News

War Memorial shines as Warrandyte remembers


DAMP weather did not deter hundreds turning out for the Anzac Day memorial service this year at the Warrandyte RSL.
Some 150 people participated in the march from Whipstick Gully to the memorial at the RSL.
Lead by Ennio Torresan the march consisted of returned servicemen and women, their families, dignitaries and members of CFA, Scouts, Guides and local sporting groups.
The marchers were joined by an estimated 800 strong crowd to take part in the service around the memorial.
The address was conducted by John Byrne, who recalled the service of the late William Stringer who served in both World Wars, living in Warrandyte until his death at age 70 in 1965.
And what would Anzac Day be without the Bellbird Singers beautiful rendition of I am Australian and Barry Carozzi performing his haunting It’s Not a Soldiers Job to Question Why?
Following the requisite minute’s silence, wreaths were laid on the war memorial by local members of parliament Kevin Andrews and Ryan Smith along with representatives of other community groups and members of the public.
The memorial was vandalised on Sunday night prompting swift action by the community to restore the shrine in time for the Service.
Ryan Smith MP told the Diary he was inspecting the damage when he learned that the RSL was going to have to put on extra security to ensure the vandals did not return again before the service.
“I was lucky to be here at the right time because I was able to offer to pay half of the $700 costs of the added security which the RSL would otherwise have to find from their own pockets,” he said.
Warrandyte RSL President Hank Van de Helm thanked the community for the huge support that was given to the club after the desecration of the memorial.
Federal Minister Kevin Andrews said the act was “absolutely disgusting”.
“But the best answer to that is so many people turning out today,” he said.
Local Councillor Paul McLeish said he was “proud of the way the community came together to right a wrong”.
The restored memorial looked better than ever, so the silver linings from this despicable act were that Warrandyte’s war memorial received a face-lift and the RSL received that warm sense of community that rose from Warrandyte rallying together to erase the damage to our beloved institution.

Vandals fail to break Warrandyte’s spirit


THE WARRANDTYE community awoke to the sad news that the RSL memorial had been vandalised overnight.
The graffiti displayed the symbol for anarchy and the words “War is Murder”.
While vandalism is always a hurtful act, the defacing of the RSL’s war memorial on the eve of Anzac Day was felt particularly strong within the community.
The council were quick to act and soda-blasted the offending marks.
However, this process also strips the gold trim out of the words on the memorial.
Stephen Papal from Advanced Stone, a company that specialises in the making bespoke headstones and memorials, contacted the RSL directly to volunteer his company’s services and restore the memorial back to its former glory.
“I know what it’s like for RSLs and clubs to try and find the money to cover up something that’s been vandalised.
“I rang them because I knew they’d soda-blast it, the process should be to sand it and touch up where the graffiti has been.
“This will look magnificent tomorrow”, said Mr Papal.

Stephen and Ben Papal from Advanced Stone volunteering their services

Local Member of Parliament, Ryan Smith also visited the memorial to see the damage for himself and personally thank the men who had come out to undo the damage.
In an interview with the Warrandyte Diary, Mr Smith expressed his appal on last night’s criminal act.
“It’s just completely appalling that this has happened in Warrandyte, the vandals that did this — the very freedom that they are making a statement against were fought for by the people remembered at this memorial… that this has happened in Warrandyte is just disgraceful.”
Mr Henk Van Der Helm, President of the Warrandyte RSL stated: “We are pretty disgusted with this act but we’ve been able to clear it off”.
The Warrandyte RSL have decided to pay for security around the War Memorial tonight over concerns that the publicity that has been generated may encourage the “ratbags” to return.
Mr Van Der Helm is confident that the Anzac day ceremony will go ahead, as planned, tomorrow morning.
Victoria Police have issued a public appeal for information relating to the vandalism of the memorial, acting Sergeant Nick Bailey stated: “It’s sad to see this attempt to diminish the spirit of the ANZACs with this disrespectful act.”
If you have any information regarding last nights graffiti, please contact Crimestoppers on:
1800 333 000
Despite the attempts to deface the Warrandyte memorial, the RSL’s Anzac Day service will go ahead tomorrow morning, as planned.
The march will start from Whipstick Gully at 10:30am with a service to follow from 11am.

Whimsical wares in Warrandyte


Suzanne Reid’s favourite appliance isn’t her microwave or television – it’s her sander and these days it’s been working overtime bringing life back to old furniture.

As a lover of all things ‘whimsical’, Suzanne enjoys nothing more than finding discarded treasure and giving it a new life with some TLC, sanding or Danish oil.

She has a natural talent for looking at what some might call rubbish and see it in a new light with a varnish, a polish or lick of paint and turn it into beautiful, useable piece for the everyday home.

Originally Suzanne started putting her creations on eBay as a hobby but found her pieces were selling quickly and were in high demand.

When a shop in Warrandyte became available she knew this was her opportunity to expand her designs and wares and share with the community.

Her son Campbell also has a keen eye for finding those distinctive items as well as helping out in the store after school or on weekends.

With four uncles, three of which live on farms, she has a fabulous source of stock from clearing sales and estate auctions — plus her close family are on board, finding the odd gem at a garage sale or op shop and passing it on for refurbishment.

Suzanne occasionally buys items from the Rotary Op Shop, spends some time sprucing it up and when it sells, she donates 10% back to the Op Shop.

Whimsical Treasures has been cleverly set out with a theme of each room in a home such as a dining room, kids space, lounge and more.

This adds to the intimate ambience that is inviting and intriguing with little items sprinkled throughout each theme.

Look out for the cute little knitted bears, rabbits and pigs handmade just for the store.

Suzanne can accept items from the public that they’d like her to spruce up such as a sideboard or table – as long as they can fit in her front door.

She is also happy to accept donations that support her unique vintage/retro /repurpose style.

You can find Whimsical Treasures at the rear of 250 Yarra Street, Warrandyte

Further information: 0418 825 653 or email suzanne@whimsicaltreasures.com.au

Facebook is coming soon.

Warrandyte’s word wizards


THE Grand Read may not have been going for as long, but this literary event has long been the cherry on top of the fabulous cake that is the Warrandyte Festival.

Grand Read regular Jock Macneish gave a warm introduction, setting the tone for an intimate evening in the packed-out function room of the Grand Hotel.

This year’s featured writer was Arnold Zable.

He is an advocate for human rights and a lot of his work focuses on the experience of immigrants.

He has many literary accolades to his name, including: People’s Choice Award: Tasmanian Pacific Fiction Prize for his novel Cafe Scheherazade (2003), nomination for The International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for Sea of Many Returns (2010), and Life membership to Writers Victoria (2015).

Arnold Zable writes about refugees and the plight of the human condition, he describes his writing as a “beacon of hope for those displaced, disconnected, and disorientated”.

He described his writing as “painting with words” and before every passage read he would ask the audience of close to 100 if we could “see it”.

Zable chose to read from his latest book The Fighter: A True Story.

He writes about the life of Henry Nissen, an immigrant from Germany who settled in the working class suburbs of Melbourne and represented Australia as a flyweight boxer in the 1960s and 1970s.

Zable’s words recreate the harsh world that Nissen grew up in, but he spun his prose poetically and the audience hung on every word.

The Fighter: A True Story has been shortlisted for the 2017 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Fiction.

The Grand Read frequently favours poetry over prose, as the shorter form fits well with the evening’s format.

Following Arnold Zable’s poetically woven words were a series of enjoyable poems from a variety of artists.

John Jenkins read extracts from his poem The Wine Harvest, a poem that reflects on a time, in 1999, when he worked as a labourer on the wineries of the Yarra Valley.

His poem displayed some wonderful allegoric qualities as he recounted the hard life of a labourer through wine tasting terminology.

Karen Throssell, who has published a number of poetry books including Chain of Hearts, and The Old Kings and Other Poems, and who currently teaches Creative Writing classes in Diamond Creek, took the evening along a path of politics with a whimsical poem exploring her observations of Donald Trump’s youngest child during Trump’s victory party following the 2016 US presidential election.

Andrew Kennon reflected on his experiences in the High Country.

Sandy Jeffs, originally from Ballarat, is a poet who writes about her experiences living with schizophrenia.

She is an advocate for living with mental illness and author of the best-selling book Poems from the Madhouse.

For the Grand Read, Jeffs read a couple of poems: Cold Chemical Comfort illustrated the numbing effects of modern day drugs, while her poem about celebrity and the fascination with it that popular culture demands, was sobering but refreshingly chemical.

Kevin Bonnett, author of De-icing the wings, read from his poem Lake Louise as well as a series of responses to photographs.

Laurie Webb is a bush poet who spends a lot of time working with local communities in Africa.

He read from his latest poem Gratitude Journal which is based on his experience with PTSD after being involved in a car crash in the Congo.

The evening also featured a reading from Warrandyte’s own Jock Macneish, whom recounted a trip he made some years ago to Scotland, where he went on a journey to find George Orwell’s lost motorcycle.

You can read his story in the travel section of this month’s Diary.

The evening was a wonderful finish to the festival and the poetry and prose on show was stimulating and inspiring.

If you have never been to the Grand Read before, then make sure you come along next year, I certainly cannot wait to see who they will have on show in 2018.

Spot the platypus


Autumn is a great time to set up a blanket by the Yarra at dawn or dusk with a thermos of tea and gaze out at the water and now we have found the best excuse ever to do just that — Melbourne Water is calling on citizen scientists to help spot the elusive platypus.

With the sustained drought over the first ten years of this century, platypus were struggling, however researchers are hopeful that the monotreme’s population is on the rise again.

Jean-Michel Benier from Melbourne Water told the Diary that the Yarra tends to be a refuge to platypus in times of environmental stress — such as drought, flood or bushfire.

“When conditions are good we see more platypus in tributaries, such as the Diamond Creek, Mullum Mullum, and even one recently sighted in Darebin Creek for the first time in 10 years,” he said.

Research partner and wildlife ecologist Josh Griffiths from Cesar Australia said that the Yarra is immensely important for platypus populations.

“Mullum Mullum creek is actually one of the creeks that didn’t show a decline during the drought, even though it is quite a small creek because it is still connected to the Yarra and there is a relatively healthy population in the Yarra — we think the animals keep coming in and out.

“That deeper water of the Yarra provided a bit of a buffer against the drought, so when a lot of these creeks dried up the animals moved into the Yarra and as the water comes back, they move back into those little creeks — so you know the Yarra river is incredibly important for these animals”, said Mr Griggiths.

The research team are pleased that platypus numbers — since the end of the drought — are beginning to increase due to increased water availability and the continuing work of cleaning up the environment.

“There is more water around which means better conditions generally and there has also been a number of habitat improvement works happening, Melbourne Water, and other community groups, do things like weed removal and revegetation, remove litter out of creeks, stabilise banks — create better habitat for them to live in,” said Mr Griffiths.

Melbourne Water have partnered with Cesar to study the health of platypus populations and they need your help.

They have released a website and a smartphone app to collect data on wild populations in the Yarra River and across the rest of the country.

“We would love for people to contribute their observations of platypus to our PlatypusSPOT program,” said Mr Bernier.

The PlatypusSPOT website and smartphone app allows users to upload photos and descriptions of platypus seen in the wild.

“These observations help us to monitor the location and abundance of platypus across Melbourne,” he said.

 How to spot a platypus.

Josh Griffiths says spotting platypus in the river can be very difficult.

“Even for myself, who has seen hundreds of them, they can be difficult to see, because they live in the water and they have a very low profile in the water — they don’t stick up like a duck,” he said.

Platypus are most often active at night, so platypus are best spotted at dawn and dusk.

“Look out for some ripples in the water to suggest there is something there, then there is the fur and the low profile to distinguish it from a duck — the thing they get confused with quite a bit is our native water rat (rakali) and they can look very similar in the water — so look for the distinctive bill of the platypus or the nice rounded tail, Mr Griffith said.

Jean-Michel Benier suggests the main ingredients for spotting platypus: “Patience and luck!”.

“It is best to sit in one place for about 20 minutes and observe any bubbles and ripples on the surface of the water — Platypus will generally dive for around 30 seconds then float at the surface to consume their food for around 10 seconds,” he said.

The PlatypusSPOT app contains more tips and photographs that can also help distinguish between a platypus and rakali.

 How to help the platypus

“Platypus need deep water, so the less water that we use the more that can go back into the environment, even though the drought is finished it is really important that people are still really water conscious,” said Mr Griffiths

At an individual level there are several ways to help the platypus.

“Platypus often get tangled in litter, fishing lines, or anything that forms an enclosed loop like a rubber band.

“Keep an eye on dogs around the waterway — at this time of the year when there are juvenile platypus starting to come out of the burrows, they are a bit naïve, they get taken by dogs and foxes,” he said.

Of major concern are opera house nets, which are used to catch yabbies and crayfish:

“Unfortunately they are illegal in public waters but they are still used very regularly, I think a lot of people aren’t aware that they pose a risk to platypus and water rats and to turtles that go in those nets and drown very quickly.

“The nets get thrown into the water and they are fully submerged and a platypus can only hold its breath for a couple of minutes, they go in there chasing the yabbies that go in there, so [the traps] basically become a baited trap for platypus – they are still very widely available and I think a lot of people just aren’t aware of the dangers they pose,” he said.

 Using technology to track platypus.

As well as using traditional methods, or citizen science projects like PlatypusSPOT, researchers are using increasingly hi-tech, non-invasive, methods to monitor platypus populations.

“We are now also using a new technique called environmental DNA (eDNA), which allows us to take a sample of water from a location and search for DNA markers that are unique to platypus — using this method, we can tell if platypus have been in the water at a given location,” said Mr Benier.

“We can go out and take a water sample and actually look for genetic traces in the water and identify platypus as well as other species in the water – it’s a lot more efficient than going out doing trapping all night and they are quite sensitive and cost effective, so that is providing another avenue where we can monitor the populations”, added Mr Griffiths.

The PlatypusSpot App is available from the Apples Store or Google Play

Road closures for Festival Parade


Warrandyte Police have issued a reminder about road closures during Saturday morning’s Festival Parade down Yarra Street.

Sergeant Stewart Henderson advised residents and visitors that Yarra Street will be closed between Kangaroo Ground Road and Harris Gully Road for the duration of the parade (1100-1200) however police traffic blocks will be in place 10 minutes prior to this.

“All side streets off Yarra Street will be barricaded for the duration of the parade and manned by emergency management personnel to prevent vehicles turning into Yarra Street and there will be reduced access across the bridge for about 10 – 15 mins as the floats and other vehicles exit Tills Road and head West along Yarra Street,” he said.

All Southbound traffic crossing the bridge during the parade will be turned East towards Ringwood, with West bound traffic along Ringwood-Warrandyte Road diverted along Falconer Street and only those vehicles going to Wonga Park and Croydon Road will be able to get through.

Police will be setting up a traffic management point at Jumping Creek Road and Ringwood Warrandyte Road where Wonga Park bound traffic can turn right but no traffic will be allowed to continue on towards Warrandyte.

“We recommend traffic travelling from Ringwood towards Warrandyte are encouraged to turn left at Falconer Road to avoid being turned around at Jumping Creek Road,” Sgt Henderson said.

For those parents dropping children off for the parade he suggested: “arrive early as there will be limited parking along Yarra Street and once the Roadblocks are in place no vehicles will be allowed through.”

Additionally, Stiggant Street will be closed to traffic for the entire weekend with the exception of residents, emergency services, St Stephen’s church attendees, 2017 Parking Permit holders and vehicles with an accessibility parking permit, while Police Street will be closed on Sunday morning during the Billy Cart Derby.

Telstra support fails Warrandyte

  • Crisis with phone infrastructure affects Warrandyte businesses and homes.
  • Lines in a plastic bag.
  • Pit covers broken.
  • Telstra support a nightmare.
  • Business without phones for over a week.

 On the weekend of February 11, Troy Hagan Managing Director of Intermax, a company operating out of Husseys Lane, noticed a Telstra contractor re-terminating the cables running down that street.

On the Monday morning, he noticed that the work appeared to be only partially completed and the connections were now wrapped up in a plastic bag and secured by tape.

Arriving at work, Mr Hogan found that the first of his incoming phone lines was dead.

Callers to the business received a ring tone, but the line was not connected.

As this was the first line of a rotary group and was not “busy”, the incoming calls did not rotate onto the other lines — meaning effectively the company was unable to receive any calls.

This was, of course, immediately reported to Telstra Business Faults and a reference number provided by them.

Mr Hogan has provided the Diary with a copy of a long log detailing many calls they made over the course of that week trying to get the issue resolved.

“This is so frustrating,” he said, “we pay Telstra tens of thousands of dollars a year.”

He explained that they even persuaded him to enter into an extra contract whereby Telstra would support their NEC PABX system.

“This seems to have backfired because Telstra are now blaming the fault on our NEC system, whereas it is blindingly obvious to us that the fault has occurred because of shoddy line work in the street,” he said.

The final straw for Mr Hogan was when he received a call from Telstra’s Dandenong Business Centre who said they had tested the line.

“They confirmed that there was a fault in that the phone line was no longer attached to the PABX but they could not send out a technician to repair same until we had completed a consent form to agree to pay if no fault was found — and we needed to provide credit card details in advance,” he said.

By the end of the week Telstra had finally put a diversion on the number to a mobile phone — so at least the company could receive a single incoming call at a time — even though no-one had appeared to rectify the fault.

The following week a technician did finally arrive and said he had been asked to call after enquiries by the Warrandyte Diary.

He discovered that the connection was in fact broken inside the plastic bag, so he re-made the connection and installed a proper junction box.

 Lack of support

Although the Warrandyte telephone exchange is well equipped and up-to-date it is now very clear that the infrastructure of cables in the street is showing its age and is being very poorly maintained, if at all.

For instance, the Diary has spoken to the postman covering Research-Warrandyte Road who has an ongoing battle trying to get Telstra to fix a broken pit cover opposite Bradleys Lane, which presents a safety hazard for his motorbike and for pedestrians.

The issue is compounded because the support system for faults is simply not working.

Many readers tell us of their frustration of trying to get through to Telstra’s call centre in the Philippines to log a fault — and when this is finally achieved often nothing happens.

No-one from Telstra phones back and no-one comes to correct the fault, and so the whole process has to be started again.

Customers who have left Telstra and gone to another service provider for their landline phone or internet are at an even greater disadvantage, because it is Telstra alone who maintain the infrastructure so the support case has to be forwarded on to them by the other company.

In the April 2014 Diary, after many complaints of this type, we advised that Telstra had set up a dedicated team to answer questions regarding issues in the Warrandyte area.

To test how this arrangement was working we called the number.

The person who answered told us that all the contact details had changed, and that someone would get back to us with the correct details.

This has not happened.

So the Diary tried the email address previously given for this local support, related the ongoing saga at Intermax, and asked what dedicated local support is available for Warrandyte residents and business (the following day, the technician turned up at Intermax).

James Kelly, State Media Manager Victoria & Tasmania at Telstra Corporate Affairs advised the 1800 number and email address previously given to locals was to address a set of very specific problems relating to localised network issues and ADSL availability performance some customers may have been experiencing.

“Since that time Telstra has worked to the issues and concerns raised and there are about 581 ADSL2+ ports at the local exchange available for customers to connect to,” he said.

Mr Kelly suggested locals can get in touch with Telstra in several ways, including online through telstra.com, Telstra’s Facebook page, and on Twitter via the @Telstra handle, or by calling the Telstra contact centre on 132 200.

The closest retail stores are at The Pines in Donvale, or Eastland in Ringwood.

For issues relating to fixed lines services in normal operating circumstances, Telstra has in place customer service guarantees for restoration of service; there are various categories and conditions that apply to this but in most cases the response commitments are measured in days rather than hours.

 

Innings over for old scoreboard


Around 50 years of Warrandyte’s sporting history is in jeopardy as the Warrandyte Sports Club upgrades its scoreboard.

The old scoreboard, which was reportedly built in the 1960s, was condemned several years ago and the Warrandyte Sports Group has received a $20,000 grant from Bendigo Bank to install a new LED scoreboard to replace it, which is currently under construction.

President of the Warrandyte Historical Society, Margaret Kelly, is concerned the community has not been consulted on the fate of the old structure.

“It is the only item in the precinct that gives a sense of history, the only visible link with the past, and these facilities are disappearing across Australia,” she said.

Treasurer of the Warrandyte Sporting Group John Chapman says the sports club does not have a say in retaining the old scoreboard, as the structure is owned by the Council.

The Historical Society has written to Manningham Council, querying whether the structure can be refurbished and moved to the small oval, but they are yet to receive a response.

News of the imminent demolition of the scoreboard has caused an outcry on social media:

“Hopefully they can relocate it to the small oval.

“Too many things in Warrandyte just get torn down,” said Robin Curry on Facebook.

The new scoreboard is due to be completed in time for the beginning of the football season and the old scoreboard will be demolished shortly after unless a plan can be made for its refur- bishment and relocation.

 

Warrandyte runs again


Saturday Market means the first weekend of the month is always a busy time for Warrandyte, but last Sunday Warrandyte was a-buzz with runners of all shapes, sizes and ages as the Sports Club hosted the annual Run Warrandyte fun run.
A slightly overcast morning made for perfect running conditions, the run organising committee were excited to report their best participant numbers ever with over 600 registered runners.
The run attracted many regular runners, including the Wooten family who had the whole family at the event.
Even the footy players were involved in the action.
“It’s a community event so we get the footy players involved in participation, one club one community,” said Pete Muskat, a member of the Warrandyte Football club.
The weather and the general condition of the participants was particularly good this year with
super-speedy times set in the four endurance distances.
The 15K winner, Brynton Ashton, set a time of 1:02:21 which given the hilly nature of the course is impressive.
But the day was more about families having fun through exercise, as young Henry Bate (pictured left) demonstrated when he took on the 2.2K run with his family.
Henry managed to run the course —with the help of his dad— in 23 minutes.
This year, as well as the marshals and the CFA, runners out on course were entertained with live music on the corner of Pound Bend Road; volunteer marshal Ben Treyford expressed his delight in having the addition of a live band on course.
“They were awesome, we clapped after each song and even the less serious runners had a bit of a dance as they came through,” he said.
Run Warrandyte also featured “The Gift” for its second year.
The 100m handicapped heats were,
once again, a great success and have established themselves as an integral part of the Run Warrandyte experience.
The calculated handicapping by Gift organiser, Peter Sharpe, saw competitors run their hearts out in a thrilling grand final, which saw all seven competitors finish in under 12 seconds.
The winner of the Gift was Nicolas Sharpe who ran the 100 meters in 11.335.

Gift winner Nicolas Sharpe crossing the line in the thrilling final

Commentator Craig Davidson took a few minutes to speak to the Diary and reflect on the event.
“As far as coming down here at 6am on a Sunday morning, I cannot think of any other place to be, it’s sensational.
“My fellow commentator Tim, who has commentated on a number of these events, he was astounded with the times in which the runners were coming through — especially in the 10 and 15K events.”
Our Diary photographers were out and about on the day taking some awesome snaps of the running action, check out our Run Warrandyte page on the Diary website for a selection of pictures from the event.

Full race results for the endurance distances can be found on the Run Warrandyte page of the Warrandyte Sports Club website.

Warrandyte Bridge: Official illustrations


Illustrations by: Peter Edgeley

Police appeal for witnesses to Yarra Street crash


On Monday February 20 at around 6:40am there was a collision on Yarra Street involving a truck and a parked car.

Sergeant Stewart Henderson of Warrandyte Police is appealing to the public for any witnesses to last Monday’s incident.

In a statement to the Diary, Sgt Henderson said: “We are interested in either the driver’s actions prior to the accident, at the time of the accident or any actions of the driver after the accident.”

If you witnessed the accident or have any information relating to it, please contact Warrandyte Police or email warrandyte.uni@police.vic.gov.au

On your marks Warrandyte

WITH only one month to go, volunteers were representing Run Warrandyte at the February Riverside Market last Saturday.

The annual event, which is now in its sixth year, grows in both event size and distances.

Now a regular event in Warrandyte on the March sporting calendar, this year’s Run Warrandyte has partnered with charity Stop, One Punch Can Kill (SOPCK) making this year’s event not only a celebration of fitness within the community but also a stand, or should I say sprint, against violence too.

“We are very excited to include SOPCK in our event this year,” said David Dyason of the Run Warrandyte Committee.

“We have introduced a team fundraising aspect to this year’s event with prizes being awarded to the team which raises the most money for the charity.”

The SOPCK charity was set up in the wake of the death of David Cassai, who was a killed on New Year’s Eve 2012.

Mr Cassai had ties to the local community as he attended Warrandyte High School and often watched the footy.

The Warrandyte footy club got behind the SOPCK campaign in the 2016 season.

As one-punch deaths become an increasing problem, sports clubs are often used as a conduit to engage young people in the Stop campaign, and with the sports club contributing to the management and facilities that Run Warrandyte uses, it seems fitting to have SOPCK as the event’s first official charity.

“People like the philosophy of running, but are often put off by the physical aspect.”

“I think having a fundraising part to the run will encourage people to sign up and get out on the course,” said John, a member of the Run Warrandyte team.

The course is similar to last year with one loop that brings runners back to the sports oval; run distances are determined by the number of laps they do.

The Run Warrandyte Committee will have the usual support of the local fireys, keeping everyone cool, as well as some on-course entertainment to keep everyone’s spirits up on that long climb up to The Pound.

The Grand Hotel Gift, a 100 metre, handicapped sprint is also back after last year’s successful integration into the running event.

While registration for the Gift alone is possible, participants in the 2.2K, 5K, 10K and 15K distances are encouraged to also enter the Gift as entry for these people is complimentary.

To help with training, Run Warrandyte local personal trainer Chris of RivvaPT has produced a training plan, which is available through the Run Warrandyte Facebook page, for the 5K and 10K distances.

“We have had a number of people ask us if we can walk any of the runs,” said Mr Dyason.

“Because we have to close public roads, if people want to only walk, we suggest they enter the 2.2 or 5K event.”

The Gift and the longer runs all start and finish on the oval, where a number of local clubs and businesses are expected to be on display, making it a great morning out for both runners and non-runners.

The run takes place on March 5.

Run Warrandyte registration can be found online and the Run Warrandyte team regularly posts updates and competitions on their Facebook page.

Further delays to NBN rollout

NBN’s three-year plan for deployment, which was announced in the December 2015 issue of the Diary, stated that residents in the east of Warrandyte would receive NBN by fixed wireless commencing first quarter 2017, and the majority of people in Warrandyte and North Warrandyte would receive NBN by fibre-to-the-node commencing in the second half of 2017.

As these dates are now upon us, we asked NBN Co how things were progressing.

Michael Moore, Manager of State Corporate Affairs at NBN Co, told the Diary due to network design changes, he was unable to provide an accurate update of the construction schedule for Warrandyte.

“The best I can suggest is that people use the new check your address function on the front page of NBN Co’s website to find out information relating to their premises. They can also register for updates. I expect greater clarity by March,” he said.

Checking a number of addresses in Warrandyte and North Warrandyte, which were originally to be covered by fixed wireless, shows, in all cases, an availability date of January to June 2018 – with an asterisk indicating “this is an estimate and could change”.

As no plans have yet been lodged for the proposed wireless tower to the east of Warrandyte and the promised community information sessions have not been scheduled, it would appear that fibre-to-the- curb (FTTC) technology could be under consideration for the east of

Warrandyte previously planned to be covered by fixed wireless.

FTTC is a new technology which sits halfway between fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP), a solution scrapped by the current government where fibre would have been taken to every home/office, and fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) where fibre would be installed to boxes in the street within 1km from each premises, the “last mile” being handled through existing telephone cabling.

With FTTC the fibre is taken to the pillar or pit, which would be much nearer the destination premises than with FTTN.

Also FTTC technology is reverse powered at the pit or pillar from the network termination device (NTD) in the home/office, obviating the need for a power supply that would have been necessary at the node for FTTN and thereby reducing costs.

The downside is a further delay in implementation; the upside is that since the FTTC point would be nearer each premises than with FTTN, faster speeds will be possible. Meanwhile, around 100 Warrandyte residents have given their support to a petition circulating on the change.org website calling on local state member Ryan Smith to urge Telstra to upgrade the Warrandyte exchange and speed up NBN implementation because it is needed for reliability of communications in a bush fire situation.

This petition is well-meaning but somewhat misdirected and is unlikely to achieve any speed-up of the process.

Firstly, the NBN is being implemented by NBN Co not by Telstra, secondly this is a federal matter not a state one, thirdly the Warrandyte telephone exchange is a state-of-the-art modern exchange and does not need upgrading, and finally, the NBN, although providing much faster internet connectivity, is unlikely to be any more resilient in a bush fire situation than current ADSL systems.

The message at the moment is not to expect anything in the short term. The Diary will keep you updated with further developments and hopefully we can reveal more in the April edition.

Potters wheel into Warrandyte again

Around 70 potters from across Victoria and New South Wales will be descending on Warrandyte for the 17th annual Pottery Expo.

With a variety of wares, from fine porcelain to garden sculpture, the potters will display their creations along the banks of the Yarra on February 25-26.

The Pottery Expo at Warrandyte was instigated by local studio potter, Jane Annois in February 2001, after she saw the French Marche de Potiers [Potters Markets] of France.

“The first time I went to France, to Lyon, I was blown away, there was 170 stands of potters, and you couldn’t move, there were so many people, it was so exciting, the French said, ‘you don’t have potters’ markets in Australia? and they said you ’must start one’. So I did,” said Ms Annois.

The exhibitors have been invited on a basis of excellence, with variety and innovation foremost in the selection panel’s criteria.

This year’s feature artist at the Warrandyte Expo is John Tuckwell from Bellingen in NSW, who works in porcelain coloured slips.

“He is also going to give us a work-shop on the Wednesday March 1 at the Mechanics Institute, for beginners and experienced potters,” Ms Annois said.

Click here to book John Tuckwell’s workshop.

Several local artists will also join the expo, including three members of the Pittard family from Eltham, who have been taking part since the very first expo, and works by members of the Warrandyte Stonehouse artists’ collective will be on display.

Another innovative local artist whose works will be on display is Jack Latti from Research, who creates ceramic pieces for use in the garden.

“He is a horticulturalist as well and he actually designs the pots to suit the plant,” said Ms Annois.

Aside from the works on sale at the expo, there will be activities for both kids and adults, with Manningham Craft Works providing clay work-shops for children to make their own creations and demonstrations of clay throwing.

Forums on the business of art will be on offer for adults, as well as wine tastings, musicians and a Saturday night dinner on the banks of the river.

The Pottery Expo runs from 10am until 5:30pm on both February 25 and 26. Entry is free.

Fun in the vines.

Local winemaker, Rob Dolan Wines, have a great lineup of Summer entertainment amongst the vines at their South Warrandyte winery.

This Saturday (January 21st) they will be hosting a garden party, with local folk band, The Scrims providing entertainment while guests enjoy local beer, wine and cheese and an Aussie BBQ.

Marketing manager for Rob Dolan Wines, Kate Allen says and enjoy this free event will be a great day out for the whole family.

“There is no charge to get in, so it is a great opportunity to hang out and enjoy the music,” she said.

Then on the 10th February, they will be playing the cult classic Ferris Bueller’s Day Off on a big six-metre screen.

“We will be open from 6pm to allow people to grab a bottle of wine and deck chair or a bean bag before the sun goes down and the film starts,” Ms Allen said.

Bookings are not required for this weekends garden party, but tickets to the outdoor cinema can be purchased from Eventbrite.

Kayakers safe after river search


Police search and rescue were called out last night when, just on dusk, a concerned citizen reported an empty kayak floating down the Yarra.

Following a flyover from the police helicopter and the investigation of some cars left at the Jumping Creek carpark after dark, Police are confident that everyone on the river yesterday have been accounted for.

Sergeant Stuart Henderson of Warrandyte Police said that the owners of the kayak have been found safe and well, however they had hit a rock and tipped out of their boat and were unable to secure the craft as it floated downstream.

This is the second time in as many months when kayakers have run into trouble in the waters of Warrandyte.

The river is central to the Warrandyte community both residents and tourists and throughout the year people can be seen enjoying themselves in and around the river.

Victoria has experienced a particularly wet Spring and early Summer, the Bureau of Meteorology reporting this September as the second wettest September on record with rainfall at 94% above average across the state, a lot of the rivers in Victoria had flood warnings issued and this pattern is continuing into the new year.

To save anxiety, Police have reminded river goers that they should always let people know where they are and when they are expected back.

“We get this every year where people underestimate the time it takes to get downstream or get into trouble, if you let someone on the shore know what you are up to then everyone can get home safely” said Sgt Henderson.

The key to remaining safe when out on the water is knowledge, preparation and communication.

After consulting with outdoor education instructor and experienced kayaker, Jean Dind, The Diary has compiled a list of general tips and advice to help people play safely when on the river.

EQUIPMENT

Most sporting activities require specialist equipment, when one starts participating in adventure sports then the necessity for this equipment is paramount as it often directly related to one’s safety.

  • Transport Safety Victoria stress that A Personal Flotation Device (PFD) is mandatory and if you are going to be going down any rapids then a helmet designed for white water is also advisable.
  • There are a range of different types of canoe and kayak on the market all at different prices and made for different numbers of people or water types.

If you are thinking of buying one for yourself, make sure it is appropriate for the type of water you will be mostly paddling in.

KNOWLEDGE

Knowledge has both practical and theoretical importance here.

For the practical side, this translates into the skills required to effectively operate your kayak as well as the skills required to play safely on the water. To obtain these skills there are a number of options available:

  • Lessons

Whitehorse canoe club  is a local organisation that offer lessons with membership, an organisation like Canoe Victoria also offer courses.

  • River Rescue

Canoe Vic and Swift Water Training Group offer a range or course in river safety and rescue techniques. A casual kayaker wouldn’t necessarily do one of these courses so that they can rescue someone if they see them in trouble but more so give them the skills and knowledge to know what to do if they themselves or one of their kayaking party get into trouble.

KNOWLEDGE OF THE RIVER

Regardless of one’s level of skill, knowledge of the conditions and hazards one is likely to encounter when navigating a section of river is very important.

There is a system that grades rivers and rapids on their difficulty.

This system goes from Easy which means very light condition with very few hazards to Extreme which may mean going down a waterfall.

There are a number of websites that produce maps of rivers with instructions on popular kayaking runs and information about the class of water or rapid one is likely to encounter and even information about how to ‘walk out’ if you get into trouble, these sites are:

Enjoying the river ultimately comes down to one’s ability to be comfortable in and around the water and to be mindful of hazards such as fallen trees and submerged rocks.

It is recommended that whitewater kayakers/canoeists/paddlers are comfortable swimming in moving water and familiar with defensive swimming techniques including the whitewater safety position.

Christmas spirit flows in Warrandyte


Christmas good cheer was flowing as staff and volunteers at Warrandyte business, Now and Not Yet, opened its doors on Christmas day, so that no one had to spend Christmas alone.

 Café owner Derek Bradshaw was overwhelmed with offers of assistance from near and far as he provided free meals and company people who would otherwise have had a meagre meal alone.

“We shut it off at thirty as we had so many people volunteering… we had 100 customers last year, they seem to come in busloads as they come in from Ringwood,” he said.

“We had many locals who had lost family and didn’t have family to go to – one guy said to me this was great, I would have got a meal out of the freezer and sat by myself, so it’s good to come and have some people to be with,” said Mr Bradshaw .

From cooking, to waiting on tables or just lending a friendly ear, volunteers were enthusiastic in their duties.

One volunteer, Sammy, came all the way from Dandenong to help out and was just as eager to work behind the scenes as well as simply to be there for people in need.

“I want to come along and see amazing people with smiling faces and genuinely happy people – but I am happy to lend my hand in any way I can,” he said.

“We’ve had a great Christmas, but it’s not great for everybody, if we can make it a bit better, that’s great,” said another volunteer.

There were many locals who have been supported by Now and Not Yet in the past who were keen to give back to the café.

Local artist Andrea Glueck has used the café’s art space to work.

“It is such an amazing place I wanted to help Derek out, as he is so generous,” she said.

Support came from across Warrandyte, as The Rotary Club and local traders chipped in with donations.

Gardiner McGuinness put on a sausage sizzle that raised $700, which they turned into IGA vouchers, Pines Learning donated 38 handbags filled with women’s essentials collected from the local community, and all of the food for the day was donated by the café’s suppliers.

The diners were very grateful of the opportunity to feel connected to the community, as one woman told of her isolation that comes with separation from your loved ones.

“It’s nice to socialise with other people on a special day rather than sitting at home by yourself,” she said.

Mr Bradshaw said that with all the doom and gloom in the world, people are interested in what the true spirit of Christmas is about.

“It’s Warrandyte really isn’t it, it’s why I love Warrandyte, it’s such a good community,” he said.

For more on this and other Christmas adventures, see the February edition of the Warrandyte Diary.

Benschy’s last ride

One of Warrandyte’s favourite sons was honoured with a fabulous motorcycle funeral procession that roared through the township on Tuesday 13th of December.

Mark ‘Benschy” Bensch’s coffin was aboard a motorcycle hearse as it led a cortège of over forty motorcycles through the village after a touching memorial service at the local footy club.

The footy club wasn’t big enough to hold the crowd of over 600 people and the crowd spilled out on both sides of the clubrooms. Locals mixed with Mark’s biker mates as his family and friends paid tribute to a life well lived.

Mark was killed as he rode his beloved motorcycle from Springvale Road onto the Eastern Freeway last week. He died at the scene. It was stated that Mark died doing the thing that he loved and no one at the service disagreed with that observation.

Mark was the third son of Howard and Joyce Bensch. His brother Gary has already passed on and a touching tribute by Mark’s only surviving brother Ian was read to the attendees.

Mark’s four daughters Jessica, Carly, Sarah and Hannah all spoke proudly of their father and he would have been proud of them too.

Mark’s motorcycle club mate Neil Carter kept the crowd in stitches as he recounted some of Mark’s cheeky adventures. The service music was a soundtrack from the times as some of Mark’s favourite tracks were played, featuring Led Zeppelin, Crosby Stills and Nash and The Doors.

Mark played football and basketball for Warrandyte and was a member of the infamous Bay 13 group of football barrackers. He met his wife Sharon when she worked at The Golden Gate Milk Bar. They were married in 1982 and raised their brood of four girls at their family home in Brackenbury Street. Mark was always a loving and supportive father and Sharon considered him to be her ‘rock.’

People were saddened that Mark was taken early but there was laughter and friendship in the air as people gathered to honor Mark for drinks and food at the R.S.L. Clubrooms.

And Mark’s last ride through the township, well, that was nothing short of spectacular. Benschy would have loved it!

Black Cat Track attack book published


By MICHAEL DI PETTA

THE 2013 attack on the Black Cat track in the Morobe Province of Papua New Guinea shocked and saddened people worldwide, but the event held also held a particular significance in Warrandyte.

Three porters and 10 trekkers were killed, while other trekkers were wounded. Peter Stevens and Rod Clarke, both Warrandyte residents, were unfortunate enough to be present and have a first-hand experience of the attack.

Despite the obvious negatives of being involved with such a traumatic event, the trekkers did take away positives, most notably a strong bond and connection with the porters that may otherwise not have occurred. The story of this connection, the event and its aftermath have now been published into a book Attack on the Black Cat Track, written by Max Carmichael, which ought to attract large interest from the Warrandyte community.

“All us trekkers wanted to record the incident, we actually commissioned the author. Five of us were military and Max is ex military himself, one of us trekkers met him and asked if he’d be interested,” Stevens said.

“Its probably been being written for about two years. That’s not because Max is slow, it’s because you’re dealing with a lot of different trekkers that have input. One of the things that Max relied on quite heavily is that we were actually the subject of episode on Australian Story on the ABC. The interesting thing I found, I learnt a lot about what happened by reading the book. You think you’re a central participant, you think you’d know a lot, but I learnt a lot about what other people thought.”

The details of the attack are widely known already by members of the community, but the thoughts, reactions and subsequent actions of trekkers, including Stevens, remain unknown to many. The purpose of the book is to allow this side of the story to be told and for Stevens, the emotion between the trekkers and porters is what he feels most vividly.

“I think the main thing for all of us trekkers was the fact that we felt for the porters. There were two killed immediately, one died later of wounds. There was also another six who were pretty badly cut up. Obviously there were families of people who died and in Papua New Guinea there is no social welfare so we were pretty concerned, and set up a porters trust fund. The most important thing for me was the help that we provided to next of kin and people who were injured,” Stevens said.

The Black Cat Porters trust has made a major difference in the lives of the porters and their families, assisting them with the injuries that don’t allow them to resume their work.

“The trust actually funded one of the guys, Andrew Natau to come out here for surgery. He had surgery at Cabrini hospital, he was here for about six months at the trusts’ expense, and we found a place for him to stay,” Stevens told the Diary.

“He really was basically crippled and this surgery allowed him to walk properly again. It did allow him to get some of his life back. The key for me as I actually say in the book, those guys wouldn’t have been there if not for us tourists, they were working to support us.”

The Warrandyte connection aside, local residents will take interest in the book because of the similar nature of the Warrandyte and porter community, according to Stevens.

“I think for me, whatever actions we take, we still have responsibilities. Even though obviously the porters and their people weren’t part of our community, they have their own and their community isn’t wealthy enough to provide for them in dire circumstances. Warrandytes a tight community, these people also live in tight communities. The difference is we can absorb disaster a lot better, whereas they can’t.”

Attack On The Black Cat Track is available for purchase at book stores, containing interviews from trekkers, pictures and other platforms that detail the incident.

The book retails at $30. The author has offered Warrandyte Diary readers a copy at a discount price of only $15 by emailing peterstevens_5@bigpond.com.

 

Dogs attack alpacas in Wonga Park

A Wonga Park family has experienced every pet owner’s worst nightmare after nine of their 16 alpacas were viciously mauled to death by three out-of-control dogs.

On the night of November 8 two Alaskan Malamutes and one Belgian Shephard got away from their owner as they walked in an off-lead reserve. The owner frantically searched for the dogs, however, the dogs managed to access a neighbouring paddock which housed the alpacas, before launching the attack on the beloved family pets.

Eight were killed during the attack and one had to be euthanized the next morning by a local vet who attended the scene.

Warrandyte Police senior constable Daniel Logan, who assessed the scene, said it was an incredibly distressing sight with evidence of the prolonged attack spanning an area of seven acres.

It is suspected that some of the alpacas ran into a nearby creek trying to escape. The family is distraught and while they were worth a combined $10,000, the animals were very much family pets rather than livestock.

The local police and council have been dealing with countless reports of dogs in reserves and properties not being under effective control of their owners.

A spokesperson from Manningham council said the key message to come out of the awful incident is people must have effective control of their dogs at all times.

“It is so easy for dogs to take off after a small animal like a rabbit but when you can’t get them back, that leads to a much bigger problem,” the spokesperson said. “In this case the dogs have ended up in the neighboring property and this has been the outcome. The risks are huge.

“As you can imagine it’s been really upsetting for everyone involved.” The owners of the dogs have been charged with multiple offences including not having effective control of the dogs and charges for the attack itself. They are due to appear at the Ringwood Magistrates Court on December 15.

They also face considerable veterinary costs, with at least one of the surviving alpacas requiring ongoing care.

The dogs have since been seized by the council but at the time the Diary went to print no information on their future was available.