News

Construction to commence on Fitzsimons Lane intersections


DESPITE COMMUNITY objection, work is about to commence on redevelopment of the “Eltham Gateway”, the intersection of Fitzsimons Lane with Main Road in Eltham and Porter Street in Templestowe.
Contractors BMD Construction are setting up to begin construction on the Fitzsimons Lane Major Roads project.
The project will upgrade key intersections along Fitzsimons Lane to reduce congestion, improve safety and provide better walking and cycling connections for the 60,000 people who use it every day.
A statement from Major Roads Projects Victoria (MRPV) said that the roundabouts cause delays, which can create risks for all road users.

“People travelling along Fitzsimons Lane will benefit from better and safer journeys travelling through these upgraded intersections.”

Local activists, Eltham Community Action Group (ECAG) have been vocal in their objection to the project.
The group has tied red ribbons around each of the trees earmarked for destruction.
They presented the State Government with a 2,900-signature petition against the project, calling the works an unnecessary overkill, which will see “hundreds” of trees removed in the process.

“A massive, signalised intersection (the three roads having 10, 8 and 8 lanes at the lights) will form an area of bitumen and concrete roughly the size of the MCG oval and destroy forever our iconic entrance to the Green Wedge Shire,” they said in a statement.

ECAG said they commissioned and presented their own alternative design that would keep the roundabout and many of the trees, but despite agreeing it was as effective as the official designs, MRPV rejected the compromise.
The statement from MRPV said following community consultation last year it removed two traffic lanes from the Eltham approach.

“We have also removed the bus priority lanes from all approaches to reduce the footprint of the Main Road and Fitzsimons Lane intersection.
“This change has reduced the number of trees that will be impacted, whilst ensuring the community and road users will still benefit from reduced congestion and improved safety.”

A construction worker who is working on the project told the WD Bulletin that he is concerned that lack of communications with the public by MRPV will see construction workers potentially come into conflict with protesters when tree removal begins.
ECAG is urging anyone with concerns about the project to visit elthamaction.org.au and write to their local member.
More information about the project plans from MRPV can be found at roadprojects.vic.gov.au/projects/fitzsimons-lane-upgrade

Running into 2021

WARRANDYTE’S celebrated community running event, Run Warrandyte, is toeing the line for a celebration of sport, health, and community as the event committee makes final preparations for its 10th anniversary run.
Preparation for this event is a year-long process and the uncertainty of Coronavirus restrictions has made planning for 2021 trickier than usual, but the Run Warrandyte Committee has sculpted an event to allow walkers, joggers and runners, of all abilities, to celebrate Warrandyte’s bush setting and the spirit of community in a COVID-Safe way.
Run Warrandyte committee representative, Michelle Bean, spoke to WD Bulletin about the challenges and changes to this year’s event.

“COVID created a challenge to our committee this year, as we had to come up with an event that would fit in with restrictions and also be flexible and adjustable to any potential lockdowns we might be back in on the February 28.
“We feel we have created something that fits those requirements,” she said.

Currently set to occur on Sunday, February 28, the event will be capped at 500 participants with an option to switch to a 30-day virtual option if Melbourne or Victoria is forced into another lockdown.
Michelle also notes a number of other, significant changes which will ensure this year’s event remains COVID-Safe:

  • No on the day registrations.
  • Separate start and finish lines.
  • Staggered start times (every 15 minutes).
  • No event village
  • No spectators

COVID-Safe measures such as hand sanitising stations, COVID Marshalls and face masks will also be a feature of the 2021 event, but Michelle says this will not take away from the fun of the day.

“We still plan to create a fun, community event, where our runners can run their favourite distances and receive their free 10-year celebration medal and backpack.
“We will also have spot prizes and goodies provided by some great local businesses and as always appreciate our sponsors: Charlie Bins, Warrandyte Ringwood Osteo’s, IGA, Harding Swift Caravan Services, The Grand Hotel and Project Clothing.
“We are excited to also announce a new 21km event and interest in this has been strong.
“This is alongside the regular 2.2km, 5km, 10km and 15km distances,” she said.

Staying hydrated and COVID-Safe

One of the biggest challenges for event organisers, and event caterers is how to provide food and drink in a convenient but COVID-Safe way.
Staying hydrated while exercising is important, and with high temperatures a distinct possibility for February 28, ensuring participants have access to water is vital.
The simplest method is to provide disposable, sealed containers, like bottled water, but this adds unnecessary waste to the environment and goes against Run Warrandyte’s mission to be as eco-friendly as possible.
Michelle told WD Bulletin Run Warrandyte has secured a partnership deal with a Victorian based company, who will provide water in containers made from plants.

“We are excited to announce our event partnership with the eco-friendly company Just Water.
“Just Water takes Spring Water that is sourced from Mt Warranheip in Ballarat, Victoria and packages it in plant based, eco-friendly cartons, made by Tetra Pak.
“The packaging materials and processes result in 75 per cent less harmful emissions, primarily C02, compared to a standard PET plastic bottle.
“The design of the carton was created to remain flat until it is filled with water, meaning Tetra Pak use only one truck to transport the cartons, compared to the same number of plastic bottles needing 13 trucks.
“Just Water and Tetra Pak will be providing water on course and at the finish line in 2021 to keep our event COVID-Safe for our runners.
“Being an eco-friendly event is super important to us and with this in mind, we feel Just Water and Run Warrandyte are a great fit,” she said.

Visit the Run Warrandyte website for more event details and to enter the 2021 event.

Soul food: Josh Teskey and Ash Grunwald new collaborative project


DIARY REPORTER STEPHANIE CARAGLANIS recently sat down with Josh Teskey to discuss his new 8-Track Blues project with Ash Grunwald.
Titled Push The Blues Away, the album features raw blues instrumentation, combined with soulful and reflective lyricism.
Read on as Steph and Josh talk roots, inspiration and Josh’s pie of choice from the Warrandyte Bakery.
The Teskey Brothers are proud Warrandyte boys, so how did growing up in Warrandyte inspire you creatively?
Well, I think a big part of growing up in Warrandyte that inspired us was probably the music community around us.
I mean that was one of the biggest things, people like Chris Wilson and local Blues musicians, we were surrounded by Blues.
They have a thing for it in this area, it has influenced our music massively.

How would you describe the sound of Push The Blues Away to both new listeners and existing Teskey Brothers fans?

What we were doing growing up, prior to the release of the Teskey Brothers albums, in a live setting — it was more in that soul realm, a more raw sort of Blues thing.
We have always been very influenced by that and played a lot of that.
This project is a lot more along those lines, it is really back to basics Blues and there is nothing complicated about it.
There is not even really a rhythm section, it is just me and Ash on guitars, a bit of harmonica, stomp boxes — it is raw and almost a bit rough around the edges.
We just wanted to have some fun with it, so we did not want to get too complicated.
We did not spend heaps of time fixing little things up, you hear a little bit of laughing in the background, or there might not be the most perfect little vocal takes, sometimes.
We wanted it that way, it is almost kind of live sounding.
A lot of what we recorded was basically live in the room, every one of these tracks is just Ash and I playing through the song, what we put down that was it.
It is really raw, that is the way I would describe it.

I think that is a bit of a hidden gem, a lot of people do not really know there is a Blues scene hidden in Warrandyte.

That is right!
There are a lot of artists who live in and around here, more than we realise.
It is a special little thing.

I definitely noticed that!
Especially on Thinking ‘Bout Myself, you guys have the harmonicas, the claps which is really stripped down and different from what the Teskey Brothers usually produce, can we expect this stripped back instrumentation throughout the entire album?

Absolutely!
There are no drums, there is no bass guitar.
I just finished an album with the Teskey Brothers when we started this project, where we did a lot of production, strings sections and horns.
So this was really fun for us, we did not want to do a lot of production on this one, just made to be really fun and really easy. 

So you and Ash have collaborated previously on his track Ain’t My Problem, why did you decide to go all the way and collaborate on a full album together?

Well, it just kind of escalated you know?
One thing sort of led to another.
It began when he did that track with the Teskey Brothers, he sent us the song and we became the rhythm section on that tune he sent us.
A few months later he came out to our studio in Warrandyte to do a film clip, we were going to film a little thing of me and Ash having a jam together — I just had a harmonica and he had a guitar.
When you are filming things like this there is a lot of waiting around.
So we were waiting around, having a jam in the room, and got to talking, saying “ah wouldn’t it be great just to do an album like that one day?, just a guitar and a harmonica in a room and do some of that stuff we have always loved.”
Ash being the hustler that he is, gives me a call a couple of weeks later and says:
“Hey! Do you have any time? We should just do this!”
We did not really know what was going to come of it, it began by being together in the studio, I did not know if we were going to release it or just have a bit of a jam.
But he came out for a week and my brother, Sam, came out to the studio here.
Sam set up all the stuff, he also produced and recorded this thing as well, so he has been very involved in a lot of ways too.
As we got into it, I came in with a couple of songs I put together just a couple of days before.
Ash had a couple of songs he put together, then we thought of a couple of covers we were into, a couple of old Blues standards — and before we knew it, we had eight or nine songs sitting there ready to go.
And we were like “Man there is a whole album’s worth here”.
Before we knew it, Sam mixed it all together and our label, Ivy League Records said: “Yeah! We should release this.”
It was a very cruisy process and now we have got a whole album.

I really liked the music video you guys produced for Hungry Heart just that very cosy homemade video, it was very cute and organic.

It was really fun for us.
It was an appropriate video to do during isolation.It was more about working out what we could do, film a bit of our lives — as that is all we can do at the moment.
I think my favourite thing I have heard someone say about you is “When I close my eyes I hear Otis Redding and when I open them I see Thor”.
How do you feel about being compared a Marvel hero?
I love it!
People have been telling me I look like Chris Hemsworth for many years.
It was such a funny thing, Chris discovers our music, next thing I know I find myself at the Avengers premiere walking down with Liam and Chris.
It was very bizarre seeing how the Hollywood crew do it.

Do you and Ash share any musical influences and how did that influence this new project?

Well I think it is really appropriate for the Warrandyte Diary here.
Ash actually grew up in the same area as well, you know he was close by.
I actually grew up watching Ash!
When I was about 13/14, I used to watch Ash play sets out of the St Andrews pub.
I would be busking at the market with Sam; we would come up after the market, get some food over at the hotel there and Ash was always playing a set.
So I grew up watching Ash play Blues.
He was one of those influences in the area, which was really cool, alongside people like Geoff Achison and Chris Wilson.
About five years later, I am watching him play the Main Stage at Falls Festival.
In a big way he has influenced our music as well.
I tell him now we used to grow up watching him, because he discovered us independently.
We even did a gig in Northcote where we supported him, he did not remember that.
The Teskey Brothers were a support for him, and then when Ash found us to do a bit of work on his album he could not believe we into his music back in the day.
We are very closely connected in many ways.

That is a wholesome story.

He is a beautiful character, he is a lovely guy, and it has been a really nice fun project just to work with him and get to know him, he has a really great soul.

I feel like this is my most imperative question of the whole interview, what is your order at the famous Warrandyte Bakery?

Very nice!
Okay, I have been going down for years and I just love getting some croissants.
I usually get about five croissants on a Sunday.
If I am not doing that and I am just a bit hungry, and I want to get something, I love the veggie pie down there which is delicious!
I think it is far superior to the veggie pasty.
I also normally get a cheeky caramel slice, so a veggie pie and a caramel slice would be my first choice, ha ha!

A little bit of an unpopular opinion hey?

I feel like everyone goes for the beef pie and the vanilla slice.

That is a bit of a classic, I do love the classic beef as well.
But there is something about that veggie pie, and not a lot of people know about it!
It is a bit of an inside secret.

I love it, you are putting the veggie pie on the map single-handedly.

Absolutely!
Try it out Warrandyte, try it out.

Warrandyte Fire Brigade ready to roll


WARRANDYTE FIRE Brigade is rolling out of the station with a shiny new Field Command Vehicle (FCV), thanks to some generous support from the community.
Spokesperson for the brigade, Firefighter Jeff Watters told the Diary many businesses stepped up to help replace the eight-year-old 4WD.
“Warrandyte Fire Brigade owns this vehicle and our slip-on unit, they have been funded by very generous donation from the community.
“The FCV most recently received support from a lot of groups and businesses, including Warrandyte Community Bank, TJM Burwood, Tanami 4WD and Commercial, Australian Warning Systems, National Radios, Pedders Suspension and Brakes, Nunawading Toyota,  Auto Complex, Tyremax, Tiger Tyres Bayswater, Calgraphics, and Automobility”.
He said while the FCV was not a direct firefighting appliance, it is an important part of the brigade’s inventory.
“During the fire season it is used to lead Strike Teams wherever they might be needed.”
He said that it is also used during the year to take crew and equipment to where it is required, for things like training, community engagement, meetings, or for things like traffic control during incidents.
He said it was important to get a versatile vehicle to enable it to carry out the roles it needs to fill.
“We configure the vehicle for strike team usage where you have got three people in it for 12 hours a day, so it needs to be a comfortable vehicle, it also needs to be the scouting vehicle to guide where we can take tankers — so we need a 4WD, but we do not need a 4WD that can go anywhere, we just need to make sure it is safe to take a tanker there.
“Typically what we will do is, we will hold the tankers at the bottom of a hill and  send the FCV up there, and the FCV will go ‘yes this it traversable by trucks’, or ‘no it is not’, and so it tends to do a lot of those scouting things.
“It also has to be able to be away for extended periods of time, so it has got an onboard fridge, it has lots of power, it has radios, it needs to be a very versatile vehicle, and that is what it is.”
He said while initially the timing for the vehicle changeover seemed to be during an awkward time, it turned out to be beneficial.
“Our routine vehicle replacement program identified that this vehicle needed to be done now, but COVID-19 has actually helped us, because there have been lots of incentives with waiving of luxury car tax et cetera, and we have been able to get substantial discounts and help on this one.
“Our change over cost has been surprisingly low, to the point that we have actually optimised our community money spend, so it is a really nice new vehicle.
“This vehicle will be able to be kept for six or seven years and we can use it for our ongoing support of the community that supports us,” he said.

50 years of Warrandyte Diary


AS THE DIARY celebrates its 50th birthday, we spoke with those who were there at the beginning.
Founding Editor Cliff Green, former Chief of Staff Jan Tindale (along with her late husband Lee), and Jock Macneish all had an immense contribution to the establishment of our community’s voice.
Earlier this year we had the opportunity to speak with Cliff and his wife Judy Green and then more recently with Jan and Jock.

Inception

Cliff was already a celebrated screenwriter and author, so we asked why he felt the need to start a newspaper.
“God knows why!” said Cliff.
“You would not believe it, it was because I wanted something to do here in Warrandyte.
“I could not understand why there was not [a paper] here and if there was going to be one, it had to be special.
“It had to be different because this was a special place.”
Judy reminded Cliff that it all started with the Youth Club.
Cliff said he volunteered on the Youth Club committee, because he had worked as a teacher and wanted to continue to work with young people.
Although, he said he had an ulterior motive.
“I wanted to start a newspaper, I did not tell anybody, I took on publicity officer for the Youth Club and started to report their material.
“We had to pay for it with something, so we decided to take advertising, so we started knocking on doors.”
Judy said Cliff first went to Peter McDougal’s office.
“He asked Peter if he would advertise   and then Ron Day came up, and Tom Kirkov,” said Judy.
“And suddenly we had the nucleus of a start,” added Cliff.
Cliff was approached by Peter Lovett, a Herald Sun sub-editor and sportswriter.
“He said ‘I will give you a hand with this paper’, so he came on as Sports Editor, and we were away.”
Cliff said the background to most of the early people who worked on the Diary was journalism.
“We had a lot of professional journalists coming and going on the paper.”
But Cliff also wanted an illustrator to join the team.
“I found out who this guy was that was doing these cartoons for the kinder, and it was Jock Macneish, and I went in and knocked on the door and told him what I wanted, and he said ‘alright I will be in that’, and away we went.
“Once I had Jock, I knew we had got ourselves one of the best press artists there was”.
Cliff said the first edition was 12 pages and they wanted to print 2,000 copies.
“I had been a printer, where I served my apprenticeship, he had started a little printery and I went to him; we had the typeset at Dudley King, which was the best typesetting found in Melbourne really good typesetters.
“The first issues looked really good, because they were designed by people who knew their business.”
Cliff said because the Diary was initially a fundraiser for the Youth Club, the kids were expected to letterbox.
“They folded it — to try and save money we did not get the printer to fold it, we took it flat, and the kids —after an issue or two, I started to see bundles of newspapers going down the Yarra, the kids were chucking them in the river, some of the kids were, so somebody said ‘oh you don’t need to distribute them, you put piles of them on shop counters, people will pick them up’ and they did, it worked beautifully”.
Jock said he was in awe of Cliff for his courage, in taking on the venture of producing a newspaper.
“I learnt a very important lesson from him, which was, if you have a bold dream and you are able to express it eloquently and passionately, whatever support you need sort of materialises out of the ether and he was able to recruit an absolutely huge number of volunteers that would do absolutely anything that he asked them to,” said Jock.

Many hands

Soon Cliff was joined by Lee Tindale, who worked as an associate editor of Truth newspaper.
“Truth was the biggest ratbag newspaper in Australia and Lee was the biggest ratbag journalist,” said Cliff.
Jan said when Cliff needed to step away from the Diary for other commitments, Lee was reluctant to take over any more work on the Diary.
“We had a meeting at the White House, which was a building next to the old football ground.
“I can remember Peter Lovett insisting on driving Lee home [from the city] that night because he did not want anything to do with the Diary, he said he had far too much to do as it was.
“They had many stops on the way home, Peter had to visit the Kew Cricket Club, where he was a member and have a few refreshment, I think the meeting started about 8pm, and Lee, until he died, said Peter held his hand up when they were looking for a new Editor.”
Jan and Lee ran the Diary for several years together, with Jan often doing a lot of the leg work.
“Any stories Lee would send me out to cover I had to do the ‘What Where Why’ questions and take a photo and Lee would write the story from that.
“Even with cricket and football, sport was his passion, he could write a cricket match from the scores and the time, all you had to do was write down the player’s name, the time he went out and what he made, and Lee would make the story.
“Much the same with football, most of the time he was there.
“Most of the time our stories were created from me doing that – and also Smokey Joe, we would sit down at night as a family, and the kids and he would ask what happened today, and you would find an awful lot of them were to do with the High School,” said Jan.
Cliff recalled Lee’s literary alter ego, Smokey Joe, fondly, however his column did tread a fine line sometimes.
“A brilliant creation but we had difficulty keeping us out of the courts and so on, but it was great stuff”.
“Smokey Joe, was keeping people honest, always very light-hearted,” said Jan.
Jock said the journalists loved volunteering at the Diary.
“They loved the Diary, they loved it with a passion, because it was absolute freedom.
“Cliff was a wonderful editor, trusted people endlessly, so the journalists just flocked to the newspaper.
“That was an interesting dynamic because there were professional journalists working with the Diary, they were able to help train the cadets in the subtle skills of journalists which are difficult to acquire in any other way, in those days you certainly could not go to journalism school.”
There were many volunteers, both professional and amateur, who emerged over the years to help out in the newsroom, many taking on the role of Editor for a time.
Sandy Burgoyne, Val Polley, Stephen Reynolds, Scott Podmore, Bob and Trish Millington, Ken Virtue, Jan Vagg and Judy McDonald have all played pivotal roles.
“David Wyman was a very good municipal affairs reporter,” recalls Cliff.
“You could thank David Wyman largely for what this place is now like, why it is zoned, why you cannot put up blocks of flats here and so on,” he said.
Jock said the Diary embraced the people of Warrandyte’s concern for their environment, in a major way.
“Those who saw the Diary as a propaganda machine for the green revolution totally misunderstood the fact that the Diary was representing the views of the people who read it, not pushing its views onto its people.
“That in a way meant that the Diary had the support of just about everybody in town, there was never any question as to whether the Diary was going to survive or not survive or be taken over by somebody else.
“I think the success of the Diary is measured in the conversations, I have had many times, with people of Warrandyte saying ‘do you know what they should put in the Diary, they should put this particular story in the Diary’, and it is the fact the people of Warrandyte have a right to say what is in the Diary; they do not phone up Mr Murdoch and say, this is what you should be putting in your paper – it is their paper, the Warrandyte Diary – it is Warrandyte’s paper.
“It is that sense of ownership that is fantastic,” said Jock.
He said in the early days there was a lot of discomfort felt by the local politicians.
“There were Council and State politicians who were horrified to find this ‘Roneo newsletter’ held such power, politically, in terms of people’s opinions.
“The major thrust in the early days was to either shut the thing down or to get some sort of measure of control over it: ‘Who is financing this operation?’
“When they discovered  that no one was financing it, and there was no way they could get any influence over it whatsoever, over a period of over ten years they started to change their tack and be a bit more open and considerate and courted the Diary, in subtle and sometimes not so subtle ways to get the idea across that they were wonderful people doing a great job for the community, which was not always the case,” said Jock.
Young bloods
Cadet journalists, these days called “Junior Reporters”, have always been an important part of the Diary, with Cliff taking many early cadets under his wing.
Jock recalls: “Cliff had a passion, not so much for the world as it was, but what he could foresee coming into being, so his focus was always on the future, how the village could be improved, how the lives of the people could be enhanced, and how the skills the young cadets could learn and contribute and watching the young cadets grow from basically school children into mature capable journalists was just a joy”.
Some of the stand-out cadets who have been through the Diary’s newsroom are remembered fondly by Cliff:
“Clinton Grybas, he was fabulous – at 14 he was doing the sports pages, brilliantly.
“Rachel Baker became an ABC Cadet and succeeded and became the ABC representative in Adelaide.
“She was typical of the young people who came through,” said Cliff.

Spirit of community

The Diary has changed its appearance, it has changed its size, it has changed from black and white to colour.
But Jock Macneish said despite the outward change, what has not changed is that it is still the voice of Warrandyte.
“It still concerns itself with the lives and the business of the people that live in Warrandyte and it reflects and shows the people of Warrandyte who they are — who they are to one another and who they are to the world,” said Jock.
Cliff said he was proud of the fact that the Diary exists.
“That it survived, and it did well, and it caught the heart of the community.”
His advice to the current team at the Diary, and one that the current editors take to heart, is the importance of keeping the paper close to the community: “Not having a them and us, but very much an us”.

Thank you to Warrandyte for your support of the Diary for 50 years.
We look forward to entertaining and engaging you for the next 50 years – Eds.

Getting back on the beers


AFTER SEVEN months of lockdown, the Grand Hotel Warrandyte reopened its doors under the latest stage of COVID-19 restriction easings, on Saturday, October 31.

Manager Peter Appleby said that when they announced they would be opening, they were booked out for their first four days within 50 minutes.

“We went live on Thursday afternoon, then 50 minutes later we were fully booked for four sessions, for 70 people, and that is like that now until Monday week.”

Peter said that customer support and confidence is important.

“That people want to get back to normal living is great,” he said.

Peter said the whole lockdown was very frustrating with an uncertain roadmap out of restrictions and unviable limits put on customer caps.

“The build-up has been intense, where we got promised one thing and then had it taken away from us.”

On October 19, Premier Daniel Andrews was expected to announce the reopening of hospitality, but put a pause on the reopening when there was a surge in cases in North Western Melbourne.

This was reversed 24 hours later with a rapid reopening announced as the state reported zero cases for two days in a row, and blitzed through the targeted 14-day average daily case number of five.

Despite being able to open four days earlier, the Grand took their time getting their new outdoor space opened.

“We got 30 hours’ notice to pull it all together, it is just crazy… we have been working around the clock the last five days to be able to be open today.

“It is exciting that we can open, but the disappointing part is the capacity for inside space is quite challenging for us, where we are only allowed 10 people per room, maximum of two rooms.

“It is great that we have got 50 people in our beautiful outdoor space, but when it rains this afternoon, what are we going to do, send them all home?” he said.

Throughout the lockdown, Peter has been firm that the minimum number of patrons to be viable to open was 50, however, with a pre-COVID-19 capacity of 700, even that number is barely sufficient.

He said he was hoping for one person per four-square-meters inside.

“We are COVID Safe, we are ready to open and we can work to that — we manage people, we manage customers, we manage responsible service of alcohol — we are the heaviest regulated industry in Australia, let us manage COVID in a COVID-Safe manner.”

The pub will be using a QR Code for contact tracing, a questionnaire on arrival, as well as temperature checking.

As per the government guidelines, patrons can only consume food and drinks while seated.

The timing could not be better to launch the Grand’s newest outdoor space, a beer garden, which has replaced the drive through bottle shop.

Peter told the Diary since new management took over the pub in November 2012 they had had the idea of having an outdoor space.

“We started the job, and with COVID-19 restrictions coming into place, and with what we could open down the track, we thought let us pull the trigger and get it all ready for when we can open, because outside dining is obviously going to be around for a while.

“We are pretty happy with what the outcome is, although we are not finished,” he said.

He said they were working until 2am every night in the week leading up to the reopening to get the venue ready.

Helping with the reopening was local Member for Warrandyte, Ryan Smith who, as luck would have it, has an RSA qualification, so was able to pull the first beer.

“Good to see the pub back, it is a focal point for the community, and the hospitality sector has been hit really, really hard by the lockdowns.

“I think people are really keen to get out and back to seeing their friends and family and having a few drinks and socialising again, and if you are going to socialise in Warrandyte, there is no better place than the Grand Hotel,” Mr Smith told the Diary.

Peter is grateful for all the support he has received from the community since the pub closed its doors back in March.

“It has been wonderful; we have had a lot of messages of support.

“We did takeaway at the start, which was great, it was just great to see some faces, people need a pub, it is pretty important for people’s mental health — we saw a lot of people just come in for a chat, which is nice and people need that.

“As publicans we are a sounding board for a lot of people in so many ways; we reached out to a lot of our customers who perhaps needed us, just checking on them making sure they were doing ok.

“Of course the local support on social media has been fantastic, we were getting messages here and there, just random, ‘thinking of you guys’, and that just melts us you know, makes us feel wanted, needed and loved.

“Just as much as we love our community, it is nice that people love us,” he said.

Peter also reiterated the important role that the social environment the pub generates contributes to mental health.

“Getting staff back in to work has been very important for us.

“Mental health is a very important thing, and I know it is used a lot at the moment, but we have seen some people suffer, not just staff, but customers as well.

“Just to get the pub back for people to get the opportunity to come back to normal — well semi-normal — and get back some social skills, which people have sorely missed.”

The Diary spoke with some of the first customers through the doors who were all very eager to be back at their favourite local.

“We are super excited.”

“We have the first session and are back again on Tuesday as well.”

“Beautiful, can’t wait to get in there and get back on the beers.”

“Beer out of a glass, I can’t wait.”

Peter said booking for an outing to the pub was simple.

“You can book on our website, there is an easy to follow link on there.

“Also on Facebook and Instagram there is a link there as well, and it will bring up the slots that are available.

“Click on the link and put your booking in with a maximum booking size of 10.”

www.grandhotelwarrandyte.com.au

As of midnight Sunday, November 8, State Government increased the dining caps to 40 people indoors and 70 people outdoors.

 

Artists and art lovers rejoice


CONFINED TO their studios since March, local artists have not been idle.

Artists have spent their time wisely and creatively, producing a myriad of new works that they are now able to present to the public.

Many galleries are reopening and, while many home-based studios remain closed, there are several studios opening to the public.

Ona Henderson and Syd Tunn have kept with the Nillumbik Artists Open Studios tradition and are holding an “Open Studio by appointment”.

Ona told the Diary that, as they are classed as private retail their Creek House Studios is able to operate under COVID-19 guidelines.

“We are already having visitors in our afternoons and making times up until Christmas,” she said.

This will mark Syd and Ona’s 37th year holding an Open Studio.

Their original open studio concept, first held in 1983, grew into what became the Nillumbik Artists Open Studios program, which they hope will return next year.

Syd and Ona’s Creek House Studios, at the Corner of Henley and Oxley Roads, Bend Of Islands, is a cornucopia of artistic delights.

The couple produce a range of paintings drawings prints and art cards, using a range of media.

Bookings can be made by phoning 9712 0393 after 10am.

While it would normally be time for the rest of Nillumbik Artists Open Studios to open their doors, the home based artists have decided to create a gallery exhibition, as well as show their works on an online gallery site.

Program coordinator Annette Nobes said the committee decided “having thousands of people visiting dozens of studios across Nillumbik was not responsible”.

So they have cancelled this year’s event.

You can visit their expanded website to visit a virtual shop plus up-to-date information on studio happenings, events and opening times at artistsopenstudios.com.au

 

Nillumbik Artists at Gallery 7 six 5

Nillumbik Artists have combined for a rolling exhibition at Gallery 7 six 5.

Located at 765d Eltham-Yarra Glen Road, Watsons Creek, the new gallery run by artists Lisa Ferrari and Benny Archer opened its doors just as Coronavirus hit.

“We opened on June 6 and were open for five weeks before the Stage 4 Lockdown, which was devastating,” Benny told the Diary.

However, they are back with a vengeance and reopened to the public on October 30 with an exhibition of Benny’s works.

This has been followed by an exhibition of the Nillumbik Artists Open Studio.

Each weekend for six weekends, starting from November 6, they are showcasing the works of one of the Open Studio Zones.

“We set this gallery up to support local artists, there is such incredible talent in the Artisan Hills,” Benny said.

The first fortnight November 6—15 is dedicated to Zone A artists, focussing on artists from Eltham and Research, this includes potter Mary-Lou Pittard, painter Claire Dunstan, glass artist Jacquie Hacansson and horticultural potter Jack Latti.

November 20—29 will feature Zone B, centred on artists from Christmas Hills, St Andrews and Kangaroo Ground, including sculptor Tim Read, artists Syd and Ona, Nerina Lascelles, and Robyn Koiker, and the printmakers from Baldessen Press.

December 4—13 will feature Zone C artists from the Hurstbridge area such as metal sculptor Mel Rayski-Mati, artist Harry Z Hughes and artists from the Dunmoochin foundation.

Benny’s studio sits within the gallery space, so you can watch the artist at work as you browse the collections.

With the Dark Horse Café next door, it makes the perfect destination to explore your extended bubble and support local art.

 

Art on Yarra Street

Warrandyte township is also seeing a resumption of artistic spaces as well as a new pottery space.

Stonehouse Gallery reopened its doors to the public in late October.

Jenny Johns told the Diary they leapt into action as soon as the Premier announced the changes to opening dates.

“We opened last Tuesday [27 October] with all the new rules and regulations in place to keep our visitors and members safe,” Jenny said.

She said during the second closure their team worked hard behind the scenes keeping up with all the general requirements so that they would be ready to open.

“Members and our many talented consignment artists have been making good use of the time out and have created many new and exciting works for the gallery.

“With Christmas in a few weeks we are hoping that all our visitors will find a special hand-crafted gift for friends and family,” Jenny said.

The Stonehouse Gallery is open six days from 10:30am to 5pm, closed Mondays.

A new pop up pottery market is opening each weekend of November and December below the Sassafras Sweet Shop, in the space formerly occupied by Ratty and Moles.

Jane Annois said the pop-up gallery is a forerunner for a permanent gallery and pottery school which is planned to open in 2021.

Jane said she is also participating this month in the Australian Ceramics Open Studio program, an annual nationwide event that celebrates clay, community and creativity.

Hosted by The Australian Ceramics Association, made up of over 100 ceramics studios, potters open their doors to offer insight, practical demonstrations and the chance to take home a handmade piece.

Jane’s pottery studio will be open at 109 Kangaroo Ground Road from 10am – 5pm on November 20 – 21.

 

Great expectations

Looking to the future, there is a plethora of art coming our way, assuming we keep COVID-19 at bay.

February is looking like a busy time on the art scene with a major photography exhibition (see Page 19) as well as the Mechanics Institute Arts Association hosting an Arts Expo.

“Since March, the hall has been ‘silent’ and so we thought an Arts Expo would help Warrandyte celebrate the lifting of lockdown restrictions and a return to something approaching normal life,” said WMIAA Vice Chair, Ian Craig.

They are planning to host a weekend of artistic activities, promoting local artists, groups, and bands.

The event will include concerts, visual arts and pottery workshops, a community choir event, and the popular Repair Cafe workshop.

“The emphasis will be on the promotion of Warrandyte Arts and ‘getting involved’ in the free activities.”

Ian said subject to Government restrictions, they are aiming to run the Expo on February 19–21.

Local Elections declared


RESULTS FOR the Manningham and Nillumbik Local Elections are in.

With the pandemic forcing a 100 per cent postal election and concerns that Australia Post may not be able to process the volume of ballot packs, the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) ran a campaign encouraging voters to return their completed ballots as soon as possible.

Electoral Commissioner, Warwick Gately, said voters responded to the call and it is expected the turnout for the 2020 local elections will exceed the voter response to the 2016 elections.

“I am impressed by the rate of ballot returns compared with the same time in 2016.

“We are tracking above where we expected to be and are appreciative of the public’s response,” he said.

In 2016 an average of 72 per cent of people participated in the elections.

Mr Gately says the ballot return rate is expected to exceed the 75 per cent anticipated average return for this year’s elections.

“Our reminders have generated large call volumes and we’ve increased call centre staff in response,” he said.

In line with state government policy many local councils have moved to single councillor wards.

This election saw 298 separate elections held across Victoria and 2,187 candidates nominated.

In Nillumbik, 79 candidates were campaigning for one of nine ward seats whereas Manningham’s nine ward seats were being contested by 41 candidates.

With both Mannigham and Nillumbik now each representing as nine wards each with one councillor representing, the results are as follows:

 

Nillumbik: Blue Lake Ward, Councillor Richard Stockman; Bunjil Ward, Councillor Karen Egan; Edendale Ward, Councillor Natalie Duffy; Ellis Ward, Councillor Peter Perkins; Sugarloaf Ward, Councillor Ben Ramcharan; Swipers Gully Ward, Councillor Frances Eyre; Wingrove Ward, Councillor Geoff Paine,

 

Manningham: Bolin Ward, Councillor Geoff Gough; Currawong Ward, Councillor Andrew Conlon; Manna Ward, Councillor Tomas Lightbody; Tullamore Ward, Councillor Deirdre Diamante; Waldau Ward, Councillor Anna Chen; Ruffey Ward, Councillor Stephen Mayne; Schramm Ward, Councillor Laura Mayne; Westerfolds Ward, Councillor Michelle Kleinert; Yarra Ward, Councillor Carli Lange.

 

Baby steps to COVID Normal


Premier Daniel Andrews has held his much anticipated press conference outlining a relaxation of COVID restriction.

From 11:59pm tonight, the five-kilometre limit for exercise and shopping will be extended to 25 kilometres and the two-hour time limit for exercise and socialising will also fall away.

He announced that outdoor sports settings like tennis courts, golf courses and skateparks will be able to reopen.

All allied health professionals currently operating will be able to resume routine face-to-face care.

Outdoor real estate auctions will be able to take place with up to 10 people, plus the required staff.

In especially good news to many, hairdressers will be able to open, with strict safety protocols in place.

From tonight, groups of up to ten people from two households will also be able to gather in outdoor public places, either for exercise – or for things like a picnic in the park.

“I know some people will reasonably ask why it’s limited to two households – and not five or ten. But by limiting the number of households, we’re limiting any potential spread of the virus,” said Mr Andrews.

He said thousands more Victorians will be able to go back to work – particularly those who work outside.

“That includes tradies undertaking outdoor maintenance and repair work, mobile pet groomers and photographers,” he said.

Further steps will be made in coming few weeks, at this stage planned for 11:59pm on 1 November, the rest of the Third Step will see retail, hospitality and personal care services open again.

“This is a timeline that is based on the current advice of our public health team,” Mr Andrews said.

He said if Melbourne continue to track well on the most important indicators — case averages, mystery cases, test numbers and the number of days people wait before they get tested — the restrictions may be in a position to move sooner.

“My commitment to Melburnians: we’ll review this data each and every day this week and when we get to next weekend, if we can move any earlier and do it safely, we will,” he said.

Mr Andrews said when we do reach the Third Step it will also mean we move from “stay home” to “stay safe” — with no restrictions on the reasons to leave home.

Under this step, all remaining retail will open.

Restaurants, cafes and pubs will open, personal and beauty services will be able to offer treatments to clients – as long as a face mask can be worn.

“These businesses will be able to have staff onsite for a ‘dark opening’ from 28 October, giving them time to prepare to open their doors to the public,” he said.

There is also good news on home visits too — from November households can have two people and their dependents visit their home once per day.

Unfortunately, for now, travelling to Regional Victoria is still off the cards.

However, if you have a holiday home in regional Victoria, you will be able to arrange to travel there to carry out fire or flood preparation in consultation with your local Council.

“I understand that for some these changes won’t be enough — they’ll want more – and they’ll want it sooner, but the whole way through this, we have been guided by our public health experts and their advice.
“None of us ever want to do this again.

So please, keep wearing a mask, keep maintaining your distance – and if you feel sick, get tested and stay home.

“We can do this,” Mr Andrews said.

For more details on the implication for our local community, keep an eye out for the October edition of The WD Bulletin and the November Warrandyte Diary.

 

Fire season approaching — are you ready?


WITH A WET September seeing Warrandyte’s verdant gardens bursting with growth, compounded by COVID-19 travel restrictions and the closure of green waste facilities, preparing for the upcoming summer is going to be a challenge.

With council tip facilities remaining closed, Manningham Council is developing a way for residents to dispose of green waste in the lead up to the fire season.

Similar to the response following January’s hailstorm, a council spokesperson said that it is planning to roll out skips at strategic locations around the municipality.

Rachelle Quattrocchi, Director City Services told the Diary “Council will provide a series of garden waste disposal days throughout spring and early summer to assist residents in Manningham’s Bushfire Prone Areas to prepare for the summer fire season.”

She said portable skip bins will be provided across several locations in the Bushfire Prone Area over four weekends so residents can dispose of their garden waste and reduce fire hazard fuel loads on their private properties.

“An Eventbrite booking system will be available for residents to pre-book garden waste disposal across several weekends and locations in Manningham,” she said.

The garden waste disposal days will be held on Saturdays and Sundays on the weekends of November, 21–22, 28 –29, and December 5–6, 12–13.

Booking information and skip locations will be communicated to residents in the coming weeks at www.manningham.vic.gov.au and will be published in the Warrandyte Diary and WD Bulletin.

Residents in North Warrandyte and Green Wedge areas of Nillumbik Shire, while unable to take their green waste to a transfer may be able to take advantage of the recent change in restrictions.

Under Step 2, sole traders such as garden maintenance are allowed to work, if they are working alone and outside. Although Nillumbik Shire transfer stations are currently closed to the public, the sites are open for commercial use, with a valid work permit.

With those on big blocks concerned about their inability to legally remove cleared vegetation, this — at least — may provide a short-term solution to help reduce the risk of bushfire damaging their property.

For those on properties able to burn off, the window of opportunity is closing, with the fire season having already started this time last year.

The Australian Seasonal Bushfire Outlook indicates Victoria will have a “normal” fire season in 2020–21, however possible spring rainfall is likely to have an impact on fire potential in the lead up to and over summer.

The outlook, developed by the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre with Bureau of Meteorology and relevant state fire and land managers, was released on August 31.

Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp said the outlook was an early indication of what Victoria could expect in the summer season and would be updated in November as predictions firm up.

“The severity of fires in the west half of the state will depend on several factors including the amount, location and timing of rain during spring and over summer,” he said.

Fast-running grassfires and fires in dry forests and woodlands are likely by late spring, depending on fire and weather conditions and dryness in grasslands.

“We have to stay home as much as possible at the moment due to COVID-19 restrictions — why not use the time to clean up your property and make a plan on how to keep yourself and your loved ones safe this summer?” he said.

Across the state, six thousand more burn-offs were registered with the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA) between the start of May and the end of August.

CFA Acting Chief Officer Garry Cook said it was great news to see so many Victorians doing the right thing.

“More people are spending more time at home at the moment and if that means they are choosing to spend more time to clean up their properties before the bushfire season, that’s a good thing.”

Acting Chief Officer Cook said welcome rain in many parts of Victoria over the winter months meant a slight delay to the start of the fire season compared to recent years when the fire danger period started in early September in East Gippsland.

“The best way to defend your homes is to prepare before the fire danger period begins.

“This includes cleaning up your gardens, your gutters and removing flammable waste from your yards,” Acting Chief Officer Cook said.

“Many property owners dispose of this waste with a burn-off, but we also recommend people consider alternative methods such as mulching, chipping or taking green waste to a transfer station.”

The recent Australian seasonal bushfire outlook identified recent rains have led to a reduced risk of prolonged fire activity throughout spring, although shorter duration fires in grasslands, drier forests and woodlands are still likely to occur across the state.

Mr Cook reminded Victorians that even an average fire season in the state can be a bad one.

“Residents who want to conduct burn-offs on their private properties need to follow some basic rules such as checking the weather conditions, monitoring the wind, and following local council laws and regulations.

“It is important that as well as registering your burn-offs, you notify your neighbours that they may see smoke as false alarms take CFA firefighters away from real emergencies which can be very frustrating for our crews.”

By registering burn-offs, any reports of smoke or fire will be cross-checked with the burn-off register to avoid unnecessary response of fire services.

Landowners can register their burn-off with ESTA by calling 1800 668 511 or emailing burnoffs@esta.vic.gov.au

Mr Cook said that when registering a burn-off by phone or email, people would be asked for basic information such as location, date, start and finish times, and what they intend to burn.

“The burn-off line is very easy to use — the operators are friendly, and prompt you by asking the key questions,” he said.

“When conducting burn-offs, remain alert and always have resources on hand to extinguish the fire.

“Check the weather, winds must be light and temperatures low.

“Make sure you have sufficient water on hand at all times and fully extinguish the burn once completed.

“Escaped burn-offs or those not conducted properly will result in you being liable for the consequences.”

Keep your burn-off safe and legal:

Check fire restrictions with your local council and register your burn -off on 1800 668 511.

Check and monitor weather conditions — particularly wind.

To avoid unnecessary calls to emergency services, notify your neighbours beforehand.

Leave a three-metre fire break, free from flammable materials around the burn-off.

Have sufficient equipment and water to stop the fire spreading.

Never leave a burn-off unattended — stay for its entire duration.

If your burn-off gets out of control, call 000 immediately.

“You also need to plan and prepare for your safety so that you, and everyone in your household, know what to do on hot, dry, windy days when fires will start and spread quickly,” said Acting Chief Officer Cook.

For more information about preparing your property, go to cfa.vic.gov.au/prepare

 

Back in action before bushfire season

By DAVID HOGG

 

THE FIRE DANGER sign at the north end of the bridge has not worked for almost a year.

We were originally told in November last year that Emergency Management Victoria (EMV) were awaiting a part to repair the sign.

In January, we were advised by EMV that the sign could not be repaired safely at its current location due to safety issues with a new overhead high-voltage cable and that EMV were working with Nillumbik Council to determine a new location for the sign.

In May, we were advised that EMV was working closely with Nillumbik Council, the Country Fire Authority and the Department of Transport to identify the most appropriate location for a new Fire Danger Rating sign, and that once agreement has been reached between all parties, it would be relocated.

With the 2020/21 Fire Season only three to four weeks away we decided to follow up progress on this issue with EMV and Nillumbik Council.

Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp sent us an almost identical response to the one he provided in May, but with a slightly changed first paragraph that reads “EMV is committed to ensuring the Fire Danger Rating sign near the Warrandyte Bridge in North Warrandyte is operational prior to the 2020/21 fire danger period and works to rehabilitate and make the sign operational will commence shortly.”

He then continued to advise that EMV is working closely with Nillumbik Council, the Country Fire Authority and the Department of Transport to identify the most appropriate location for a new Fire Danger Rating sign.

When we queried this further we were advised that works are about to commence on the sign and that it will be repaired and operate again in the same place it is now, until such time as another site can be agreed.

Nillumbik Council has also confirmed that a contractor has been engaged and the sign will be repaired in its current position before the Fire Danger Period commences.

Deer session provides information but no solution


NILLUMBIK COUNCIL hosted a two-hour online webinar Deer Information Session on September 12 to address the continuing problem of wild Sambar deer causing considerable destruction in the shire.

A Council spokesperson has told the Diary “198 people booked a place at the deer webinar, with 270 people tuning in”.

This is a surprisingly high number, particularly as other household members not counted may have been watching as well, and perhaps indicates the seriousness of the deer problem in the Shire.

Kirsten Reedy and Michelle Hanslow from Nillumbik’s environment team provided a wealth of information on the origins, distribution and impacts of the various species of deer, but locals focussed on the Sambar species as being the ones causing most of the destruction in the Warrandyte area.

On hand were representatives from professional and sporting shooters to explain their positions, although none would be drawn on the costs involved or the local requirements for engaging them.

Increasing populations of deer in Nillumbik, in rural and suburban areas, are causing understandable concern for many residents.

These introduced animals are now widely regarded as pests, come into Nillumbik from the north and are heading south into the Warrandyte State Park.

The river is no barrier to them and they will happily swim across it.

The Diary has been following the problems these beasts are causing, and the subject was comprehensively covered by James Poyner in our June edition last year and covered the ongoing dissatisfaction with the State’s Draft Victorian Deer Management Strategy.

Nillumbik Shire Council has recently been successful in receiving two, one-year grants from the Australian Government’s Department of Industry, Innovation and Science Communities Environment Program to build the capacity of the local community to engage in targeted local area deer control options via delivery of educational programs related to deer management.

This webinar was one of the resulting initiatives; the other is the Collaborative Community Deer Action across Nillumbik project, details of which you can find on the Council website.

The latter project will involve a collaborative approach which might include; field days, workshops, practical demonstrations, citizen science activities, and site inspections.

Our attention was drawn to the Deer Scan website, which can be found at www.feralscan.org.au/deerscan/ which encourages residents to log deer sightings and has a downloadable app.

Feedback from North Warrandyte residents was that the session was full of good and useful information for those with little knowledge of the problems, but that those who had been battling the problems for a while found little practical advice on how to handle it.

Fencing to exclude deer is very expensive and causes problems to the natural flow of other native fauna particularly kangaroos and wallabies.

One North Warrandyte resident on a two-hectare block had tried to engage sporting shooters but fell foul of getting approval from police and agreement from some neighbours for them to operate on his property.

As he said “It only takes one person in five within earshot of a gun to refuse to agree and you can’t cull them; and in Warrandyte that pretty much means no shooting”.

His approach to professional shooters found that they were expensive, and it was not worth their while to look for one or two deer on a smaller block when they could cull tens of deer at a time on a larger rural farm block.

Another resident on a block over three hectares had engaged a professional shooter at a fee and he had culled four deer.

Certainly, it was clear that Council at this time is happy to provide advice, but not to financially subsidise any culling operations.

Groundhog Day as another truck comes to grief at the bridge


WARRANDYTE bridge was blocked for several hours on Tuesday, September 22, after a semi-trailer rolled on its side at the intersection of Kangaroo Ground-Warrandyte Road and Research-Warrandyte Road.

A police spokesperson at the scene stated that the truck had apparently lost its brakes coming down the steep Research Road hill (Sloans Hill).

The driver tried to turn the speeding vehicle left into Kangaroo Ground Road, resulting in the semi-trailer rolling onto its side.

The driver of the semi was taken to hospital after receiving a heavy knock to the head.

No one else was injured at the accident and fortunately no cars were coming down Kangaroo Ground Road at the time of the accident.

The semi had crossed the southbound lane of Kangaroo Ground Road and ended up hard against the bank at the side of Kangaroo Ground Road.

Ben Ramcharan, candidate for Sugarloaf Ward in the forthcoming Nillumbik Council Election has been advocating for improved safety on this road since February, and says it is frustrating to see yet another incident which could easily have been fatal under different circumstances.

“This is now the fifth truck crash on the south side of Research-Warrandyte Road since November 2018.

“Fortunately, as the roads are quieter at the moment due to lockdown, nobody else was hit.

“My thoughts are with the truck driver who has gone through a very traumatic experience.”

Mr Ramcharan said he spoke with a resident on Research-Warrandyte Road who has had multiple cars lose control at Bradleys Lane and plough into his fence on Research-Warrandyte Road.

“One driver even crashed through his driveway.

“He said VicRoads were able to make improvements on the corner, which has solved the problem.

“This shows that safety improvements can make a difference and now that we’re seeing more crashes at the bottom of the hill, we need to ask the Department of Transport to take similar action,” he said.

Benita Quine, the mother of Ana Quine who was injured in a crash in January in the same spot is angry the intersection remains dangerous.

“This has to stop,” she said.

She said that the intersections at both ends of the bridge are a safety concern.

“Talking to others, and in my experience, plus witnessing other near misses — the pedestrian crossing at the Yarra Street end of the bridge is so dangerous!

“Drivers seem to be unaware of its purpose, myself and others have had to hold up a hand to say ‘I am crossing please stop,’” she said.

Mr Ramcharan agreed the incidents on Research-Warrandyte Road are part of a much larger problem with road safety in North Warrandyte, Research and Kangaroo Ground.

In a letter seen by the Diary, the Department of Transport indicated that they are working with their road safety partners to identify future improvements on Research-Warrandyte Road.

The letter also indicated that Nillumbik Council are planning to construct new footpaths on sections of Research-Warrandyte Road as part of its Getting to School Safely project.

“These projects will enhance pedestrian access and safety,” the letter said.

Mr Ramcharan said the incident on Kangaroo Ground-Warrandyte Road in June, where a 29-year-old woman was killed, is “a sobering reminder of how important it is to address road safety across the board.

“This is about our safety and our families’ safety,” he said.

Coronavirus: September 13-28

From midnight on September 13, metro Melbourne begins Step 1 of the State Government’s five step plan to get Victoria out of lockdown.
With curfew still in effect and the majority of Melburnians confined to home overnight, the updated restrictions will effective come into effect at 5am on Monday, September 14.
This is what the next two weeks look like for metro Melbourne, all the activities and restrictions listed below come into effect at 11:59pm on Sunday, September 13 and not before.
Curfew will continue to be a feature of our lives until we reach Step 3, which is currently projected to begin October 26, but the duration of the nightly curfew has been shortened to give Melburnians an extra hour in the evening, meaning curfew is now in effect between 9pm and 5am nightly.
As with conditions of curfew in the preceding six weeks, the only reasons to leave home during curfew are if you have a work permit to do so, or if it is an emergency.
Leaving your home to pick up take-away during curfew is not a permitted reason to leave home.
You are still able to purchase and consume food after 9pm, but by delivery only.

EXTENDED EXERCISE

The five-kilometre bubble will also continue, until we reach Step 3 but a major change is in leaving home to exercise and social bubbles.
The time allocated to exercise, off your premises, has been extended to a maximum of two hours and can be taken in either one or two sessions per day.
The type of activities that you can do, and who with, has also been expanded.
Whereas a feature of the previous six weeks was that, regardless of whether living in the same household or not, you could only exercise outside with one other person, this has been expanded to be either one other person, or the persons who live in the same household with you.
Outdoor playgrounds are allowed to open, but sports facilities and skate parks are still closed and activities such as reading a book or having a picnic in the park are allowed but must be with your household or one other person only.

BUBBLE BUDDIES

For people living on their own and/or single parents, Step 1 introduces the “social bubble” concept.
This additional measure will allow those living on their own to have one other person over in their home.
However, singles need to nominate their social bubble buddy now and must keep the same buddy until we enter Step 3.
You can visit your buddy and they can visit you as often as you like but, if they live in a shared household, then the other householders need to be out whenever you visit them.
Social bubble buddies can also spend the night at each other’s homes, but masks must be worn at all times and travel cannot happen during curfew hours.
However, if you and your bubble buddy are both living in metro Melbourne, the 5km limit does not apply.
This is different to an “intimate partner”, the rules of which continue from Stage 4.
Regional Victoria is still off limits.

NUMBERS IN STEADY DECLINE

When reporting on Saturday’s figures, the Chief Health Officer’s daily update stated the 14-day average for metro Melbourne was at 61.6.
This number is promising, alongside data which shows this is the first time the state has gone seven days with new active cases below 100.
The daily active cases condition for progressing to Step 2 for metro Melbourne is a 14-day average of 30-50 daily active cases and fewer than five per day for Step 3. Regardless of which way the active cases in Victoria go, the slightly relaxed Stage 4 restrictions will likely be in effect until at least September 28, so enjoy the extra hour in the sunshine, stay COVID Safe and look out for further updates in September’s WD Bulletin (Monday, September 21) and October.

Victoria prepares to vote

UNCERTAINTY around the October Local Council elections has been abated with the Minister for Local Government, Shaun Leane announcing on August 19, following advice from the Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton, the election can go ahead as planned on Saturday, October 24.

“As Minister for Local Government, I sought advice from the Victorian Government Solicitor’s Office and Chief Health Officer as to how best to proceed while Victoria is in the midst of the Coronavirus Pandemic.

“I also engaged with the local government sector to fully understand concerns regarding the impact of current restrictions in Victoria on campaigning, and relayed that I would act on advice from the Chief Health Officer.

“The Chief Health Officer has advised that October represents a period when risk is likely to be substantially lower than at present, and there are no compelling public health grounds for the elections to be delayed,” Mr Leane said.

This was reaffirmed by Professor Sutton at the September 6 Road Map Press Conference.

In a virtual press conference attended by the Diary, Victorian Electoral Commissioner, Warwick Gately said that he “welcomed the certainty that this announcement brings”.

He said the VEC has closely monitored Government advice in developing a COVIDSafe election plan.

The Plan puts additional measures in place to safely manage the Victorian local council elections being held by post this October.

Mr Gately has said postal voting is safe and of high integrity, and that the VEC is ready to respond to the changing environment.

“The situation remains dynamic and the VEC continues to actively monitor conditions and restrictions.

“Additional measures in place include increased distancing in election offices, limiting face-to-face contact, enforcing mask wearing where mandated by the Victorian Government, and moving operational activity online whenever possible,” he said.

The 2020 Victorian local elections will also be the first elections held under the Local Government Act 2020.

Under The Act, all election candidates are required to undertake mandatory training, regardless of whether they are new or an incumbent.

The training covers areas such as: how councils are run, election donation rules, councillor code of conduct, conflict of interest and what support is available to councillors.

Candidates will also have the opportunity to include a 300-word statement in the mailed-out ballot packs.

Councillors will also have to complete Councillor Induction Training within the first six months of taking office.

The 2020 Victorian council elections will be the State’s largest single election program, with a predicted 4.5 million voters and over 2,000 candidates participating in elections across 76 councils.

For the first time in Victoria, the local election will be the first to be held completely by postal vote, in 2016, 72 of the 78 Councils that held elections were by postal vote.

For 2020, 76 Councils will see their citizens, and ratepayers cast their vote, which is every Victorian Council excepting Whittlesea, Casey and South Gippsland, who are currently in administration.

In the change to council structure — with some Councils changing from multi-member to single-member wards — there will be 298 seats in contention across participating Councils.

With eight councils switching to single member wards, including Maroondah and Manningham, which will switch to nine, single councillor wards, the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) has stressed the importance of voters making sure they know what ward they will be voting for on October 24, as the ward names and their boundaries have changed.

Detailed information about the forthcoming election, at a local government level can be found on the VEC website.

The VEC is also encouraging voters to sign up for its VoterAlert sms and email service, which will provide those registered with prompts and other important information about the forthcoming election.

 

Dates for your diary

The enrolment deadline has now passed.

The next big milestone is the candidate nomination period which occurs between Thursday, September 17 and 12pm on Tuesday, September 22.

Eligible candidates wishing to nominate should visit the VEC website for further information on procedures and the required pre-nomination training.

Those who do qualify and choose to nominate will need to present at their municipality’s election office — by appointment — during the nomination period.

Ballot packs will be mailed out between October 6 and October 8, delivered via Australia Post.

Voters have until 6pm on October 23 to return their ballot paper, either posted before this date and time, or hand delivered to their municipality’s election office.

Election declarations are expected to take place before Friday, November 13, the deadline for declaration was extended to accommodate for COVID-Safe work practices for VEC counting staff.

Memoirs of a local councillor

BY SOPHY GALBALLY

WHEN I WAS first elected as Councillor in the Mullum Mullum ward, I felt proud and full of gratitude for the many people in the community who trusted me as their representative and advocate.

I remember that first day in the council chambers, my name plate, the officialdom, the other eight councillors, all with big personalities.

I asked myself “How did I get here?” I had a Talking Heads song recycling in my head!

It was not long before my head was full of facts and figures.

Newly appointed councillors are thrown into many strategic briefing sessions to help us get up to speed about what council does and how it does it.

That includes how decisions are made about how much to spend on roads, rubbish, open spaces, sport and activity centres.

At first, the cynic in me saw it as indoctrination by the “system”, with fellow councillors posturing to portray themselves as all-knowing.

I was determined to not become a part of the machine, and to stay true to those who elected me.

I noticed early that council had a distinct city vs country mentality in its approach to just about everything.

I am not referring only to trees!

There was a strong push for curb and channel and drainage schemes which did not entertain alternative options.

Business as usual was the motto. 

Readers of the Diary will most likely be aware of the magnitude of the battle for Melbourne Hill Road (MHR).

If it were not for the residents’ strong opposition to the drainage scheme (a seven-year fight), this area of Warrandyte would look like a suburban estate with no character and no mature trees.

My advocacy for MHR was my longest running battle.

The final result is also due to the efforts and collective knowledge of the residents who never gave up.

The MHR residents’ stand against council on this drainage scheme created benefits that flowed to all the residents of Manningham.

Their win effectively removed the Special Rates and Charges as a means for Council to proceed with works, and then charge residents.

So, if you happen to bump into a resident from Melbourne Hill Road, do not forget to thank them.

When the day comes that a drainage scheme is coming your way, you will not have to pay for it, because your rates are already paying for it!

There is a big lesson here.

When you have difficulty with council, approach your ward councillor and ask for their support.

Hopefully you have elected a person who is sympathetic and feisty enough to battle for you.

I loved being a councillor most when I could advocate for community groups and help individuals and families navigate the web of council rules, regulations and permits.

Communication from council is often dry and “official” and I often saw letters to residents which gave cool legalistic responses to issues that affect families in very emotional ways.

For instance, a brother and sister in Warrandyte wanted to subdivide five acres of inherited land into two lots.

Council had refused the application for two years and it was not clear why.

The residents asked for my assistance.

At a meeting with senior executives at the Council, the Officers said they had not approved of the line of division because the line was not front and centre.

I suggested they look at the site as Warrandyte has many dips and slopes and perhaps the siblings were trying to ensure they both had equal amount of usable land.

The result was that the application was quickly approved.

Two happy families finally able to enjoy their property.

Another example of advocacy concerned a senior citizen who lived alone on an acre in Park Orchards.

Due to council graveling the road and subsequent rain, a lot of gravel entered her driveway and garden, and also under her house.

Her pleas to council to remove it came with the response, “We cannot do work on private property”.

 

Tribute to Mick Woiwod


Mick Woiwod

March 31, 1929 – August 26, 2020

 

The wattles are in bloom and now it is my time to fly with Bunjil

TRIBUTES have flowed for local historian and founder of the Nillumbik Reconciliation Group, Mick Woiwod, who died on August 26, at the age of 91.

Mick was born in Ferntree Gully in 1929 during the Great Depression.

His parents were London born Alfred and Gertrude Woiwod (nee Rosenbrook).

Mick spent his formative years in Frankston.

A description in the school magazine included the phrase “Michael says little but thinks a lot”.

He married wife Marg in 1954 and children followed in quick succession with Louise and Christine born in 1956, Graeme 1958 and Deborah the following year.

In the seventies Mick signed up for a Council of Adult Education course in Archaeology through the University of Melbourne and attended summer camps at Wood Wood on the Murray and Yambuk beyond Port Fairy that opened up a window into the mysterious Aboriginal world.

This later led to further courses in geology and little did he know then that he would one day be writing a book, opening up to today’s world how the Aboriginal people had seen the land of the Yarra Valley of which they had long formed its most important element.

In the late 70s a friend mentioned to Mick that they had just purchased land in the Bend of Islands, which followed an offer for them to have a picnic on the new block.

Driving the last kilometre, Mick described: “at last I was home”.

At the age of 60 Mick enrolled in a Bachelor of Arts course in Australian History, which he completed in 1991.

While still at university he started a booklet about Christmas Hills first settler Joseph Stevenson.

This soon assumed major book proportions and was called Once Around the Sugarloaf: The Transformation of a Victorian Landscape and the story of its People and launched at the Christmas Hills in Primary School in 1992.

This also was the beginning of many an unveiling of commemorative rocks and plaques.

Over the last 30 years he has researched and written over 25 books, most of these on the history of the Yarra Valley’s Indigenous people, in particular the story of Coranderrk Aboriginal Station in Healesville.

All through his life, Mick searched for the truth about Victoria’s Indigenous people, always determined to fill in the missing layer of Victoria’s history.

He was Founding President, and later patron of Nillumbik Reconciliation Group (NRG).

NRG President Jan Aitken paid tribute:

“It was a vision for him of a group of people who would work together to promote reconciliation with the Traditional Owners of land which included Nillumbik Shire, the Wurundjeri people.

For Mick, reconciliation covered acknowledgment: he was instrumental in having the Shire give its regular acknowledgement at all Shire meetings.

It meant information: we need to know more about the lives of Wurundjeri pre-settlement and their lives after invasion of their lands by squatters, gold miners, and settlers.

Mick researched these topics constantly over the last 30 years or so.

I read his first book, The Last Cry when I arrived in Eltham in 1998.

It was that book which set me on the track of reconciliation.

Mick compiled his research into early original records into two large databases, Birrarung and Coranderrk, each with a searchable CD.

He then had copies distributed to all the schools in Nillumbik, at his expense.

Each of Mick’s books had two or three launches so that as wide a population as possible could know about them.

NRG was there for most of these.

They are solid volumes, filled with history, story, imagination and love for Wurundjeri.

A book he struggled with and worked on for years was the story of Coranderrk.

Not only the story of Simon Wonga, William Barak and Rev John Green and the success of the farming enterprise, Mick went further.

He explored what had happened to bring an end to Coranderrk as an Aboriginal reserve.

Barak and the Black Hats of Melbourne was the result, a moving tragedy of political takeover by ruthless men in the Victorian Acclimatisation Society.

This is a story not told in history books to date.

Mick also liked to have markers on the land so that the Aboriginal story was firmly acknowledged in ways that would remain.

Go down to the end of the Boulevard in North Warrandyte and you will find a rock there with a plaque commemorating the area as an Aboriginal reserve where the last corroboree was held.

Walk in Kangaroo Ground Cemetery and find a large rock with a plaque acknowledging the place as an earlier Aboriginal campsite near a spring which still flows.

And on the Eltham-Yarra Glen Road, the Gawa Wurundjeri Resource Trail was established on a Mick initiative.

The Barak Short Story competition was run by the NRG in the early years of the new millennium.

Mick wanted children who were writing stories about Wurundjeri life to have a hands on experience of what the land provided.

The Gawa Trail was built in partnership with Wurundjeri, the Shire and Parks Victoria and remains today as an important community resource.

I recall with affection the urgency and passion with which Mick pursued a story he was researching.

It was this passion and drive which fed the NRG.

Even when he had retired from being President, Mick was there: at meetings, at events, speaker, honoured guest, author, elder.

His legacy continues to inspire.

He has given us a significant example of what reconciliation requires: passion, commitment, honesty.

Thank you Mick for your gifts all of us.”

Fellow historian and founder of Reconciliation Manningham, Jim Poulter, said Mick Woiwod was a good friend, colleague and collaborator for more than 40 years.

“He made an invaluable, indelible and unique contribution to the telling of our local Indigenous history.

“He was a kindred spirit and I will miss our always animated chats,” said Jim.

Mick was also the co-founder of the Andrew Ross Museum at Kangaroo Ground and member of both the Warrandyte and the Eltham District Historical Societies.

Mick served on the Advisory Committee for the Kangaroo Ground Tower for 14 years, which saw the reserve brought up to its present highly commendable state.

This introduced a new fire-spotting cabin complete with spiral stairway as replacement for the ancient steep ladder to the top-deck, plus the iconic Moor-rul Viewing Platform with displays which speak of the Hill’s Wurundjeri Story to the thousands who now visit the site each year.

Jim Connor, President of Eltham District Historical Society told the Diary:

“Mick, as he was usually known… comprehensively researched and wrote extensively about European settlement in the Eltham and Kangaroo Ground districts, particularly commenting on the resulting impact on the local Wurundjeri clan.

He was honoured with the name Murrup Ngooloo ‘Spirit Voice’ and his work helped raise the awareness of settlement activities of the early pioneers of the area, while concentrating on highlighting the adverse reactions their introduced lifestyles had on the original inhabitants.

In researching and recording this information, Mick’s legacy is a valuable resource of local Indigenous history, culture and practices, particularly for current and future history researchers.

Mick was a decisive initiator of change in respect of practices and attitudes towards our earliest inhabitants.”

Warrandyte Historical Society also paid tribute to Mick.

Society Secretary, Valerie Polley said:

“Warrandyte Historical Society was saddened by the news of the death of Mick Woiwood, a leading advocate for Aboriginal history of the local area.

As a past member of the Society, Mick together with wife Margaret, were keen supporters over many years.

Mick loved to share his passion and great knowledge of local Aboriginal history especially with children during school visits.

Truly a sad loss.”

Nillumbik Councillors paid their respects to Mick.

Mayor Karen Egan said Mr Woiwod would be sadly missed by all who knew him.

“Mick was a true champion of history and heritage, a passionate advocate for Indigenous rights, and a revered member of the Nillumbik community,” Cr Egan said.

Cr Jane Ashton said:“Mick was a scholar and a gentleman, reading his books added significantly to my understanding of this area.

“From the first peoples, the squatters, gold miners and farmers, to the present-day story of The Bend of Islands Community, he brought the place alive and put people into the landscape.

“Passionate about the history, devoted to using his writing to shed light on the suffering of the Aboriginal people and the founder of our Nillumbik Reconciliation Group Mick was a champion for truth and justice.

“I was privileged to have met him, enjoyed very much listening to him, and can only imagine the gap he has left in the lives of those who knew him for so much longer than I did.”

He may be gone but never forgotten and the legacy of his books, knowledge of Australian Aboriginal history and the passion will live on in many for years to come.

Mick’s funeral was held on September 3 and was livestreamed.

Those interested can view the livestream at oneroomstreaming.com/family-and-friends until mid-October.
Contact the Diary for login details.

Thanks to the Woiwod family for their assistance in telling Mick’s story.

 

The road out is long, stay the course


ON SUNDAY, September 6, Punxsutawney Dan emerged from his burrow in Parliament House and, upon seeing his shadow, announced the numbers were still too high and Melburnians would have two more weeks of Lockdown, but at least there is a plan, a roadmap to an end to Groundhog Day, and towards COVID Normal.

For the record, I am penning this latest update on day 35 of Stage 4 Lockdown.

It has not been easy and I think you would struggle to find anyone who can genuinely say the opposite.

The new cases are steadily coming down with the seven-day average, as of Sunday, September 6, in the mid-80s.

As if living under curfew and with limited legal reasons to venture beyond the perimeter of your property wasn’t difficult enough, the severe storm that blew across Melbourne and the South East on Thursday, August 27 caused a critical failure at Silvan Water Treatment Plant, releasing untreated water into the water supply.

Yarra Valley Water released a boiled water notification on Friday morning, advising those living in affected suburbs to boil all drinking and food preparation water before use, as a precaution.

The storm also felled trees and powerlines with some households still without power the following Monday.

With certainty, I can say that at four weeks into Stage 4 restrictions, the added challenge of no power and no potable water was an additional test of Melburnians’ resolve.

Emergency legislation

The Lower House sat for the first time in three months at the beginning of September as Premier, Daniel Andrews sought to pass legislation to allow him to extend the State of Emergency for a further six months.

Under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008, the State of Emergency can be enforced for a maximum of four weeks at a time, at the end of those four weeks it can be extended, but by a maximum of four more weeks.

Under the act, the State of Emergency can only be in continuous enforcement for a maximum of six months.

Originally, Premier Andrews sought to extend the State of Emergency for an additional 12 months but this prompted fierce opposition from the Liberal Party, with both the Leader of the Opposition, Michael O’Brien and Party Leader, Peter Walsh stating they would oppose and vote against any attempt to extend the state of emergency another 12 months.

“This is the act of a Premier whose power has gone to his head.

“We will stand with Victorians whose rights and freedoms are threatened by this extraordinary power grab,” said Mr O’Brien.

Mr Walsh called the proposed action draconian.

“The State of Emergency hands enormous power to the Premier and a small number of unelected officials with very little oversight and accountability.

“There’s a reason it’s strictly limited to a maximum of six months – because no government should be able to write itself a blank cheque for extraordinary powers over Victorians’ lives and livelihoods,” Mr Walsh said.

With Labor holding majority in the Lower House, the real battle for this amendment to The Act was fought in the Upper House, where Labor needed to win support from cross-benchers for it to pass.

On Monday, September 1, amendments to the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008, debated as the Public Health and Wellbeing Amendment (State of Emergency Extension and Other Matters) Bill 2020 was eventually passed in the Upper House without amendments.

The Bill allows for an extension of the Victorian State of Emergency for an additional six months — but only in relation to a COVID-19 emergency and has lowered the threshold in which the CHO can authorise enforcement of directions, changing the trigger from “necessary” to “reasonably necessary”.

This should make it simpler for CHO Directives to be enforced more quickly during any future COVID-19 outbreaks.

Following the passing of the Bill in the Upper House, Health Minister, Jenny Makikos took to Twitter to publically thank the crossbenchers who tipped the vote in favour of the amendments, which scraped through the Upper House at 20 votes to 19.

“Thankyou to all Government MPs & to @AndyMeddickMP @FionaPattenMLC & @SamanthaRatnam who put public health above politics & voted to allow a declaration of a State of Emergency to continue for another six months if necessary to protect Victorians from #COVID19 #springst”

The Bill was then debated in the Lower House on September 3–4 and eventually passed, 33 to 23.

The Bill has now passed both houses and awaits Royal Assent.

Once The Bill becomes Law, the amendment to the Health and Wellbeing Act 2003 will be repealed one calendar year after it becomes law.

Amendments to the Victoria Police Act 2013 are also being debated in the Parliament, as part of the Police and Emergency Legislation Amendment Bill 2020.

The proposed changes extend the reach of Protective Services Officers (PSO) in relation to enforcement of public orders by expanding the definition of “designated places” as well as including an amendment to Clause 37b the Police Act which will allow deployment of PSOs in an area declared a State of Emergency or State of Disaster.

The Second Reading of The Bill is scheduled to continue on September 17.

The road out

On Sunday, September 6, the Premier laid out the roadmap to take us to COVID Normal.

Following a preamble from the Premier which indicated the news was not going to be good.

Mr Andrews outlined a roadmap which will see us at COVID Normal by Christmas.

However, this roadmap has checkpoints which must be met before we can begin the next phase out of the second wave.

Regional Victoria is on a different trajectory towards COVID Normal, the restrictions outlined below apply to those living in metro Melbourne.

For the moment, following a 14-day average which has new cases averaging at 100 per day, the numbers are still too high — so Stage 4 restrictions have been extended for an additional two weeks, to at least September 28, with some slight modifications which come into effect at midnight on Sunday, September 13.

Exercise will be extended to two hours per day, and can be split into two one-hour blocks, and has been expanded to include social interactions such as going to the beach, having a picnic, et cetera.

Social interactions outside will be expanded to two people or an entire household.

The nightly curfew will also be modified and will be in effect between 9pm and 5am.

Single parents and those living on their own can also nominate one person to visit them, at their home, during this extended lockdown.

On September 28, if the 14-day average is between 30 and 50 active cases per day in metro Melbourne there will be further easing of restrictions and some businesses will be able to reopen.

For businesses, the road out is very, very long with many sectors which are currently closed, remaining closed until at least Step 3 of the roadmap which, optimistically, is October 26.

For parents of children at the beginning and end of their education journey, a return to face-to-face learning is imminent, with Prep, 1, 2 and VCE students returning to the classroom from October 12.

Those students sitting General Achievement Tests and other essential assessments will be able to sit those, in a school setting from October 5.

More broadly speaking, the roadmap as it currently stands will see curfew and the 5km bubble in effect until the conditions are met to enter the Third Step, which may not be until late October.

The timeline for the five steps to COVID Normal is another 10 weeks of staged easing of restrictions and while we could outline, in full, the roadmap in this story, Victorians need to tread carefully to ensure our efforts keep driving down numbers and moving us towards COVID Normal.

With the excepted easing outlined above, the Stage 4 restrictions we are all used to are still in place until the end of September and masks will continue to be mandatory.

A lot can happen between now and September 28, the Diary will have more information on the second stage of reopening in the September WD Bulletin and in October’s Warrandyte Diary and on the Warrandyte Diary website and social media channels.

 

Parks closures


The Warrandyte Diary has been informed that Warrandyte State Park visitor sites have been closed due to danger from high winds.

According to an email from Parks Victoria sent to registered Volunteer Groups and Tour Operators,  Jumping Creek Reserve, Normans Reserve, Koornong Reserve and Pound Bend are currently closed to the public, and are scheduled to reopen on Thursday, September 3.

There are damaging winds warning in effect across South East Victoria and as many will have seen, during daily activity following the storm o Thursday, and from notifications on the Vic Emergency app today, trees are coming down.

Stay safe out there today!

Staying apart keeps us together


MELBURNIANS HAVE survived their first full week of Stage 4 Lockdown but there is an extremely long road ahead.
At 6pm on Sunday, August 2, a State of Disaster was declared for the state, and in metropolitan Melbourne a suite of restrictions was rolled out, beginning with more severe restrictions relating to the four legal reasons to leave your property.
The Directions at the time of publication state that until September 13, the reasons for leaving your property for exercise or shopping have been tightened.
Both exercise and shopping now must take place within five kilometres of your property.
For exercise, you may only be off your property for a maximum of one hour and you can only exercise with one other person, regardless of whether they live with you or not.
For shopping, the Directions stipulate that one person, per household, per day can leave the property for the purposes of obtaining essential goods and food, but only once — meaning you have to do all your shopping in one trip.
There is also a nightly curfew in place, and only those who have a legitimate reason (work, medical or compassionate reasons) can be off their property between 8pm and 5am.
Warranditians would have probably already noticed the impact of this night curfew with the significant reduction in traffic noise.
Over the week that followed, the Government outlined and implemented a series of reductions or closures to businesses and industries it deemed non-essential for the next six weeks.
Note, these closures principally impact businesses who cannot work from home and are designed to significantly reduce the movement of people around Melbourne, and to reduce the number of daily active cases, which had stubbornly sitting between the 400 and 700 mark for the previous week.
The Stage 4 Business Restrictions document is extensive and has been modified, slightly, over the past week to reflect the nuance of types of businesses under certain categories, such as the recent adaptation of the business restrictions to allow the collection of new and lost pets from animal shelters.
Local animal shelter, Blue Cross Animal Society of Victoria in Wonga Park expressed their joy of the change to restrictions on Facebook, on Saturday, August 8.
“Blue Cross is thrilled… new pet adoptions can continue during Stage 4 restrictions.
“This is great news Blue Cross will continue with animal adoptions by appointment only, following all Government guidelines.”
The necessity for a COVID Safe plan for those businesses who can have employees and customers on-site, plus the necessity for all employees to carry a work permit when travelling to and from work will mean that by now, every business knows if, and how, they can open.
But there are some very basic and very easy to understand restrictions in place which will serve as a baseline for any questions on what you can do and where you can go.
To reduce the number of people who are intermingling for the period of the Stage 4 restrictions, businesses which can operate on-site are limited to essential and critical services only.
For Warrandyte, this principally means Quinton’s Supa IGA, the butchers, bakers and other food and beverage vendors are currently open for business.
Trades such as plumbers, electricians, gasfitters and mechanics do have a capacity to operate but for works, which usually take place in your home (such as leaking taps, servicing your gas heater, electrical wiring, et cetera), these services are limited to emergency and critical work only.
There are a number of other businesses that can still operate but may only be offering a click and collect or home delivery service.
Check out our What’s Open guide on Page 20 for a rundown of what is open in Warrandyte.
These restrictions will have a significant impact on local gardening and housecleaning businesses who have had to shut up shop for the time being.
Jim’s Mowing owner, Jim Penman, made mainstream news at the beginning of the business restrictions when he went head-to-head, via dualling media conferences with the Premier over the prospect of Jim’s Mowing franchisees having to shut up shop.
Vehicle mechanics have also found themselves in a similar predicament, the Ultra Tune franchise has now updated its national website to reflect the situation in Victoria:
“The health and safety of our team members, customers and the community have remained our priority throughout the COVID-19 crisis.
“All Ultra Tune Service Centres throughout Victoria remain open as permitted under the Victorian Government’s restrictions.
“Melbourne customers are under the Stage 4 restrictions and will only be allowed to shop and exercise within five kilometres of their homes.”
Remember, whenever you leave home to shop, it must be one person, per household, per day, once a day.
The State of Disaster gives authorities the legal freedom they need to enforce restrictions and there are fines in place for anyone who, without good reason, is found more than five kilometres from home, not wearing a face mask or covering, or leave their properties between 8pm and 5am.

Supportive community

We are a long way from living COVID-Normal and the concept of business-as-usual is bordering on ancient history.
The severity of the current restrictions is having a significant impact on our lives, but unless we all follow the letter and the spirit of these directions, things will get worse before they get better.
There are many in the community that are struggling with the isolation and uncertainty during the restrictions.
Premier Daniel Andrews said: “We know Victorians are resilient, but we have never faced a crisis quite like this one and I know there are a lot of people out there doing it tough right now.
“We want them to know that they are not alone.”
Minister for Mental Health, Martin Foley told the media that there has been an increase of people presenting at Hospital Emergency Departments following episodes of self-harm.
Therefore, to ease the burden on hospitals, opening hours in mental health community clinics will be extended to enable face-to-face sessions and assessments — to be conducted in accordance with physical distancing requirements — focusing on prevention and providing support to those who need it.
As a community, and as individuals, we can all help with this: keep connecting with family and friends over the phone or video chat, and make sure your neighbours are coping with lockdown.
Warrandyte is well placed to come through this challenge with a stronger sense of community and togetherness following our shared isolation.

Living smart, living local

Some local businesses will be hurting right now, and you may be inclined to go out and shop to help support local traders, but remember, once per day, one person, per household, can leave the house to go shopping.
The restrictions, as they currently stand, give us the option to choose who goes shopping, what they buy and where and when (within restrictions) but if we do not all try to live within the confines of these restrictions, and numbers continue to rise, then those freedoms will be at risk of requiring a permit as well.
The Directions also state that you can only use your vehicle to travel to a place to exercise, within your five kilometres, if it is not reasonably practicable to do so without using your vehicle.
There are also severe limitations on what recreational activity you can do in public, during your one-hour per day.
The list of permissible activities is also extremely short, activities such as golf, kayaking, horse riding and boot camps are off the table, limiting exercise to either walking, running, cycling or kicking the ball with a mate on the local oval, for the foreseeable future.
Most community sports and recreation facilities are closed.
Tennis courts and stadia have literally padlocked their front gates and councils have erected cyclone fencing and hazard tape around skate parks, playgrounds and community fitness equipment.
Luckily for residents of 3113, there are a wealth of walking trails on our doorstep which means your daily 60 minutes is not limited to walking the streets.
As with all the directions prior to these, there is an element of common sense to the execution of these directions in our everyday life.
For example, you can only travel within five kilometres of your property for shopping, but if the essential service you need is more than five kilometres away, then you are permitted to travel to that, but you must visit the closest most practicable provider of the service you require.
Gardening and building supply businesses are also offering click and collect and contactless delivery services, so if you are looking to work on your garden, using a local garden supplies business with a delivery service might be your best bet.
But it seems, that mostly, people in 3113 are doing the right thing, whilst, as of Sunday, August 9, there were 72 active cases in Manningham and 67 in Nillumbik, recent postcode data for 3113 indicated Warrandyte is back to zero active cases.
As part of our #wearitwellWarrandyte social media campaign, the Diary wants to hear from you all, we want to see pictures and videos of your local five-kilometres.
Send an email to:
editor@warrandytediary.com.au with “My 5KM” in the header and tell us what you love about living within your five kilometres.

Getting arty with our health and safety

By JO FRENCH

WHETHER IT be instore or online, finding a mask or two right now is high on everyone’s shopping list.
Social media is awash with crafty critters that have turned their hand to mask making and several of the businesses in town are selling the wares of this new cottage industry.
Kim Miatke from Calla Collective is one of the local businesses selling the masks made by local makers.
“We made the decision not to make our own masks,” said Kim.
“At Calla Collective our vision is about supporting other people in the community to use their gifts and talents, especially at this really hard time.”
Kim stocked up on locally made fabric masks as quickly as she could.
“In the first week of needing masks people were panicked, they were fearful.
“It was a very intense week; it was heavy, and people were sad
“We did 12 days straight administering masks, it went nuts as soon as it went on social media.
“The phone didn’t stop ringing, we were contacting makers, driving around and picking up, packaging, coordinating orders, it was crazy.
“None of us like wearing a mask and it is challenging,” said Kim, “and it has been hard for people to find something that is comfortable.”
Kathy Donovan is a local mask maker, selling both online and supplying to Calla Collective.
When the need for masks was made evident, Kathy naturally turned to her sewing machine.
“I’ve been sewing all my life,” said Kathy, “and pre-COVID I did markets with a friend, but we have done nothing since February, so this was a chance to do something.
“It has just taken off,” said Kathy, “I put an ad on marketplace and had to take it down — I was inundated.”
Kathy is a trainer with St John’s Ambulance and with first aid training and an acute awareness of infection and PPE guidelines, Kathy’s advice for mask wearing and handling is to be noted.
“If you are wearing a mask under your nose it is not right,” said Kathy, “and you need to wear them once and then wash them,” she said.
“It’s a good idea to carry a Ziplock bag labelled ‘used masks’ in your pocket, car or handbag, and drop them straight in to it when you take them off to stop contamination.”
Anna Smart is from Park Orchards and is also assisting Calla Collective with orders as well as selling via social media.
“As masks became mandatory, I thought ‘let’s fire up the sewing machines’ and since then, me and my Janome have been working overtime,” she said.
Anna is a self-taught seamstress and says it is nice to have a skill that can be used and appreciated at this time.
“Sewing is often overlooked as a skill these days, with the focus on mass produced items.
“There has been lots of nights burning the midnight oil, and I’ve been able to use some of the fabric I’ve been storing for quite a while,” said Anna.
Karen is a resident of Creekside in Warrandyte.
She trained as a dress designer and at one time made wedding dresses, and now her competence is put to a new and vital need.
Karen started with developing a prototype from the internet and working on it until the product was perfect.
At first, she laboured for her loved ones; four children and their partners, then the seven grandchildren over two.
It was not long before friends received her special creations and then she turned her hand to supporting the community.
She quickly used up Spotlight’s dense thread count material but was able to access the fabric closer to home from Clare’s Fabrics boutique shop, on the grounds of Warran Glen Garden Centre.
Maddy Connolly from Ringwood North was a children’s party entertainer pre-COVID and has spent many hours dressed as Elsa and other princesses.
COVID restrictions put an end to children’s parties and Maddy found the first round of isolation very challenging to be out of work.
“First iso was pretty rough”, said Maddy, “I felt like I didn’t have any purpose, I didn’t have anything to do.”
“When Lockdown 2.0 arrived, I thought I have to find something to do.
“I found the sewing machine in the shed, and as there are six people in the family, I thought it would be cheaper if I made us some masks.
“I looked up a YouTube tutorial and just made them for the family,” she said.
Demand took off when friends of Maddy’s siblings and colleagues from her Mum’s work also wanted some.
So, having had no income for a while, Maddy accepted the challenge and has now made well over 50 masks.
“Working in batches of cutting and then sewing, it takes about half an hour to make a mask,” said Maddy, “the machine is getting a good workout.
“I did textiles in Year 8 but hadn’t touched it since, but the manual was in the box – lucky for me.”
Maddy’s family are enjoying having an inhouse seamstress and asking her to make masks to match their outfits.
16-year-old Amelia O’Neill, from Wonga Park, is currently studying at Luther College and working shifts at a Coles Supermarket.
In the gaps, Amelia is spending hours making masks to help meet the demand.

Amelia started her own business when she was 12 years old, making dog bandanas, hair scrunchies and cushions, and selling them at markets.
Abandoning this several years ago as work and study demands increased, it wasn’t until the mask mandate was broadcast, and her mum encouraged her to get sewing again, that Amelia sat at the machine again.
“I worked out how to make a mask and got to work,” said Amelia.
She posted her masks on social media and was inundated with orders immediately.
“I finished a shift at work and looked at my phone and I had hundreds of orders,” said Amelia.
With supplies selling out fast all over town, the search went as far as Collingwood for materials and supplies, but for now Amelia is well stocked.
“I’ve made over two hundred masks,” she said, “and now I’ve paid off schoolies for next year.”
Let’s hope this is all over soon and schoolies is on for next year Millie.
Congratulations to all those wonderful women (and several men) who have rallied to the cause pulled their sewing machines out of hiding and set to work to help us combat this crisis together.
Reusable masks are available locally from Calla Collective, The Avenue, Douglas & Hope, and other local retailers.
Under Stage 4 Lockdown, purchases can be made via click and collect and delivery — see page 20 for contact details.
Independent mask makers can be found via social media.
There are so many mask makers out there, it really is easy to find a mask which suits your outfit, mood, or personality.
As part of the #wearitwellWarrandyte social media campaign, Warrandyte Diary is asking you to take a selfie of you wearing your favourite — possibly locally made — mask so we can celebrate the good during these times and showcase the many wonderful designs our local mask makers are producing.
Send your mask face pictures to editor@warrandytediary.com.au

Warrandyte awaits a grand return of the pub


THE GRAND WARRANDYTE’S taps have been switched off since March 23.
Warrandyte’s local bar and eatery has not seen a closure of this length in its 120-year history.
If history is anything to go by however, the pub will emerge from Coronavirus with flying colours and with a shiny new beer garden.
Fire, floods and everything in-between has beset the Yarra Street establishment over its 120-year journey and while General Manager Peter Appleby is confident the Grand will re-open its doors when appropriate, he admits the lockdown period has been a tough one, especially in the early days of the virus.
“It’s been a real challenge,” he said.
“Having to change our service three times in a week before we actually got shut down was a challenge as well.”
“Going from one person per four square metres, to 25 people max in a room, to this to that— to adapt to that three times in a week was tough.”
With a large financial hit, uncertainty across the hospitality industry and staff stood down across the board, Peter’s mind has been on the wellbeing of the pub’s workers.
“My main concern now is about our staff and their mental health and wellbeing.
“It’s been a pretty challenging time for all of us, including the owners,” he said.
Peter said pub management have to simply live with the obvious financial losses, their focus is on making sure staff are safe and well.
“We don’t have many people coming and going with the restrictions, obviously.
“I keep in touch with a few of the team and I know a lot of the other management team keep in touch as well.
“People are bored, people want to get back to work and they’re just sad to see the pub shut.”
“Once the doors re-open I think everyone will be happy again.”
Once they do, patrons of the Grand will be able to stroll into the pub’s most recent and exciting development — the Grand Beer Garden which is tipped to be just six weeks from completion.
“We are super excited.
“We don’t think there’s another spot on the Yarra River from this side of the city that will have views like this.
“We’ve got outdoor fire pits, some greenery, undercover areas.
“It’s going to be a nice, unique spot out on the Yarra River in beautiful Warrandyte, we can’t wait to have it thriving.
“I’d like to think when we re-open the outdoor restrictions will be different than inside areas — that’s what we’re hoping for.
“And hey, the sun will be shining by the time we get to re-open and it [the beer garden] will be a good spot to enjoy,” said Peter.
The need to adapt in the face of COVID-19 forced many restaurants into a reshuffle and with no certainty as to the end date of the lockdown, the Grand briefly offered a takeaway menu to continue trading.
Peter explained how the Grand’s initial take-away service was a pivot, but it did not really fit with what the team wanted the Grand to be known for.
“Being shut down was like ‘ok how long is this going to last?’
“We did the takeaway and the takeaway went quite well for us.”
“I guess at the end of the day that’s not what we wanted to be known as.”
July 16 was set to be the grand re-opening of the pub but a second wave of Coronavirus cases in Victoria put those plans on hold, temporarily.
“We got some hope that we could re-open — then the numbers went backwards — it’s been a rollercoaster challenge as to when we can open, what’s going to happen in the environment, and how does it work?”
“We’ve just got to sit here and keep rolling with the punches and wait for our turn to open — it’s out of our hands.”
In terms of the road back, Peter says the Grand will only re-open with a minimum patronage of 50 people to a space, as anything less simply is not financially viable for the establishment.
“We will still stick with 50 patrons,” he said.
“It is just not financially viable to open for 20 people — it simply does not make sense with such a large space as well.”
In a challenging environment, the Warrandyte community is keenly awaiting the return of its pub and Peter says that while it has been a difficult road, patrons will be enjoying a cold beer or a delicious meal soon, likely in the sunshine of the spring and summer months.
“It’s going to be a challenge but we’re certainly up for it.
But, Peter says, as many of us have had to already, the rules around this virus often require some form of adaptation and the pub is ready to adapt, if necessary, to meet any requirements which will allow it to reopen.
“We want the doors open as quick as we can so whatever rules present themselves; we will follow.”
For now, we all wait, and watch, but it is certain that the reopening of our local pub will be a grand event.

Encouraging women to run for government


GOVERNANCE in many municipalities has long been dominated by male voices.

So, there is a drive by the Victorian State Government to inspire a new generation of women councillors ahead of the October local government elections.

Minister for Local Government Shaun Leane, announced the It’s Our Time campaign, which aims to inspire women to get involved in local government and nominate for election.

The push will include the provision of online resources including webinars.

Mr Leane said, “Gender equality makes communities, councils and Victoria stronger.

“That’s why we’re making support available to encourage women to run for council and support safe campaigning.”

It’s Our Time will draw on the experience and expertise of a range of partners including LGPro (Local Government Professionals), the Australian Local Government Women’s Association, the Victorian Local Governance Association, the YWCA and the Ethnic Communities Council.

Minister for Women, Gabrielle Williams, said Victoria is leading the country when it comes to improving gender equality.

“We want people of all genders to enjoy equal rights, opportunities, responsibilities and outcomes — and programs like this help us make it happen,” she said.

A century on from the election of the state’s first woman councillor, Mary Rogers, Victoria now boasts the highest number of female mayors in history with 32 in place across the state.

However, 13 of Victoria’s 79 councils have just one female councillor while overall, women account for just 38 per cent of elected representatives.

Locally, Manningham Council currently has a majority of women on council, with five out of the nine councillors identifying as female, while only two of the seven members of Nillumbik’s council are women.

Manningham

Andrew Day, Manningham CEO told the Diary, with four female Mayors over the past eight years, Manningham Council has a proud history of electing women into leadership roles.

“Manningham Council is committed to supporting and celebrating gender equality and diversity within our community and among the Councillors who are elected to represent our community,” he said.

Mr Day said during the current four-year Council term, the Manningham community elected five female Councillors and four male Councillors.

“During this time, the Councillors have elected two female Mayors and two female Deputy Mayors, which highlights the opportunities for local women in leadership roles at Manningham Council.

Mr Day said having an elected Council that adequately represents the local community with a good gender mix is important to Council decision making.

“This encourages a diversity of views and opinions to effectively lead and represent constituents, make strategic decisions and support good local governance for the wider community,” Mr Day said.

He said Manningham Council has a range of support options in place to help remove some of the traditional barriers for women standing for Council, including carer support options, payment of allowances and expenses for Councillor duties, and a flexible approach to meeting times to accommodate other personal or family commitments.

“As Manningham moves to a new nine ward structure, we encourage women and people of all ages and backgrounds who are interested in representing their local community to stand for Council at the upcoming October election,” Mr Day said.

Nillumbik

Nillumbik Mayor, Karen Egan said Nillumbik Shire Council has strong commitment to gender equality through its Gender Equity Policy Statement, which was adopted in 2018.

“For local government to be a true reflection of the communities we serve it is important to have representation of both men and women, as well as people from a range of diverse experiences.

“Not only do women make up just over 50 per cent of the population, but men and women have very different ways of looking at things — together, we represent a wide range of views and offer different perspectives on the important issues Council needs to consider for our community.

“I’m proud to be the first Mayor from the rural ward of Bunjil,” she said.

Ms Egan said standing for Council can be tough, particularly in rural areas.

“You have to have a thick skin to withstand the personal attacks and opposition, and financially, campaigning can be costly.

“The time commitment required of councillors, including the time away from home, can be difficult for women already juggling the demands of family and work, particularly single mothers like myself,” she said.

This year, with COVID-19, women are bearing even more of the financial burden and caring responsibilities, making it more difficult.

“But being a councillor is an extremely rewarding opportunity to serve the local community.

“I urge more women to consider using their unique skills and knowledge to help make a real difference to their local areas,” she said.

Parthway to diversity

The Victorian Government has provided $137,000 to promote pathways for a more diverse range of candidates standing for local government in 2020.

This has included backing the Victorian Local Governance Association’s Your Community, Country and Council campaign to Aboriginal communities.

Minister Leane has also announced the launch of a new Gender Equality Advisory Panel which will focus on achieving the 50 per cent representation target set by Victoria’s gender equality strategy Safe and Strong and delivering the reforms of the state’s new Gender Equality Act 2020.

The panel will include members from across the sector including LGPro and councillor representatives.

Mr Leane said the new Gender Equality Advisory Panel will be “full of experience and know-how”.

“It’s an important step towards achieving gender equity in councils by 2025 and one that will inspire a new generation of councillors,” he said.

The Local Government Act 2020 also promotes gender diversity with stronger action on sexual harassment and rules for councils to measure gender equality, diversity and inclusiveness in their workforce plans.

The nomination period for the 2020 Municipal Elections is from September 17–22.

Anyone wishing to nominate for Council should visit their local council or VEC website:

Manningham

manningham.vic.gov.au/candidate-information

Nillumbik

nillumbik.vic.gov.au/Council/About-Council/Council-elections/

Victorian Electoral Commission

www.vec.vic.gov.au

 

Enrol to vote now to exercise your entitlement

By SUSAN FOREMAN

TIME IS running out to ensure you have your say at the upcoming municipal elections.

Election day is October 24 and the close of roll is 57 days prior.

The vote will be conducted as a postal election, with ballot packs being mailed to every enrolled voter in early October.

To vote in the council elections you must be enrolled by 4pm on Friday, August 28, 2020.

There are two categories of enrolment, either the State roll or the Council roll, called the “CEO’s list”.

The State Roll requires voters to be over 18 and an Australian citizen, the CEOs List is provided to give non-citizen ratepayers an entitlement to vote.

State enrolment

If you live in an electorate and are enrolled to vote in State elections at your current address, you are automatically enrolled to vote in that Council’s elections.

If you are an Australian citizen aged 18 years or over and you have lived in Victoria for at least one month, you will need to enrol with the Victorian Electoral Commission if you are not on the State electoral roll.

You can apply, check and amend your state enrolment details online at vec.vic.gov.au.

Voting is compulsory for State-enrolled electors at Council elections.

Council enrolment

If you were on the last voters’ roll for your current municipality at the 2016 Council elections as a non-resident owner (and the circumstances of your enrolment have not changed), you may be automatically enrolled by council to vote at this year’s election.

You can apply to appear on the CEO’s List if you are aged 18 years or over, pay rates for a property within that municipality and are not otherwise entitled to vote in that municipality.

You have an automatic entitlement as a council-enrolled voter if you:

  • Own a property within a council but do not live in the area,
  • pay rates for a residence or a corporation in a council area.

You can apply to enrol if you:

  • Are not an Australian citizen, but you live and pay rates in a council, or
  • pay rates on a property you occupy and have no other entitlement to vote in the council, or
  • are a director or company secretary of a corporation that pays rates and have no other entitlement to vote in the council, or
  • are a ratepayer, you were not on the council roll at the 2016 council election and you are not on the State roll for that council area.

Check with your local council to apply, check and amend your council enrolment details.

For local council elections in October 2020, it is not compulsory for council-enrolled voters to vote, except in Melbourne City Council.

The introduction of the Local Government Act 2020 will make it compulsory for all types of voters, including council-enrolled voters, to vote in all municipal elections scheduled from October 2024.