News

RVMs arrive in Manningham

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

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

Nourishing connections: The Big Community Lunch at Warrandyte Neighbourhood House

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

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Travel delays expected this summer

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

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

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

A dog’s life at WPS

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

Positive interactions
Assess, adapt, achieve
Working together
Social inclusion

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

Managing visitors on Extreme days

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

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New play space at Park Orchards Community House

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

Do you know this urn?

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

Liberals retain seat of Warrandyte

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

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

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

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

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

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

The voter experience

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

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

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

End of an era

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

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

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

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

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

Significant changes to Warrandyte Festival

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

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

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

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

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

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

Public art to be installed at wonguim wilam

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Warrandyte, a childcare desert

WARRANDYTE is facing a childcare crisis.
With only one long daycare centre in the area, servicing all of Warrandyte, Warrandyte South, and Wonga Park, the need for childcare places is at breaking point.
Currently, the Warrandyte Childcare & Preschool has a waitlist in its babies’ room of more than 50 families, meaning many babies will never get a place.
This leaves parents unable to return to work — adding to the ongoing employment crisis — or to try and find a childcare place in Ringwood, Templestowe, or Eltham, which takes families out of the community early learning system, with a flow-on effect on enrolments for our kinders and our prep classes.
A 2022 study by Victoria University: Deserts and Oasis: How accessible is childcare in Australia reported that there are 0.135 places per child in the Warrandyte/Wonga Park area, classifying Warrandyte as a childcare desert. Dr Scott Mackay is the chairperson of Warrandyte Childcare & Preschool and says it is deeply concerning that in a highly urbanised and healthy socio-economic area such as Manningham, this situation exists and fails to be a high priority or concern for Manningham.
The Early Years Future Directions Paper published by the Manningham Council in March 2021 foreshadowed that by 2036 Warrandyte/South Warrandyte would have an infrastructure shortfall of 43 long daycare places and 48 sessional kindergarten places. Scott said,

“Based on the centre’s experience of the current demand for long daycare and lengthy waitlist for our centre, we consider this paper’s prediction an underestimation and suspect that the Warrandyte/Warrandyte South community is already getting close to this level of shortfall for long daycare places.
“We need action from the council now to provide our community with improved early childhood educational facilities,” he said.

The Manningham Council’s Draft 10 Year Infrastructure Plan predicts that from 2016 to 2036, Manningham will grow by an additional 1,883 babies and young children (aged 0–6 years), stating:

“Our community is already characterised by a high proportion of families with two working parents and high rates of sessional kindergarten program uptake. Accordingly, the largest share of our community buildings is devoted to Early Years services, and it is this service area where we anticipate the most significant increase in demand.”

The Infrastructure Plan identifies “expansion of Early Years infrastructure to meet need” as a priority for Warrandyte/South Warrandyte.
However, in terms of action, Council has put any upgrades to the centre on the back-burner, listing any works on the centre as a medium-to-long-term priority, meaning any meaningful work towards addressing the centre’s future would not happen for 7–13 years.
Scott told the Diary the Centre has provided a submission to Council about the draft plan, but he said Council’s priority potentially puts the Centre’s future in limbo for the next 10 years.
Currently, the centre only has space capacity for eight babies (0–2), and only three of these can be under one year old.
The Centre’s Director, Kylie Dunscombe, said she has parents going on the waiting list from the moment they know they are pregnant.

“There’s definitely a need for us to expand, but we can’t do it on this current site.
“Without any guarantees from Council — that they’re going to keep this building — the committee don’t want to put money into something that’s not going to be here.
“We wanted to put solar on the roof to be more sustainable, and we were going to pay for it, but then Council said, ‘the roof’s not structurally sound for that, but we’re not going to fix it’.
“So, the centre needs a lot of work — we do a little bit here and there, but we can’t do as much as we want — even though we have the money to do it, we want to spend the money, but Council are just really non-committal, or they just don’t call back,” she said.

Scott noted that they were currently upgrading the area at the front of the building.
The upgrade is partly funded by a Community Bank Warrandyte grant.

“We are fortunate that we are in a strong financial position here, so that helps us, but it’s just the uncertainty.
“We want to upgrade the entire playground area, but we’re not going to in case Council suddenly decide the future of the Centre is no longer at its current site,” he said.

Kylie said the best outcome would be to move the centre into a community hub closer to the centre of Warrandyte.

“Something bespoke, closer to the Warrandyte township, with a better bushfire rating, would be amazing.
“We’re not wanting to be a hundred-plus centre because what we love is that we’re small, but maybe going up another 10–12 spaces would make a huge difference because people are trying to go back to work, and they can’t,” Kylie said.

The Diary asked Council the following questions:

  • Given that the building has been deemed to be at its “end of life”, why is the centre only rated as a “medium-to-long-term priority” for any redevelopment or relocation of the centre?
  • What is Council’s plans for the centre — redevelop or move to a hub?
  • If they move — where to?
  • The centre is in a known “childcare desert”, and at capacity, with 50 families on the wait list for their babies’ room, the Warrandyte community desperately needs more childcare places, so without the capacity to expand at this facility, what can Council do to facilitate families needing childcare in Yarra Ward in particular?

Lee Robson, Manningham Council’s Director of Connected Communities, said Council was grateful to the respondents who provided their comments and feedback to the Draft 10 Year Infrastructure Plan, including the Warrandyte Childcare & Preschool.

“The final Community Infrastructure Plan is due to be considered by Council at its September 26 meeting — we will respond to all submissions after that time,” she said.

Park upgrade coming to Ryans Reserve

RYANS RESERVE in Diamond Creek is set for a significant makeover after Nillumbik Council successfully secured $1.19 million in funding via the Victorian Government Growing Suburbs Fund.
Council is currently seeking feedback on the designs.
The Ryans Reserve Rejuvenation Project aims to provide recreational space, leisure, and sports opportunities for all ages and abilities.
The draft concept plans include landscaping, seating, exercise equipment, an accessible toilet, BBQ and shelter, playground equipment, a small stage suitable for community performances, and accessible pathways.
Nillumbik Mayor, Ben Ramcharan, said the upgrade will create a safe, accessible, and enjoyable community space.

“The design aims to provide something for everyone in the community to enjoy.
“It combines opportunities for physical play such as the new playground and soccer goals, as well as spaces to be enjoyed through passive play and social connection, such as a sensory play, quiet area and picnic shelters.”

Ellis Ward Councillor Peter Perkins said,

“I encourage you to share your ideas and feedback on the proposed plans to help shape this fantastic recreational space for Diamond Creek.”

See the draft concept plans and have your say by Sunday, August 20, at participate.nillumbik.vic.gov.au/ryans-reserve.

FOGO commences in Manningham

DID YOU KNOW, on average, 56 per cent of the waste in our red-lidded bin is food waste?
Until now, the contents of our red-lid bins have been going to landfill, where all that food waste is released into the atmosphere as the harmful greenhouse gas methane as it decomposes.
Manningham Council is working towards a greener future by reducing food waste from residential garbage bins and diverting food waste from landfill through the Food Organics Garden Organics (FOGO) waste collection initiative.
This will help the government meet climate change emission reduction targets. Manningham’s FOGO service is now in effect.
Rachelle Quattrocchi, Director of City Services at Manningham Council, told the Diary that all Victorian Councils will introduce FOGO services by 2030 to assist in achieving the State Government target of diverting 80 per cent of waste from landfill by that year.
“Locally, removing food waste from residential garbage bins in Manningham will divert up to 20,000 tonnes per year from landfill — that’s enough waste to fill the outdoor pool at Aquarena 40 times,” she said.
She said when food waste breaks down in landfill, it creates methane, a greenhouse gas which is 23 times more damaging to the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. “Additionally, Australia’s landfill space is almost at capacity, and the cost of disposing of waste in landfill is continually increasing.
“Our focus is to collaborate with the community and provide information to assist residents with the introduction of FOGO,” she said.
By now, every household should have received a FOGO starter kit consisting of a kitchen caddy, a year’s supply (150) of compostable liners, and a new collection calendar.
The plastic-free compostable liners are Australian-certified and are actually made of vegetables.
They are very handy and should be used to help you collect and carry your household food scraps.
From May 2024, Council plans to provide each household with an annual resupply of compostable liners, which will be available to collect from Manningham Civic Centre or the Council Depot.
Remember, only lime green compostable liners with certified symbols of AS 4736 and AS 5810 are allowed to be placed into your FOGO bin.
If households run out before the annual resupply, major supermarkets sell alternatives such as the My Eco Bag brand, which sells a 36-litre, 25-pack for around $10. The FOGO Caddy is designed to be placed in your kitchen, and then, once full, the liner bags can be put into your existing, green-lidded bin, which, as of July 3, is now your FOGO bin.
The food and garden waste will be processed at Bio Gro, an organics facility in Dandenong, turning your organic waste into hi-grade compost, which will be used in farms and gardens across Victoria.
The rollout of the FOGO service also means changing how often bins are collected; the green-lidded FOGO bin will be collected weekly, while the red-lidded bin will be collected fortnightly, rotating collection with the yellow-lidded bins.
Ms Quattrocchi said Council will be tracking how the program is going, through weekly bin audits, to determine if more education is needed.
“Reducing waste to landfill will help us achieve net zero emissions for the organisation’s operations by 2028 and net zero community emissions by 2035,” she said.

What can go in the FOGO bin?

The rule of thumb is if you can eat it and grow it in the ground, you can put it in your FOGO bin.
For example:

  • fruit and vegetables
  • meat and bones
  • seafood
  • eggs and dairy
  • bread and pasta
  • rice and cereal
  • tissues and paper towel
  • shredded paper
  • garden waste
What cannot go in your FOGO bin?

Anything that is not compostable and will not be able to be processed, which includes:

  • food packaging
  • plastic wrapping
  • stickers
  • rubber bands
  • tins
  • biodegradable products
  • clam and oyster shells
  • liquids, fats, greases and oils
  • treated or painted timber and building materials
  • animal waste,
  • cat litter
  • vacuum dust
  • tea bags

Because some tea bags are made with metal staples, plastic, and nylons, they must be cut open with only the tea leaves allowed to go into the FOGO bin.

No change for businesses

Ms Quattrocchi told the Diary, all businesses with a Council commercial waste service will remain on a weekly red-lidded bin collection.
She said collection for business is incorporated within the waste collection of public litter bins which include those at activity centres and bus stops.
Currently, FOGO is not being rolled out for commercial properties.

Will the council charge residents higher rates?

The answer is no, as FOGO will be part of the annual waste service charge.
According to council modelling, the savings made by diverting 40 to 80 per cent of food waste from landfill will account for the cost of the FOGO service, so there should be no additional waste charge for FOGO.
However, households may need to upsize one or all of their bins due to the change in how waste is collected and processed; details of this and the costs involved can be found on Manningham Council’s website.
For households with two or more children under four — who may be impacted due to the necessity to dispose of used nappies, Council offers discounted bin upsizing options saving eligible households around $168 per year.
Details of this scheme and information about Manningham’s waste service, in general, can be found at manningham.vic.gov.au/waste-and-recycling.
Ms Quattrocchi said Council is using a variety of measures to help achieve its corporate and community emission targets, including:

  • Advocating for improved public transport
  • Promoting solar and other energy-saving measures for residents and businesses
  • Investing in water-sensitive urban planning, design, and drainage solutions
  • Harvesting stormwater for open-space irrigation
  • Improving how Council responds to extreme weather emergencies and providing support to vulnerable residents
  • Increasing the number of energy-efficient LED streetlights in Manningham
  • Supporting the rollout of electric vehicle infrastructure
  • Partnering with the Victorian Energy Collaboration (VECO) for wind-powered grid electricity and the Northern Alliance for Greenhouse Action (NAGA).
See the FOGO process in action

Readers who are interested in exactly what happens to their food and garden waste are invited to see for themselves on one of Manningham Council’s tours of the Bio Gro facility.
Tours start and end at Manningham Civic Centre, with a bus to transport those attending to the facility based in Dandenong South.
The next tour is currently scheduled for Tuesday, August 8.
For more information and to book your spot on the tour, visit manningham.vic.gov.au/events/fogo-tours-see-bio-gro-organics-facility.

Hats go in the ring for the Warrandyte Byelection

By SUSAN FOREMAN NAMES ARE beginning to emerge for inclusion on the ballot paper in the August 26 Warrandyte Byelection.
Last month, member for Warrandyte, Ryan Smith MP, announced he would be retiring from Parliament.
His successor for the Liberal candidacy, Nicole Ta-Ei Werner, was announced following a preselection battle.
Since then, other parties have been weighing up their options.
A source from within the Labor party told Warrandyte Diary that the party has yet to decide on their intentions for the seat.
Victorian Greens have announced that the current Deputy Mayor of Manningham, Cr Tomas Lightbody, would be contesting the seat for the Greens.
Minor parties and independents are beginning to emerge, the Freedom Party’s Greg Cheesman has confirmed he is looking to contest the seat, a group calling themselves the Warrandyte Movement are putting up an independent candidate in Vern Hughes, and Raymond “The Snake Man” Hoser announced he would run as an independent.
There are also a host of other whispers about minor parties, Teal and other independents making plans to run.
Keep an eye on the Warrandyte Diary and Manningham & Nillumbik Bulletin over the coming weeks for the full card of starters.

Passing the Liberal baton

The Liberal Party have already preselected their new candidate, which itself was contested by nine hopefuls, among them Manningham Councillor Andrew Conlon, the former Institute of Public Affairs executive director John Roskam, former Eltham candidate Jason McClintock and KPMG director Sarah Overton.
A 22-year-old law student and champion rower, Antonietta di Cosmo also contested the Liberal ticket alongside former political staffer Jemma Townson.
The victorious contender is Nicole Ta-Ei Werner, a 32-year-old former food relief worker for Empower Australia, the charitable arm of Pentecostal church Planetshakers.

Liberal leader John Pessuto announces Nicole Werner at the Warrandyte Candidate.She was also the Liberal candidate for the seat of Box Hill in last year’s State Election and, since then, has been working in the office of Senator Jane Hume.

She said she was “humbled and honoured” that the members chose her as the Warrandyte candidate.
The election is said to be a test of the Liberal party leader John Pesutto, who has overseen infighting and internal divisions, most notably over the expulsion from the party room of Moira Deeming after she attended an anti-trans rally also attended by neo-Nazis.
Ryan Smith was one of those who opposed the expulsion motion. Nicole and Ryan sat down with the Diary as they passed the baton.
Ryan said he was pleased they chose a local person as the new candidate.
“I think she’s the right person,” he said. “There were nine people who put their hand up, five weren’t locals, and I would have been disappointed if the party had selected a non-local.
“So, I’m happy that we got one of the four, and I’ve seen Nicole campaign very enthusiastically and really connect, particularly with many of the younger people.
“I think that party had seen what work she had put in over the last election.
“So, I’m hoping to see that again,” he said.
Nicole had an 8.9 per cent swing against her in Box Hill at the 2022 State Election, but she remains optimistic about a different result in Warrandyte.
“It was my first run as a candidate, and I’ve learnt from that.
“There are setbacks in everybody’s career and life, but I’m a fighter, so I’m back to fight — I want to fight for the people of Warrandyte,” she said.
Nicole said her passion for politics goes back to her family’s story.
“My parents moved from Malaysia for a better life for the family — with quite a backstory as well.
“My maternal grandmother is illiterate; she can’t read or write, she was born into poverty in Malaysia, and her family was too poor to send her to school.”
She said her grandmother was an amazing woman.
“She survived WWII by hiding in the jungle as a child, and as the eldest daughter, the family sent all her siblings to school, but not her; she stayed home to do the housework.
“She tells stories of dropping all her younger siblings at school, and she would peer through the window and try to catch bits of learning where she could.
“She worked as hard as possible to send my mum and her other children to school.
“My mum grew up in that environment, with a degree of poverty, and decided at age 22 to move out here.
“And this is so many migrant stories; you move here for a better life, you make a fresh start for your family.
“Mum recently told me the story where she’s a new migrant, first-time mother, she’s been working two jobs just to get ahead and they have just bought a house, and she is pregnant with me the first child, and she put a hand on her belly, and she said that she would say to me, ‘I want you to be a leader and I want you to change the world’.
“I think that’s always been ingrained in me that there is this hunger and desire to make a difference to the community.
“Politics for me is about that more than anything else,” she said.
She said she is from a multicultural, multi-faith family; her father is Buddhist, her mother is agnostic, her brother is atheist, she has Islamic family members, and she and her husband are Pentecostal Christians.
That is what makes Victoria great, it’s a multicultural multi-faith society, and I will always defend the right for people to have the freedom to worship if they choose to or not, and the religion they choose to practise or not,” she said.
Nicole paid tribute to the job that Ryan has done for the electorate over the last 16 years.
She said people told her she had some big shoes to fill.
“Ryan told me they’re not big shoes, we all do things differently, so they’re just different shoes.
“But he leaves an amazing legacy and has been a beloved local member, and so it does for me mean that they are huge shoes to fill because everyone you speak to just adores Ryan.”
Ryan said he had the same issue when he took over from Phil Honeywood in 2006.
“That was 18 years [that Phil had been in office], but you don’t do it the same; you just do it how you think you need to do it.”
Nicole said she would do a lot the same as Ryan in terms of helping the individual constituent.
“The gold standard is ‘Have I helped this person, have I advocated this issue, have I helped this family?’.
“And that is what I want to do, be someone that helps people and fights for people,” she said.
Ryan said the times sometimes force you to act a certain way.
“When Black Saturday happened, bushfire became the overarching focus of the community for several years, we would have meetings at the community church with over 600 people just to get information on what to do, and so bushfire prep became sort of my thing for a while because I knew the community cared about it, I knew how fragile our situation was in regards to fire.
“But then, when I started, the health of the Yarra River was a big deal — there were E.coli levels through the roof, and the runoff from people’s septic tanks was horrible.
“And so, with those different focuses of the community, drives you to act in a certain way which is different to what my predecessor did, in a different way to what my successor will do as well, the times call for a certain type of person, a certain type of action and a certain way of approaching something,” he said.
Nicole said that living in nearby Blackburn and studying in Donvale, she understood the electorate’s needs.
“This is an incredibly diverse electorate in its population demographics and landscape so that I will campaign on local issues pertinent to each area.
“In Doncaster East and Donvale, there are issues like over-development that people are worried about, and then in areas like North Warrandyte, Warrandyte, Park Orchards there is the Green Wedge as far out as Chirnside Park, and that is an important issue to the locals there,” she said.
But she said some issues transcend geography and demographics, such as the cost of living, noting a conversation she has had with a resident in Park Orchards who has to sell their house due to mortgage stress.
“And when I was working in food relief, we saw a rise during the pandemic, and where we were feeding 3,000 people and in 11 months, we gave away a million meals.
“And that for me was such a wake-up call in the sense of how government decisions impact individuals’ lives,” she said.

 

Greens: Tomas Lightbody

As a young person, Tomas Lightbody says he is keenly aware of the impacts of climate change and the need to phase out fossil fuels like coal and gas.
He said he has also seen how the current housing crisis has left countless Victorians forced to choose between food and rent as renters across the state grapple with mounting rent rises.
If elected, he says he would fight to stop new fossil fuel projects like the disastrous “coal-to-hydrogen” project currently being considered by Labor and push for solutions to the housing crisis, including a big build of public and affordable housing and rent controls.
“Having grown up a Donvale local, I understand the preciousness of our local communities and environments in this seat and feel the urgency with which we need to protect them,” he said.
He says he also understands the importance of supporting those doing it tough amidst the rising cost-of-living.
He said he was inspired to put his hand up for Council in 2020 to be a voice for the young, diverse, and queer communities in his electorate.
And now, he’s ready to be that voice in the Victorian Parliament.
“If elected, I’ll push the Victorian Labor Government to go further and faster on climate change and housing affordability so that we can protect our precious environment and look after people doing it tough,” he said.
During his time on Council, Tomas has secured a local community net-zero target of 2035, increased funding for tree planting, and greater protection for trees on public lands.
He has also fought tirelessly for better public transport, including increased bus links between local activity centres, given there are currently no buses between areas like Wonga Park and Park Orchards, and Warrandyte.
In the Victorian Parliament, Tomas plans to fight for proper funding for maintenance and bushfire mitigation efforts in the Warrandyte state forests and increase infrastructure safety for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists.
The Victorian State Election last year saw the Greens experience their strongest election results ever, with voters electing Aiv Puglielli as their Upper House MLC for the North-Eastern Metropolitan region, which takes in the seat of Warrandyte.
“Support for the Victorian Liberals is currently in freefall, and with Labor potentially not even standing a candidate at all, this byelection will be incredibly unpredictable.
“Every vote for the Greens this byelection sends a message that people want progressive action and that Labor and the Liberals can’t keep going with business as usual and just expect to keep their seats,” Tomas said.

The Warrandyte Movement

A group of local people in Warrandyte is fielding an independent candidate.
The group is called The Warrandyte Movement, and their candidate is Vern Hughes.
The movement describes itself as a group of Warrandyte people, active in local community, arts groups, and small businesses, who want to start somewhere in getting a different kind of politics.
Vern has been described as a community leader and social entrepreneur.
He was the founder of the Social Entrepreneurs Network (Australia and New Zealand) and is a former Director of the Co-operative Federation of Victoria.
He has worked in community health, disability, church, and co-operative and social enterprise organisations for 40 years.
He is also a historian who has written extensively on the history of social movements and community organisations in Victoria.
“I have accepted the invitation to stand as a candidate for The Warrandyte Movement because we all need to do what we can to change politics in Victoria.
“In approaching me, the group wants someone who could play a leadership role, if elected, in spreading the movement across Victoria,” he said.
Vern went on to say he was delighted to accept the challenge.
“We don’t need Left or Right — they have created deep division and cynicism in the community.
“We need a new politics that is about local communities, empowerment of people, and deep integrity.”
Vern says Warrandyte has been traditionally held by the Liberal Party, describing the electorate as a diverse bunch of “small c conservatives”.
“That is, they want to conserve their community, their environment, their jobs, and businesses, in financially sustainable ways.
“They want to conserve families as the bedrock social unit and support everyone to find belonging and stability.
“As conservative-minded people, they are wary of Big Business and Big Government.
“They want bureaucracy kept to a minimum, and they want creativity and initiative to flourish.
“In this sense, I will be a Conservative Independent in Warrandyte.
“The Warrandyte Movement is a movement for the renovation of democracy and government for the 21st century,” said Vern.

Snake Man stands

Raymond “The Snake Man” Hoser has announced he will be running for election in the upcoming byelection as an independent.
He said he would be running on a centrist platform of ethics, economics, law and order, and environment.
Having written books on wildlife, wildlife smuggling, government corruption, and police corruption, and is the self-proclaimed “world’s foremost snake expert”.
He said most people in Warrandyte know The Snake Man as the 24/7 snake catcher “who rocks up at all hours to relocate deadly snakes”.
Raymond has been a Melbourne snake catcher for over 30 years and says he has trained dozens of others across Melbourne and Australia.
Raymond says that only with a strong independent elected to the seat will the local area be properly represented.
“We need representation from a person with a proven track record of running a successful business, honesty, ethics, and an environmental protection record that is the best in Australia”.
At the State level, he says he will seek to cut the excessive size of the bloated public service and the culture of cronyism.
Raymond warns of major party stooges nominating as “independents” or what he called “fake independents”, with Liberal or Labor preference flows, with the sole purpose of disrupting the independent vote to ensure a Liberal win.
Raymond says: “I am needed to deal with the snakes in the Victorian parliament”.

Byelection date announced

Mr Smith’s resignation took effect on July 7.
The Victorian Electoral Commission has announced the byelection will be held on Saturday, August 26, with a two-week early voting period expected to kick off Monday, August 14.
Nominations will officially open in the coming week.
The electoral roll will close shortly after, so make sure your enrolment details are up to date.

Coming together to support our own

EDITORIAL

PEOPLE IN OUR community have recently been involved in a tragic event after witnessing the happiest day of the lives of two of their friends.
The stories that have been flowing about that event across the national and international news are of loss, suffering, and anguish.
Yes, there has been much of that, but we will not be revisiting that here except to acknowledge the hurt and loss of our fellow community members and to honour the bravery of those on the bus on that dark night.
Back home, there has been grief, but it has also been a story of love.
Love for friends and family, love for teammates, and love for neighbours.
Our town has opened its heart to support those that have lost their lives, or their loved ones, or have been injured, traumatised, and distressed.
While I do not for a moment take away from the bravery and the tragedy of those directly involved, I want to take a moment to reflect on the love and care of those who have cared from near and afar.
At the forefront of that is the Warrandyte Sporting Group — most notably the Cricket Club committee, who had media camped outside the clubrooms for days, fielding hundreds of calls from an insatiable media.
The media were there because the whole country cared about what our community was going through, as lives were shattered hundreds of miles from home.
The club’s compassion for the team members and families has been humbling.
They have wrapped their arms around them and given them the support they needed physically, mentally, and emotionally.
When you are part of a sporting club, having to provide trauma support of this magnitude is unimaginable, but they have stepped up and embodied the club’s core values of commitment, respect, integrity, selflessness, and positivity — and above all, mateship.
So, to Royce, David, Rachel, and the rest of the club’s executive, thank you for being the best of Warrandyte.
Member for Menzies, Keith Wolahan, stood up in Federal Parliament to acknowledge the compassion on display in our community.
“Warrandyte is not just a suburb, it is a community,” he said.
And he is so right.
Hundreds of people have opened their wallets to donate what they could to the fundraising efforts — over $55,000 at last count; more than $42,000 has been donated to a GoFundMe page, and Warrandyte Lions Club has donated $5,000 to the cause.
Many have attended the benefit concert at the RSL, which raised $8,000; the benefit day at Donvale Bowls Club; observed the minute’s silence at the football; or offered practical and emotional support to the families involved.
So, to the bride and groom, Maddie and Mitchell, and their families who still reside in Warrandyte; the 13 Warrandytians who travelled to the Hunter Valley to share their special day with their friends, and their families who subsequently flew to NSW to care for them — all of Warrandyte shares your pain, your loss, and your grief.
To the emergency services who attended the worst bus crash in NSW history and the medical staff who treated the injured, thank you from a grateful community for caring for our sons and daughters.
It will be months until the physical injuries heal, and much longer for the emotional scars to fade — some may never.
But, as always, we will go forward, with love.

[AS IT HAPPENED] Tributes Flow

Tributes are going out to those involved in the Hunter Valley bus crash which has killed at least ten people, including Warrandyte woman Darcy Bulman.
The 37 people on the bus were wedding guests of former Warrandyte residents Mitchell Gaffney and Maddy Edsell, including nine members of Warrandyte Cricket Club and their partners.
The couple moved to Singleton about five years ago after growing up in Warrandyte, where they attended Warrandyte High School and played Football, Cricket and Netball for Warrandyte.
Warrandyte Cricket Club president Royce Jaksic said there were up to nine club members and their partners on the bus at the time of the crash.
The club has offered its condolences to the family of Ms Bulman, “a much-loved community member”.
Other members of the club remain in hospital, including her partner, who is a serious but stable condition.
“The remaining Warrandyte Cricket Club members are all recovering well, with some still in hospital.
“The club is supporting them to return home and with their ongoing recovery,” he said.
Mayor Cr Deirdre Diamante released a statement on behalf of Manningham Council.
“I along with the Councillors and all at Manningham are sending our thoughts to the families of the people affected by the horrific bus accident in the Hunter Valley.
“Many people from the Warrandyte Cricket Club were involved and we understand how much this will impact the close-knit community of Warrandyte and surrounds,” she said.
Member for Menzies, Keith Wolahan told the Diary: “We know that Warrandyte’s Sporting clubs are tight-nit.
“They are like a family to each other.
“My thoughts are with everyone impacted by this devastating tragedy.
“My office is standing by to assist in any way we can.”
Anyone who would like to donate to the victims of the crash can do so via Warrandyte Cricket Club’s GoFundMe page or the Rotary Club of Singleton.
Warrandyte RSL, in conjunction with the cricket club, is holding a benefit concert on Sunday June 25.
As part of the RSL’s Bands By The Bridge, Covers in the Corner will perform at the Warrandyte RSL, with proceeds going to support those affected by the crash.

 

Restoring our riverbank

AS VALERIE POLLEY discussed in April’s Warrandyte Diary, [Are we at risk of loving the riverbank to death?] the bank of the Yarra River through Warrandyte is in a parlous state.
As one of Warrandyte’s most significant environmental assets and a community treasure, the Main Yarra Trail requires immediate attention to repair structural damage and revive surrounding native plants.
Heavy rainfall has taken a toll on the trail, resulting in significant erosion and the premature loss of several older trees.
But it is not just the weather impacting our beloved river walk.
The impact from events such as the Festival, Market, Park Run, Pottery Expo, and increased foot traffic during the pandemic has seen erosion and treefall, rubbish, and dog waste, creating stress on the environment around the river.
The flooding events that have been happening with monotonous regularity have only exacerbated this impact.
So, from July, Manningham Council says it will begin restoration works.
Following the floods, to mitigate further damage, temporary measures were implemented by Council, allowing the trail to remain accessible to the community.
However, a council statement said the focus has shifted to long-term restoration efforts to ensure the trail’s sustained functionality and environmental value.
Manningham Mayor, Cr Deirdre Diamante, said, “The Manningham Green Wedge Infrastructure Plan has been considered in the design and approach to the restoration to ensure the works are sustainable and sympathetic to the semi-rural character of the area.”
She said that in collaboration with an expert contractor, Manningham Council is dedicated to restoring the Main Yarra Trail to its full potential for the community’s enjoyment for years to come.

Environmental outcomes

Yarra Riverkeeper Charlotte Sterrett told the Diary the Riverkeeper Association had not been consulted about these works but said any works along the Yarra Trail should not only improve the amenity of the area but lead to a net gain for the river and her parklands.
“This means that the Yarra, Birrarung should benefit ecologically from any works undertaken – it can’t be only about reducing negative impacts from human and dog traffic.”
She said exposed roots, eroded soil, and damage to the vegetation along the Yarra, Birrarung is evidence that we need to better balance people’s needs with the needs of the river.
“Any works should lead to better outcomes for the river and her critters.
“It’s time to recognise that she has rights too.”

Council’s plan

Cr Diamante said restoration activities would include levelling the trail rock bed, adding rocks, weed removal, and additional planting along most of the trail.
She said some sections might require more extensive structural work, such as cement stabilisation underneath the trail and the construction of a retaining wall to prevent further erosion near Police Street.
Enhancements are also planned for the trail at the carpark on the public toilet side of Warrandyte Bridge.
Upgrades to the drainage infrastructure will mitigate stormwater flooding, while the installation of a new concrete shared path will improve accessibility for wheelchairs, cyclists, prams, and pedestrians around the Warrandyte Bridge car park.
The trail restoration works will begin in July 2023, with an anticipated completion date toward the end of this year.
While small sections of the trail will be temporarily closed during construction, detour signage will be prominently displayed to ensure minimal disruption and to allow the community to continue enjoying the trail.

Summary of works along the Main Yarra Trail

All sections: Weeding invasive species and planting natives to encourage new growth.
Path to be refreshed with new toppings and graded to support better drainage.
Section 1 – Everard Drive to Police Street: This section of the trail will be levelled out with rock and weeded, with planting to encourage new growth.
Stiggant Street Carpark and Police Street Carpark will also get minor drainage upgrades, including new drainage pits.
Section 2 Police Street to 81 Yarra Street: This section of the trail has experienced severe erosion.
Council may install a retaining wall at this location to prevent further erosion, ensuring the path can be used in the future.
Section 3 – 83 to 119 Yarra Street: This section of the trail will be stabilised with a cement base and covered with rock to visually blend into the rest of the trail.
The cement stabilisation will prevent severe erosion at this section of the trail to ensure it is always usable.
Section 4: – “The Beach” adjacent to 141 Yarra Street and Webb Street Carpark: The lower path will not be touched.
The upper path will be stabilised.
Section 5 – 141 to 177 Yarra Street: This section of the trail will be levelled out with rock and weeded, with planting to encourage new growth.
Council will also undertake extensive weeding and planting in the Rainwater Garden opposite 177 Yarra Street so the plants in the garden do a more effective job of cleaning incoming stormwater and reducing unnecessary pollution of the waterways.
Section 6 – 183 Yarra Street to the bridge: This section of the trail will be stabilised with a cement base and covered with rock to visually blend into the rest of the trail.
The cement stabilisation will prevent severe erosion at this section of the trail and reduce water ponding in the area.
Section 7 – The carpark on the public toilet side of the bridge: Council will be doing a range of works at this location, including:
Upgrading the drains in the carpark to reduce stormwater flooding in the area.
Removing the gate and adding bollards for better pedestrian access.
Fixing any damaged structures, including the memorial.
Stabilising the trail with a cement base covered with rock to visually blend into the rest of the trail.
Replacing the existing asphalt path with a new concrete shared path, enhancing accessibility for wheelchairs, cyclists, and pedestrians between the carpark and the Main Yarra Trail.
The design of the shared path will be sympathetic to the surrounding environment.
Section 8 – 284 Yarra Street to Tills Drive: Erosion in this section has reached an unacceptable level.
To address this issue, a boardwalk will be installed beneath the oak tree, and in certain areas, the width of the trail path will be expanded from 1.5 to 2+ metres.
These improvements will enable easier access for users travelling to and from Tills Drive, the Stonehouse, and onward to other parts of Warrandyte State Park.
This will provide a better trail connection to and from Warrandyte State Park.
River health
Cr Diamante said that the trail is at great risk of long-term damage due to the heavy and constant rainfall last year.
“We’re undertaking these essential maintenance works now to preserve the trailÕs character and ensure it can continue to be used by future generations.
“Not doing so would pose a significant risk to the long-term viability of the trail,Ó Cr Diamante said.
Ms Sterrett said we all need to play our part in protecting the Yarra, Birrarung and her parklands, “including councils who have signed up to the Yarra Strategic Plan (Burndap Birrarung burndap umarkoo).
“The Yarra, Birrarung is a living entity and deserves to be restored to full health.
“Any works along the river should contribute to her health.
“For too long, we have taken nature for granted and seen her as a resource for personal pleasure and enjoyment.”
She said the Riverkeeper Association expects that the works undertaken by Manningham Council benefit the river “and not just visitors and their dogs”.
“For what is good for the Yarra is good for all,” Ms Sterrett said.
For further details visit manningham.vic.gov.au/news/main-yarra-trail-restoration.

State Budget makes good on Election promises

LABOR CANDIDATE Naomi Oakley made an election commitment before the 2022 State Election to provide $300,000 for new cricket nets for Warrandyte Cricket Club, which has been honoured in the State Budget 2022/23.
Despite Ms Oakley not being successful in her bid for the seat of Warrandyte, and even before the spectre of the Warrandyte byelection was on the cards, MPs for North East Metropolitan Region, Sonja Terpstra and Sean Leane attended the Warrandyte Cricket Club on Budget Day to deliver on that commitment.
She said this will mean that the club can continue to be a place that members and the broader community can stay active and engaged.
“The Andrews Government recognises the importance of community sport,” she told the club executive at the announcement.
“I know you guys do a great job here, you play such an important role and I know this club is an amazing club, how you engage with everyone.
“The sense of community and pride is amazing, so we couldn’t be happier to be delivering that promise,” she said.
Club President Royce Jaksic said last season the club fielded nine Senior sides, 16 Juniors, Over 40s, Over 50s, Over 60s and Over 70s, as well as Women’s and Girls’ teams.
“We’re the largest club in the RDCA, which is amazing because we’re a pretty small community when you think about it,” Mr Jaksic said.
He said next season there were plans for an all-abilities side.
He said the current nets are a health and safety issue as they intrude into the playing field.
“If there’s a game going on out in the centre, particularly cricket, and we’ve got people training, if a six gets hit, someone’s going to get killed,” he said.
He said it is also an issue during the cross over between cricket and football seasons.
A major concern is children can climb on top of the existing cages.
Mr Jasic said the new nets would be designed to make that “impossible”.
Mr Leane said: “The Labor Andrews Government understands that local sporting clubs are at the heart of so many communities.
“It’s why we’re funding upgrades to the Warrandyte Cricket Club.”

Upgrade for dog parks

Ms Terpstra and Mr Leane also announced the Budget was providing funding for upgrading the dog parks at Stiggants Reserve, Warrandyte.
A spokesperson from Ms Terpstra’s office said the announcement was about providing funding, the details of the park “still to be hashed out”.
“They’ll likely be run and maintained by council, with details of the build and requirements to be negotiated, including individual funding amounts”.
He said Stiggants was marked for funding as it is known to be popular with local dog owners.
Exactly what that will look like is still up for speculation, as Manningham Council currently has no plans to make changes to Stiggants Reserve.
Manningham’s Director City Planning, Duncan Turner told the Diary, Council was pleased to see the recent State Budget allocation to upgrade up to 22 dog parks.
“We understand Lawford Reserve Doncaster and Stiggants Reserve Warrandyte are on the list, but we have no further details about the funding,” he said.

Park Orchards Community House

Ms Terpstra and Mr Leane also announced a funding for Park Orchards Community House & Learning Centre a budget allocation of $60,000 to go towards important upgrades to their learning centre.
Ms Terpstra said: “Everyone in Park Orchards knows the community house and learning centre and how they have been serving our community for years.
“I’m proud to give back to those who have given so much to us.”

Ryan Smith calls it a day

THE ELECTORATE of Warrandyte will be going to a byelection following the shock retirement of Ryan Smith MP.
You can read his resignation statement below.
Mr Smith has been the Member for Warrandyte since 2006, after retaining the seat for the Liberal party following the retirement of Phil Honeywood, who had held it since 1988.
Mr Smith joined the opposition frontbench in 2008 and was Minister for Environment and Climate Change and Minister for Youth Affairs during the Baillieu and Napthine governments.
He has served on the frontbench in opposition and has been Shadow Minister for Finance, for Planning and Heritage and for Suburban Recovery.
Following last year’s election in November, Smith had flagged his intention to run for the Liberal leadership, but eventually pulled out of the race.
The resignation will trigger a byelection, which will be seen as a test of Opposition Leader John Pesutto’s leadership.
The Liberals expect the byelection to be held in mid to late August.
Pesutto spoke to the media following the announcement and said he learned of Smith’s resignation like the wider public, by reading his statement.
“I think we all need to respect the way Ryan wanted to own the way he wanted to make these announcements,” he said.
He said the Liberals will “throw everything” at Warrandyte to retain the seat.
I’ll be working, obviously, with the membership and the leadership of the organisational side of the party to make sure we choose the strongest candidate.
“I would very much like to see a woman in amongst the candidates”, Mr Pesutto said.
Several women have already been understood to be lining up for the seat, including the Liberal federal vice-president Caroline Inge, Manningham Councillor Michelle Kleinert, and owner of Bramleigh Estate, Mary-Anne Lowe.
Former Manningham Mayor, Councillor Andrew Conlon is also putting his hand up for Liberal preselection.
There is also talk around former MP for Kew, Tim Smith, who resigned from the Liberal party following a drunken car crash, who has stated he is thinking of running for preselection for the seat.
It is also unclear whether the Labor Party will contest the byelection, but the party’s success at the Aston byelection has given some ALP supporters hope of another upset.
Previous Labor candidate for Warrandyte Naomi Oakley said she was not ruling out a run.
“Whilst I will always take any opportunity to advocate for my community, the ALP will make a decision in coming weeks about whether to contest this byelection.”
Raymond “the Snake Man” Hoser has announced he will be running in the upcoming byelection as an independent.
He released a statement saying he will be running on a centrist platform of ethics, economics, law and order, and environment.
Hoser said: “I am needed to deal with the snakes in the Victorian parliament”.
He said that only with a strong independent elected to the seat will the local area be properly represented.
The Liberals currently hold Warrandyte by a 4.2 per cent margin, so is considered safe Liberal.
People from across the electorate, and beyond, have extended their best wishes to Mr Smith.
Mr Smith’s Federal counterpart, Member for Menzies, Keith Wolahan thanked him for “outstanding service to our community and our state”.
“Wishing you and your wonderful family the very best for what comes next,” Mr Wolahan said.
Both Park Orchards Rate Payers Association and Park Orchards Market Committee took to social media to thank Mr Smith for his dedicated service to the electorate.
Manningham Council released a statement acknowledging and thanking Ryan Smith for 16 years of dedicated service to the Manningham community as the Member for Warrandyte.
Mayor of Manningham, Cr Deirdre Diamante said: “As a former Minister and active local member his impact has been meaningful and significant.
“We wish Ryan and his family all the best in the future.”
Cr Diamante said Council will “use the upcoming byelection to continue to strongly advocate for improvements to roads, transport, services and infrastructure for the Warrandyte electorate”. Prior to politics, Smith spent 18 years in the financial markets working for a number of Australia’s leading institutions before winning election to Parliament in 2006.
His last job before parliament was as Manager of Institutional Banking Service for the Commonwealth Bank.
He says he will be returning to a role in the corporate sector.

Ryan Smith announces retirement from Parliament

IT IS WITH mixed emotions that I have informed the Speaker of my intention to resign from the Parliament of Victoria, with my formal resignation date being July 7.
After over 16 years serving as the Member for Warrandyte, and with a great deal of consideration, I have decided it is time to bring this chapter of my life to a close.
I have been privileged to hold this role and believe that many who choose this career do so with their communities’ best interests in mind.
However, amongst other reasons, I have become increasingly uncomfortable with the growing negative tone of politics, both internally and more broadly.
My role as a community representative has brought me into contact with an amazing array of people throughout the electorate, and I have valued the opportunity to work with and for them all.
I have held over a dozen shadow portfolios through the years of Opposition and, again, the stakeholders connected to these have been a pleasure to meet, and I appreciate everything that they took the time to teach me.
It is important to recognise former Premiers, Ted Baillieu and Denis Napthine, who allowed me to sit at the Cabinet table with them as Minister for the Environment and Minister for Youth Affairs.
I am very grateful for their confidence in me.
Some further words of thanks
Firstly, to my local community – thank you for your support over five election victories.
My hope is that you believed I did my best to represent you and to be responsive to your needs.
Whenever the cut and thrust of politics made me question my career choices, spending time in our community always gave me the positive answer why.
Working as your representative and advocate has been an enormous honour and pleasure.
To my parliamentary colleagues – thank you to those who I have worked alongside over the years.
Particular thanks to those with whom I have developed firm friendships; your companionship and good humour has always been a valued asset.
To the Liberal Party – I am constantly impressed by the people who make up the membership of our great Party.
Thank you to those who have supported my preselections, and to all of those who have put up their hand to help me and the Party right across the state.
Whether it be handing out How to Vote cards or nominating to be a candidate, you are the foundation of our movement. I ask you to never forget our values and principles and to remind those who do.
To the press – thank you for the relationship we have had.
I have found the vast majority of you to be honest, forthright and fair.
You are an integral part of the political process and I welcome your increased willingness to scrutinise those matters which need a light shone on them.
To my many supporters and friends – thank you for everything you have done to support my campaigns, for your wise counsel and your faith in me.
To my staff – these are the people at our Electorate Office’s frontline, the ones who make the first impressions which are pivotal to how we are viewed by our community.
I could not have asked for better.
Thank you to all those who have worked with me over the years, but particular thanks to those who are working with me now.
Helen, who was been with me from the beginning and who has been a treasured confidante.
Marty, whose good humour and patience when dealing with our constituents has made him an invaluable part of our team.
Antonietta, whose infectious enthusiasm always brightens our day
Thank you to each of you.
Finally, a special thank you to my wife, Avril, and my children, Brodie and Jaime.
My son was one when I entered politics and my daughter was born into it.
I am exceedingly proud of both of them and they have been, not only the lift I need when I get home, but a big reason why I work to try to make things better for our community.
Avril – thank you for supporting me on this journey, which is just a part of our lives together.
I could not have asked for a better companion through these years, and I am looking forward to the next stage of our lives together.
I wish the next Member for Warrandyte the very best of luck and remain optimistic that the contest of ideas will ultimately provide Victoria with its best days ahead.
I will not be making further public comment at this stage.

Designer shortlisted for prestigious design award

RENOVATING is a dream for many people.
We have all watched those reality TV shows where a complete home renovation comes together in the space of an episode.
The “reality” is a bit more complicated than that.
So where do you start, and who do you speak to?
You can manage it all yourself — finding architects, plumbers, electricians, plasterers, painters, tilers, and cabinetmakers — or employ someone with the expertise and knowhow to make everything come together seamlessly, on time, and within budget.
Ok, so who?
This is where Warrandyte local Michelle Sterling from Sterling Renovations comes in.
With 15+ years of experience and countless head-turning projects completed, Michelle says she can help you make your dreams a reality.
And it is not just Michelle’s customers who think she is brilliant at what she does; luxury kitchen appliance manufacturer Gaggenau also loves her work.
A kitchen designed by Michelle for a home in St. Kilda caught the attention of Gaggenau’s judges and was shortlisted in the 2022 Kitchen of the Year Awards.
Michelle has lived in the area for over 15 years, moving to her current home in Warrandyte in 2021, which she has spent the last two years lovingly renovating.
If she is not sighted with sandpaper and paintbrush in hand, you might catch her floating down the Yarra on a somewhat questionably buoyant floaty thing.
Michelle sat down with the Diary to discuss her passion for creating amazing spaces.
“I used to be in the beauty industry, and during that time, I was buying and renovating houses.
I said to myself, ‘you know what? — this is what I’d rather be doing’.
So I opted for a complete career change, went back to university, and studied interior decoration and design, and that’s where it all began.
Initially, I worked predominantly in kitchen design, then progressed to laundries and bathrooms.
Now my work has expanded into many different areas — all types of cabinetry, even complete house renovations.”
Michelle said that often her clients have just moved into a house and want to renovate everything — kitchen, bathroom, laundry, wardrobes, living room.
“I begin by obtaining a design brief from the client and then respond with a proposed design concept.
“We then discuss the pros and cons of various materials and finishes, and I provide samples for the client to ponder over.”
She said she then produces computergenerated plans and elevations for the trades to work from.
“Sometimes the plans are for the client’s builder whom I liaise with — other times clients need me to provide and coordinate all the trades; I’m happy either way.”
She said being a woman with a comprehensive knowledge of the building industry helps her to translate ideas from the homeowner into language the tradies understand.
“I often assist clients who don’t know anything about the trades required for their project.
“I manage all the tradespeople and deal with all the headaches, so the client doesn’t have to,” she said.
Michelle says the surprising thing about engaging the services of Sterling Renovations is that it costs less than you might expect.
Her job is to prevent you from making expensive mistakes that could have been easily avoided with the correct advice.
Michelle works with professional trades that deliver work to a high standard and turn up when expected.
As an independent designer, Michelle works for you, not for a large company on commission, so she has your best interests at heart.
She can visualise how a space will look and advise on the suitability of different design considerations, colours, and materials.
From experience, she knows what will work and what will not.
Michelle insists it is important that your space not only looks fabulous but is also practical and functional.
Often, she is able to create designs that clients have never thought of, providing options that incorporate your ideas and her suggestions for a fantastic outcome.
So, whether it is a luxurious kitchen, tranquil bathroom retreat, enviable wardrobe storage or a complete house renovation, Sterling Renovations can make it happen.
Michelle is offering a free one-hour initial consultation for your next house renovation for residents of Warrandyte and surrounds until the end of April, mention this article when arranging your consultation.
Call her on 0413 745 485
michelle@sterlingrenovations.com.au.