Featured

Business Insyte: Keep Smiling Dentures

Warrandyte Diary profiles the businesses at the heart of our community and the people behind those businesses.

Keep Smiling Dentures has been providing professional prosthetic treatment for over 20 years helping thousands of people smile and eat comfortably again with true confidence.

Their practice is located in a quiet tree lined street in the artistic leafy suburb of Warrandyte ensuring your visit to be private, confidential, and very relaxing in their warm professional bush setting.

The views from the dental chair are amazing, as soon as you sit down your instantly relaxed as you take in the serenity of Warrandyte’s tranquil environment.

If you need a mouth guard or any sort of denture work, why not shop local and visit Jacqueline at her clinic on Lorraine Avenue.

DiaryTV interviews: Bryan Dawe


MONTSALVAT Gallery is host to a new exhibition from satirist and artist Bryan Dawe.
Known predominantly for his work as foil to the late John Clarke on the ABC’s 7:30 Report, Bryan is also an accomplished artist, with this the 14th exhibition of his work.
The exhibition has been assembled by curator Krista McClelland, who has managed to combine several styles of Bryans work into a cohesive gestalt that feels right at home in the rustic surrounds of the Barn Gallery.
Bryan spoke to the Diary just prior to the opening of the exhibition, Interlude in Montsalvat’s Barn Gallery about his art, his satire and his love aff air with Morocco.
Bryan develops his pieces using iPad technology.
“I picked a few of the little apps that were around that did exactly what I wanted them to do … I just play really.
“On the iPad now, there are so many painting and drawing apps that weren’t available even when I did the Tangiers exhibition and now they are, and so you keep at it, and hope you don’t trip over the furniture on the way, and end
up with some work,” he said.
The musical theme of his many pieces in this exhibition took inspiration from Montsalvat’s Barn Gallery itself, after looking at the gallery’s grand piano he produced a series of musically themed pieces.
“I walked in the door here and that inspired me … I just went ‘yup, music’.
“My stuff is pretty regular, circus, theatre, abandoned buildings, and the music is part of it… the shape of the piano is beautiful, and the shape of the violin is beautiful and so that is not hard,” he said.
Montsalvat’s Gallery Curator, Christine Johnson opened the exhibition by applauding Bryan’s innovative technique.
“Working on an iPad, he draws freehand, paints and transforms his imagery on the virtual plane and brings the images to full realisation as exquisite and vivid pigment prints.
“By his combining the hand-drawn with the digital, Bryan has more or less created a whole new idiom for himself.
“These images have their roots in Bryan’s photographic works, which were themselves also transformed beyond ordinary reality using similar technical methods,” she said.
Bryan told the Diary he gets a different sort of pleasure from art than producing his many satirical performances.
“It doesn’t clash in any way because I am not trying to be satirical in any way — if any of them become satirical then it is by accident, more than design, ironic maybe, there is a bit of that going on with some of them, … it is almost the opposite of it — and it is a release from all the politics, which bores me senseless.”
He said he feels lucky to have his art as an outlet since his work producing political satire ended abruptly when his collaborator John Clarke passed away.
“Boredom is a strange thing, as John Clarke used to say, boredom is the driving force of all art, and if you are not doing one thing you have got to look around and make sure boredom is kept at bay.
“When John passed away that was the end of our thirty-year relationship and the end of me doing political satire on television.
“There was no one else I was ever going to work with, or wanted to work with, so I was incredibly lucky I was doing this [art] at the same time,” he
said.
When John passed away Bryan was able to escape to Morocco where he has been traveling to and from for over a decade.
“It began with a man called Sandy McHutchin who used to work at the ABC and did Australia Overnight, and he lives with his family in Fez permanently now, and they invited me when they came back to Australia to look after their house in Fez, and that started the romance with Morocco, and that was seven trips ago.
“I discovered Tangiers which I had been through two or three times but had never stopped because everyone said ‘oh don’t stay in Tangiers, it is a bit
like Marcelles’.
“Then one day, an Australian woman said to me, ‘do you know what, you need to go and stay in Tangiers for a while, because I think you and Tangiers
were made for each other’.
“And I got there, spent a week, fell in love with it and then met the art gallery owner who said have the exhibition.
“So I went there last year for five months and did some of this work, but that was where it began and it has just grown from there, but I do love
Tangiers particularly, partly because it is a port town.
“I grew up in a port town and I love port towns.
“[Tangiers] is like Marseille, I went to Marseille, I said ‘oh yes this is easy, this is Tangiers with French language’.”
Bryan started creating his artwork around 12 years ago.
“I had a brief break of about fi ve years in between, because I didn’t quite know where I wanted to take it all… and I was in Tangiers, and the night before I came back [to Australia] an art gallery owner said ‘oh you are coming back next year, do you want to have an exhibition’?
“I came back to Australia and put together an exhibition of work that was nothing like anything I had ever done
and that is what kickstarted these — I had three [exhibitions] last year and this one.”
Bryan also spoke recently as part of the Montsalvat Festival, with a talk entitled A Satirists Journey.
“It is a talk about where I started, and my influences.
“I was told I couldn’t do any of the things I ended up doing, and I suppose if that is a message in the talk it is never tell a young kid they can’t do
something.
“I was told I could never work on radio, could never be an actor, could never be a writer, didn’t even get to art — because I came from the wrong background — a working class background in Port Adelaide.”
“What happened is my father died when I was 15 and I left school because I was — boredom is not quite the word, it is way beyond there — and so I left.
“And that is when I was told I couldn’t do all these thing, so there was a farsighted genius in all this that was the career advisory offi cer and he told me
that I couldn’t do these things… and one of the great things that happened, is eventually I was asked to go back over to Adelaide to my high school and
speak at their hundredth [anniversary] celebrations.
“I said very naughtily to them, ‘good evening ladies and gentlemen, I am here despite you, not because of you’.
“The night went downhill from there — that is what the talk is about, and I talk about working with my characters Roly and Sonya Parks and my other
character Sir Murray Rivers, and of course John Clarke, so it covers a fair territory along the way.”
Bryan said that his life’s journey has been about exploring possibilities.
“Things happen and you go down that trail and see what happens and hope you get home without hurting yourself,” he said.

Interlude is at the Barn Gallery,Montsalvat until November 11.

Meet the artist: Saturday, November 9, 2–4 pm
Bryan will talk about his practice as an artist working in the digital realm.

Teskey Brothers run home slow

On August 2, The Teskey Brothers released their new album Run Home Slow.
Since we last spoke to The Teskeys, our Warrandyte boys have headlined their own world tour and played at the world renowned Splendour in The Grass festival.
Just recently, The Teskey Brothers also featured on the ABC’s The Set alongside Thelma Plum and Amy Shark.
Run Home Slow carries The Teskeys’ signature sound throughout while adding a new element to it.
This could be attributed to The Teskeys’ artistic growth as they spark the world’s interest, as well as the influential guidance that music producer and engineer Paul Butler offered the band in their latest album.
The guys have said that Butler’s presence in their Warrandyte home studio brought a new energy to the recording of the album, and described the producer as “invaluable”.
While still recording the album on tape to keep the authentic sound that illustrates their style, the guys and Butler have stepped up the complexity of the music, including many new exploratory sounds such as whistling combined with use of banjo and brass.
Run Home Slow progresses from slow mellow tunes like Carry You and San Francisco, to more upbeat and rich songs like Paint My Heart and Man of the Universe.
Some of my personal favourites, such as So Caught Up, also hold a bouncy integrity while flowing impossibly at the same time.
Since releasing Run Home Slow, Liam, Josh, Sam and Brendon have announced a world tour for the new album, touring Europe and United States in September.
Their Australian leg starts on November 1 at the Metro Theatre, Sydney.
The Teskey Brothers have been recognised globally, and have bloomed from their playing at the St. Andrews Hotel days to globetrotting and playing shows to fans of all kinds and nationalities.
Run Home Slow, along with their debut album, Half Mile Harvest, carries the bluesy and soul sound that the Stax era and 60s artists like Otis Redding and Sam Cooke possessed.
This sound has obviously been missed, as the Teskey Brothers develop their own take on it and have been recognised by countless radio stations, and even received praise from Chris Hemsworth.
It is clear, this awesome foursome have captured the attention of music lovers all over the world.
The Teskey Brothers, after having three sold out shows at the Forum in Melbourne, have added a fourth show for November 12 — so if you haven’t already, grab a ticket or two to support our Warrandyte boys!

Baldessin Studio – a legacy in pictures

THE BARN GALLERY and Residents Gallery at Montsalvat are both currently playing host to a collection of works created by a variety of artists at a remarkable studio nestled in the beautiful St Andrews bush.

The story

The Baldessin Studio was established and built in St Andrews in the 1970s by the artists George Baldessin and his wife, Tess Edwards.
The untimely death of George Baldessin (1939–1978) might have robbed art of one of its creative giants, however Baldessin’s legacy has only intensified.
Following George’s death Tess moved to Paris, in part to run away from her grief, and in part to work as an artist in her own right, without the pressure of the Baldessin name.
“By going overseas, nobody knew the name, and I changed my surname to my maiden name of Edwards,” she told the Diary.”
“I had also wanted to give my kids space, so they did not grow up as tragic figures who had lost their father, because when George died, in the art world it was huge, because he was so well known as an artist and a teacher at RMIT.
“During that time, George’s work, which had been in storage, was really not seen because there was no one was championing his posthumous career.
“I knew I had to come back to do the right thing by George, and so I girded my loins and put my own career on hold, and I came back here and moved into the house,” said Tess.
She returned after 17 years to a studio which was largely left as George had left it.
“It was almost like Miss Havisham’s wedding feast, with the garlands of cobwebs adorning every surface.
“George’s studio had always been somewhere where people dropped in — there was always somethings to do — it was a lot of work but there was always a lot of good will and collegiate spirit,” she said.
So, in 2001 Tess decided to open up the studio and called it Baldessin Press, in George’s memory.
The space is still dominated by his large-scale electric printing press, used with pride by many artists, and by his sculptures in the grounds.
“I didn’t know what form it would take, we started with a few etching workshops and then things went on when Silvi Glattauer came along and she was instrumental in getting it all together,” Tess said.
Since then, the studio has gone from strength to strength and in the last few years they have forged an alliance with the State Library.
“Two of their fellowships are now residencies with the Baldessin Studio, one is sponsored by Rick Amor, and the other is the Tate Adam’s memorial residency — sponsored by Morag Fraser — they are very prestigious,” said Tess.
They have also recently joined with Australian Galleries and Fox Galleries for two further residencies.
“Apart from that, we do workshops in all types of print making and photographic processes,” she said.

The exhibition

This exhibition is an exploration of George Baldessin’s legacy.
“Many people don’t understand what the history is” said Tess, explaining last year’s National Gallery of Victoria exhibition, Baldessin/ Whitely: Parallel Visions, put George’s posthumous career back on the map.
It was a perfect time for the Baldessin Press to delve deeper in to George’s legacy and for the artists following in his footsteps, to show their work.
The exhibition showcases 39 artists who have a connection to the Baldessin Press, including Rick Amor, Michael Leunig, Rob Hails, Lloyd Godman, Chris Ingham and Tess Edwards, and the works are as diverse as the artists who produce them.
Several stories are told via videos screened at the exhibition, one outlines the history of the studio itself, and there is a heart-warming story of five young men who studied at what is now the Monash University’s School of Pharmacy in 1915.
The men gave up their studies to fight in the Great War — and gave their lives in the process.
Curator of the exhibition Christine Johnson worked at the Baldessin Press to produce floral artworks to represent each of the soldiers, which were presented to each of the families of the fallen solders as they were presented with posthumous degrees a century on.
The exhibition is complemented by a selection of George’s own prints and by The Baldessin & Friends Commemorative Folio, which celebrates the 15th anniversary of the Studio’s operation as a not-for-profit organisation.
The folio brings together seven celebrated Australian artists — Rick Amor, GW Bot, Jock Clutterbuck, Michael Leunig, Jan Senbergs, Imants Tillers and John Wolseley — each of whom shares a personal connection to George Baldessin or to the Studio.

Baldessin Studios — The Story is on at Montsalvat, with works in the Residents Gallery on display until August 18 with the remainder of the exhibition on display in the Barn Gallery until September 15.

The great Warrandyte milk bar odyssey


IN THE 1960s, Yarra Street was a milk bar trail.
Amazingly enough, then, there were eight milk bars in Warrandyte, stretching from West End to Pigtail Hill at the East end of town.
Sadly, there are no milk bars here today, but plenty of cafes where you can sit down to a café latte and a plate of smashed avocado on sour dough.
L overs of Drumsticks, Choc Wedges, bags of chippies, liquorice allsorts, sherbet bombs, root beer and milkshakes were in business.
When it came to sugar addiction, we local kids were spoilt for choice.
The milk bar trail was blue heaven on a stick.
Sugar was not a dirty word in 1963!
The first stop at the Melbourne end of town was The Golden Gate.
Run by George and Voila Leek and family, the white building — with a sizeable car park out the front — housed a large and busy shop selling fruit and vegetables, a selection of newspapers and magazines, as well as the usual fare of ice creams, biscuits, lollies and other groceries.
The old building has been pulled down and today; Bocca Pizzeria occupies the site.
George also ran a green grocery home delivery service and drove fruit boxes full of produce to our homes once a week.
George would cheerfully park his truck at the bottom of our driveways and run the box of veggies up to our doors, then come inside and heave the box up onto our kitchen table.
He had time for a natter and a bit of local gossip, before driving on to the next customer’s house.
Locals from West End, Jack “The Hat” Williams and his wife Pat, also ran The Golden Gate in the late 60s.
Across the road was the White House at the recreation reserve.
Attached to the end of the large hall which comprised the White House reception venue was a little milk bar, which was always open on Saturdays.
Howard and Joyce Bensch ran the reception area during the week and Joyce manned the milk bar during Saturday’s football and cricket
matches.
She specialized in selling pies, pasties and sausage rolls from her pie warmer as well as the usual selection of ice cream, lollies and packets of chicken chips.
Before the Bensch family bought the business, well known character Alice Watson lived upstairs there.
The White House was sadly demolished in 1991 after serving the community for 150 years.
The next port of call was Dottie McKay’s milk bar opposite Stiggant Street.
The shop front is still there, but today it serves as a studio for reverse glass artist Bruce Jackson.
Dottie was an elderly eccentric spinster who was always polite to us local kids when we were sent down there to buy milk, cereal and boxes
of eggs.
She was none the wiser when some of the local kids would sneak around the back of the shop and pinch the empty soft drink bottles stacked in crates.
They would come around to the shop counter, cash the bottles in and buy choc wedges, chicken chips and bottles of Passiona, (a passion fruit flavoured soft drink) with the refund money.
After drinking them, these young entrepreneurs would bring back the soft drink bottles to cash in yet again!
A confirmed spinster, Dottie surprised the locals by marrying Fred Bawden Sr. when she was in her 60s.
They lived happily ever after.
Moving eastward along the trail you would eventually arrive at Dixon’s milk bar situated in the village where currently Now and Not Yet Cafe is serving café lattes.
Then the shop changed hands and became “McDonalds” long before the hamburger franchise came to Australia.
There was no red wigged clown running the show, instead the new proprietor, John McDonald quietly went about the business of serving
locals their pies, pasties, sandwiches and milk shakes and also selling the latest newspapers, books and magazines.
Many Warrandyte kids had their first job at McDonalds, selling and delivering the newspapers of the day: The Sun-News Pictorial, The Sunday Observer, The Herald, The Argus, The Truth and Women’s Day.
The McDonald paperboys would wander into the Grand Hotel and sell The Herald to the news hungry patrons.
Their famous catch cry, “Hee errrrald!” echoing down Yarra Street.
During the days of “early closing” laws, kids had to sell their papers before six o’clock, because, amazingly enough, the pub stopped serving
beer at 6pm right up until 1966 when licensing hours were extended.
Aggie Moore’s milk bar sat right next to the Mechanics’ Hall, which held a matinee movie session every Saturday.
During interval, the theatre crowd would swarm over to Aggie’s shop to swill down her specialty: lime or coke spiders.
The spider consisted of a tall glass full of soft drink with a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream floating on top.
The concoction fizzed loudly as kids hurriedly sloshed them down before returning to the matinee.
Kids also bought Minties, Chocolate Frogs and Fantails to take back into the theatre with them.
And especially Jaffas.
The round orange, chocolate filled sweets were perfect for naughty kids to roll down the aisle during a Hopalong Cassidy feature.
Next on the trail was Bennett’s milk bar, right on the corner just past the Mechanics’ Institute Hall where the Sassafras Sweet Co. is now situated.
Mr and Mrs Bennett both worked behind the counter.
The large ice cream cone that advertised their wares still hangs off the front of the building today.
Next in line was Les Gilholm’s milk bar [Now Folk Art] that was situated opposite the bridge.
Les, a popular character, would enthusiastically sell us his specialty – iced pineapple.
He’d reach into a refrigerated canister with a huge soup ladle and pour the sweet-tasting yellow, icy liquid into a big chunky glass.
It was an exquisite way to quench our thirst on hot summer days, as we listened to Les’s amusing and teasing banter.
We ended our milk bar crawl at Selby Store at the eastern end of town.
The beautiful old historic stone building is now The Yarra Store.
It was the perfect place for local kids to get a hit of carbs before attacking
the bike track that ran around the swampy area beside the river.
All in all, the milk bar trail was a wonderland of chips, ice cream and chocolate treats and for us kids, a great way to spend our weekly
allowance, which in the mid 60s was about two dollars if we had generous parents and were willing to do the chores required to earn our weekly ‘salary’.
One wonders if our collective sweet tooth, not only helped keep these’eight milk bars in business, but also supported the nearby dental clinics in Ringwood!

Photos courtesy Warrandyte Historical Society

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Queen’s Birthday Honours for two local stalwarts

Congratulations to Jan Davies and Doug Seymour who have each been awarded an OAM in this year’s Queen’s Birthday honours.

Doug Seymour

Doug Seymour has been recognised for his work in the Warrandyte Community, most notably with the Warrandyte Community Association, where he has been on the central committee since 2012.

Doug was also a foundation member of the Warrandyte Environment League in 1970, where he served as President for more than six years.

Doug told the Diary he was surprised by the award, but said it was “much appreciated, as the nomination must have been put forward by some of the wonderful Warrandyte people I have worked with in the interests of sensitive planning and conservation values over the past 40 years”.

“We value our heritage bushland character and conservation values and you are never alone when the battle goes forward in this town,” he said.

More recently he has been on the committee of the Warrandyte Community Retirement Cooperative, which has been working to enable older Warrandyte residents the opportunity of staying within Warrandyte when the typical Warrandyte block becomes too much to maintain.

The cooperative built the award-winning Creekside retirement village, and are nearing completion of the new Riverside development in West End Road.

The honour has also recognised Doug’s tireless work for the community of Warrandyte on his work on numerous committees, including the WCA’s Be Ready Warrandyte campaign, which promoted fire safety throughout the community, as well as his volunteering with Friends of Warrandyte State Park, where he has been a member since its inception in 1982.

He has also been involved with the Warrandyte Historical Society since 1976, and managed the Warrandyte Organic Food Cooperative.

Jan Davies

Dr Janice Davies (B.Sc Hons, Grad Dip HRM, MBA, PhD) has been recognised for her considerable contribution both to health care throughout Australia and to her local community in Warrandyte over the last 40 years.

Jan Davies’ two faceted award acknowledges her generosity with her time with pro-bono and community activities, in addition to her considerable achievements in her professional life.

Health

As a leading innovator in the health sector in Australia, she has introduced “communities of practice” to clinicians around the country — helping health service leaders identify ways to improve the clinical services they deliver to patients.

Jan initiated innovative approaches to address educational, social and health inequalities in rural, disadvantaged and Indigenous communities.

She established the National Institute of Clinical Studies (NICS) in collaboration with Professor Chris Silagy AO and worked with Alzheimer’s Australia to introduce new programs designed to improve the care and design of services for people with Alzheimer’s.

Jan has an abiding commitment to protecting some of the most vulnerable people in the community.

Jan has also been actively involved in a national bullying prevention program, and in caring for and supporting victims of sexual assault.

One of her earliest projects, in the 1990s, was to head up and coordinate the establishment of the North- East Centre Against Sexual Assault (NECASA).

Community

The legacy of Jan’s volunteer work is enjoyed by the thousands of people who use the Warrandyte State Park, the Warrandyte Community Centre and our many cultural and social facilities.

Her passion for community health is seen in the many trekking tours she has organised, and her leadership of the Heart Foundation Walking Group.

Her enduring legacy in the Warrandyte community is her achievements as Co-Chair of the Warrandyte Environment League.

In this role, she spearheaded a campaign advocating for the State Government to purchase land in North Warrandyte now known as Koornong Reserve and was instrumental in convincing the then Eltham Council to purchase the environmentally sensitive Professors Hill land as a Council Reserve.

She also persuaded the then Doncaster and Eltham Councils to purchase vacant garage land in central Warrandyte as a site for a Community Centre.

The Warrandyte Community Centre was later developed by Manningham Council to house the community library, Warrandyte Diary, the Neighbourhood House and facilities to host many other community functions and activities.

VEC: Nillumbik Representation Review

Final report released

The Victorian Electoral Commission(VEC) have released their final report and recommendation for the Nillumbik Shire Representation Review.

The review, a process which takes place every 12 years, aims to ensure residents in municipalities are fairly represented by local council.

Over the course of the process, which began in April, a total of 157 public submissions were received by the VEC across the Preliminary Submission and Response Submission phases.

In its Preliminary Report, the VEC’s preferred option was a multi-councillor, three-ward structure which would have seen the distinct urban and rural areas covered under their own ward.

However, in the Final Report, the VEC has recommended the Shire retains its current representation structure of seven wards with one councillor per ward, a decision which will be welcomed by Council who have been submitting for the status quo since this process began.

Read our full analysis of the Nillumbik Representation Review in June’s Diary,  which will be available online on Monday.

Click here to read the Final Report.

Health and Safety

Prepare for flu season

By SANDI MILLER

THE STATE Government has launched a new campaign encouraging Victorians to get their flu shot ahead of winter and do their part to stop the spread of flu.
More than two million free vaccinations are expected to be administered before the flu season takes hold.
Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos says vaccination is safe, effective and it saves lives.
“You never forget the flu, so don’t forget your flu shot.
“Coming down with the flu is not like catching a cold.
“It hits you quickly and hard, and it can last for weeks — and for some people, it can be deadly.”
A horror flu season in 2017 saw more than 48,000 Victorians diagnosed with influenza.
That number fell to 11,612 cases last year, but flu diagnoses in 2019 are currently triple what they were compared with the same time last year.
Vaccinations are free for kids aged six months to less than five.
Pregnant women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and Victorians with a chronic condition are also eligible for a free flu vaccination as part of the National Immunisation Program.
Victorians over the age of 65 are also covered and the vaccination can be obtained from your local GP.
Flu shots are also available at some pharmacies — without the need to visit a doctor.
Warrandyte Pharmacist, Chris Farmakis says the Terry White Chemmart at the Goldfields Shopping Centre has established a flu clinic to administer vaccinations.
The Terry White Chemmart website provides a booking service where you can schedule an appointment, or you can pop in for a walk-up consultation.
Go to terrywhitechemmart.com.au and click on Health Services to make your booking for a flu shot.
The vaccination costs $19.95 and it is administered on site.
Flu symptoms can include a sudden high fever, headache, body aches and feeling extremely weak or tired.
For children, the elderly or people with a weakened immune system, the flu can have devastating outcomes.
Mr Farmakis says the flu is very easy to catch, and good hygiene is imperative to avoid the disease.
“It is not merely passed on through coughing and sneezing, it hangs around — even on door handles it can survive up to eight hours, and then if you open the door it is on your hands. “It’s very easy to catch, but very easy to prevent by having a flu shot,” he said.
Anyone who thinks they have the flu should visit their doctor, a pharmacist, or call Nurse-On-Call on: 1300 60 60 24.

Electromagnetic Sleep Study, Participants sought

Nicole Bijlsma is a building biologist and CEO of the registered training organisation — Australian College of Environmental Studies based in Warrandyte.
She first became interested in environmental medicine following two events in her life: firstly working as a naturopath and acupuncturist she noticed many of her patients with asthma, allergies and chronic fatigue syndrome were sick following exposure to mould, electromagnetic fields (EMFs), and/or toxicants like pesticides in their home.
However it wasn’t until she moved into her home in Warrandyte, that she experienced insomnia and ten miscarriages which she believed arose from sleeping near the meter panel.
After relocating bedrooms, she subsequently gave birth to her twins (natural conception as she didn’t qualify for IVF) and spent the next two decades investigating the impact of hazards in the built environment.
In 1999 she established the college and the building biology industry in Australia and wrote the best seller — Healthy Home Healthy Family — now in its 3rd edition, which attracted numerous television and radio interviews.
Nicole lectures about environmental sensitivities at medical conferences both in Australia and abroad.
Nicole and her husband Mark, sold their home in Warrandyte to invest in a manufacturing facility in Bayswater to create the cleaning product range — Abode — specifically for people with chemical and skin sensitivities.
The products are sold in health food stores across Australia.
Nicole is also looking for couples who would be interested in taking part in a short study which studies the effects of electromagnetic fields on sleep.
If this is something you and your partner would be interested in, check out the details below:

Electromagnetic field sleep study. We need you!

RMIT researchers seeking healthy adult couples who live in a detached house in the Eastern suburbs to participate in a study to find out if electromagnetic radiation affects sleep and brain function. You may be eligible if you are a healthy non-smoking adult, who sleeps well, aged between 18 and 55 and who is prepared to avoid digital devices at least one hour before bed for a 4 week period. Participants will receive a healthy home pack valued at $100, access to their sleep data and a free electromagnetic field assessment of their bedroom. If you  interested in participating, please call Nicole Bijlsma on 0417 310 002 or email info@aces.edu.au.

You can also download a copy of the sleep study participation form in advance from here.

 

DIGITAL HEALTH: TIPS FOR DETECTING SCAM EMAILS

By IAN CRAIG

WE OFTEN see news items in the popular media about people being scammed and defrauded out of thousands and sometime hundreds-of-thousands of dollars.

It was not until I witnessed this first hand — when a close member of my family was scammed — that I was able to comprehend not just how easy it is to be tricked but the extent of the emotional impact this can have on someone.
>According to government website Scamwatch , in 2018 there were 177,516 reporting cases of scams, 9.9 per cent of these involved the loss of money totalling $107,001,451.
That is a lot of money and these are just the figures for the ones that are reported, so who knows how many of these scams go unreported.
Top five scams for loss of money are investment scams, dating and romance, false billing, identity theft and hacking.
Billing scam emails seem to be the trend in scamming at the moment with my friends telling me they repeatedly receive emails claiming they have an unpaid invoice or bill.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) frequently post information about scams on their website and has this to say about false billing scams:
“Often a scam is disguised as an outstanding invoice to get the business to sign-up for unwanted advertising or office supplies.
Another common ploy involves sending invoices for the renewal of a non-existent domain name registration.
In some cases, false bills and invoices are followed-up with phone calls demanding payment or legal threats.”
Although I work in IT, I am not a safety online expert and I am not writing this article to scare everyone into going back to writing cheques and switching off their phones or computers — because I cannot work or play without them.
So why write about it?
The answer is simple, if we don’t talk about it and warn our friends and neighbours about the potential of a scam, the ‘scamsters’ will continue to take what doesn’t belong to them.
We are all familiar with the concept (like it or not) of the door to door salesperson who will knock on your door and try to sell you something — immediately we take a defensive approach, ascertain where they are from and do we trust them.
So, the point here is that the internet is like putting your front door in front of every person with something to sell or scam on a global scale.
With the right software, it is easy to send you an email, text message, phone call or some novel electronic message with some kind of hook, opportunity, link, attachment or instruction.
The ACCC’s Scamwatch website is a great place to educate yourself about current scams and I highly recommend you read their section on how to protect yourself against scammers.
But for now, here are some top tips on how to reduce your risk of being scammed while online.
Be alert to the fact that scams exist.
Know who you’re dealing with.
Do not open suspicious texts, pop-up windows or click on links or attachments in emails — delete them.
Don’t respond to phone calls about your computer asking for remote access — hang up.
Be wary of unusual payment requests.
The site also has useful clues for spotting a fake document, email or dating profile.
My safety tip is to have a friend or family member who has your back when it comes to validating any online communication that you think is suspicious.
Or, if you have some experience and skills in this area then maybe you could offer your services to those in your circle.
Scammers often use fear and threat to get money out of us, which is why the billing scams are often used by scammers, so having someone who is able to look at the email objectively and is tech-savvy enough to be able to spot a scam or suspicious email can mean the difference between getting scammed or putting their email in the junk folder.

Priceless Community Crutches

By JOCK MACNEISH

LIKE ALL communities, the Warrandyte community is built on friendship, generosity, care and respect.

We don’t measure out these qualities in units like metres, dollars or litres.
We choose not to speak about how many units of kindness people display, or the exact width and breadth of their unselfishness.
But in Warrandyte there is something that symbolises and represents the care that people have for one another.
Surprisingly, it’s a pair of well-worn arm-crutches that, technically, belong to Adrian.
I say “technically” because the crutches are almost never at his place.
For more than a dozen years the crutches have been in continuous circulation around Warrandyte.
They have been “borrowed” by Adrian’s friends and neighbours to help them get back on their feet after various operations.
The crutches are once again back at my place, as I hobble around on my second knee replacement.
My first knee was replaced eight years ago and I’m pleased to report that the crutches are none the worse for wear.
I’m not sure the same could be said about my legs.
My wife Diana has had both her knees replaced, and yes, she also used the crutches to get back into her stride.
I know Jack and Jonathan were also restored to being upright citizens while hanging onto the crutches.
Warrandyte’s walking tracks bear the imprint of many steady journeys back to health, and those arm-crutches epitomise a spirit of generosity that pervades the place.
You can’t put a price on that.
Thank you Adrian.

Warrandyte Festival: Our favourite thing


By CHERIE MOSELEN

“Purple regalia and
monarchs’ proud faces,

Music and magic and billycart races,

Children’s cute costumes
all tied up with string,

These are a few
of our festival things…”

Warrandyte’s annual festival kicked off last month with popular evening events, Warrandyte Film Feast and Warrandyte Donvale Rotary Art Show.

The festival celebrated the town’s hallmark qualities over the weekend of March 22–24 via the theme “Stars of Warrandyte”.

Saturday’s trademark Grand Parade was filled with firefighters, councillors in classic cars, floats adorned
with superstars, theatre nuts blowing bubbles, community bank benefactors holding big cheques and
children cheering.

A star-studded cast came out with props and colourful costumes.

Sporting clubs, IGA apples, Ringwood RSL rat-a-tat-tatters, ultimate martial artists in full spin, Neighbourhood House knits, an old Dodge, a young Billycarter, Arty Farty umbrellas, the honourable Ryan Smith all fired up about Fireball…

Variety Bash “Benzey” — now there’s a star! Sixteen Variety Bashes throughout Australia, raising money for children’s charity.

Giant ducks, mountain bikes, Dylan’s trike (made at school from recycled materials), CFA pumpers, scouts getting about — and all this to the shout of Town Crier Ian Craig.

Commentators kept it entertaining, even trotting out a joke or two: “These ducks look like they have their eyes covered, but actually… they’re Peking ducks!”

Brave.

Rain made a half-hearted attempt to dampen enthusiasm but never really had a chance.

You see, for locals, nothing speaks to community pride more than Warrandyte Festival.

This year, the town clocked up 43 straight festival runs, thanks to a committed band of volunteers who continue to come up with ideas and the gusto to see them through.

A week earlier, organisers were told by Manningham Council that due to safe food-handling regulations, the Kid’s Market would not be able to sell baked goods — staples for these stalls, really, but rules are rules.

Families were notified and organisers feared the worst: dozens of disappointed children and parents, doing their buns and pulling out.

But, that is not the Warrandyte way.

A prize-winning number of stalls were registered — 70, in fact.

One young stallholder said it best: “We just ate all our cakes and made pet rocks instead!”

Kids’ Market organiser Grace Johnstone told the Diary that many interesting ideas were presented on the day, but it was “Warrandyte’s spirit of cooperation that was truly on show”.

Taking the cake, for mine, was a repurposed duck-race duck —complete with potted plant — “Hugh Quackman”.

Sunday’s Billycart Derby action drew a few choice words from parade monarch and motorcycle racing champ Cameron Donald, who helped out on the mike.

Cam’s commentary skills were tested — a minor stack, a false start and several finishes that looked too close to call — but he came through unscathed. Phew!

Meanwhile, on the Main Stage, the smooth countrified vocals of local performer Jo Pearson and the Pearl River Ramblers set up a further flow of excellence from Sydney’s alternative Country combo The April Family, dirtgirl and Mother Earth.

Fabulous Tom Petty/Fleetwood Mac and feisty Janis Joplin tributes followed on.

A day earlier, Riverbank Stage audiences had kept pace with drumming sensation African Star, before local bands Velvet Lounge and Riffmasters chilled things down to create a relaxed vibe.

In a new move, festival organisers brought Friday night’s three-hour Battle of the Bands (BOB) to the Main Stage on Saturday.

Applause for first-time festival volunteer Opal Gough.

It was a huge hit, giving young acts the opportunity to play primetime on a stage that has seen local bands like The Teskey Brothers and The Scrims go on to achieve success further afield.

Among others, bass player for The Teskeys, Brendon Love, stepped up as a Battle judge, offering the young players valuable feedback and advice.

Also helpful was Ben Dennis, (ex BOB organiser and manager of award-winning Australian electronic music duo Peking Duk) who generously produced 12 tickets to an upcoming Peking Duk concert as an event prize.

Ethical Decimal, a four-piece all-girl band from Castlemaine Secondary College, won the competition overall.

Gozleme, crepes, salted caramel ice cream, those little pancakes that everyone loves, a giant spring roll — I couldn’t decide among some fab food choices this year, so tried them all — in one afternoon.

A good thing St John’s Mobile CPR Learning Lab was on standby.

A lifesaving initiative to build resilience by training more people in CPR, 12-year-old visitor from Shepparton Tom Di Petta did the training:

“It was fun and the instructions were clear, I learned CPR in 10 minutes.”

Tom looked very keen to practice his newfound techniques, (at the time we spoke I was slowly sagging under the weight of Polish dumplings and lychee infused beer!)

Later, lighting genius Hugh McSpedden boosted the night sky and transformed trees around the Main Stage with creative images.

But, stars eventually fade from view.

And just like that, another Warrandyte Festival slipped by like a wet child on a giant water slide…

If you lost your mind over Hugh’s light show, the Information Caravan has it and some other things as well! Watches, hats, mats and multiple pieces of Tupperware with the name Carla Thompson on them: contact Carolyn on 0411 789 922 with lost property enquiries.

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Main Stage music medley

By IAN CRAIG

WHILE THE day started with the weather raining on our parade it ended with a twilight battle of the bands in Stiggants Reserve in what could only be described as a very pleasant and balmy evening.

Sitting in my favourite camping chair enjoying a pint of Kellybrook Ale, this sure was a good idea to hijack my wife Jo’s Warrandyte Diary assignment.

“You just keep working on your other writing assignments I will do this one for you,” says I, ha-ha, all part of my cunning plan.

With Greg Champion MC’ing the night and surrounded by three to four hundred fellow festivillians it was a pleasant night indeed.

As Greg Champion said to me when I asked him about the night, “The Battle of the Bands has brought more people in then our band … be young or die”.

Don’t take it personally Greg.

The competition started in the 80s with the back of a tray truck for the stage in the middle of the footy oval.

After a number of moves it has finally made it to the main stage and judging by the crowd it is there to stay.

The idea behind Battle of the Bands is that young aspiring musicians get a chance to demonstrate their creative “musicality” (I don’t know what that means but the judges told me that’s one of things they were looking for) in front of a good audience and the judges score them on the things that musically talented people look for in an up and coming band.

The judges are no slouches in this field with Fiona Steel (half of the indie folk duo GraceJean and session artist), Brendan Love (from Warrandyte’s own The Teskey Brothers), Joseph Dwyer (Moring After Girls), Fossa (Melbourne based Hip Hop Producer) and Kain Hardie (musician and music journalist).

Fiona told me she was, “looking for overall musicality, interaction with each other, interaction with crowd”.

I asked if it brought back memories for her.

“Yeah it does actually … I did a few of them when I was younger … it’s interesting being on the other side.”

Of course the audience got in on the act with the people’s award voted through the event page on Facebook.

Nice touch although there was a lot of voting happening before some of the acts even hit the stage, go friends.

Acts included Reborn Rebellion, Dead Pig, C-K-H, In The Works, Bleached and Blessed, Ethical Decimal, Suzi and Space Goats.

The winner of first prize (a full day of recording at Jet Studios) was Ethical Decimal, a young all female band from Castlemaine Secondary College.

Runners up were a young solo act, Suzi Yaghmoor from Mornington Peninsula and Dead Pig from Park Orchards.

First timer organiser Opal Gough, joined the Warrandyte Festival Committee in November last year.

“I think the kids were great,” said Opal, “they’ve pulled in an amazing crowd … that was really good support for them.”

Well done to Opal, her assistants and the committee for a great night, we thoroughly enjoyed the entertainment and the beautiful evening.

 

Blast into Warrandyte’s past

By JAMES POYNER

Mine Tour

THE WEATHER was glorious for the Hanson’s annual Sunday afternoon Gold Mine Tour and a group of around 50 people made their way up to the top of Webb Street for this Festival highlight.

Entry to the tour is free, with a small donation requested to raise money for Oxfam’s Walk Against Want, which raises money to assist women in developing countries who have to walk tens of kilometres each day to fetch fresh water.

The tours have been running since 1978 and up until recently were run by John Hanson himself.

But 42 years is a long time to run Gold Mine tours and these days, John has passed the baton on to his children; Peter, Jenny and Christine.

But before we headed off on our tour with Jenny and Christine, John gave the group potted history of gold mining in Warrandyte and the popularity of the tour.

“Typical gold country has three different types of eucalypt, red box, long leaf box and red stringy bark and often if they saw those sorts of trees [the miners] would think there is gold in the area,” he said.

“In some years, I had 200 people turn up, I borrowed a loud-hailer and off we went, but with 200 people, it was pretty slow.

“One year I decided to split it into two groups, 1pm and 3pm — 1pm 35 turned up, 3pm 150 turned up so I went back to just one time,” he said.

A short, bushy walk through the Hanson’s property and we reconvene at the top of Tunnel Street where Jenny begins the official tour.

Jenny explains there are two types of gold found in Warrandyte, alluvial gold and gold found in quartz seams.

Alluvial gold was panned in the creeks and the Yarra and our tour would involve a walk down the hill to Andersons Creek to visit the cairn where gold was first found in Warrandyte.

But before that, Jenny took us to Forth Hill Gold Mine where the group could get a feel for what it was like to be in one of these mines, even if nowadays, people can only walk 10 metres inside the old mine.

Jenny’s knowledge of the mine is impressive and it is enthralling to watch her map out the layout of the mine in the dirt.

A lot of this knowledge extends from previous decades, before the mine was closed to the public when she was able to explore the network of mines around Warrandyte.

With public safety paramount, access to the mines is prohibited and we have to use our imagination as Jenny imparts history and personal experience.

The second, and last, stop on our tour is to the Gold Memorial cairn, on Gold Memorial Road.

“This is the spot where they first found gold in Victoria, in 1851”.

An exciting statement and given the regions history with gold mining, really helps place Warrandyte in Australian history.

“Louis Michel came here with a party of four who were panning in this creek and found a few specks of gold…that then started the gold rush in Warrandyte.

“They had sections of the creek, it was tent city for about five kilometres, between here and what is now Ringwood.

To add an extra pinch of excitement to the tour, descendants of Louis Michel, his great-great-great-grand-daughter and her children were on the tour.

Living in Eltham, it is fascinating to see that Warrandyte’s gold history still maintains a local connection.

With the tour torch successfully handed to his children, it looks like the Gold Mine Tour will be around for the next 42 years, we only scratched the surface of Warrandyte’s mining history but with the knowledgeable Hanson’s at the helm, I look forward to learning more about the history of Warrandyte’s gold mines in years to come.

 

A tail-wagging success

By CLAIRE BLOOM

THE PET SHOW is a long standing fixture of the Warrandyte Festival.

I can’t recall exactly when it started, but I suspect I have MC’d this event for more than 30 years.

And a wonderful and heart warming number of decades it has been.

This year, we again had sponsorship from the Warrandyte Veterinary Clinic who provided some wonderful hampers for the prestigious Best in Show Award.

This year’s big winner being a gorgeous spoodle puppy named Monty.

Other prizes included the Most Unusual Pet, going to a pigeon pair of ferrets (oops maybe don’t mention the pigeons.)

The usual categories such as Dog Most Like its Owner (loved the couple of Wonder Women.) and Shaggiest and Waggiest dogs were lots of fun.

The Loudest Dog in Warrandyte was ear piercing and won by a most vocal fox terrier.

This little rascal’s name is suppressed in case the Dog Ranger gets any ideas.

Well, not really, but it was certainly a noisy little dog.

Of course, Best Trained Dog always excites our imagination, Big Boy Bosley seems to have a new trick each year, and was happy to play dead when his Mum shot him (with her index finger, of course).

Molly, another spoodle, was most attentive as her trainer placed a treat on both front paws, and waited for the command to eat.

I thought I might try this with my black lab, but it’s never going to happen.

Overall, lots of bragging rights as most dogs (and the ferrets) managed to excel at something, including Dog with the Most Appealing Eyes or Best Groomed Dog in Warrandyte.

A big thanks to Judges, WHS Principal Dr Stephen Parkin and Warrandyte Vet nurse, Kimberley and their assistants Mrs Suzanne Martin and Bree.

 

 

Council representation under review


THE VICTORIAN Electoral Commission (VEC) is conducting an Electoral Representation Review of Nillumbik Shire Council.

In this review, the VEC will look at Council elements such as the number of councillors, the number of wards,  where the wards are located and how many councillors represent each ward.

The VEC conduct this review of every Council in the state every 12 years.

Submissions for the Preliminary Report are being accepted until 5pm, Wednesday, March 13 and can be submitted to the VEC in writing or through their website.

VEC Electoral Commissioner, Warwick Gately AM is encouraging all Nillumbik Shire residents to get involved, as this review will determine how residents are represented by Council.

“The opportunity to have your say doesn’t come around too often, so it’s important to have a broad range of community members contributing to the shape of their local democracy.

“If you are interested in the future electoral structure of your local area, I encourage you to get involved.

“Public submissions are a vital part of the review process, providing valuable local knowledge and perspectives,” he said.

At the last review in 2008, the VEC report recommended the Shire reduce the number of Wards from nine to seven.

Council are vying to maintain the status quo, passing a motion at the February 26 Ordinary Meeting to submit to the VEC that it retains the seven single councillor ward structure.

The submission continues to summarise that current structure is “consistent with seven distinct geographical communities of interest”, that under a single councillor per ward, it is easy for that person to represent the diverse interests of the wards occupants and that under the current system “responsibility for an issue is less likely to be passed from one councillor to another”.

Yet, current submissions from residents do not support this view.

Vince Bagusauskas is submitting a multimember structure be introduced into the ward structure and proposes this would lead to members serving for the “greater good of the community” as “all have to consider all views”.

Narelle Campbell is submitting a proportional representational model, similar to the Federal Senate.

“The Senate model in Nillumbik would provide equal representation of urban and rural residents at council.

“This would go some way towards ensuring urban residents and landowners, and rural residents and landowners are fairly represented and their needs inform local priorities, decisions and laws”.

Local activist and former Greens candidate in the 2018 State election, Ben Ramcharan also supports the concept of proportional representation and is currently campaigning for Nillumbik residents to endorse the idea.

“Political views in Nillumbik are deeply divided between pro-environment and pro-development.

“Each election, the council seems to switch between the two points of view. This causes a lack of continuity, which is a big problem.”

“With proportional representation, there would be a greater diversity of voices and councillors would need to negotiate, as it would be very difficult for either side to get an absolute majority.

“This would result in proposals to council being more acceptable to both sides and less likely to get revoked.

“It would also mean less drastic changes at council elections, resulting in greater continuity for the shire,” he said.

With many shire residents complaining about the town vs country divide and community groups within the Green Wedge fighting with each other and council over ideological differences, the proportional representation model has promise, but is not a golden ticket.

Electoral boundaries, both within and without the Shire are driven — under State law — by the concept of maintaining a consistent voter/councillor ratio and with the population spread as it is within Nillumbik, there will always be more councillors in the more densely populated urban areas.

But this level of change is not part of the current VEC review, although the review offers a great platform to discuss this issue and maybe even begin working on a governing solution to bring about ideological and geographical balance.

“The biggest solvable issue for rural residents is that half of them are not currently represented by their local councillor because of the political divide in Nillumbik.

“Although proportional representation may not solve the problem of rural residents getting less councillors, what it will do is ensure that all rural residents are represented by at least one of their councillors,” said Mr Ramcharan.

If you are interested in posting a submission for the preliminary part of this review you can do it online via the VEC website, by email to: nillumbik.review@vec.vic.gov.au or via post to Victorian Electoral Commission Level 11, 530 Collins Street, Melbourne, 3000.

All submissions must contain your full name, address and contact number.

All submissions will be published on the VEC website or will be available for public inspection at the VEC office in Melbourne.

Following the preliminary submissions, a report will be published by the VEC and a window for submitting responses to this report will open.

The VEC review of Manningham Council is scheduled to take place before the 2020 Municipal Election but a date has not yet been announced.

Summer scorchers

Mid-summer means we are mid fire season, so staying safe is a must during the fire danger period. While parts of our community work hard to keep us safe and informed, others have been less than helpful. Explore the issue in this compilation of our hot-weather stories.

Be Aware in an Emergency

By COREY BLACKWELL

MANNINGHAM Council is set to launch a new Emergency Aware program which will empower local communities to prepare for the impacts of various emergency situations. 

The program, which will be delivered in partnership with emergency service organisations, will aim to help local residents develop home emergency plans, and work together so they can be better prepared for the effects of fires, floods, storms and other emergencies. 

Mayor Paula Puccini said that the support of the local emergency services partners and local residents was vital to the success of the initiative. 

“It’s great to see these organisations, the Council and local residents coming together to create a stronger and more resilient community,” Cr Puccini said.  

While Warrandyte’s natural beauty is among its best features, it also leaves our community especially vulnerable to bushfires, making the prospect of an emergency plan even more necessary. 

A recent report published by the SES shows that home emergency plans greatly reduce the impact of an emergency and help those affected recover quicker.

According to the report, taking the time to make a plan helps residents to “think clearly, have a greater sense of control and make better decisions when an emergency occurs.” 

With the aid of the program, Warrandyte’s locals will hopefully be relieved of some of the stresses that come with summer’s scorching heatwaves, knowing they are better equipped to handle potential bushfires. 

Cr Puccini said she encouraged all residents in fire or flood prone areas to get involved in the innovative pilot. 

“Emergencies affect the whole community.

“This program reinforces the importance of working together to plan and prepare for emergency events,” she said. 

The program will see the Council work together with emergency organisations, such as the CFA, MFB, Victoria Police, and the Red Cross, to help residents implement preventative strategies.

To find out more about the program and how to get involved call 9840 9333.

Fair weather fools

Hot weather brings tourists flocking to Warrandyte to engage in the age-old tradition of swimming at the Pound.

Not satisfied with having a dip under the bridge or at the tunnel, swimmers have been heading to more secluded areas of North Warrandyte.

The lack of infrastructure at these locations leads to visitors’ cars blocking roads and, dangerously, impeding access for emergency vehicles.

Cars impede emergency access to Normans Reserve

There were several high fire days in early January, and the North Warrandyte Fire Bridge reported major difficulty accessing Normans Reserve.

Captain of North Warrandyte CFA, Trent Burriss, told the Diary that there were many cars parked along the roadside. 

“We just squeezed through, I had to fold some mirrors in… there was also a car parked across the gate,” he said.

Despite Parks Victoria closing the parks, many visitors ignore the signage and park in no standing zones.

People just don’t care, they come from out of the area, I don’t think it is locals that are doing it, that is the hardest things.

But we get a few people fined and then those people don’t come back, and the next people who come down do it,” he said.

“If there is a fire in there, how are we going to put it out?”

He says the parks all along the river are having the same issues.

“Bradleys Lane, Laughing Waters, Koornong Cresent — we’ve had cars parked on blind corners, we could just squeeze the truck through — but it is a no standing zone, and down at the end there were cars parked in the turnaround — it is all clearly signed, I know Jimmy (Bolton) did a lot of work with that down in the Koornong.”

Capt. Burriss says there are more emergencies than just fire when swimming in the river.

“If they are down there swimming and they hurt themselves or they drown, the other emergency services need access as well.”

The Brigade took to social media to try and warn of the risks of blocking access.

“Nearly 80,000 people have seen that post — which is great.”

He thinks that a tow away zone may be a deterrent, however policing the hot-spots needs to be a priority.

 “Parks [Victoria] should be down in the parks telling people to move on — but who is going to listen to the guys in green, unless you have a blue uniform with a gun on your belt, that’s the only time they are going to listen to someone.”

Station Officer at the Warrandyte Police Station, Sergeant Stewart Henderson, said the local police have been patrolling regularly and, since the early January incident, “are pleased to report we haven’t come across any further instances”.

Capt. Burriss wants people who come to Warrandyte on Total Fire Ban days to exercise caution.

“I know they are trying to stay cool — but go to the beach or something — don’t come to one of the highest fire danger spots in the world,” he said.

Plan to survive

AS WE MARK the 10th anniversary of the Black Saturday bushfires that devastated communities throughout our Green Wedge, CFA Captains are calling for better education for families in our bushfire-prone areas.

North Warrandyte Captain Trent Burriss told the Diary reaching new residents can be difficult.

“There have been lots of houses for sale, a lot of different people coming into the area — it is a different generation that are moving in now,” he said.

New residents come into the area and are unaware that summer in Warrandyte means being ever-vigilant against the threat of bushfire.

“Unfortunately we can only educate the people who want to be educated, but it doesn’t matter how hard you try,” Warrandyte CFA Captain Adrian Mullens told the Diary.

Capt. Mullens recounted a recent phone call with a resident who was unaware how to respond to a Total Fire Ban day.

“When this guy said ‘we have been here twelve months, my wife is the only one that drives and we have got five kids, how do we know if there is something happening?’; when you get phone calls like that it really makes you start wondering,” he said.

For the record, Capt. Mullens’s advice to his caller: “CFA recommends, on a bad day you make a conscious decision to leave the night before or first thing that morning, don’t wait around until you see smoke and flames, because that is too late”.

Capt. Mullens says a good idea is to educate the children first.

“I have a personal belief that they should be targeting the primary schools, they did it years ago with the ‘Stop, Drop and Roll’… say from Grade 4 up you would have the ability to instil something into the kids — people probably do not get the time to do these things, but if the kids come home and say ‘what’s our fire plan?’, well that’s going to get Mum and Dad’s attention and that is a pretty good way of selling it — to educate the kids, who are going to educate the parents.”

Locals have also been called upon as volunteers for the CFA, but as Capt. Burriss said to the Diary, the brigades struggle to keep up with recruiting.

“The hardest thing is that, and they don’t have time to commit to the fire brigade, and we are a commuter suburb so people go out to work and they just come here to sleep because house prices are higher, meaning they have to work,” he said.

Local CFA brigades offer community education sessions throughout the year, you can also join your Community Fireguard group, and ensure you have a range of options for staying informed during the fire season, such as the Vic Emergency App, the CFA website, or listen to ABC 774 Local Radio for emergency broadcasts.

Check out the Be Ready Warrandyte website, warrandyte.org.au/fire, for tips on making a fire plan for your family.

People and power wilt in heatwave conditions

By DAVID HOGG

WITH WARRANDYTE experiencing many days of temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius this January, Facebook has gone into meltdown with complaints about the heat, power outages and traffic delays.

Tuesday, January 15 was one such day and Warrandyte made the Channel 7 News on two fronts.

With the Fire Danger Rating for Central District classed as Severe and a Total Fire Ban in place, AusNet Services went ahead with an all-day planned power outage affecting around 500 residents to do remedial work in Aton Street and Osborne Road.

Affected residents, who had received prior notification, had realised that this was going to be a difficult day and had been phoning and writing to AusNet for a number of days beforehand asking them to reconsider and reschedule the work.

Jillian Garvey talked to AusNet on January 12 and was advised that it hadn’t been cancelled and would go ahead unless a Total Fire Ban was declared.

Meg Downie took to Facebook and wrote “AusNet are so uncooperative; we’ve had lots of ‘planned outages’ with some on very hot days and it isn’t fair to the frail and elderly who may not be able to go somewhere cooler.”

Despite the community uproar, the planned work did go ahead.

The Diary contacted AusNet Services for comment and Hugo Armstrong, Media and Communications Consultant in their Corporate Affairs section, provided the following statement:

AusNet Services’ Statement on January 15 Power Outage

In maintaining the safety and reliability of the electricity network, we are very sensitive to the need to balance the short term impact of maintenance or upgrade works with the long term interests of the community.

In very hot weather we normally review all planned works requiring customers to be taken off supply, to try to achieve this balance.

On Tuesday, January 15, (a declared Heat Health Day and Total Fire Ban day) approximately two thirds of all planned outages on our network were postponed.

The large planned outage affecting 446 customers in North Warrandyte needed to go ahead however, primarily because the work involved was bushfire mitigation work.

Safety regulations give us less discretion to re-schedule these kinds of works.

We thank affected customers for your patience and understanding.

These decisions are not taken lightly, and are made or reviewed at very senior levels within the company.

We remained mindful of the impact on customers (many of whom contacted us to express their concerns), and were able to complete the work (which included the replacement of three poles in Osborne Road, the installation of multiple bays of new overhead line, and some other works) and restore supply some two or three hours earlier than originally estimated.

The same afternoon a major accident occurred on the Fitzsimons Lane bridge between a bus and a 4WD, closing Fitzsimons Lane completely and causing massive traffic diversions in the area.

Again, hundreds of posts were made on social media, with local residents reporting traffic delays lasting hours on the eastbound approaches to Warrandyte.

A major complaint was traffic attempting, unsuccessfully, to take shortcuts through local streets.

Dianne Trenfield wrote “To all of those who try to jump six cars ahead of your fellow traffic jammers…..cutting up Blair St, Cemetery Rd, McCulloch Street and the cemetery end of Brackenbury St will get you nowhere; but we sure enjoy watching you find that out on your own.”

On Friday, January 25, another 40+ degree day with Severe Fire Danger and a Total Fire Ban, power outages hit Warrandyte and surrounding areas.

In the morning it was the turn of around 3,000 properties north of the river to lose power due to a fault, although this lasted less than an hour.

In the afternoon it was the turn of those south of the river experiencing one of the many load-shedding outages due to failure of supply against demand, and this lasted less than two hours.

Facebook was active with locals asking why our power infrastructure is so fragile, debating coal versus renewables versus nuclear, and

generally critical of State and Federal Governments; particularly as Victoria’s Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio had assured us earlier in the day that there would be no risk of blackouts.

This should serve as a warning to all residents that on hot days — and there may be plenty more to come this summer — we may find ourselves without power.

Everybody’s Fire Plan needs to take this into account.

Remember that a temperature forecast of 33C for Melbourne can mean a temperature approaching or exceeding 40C in Warrandyte.

And whilst some chose to vent their fury on social media, others sought cooler places such as shopping centres, cinemas or took a leisurely dip in the Yarra.

Fail safe

Warrandyte Fire Brigade have ensured they are able to remain operational in case of blackout, thanks to a generator purchased with a grant from the Warrandyte Community Bank.

The significant grant of $39,545 from the bank has allowed the brigade to install a 90kVA power plant to run the station in the case of a power outage.

Until the generator was installed, blackouts meant the firetrucks were trapped inside the station.

Captain Adrian Mullens told the Diary that the automatic doors can only be raised by the electric motor.

“Our engine bay doors are electric, so our pagers go and ‘boom’ the doors come up, if the power is out we can play around for ten minutes to try and get doors open,” he said.

The crew has to remove the door from its hinges to get the doors open.

“That adds significant time to our turnouts, and we are under a fair bit of pressure to get a truck out the door within four minutes,” he said.

The generator will now allow the station to remain fully functional during blackouts.

“If the power is to go off now within 10 seconds the generator starts up.

“A lot of places will only put in a relatively small generator, and you 

could only run a few lights, that thing runs the whole station and we have got a little bit up our sleeve”.

Capt. Mullens said that to have the ability to keep the station operational during prolonged blackouts was a major consideration.

“When we have members here waiting to go out on strike teams and the power goes out, we need to be able to continue to have power to run the doors, the radios and other appliances,” Capt. Mullens said.

In the event of a major incident power could be down for days or weeks, meaning that the station could become a lifeline for the community in the face of a Black Saturday level event.

“With the generator, we could continue to run the station as long as we can continue to supply fuel.

“The technology for solar and batteries to run three-phase is not there, so we felt the generator was the only way to go,” he said.

The last part of the installation is to put up a screen to help it blend into the surrounding landscape.

“That’s the way it comes from JCV — bright yellow — you can’t do much about that, but we will put up a fence to camouflage it.”

Despite the large outlay, Capt.Mullens says that he hopes there is no need for it.

“Hopefully it doesn’t get used,” he said.

Fresh approach to fire safety

THE DIARY have teamed up with Swinburne University and the CFA to produce a series of animated fire safety videos.

The resultant videos will be launched on the Diary’s website and social media channels, so watch out for them over the coming months.

http://warrandytediary.com.au/fire-safety/Our first video is up now, and explains the fire danger rating system.

Other videos talk about pet safety, preparing your property, using fire blankets, and fire safety for young children.

“We are blown away by the really out-of-the-box ideas these guys have come up with,” says CFA Region 13 Community Education Manager, Rohan Thornton.

Jaime Kroupa has lived in Warrandyte for around 15 years, and is one of the animation students at Swinburne University.

“It was great working with the Diary and CFA guys as ‘clients’ on our projects, it was great to have the feedback as we went along,” said Jaime.

She says being a Warrandyte resident gave her a better understanding of fire danger than some of her more urban cohort.

“I live only a couple of streets away from Flannery Court, and when the fire hit in 2014 I was at home, we expected the danger would be more in the bush areas around North Warrandyte, so we were a bit shocked when it happened so close to us,” she said. 

Jaime’s video was a stand-out amongst the nine videos produced for the Diary, and we look forward to showing you her work later in the year. 

She is still midway through her course, and she hopes she will finish in two years’ time with a Bachelor of Animation.

From there Jaime hopes to be able to work with some of the big Melbourne based animation studios, so she can work on feature films.

Investing in a “richer” community experience


WITH $400,000 returned to the community this year through grants and sponsorship for a vast array of community projects, Warrandyte Community Bank has now returned a mammoth $3.2million back to the community as it enters its 15th year of operation.

The bank’s commitment to “community” is pretty powerful; its goodness showcased every year via its Community Investment Program which sees up to 80 per cent of the Warrandyte Community Bank’s profit being directed straight to groups within the community in which we live.

As well as the annual grant and sponsorship program, Community Banks across Australia are committed to funding life saving Automatic External Defibrillators which will be installed in Warrandyte and surrounding suburbs in the coming months.

More than 100 guests were hosted at the banks AGM last month for the annual Community Investment Program presentation.

Members from local CFA’s, kinders and schools, sporting, environmental, arts, and community support groups, expressed words of real gratitude, reminding everyone in the room Warrandyte Community Bank is certainly “the better big bank!”.

Projects receiving a share of the $400,000 of community investment included:

Greater Warrandyte CFAs

In line with the bank’s yearly commitment of $50,000 to support the Greater Warrandyte Fire Brigades, this year was no exception.

Warrandyte CFA: Black Start Generator — $39,545

The installation of a Black Start Generator at Warrandyte’s CFA station is considered a vital piece of equipment.

In the event of a power outage the station needs to be operational.

Currently the doors to the station are required to be opened manually (involving the removal of security pins).

They are an occupational health and safety hazard, with potential risk of injury to personnel.

Once installed; in the event of a major emergency in the area, the station would be able to be used as a staging area thanks to the Black Start Generator.

Wonga Park Wizards Junior Football Club: lighting project — $50,000

The objective of the Wizards lighting project is to allow the community to make greater use of facilities all year round.

The Wonga Park Reserve is the sporting and recreation hub for the Wonga Park community.

Lighting on its top oval will allow users to continue to train and keep active during the winter months and will benefit the wider community, as the reserve will be able to be used for night time events.

Project spearhead Annette Felicissimo was thrilled upon hearing the news of the group’s successful application for funding.

“We were so honoured to be the recipients of a major grant and this will make an enormous difference to our community.

“Attending the evening was truly heart lifting, to hear about the projects in the community focused on inclusion and wellbeing,” she said.

 Spectrum Journeys Inc (SJI): Warrandyte SJI Outreach — $10,000

Spectrum Journeys aims to equip and empower Carers and Educators as they support children on the autism spectrum, to flourish.

This is achieved via a range of programs and projects including autism carer counselling, mentoring groups, dads groups, workshops and SJI’s very special blessing bag project.

Spectrum Journeys is passionate about seeing carers supported in their local area.

The Warrandyte Outreach programs will help local families with a child on the autism spectrum.

Run out of Warrandyte Community Church, services include an Advocacy and Mentoring program which equips carers with skills to advocate effectively and wisely in the kindergarten and primary school environment, as well as connect carers with peers who experience similar life circumstances.

Also on offer, will be a Parent Connect program, which works alongside mums who have a child newly diagnosed on the autism apectrum and to navigate mental health challenges, new routines, accessing support and self-care.

Part of Outreach will be accessible and heavily subsidized workshops for carers and educators with leading professionals including Hannah Gamble, a Paediatric Occupational Therapist who lives and practices in the Warrandyte area.

These workshops are a wonderful way to equip many people with strength based strategies for the home and classroom.

Both carer support and education are pillars of this project and are core services at Spectrum Journeys workshops.

Friends of Warrandyte State Park Inc.: Protection of FOWSP nursery  — $3,549

The Friends of Warrandyte State Park (FOWSP) plant nursery, located at the Warrandyte State Park is dependent on one old cement tank and water from the Yarra River to irrigate 60,000 plants a year, most of which are planted out from Warrandyte State Park to the Kinglake Conservation Link.

Water from the Yarra is pumped up to a concrete tank.

The 30 year old pump continually requires maintenance and when it breaks down it can take two to three days to repair, leaving the nursery without water.

This grant will enable the group to replace its old tank and fit a shade sail over the propagation area, providing a more congenial environment for volunteers all year round.

 

Following the presentations, Chairman Aaron Farr spoke of his pleasure on hearing about, the almost 60 different projects, benefitting members of a very diverse range of community groups.

“This year we are returning $400,000 in community contributions, representing 80 per cent of our profit.

“Our full suite of banking products are very competitive, imagine what could be achieved if more locals took them up,” he said.

 

Thanks to the support of its shareholders, branch staff, company board and most importantly its customers, the Warrandyte Community Bank Branch of the Bendigo Bank, Australia’s 5th largest bank, has been able to grow to be one of the biggest sources of community funding in the local area.

Drop into the branch at 144 Yarra St, to find out more.

COMMUNITY GRANTS. COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION. THE BETTER BIG BANK!

High School art extravaganza!


Photos: Stephen Reynolds

Warrandyte High School VCE students of Studio Arts and Product Design & Technology put together a refreshing and engaging collection of work which featured in the recent VCE Art Show hosted at the high school’s Doig centre.

The talent and attention to detail was impressive as was the diverse range of finished pieces reflecting the creative talents and the focus on Arts and Technology subjects that continue to flourish at Warrandyte High School.

The gallery below showcases some of the students works:

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Community spirit burns bright in Warrandyte


WARRANDYTE’s locals have once again demonstrated this community’s generous spirit and dedication to giving back, as tickets for the 2018 Mayoral Fireball have sold out, ahead of the celebration later this month.
Manningham Council Mayor Cr Andrew Conlon has been overwhelmed by the community support for this year’s event, which will honour the selfless work of the CFA’s
volunteers.
“Warrandyte is a really great community and they always unite around events like this” Cr Conlon said.
“There’s been so much support, it’s been great.”
As a cause close to his heart, Cr Conlon selected Fireball as his chosen charity for the 2018 Mayoral Fireball, after almost losing his family home in a devastating bushfire in 2014.
On February 9, 2014 a bushfire sparked by high-voltage powerlines blazed through parts of Warrandyte, destroying the homes of some of Cr Conlon’s neighbours.
“A huge fireball literally came over the hill,” he said.
“Ours was the first house hit by that fire.”
Cr Conlon said his son was home alone when the fire began to burn through the neighbourhood.
“He heard this noise and turned around to see the whole ridge was on fire,” he said.
“In a panic, he ran up the driveway in bare feet, which we think may have also been on fire.
“He rang us and said, ‘Dad, I’m not sure but I think the house might have burned down’.”
Fortunately, the CFA arrived just in time to contain the blaze before it could spread.
“If it wasn’t for the CFA being there, that fire would’ve taken off,” he said.
“That could’ve been catastrophic for a number of people.”
Following the fire, Cr Conlon and his family were left to pick up the pieces.
“That took us a long time to get over,” he said.
However, Cr Conlon refused to sit back and wait, and was able to turn the tragedy into an opportunity to make a difference in the local community.
“I thought more could be done in terms of collaboration and making sure the risk is reduced and people know what to do in a bushfire situation,” he said.
“That’s why I ran for council.”
Four years on and Cr Conlon is hard at work with the Fireball Committee to organise this year’s event, which he hopes will show the CFA’s volunteers just how much the community values
them.
“They don’t do it for the appreciation, but it’s really great when they are acknowledged for what they do.”
This year’s event will aim to raise enough funds to purchase a Forward Control Vehicle for the South Warrandyte Brigade.
“It’s basically not asking the volunteers to spend time fundraising, when they already give away a lot of their time to train and then put their lives on the line when there is a fire,” Cr Conlon said.
Cr Conlon said he also hopes the event will help spread the important messages of the CFA.
“It’s also about raising awareness for the need for other elements of fire safety such as fire plans, and the need for new volunteers” he said.
“It would be great if we could achieve that.”
Warrandyte’s residents have always shown an enthusiastic willingness to support those who continue to risk their lives to help others, which Cr Conlon attributes to their strong sense of community.
Community spirit burns bright in Warrandyte Our CFA Captains are grateful for the support of Fireball in preparation for the dry season ahead.
“There is a sense of unity when you go to an event like this,” he said.
“Everyone is supporting the same cause.
“We’re a very unique community.”
Locals are also eager to show their appreciation, because they know how important the work of the CFA is to the community.
“Everyone living here understands some of the risks,” he said.
“We live in this beautiful environment with trees everywhere,
but that comes with a higher risk in terms of bushfires.”
For the Firies themselves, the community support provided through
Fireball has not gone unnoticed, and continues to have positive impacts upon their experiences as volunteers.
Wonga Park Captain Aaron Farr said the work of Fireball has provided valuable relief from the stress of fundraising.
“By donating to Fireball or supporting us in one way or another, it means we’ve got more time to allocate to emergencies, training and community safety,” Aaron said.
“We can focus on what we do best.” South Warrandyte Community
Safety Officer Bree Cross said Fireball was also crucial to spreading important
CFA messages.
“Although you don’t think of Fireball from an educational perspective, there’s still a lot of education provided through it,” Bree said.
“Now, there is more transparency in what we do, and why we do it.
“I can’t thank them enough really, it’s incredible.”
Chair of the Wonga Park Brigade, Damien Bale said he couldn’t put a value on the community’s effort in supporting Fireball.
“The philosophy is fantastic,” Damien said.
“Having the community effort spearheaded by Fireball, in terms of time and effort, it’s invaluable.”
Warrandyte Brigade’s first lieutenant Will Hodgson said he feels “very proud” to attend Fireball.
“These people are putting their hands in their pockets to support us as volunteers,” Will said.
“To see an event like that put together, where the community comes together, I see it as a celebration.”
Despite juggling family life, Will and his wife Bec, who serves as Warrandyte’s fifth lieutenant, are Fireball veterans, who are keen to make an appearance at this year’s event.
“It’s absolutely amazing, it’s such a great initiative,” Bec said.
“Something that I hope continues into the future and that the community continues to support.”
Cr Conlon also wished to thank the Fireball Committee for their ongoing vision, as well as the event’s many sponsors whose generosity has brought the event to life.
Although tickets have sold out, there are still opportunities for locals to show their support to the cause, such as the Fireball’s online auction.
The auction will begin on October 17 and close on the evening of the Fireball itself.
Those who register will be able to bid on about 100 items over the auction’s 10-day duration.

Go to www.fireball.org.au

Projects ripe for the picking


Photo: EUGENE HOWARD Birrarung House, Laughing Waters

A $30 MILLION State funded Pick My Project community grants initiative, which has been a hot topic for individuals and community based organisations for the past four months and the public voting window to choose which projects are given a share of the money is about to close.

This means Victorian’s across the state have only a few more days to vote for their top three projects.

The initiative aims to distribute funding across the state into projects such as community events, repair cafes/ sheds, community gardens, art projects, urban landscaping, skill share programs and walking/cycling trails.

Community groups, events and initiatives are part of what binds the residents of Warrandyte and surrounding communities together, so it is no surprise that within five kilometres of the township there are 18 project proposals.

The $30M needs to be distributed evenly across the State, but with 2299 projects being put up for public voting — more than half of that focussed around Melbourne — competition for funding is going to be tough.

The participatory budgeting platform this initiative uses means that the popularity of a project is determined by the community who would use it.

In theory, this ensures funds are assigned to a project the community thinks will bene t them the most.

Victorian’s can each only vote for three projects — the Diary has outlined a selection of the projects proposed in and around Warrandyte.

New vision for Laughing Waters

Local artists Eugene Howard and Kate Hill are collaborating with Parks Victoria, Nillumbik Council and the Wurundjeri Land and Compensation Cultural Heritage Council Aboriginal Corporation to seek funding to restore two buildings designed by Landscape Architect Gordon Ford and Architect Alistair Knox, situated in Laughing Waters Reserve.

Once restored, these buildings will be used as a site for an Artist in Residence program, aimed at bringing in a diverse range of national and international artists, as well as cultural programs, talks, workshops and exhibitions for the local community.

Eugene is also hoping to forge a stronger relationship between artists, the local community and the Wurundjeri, which will bolster the existing strong artist community in Eltham, Warrandyte, Kangaroo Ground and Bend of Islands.

“The project has been developed as a co-use space between the Wurundjeri and Residency Projects,” said Eugene when he spoke to the Diary.

Eugene went on to explain the Wurundjeri wish to use the site as a place for “inter-generational cultural knowledge transfer, bush food/medicine education, access to the nearby eel traps and significant cultural sites in the reserve surrounding the buildings”.

“We will also develop smaller projects that will include public language classes, walking events and recurring panel discussions around Indigenous arts and culture; we will grow our partnerships across the Shire of Nillumbik and up the Birrarung (Yarra) River to enable exhibitions and events to occur from the City of Melbourne to the Yarra Ranges.

“We’re thinking of the site as an arts and cultural centre with a core artist-in- residence stream,” he said.

The restoration of two buildings designed by iconic Australian architects, and an opportunity to further understand and strengthen the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians through art and cultural experiences, would enhance an already rich cultural gestalt.

Warrandyte Men’s Shed

In May 2017, the Diary spoke with Chris “Chewy” Padgham, Assistant Scout Leader to 1st Warrandyte Scouts and long-time advocate of men’s health when he initially attempted to set up a Men’s Shed in Warrandyte.

Chewy had conveyed how a lifetime working to support and improve men’s mental health had taught him that a space where men can work and chat around other men can help them deal with emotional stress in a healthy way, instead of trying to supress it, which often results in them either lashing out violently or completely shutting down and becoming disconnected with society.

“My objective, which is the objective of every men’s shed really, is to have a place where men can meet and talk and share their experience and I think it will be a great thing for Warrandyte.

“I thought that [a men’s shed] was a good opportunity to act as a catalyst and contribute something back to the community and there’s a lot of people that have been talking about it but not a lot happening so I thought I could get the ball rolling,” said Chewy.

The major hurdles faced by Chewy in 2017 were a suitable location and funding.

Chewy is hoping to secure $85,000 from the Pick My Project initiative, which will go towards leasing and converting an appropriate building.

A sporting chance

Warrandyte, Wonga Park and Park Orchards sporting communities have all put forward projects to improve the sports precinct in their respective towns.

The Warrandyte Sporting Group is encouraging the local community to rally behind its proposed exercise trail to be situated at Warrandyte Reserve.

The exercise trail proposal earmarked several sites for construction of the area, including an option for a single site between the tennis court and oval, a cluster of smaller and more focused workout areas located around the ground and a custom kit to be utilised in a flexible fashion.

The site is designed to accommodate people of varying levels of fitness and aptitude with equipment specialising in strengthening, core exercise, aerobics and agility just to name a few.

The trail would not require any maintenance and would utilise recycled plastics to construct environmentally friendly workout equipment.

The project provides a casual and intensive fitness outlet situated in the heart of Warrandyte.

Wonga Park are seeking $140,000 to install flood lights on the community oval which will allow local sporting teams to train at night which will greatly improve the use of the oval during winter.

In Park Orchards, the local sporting group is in the process of negotiating with Manningham Council for an extensive redevelopment of the Domeney Reserve sports buildings.

The club is looking for $84,000 of funding from Pick My Project to develop a community space at the reserve for dinners and social functions.

Domeney Recreation Centre was earmarked for development as part of the Domeney Reserve Management Plan, endorsed by Council in October 2017.

But in the July 2018 council meeting, sporting groups and other users had proposed an alternative development plan for the Reserve facilities, plans which would require additional funding, on top of that which Council had already assigned the project.

Funding for this social space at Domeney Reserve is not just the first of many steps into the development of the facilities at Park Orchards but would also give the community some much needed community function space, something which they currently lack.

These projects are a small sample of the many funding worthy community projects which have been put forward.

Other local initiatives include: erosion control on Anderson’s Creek; resurfacing of the Anderson’s Creek Primary School oval; Suicide prevention seminars; a sensory play space at Kangaroo Ground Primary School; upgrade of the picnic area at Jumping Creek and a new play space at Park Orchards Community House.

Voting criteria requires the participant to reside within 5km of the chosen project and to be 16 years or older.

If you are interested in voting for any of these, or looking to see all the other projects on offer, visit the Pick My Project website before September 17 and pick your projects.

Project funding is scheduled to be handed out at the end of September.
pickmyproject.vic.gov.au

On the buses: Transdev strike will see commuters stranded


TRANSDEV and CDC bus drivers will strike on Thursday August 16, leaving many Warrandyte residents stranded, as the 906 and 364 will not run at all that day.

Transdev has advised that the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) bus drivers will be taking industrial action by stopping work for 24 hours.

As a result, there will be no services on Transdev bus routes on August 16 2018.

Across the Manningham area, this effects Smart Buses 901, 902, 903, 905, 906, 907, 908, as well as the 200 and 300 series routes.

For those needing to use public transport on Thursday August 16, the only buses running in and out of Warrandyte will be the 578 and 579 to Eltham, as these routes are operated by Panorama Coaches, which, as we go to print, remain unaffected.

The TWU’s decision to take industrial action is part of an ongoing dispute about wage rises across the bus industry, with the TWU seeking a 15 per cent wage increase over the next three years.

George Konstantopoulos, Transdev’s General Manager Operations & Customer Experience, apologised for the inconvenience the industrial action will cause and advised passengers to make alternative plans for travel on Thursday, 16 August 2018.

“The TWU’s decision to stop work for 24 hours hurts our customers, especially those on routes where there are limited or no other public transport options.

“Our customers — including students, the elderly and vulnerable Victorians who rely on our buses everyday — will be hurt the most because of this action,” Mr Konstantopoulos said.

“We will continue to work with the TWU to resolve this dispute and urge the union to reconsider the decision to stop work, because of the significant disruption and distress it will cause passengers and the broader community.”

A statement from the TWU said the union had been encouraged by the positive progress of talks with CDC, however TWU (VIC/TAS Branch) Secretary John Berger said they broke down at mediation without an agreement being reached.

“While our members do not take any joy in inconveniencing the community they serve, they also need to look after themselves and their own families.

“These hard-working members are worth more than what the company have put on the table and have indicated that they are willing to continue to fight for a decent living wage and a secure future.”

 DART Bus Lane upgrades 

Meanwhile, bus lanes for the Doncaster Area Rapid Transit (DART) buses will commence construction on Doncaster and Blackburn Roads.

VicRoads advise that they are building new, dedicated citybound bus lanes along Doncaster Road between the Doncaster ‘Park and Ride’ facility and the Eastern Freeway entrance to improve bus travel times.

These works include:

  • widening the road along the median island
  • building a new kerb and channel
  • laying a new, smoother road surface that will be painted red to classify it as a bus lane

Work on Doncaster Road is expected to begin in mid- August and finish early September.

Blackburn Road will have dedicated citybound bus lanes along Blackburn Road between Canopus Drive and Bellevue Avenue to help improve bus travel times.

These works include:

  • widening the road along the median and service road traffic islands • building a new kerb
  • rebuilding the Canopus Drive bus stop near the BP service station
  • laying a new, smoother road surface that will be painted red to classify it as a bus lane

Work on Blackburn Road is expected to begin in early September and finish mid-October.

Bus services will continue operating during works.

Pedal to the metal at Lions’ rip-roaring track day


The sun smiled down on Sandown Raceway on the first Sunday of July, setting perfect conditions for The Lions Club of Warrandyte’s 22nd edition of In The Driver’s Seat.

This annual event gives visually impaired persons (VIPs) the opportunity to get behind the wheel and drive a few laps of the raceway, under the supervision of a qualified driving instructor.

In Victoria, drivers need to have a Visual Acuity of 6/12 which is measured by reading the letters on an eye chart positioned six metres away. For those who are visually impaired, the inability to read this chart means they are not legally able to drive.

For people who have passed their driving test, the loss of their licence can exacerbate their sense of loss of freedom.

In The Driver’s Seat at Sandown is therefore a high point on each participant’s calendar and each year, the event expands as new VIPs sign up and previous participants return to, once again, get behind the wheel.

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John Pope, was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa in 2013; a rare, degenerative, inherited eye disease with symptoms which include reduced vision in low light and tunnel vision.

“I had been driving for about 40 years…I drove taxis for 20 years, I drove trucks, it was a big part of my life.”

John explained how a trip to the ophthalmologist, five years ago, had suddenly dissected an activity which was a big part of his life.

“The ophthalmologist asked me if my wife had driven me here, I said yes and she said ‘well she’s driving you home’ and that was it.”

Throughout the day, VIPs told their stories of how accidents and degenerative eye diseases had forced them out of the driver’s seat and one thing was clear, days such as this allow them to experience the pleasure of driving once again, something which they clearly miss and is why they keep coming back year after year.

“This is my third time here,” said John.

Ken Gunning stopped driving in 1983 due to his degrading eyesight and after hearing about the day, first came along in 2000.

Ken travels down from Ballarat each year to attend this event, so I asked him what compels him to come back year-after-year.

“The idea that I can have a drive, on my own, without being on the road doing something silly.

“[Out on the track] the speed doesn’t worry me; this afternoon I ended up going over 100kph but if I hadn’t it would not have been a problem — it is more about being in control of the car.”

Ken remembers busloads of VIPs coming in from Geelong, Castlemaine and Bendigo in previous years and although numbers today may not be as high as in the past, Lions Club volunteers and driving instructors turn up, every year to give a sizable group of VIPs some quality track time.

When getting behind the wheel, each VIP has a conversation with the instructor before taking the car onto the track, the instructor assesses the extent of their vision and driving experience and tailors their instructions to that person’s specific needs.

These needs vary from person to person and can mean as little as saying “on” or “off”, while the instructor changes gears, and “brake”, to more complex instructions which may include distance to the corner, when to turn and how much to turn.

It is clear the instructors get as much out of this day as the VIPs.

“I found out about this about 10 years ago and have been back most years since,” said Rowan White, a Melbourne based driving instructor.

“Initially I got an awful lot out of it because one has to be really precise and establish a rapport with a vision impaired person, with any driver, but particularly with a vision impaired driver… it really helped me refine the way I assess people of what they can do and what I can give back to them.”

The event was also supported by Vision Australia, a not-for-profit organisation which supports blind and low vision Australians in helping them become more independent.

Vision Australia’s Access Technology Specialist, Elise Lonsdale was there on the day.

“Because I am vision impaired myself, I’ve not been behind the wheel of a car for a long, long time and it is one of the things I have always wanted to do… and realistically one can’t with low vision, so I took the opportunity today to get in on the fun and I was on the first drive and had a ball.”

Vision Australia’s attendance and coverage of the day by both Channel Nine and Channel Ten brought welcomed publicity to the day. In The Driver’s Seat is the brain child of the Lions Club of Warrandyte.

Pete Watts set up the day 22 years ago when his vision was damaged by glaucoma and Pete became aware of the debilitating effect of vision impairment.

From that first event to now, and into the future, driving instructors bring along their cars and give their time for free to these VIPs, to give back a piece of their old life for a few laps. Murray Rowland, 56, began to lose his eyesight at the age of 17.

“Now I don’t see past my nose; I just see dark and light perception.

“What I get out of today is what the sighted take for granted — driving a motor car every day.

“Going down the straight…and hearing the roar of the motor and knowing I am in control of it, not the driving instructor or someone else, is just a really exciting and fun time.”

A self-confessed lead foot, the smile on Murray’s face speaks volumes about what this day means to the visually impaired and blind.

“The smile will be there on my face for a week…and I just thank everybody who puts it together because it is just an awesome experience…we do not get this chance except for this one day of the year.”

I was given an opportunity to join one of the VIPs on their run of laps.

Strapped in to the back seat trying to hold the camera steady while the driving instructor and the VIP tested our nerves as we accelerated towards 100kph on the front and back straights was better than any theme park thrill ride and the joy in the voice of my VIP driver, John, was infectious.

After seven laps of accelerating, braking, turning and overtaking — at speed — I am not sure if the driver had more fun or I did.

The excitement was exhilarating and I can see why people like John come back year after year.

However, there is more to the day than just driving instructors assisting the visually impaired to relive the joy of driving.

A contingent of classic cars and the Ulysses Motorcycle Club were also in attendance to take anybody there on a hot lap around the track in a variety of vehicles.

The Ulysses Club have been coming to the event since 2012.

“It’s the children, mainly, that brings us here,” said Homer, Ulysses Club member and the club’s liaison at the event.

“We just like seeing their faces smile when they’ve gone for a ride, it gives us a buzz.”

The contribution to this event by classic car owners and the Ulysses Club make this day a great family day out for friends and family of the visually impaired and for the handful of volunteers.

“We offer rides around the track when it is our time on the track, we also offer rides around the car park and the side street.

“They get to enjoy all bits of it — they get the buzz of the speed and some may even ask if we can go a little bit faster,” said Homer.

Even though this event is run in Springvale, attracting the support of national organisations such as Vision Australia and the Ulysses Club brings in the blind and visually impaired from all over the state, and beyond, it is still, at its core, a Lions Club of Warrandyte event.

“We’ve got about 100 VIPs today,” said Jenni Dean, Lions Club of Warrandyte President.

“We’ve had people come from America just to drive around the track, they’ll even fly over from New Zealand — I think it is fantastic.”

After more than 20 years of running this event, the organisational workflow is very efficient which is lucky as year on year the Lions Club of Warrandyte seems to get smaller and smaller with only a handful of current members in both the Lions and the Leos.

“We’d love it if people out there would want to join the Lions Club in Warrandyte, they too could then get an experience like this,” said Jenni.

Bolstered by the support of Nillumbik, Park Orchards and Noble Park Lions Clubs and a handful of volunteers from within the community, the Warrandyte Lions were able to put together another brilliant day at Sandown and both the attending VIPs and myself look forward to coming back next year.

Opening the door to reconciliation


THE COUNCIL chambers’ gallery was filled with friends, family and colleagues on April 24 as Doctor Jim Poulter was presented with Manningham’s Key to the City.

Jim’s important works with Reconciliation Manningham, as a social advocate and as a member of Manningham’s University of the Third Age is the reason Council chose to recognise him with one of the highest honours they can bestow.

Many Diary readers will recognise Jim’s name from his Indigenous history column, Birrarung Stories.

Manningham Mayor Andrew Conlon had this to say before presenting Jim with his award:

“Jim has made a significant contribution to the reconciliation movement.
“Jim has worked closely with Aboriginal Elders and Indigenous organisations to produce educational material on Aboriginal history and cultural practices… has published 25 books, including several acclaimed Aboriginal-themed children’s books, and sold more than 70,000 copies in the past 30 years.
“This includes several acclaimed Aboriginal themed children’s books.
“Jim was also a founding member of Doncare and the Manningham Community Health Centre.
“Since retirement, Jim continues to contribute to the community, giving talks on Aboriginal history and heritage as well as conducting history walks along the Yarra River in Manningham.”

“This is a vehicle to do more — if they are going to give me a key to the city, well it’s got to unlock something, even if it is only their minds.”

At an intimate reception held in the Manningham function rooms following the council meeting, Jim spoke about the significance of his award and his feeling that this is a positive step forward in recognising the rights of Indigenous Australians.

“It’s gratifying to have achievements recognised, but the reality is nobody achieves anything without the help and support of family, friends and colleagues.

“Life’s a journey and we are all involved in journeys with each other and some of our common journeys are for a short time, a long time or sometimes a lifetime,” he said gesturing to his wife of 60 years.

Jim later expanded on the significant role his wife and family have played in enabling him to give in the way he has and how his wife is there to “hose me down every now and again when I get too exuberant”.

Jim concluded his thank you speech with his vision of the future of reconciliation in Manningham.

“This is not the culmination of anything, this is the start of the next phase and gives us the opportunity to get the view of council of what we will be doing next, to make sure that the myth of terra nullius is put to bed in Manningham.

“Council has established a reputation as the leading municipality in reconciliation… so tonight is about building on that.”

Telstra outage hits North Warrandyte


AN UNFORTUNATE sequence of events, coupled with ageing infrastructure, have left a large number of North Warrandyte residents without landline phones and ADSL internet for almost a fortnight.

On May 9 a contractor working on the bridge project damaged a hydrant near Kangaroo Ground-Warrandyte Road causing a water main to rupture, which left residents on both sides of the river without water for several hours.

The ensuing flood necessitated single lane working at the bridge while Yarra Valley Water (YVW) attended and repaired the fracture which led to further misery to motorists who are already frustrated by the road congestion in and around Warrandyte.

Dona Tantirimudalige, General Manager, Distribution Services at YVW advised us “Permanent repairs were completed and water supply restored as quickly as possible, with no further works required.

“We thank the community for their patience while these works were carried out.”

Unfortunately the flood of water found its way into an important Telstra pit containing a 400-pair cable and damaged both the connections and the cable itself which has to be replaced leaving residents with no phone service and no or very slow-speed ADSL internet.

Residents had been complaining to their phone/internet suppliers about problems with their service since May 3 so it is assumed that water had already seeped into this pit before the great flood of May 9.

Loretta Willaton, Telstra Area General Manager, tells the Diary “We have up to 170 landline and internet customers without service in the Warrandyte area.

“Problems were first reported to us from May 5.

“We have had a major cable damaged and contractors are working daily to replace 150 metres of cable and join two separate ends.

“The work is complex and in a difficult area to access and completion is tentatively scheduled for May 16; however it may be restored sooner.

“We are sorry for the inconvenience this is causing and are working as quickly as possible to get customers back online.”

Vince Punaro, VicRoads Regional Director, Metro North West advised “VicRoads is aware of the issue of a burst fire hydrant in Warrandyte on Wednesday May 9.

“As soon as we were made aware of the issue, we worked quickly with the contractor, Melbourne Water and Yarra Valley Water and notified emergency services to minimise the impact on the community.”

Featured photo posted on Facebook Warrandyte Business and Community Page by Clive Rixon, May 9.

Full bridge closure this weekend: how to get around


After numerous postponements, the full closure of the Warrandyte Bridge is set to happen this weekend.

The works between May 4 and May 7 will include:

  • installing supports for the downstream bridge widening works
  • further preparation works for bridge strengthening
  • roadworks and clearing to prepare the road and surrounds for further works

Being the first weekend in May, it is also the Warrandyte Riverside Market.

To accommodate this, the following timetable for bridge closures has been put in place:

10pm, Friday May 4 — 5am, Saturday May 5

One lane of the bridge will be closed, with traffic management onsite, to help keep the traffic moving.

5am Saturday May 5 — 3pm Saturday May 5

The Warrandyte Bridge will be open as usual, this should reduce the impact of bridgeworks to stall holders and visitors of the Warrandyte Riverside Market.

3pm Saturday May 5 — 5am Monday May 7

Full closure of the bridge to vehicular traffic.

Cyclists and pedestrians will still be able to cross the bridge, under the direction of traffic management.

Although the Total Fire Ban period has officially ended in both Manningham and Nillumbik, VicRoads stress that scheduled bridgeworks may be modified/postponed to ensure the public safety and the efficiency of the emergency services is not impacted by bridge widening.

With a number of local events taking place this weekend, including the Kellybrook Cider Festival and Nillumbik Artists Open Studios, additional journey planning may be required.

Traffic diversions

 Both private and public transport will be affected by these works.

 Car

VicRoads have provided a map illustrating the traffic detours.

There will be four detours in place; (purple, green, yellow and orange).

All the detours start/finish on Main Street, Eltham, north of the river and cross the Fitzsimons Lane Bridge.

People travelling to Warrandyte are encouraged to follow the purple diversion which takes them down Heidelberg-Warrandyte Road.

For those travelling to Park Orchards and Warranwood and the South Warrandyte/Ringwood borders; the green diversion along Reynolds Road and Falconer Road is suggested.

For everyone else looking to travel between Eltham, Kangaroo Grounds and beyond, and Everywhere South and East of Ringwood, the yellow diversion (along EastLink) or the orange diversion (Box Hill and Whitehorse Road) is advised.

Full details of the diversion routes can be found under the diversion map.

 

Detour map (key)

  • Purple route: Main Road, Porter Street, Heidelberg-Warrandyte Road
  • Green route: Main Road, Fitzsimons Lane, Reynolds Road, Falconer Road
  • Yellow route: Main Road, Fitzsimons Lane, Williamsons Road, Tram Road, Eastern Freeway, Eastlink (toll road), Whitehorse Road
  • Orange route: Main Road, Fitzsimons Lane, Williamsons Road, Whitehorse Road OR Main Road, Fitzsimons Lane, Reynolds Road, Springvale Road, Whitehorse Road

Bus

During the bridge closure, PTV bus services 578 and 579 (Warrandyte Reserve to Eltham Station) WILL NOT CROSS the Warrandyte Bridge.

Passengers wishing to travel on the 578/579 can access the busses at the following bus stops north of the bridge:

578 – Research-Warrandyte Road/Bradleys Lane

579 – Kangaroo Ground-Warrandyte Road/Research-Warrandyte Road

According to the Public Transport Victoria (PTV) website, PTV do not anticipate any disruption to the 906 and 364 bus services.

The Warrandyte Diary will keep an eye on the forthcoming bridgeworks and communicate any changes via our website and on social media.