunday 7am–7:30am at the Event Village at Warrandyte Reserve.
Course cut off times for the 10km have been extended, giving 10km runners 40 minutes to complete their first for two laps.
Gun time for the 15km is 8am, 10km is 8:10am, 5km is 8:15am and 2.2km is 8:20am.
The Under 8 run will begin at 9:30am, allowing parents a chance to run in the longer distances and get back in time to watch their children.
Ticketing prices are between $30 and $165 depending on event, age and number of entries.
See website for details.

A spot of cricket

The Bloods are getting to the end of the Home and Away Season.
The 2nd, 4th, and 7th XI are all sitting in contention for a spot in the finals and are all playing at home on Saturday.
The Seconds play Croydon Ranges on the main oval at Warrandyte Reserve.
The Fourths take on Templeton at Warrandyte High School oval.
The Sevenths take on Kilsyth on the back oval at Warrandyte Reserve.
All three matches begin at 1pm.

Weeping Grevillea birthday

Weeping Grevillea Nursery in Kangaroo Ground is celebrating the 25th birthday of Choco’s Hut.
The roadside — self-serve shop relies on an honest box to make it sales.
The Nursery is open 10am–4pm Saturday and Sunday, so go for a drive to Kangaroo Ground and check out the nursery, and help Choco’s Hut make a start on the next 25 years.

Health and Active Ageing Expo

Eltham High School hosts the inaugural Health and Active Ageing Expo this Sunday.
A collaboration between Nillumbik and Banyule Councils, the expo is a fun day out for older adults with over 50 exhibitors, food, fun activities, talks, meditation and more.
There is also a complimentary bus running between Eltham Station and the High School between 9:50am and 3:50pm.
Visit the expo page on Nillumbik Council’s website for full details.

Warrandyte Repair Café

The first Sunday of the month means it is time take your gadgets to meet their makers – so to speak –
Warrandyte Repair Café is on from 10:30am to 1pm, with locals putting their fixer skills to good work and helping you prolong the life of everything from torn clothes and damaged toasters, to computers, bicycles and bits of furniture.
Visit the WMIAA website for more details

Local Heroes

OUR LOCAL Country Fire Authority (CFA) brigades have been working tirelessly over what has turned out to be a very long summer.

Commencing with support to the Rural Fire Service (RFS) in New South Wales in October, members of Warrandyte, South Warrandyte, North Warrandyte and Wonga Park have joined their firefighting colleagues around the country.

As discussed in the December Diary, there were members from all our local brigades deployed to New South Wales.

Since that time, the brigades have sent members to the conflagration in East Gippsland, the Victorian Alpine Fires, as well as several fires closer to home — in Plenty Gorge and Sunbury.

Most importantly, the brigades have retained a contingent back at the station to protect the local area as our summer kicks in.

The Diary sat down with a panel of volunteer officers and CFA station staff from our local brigades to discuss the events of a very busy summer.

2nd Lieutenant from Wonga Park, Luke Summerscales said the CFA has been busy since September, with bushfires in Queensland, New South Wales and now Victoria.

“The NSW deployments were full on, CFA had 50 trucks and 20 support vehicles all sent to NSW — and thousands of firefighters on the ground all at once,” he said.

He said it was fortunate that the CFA crews were released from the NSW fires when they were, just before Gippsland took off.

Warrandyte member and District Group Officer (DGO) for the Maroondah Group of brigades, Shane Murphy told the Diary that the group currently has  an ongoing commitment in Gippsland.

“We have had 20 rotations of crews that have gone through there since December 28.

“They have been a mixture of brigades from around here, either individually or as composite crews that have made up the strike teams,” he said.

He said the crews have been undertaking a range of duties, including firefighting and asset protection and have been fairly active during that period of time.

“Now on top of that, there were a number of strike teams that went out on more of a short haul, out for a day,” he said.

The brigades’ vehicles have been busy too.

South Warrandyte Tanker has been out on the fireground constantly since November 8.

The highest ranking volunteer at South Warrandyte, 1st Lieutenant Nathan McDonald told the Diary that the truck spent time in Grafton and Singleton.

The truck was on its way back home when fires in Batemans Bay caused it to be redeployed to the New South Wales South Coast, where it spent the remainder of the year.

After Batemans Bay, it made it back from there to Seymour where it received minor repairs by CFA mechanics before being delivered back to the station.

“We put in about five hours into cleaning the appliance, then it was back on-line for about 45 minutes before it got shanghaied up to Wangaratta to form up another strike team,” Lt McDonald said.

South Warrandyte Station Officer Peter Nolan said the tanker was originally crewed by a South Warrandyte crew in New South Wales, but when it came back it was used on about three or four Staff Strike Teams — one of South Warrandyte’s Station Officers plus a South Warrandyte volunteer, who is a staff member in Portland, were on it.

“We have a photo up there of him standing in front of the truck, miles away.”

South Warrandyte’s tanker has been used far and wide.

“It has racked up a few kilometres,” SO Nolan said.

Warrandyte Captain Adrian Mullens explains the trucks and the crews are two separate entities.

“The trucks can come from everywhere and once they have the trucks together, they become a resource,” he said.

DGO Murphy adds: “The groups of trucks that are sent away are always a similar configuration of trucks, all the trucks have similar capability, so if you are used to having a truck of a similar capacity then you will go away on a group of trucks that have a similar capacity — what name is on it doesn’t matter — it’s a red truck — it doesn’t even need to be red — if it is a truck that you have some crews and some knowledge with, then they make sure they have someone as strike team leader that can make sure that they have the right crews and resources and are going in the right direction.”

Warrandyte has made great use of its Slip-On appliance, which was purchased with the proceeds of the 2016 Fireball.

South Warrandyte’s brand-new Forward Control Vehicle, also purchased with thanks to Fireball has been at Buchan in East Gippsland as the Forward Control Vehicle.

“It only had 1,300kms on it.

The morning it went away we had it serviced at Yarra Valley Toyota.

“So a big thank you to Yarra Valley Toyota and a big thanks to Fireball,” said Lt McDonald.

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Images courtesy Wonga Park CFA

Deployments

North Warrandyte members have been deployed all over East Gippsland, from Buchan to Mallacoota with crews working five-day rotations — with one day’s travel to and from the fire and three days working on the fireground.

Some of our local firefighters were at Mallacoota on New Year’s Eve.

“They were very busy, saved a lot of houses,” Lt McDonald said.

“The foreshore caravan park had around 9,000 people so I think by the time they closed the road about 3,000 people had left and there were still about 5–6,000 people, and all the residents that had decided to stay and defend their property,” he said.

He said the crews had trigger points for the trucks to fall back into town.

“The triggers were hit pretty early on Tuesday morning, so all the crews fell back into the Mallacoota township.

North Warrandyte Captain, Trent Burris added: “They were told that it was going to be 24 hours before it got there and it came in 12”.

Lt McDonald said between about 8am until midday the crews were flat out, some working 36 hours straight.

“They were putting out house fires, spot fires, car fires, whatever was popping up where it was blowing into the town.

“They had a brief reprieve for about an hour and a half before it went through another area and popped out the back and started impacting more houses on the other side.

“They worked right through that day and into the following morning, just going around mopping up, and trying to put out any of the fires that were still burning that were impacting on further properties.

“A lot of good work was done in Mallacoota,” he said.

Wonga Park 1st Lieutenant Warren Aikman said he and his crew were deployed to the Buchan area.

“We worked on road clearing — on the road to McKillops Bridge — in addition to patrolling the fire line around Buchan and assisting local brigades and residents to eliminate hot spots and secure properties,” he said.

The volunteers from South Warrandyte have also been busy.

There have been three rotations of crew deployed on tankers, with some members working on the Forward Control Vehicle either as Driver or Assistant Strike Team Leader.

Members from South Warrandyte have been posted to East Gippsland since late December, working in Buchan, Bruthen and Mallacoota

“We had a combined crew with Wonga Park on the Tarneet Tanker in Mallacoota — trucks were from here, there and everywhere.

“Some crews were on Eltham Tanker, then Kangaroo Ground and Tarneet”.

Since their deployment to NSW, the Warrandyte brigade have been involved in fires at Plenty Gorge and were deployed to the fires around Banalla and Euroa.

Protecting home

Lt McDonald said that brigades have to be careful when deploying people to keep enough crews for local jobs and not to overtax brigade members.

However, he says having staff manning the station has aleviated this issue at his station somewhat.

“In years gone by you always had to consider, who am I going to send away and who am I going to have still at home to respond to local jobs because — you still have a duty of care for your own community,” he said.

Each of the brigades has sent around 15 members to the fires, which in most cases is around a half of their active volunteer firefighter contingent.

Captain Mullens said there is an impact to families and employers when CFA members need to be deployed, especially for self-employed members.

“For people who work in the public sector they have Emergency Services Leave, but for the guys that work for themselves …”

Lt McDonald adding that he and other members took annual leave to be able to volunteer for Strike Teams.

“At any one time if you send a crew away it is usually four or five people and then if you are trying to send a changeover crew as well — that is 10 people out of your brigade and that takes almost a third of your active members away, especially when you have come into a season when you have had NSW deployments in October, November, December and then we start hitting our fire season and people are getting back into work,” he said.

Overwhelming support

3rd Lieutenant Peter Cahill from North Warrandyte said there has been an “absolute plethora” of people expressing interest in volunteering.

The best avenue to register is to fill out the expression of interest form on the CFA’s website and that will be allocated to your closest brigade.

Captain Mullens acknowledges that it is a very emotional time and people are keen to pitch in.

However, the best course of action is let the dust settle.

“And if you are still interested in April then apply for a recruit course, which will be run later in the year”.

The danger is not over yet 

Captain Mullens advised residents to “get out and still clean up around your houses”.

Saying there will be a lot of new growth after the rainfall.

“February is traditionally our bad time of the year, and there is a lot of leaf litter around after the hailstorms the other day.

“There is a bit of a false sense of security now that the weather has cooled off, but it is far from over,” he said.