News

The former site of the Warrandyte Café, 61-63 Yarra Street, is on the market.

The property is just over 1.3 acres and currently has two buildings: the former Warrandyte Café site, which closed following damage sustained during the 2021 Melbourne earthquake, and a “cottage”.

Both buildings are advertised to have been restumped and had their plumbing replaced.

The Real Estate agent spruiks the property as having “the scale and potential for a substantial commercial venture or the ultimate riverfront home (STCA)” in its advertising brochure.

The potential sale of this property sparks new potential for the development of the Stiggant Reserve precinct, which is already a hot topic in the community given the continued dereliction of the former Warrandyte Garage—which has only recently been cleaned up due to community complaints to Council regarding graffiti.

But, what is truly possible for 61-63 Yarra Street?

The property has several planning overlays which could significantly impact any development:

  • Environmental Significance Overlay Schedule 3
  • Environmental Significance Overlay Schedule 5
  • Design and Development Overlay Schedule 2 (Yarra/Birrarung Corridor)
  • Design and Development Overlay Schedule 3 (Warrandyte Environmental Residential Area)
  • Heritage Overlay
  • Land Subject to Inundation
  • Significant Landscape Overlay Schedule 2
  • Bushfire Management Overlay

With the property boundary on the edge of the Warrandyte Riverwalk path, the site also includes the grassy paddock between Police Street and the area just behind the Community Church.

Presently, the property is also utilised by Warrandyte Riverside Market.

“The plots are used for car parks which we enter off Police Street,” said Greg Rowell, Market Manager of Warrandyte Riverside Market.

“They are used by both stallholder parking and the Lions Club for public parking.”

The Diary asked Mr Rowell about the impact on the market if the potential new owners did not allow the market to use the property anymore and if the market—as a stakeholder in the precinct—had any opinion regarding the future use of 61-63 Yarra Street.

“The market will need to find an area for stall holders to park, and it will further complicate plans for those members of the public who require car parking.

“I don’t think the market has any comment about any future development of the sites.

“We understand the titles are subject to many overlays so it will depend on the objectives of the eventual purchaser.

“The market, of course, will contact the new owner and request access to the car parks.

“The current owners have been very community-minded and the committee of management of the market thank them for allowing the area to be used for car parking.”

Warrandyte Diary also contacted the Warrandyte Community Association (WCA) for comment regarding the site.

Association President Terry Tovey said the WCA would ideally like to see the site used for retirement or social housing, given its proximity to services.

“However, because so much of the land is subject to a flood overlay, that would require a joint venture with Council, whereby the flood-prone land would be reserved for community parking, and we do not know whether Council would have any interest in that.

“On the matter of parking, much of the site is currently used for parking for community events such as the festival and market.

“This has been due to the generosity and community-mindedness of the current owners.

“Whatever the final use of the site, the loss of that parking would significantly impact community life.”

Given the planning restrictions, Mr Tovey also proposed an alternate use for the land.

“We don’t know what planning restrictions may apply to the land and whether any redevelopment is possible.

“It would be no bad thing if the land could revert to public open space with revegetation suited to the river reserve,” he said.

The Diary also contacted the current owners, but they were unable to provide comments in time for publication.

Community input on housing strategy

MELBOURNE’S population is growing, currently topping 5.3 million; it is predicted to surpass 6M by 2035 and 8M by 2051.

This surge in population is a significant factor in the current housing crisis, causing housing affordability to be at a generational low.

In September 2023, the Victorian Government released Victoria’s Housing Statement: The decade ahead 2024–2034, setting a target to build 800,000 homes in Victoria over the next decade.

For those living in green wedge townships like Warrandyte, the ever-present spectre of suburban encroachment is more real than ever.

However, thankfully, both state and local governments are working to protect the green wedge by establishing high-density centres around shopping precincts and main roads.

As reported in the March M&N Bulletin, the State Government also released the Green Wedge and Agricultural Land Action Plan in mid-March, aiming to enshrine planning protections in planning policy.

At its March 26 meeting, Council endorsed the Manningham Residential Discussion Paper (March 2024) to be put out for community consultation in April and May.

Councillors discussed the municipality’s unique range of urban and leafy suburbs, rural lifestyle areas and vibrant activity centres.

However, with the population expected to increase by more than 18,000 in the next 12 years, more than 8,000 new homes will be needed in Manningham.

Today, most of the population in Manningham live in single detached homes.

As the community changes, Council says it will need to plan for a range of homes catering to varying needs and different life stages.

Councillors heard how the location of future housing also needs to be carefully planned to support the affordability, sustainability, and character of Manningham’s suburbs.

Cr Geoff Gough spoke to the endorsement motion.

“There are a lots of issues in where we should build, and this is what the discussion paper [addresses] — where we should put high density, at what height we should do it, how dense it should be.

“But the thing that is going to hit local government is the absolute cost of extra infrastructure, because that infrastructure is going to be put onto ratepayers and local government to build that infrastructure.

“We know we have already got pressures on sporting grounds and things, we already know we are way behind with roads, and we have huge drainage problems, but when it comes to more intense development, it is going to put huge issues onto Council that we have to make provision for into the future.

“We do have a residential strategy, but the state government in recent times have moved in a number of policy areas, which have thrown up a number of questions that we are going to have to address into the future.

“This document is going to go out to public consultation, and we are going to do a revised residential strategy.”

The first stage in developing the new residential strategy is the preparation of the Manningham Residential Discussion Paper, which identifies four themes to underpin Manningham’s housing future:

  • Location and connectedness
  • Housing design quality
  • Neighbourhood character
  • Housing choice, diversity and affordability

Mayor of Manningham Carli Lange told the meeting these themes would set the foundation for how growth is managed and how Council and community can work together to achieve desired outcomes for all.

A survey has been prepared as part of the engagement activities and will seek community feedback on current and future housing needs of the existing neighbourhood character precincts.

  • Council will also be seeking feedback on its draft Neighbourhood Character Study, which has identified nine neighbourhood character precincts:
  • Garden Court 1: Doncaster East, Templestowe Lower and Wonga Park (south)
  • Garden Court 2: Matthew’s subdivision, Tindals Road Donvale
  • Garden Suburban: Bulleen, Doncaster, Doncaster East and Lower Templestowe
  • Infill/Contemporary: Main roads — Doncaster Road, Manningham Road, Williamsons Road
  • Remnant Bush Low Density: Donvale, Park Orchards, Wonga Park, Warrandyte, Templestowe
  • Exotic Bush Low Density: Wembley Gardens, Donvale
  • Templestowe Low Density: Templestowe, Lower Templestowe
  • Warrandyte Bush Garden: Warrandyte
  • Rural Lifestyle: Warrandyte South, Donvale, Park Orchards, Wonga Park, and isolated pockets of Templestowe and Lower Templestowe

Cr Anna Chen told the meeting the existing 2012 Manningham Residential Strategy and associated planning controls have been generally successful in meeting the municipality’s housing growth objectives.

In particular, the strategy has been instrumental in directing higher-density housing to the preferred locations, namely along main roads and surrounding activity centres.

“We have to be mindful that since then, the State Government has implemented several new city-shaping infrastructure projects across Melbourne — the Big Build, which includes the Eastern Freeway upgrade and the North East Link.

“Last year, the Victorian Government released the Housing strategy, it introduced streamlined pathways for housing related assessments including a greater ministerial role, which means the minister can intervene if she wishes.”

Council will hold Stage 1 consultation on the Residential Discussion Paper, which is proposed for six weeks from April 8 to May 19 via Your Say Manningham: yoursay.Manningham.vic/gov.au/residential-strategy.

Ringwood identified as Activity Centre

Building more homes up — not just out — in established suburbs is one of many initiatives outlined in the Housing Statement.

Communities across 10 established Melbourne suburban centres are being given a chance to have their say on the State Government’s plans to build more homes close to jobs, transport, and public services.

Minister for Planning Sonya Kilkenny said, “As part of our landmark Housing Statement, we’re enabling 60,000 more homes to be built across established suburbs, ensuring more Victorians have access to affordable housing close to services, jobs and transport.”

Ringwood was one of the initial 10 suburban centres chosen for their potential to accommodate more homes while ensuring access to amenities.

The Ringwood Activity Centre is between the Ringwood Bypass and the train line, including Eastland Shopping Centre, Ringwood Square Shopping Centre, Realm, Ringwood Lake Park, and surrounding shops, parks, and municipal buildings.

The project is reviewing building heights and design rules for the Ringwood Activity Centre to allow for more, good-quality homes to be built in the area.

This project will build on the City of Maroondah’s existing work for Ringwood, including the Ringwood Major Activity Centre (MAC) Master Plan.

Insights from Maroondah Council’s existing work, new input from Council, and community engagement will inform the development of clear new rules for the area.

“We’re working with local councils to guide investment in the things that matter to you, like improved streets, parks and community infrastructure,” the Minister said.

As plans for the Activity Centres develop, she said the Government will work closely with communities and councils to review design requirements and building heights.

Residents are encouraged to have their say on what they love most about their area to help shape the future of their communities.

Victoria is the fastest-growing state in the country, so these changes are crucial to accommodate Melbourne’s growing population, which is set to be the size of London’s by the 2050s.

“We want to hear from communities on how best we can accommodate more housing choices while ensuring their suburbs maintain their liveability,” said Ms Kilkenny.”

Feedback will also guide investment in the things a thriving, liveable, and growing suburb needs, such as community facilities, public spaces, and parks.

For more information, visit vpa.vic.gov.au/metropolitan/activity-centres.

Cat confinement in Manningham

RESIDENTS of Manningham with registered cats would have received a notice in the recent animal registration mail-out about the Trial 24-hour Cat Confinement Order, which commences on April 1, with an amnesty period running until December 2024.
The pilot (overall) will be evaluated in December 2025.
Despite being a major component of the Domestic Animal Management Plan (DAMP) 2021–2025, and the trial officially adopted at the December 2024 Ordinary Council Meeting — compared to the roll-out of other schemes, such as the Food Organic Green Organic (FOGO) bin system — information about when the trial would begin, how long it would run for, and what actions cat owners need to take to ensure they (and their cats) comply has been minimal, or at the very least not as obvious as the extensive advertising and information campaign that accompanied FOGO.
The information in the animal registration mail-out also says Council will “provide support and information to help with the transition, including educational information, videos and practical advice on preparing your pet and your property.”
Some of this information is already on the Council’s dedicated cat confinement page, manningham.vic.gov.au/pets-and-animals/cat-confinement, and it is worth reviewing if you have any questions about the trial.
What is of note is the details of the amnesty period, with the webpage stating:

“If we find your cat outside of your property during the amnesty period we will try to reunite the cat with you.
We will only take the cat to our Pound facility if its owner cannot be found.
If your cat is registered and microchipped, this will assist Council Officers in getting your cat home to you safely.”

Manningham-based pet advocacy group Friends of Manningham Dogs and Cats (FOMDAC), which supported the cat confinement concept while the current DAMP was out for public consultation in late 2020 and early 2021, has run a series of workshops and events over the last three years to help cat owners prepare.
The latest is a presentation by local Animal Aid volunteer Jennah Rose, who will discuss keeping your cats happy, healthy, and indoors and how to do it cost-effectively.
Jennah spoke to the Bulletin about what the presentation would entail.

“Having only recently been domesticated on the timeline of things and more recently asked to live indoors, cats are still hunters at heart.
When you see kittens play, they are effectively learning hunting and fighting skills.
When a cat catches a live creature and commences to play with it, it is instinct.
They teach their offspring by giving them live bait for them to learn to kill.
Such behaviour needs to be mimicked if a cat is confined, which is why there are all manner of sometimes costly toys and gadgets on the market.
It is a lucrative business, but you do not need to spend a fortune confining your feline to your property.
Among other things, the presentation will cover multiple reasons for property confinement, how to create ‘happy cat’ environments, feeding and play enrichment, suitable toileting arrangements, rest and sleep, causes of behavioural change, time outdoors, and effective property confinement.
It is a big adjustment for our furry friends to be asked to change their routines, but the first topic in the talk — reasons to keep cats confined — will hopefully convince you of the benefits.
It is not just about Australia’s precious wildlife.
It’s about quite disturbing diseases, parasites, and infections that your friend can pick up that cause incurable suffering. Building a stress-free, enriched life for your cat around your home is the most cost-effective approach.
The difference in vet bills between indoor and outdoor cats is considerable, as is their lifespan, the former being the longer.”

The presentation is free, but booking is essential to keep track of numbers.
Tickets can be booked at eventbrite.com.au/e/happy-healthy-indoor-cats-tickets-805458988517
The event will be held at the FOMDAC rooms, 55 Aranga Crescent, Donvale, on Thursday, April 18, 2024, 7pm-9pm

The value in shopping local

SUPERMARKETS have been in the news recently for the wrong reasons.
However, Warrandyte is fortunate to have an alternative to shopping with the major retailers.
Quinton’s IGA has been providing the staples of life in Warrandyte for 24 years and, in that time, has become a vital and integral part of the Warrandyte community.
Diary Editor Sandi Miller sat down with Quinton’s IGA Store Manager, Ken Barnes, and Assistant Manager, Hayley Farrugia, to discover what makes our IGA different.

Warrandyte Diary (WD): What is the Quinton’s IGA’s business model?
Ken Barnes (KB): Obviously, we’re part of the IGA family, which is part of Metcash, which, in essence, means Quinton’s IGA is part of a buying group.
This allows us, as a small family business, single entity store, to access the sort of pricing that the major supermarkets get.
But we’re not a franchise — that’s the big distinction — a lot of people will look at IGA as a franchise like a McDonald’s, but we’re not. IGA can’t come in here and specifically tell me what to do, but they give us the ability to access the bulk prices, which we can flow through to the local community.
We’re probably one of the largest single employers in Warrandyte, and we do take that with a great sense of pride, and there’s a bit of a responsibility to that, because we’re taking that generation, especially the young ones, starting them on a life journey of not only working but the bigger sense of the world.

WD: So what does that mean for local shoppers?
KB: “From our family to yours” — it’s not just a catchphrase; it’s our ethos — and we keep it local, where possible. At the moment, we have locally grown strawberries and plums.
We were getting local tomatoes until the storms came through and destroyed the hot houses — and some of the items we stock are from businesses with stalls at the Warrandyte Market, like PoppySmack and Jerry’s Burgers.
But we need to blend this with the national staples the consumer wants — like Tip Top bread and Pedigree dog food.
We go from being a small, local business to dealing with our larger suppliers, thinking “how do we think like Coles and Woolies but not act like Coles and Woolies”.

WD: Tell me about your relationship with your suppliers.
KB: With Metcash, there are things we have to do.
We have been doing a lot of work in the store over the last 12 months, which I know with some locals at times has generated some emotions, but it was about ensuring we had the right range.
The increase in the cost of living does not just impact households; it puts pressure on businesses, too. Interest rates go up for homeowners; they do for us, too.
We’ve got loans, we’ve got overdrafts, same as with rates, all that goes up, and we need to make sure we can make ends meet.
So, we either put prices up, look at ways of becoming more efficient, or negotiate with our suppliers to strengthen the relationship to get better pricing.
This could be in the way we buy stock — so volume — and means we may commit to purchasing more of one type of product to get a lower price, which we can then pass on to our customers and means we have access to products we may struggle to get if we were not part of IGA.
However, we also have upward of 100 direct suppliers — from mum and dad businesses to larger brands like Nudie Juice.
The main thing is, if a price increase comes from a supplier on a product, we see how we can minimise that through to the customer.
Unfortunately, sometimes we have no option, especially at the moment with anything wheat-related, so the bread has seen some large price rises over the last 12 months; we just have to pass that on.
But if it is things like our insurance or waste services, we will not put up the price of bananas or apples to offset that; we have to negotiate or use the IGA co-op effect to get a better deal.

WD: Tell me about the history of the supermarket and your relationship with the Warrandyte community.
Hayley Farrugia (HF): My stepdad Brian purchased the store in January 2000 — he had a big dream for the store.
When he passed away in 2008, Mum (Julie Quinton) stepped in and took over, and she wanted to carry on Brian’s dream.
But prior to stepping in and running the store, she had no retail experience, so she just wanted to come in and learn very quickly how everything operates, and she ran it from the eyes of a consumer.
I think that’s one of the reasons we’ve been able to get customer loyalty because we look at where things are from — even when I was a kid, Mum would only buy Australian and always read the nutrition labels.
Now, we can continue to build and grow with the solid foundations she and Brian created.
KB: Supporting the community is very much the DNA of independent stores.
Being relatively new to the store, the difference between here and other independent supermarkets is why they do these things.
Supporting the community at other stores is about gaining public recognition, whereas — partly due to the influence of Brian and Julie — we do it because we want to help; it’s about a community partnership, not necessarily community kudos.
HF: Like at Christmas, we donated to the local schools so the kids could make Christmas decorations for us.
That saves us going out and buying things made overseas — and the kids love it — it just brings in that community feel, and when the kids come in, they look for their things and show their parents, and it just generates a really lovely atmosphere.

Warrandyte IGA – Store Manager Ken Barnes and Assistant Store Manager Hayley Farrugia

WD: What is your point of difference from Coles and Woolworths?
KB: It’s an interesting question because it can be quite an emotional thing.
We can sit here saying, “We deliver better customer service,” and all the standard stuff.
But for me, I’ve worked across wholesale and retail, and I had my own store, and it comes down to the four walls, the people, and everything in there that make it the difference between what’s up the road.
We have a great community sense in the store.
When you come in, and you buy that product, and it is not just a commercial decision, we don’t say, “It’s not selling, so we will pull it”, we will keep it because you are coeliac, and that is the only product that meets that need, so we will keep it.
It’s all the little things that make a difference.
But first and foremost, it is our people that make the difference.
Julie leads that at the end of the day, she’s the one that has bred the culture, and we are just the caretakers.

WD: Cost of living crisis, so how can shopping locally help the community?
KB: Shopping locally gives us better buying power; it is a chicken and egg thing.
We cannot always compete with the large chains that are a 15-minute drive away.
They are a multi-billion-dollar, national business, and we are a small, family-run supermarket.
But by shopping locally, it keeps locals employed, it allows us to invest in more people, which ultimately gives better customer service, it enables us to invest back into the business, which helps us to lower costs, and it allows us to go to our suppliers and get the next tier pricing because a lot of it is based on volume.
All of that will flow back through to the customers.
HF: And the customers make it easier for us to do our jobs. I get about four to five hugs a week — just because — and I don’t think I could ever imagine walking into a big chain supermarket and hugging one of the employees randomly.
KB: There are people who come into the store; we know them by name; you know about their kids, you know about their grandkids.
Selling baked beans or bananas is just what we do, but knowing you can have that sort of impact, no amount of money can change that or make that any better.
I want to say, on behalf of the store, the family, and the whole team, a really big thank you to the Warrandyte community just for the way they make us feel. It is just a wonderful place to work, and that is down to the Warrandyte community.

Class of 2030 start their school journey

PREP STUDENTS at Warrandyte Primary School (WPS) are off to a flying start, as they have started school and settled in straight away.
These children will be the Class of 2030 when they complete their primary school journey — a diverse and vibrant group of youngsters ready to explore, learn, and forge lasting friendships.
Teachers and support staff have left no stone unturned to create a welcoming and nurturing environment for the newest members of the academic community.
Prep classes are located in WPS’s historic stone building, close to the sandpit and dedicated Prep Playground, where the children enjoy making friends, playing, and running around at recess and lunchtime every day.
Principal Nieta Manser expressed her enthusiasm for the school year.
“It’s always exciting to welcome these children into our school family.
“We are excited about being able to provide them with a solid foundation for their academic and personal development.
“The evidence-based reading and writing model our school uses provides our students with the very best start to enable them to achieve academic success.”
The school’s newly established Dogs in Schools program meant the therapy dog, Winston, could provide comfort and support as WPS’s newest students said goodbye to their parents.
Teachers Meg Steeds and Steph Chivell have been delighted with their young students’ progress.
“It has been wonderful to see how quickly the children have settled into school life.
“They are a lovely group of children who enjoy spending time together and have a fantastic attitude to learning,” explained Steph.
Meg continued her praise of the students.
“I am loving getting to know each child’s personality and finding out what interests and excites them.
“I feel privileged to be a part of their early school journey.”
The Class of 2030 at Warrandyte Primary School has embarked on a journey filled with possibilities, challenges, and growth.
As the academic year unfolds, we know these Prep students will not only excel academically but also continue to develop into well-rounded individuals ready to make a positive impact on the world.
The WPS community wishes the children the best and hopes they have a fantastic Prep year.

Foundation students flourish at ACPS

EXCITEMENT HAS filled the air at Andersons Creek Primary School (ACPS) as the school journey begins for its newest students. Foundation students have seamlessly transitioned into the ACPS community with smiles and a positive attitude towards their learning.
The school community is thrilled to see these enthusiastic young learners embarking on their primary school journey.
The transition from Kinder has been smooth, thanks to staff dedication and the support of families.
ACPS’s transition program, designed to ease anxieties and familiarise children with the new school environment, has received positive feedback from parents.
Parents have praised the program and credited it for helping the children transition smoothly.
The Foundation students have entered the classroom with enthusiasm.
They are demonstrating a willingness to embrace new routines and are showing optimism and a readiness to explore.
There is a buzz with the joy of discovery as they are exposed to new subjects and make new friends.
The warm welcome extends beyond the classroom. ACPS fosters a spirit of inclusivity and support, as evidenced in the new Foundation students’ interactions with their Grade 6 buddies.
Staff have observed heartwarming acts of kindness and camaraderie in the playground, where older students are ready to lend a helping hand or offer friendly encouragement.
Witnessing this genuine compassion from senior students towards the new Foundation children fills the teaching team with pride.
It speaks volumes about the positive, nurturing environment cultivated at ACPS.
Looking ahead, the year promises to be filled with rich learning experiences, exciting challenges, and moments of individual growth.
The journey starts with a welcome, and ACPS has delivered one with warmth, support, and, most importantly, a sense of belonging.
As the children settle into their new routine, ACPS staff look forward to fostering creativity and curiosity in young minds ready to learn and grow.

Photo: JIMMY HARRIS

Queensland Fruit Fly found in Warrandyte

FOLLOWING a resurgence of Queensland Fruit Fly (QFF) in Warrandyte and the Yarra Valley, it is important to identify and destroy this harmful pest.
In 2020, Nillumbik Council released a series of informative videos to help residents identify and manage the invasive pest, and now is timely to remind ourselves of the signs.
With the ability to lay up to 100 eggs per day and only a 14-day lifecycle from insemination to fully grown adult, an unchecked and uncontained population of QFF can have a devastating impact on fruit growers, whether they have one small tree on their balcony or are a large-scale commercial operation.
The three informative videos produced by Nillumbik Council cover how to identify, monitor, and trap QFF. Agriculture Victoria also has a comprehensive guide to managing QFF in your garden and hosted a webinar which is available to watch.
Popular, locally grown fruit which is known to host QFF includes apples, lemons, limes, strawberries and tomatoes.
The complete list of QFF host fruits is available on the Agriculture Victoria website which lists around 80 species of fruit.
The fruit flies are active in spring, when sunset temperatures exceed 16 degrees centigrade and remain active over summer and autumn.
QFF have also been known to survive winter by taking refuge in sheltered areas such as buildings and trees.
So the next few months are an important time to break the cycle, while they are dormant.
Right now, there are a number of steps anyone who grows fruit, on whatever scale, should be taking to reduce the risk of QFF:

  • Prune host plants regularly to a manageable height — so all the fruit can be easily picked and the trees can be netted with exclusion netting if need be.
  • Harvest all ripe fruit and “fruiting vegetables” from the host plants before it has a chance to fall onto the ground (fruiting vegetables includes tomatoes, chillies, capsicums, eggplants, et cetera).
    Collect fallen fruit immediately and dispose of it in the general waste (not compost).
    Suspect-infested fruit needs to be treated (cooked or frozen) before disposal.
  • Remove your unwanted or unmanaged host plants — including blackberries and unmanageable ornamental fruiting plants.
  • Carefully examine the fruit for pests and diseases before sharing and swapping fruit with friends.
    Movement of fruit from place to place is how pests and diseases are most commonly spread.
    Avoid transporting any fresh produce into the area from known QFF areas such as Northern Victoria, NSW, and QLD — this prevents new incursions.
  • Prepare and deploy (when appropriate) traps, and bait spray.
    These are available commercially or you can make your own.

As with most environmental hazards, be they fruit fly, deer or bushfire — knowledge and preparation is key.
Visit the Nillumbik website for information on how to identify and deal with Queensland Fruit Fly.
There is also contact information to report any known instances of QFF in Nillumbik. If you have found QFF in your harvest, you may put a sample in a sealed bag in the fridge and text an image of it to Council’s Land Management Officer on 0456 708 525.
Council can support you to ID the pest and provide information to assist you to eradicate it.
For more information visit: nillumbik.vic.gov.au/Environment/Pest-animals

Bravery, resilience, and quick thinking

ARE YOU ready for an exhilarating and rewarding volunteer career that makes a real difference in your community?
Warrandyte Country Fire Authority (CFA) is thrilled to announce it is now recruiting new voluntary firefighters.
With formal training beginning in May, your local brigade seeks passionate individuals eager to serve, protect, and support their local community.
This is your chance to be part of a dedicated team that responds to emergencies, saves lives, and ensures safety for all.
As a firefighter, you’ll face challenges that demand bravery, resilience, and quick thinking.
But you’ll also experience the immense satisfaction of making a positive impact every single day.
The brigade is holding an information night on Wednesday, February 14, from 7pm.

Why join us?

  • Give back to your local community, making a tangible difference.
  • Comprehensive training and resources to support your journey.
  • A tight-knit team that operates like a family.
  • All personal protection clothing, uniforms, and continual training are supplied.

Who are we looking for?

We welcome applications from diverse backgrounds, as we believe in reflecting the richness of our community.
Are you ready to embody our values of professionalism, dedication, and teamwork?
If you are passionate, committed, and eager to serve, we want you on our team as a volunteer firefighter.
Don’t miss this opportunity to become part of something truly special.
Join us at Warrandyte Fire Brigade and start your fulfilling career as a volunteer firefighter today.
For more information or to apply, visit www.cfa.vic.gov.au/volunteers-careers/volunteer-with-cfa/apply-to-volunteer.

Rocking down memory lane

THE “TICE” were a 1970s cult band from Eltham and are famous for being the most famous band that you’ve never heard of.
Members of Reuben Tice recently got together and played two reunion gigs in Eltham and St Andrews.
Readers may not recognise the name, but the band played a part in the history of the iconic 70s band Skyhooks.
Officially called the Reuben Tice Memorial Band (named after an American engineer who died trying to invent a machine that de-wrinkled prunes — but that’s a whole other story), the band has been likened to a local version of the Grateful Dead — or perhaps the Rolling Stones.
Warrandyte-born songwriter Greg Macainsh and Elthamite Tony Williams formed Reuben Tice in 1969.
Guitarist Mark Smith joined the band in 1975 when he moved down from Sydney, but he told the M&N Bulletin the band first started around Montsalvat, with people such as Marcus Skipper in the line-up.
“The band used to get together at Montsalvat and jam together.”
They were also on the bill for the first Skyhooks concert in April 1973, which Macainsh was also songwriter and bass guitarist for, penning such classics as Balwyn Calling, Million Dollar Riff, Horror Movie, Ego is Not a Dirty Word, Women in Uniform, Carlton (Lygon Street Limbo) and Living in the ‘70s.
Reuben Tice vocalist Tony Williams joined Macainsh in Skyhooks in 1978 when Shirley Strachan left to pursue a television career.

Flash forward to 2023, and many of the faces remain the same, as the reunion line-up featured:

  • Tony Williams (Vocal, Guitar, Harmonica)
  • Mark Smith (Guitar)
  • Roger Davies (Guitar)
  • George Kirov (Bass)
  • Jamie Slagmolen (Cajon)

They were also joined by local musicians, country singer Leslie Avril and singer/songwriter Sharin Anderson.
The reunion gig was to celebrate the release of their four-CD box set Rolling The Tice — Songs From An Unmade Road (Reuben Tice 1969–1979), which includes a mix of live and studio recordings.
“A good friend of ours, disc jockey Maurice Hurry, took a great interest in the band over the years.
“He gathered together a whole lot of recordings and had them remastered, and this is the result,” said Mark.
Maurice told the M&N Bulletin he and music producer Marcell Borrack spent the pandemic compiling the recordings.
“It’s quite interesting as a piece of lost rock and roll archive with all these 60s and 70s musicians.
“It all started at Eltham High and Montsalvat — this art rock and roll culture — we have a lost heritage, from the last 30–40 years.
“Some of the band members moved on to Skyhooks, and this incredible archive was left behind, which I have finessed and remastered,” Maurice said.
Reuben Tice performed nine songs at the St Andrews reunion gig, including originals The Way It’s Played, I Couldn’t Get High, Rock Bottom Shuffle, Down The Road I Go, as well as covers The Weight (The Band) and Emergency (The Fabulous Thunderbirds).
Guitarist Mark Smith said the reunion concert was “lots of fun — we had a lot of our fanbase turn up at the St Andrews Hall”.
However, he said he doubted there would be another concert.
“Roger Davies is 76 now, and Vic, the original drummer, can’t play anymore because he has arthritis, and Greg Macainsh is now working as an Intellectual Property Lawyer in Queensland,” 
Lead vocalist Tony Williams has released a memoir, Touched by the Tice, outlining his time in Reuben Tice and later as the vocalist for Skyhooks.
Maurice said Rolling the Tice will be on Band Camp in the next few weeks, and video of the St Andrews concert  is available to watch on YouTube and an audio recording is in the process of being produced and will hopefully be released in the coming months.
Tony William’s book, Touched by the Tice, is available to purchase from Amazon or to borrow from Eltham Library.

Photos by BILL McAULEY

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RVMs arrive in Manningham

THE STATE-managed Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) has been running in Victoria for over one month.
But in Manningham, generally, the scheme has been slow to start, mainly due to a lack of refund points.
There are three ways to return refundable containers: Over The Counter (OTC) Depot Reverse Vending Machine (RVM) Until recently, the only options available — locally — to residents in the greater Warrandyte area were a few OTC locations, and the nearest Depot and RVM were both in Bayswater.
With Manningham slated for up to 10 RVMs across the municipality — including Warrandyte Reserve and Mullum Mullum Stadium — the rollout, to date, of convenient places to return eligible containers has been disappointing.
The responsibility is squarely in the lap of the Operator, Visy, who has until August 2024 to bring the operation up to standard.
By then, Zone Operators will need at least one collection point per 14,500 people in metropolitan areas, at least one per town of 750 people in regional areas, and at least one per town of 350 people in remote areas.
Residents looking to refund their bags or boxes of containers have good news: the first RVM in Manningham is now in operation at Rieschiecks Reserve, 125-149 George Street, Doncaster East.
Manningham Mayor, Councillor Carli Lange, was at the site for the official launch of the RVM and encouraged community members to take advantage of the opportunity.
“We all need to work together to take responsibility for how we dispose of waste.
“Let’s improve our recycling efforts while supporting a sustainable future and the local economy along the way.
“Our recycling actions create products for future generations and ongoing sustainability for our community,” Cr Lange said.
Cr Lange was joined by Deputy Mayor Laura Mayne, Director City Services Rachelle Quattrocchi, Visy Co-owner Fiona Geminder, Visy CEO Mark De Wit, Visy Executive General Manager Wayne Russell, and Visy General Manager Container Deposit Scheme Tim O’Donnell (pictured).
The reverse vending machines are automated, purpose-built and can capture up to 10,000 eligible containers per day.
They can be used from 7am to 8pm daily and include acoustic panels for soundproofing and external lighting for enhancing safety and security.
RVMs will help make recycling more convenient and accessible, said Mr O’Donnell.
“The Manningham community has already embraced CDS Vic in its first few weeks, returning containers through OTCs and depots.
“Reverse vending machines are another way for sports and community clubs to be rewarded for recycling, as every bit counts when it comes to fundraising efforts.”

Residents Yukon and Lucas (pictured right) were the first to use the RVM and said they found the machine very easy to use. Charities and Community Groups can register as a partner through the cdsvic.org.au. Once registered, they will appear as a donation partner in the CDS Vic app.
Presently, Wonga Park Cricket Club, Templestowe Football Club, Park Orchards BMX Club, Park Orchards Lions Club, Parks Orchards Junior Football Club, and Doncaster Baseball Club are among the 400+ charities and groups signed up to receive donations.
The community can choose to receive their refund via an electronic transfer through the downloadable CDS Vic North app, a voucher, or as a donation to a charity or community group.
“This initiative rewards recycling and allows used cans, bottles and other eligible containers to be repurposed into new products,” Cr Lange said.
“I’m confident that having the reverse vending machines in such convenient locations locally will significantly reduce litter and deliver positive community fundraising and environmental outcomes.”

Nourishing connections: The Big Community Lunch at Warrandyte Neighbourhood House

THE WARRANDYTE Neighbourhood House recently hosted a delightful event that filled stomachs and warmed hearts — the Warrandyte Big Lunch.
This initiative aimed to bring residents together, fostering a sense of inclusion and camaraderie in our community by sharing a meal.
It is the second Big Community Lunch held by the Neighbourhood house in the Community Centre hall and was attended by 40 people, young and old, well mostly old, but some younger and middle-aged.
The purpose of the meal is simple and two-fold: Help prevent social isolation and provide an opportunity for the Warrandyte community to get together.
Provide a nutritious meal for members of the community who may be struggling in the current financial times.
The Big Community Lunch was more than the simple act of eating; it was a platform for conversations, laughter, renewing friendships, and making new ones.
Neighbours who might not have crossed paths in their daily routines found themselves engaged in lively discussions, sharing stories, and discovering common interests.
The event served as a reminder that Warrandyte is more than a suburb; it is a strong community built on the foundation of connections formed through shared moments of joy and support.
This was only the second lunch, but the intention is for these events to become an integral part of a strong Warrandyte community.
This year’s third and last lunch is The Big Christmas lunch, and the plan is for a spit roast followed by Lions Club Christmas Puddings.
All of Warrandyte are both invited and welcome. Come along, meet friends, and enjoy a good meal shared with others from our community.
You can just turn up, but it really helps with catering if we have a rough estimate of how many will be attending, so please get in touch with Warrandyte Neighbourhood House if you are planning to go.
The Big Christmas Lunch will be on December 11 at 12:30pm; bring an empty stomach and some good conversation to share.
Manningham Council, Warrandyte Lions Club, Rotary Club of Warrandyte Donvale, Warrandyte Riverside Market, Access Health and Community, JobCo, and Life Therapies generously support the lunches.

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Travel delays expected this summer

THE STATE Government has announced its Big Summer Build plans, hoping to move a myriad of major infrastructure projects into the fast lane.
While the result is expected to mean shorter travel times and fewer trucks on the road, Minister for Roads and Road Safety Melissa Horne asks those travelling within Melbourne and across the state to allow for extra time.
“These important road and rail projects will transform the way people travel across Melbourne.
“If you are heading into the city over summer, or travelling around, make sure you leave plenty of time as we continue this vital work.”
Those who use the Eastern Freeway or along Thompsons Road in Bulleen will have already experienced delays as the North East Link Project moves lanes to create space for the new tunnel entrance.
Additionally, speeds have now been reduced to 80km/h during the day between Burke Road and Doncaster Road, and 40km/h at night next to worksites to keep crews safe.
As work continues to complete the M80 Ring Road at Greensborough, with five new lanes that will seamlessly connect to the new tunnels, there will also be overnight lane closures between Greensborough Road and Plenty Road at times during summer.
Buses will replace trains on sections of the Belgrave and Lilydale lines from late January 2024 as work ramps up on the Bedford Road, Ringwood level crossing removal project, with work on this level crossing, which will be replaced by a 380-metre rail trench expected to be completed in 2025.
Buses will replace trains on sections of the Hurstbridge Line from December 1 until December 18, and there will be intermittent weekend closures while crews upgrade tracks, signalling and equipment.
The works will take place between Hurstbridge Station and Heidelberg Station and will allow for the future extension of the rail tunnel beneath Greensborough Highway to facilitate the North East Link infrastructure.
The scheduled rail replacement buses are for:

  • Between Heidelberg and Hurstbridge from Monday, December 4, to the last service on Sunday, December 10.
  • Between Heidelberg and Greensborough from Monday, December 11, to the last service on Monday, December 18.

In addition to this, there will be major works and maintenance on the West Gate Freeway, West Gate Bridge, and around Packenham, and also disruption for tram users travelling on routes 1,3,5,6,16,30,35,64,67, and 72 as Yarra Trams conducts maintenance and renewal works at the intersection of La Trobe and Swanston Streets from January 2 to 11.
The Minister for Transport Infrastructure, Danny Pearson, urged transport users to take the long view this summer.
“Victoria’s Big Build continues to gather momentum with substantial works underway this summer as we move a step closer to completing important projects that will slash travel times and ensure Melbourne is ready to support the largest population of any city in the country.”

A dog’s life at WPS

IT IS WITH great excitement that Warrandyte Primary School (WPS) welcomed its newest staff member — Winston the school therapy dog.
He is here to make a positive difference in our students’ lives and is causing a cuteness overload.
Winston is a playful and endearing puppy who is being trained to become a therapy dog.
This four-legged addition to the school staff aims to enhance the well-being of students, staff, and the broader school community.
Winston is a Labrador/Golden Retriever cross, considered one of the best breeds for working in schools.
At WPS, we know that well-being and learning are equally important; students’ mental health is critical to their well-being, enabling them to learn effectively.
With this in mind, School Principal Nieta Manser decided that the benefits of having a therapy dog at WPS were so great that she had to organise one.
By finding ways to support our students’ well-being, we are committed to always getting the best out of our students, and Winston is just one way we can help the children at WPS achieve success.
Well-trained, confident, happy therapy dogs can be an invaluable resource for supporting students’ social and emotional learning and fostering a sense of community spirit.
As a young puppy, Winston has only just begun his training, but he has got off to an excellent start.
Nieta, as his primary handler, has started taking Winston to puppy training classes, where he receives obedience training.
After this, he will have specific training related to a variety of situations, including supporting students feeling anxious, being taught tricks to do in the classroom to build engagement, and providing support for particular issues that schools regularly face, such as school refusal or de-regulation of students.
Winston will even support our literacy program, as students can take turns reading to him to practice their fluency.
We think Winston will love hearing stories read to him each day.
We have teamed up with Service and Therapy Animals Australia to launch the PAWS in Schools program at Warrandyte Primary School.
The company is connected to Service Dogs Australia and ensures the program adheres to strict standards and that Winston’s needs are also being met.
PAWS is an acronym that is easy to remember and encompasses the key components of a successful School Therapy Dog program:

Positive interactions
Assess, adapt, achieve
Working together
Social inclusion

Winston is adapting well to school life and enjoys spending time with the staff, who have bonded with him quickly.
As expected, the children have been extremely excited to meet Winston, too, patiently waiting for their turn.
Students in Prep first had a glimpse of Winston through Nieta’s office window; not wanting to overwhelm him, teachers took the children to wave and admire from a distance.
It wasn’t long before Winston was brave enough to visit the Prep classroom and even came for a training session while students were engaged in their inquiry maths lesson.
The sight of children giggling as Winston eagerly wags his tail when they visit the school office and the quiet moments when he sits alongside a student who needs a comforting presence have already become regular occurrences at Warrandyte Primary School.
In Winston, the school has found a loyal companion dedicated to fostering well-being, resilience, and happiness in its students.
Ella in Prep agrees. “I love having Winston at school.
“He is my favourite breed of dog.
“I can’t take my eyes off him!”
Jarrah, in Grade 5, is also smitten.
“I love having Winston at school because when I see his little face, I want to hug him.
“He is adorable, and he loves his toy llama.
“I think he will be really good at helping students when they are sad, as well as encouraging us with our learning.”
It is easy to see how Winston will be able to positively impact the lives of the students at WPS, and we are excited to explore how proven animal-assisted learning strategies and techniques can be incorporated into our existing well-being and intervention programs.
Therapy dogs in schools can also help children build social connections, develop a sense of belonging, and create a context for instilling whole-school values such as empathy, kindness, gratitude, and respect, among other benefits.
The program will be funded partially through fundraising by our Friends of Warrandyte Primary School committee and partially through the Mental Health Fund the school will receive as part of a departmental program to support students’ mental health across all ages.
Grade 3 teacher James loves having Winston around.
“It’s like having an extra staff member who is everyone’s best friend.
“We can already see the benefits for our students and the positive impact Winston is having.”
Winston’s journey towards becoming a certified therapy dog continues, and he is already making a difference in the lives of those he touches.
The students and staff of Warrandyte Primary School eagerly await the day when Winston can officially wear his therapy dog vest and embark on his mission to provide comfort, companionship, and joy to all.

Managing visitors on Extreme days

MANNINGHAM Council has published its plans to help keep locals and visitors safe this summer with a series of road closures that will come into effect on Extreme and Catastrophic days. Parks Victoria has stated that on Extreme Fire Danger days, Pound Bend Reserve, Jumping Creek Reserve, Koornong Reserve, and Normans Reserve will be closed.
On Catastrophic days, the entire Warrandyte State Park will be closed to the public.
To ensure the safety of locals and visitors and in support of Parks Victoria, Council will instigate soft-road closures on the roads surrounding Pound Road on Extreme and Catastrophic Fire Danger days.
Manningham Mayor Deirdre Diamante said the closures were agreed upon by the Manningham Municipal Fire Management Planning Committee — which includes representatives from Manningham Council, Victoria Police, Forest Fire Management Victoria, Country Fire Authority, and Fire and Rescue Victoria — as a reaction to the increase in visitors to Warrandyte and Pound Bend on hot, summer days.
“Visitors share our love of Warrandyte State Park. “Pound Bend, in particular, has become an increasingly popular place to cool down on hot days.
“Unfortunately, this popularity has posed safety risks during fire season.
“Having a large volume of cars parked along the narrow roads and near the fire track access gate has made it especially difficult for emergency services and visitors to get in and out.
“By making this change, we are working together to protect our community and visitors to the area,” Cr Diamante said.
On extreme and catastrophic fire danger days, a soft closure will be in place for access roads to Pound Bend, including Taroona Avenue, Everard Drive, and Pound Bend Road.
Parking will also be unavailable at the car park at the entrance to Pound Bend during this time.
This means Council will place temporary signage on the roads to indicate they are closed in the most visible way possible, and issue parking fines to motorists parking illegally.
Residents on affected roads and their visitors will still be able to access their properties. More information can be found at www.manningham.vic.gov.au/news/warrandyte-state-park-fire-danger-road-closures.

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New play space at Park Orchards Community House

PARK ORCHARDS Community House and Learning Centre welcomed over 150 people to their centre on Friday, October 27, for a Family Fun Night celebrating Children’s Week 2023.
As a member of the neighbourhood house sector, the centre delivers social and recreational activities, including health and well-being programs, accredited and pre-accredited learning, providing short and long-term courses with certificate and diploma-level courses, and childcare for the community.
The childcare program enables children to learn through exploration and stimulating experiences in a safe and secure environment.
In line with the 2023 Children’s Week theme, “Children have the right to relax, play and to take part in activities they enjoy”, the Family Fun Night ensured this was well and truly covered.
The team at the Centre put together an event full of free, fun activities for the children and families to enjoy, including face painting, cuddling furry animals in the animal nursery, ice cream treats from our local Mr Whippy Alex Xu, and a tasty sausage sizzle cooked by Park Orchards Lions Club.
The event was also supported by representatives from Victoria Police, giving the children (and adults) a chance to try on the police uniforms and get a close look at a police car.
During the evening, the centre officially opened its new Early Learning Centre playground. Community Bank Warrandyte Volunteer Director Claire Jones was invited to officially open the new play space, which was made possible due to funding support from the bank’s Community Investment Program.
Over the preceding month, the old playground has been transformed to provide zones for the children to have fun and be creative, including soft turf areas, a bike track, and a sand pit providing spaces for many sandcastles to be created.
Ms Jones said Community Bank Warrandyte was proud to fund accessibility projects for children of all ages and abilities.
“What a bonus that this new space is not only educational but fun as well!
“It is because of local residents that bank with us that we are able to give back up to 80 per cent of our profits to community projects, including $45,000 this year, for the new play space at Park Orchards Community House”.
The centre looks forward to welcoming new families to the childcare centre in years to come to enjoy this space delivered through this funding.

Do you know this urn?

It’s not unusual for someone to inadvertently donate something of significant value to an Op Shop.
However in Warrandyte last week, an unknown person donated a number of items, one being an urn with someone’s ashes.
Warrandyte Police have made a number of enquiries to reunite the original custodians of the urn with their former loved one, with no success.
If you know of someone who may have misplaced someone, please call Warrandyte Police on 9844 3231.

Liberals retain seat of Warrandyte

A WEEK after the Warrandyte byelection, the final result has been declared.
On Friday, September 1, the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) officially declared Liberal candidate Nicole Werner as the new Member for Warrandyte in the Victorian Legislative Council. Ms Werner told the Diary the campaign from pre-selection to this point was an “incredible journey.”

“I am humbled and deeply grateful for the trust and support I received from our community.
“Throughout my professional life, I’ve dedicated myself to service, particularly in the community and not-for-profit sectors.
“This campaign was an extension of that commitment — a chance to listen to and give back to our local community.”

The middle of August saw 12 candidates, comprised of Liberals, Greens, minor parties, and a handful of independents, vying for a vote from the 50,986 enrolled voters in the District.
Early in the byelection cycle, Labor had stated it would not contest the Warrandyte byelection, which is in line with party policy around byelections in “Liberal safe seats”.
Of the 50,986 enrolled, 38,664 were marked off the roll by 6pm on August 26, a turn out of 75.83 per cent, consistent with historical data regarding byelections, noting there are still postal votes to be counted.
Following rechecks, Ms Werner took 57.27 per cent of the primary vote, while the Greens Tomas Lightbody took 18.66 per cent, giving Ms Werner an outright victory without having to conduct a preference count.
The indicative two candidate preferred count saw Ms Werner’s majority at 71.10 per cent, with Mr Lightbody at 28.90 per cent.
With no Labor candidate and current Manningham Deputy Mayor Tomas Lightbody running as the Greens candidate, community perception was that the Greens might have a chance of taking the seat.
While the Greens gained a significant swing in this byelection, and Mr Lightbody performed well in the booth of Warrandyte, however, those gains were not replicated across the other booths, culminating in a Liberal landslide victory.
The Diary asked Ms Werner what the victory meant to her and the Liberal Party.

“I’m honoured by the strong support and vote of confidence from the people of Warrandyte.
“We campaigned on the local issues that matter most to our community, and it’s a sign that we are ready for positive change, a fresh approach to addressing local issues, and a commitment to protecting what makes our community special.
“The result is a testament to the faith the voters have placed in me, and I take that responsibility seriously.
“This result was significant for me personally as it represents the realisation of my parents’ choice to immigrate to Australia in 1988, all in pursuit of a better future for our family.
“For the Liberal Party, this result signifies that we are on the right path and are connecting with Victorians.
“I believe this result demonstrates that the Liberal Party can offer change and that we can continue to be a strong voice for Warrandyte and Victoria,” she said.

The Legislative Council is due to sit again on October 3; the Diary asked Ms Werner what her representation will look like in the last half of the calendar year.

“In the coming months, my focus is on fighting for and serving the people of the seat of Warrandyte.
“My top priorities include addressing the pressing issue of the deadly Five-Ways intersection, tackling the rising cost of living, safeguarding our precious Green Wedge, and advocating on behalf of the recently devastated Heatherwood School in Donvale.
“I am committed to working tirelessly to fulfil these promises and to ensure the concerns of our community are heard in the state parliament.
“I am deeply honoured to represent this community, one in which I grew up and attended school in.
“My roots in Warrandyte run deep, and I’m here to serve, to listen, and to stand up for the interests and wellbeing of our community.
|“You have my commitment; I will give my all every day to serve you as your member of Parliament.”

The voter experience

With this being the only byelection running in the State at that time, the major and minor parties were able to throw more resources at their respective campaigns as there were significantly fewer voting centres (compared to a full State election).
Voters have been critical of party representatives’ behaviour, especially during early voting at the Warrandyte Scout Hall.
The number of party representatives outside the Scout Hall frequently made the centre look busier than it was, and there has been criticism regarding this on social media. Warrandyte local Don Hughes, who is also involved in Warrandyte Scouts and Warrandyte Men’s Shed, spoke to the Diary about voters “running the gauntlet” during voting.

“Despite being well organised, the topography of the site channelled voters down a narrow driveway to the polling station.
“With so many candidates, each having at least one or more supporters handing out how-to-vote literature, the experience for many was like running a gauntlet.
“The narrow driveway had a funnelling effect. “Particularly with enthusiastic supporters thrusting literature at voters and enthusiastically trying to engage in political rhetoric, many felt anxious and even threatened.
“Several people I spoke to around the township decided not to attempt to run the gauntlet and went home to organise a postal vote,” he said.

How an election is run is managed by the VEC, but the legislation that defines what can and cannot happen is defined by the Electoral Act 2002.
The only people who can enact changes to the Electoral Act are those who we vote in to represent us.
Everything from how an election is conducted, what is needed to identify any material related to an election, what party workers can and cannot do, and where, to what a how-to-vote card looks like are all defined by the Act.
To its credit, the VEC trialled low sensory (quiet hours) voting for one day during early voting, which aimed to provide neurodiverse and voters with hidden disabilities with an opportunity to vote without being confronted by excessive noise. The Diary spoke with a voter who attended the special session, she said she was disappointed with the behaviour of most of the candidates, who had been asked to not approach voters on their way into the centre, however she understands there is nothing in the legislation to make the candidates comply with the VEC’s request.
“Once I got into the centre, the VEC staff were great, allowing me to vote in a quiet space at my own pace, but to get into the centre was still challenging as I was still confronted by multiple people with how-to-vote-cards,” she said.
With the community now experienced with two elections within six months of each other, now is our best time to voice what worked and what can be done better next time.

End of an era

THE STONEHOUSE Gallery and Shop closed on August 31, 2023.
The Makers’ Gallery, which has been operating for 51 years, operated by a collective of local artists, has found it increasingly difficult to run the gallery in recent years due to a diminishing membership.
“It was a heartbreaking decision,” said painter and ceramicist Jenny John.
“It had become increasingly difficult for the small number involved to be both artists and run the gallery.
“Despite sustained efforts to attract new members, we were not successful,” she said.
While the Warrandyte arts scene has made a significant comeback in recent years with spaces such as the Now & Not Yet Café’s NaNY Gallery and the regular Pop-Up Exhibitions hosted by Warrandyte Community Association and Warrandyte Artisans, Stonehouse Gallery and Shop was the only dedicated gallery space in Warrandyte.
Yarra Ward representative Councillor Carli Lange said she was “heartbroken to hear the Stonehouse Gallery is closing”.
She told the Diary she was unaware of the future of the building:

“Planning permission would be required for any change to the use of the land from a shop or alterations to the existing building.
I wish all the talented artists who display and sell their work from the Stonehouse Gallery all the very best with their arts and culture careers, and may they know their talented work will be very much missed.”

Established by eight like-minded potters in 1972, the Stonehouse Gallery has been the heart and soul of creative Warrandyte.
This collective of passionate and diverse artists and craftspeople has been an amazing supporter of the broader and upcoming arts community.
Owned and run by member artists, the Stonehouse Gallery showcased and sold quality Australian fine arts and crafts. Originally located at the eastern end of town, at the old Selby’s Store, now the Yarra Store, on the corner of Tills Drive, the gallery moved to its home, the old Gospel Chapel at 103 Yarra Street in 2005.
Over the years, member artists and consignees represented a wide array of creative arts and craft disciplines.
They supported and inspired each other.
The Stonehouse Gallery has influenced and changed many lives.
At the celebration of the arts collective’s 50th anniversary, former member, Marg Perry, encapsulated the essence of Stonehouse.

“We have supported one another through family joy and happiness, tragedy and heart ache, illness and celebration. We have shared our successes and our failures.
Some members have moved on quickly, others have stayed longer…. each person leaving their imprint on our lives and hearts.
Our gratitude is endless to those eight women who had the courage and the foresight to take the risk and place their hopes and ideals on the line, to make a name for themselves and for us, for the pottery world and all the wonderful creative arts people whose work is on display, worn, admired and loved by our customers and supporters.
Some of us wondered how long we would stay — whether twenty or forty years, it seemed like half a lifetime or the blink of an eye, depending on where you are looking from.”

Like the clay that has passed with care through the hands of its many talented cooperative members, Stonehouse craft has evolved as each generation has picked up where the previous one left off.
Times and place may have changed in the past fifty years, but the spirit of Stonehouse continues: a group of creative women dedicated to making fine Australian Art and Craft, determined to directly connect the maker with the collector.
This journey was chronicled in the book Stonehouse Gallery celebrating 50 years (2022, Focus Printing) by Cliff Harding. Staffed by the member artists, a visit to the gallery was not only an opportunity to peruse and purchase beautifully crafted jewellery, textiles, glass, ceramics, and paintings but also a chance to interact with the makers directly.
From the early days, the Gallery hosted monthly exhibitions by local and member artists.
Many were embellished with magically evoking titles such as: All Smoke and No Mirrors; Celebrating our First Christmas; Journey to India; The Carpet Bus; Planes Trains and Elephants; Arabian Nights; Tuscany Re-visited; and Birds of a Feather.
Since 2017, the Gallery has also hosted the Melbourne Teapot Exhibition.
The Stonehouse Gallery rescued this quirky and enchanting annual exhibition from its creators, Studio@Flinders, when that gallery was forced to close in 2016.
The property was sold in late 2022.
And while the Stonehouse Gallery artists may no longer use the space, there are hopes, the building will continue to operate as a gallery.

Significant changes to Warrandyte Festival

AS ANNOUNCED on social media in August, the Warrandyte Festival is moving in 2024.
Next year, celebrations will take place in April instead of March, and a format change will see the event take place on Friday, April 19, and Saturday, April 20 only.
Most of your usual favourites will be back, with some enjoying a new time of day or location.
Activities will start at 5pm on Friday.
Enjoy the Billy Cart Derby under lights, kids’ activities, Silent Disco, and lots of food options.
From 7pm, the Warrandyte Film Feast will feature live musicians, short films, and fabulous food.
The Warrandyte Donvale Rotary Art Show has also indicated it will follow the Festival, with 2024 taking place on April 19,20 and 21.
On Saturday, enjoy community stalls, the Dodgeball Comp, Open Mic, Silent Disco, Duck Race, Battle of the Bands, Pet Parade, and much more. As always, there will be lots of homemade food, market stalls, and live music until 10pm.
Festival President Dwayne Schuyler spoke about the decision to change the date and format.

“After months of careful consideration, the Warrandyte Festival Committee have chosen to host a two-day celebration in April.
As locals would know, we all had a hard couple of years.
The Festival Committee worked tirelessly over COVID-19 to have the right protocols to safely run the event, only to have it cancelled two years running.
This took a huge toll on our volunteers and finances.
We’ve also had a few individual Festival days cancelled over recent years, including in March 2023, due to the Fire Danger Rating.
It was absolutely necessary but also heartbreaking for the community and the volunteer organisers.
“It makes more sense to schedule the Festival slightly later in the year.
“We look forward to taking advantage of the autumnal atmosphere and mixing things up.

The most significant change to the program is the Street Parade, which has been relocated and reimagined.

“We won’t be closing off Yarra Street for an hour and a half in 2024, meaning less pressure on the bus lines and emergency services and more access to street parking.
“Instead, a walking Parade will see participants follow the river along the walking path, starting near Webb Street and ending in Stiggant Reserve.
“The reimagined parade will be a great opportunity to showcase the river.
“We can’t wait to see everyone dressed up and enjoying themselves,” said Mr Schuyler.

A complete program of activities and entertainment will be released in early 2024.
If you want to get involved, expressions of interest for food and market stalls will open in November or December, and other application forms will open in February 2024.
The Warrandyte Festival is run entirely by volunteers.
The Committee meets once a month and welcomes new members with new ideas.
Anyone interested in joining the committee should email: contact@warrandytefestival.org.
“The Festival will always be a highlight in the Warrandyte calendar.
“We look forward to April when we will, once again, celebrate our wonderful town and showcase lots of talented locals,” said Mr Schuyler.

What do you think of the new-look festival, let the Diary know: editor@warrandytediary.com.au

Public art to be installed at wonguim wilam

WORKS WILL soon commence in wonguim wilam as Manningham Council prepares to install a gathering circle and an entrance sculpture between now and December 2023.
Council says when people visit a significant site, such as wonguim wilam on the Birrarung (Yarra River) in Warrandyte, they will apply their own meaning to the place, depending on their memories and experiences.
The beauty of public art is that it provides a prompt and opportunity for people to take in histories and reflect on how those stories intersect with their own.
This creates shared meaning and new connections to place.
The work comprises two parts that strongly embrace the themes of culture, community, and country, and Council has commissioned Simone Thomson, a prominent Melbourne-based fine artist, muralist and creative, and a Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung and Yorta-Yorta Traditional Owner through her mother.
Simone said her art is inspired by her “spiritual connection to Country and the rich colours and textures of the earth and sky”.
Manningham Mayor, Cr Deirdre Diamante, touched on the significance of stories to public art.

“When it comes to public art, it’s so important that we consider the works’ appearance within the context of what inspired it and the story it is telling.
“Through the Gathering Circle, Simone is extending to the whole community an open invitation to come together, connect and reflect on the incredible cultural significance of Warrandyte.
“This art is also functional and immersive, providing a special place for residents and visitors to do just that.
“The entrance sculpture which will welcome people to this special place represents a boomerang, which ties in beautifully with our place name, wonguim wilam or boomerang place,” she said.

Manningham Council conducted the commission in consultation with Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation.
It will be the first permanent public artwork delivered as part of Manningham Council’s Public Art Policy.
Simone said:

“In the Aboriginal way, the Gathering Circle or meeting place is a place where community comes to connect with one another, to sit down and discuss cultural business and family matters and to learn and share stories.
“This is how our oral history has been passed on for thousands of generations — by facing one another with respect and hearing our songlines and men’s and women’s business from our Elders, our knowledge holders and leaders who are our teachers.”

Simone added that the gathering circle would represent the importance of community and the preservation of cultural practices significant to the oldest continuous culture on Earth.
“It will be a place of reflection on country and offer a peaceful connection to the lands and waterways in which it sits along the beautiful Birrarung, the river of mist and shadows.”
Stage 1 of the works will be the installation of the gathering circle.
The gathering circle takes advantage of sightline across to the Birrarung and will be three metres in diameter to invite the community to come together.
Edged by stone seating, the gathering circle is organic in form and features Simone’s intricate design in stone and paint, mirroring the natural palette of the surrounding environment and reflecting on themes of country, culture, and community.
Works will include:

  • The designed gathering circle will be paved and approximately three metres in diameter.
  • It will have stone boulder seats around the edge of the circle and incorporate Aboriginal symbols to reference people gathering around the meeting place representing the Warrandyte community.
  • The colours will be neutral and ochre-toned pebbles, rust-red oxide mortar mix, patterned concrete and random stone slate mosaic to fit harmoniously with the natural environment and tones of the site.

Stage 1 is expected to be completed by September.
Stage 2 will be the installation of a sculpture situated at the park entrance and standing tall from hand-carved cedar pine; the boomerang sculpture will welcome all visitors to wonguim wilam while also acting as an invitation to return as visitors depart.
Works will include:

  • The horizontal boomerang sculpture will be 4.9m wide x 2.95m high, laminated and carved from cypress pine timber.
  • It will be positioned at the entry of the parking area, amongst vegetation with high visibility from Yarra Street.
  • The carved design will be painted and stained in the grooves to create contrast against the stained timber.
  • The artwork will complement the natural surroundings.

Works on Stage 2 are expected to take place between September and December.
Manningham Council notes the specifications are subject to change as the public artwork will evolve to suit the landscape and the artist’s vision.