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Why do smart people make dumb decisions?

WE WOULD think that anyone with a high level of intelligence would run through all the scenarios and then make the best choice, right?
Indeed, they often do, but something may have happened to them where making the right decision becomes complex, and they cannot choose the correct response at that moment, which is annoying for them and the people wanting an answer.
You can probably recall a scenario where you asked someone a simple question: do you want a cup of tea or coffee? or what do you want for dinner? or can you do this small extra project/task that must be completed within a tight deadline?
This added pressure to make another decision or do one more thing can cause a person to get into the flight, fight or freeze, get angry, storm out, cry, walk away, quit or some other irrational response.
They have no capacity left even for simple things at that moment.
Think of how many decisions you or they make in a day.
The bigger decisions may be more obvious, but do not overlook all the small ones.
On reflection, we may discover the person was in a state of overwhelm, fear, stress, or anxiety; therefore, they did not have access to the complete resources in their mind to choose wisely.
When people are in these states, the mind can experience confusion, a foggy brain, numbness, cannot interpret a simple question, and cannot think rationally or clearly.
They feel pressured as someone needs their attention and response now, which is next to impossible for them to do easily.

Living or working in a constantly stressful environment

Henry J Kahn, MD says it is easy to forget that stress is one of your body’s warning signals that tell you something is out of whack.
“If you ignore those signals, especially your emotions, you could become so accustomed to the stimulation of stress, ongoing tension and strain that stress can start to seem normal. When many people in a particular environment are stressed, they can create a climate that makes it more difficult for anyone to see his or her own stress clearly.
When you have a whole culture pushing high performance, sometimes people don’t want to admit it or address it.”
Mr Kahn notes some coping skills people use to help the mind and body cope with stressful events., which may not be beneficial in the long term such as: holding their breath; take substances such as caffeine, alcohol, tobacco; misusing medications; eating the wrong foods; or going extra hard at the gym or playing sport.
“These substances and actions may become a part of your everyday life even when not stressed because we are also creatures of habit or addiction,” he says.

Physiological stress responses

We can experience a physiological stress response by a perceived or actual threat to our safety or well-being.
We literally cannot think about anything except get to a safe place; our mind responds to the actual or perceived fear.
If a snake is in your backyard and you, your children, or pets are near it, and you have a fear of snakes, you may go into flight or fight or freeze response — an actual fear.
If you are at work and hate it there, have an enormous workload, dislike your boss, and they are ringing you, and you haven’t completed the job due to a ridiculous workload or timeline, you may go into a perceived threat for the security of your job.

Chemical responses in the body

Often, we can manage short-term stress, and some people thrive in a stressful environment; however, prolonged exposures can perpetuate cortisol dysfunction, inflammation and pain.
The body triggers the sympathetic nervous system and produces a chemical response to cope with the situation and releases cortisol to prepare for survival mode and have the safest and fastest possible outcome for you.
Cortisol is an anti-inflammatory and helps to trigger glucose reserves for energy and modulate inflammation.
It can stay in our body for up to 12 hours, just from one significant event.
Multiple events throughout the day will keep topping up the cortisol —so when will your body recover?

Discover resilience skills to improve well-being

Breathing Techniques: Breathe in a way that triggers your parasympathetic nervous system to release all the good happy hormones to balance the body.
Slow, deep breathes into the heart or chest area
Diaphragmatic breathing techniques
Discover some great breathing technique by Heart Math Institute, Wim Hof, Patrick McKeown and James Nester.
Meditation: A variety of methods takes us into a state of mediation, such as gardening, swimming, yoga, Thai chi, sitting still, knitting, breathe work, reading a book et cetera
Self-Talk: Learn to be kind to yourself. Often people will beat themselves up for not having answers, think they are worthless and so forth.
Stretch and Exercise: Remember to include the physical body to help with the flow of blood and energy in the body.

Coherence vs Relaxation

When you are relaxed, you do not necessarily want to run a 100m sprint or have a tennis game with a strong competitor; however, being in a coherent state, it’s more of an active, calm state and perfect for a run or sports game, work environment and making smart, effective decisions.
If you find yourself not coping as well as you once did, you can download a free ebook, 12 HeartMath® Tools for Reducing Stress and Staying Balanced
www.heartmath.org/resources/downloads/12-heartmath-tools

Maree Zimny is a qualified Clinical Hypnotherapist, NLP and HeartMath®
Certified Trainer and Quantum Frequency Coach.
Specialist in Anxiety, Stress and Communications
0403 325 858
www.facebook.com/thereliefcliniconline

Will gives back to the life savers

GOOD FRIDAY is a special day on the calendar for Warrandyte CFA volunteer Firefighter Will Hodgson.
It is the day he gets to give back to the place that saved his life.
Will told the Bulletin that if it were not Paediatric Surgeon Nate Myers at the Royal Children’s Hospital, he would not be here today.
Born with a diaphragmatic hernia, Will’s initial prognosis was not good.
“It means that there were a whole heap of organs sitting in my lungs,” he said.
He said even today it is a technical operation, but in 1976 “it was a huge deal”.
Born in Box Hill Hospital, the doctors there struggled to keep Will alive.
“Every time they took me off a ventilator, I just dropped my bundle,” he said.
He said Box Hill admitted it was beyond them so, while Will’s mother Debbie stayed on the Maternity ward at Box Hill, Will’s father Ian went with him to the Mercy to try and get some answers.
The Mercy too ran out of ideas, telling Ian that Will was not going to make it.
“They asked him if I wanted to be baptised,” said Will.
Eventually, Mr Nate Myers from the Royal Children’s was called in to take a look and told Ian that he had an idea of what was wrong with his baby son.
“I went to the Children’s and, thanks to Mr Myers, I came out the other side healthy”.
Will spent the next six months at the Children’s and then next five years with follow up appointments, travelling in from North Warrandyte.
Will said that he is grateful for the life that the Children’s Hospital has given him.
“The best thing for me is to acknowledge the sun going up in the morning and going down at night, because you have been lucky enough to be given a life — through one specialist who has been able to identify it — and so now I am here.”
Will has since dedicated his life to helping others.
Following the Pound Bend Fires in 1991, at the age of just 15, Will decided to volunteer with the North Warrandyte Fire Brigade and then when he started his own family he moved across the river to Warrandyte, and transferred to Warrandyte CFA.
From the start, he made it a priority to get out to shake tins for the Good Friday Appeal, and when North Warrandyte didn’t shake tins, he went out with South Warrandyte.
“I jumped across to South Warrandyte to shake tins, with Mark Kennedy and Greg Kennedy, and I do remember us being underage, but we were shaking the tin and that is all that mattered,” he said.
Will has collected money each year since, and even last year when restrictions made it impossible to shake tins, Warrandyte CFA set up a virtual tin shake, raising around $4,500 for the RCH.
“I think the online collection was a good thing, because when Warrandyte shakes a tin, it shakes a tin in Bulleen, so we are just picking up commuters, but being online gave an opportunity for the Warrandyte community, if they wanted, to donate through the Warrandyte Fire Brigade.”
They will have the best of both worlds this year, with the virtual tin shake online while brigades will be out collecting at intersections across Manningham: Warrandyte at Bulleen and Manningham Roads, North Warrandyte at Reynolds and Blackburn Roads, and South Warrandyte at Mitcham and Springvale Roads.
So, if you are out and about on Good Friday, chip in for a great cause, and if you are not, hop online to give to “the kids”.
www.virtualtinshake.com.au

Community roadworks forum

Following the commencement of the roadworks at Eltham Roundabout, residents say there has been ongoing controversy and community concern about the Major Roads Project’s upgrade, and the associated planning and consultation processes.

Vicky  Shukuroglou, along with other “motivated residents” have organised a forum in response to strong community interest.

Vicky told the Diary that there are “huge gaps in publicly available information and the many challenges associated with Government planning processes”.

She said numerous communities right across Victoria are experiencing these issues.

“We feel there is an urgent and widespread need for change and we believe that this will only be realised through awareness raising and community empowerment.

“We invite anyone to attend to learn more and share views in respectful, factual conversation.”

The forum is to be held next  at 7pm Wednesday evening, March 31 at the Eltham Bowls Club, Susan Street Eltham.

Places are limited, so register your attendance at: roundaboutforum@fastmail.com

Macedon Square Streetscape Upgrade

MACEDON Square has remained a vibrant hub for Manningham residents for over 50 years — now it is time for an overdue makeover.
In August 2020, Manningham Council released two concept designs for an upgrade to the Macedon Square Streetscape, one including an open space concept (Option B) and one without (Option A).
The upgrade seeks to improve the public realm and rejuvenate the centre by addressing existing issues associated with aging infrastructure.
Both concept designs aim to address safety concerns within the centre by employing a new angled bay parking layout, as well as ensuring cars exit on Macedon Road in one direction.
Both options will also bring new paving, flora and outdoor spaces — however, Option B takes these changes to the next level by adding spaces suited for public gatherings, picnic tables and open lawns to draw in more community engagement.
After the extended consultation period concluded on November 15, 2020, a total of 108 responses were collected.
61 per cent were in favour of Option B, 26 per cent in favour of Option A and 13 per cent did not express preference.
Although the majority ruled for Option B, traders in Macedon Square expressed concern for both options and the potential detriment the upgrade could cause to the community space.
The Bulletin spoke to Gary Cyganek, owner of Egon’s Bakery, who is passionate about putting forth an “Option C”.

“We’re putting forward our Option C to say we reject both of these options — we have the support of 29 out of 32 shops in the centre,” he said.

Mr Cyganek went on to say traders in the centre feel as though safety concerns are not being properly addressed, particularly regarding the proposed new car park.

“Safety is most paramount.”

The Bulletin reached out to Manningham Council for additional information regarding this matter.
Manningham Director of City Planning and Community, Angelo Kourambas said the proposed concept plans have been designed with visitors in mind, including people of all ages and abilities.
Businesses have expressed concerns regarding how delivery vehicles will fit into these new parking spaces and the potential overhang of these vehicles causing accidents.
Mr Cyganek stresses the need for delivery accessibility from the front and rear, as some businesses are not suited to take deliveries from rear loading docks — including Australia Post.

“Only some shops are set up to take deliveries from the rear; this is a priority for the whole community.
“The proposed car parking aisle widths for angled parking within the centre are wider than the recommended Australian Standard for this style of shopping centre.
“Larger delivery vehicles will not be permitted to park in the angled parking bays along Macedon Road,” he said.

Mr Kourambas said Council would consider providing spaces within the main car park for regular delivery vans.
Council’s plan to realign the roadway, creating a single directional flow of traffic through the centre, aims to reduce traffic congestion and issues with vehicles attempting to access the same car space from opposite directions.
With a narrower roadway, business owners are anxious about potential collisions due to visibility issues, in the event multiple cars are trying to back out at once.
According to traders, accidents within the centre are common — particularly among elderly patrons.

Parking pains

Parking availability for traders in the centre has been a sore point for several years.
Currently, there are 133 car spaces in the centre — Option A would result in a loss of four car spaces while Option B would incur a loss of six.
For business owners, 133 car spaces has simply never been enough to cater for the needs of traders and customers alike.
In an independent traffic and car park study undertaken in 2017, it was reported that the perception of low parking availability within Macedon Square is a factor of uneven parking distributions, citing that certain areas are operating at full occupancy whilst others are operating at less than half.
Council suggests that areas such as the ALDI basement car park, off street parking near McGahy Street, and parking area to the rear of Woolworths Lower Templestowe should host ample room for shoppers to park.

“It is considered that a loss of between four to six spaces could reasonably be offset by higher utilisation of other parking areas” Mr Kourambas said.

For traders and shoppers who wish to use services provided in the square alone, parking in these further off-site locations can prove to be inconvenient.
Extra parking in the square itself would be a welcomed addition for many.
Mr Cyganek wants Council and the traffic engineers to come up with a more functional solution.

“We want the traffic engineers to sit down with them [the council] to see how we can actually maximise our parking possibilities.
“We want them to use the abundant open space we already do have, to put spaces for people to sit,” said Mr Cyganek.

Consultation closes at 5pm on Thursday, April 8, 2021 — in the meantime, Council is encouraging community members to get involved and have their say.

“Council is currently seeking community input on the proposed concept plans.
“Based on feedback received, Council will consider further suggestions from the community as part of its detailed design process,” said Mr Kourambas

Feature Image artist impression Option B courtesy Manningham Council

Community members are invited to attend a drop-in session with Councillors and council officers on Saturday, March 27, 2021, from 10am to 12pm at Macedon Square, Lower Templestowe.
Additionally, you can have your say at:
yoursay.manningham.vic.gov.au/macedon-square-streetscape-upgrade

Majesty by the side of the road

WELCOME TO Meeting with Remarkable Trees.

I have borrowed the title from Thomas Pakenham’s book that reflects on the character of the old, the sacred, the mysterious and the poetic through 60 of his favourite trees.

Unbeknown to many, trees serve us way beyond the comfort of shade on a hot day or ascetically pleasing additions to a garden.

Through 17 products derived from trees, they provide for over 5,000 of our daily commodities from mobile phone screens (cellulose acetate) to strengthening concrete (lignin).

Because of this, mono-culture plantations are a massive global industry predominantly operated by multinationals in collaboration with governments.

Our world forests are under threat and with the climate in crisis, attention is due.

On the flip side, much is now being discovered about the importance of diversity in old-growth forest and how trees communicate via a vast underground network.

Interest is growing, and trees, just like us, are becoming recognised as deeply fascinating individuals wholly reliant on their environment for survival.

In my experience, fostering a relationship with the trees based on curiosity and connection has been a necessary step towards creating personal climate-crisis solutions rather than being overwhelmed by the bigger picture.

I want to share this journey with you by seeking out and presenting the bold, the beautiful, the humble and the dignified in the Manningham’s community.

Do you have a tree favourite tree in your own garden or a tree you are fond of in your area?

Please email me at the address below.

I’d love to connect with you and hear your story.

There is no set criteria.

Large, small, young or old, character is all that matters.

Let’s celebrate Manningham’s forest.

By way of introduction then, meet March’s beauty.

Just down from the corner of Park Road and Feversham Avenue in Park Orchards, resides a tall and elegant eucalypt, who has taken an approximate 150 years to reach maturity.

At a distance she is well-balanced, neither thick in canopy nor thin, but just enough to see her graceful arms reaching up.

As I approach, a delightful mess of shredded skin crunches underfoot.

Her girth is furrowed with age-old protective layers, and looking up, her formidable branches carry the elegance and colour typical of early Victorian paintings: dark shadows highlighted with soft, silvery greys.

Creamy smoothness that merges into the blue-green tone of the canopy.

There are cavities emerging from some of her branches; a borer making a home, or larger hollows resulting from a branch felled by stormy weather.

Residing in deep time, it will be decades before any such borers outdo the tree.

Meanwhile,larger hollows provide nesting sites for our native parrots, cockatoos, and owls.

(On that note, if you need to trim or remove a tree, consider the possibility of providing a nesting site.

The hollows take decades to develop and a good arborist can advise and trim your tree accordingly).

In all, this Faversham resident presents a lovely impression of the many unique characteristics of Australia’s eucalypts.

As I watch and listen, I ponder what the breeze would do without long, slithery greenery to play with.

How would our days be without wind in the trees, and what would stories be without the touch of leafy whispers?

To share your favourite tree, email jennahmrose@outlook.com.

Jennah is captivated by the quiet, unassuming presence and of trees.

She is currently training to facilitate Forest Therapy and working towards a PhD about how we relate to the natural world.

Celebrating 10 Years of Run Warrandyte

A SOLD OUT Run Warrandyte set the pace for community events in Warrandyte in 2021.
On the last day of summer, 500 runners and walkers toed the line to celebrate 10 years of the annual community fun run.
Event organisers stuck to the now-familiar course, taking in the West End residential area and Pound Bend, but to add some spice, introduced a 21km version — four laps of the course.Although lapped courses are often less attractive, participants jumped at the opportunity for a Warrandyte half marathon, 69 runners took to the course on Sunday morning — including me, Warrandyte Diary’s very own “running reporter”.
A gloriously cool and misty morning made for optimal running conditions and runners, walkers and marshals enjoyed being immersed in our bush setting.For those who are curious, the Run Warrandyte course has just the right amount of hill to keep it interesting — and the runners “honest” — and some wonderfully runnable downs and flats which, if managed properly, makes for a fast course.
The fastest 5km event runners clocked 20-minute times, a trend which continued all the way through the running categories with Brynton Ashton — fastest male overall in the 21km distance setting a course record of 1:19:43, and Jessica Barbara setting the female course record at 1:38:42.

Brynton is a regular Run Warrandyte participant and in 2018 won the 15km event with a time of 1:02:50.In 2020, the 15km course record was set by Luke Walker at 59:29.
With Brynton managing a similar pace in 2021, with consistent sub-four-minute kms, while gaining (according to Strava) 400 metres of elevation over four laps — it is quick!
But while we can pour over stats and splits, Run Warrandyte is about celebrating our community, and exploring our bush environment.
The participants were diverse in background and ability but “the vibe on the run” was that everyone was glad to be back out in the open, with other people.
As always, the volunteers and the organising committee did a stellar job in keeping people safe and on course and I thank the marshals and organisers for putting on a wonderful community event.
Local MP Ryan Smith normally takes on MC duties at the event, but with the COVID changes, this was off the cards, so he took the opportunity to run the 5km course.
The popularity of Run Warrandyte is growing and as well as representatives from groups such as Victorian Ultra Runners (VUR), Westerfoldians and Generation Run; there were also runners using Run Warrandyte to achieve their 2021 running goals — such as Daniel Cole who is running 20 x 21km runs in 2021, with an official result from Run Warrandyte making this run number three.
The Diary spoke with Daniel about his challenge.
“I am 73 years old and prior to having my left hip begin to wear out, I was regularly running marathons and ultra-marathons, including the Boston Marathon, the Marathon du Medoc in France and the legendary Comrades race between Durban and Pieter Maritzburg in South Africa.
“I had a new hip in 2018 and ran one marathon in 2019, then not a lot of running events over 2020.
“So I decided that the perfect challenge for 2021 was to run 20 x 21s.”
Daniel went on to talk about his impressions of Warrandyte’s annual fun run.
“I was more than impressed with the organisation and conduct of the event.“Everything went smoothly, from acceptance of my late entry to my rather well towards the tail of the field finish, and the showbag at the end.
“The course is scenic, with challenging ascents and descents, pleasant views of the Yarra for those slow enough like me, to take it in, and cheerful encouraging volunteers along the way.“A really nice touch was the individual announcement of runners as they finished.
“Congratulations to all involved.”
On the day, water was supplied by Just Water, in containers made out of a plant based material which kept the litter to a minimum.
After running the three-lap version for a couple of years, the fourth lap — to bring it up to a half-marathon — felt like a gamble.
But it was a surprisingly enjoyable experience.
I am looking forward to seeing what the event committee have in store for 2022, especially when (one hopes) both the spectators and event village will be able to feature once again.

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The superpowers of CFA women

HELD ANNUALLY on March 8, International Women’s Day has been celebrated for over a century, with the event’s website claiming the first gatherings were held back in 1911.
The issues of the time were women’s right to work, vote and ending discrimination.
110 years on, while we still continue the fight for gender equality, there is much improvement to be celebrated…and the women of Warrandyte CFA are no exception.
Often referred to as a “bit of a boys’ club”, in fact CFA focuses on being inclusive, no matter the gender.
Currently, Warrandyte CFA has 10 female volunteers, the majority of whom regularly respond to emergency pages day-and-night, or provide active support in other ways.
Women bring the same firefighting and rescue skills as men, with some of Warrandyte’s female members taking on years of specialist training, qualifying them to manage a broader scope of roles during an emergency.
The brigade’s support roles are open to both men and women, and it is not the stereotypical mix you would expect, in fact our current secretary is a man.
The skill set women hold is expansive, with roles in training, recruitment, community education and officer positions.
A few are also CFA staff supporting other volunteer brigades around the state and can be called upon to perform extra duties during large-scale bushfire events and managing emergency warnings from the Incident Control Centres.
Warrandyte CFA recruited its first female firefighter in 1981 when the station moved to its current location on Harris Gully Road.
Prior to that, women who attempted to apply were rejected by the captain of the time; the cited reason being the old station had no female facilities.
According to former Captain, now Deputy Group Officer Shane Murphy, the introduction of women into the brigade promoted positive cultural changes.
“Member’s self-check behaviours and language evolved with female presence”, he said “as a result, more respectful attitudes were adopted towards everyone, not just the women”.
Reminiscing over his first house fire call in the early 80’s he said: “It was a female who was first through the door”.
1996 saw Warrandyte CFA elect its first female Lieutenant.
Kate Murphy, still a current member, was elected by her male and female peers and reflected on the time as “of complete support” and that “equality and diversity was encouraged”.
Since then, and still to this day, women have held several leadership roles at Warrandyte CFA, both in officer positions and within the Brigade Management Team.
It is not uncommon nowadays for women to be captain.
Females are afforded every opportunity within CFA, and it falls to the leadership to ensure members are seen for their capabilities, not their gender.
So, when will Warrandyte see its first female captain?
Mr Murphy said: “On the fireground, it is non-gendered — it is a team operating with a common focus — but if you’re looking for it, you see females everywhere”.
The path has been paved, but women must still demonstrate to our future generations, the importance of “she can be anything she wants”.
The women of Warrandyte CFA are doing this every day.
They strive to protect our community and we recognise the value they offer the brigade.
Volunteer firefighter, Louise Leone said: “I love it when you’re driving past in the truck or getting out at a job — and a little girl sees you.
“You watch her eyes open wide and she’s like ‘hey, she’s a girl like me!’
“It’s the best feeling!”
And therein lies the superpower of the women of Warrandyte CFA.

Pottery Expo celebrates 21 years by the river

THE 21ST POTTERY Expo was held on the riverbank on the last weekend of February, with ceramic artists from around Australia showcasing their work to, what organisers say, was the biggest crowd ever.
With live music, 70 stands filled with spectacular creations, demonstrations, talks and a weekend of sunshine and minimal restrictions, it was “a buzz”.
“These are the biggest crowds we have ever seen and I’m anticipating more sales than I’ve ever seen also,” says event coordinator Jane Annois.
“This is great for the local businesses too; the cafes and shops have also benefitted this weekend.”
Along Yarra St the cafes and restaurants were brimming, and Andi from Calla Collective said: “There is a good energy here this weekend, it has certainly lifted the atmosphere around the place.
“There is more excitement in the conversations, there is a buzz, and we need a bit of a buzz.”
There seemed to be a giddiness amongst the crowd, perhaps it was the mixture of sunshine and the opportunity to just be out, somewhere beautiful, amongst lots of people, and feel safe.
As a passer-by bumped into me and apologised profusely, she laughed and said, “I think I need to learn how to do crowds again.”
Perhaps she is right, I walked into people and lost track of my companion several times.
Minna Graham, from Daylesford, is an Expo stalwart and says the weekend was “crazy, busy and fun!”
“It has been amazing,” she said, as she continued wrapping items in tissue paper.
“Everyone is just happy to be out.
“Maybe it’s that and that there is a new appreciation for ceramics.
“Over the last few years people are loving and appreciating ceramics more.”
As Minna ties a package carefully with her trademark black ribbon, a customer smiles, and says,
“It really is good to be out and about, and the works here are just beautiful.”
Adam Cox (South Gippsland) has been exhibiting at the Expo for over ten years and says the weekend has been fantastic.
“People are keen to come out and do something out of lockdown,
“It is always a good weekend and a great opportunity to meet other potters.”
Sunday lunchtime, and his stall is almost empty, so Adam strategically places the few remaining items for sale a little further apart to fill the space.
“I’m almost cleaned out,” he said happily.
“It’s months’ worth of work, it’s the biggest event of the year and I have been keeping my nicest pieces for this.”
Special guests this year were Australian members of the International Academy of Ceramics (IAC).
The Academy is the principal organisation representing the interests of ceramics worldwide.
Based in Geneva, the IAC is an official partner with UNESCO in the cultural sector.
Jane Annois has been a member of the Academy for two years and is honoured to be part of such a global community of ceramic artists that focus on networking, education and raising the standards of excellence within the art.
Jane is thrilled to have an exhibition of such high-end ceramics from many of the Australian members of the Academy at the Expo.
“There are 12 Australian IAC member artists represented here this weekend and it is very exciting.
“Collectors have been here, buying this weekend, and it has lifted the profile of the Expo.
“It has also been very inspiring for the potters to see these works, which are rarely seen together, in one exhibition.”
Sally Wise, from Preston, is also a member of the IAC and has been a ceramist since she was 17 years old.
Her journey started when an influential teacher in high school introduced her to the art.
She went on to study a four-year ceramics degree, and says, “it’s been my passion and obsession ever since”.
“It is exciting to have higher end ceramics at the Expo,” said Sally, “and nice to see collectors here, buying.”

Prize-winners

Winner of the Warrandyte Lions Best Presented Stand was Tian You, from Tian Ceramics, Footscray.
Tian says, “It is always the best event of the year.
“It takes months to prepare and this is the grand opening of my new work.
“It was very well received, there were lots of customers first thing on Saturday morning, determined to get in early.”
The Potters Prize is the peer favourite, voted by the potters, and this year’s winner is Arnaud Barraud, from Kalorama.
Arnaud’s prize is a piece from last year’s winner, and he in turn will donate a piece for next year’s winner.
Su Hanna (Bendigo) and Marina Pribaz (Daylesford) shared the Michael Hallam INCA Award for innovative contemporary ceramics, presented by the Warrandyte Riverside Market.
Su is one of a small group of wood-fire ceramists represented at the Expo, with fellow guest artists Sandy Lockwood, Rob Barron and Jann Kesby.
Wood firing is ceramics at a whole other level, it is earthy and rough.
Someone explained to me that wood firers see “the beauty in the natural colours of ‘brown’ and in the complexity of ‘rough’”.
Many wood-fired ceramists design and build their own kilns and after the backbreaking work of collecting, carrying and splitting wood, are known to have a moment of ceremony as they light the match.
Su says, “You have to be a bit crazy to be a wood-firer.”
“Just splitting the wood is a lot of work, and we are limited with the fire season.
“We have to time it and try and get it done before it hits.
Su and her husband take it in shifts, day, and night, stoking the fire, keeping it to temperature for four days.
“It’s a lot of work,” she repeats, and pauses, “and a lot of wood prep”.
Another pause.
I sense that the work of the firing stays with her long after the fire has gone, and as she looks at the piece in front of her, she says quietly, “but you can’t get the random surfaces, and those colours that I love any other way.
“It’s worth it.”
As I leave her stall, I realise making art is hard, and I have a fresh appreciation for both the art and the artist.
Once again, The Pottery Expo was a huge success, and the riverbank was alive with music and colour and stalls and people.
Quite simply, it was pure fun, and the people were visibly happy.

Photos: BILL McAULEY
 

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Protecting our green wedges

GREEN EDGE
WarrandyteCAN

SOMETIMES I THINK of Melbourne as a vast living organism, growing ever larger, slowly spreading across the surrounding countryside and devouring everything in its path.
No one can stop Melbourne growing, and the best that governments can do is to control its growth and try to ensure that it is sustainable.
Melbourne’s 12 green wedges, including the Manningham and Nillumbik Green Wedges, are a good case in point.
These are non-urban areas lying outside Melbourne’s Urban Growth Boundary that have been designated for the protection of natural and rural values.
They contain a mix of low-density uses including farms, parks, water catchments, cultural heritage sites, and residential land on large allotments.
The policy of protecting green wedges from inappropriate development is set out in all planning schemes covering metropolitan Melbourne.
Green wedges are a product of the great foresight of people like Rupert Hamer, Minister for Local Government in the late 1960s and later Premier of Victoria.
According to Hamer, in planning for the growth of Melbourne:
“Nobody could happily contemplate a future metropolis of seemingly endless suburbia spreading out to infinity.”
“The future planning of Melbourne should take account of the surrounding countryside as a vital part of the metropolitan environment.”
Hamer’s vision for containing Melbourne’s urban sprawl was reflected in the 1971 report entitled Planning Policies for the Melbourne Metropolitan Region, which supported the establishment of urban growth corridors separated by “green wedges of open country protected from urban development”.
Fast forward to 2021, and the need for green wedges is stronger than ever in the face of climate change and rising average temperatures.
Green wedges, along with increased greening of areas within the Urban Growth Boundary, serve to absorb carbon and to mitigate the urban heat island effect.
Moreover, as the Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne, has noted, the importance of these areas will only increase in the future as climate change impacts where crops are grown and the green wedge and peri-urban areas are relied upon more to grow food.
Green wedges also provide vital recreational resources for Melbourne’s population and greatly contribute to our quality of life — a refuge from the concrete, asphalt and traffic of suburbia.
It is not surprising, however, that over the decades since they were established, Melbourne’s green wedges have faced significant threats from those eager to open up these areas for development.
In recent years, the Manningham Green Wedge faced such a threat by way of the Manningham Council’s proposed amendment to the Manningham Planning Scheme known as Amendment C117.
That proposal involved (among other things) changes to the Scheme that would have allowed more commercial and tourist development in the Rural Conservation Zone (RCZ), which covers most privately-owned land within the Manningham Green Wedge.
However, an independent panel appointed by the State Government recommended against those changes and instead put forward its own version of Amendment C117 aimed at preserving the status quo.
As the Diary reported in February 2019, the Panel concluded that “the broader policy position to support more tourism in the Green Wedge is contrary to sound planning and runs counter to the purposes of the RCZ.”
In September that year, the Planning Minister decided to accept the panel’s recommendations and adopt its version of the amendment rather than Council’s.
The State Government is currently undertaking a project aimed at deciding how it can best protect Melbourne’s green wedges.
At this stage, it is considering submissions received from stakeholders and community members, and is due to provide a report about this in mid-2021.
WarrandyteCAN strongly supports the protection and preservation of our green wedges, especially as they represent an important part of our response to climate change and are vital for Melbourne’s sustainable future.

Breaking ground on trail extension

WORKS BEGAN ON Stage 2 of the Diamond Creek Trail extension following a ground-breaking ceremony on February 6.
Stage 2 of the trail extension will link Wattle Glen to Hurstbridge.
Once the Diamond Creek Trail is fully extended to Hurstbridge, the 5.5-kilometre trail extension will complete a 55-kilometre continuous trail from Hurstbridge to the CBD, incorporating the Main Yarra Trail from Eltham Lower Park.
The trail extension is primarily funded by the Victorian Government with $4M for Stage 1 through VicRoads’ Towards Zero initiative and Stage 2 utilising $5.1M from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning’s (DELWP) Suburban Parks Program.
Nillumbik Shire Council also contributed approximately $5M to the project through land acquisition for the 14.4 hectares of land the trail is built on.
Once completed, the trail extension will have a concrete-paved path for pedestrians and cyclists and a separate, parallel natural-surface trail for horse riders.
In attendance at the ground-breaking were members of the community, Nillumbik Shire councillors, Member for Eltham Vicky Ward, Member for Yan Yean Danielle Green, and Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio.
Nillumbik Shire Mayor, Peter Perkins commended the efforts of all those involved in the trail project.

“That the Diamond Creek Trail project is now well on the way to completion is a great result for our community and a credit to the efforts of others on their behalf – including the Victorian Government, Danielle Green MP the Member for Yan Yean, and Vicki Ward MP the Member for Eltham.
“Our community, in particular the efforts of our Regional Trails Advisory Group and Trailblazers Inc. are also to be commended.
“Their tireless advocacy and passion for this project has been integral to bringing us to where we are today.
“The trail is an important community asset, providing a fantastic outlet for physical activity and a safe transport connection between the urban parts of the Shire and our rural townships.
“Also critical, is that it will attract more visitors to our Shire, boosting our local tourism industry and other businesses,” he said.

Bunjil Ward Councillor Karen Egan said the commencement of Stage 2 works was a major development for not only the townships, but the Shire’s rural community.

“I’m very pleased that work is starting on the final stage of an infrastructure project that is of such critical importance to many sectors of our community, being a shared trail open to all,” said Cr Egan.

Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio spoke about the benefits to the local economy and the improved quality of life the trail will bring to the area.

“In the past year, many of us have rediscovered the simple pleasure of going for a walk, run or bike ride.
“Through projects like the Diamond Creek Trail extension, we’re giving people more opportunities to enjoy the outdoors.
“Construction of the trail extension will create as many as 100 jobs over 12 months and boost the local economy by attracting visitors to the trail and surrounding communities.”

Stage 1 of the trail extension, linking Diamond Creek to Wattle Glen is due to be completed and opened to the public in October 2021.

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Market under threat

THE ELTHAM Craft and Produce Market has been a staple of the Eltham community for 44 years but its future is now under threat.
Founded in 1978 along the driveway of the Living and Learning Centre on Main Road, the Eltham Craft and Produce Market has served as an outlet for locally and homemade crafts and produce.
I remember going to the market as a young boy, buying heat packs at the start of every winter with my parents and sister.
We would walk from home to the market and as you entered Alistair Knox Park, the aromas of the food trucks would draw you in.
Soon, aromas mixed with music, conversation and laughter — the sound of a happy and connected community.
These are memories that I hold dear to my heart, and now, it may all come to an end.
On Sunday, February 21, 2021, possibly the last Eltham Craft and Produce Market took place.
Following conversations with the Market organisers Bianca and Di, and Wingrove Ward Councillor, Geoff Paine, I learned the market is under threat of discontinuing due to the complicated process of obtaining licenses and the grounds to continue hosting the market.
The main issue revolves around having a committee properly in place and obtaining a permit to use the area behind Eltham Library.
The market has been using the location between Panther Place and Library Place since October of 2004, an area with great parking and easy accessibility for anyone to visit.
Both stall holders and market goers expressed their sadness over the potential discontinuation of the market and its end will have a long-lasting impact in the Eltham community.
Market organisers are asking Eltham residents and market goers to lobby the local community and market regulars to let Nillumbik Shire Council know that they want the market to stay.
The Warrandyte Diary and WD Bulletin will have further updates on this story as it develops.

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Price of progress

Eltham residents have come out of lockdown to discover that hundreds of trees that graced the Eltham Gateway roundabout have been removed.
Under cover of COVID, Major Roads Projects Victoria (MRPV) moved in on February 15 to clearfell the intersection of Main Road and Fitzsimons Lane, and then removed the large Lemon Scented Gums from the Porter Street intersection on February 16.
Resident Vicky Shukuroglou described the scene as residents who had left their home for the four reasons and came across the Main Road demolition site.

“People started pulling over and parking their cars and were in shock, complete shock,” she said.

Consultation deficit

Community groups are outraged that there had not been extensive community consultation around the project, with many residents unaware of the impending works until Eltham Community Action Group placed red ribbons around the doomed trees in early 2020.
MRPV said they had 300 responses to their community consultation, but admitted to ECAG that less than 100 of them had come from Eltham residents.
In contrast ECAG had received over 3,000 signatures from locals on its petition.
ECAG have spent around two years negotiating with MRPV to compromise on the project to retain the treed gateway intersection.
Secretary of ECAG, Sue Dyet, said the group had first been made aware of the plans when they were told by local member Vicky Ward some months after the plans were put out for consultation.

“She showed us some plans and we went away looking at them and the enormity of the situation sunk in.”

The group managed to hold some meetings with MRPV but, Ms Dyet said the group feel they have been “managed”.

“They listened to us, they gave us time, but when we asked particular questions, and asked for information it was not always forthcoming,” she said.

Nillumbik Council passed a resolution in December 2020 to request MRPV conduct further community consultation, but this did not occur.
Ms Shukuroglou had organised a protest rally for February 13, which had to be cancelled due to the COVID lockdown.
However, the lockdown did not deter the construction workers who brought out the chainsaws, which was seen as a massive slap in the face to the community.

“Even it had been planned for six months, it was in bad taste,” said Ms Dyet.

Major Road Projects Victoria Program Director Dipal Sorathian defended the works occurring during lockdown.

“This project is essential work, like many other projects that have commenced and continued through various stages of COVID-19 restrictions over the past year,” he said.

Overkill

The project will see the intersection widened substantially, with eight lanes (four lanes each way) on the Main Road, eight lanes on Lower Plenty Road and eleven lanes in total on Fitzsimons Lane.
Although Mayor of Nillumbik, Peter Perkins notes that this was reduced from the original plans.

“Council has advocated on behalf of the community since the announcement of this project.
“These efforts have helped to influence MRPV to revise its design, including the reduction of the proposed intersection from 11 to eight lanes, saving more than 200 trees along the corridor.
“Fitzsimons Lane is a key gateway to the Shire and is of significant aesthetic, environmental and economic value to the community.
“Council supports the government’s efforts to minimise traffic congestion while at all times seeking to ensure that the community’s voice is heard and appropriately acted upon,” said Cr Perkins.

Ms Shukuroglou said that with the massive changes in the way people are working and moving around the city the plan should have been reconsidered.
She said the project also does not take the road use changes projected by the North East Link.

“MRPV made their case by using figures that were not really all that accurate, because their traffic modelling and numbers were based on 2027, and then 2028 is estimated for the NEL opening, which suggests traffic will drop by quite a large percentage.
“Then we also need to contemplate there is also a current ban on immigration and the trend of working from home, and that it most likely to be the thing that remains.
“Once the pandemic is abated, people will start getting back on the trains and will be working from home — these things have not been taken into account,” she said.

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Photos: VICKY SHUKUROGLOU

Alternatives ignored

Ms Shukuroglou  went on to say: “We realised as a bunch of volunteers on community planning issues we needed to get hold of some people who knew more about this game than we did.

“So we subsequently got three experts in the field, one a retired VicRoads person, one transport manager from AECOM in London, a huge international firm, and more recently someone who is an expert on roundabouts.

The group had their experts draw up alternative plans in attempt to reduce the footprint of the works and to retain the roundabout, and therefore the trees, but despite being told their plans were as affective as the official plans they would not be considered.
Mr Sorathia told WD Bulletin as part of the development process, “a number of designs options were investigated”, and he said it was found that upgrading to a signalised intersection was the best option to make the road safer and less congested.

“Compared to signals, a roundabout solution will be less safe, increase congestion and travel times, and will not alleviate the traffic queues,” he said.

Objectors to the roadworks were resigned to the fact that the project would go ahead no matter what their objections, but Ms Dyet said she felt that MRPV played lip-service to community consultation.

“I would say that they feel that they ticked all the boxes,” she said.

Enough is enough

Ms Shukuroglou said MRPV has been asking the wrong questions.

“They went in and said, ‘well there is a traffic problem how are we going to solve the traffic problem’.
“As opposed to ‘there is a traffic problem, how can we solve this while respecting the community, the area, and all the values that are within this place’,” she said.

She said she wants to see a dynamic change in how major projects such as this are managed.

“It seems to us very clearly, is the greatest needs of society, which is social and environmental health, which are not just boxes to be ticked and they ought to underpin all decisions, and infrastructure ought to serve purposes in response to these things,” said Ms Shukologlou.
“It starts creeping inwards, it is the thin edge of the wedge, this is where we can slowly chip away and say ‘now that road is there, we are going to have to do this duplication, we are going to have to add extra roads’.
“At what point do we say, ‘actually, enough is enough’?”

She said the community has learnt from this “absolutely horrendous” process and the “devastating” outcome.

“The one thing we need to do is maintain hope for what we can achieve for anything that is happening in the future.
“There are a lot of demoralised, tired people, there are people who feel like they have there is no point in attempting to have a go.
“But that, in all sorts of ways, the system is working in that way.
“It would be much easier if we all sat down and said nothing, there would be a lot less hiccups, work could be done a lot more efficiently.
“But we are not just going to sit down and accept this — we will organise the protest again to say, this must change, this is not an appropriate example of community consultation.
“This is not a good example of how things must be.”

Replanting plan

“We have heard from the local community that they appreciate the natural environment, which is why we are planting more trees than we remove on the Fitzsimons Lane Upgrade,” said Mr Sorathian.

Local member Vicky Ward has announced that 5,000 trees will be planted around Eltham to offset the trees that have been removed.
In a statement, she said approximately six new trees will be planted for every tree removed as part of the project.
This calculation makes the tally of trees lost at approximately 830.

“This program will leave an important legacy that all participants and the wider community will enjoy for years to come,” she said.

Ms Ward’s announcement stated local secondary school students will also be involved in a propagating project to create a new supply of native plants and trees, which will be planted and grown in the local area.
However, Ms Shoukoglou said even 5,000 trees, will not replace what has been lost.

“One of the main issues is there are very few hollow bearing trees left, and it is a serious problem.
“So planting a one-year-old, or five-year-old tree is nothing like it.
“Even if you have 5,000 of them, it is nothing like one mature tree that has lived for 50, 60, 100, 200 years.
“You are never going to regain that,” she said.

Cr Perkins said Council and the community lament the recent destruction of so many trees at this key gateway.

“We look forward to the completion of the project when the benefits will be realised and landscaping completed,” he said.

Display of grief

On Saturday, 20 February, locals gathered for a demonstration at the intersection, gathering in small groups to place “letters of love and loss”.
Ms Shukuroglou told WD Bulletin due to COVID restrictions the community was unable to protest in the traditional sense.
To ensure the event was conducted safely the organisers opted for a multi-site staged gathering over the course of the day.

“It was an independent demonstration, a COVID-safe solution, and an opportunity for people to express their grief, which is immense and rippling through the community”.

She said people came on their own mournful walk, delivered letters, had conversations, and shared their feelings of dismay, anxiety, shock.

“People’s worlds have been rocked — how can that be allowed in our system which is touted as fair?
“Others said their anxiety is through the roof… so much more,” she said.

What now for the future?

Protest organisers are asking concerned citizens to visit their website, to send messages, and keep updated on future actions.
elthamroundabout.wixsite.com/my-site
The WD Bulletin and Warrandyte Diary will continue to follow this developing story.

 

ComBank Closure in Macedon Square

LAST YEAR, The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) made the decision to temporarily close their branch located in Macedon Square, Lower Templestowe to address growing COVID-19 related concerns.

In a letter addressed to Manningham Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Day on January 21, 2021, CBA stated they would not re-open the Lower Templestowe branch due to a shift in customer behaviours — citing that more customers have opted to do their banking online and over the phone.

On January 28, 2021, Councillor Stephen Mayne brought the motion to the monthly Manningham Council Meeting to undertake an advocacy campaign with the CBA to delay or reverse this decision.

Councillor Mayne felt strongly that the closure of the Lower Templestowe branch would be detrimental to the community space, considering Macedon Square is a bustling hub for Manningham residents.

Increasing concerns of potential loss of foot traffic in the centre grow, as the February closure date looms ahead.

“Bank branches drive visitation to local activity centres so it is important to fight to retain the last bank in any centre,” said Cr Mayne.

“Macedon Square is the number one community meeting place in the Ruffey Ward that we are considering spending two to three million dollars on improving in the period ahead.

“I am hoping our engagement will lead to a change in decision here.

“We are publicly signalling to the bank that we are disappointed with this decision,” Cr Mayne said at the January Ordinary Council Meeting.

The council resolved by majority vote to pass the motion.

The Bulletin contacted Councillor Mayne for further comments and updates regarding the motion.

As Councillor Mayne stated in the January council meeting, the council understands that technology is changing and internet banking is becoming the norm.

However, it is still important to look after the needs and interests of everybody in the community, specifically our elderly population.

“Manningham has one of the oldest communities in Victoria so it is particularly important to look after their needs, and many of our elderly residents still like to visit bank branches,” he said.

In a letter addressed to Councillor Mayne on the February 1, 2021, a final verdict on the matter had been reached.

“CBA has written [to the council] confirming the permanent closure, blaming it on a 34 per cent drop in branch activity in recent years,” he writes.

The ATM at the Lower Templestowe Branch will only remain until 12pm on Friday, February 19, however CBA advises that there are 12 nearby ATMs within 5km of the Macedon Square branch.

Cash withdraw services are also available within nearby supermarkets, service centres as well as Australia Post, who also extend their services to deposits and bill payments.

The letter from CBA goes on to say:

“While our decision is final regarding the closure of Lower Templestowe branch, we recognise that some older customers do prefer to do their banking face to face and this is one of the reasons why CBA is proud to maintain the largest branch network in the country.”

As of February 19, the nearest bank to Macedon Square, CBA or otherwise, is located at Westfield Doncaster, The Pines East Doncaster, Tunstall Square Doncaster and Bulleen Plaza, all of which are at least 2.5km away.

Groove on the Green

After a year of lockdown and isolation, February 6 saw Warrandyte emerge to remember its Year of Wonders, at a photo exhibition and live event held at Taffy’s hut at the newly opened Lion’s Park (see page 22 for a selection of the Year of Wonders photographs).

While the exhibition was a celebration of the wonderful creativity that abounds in our photographic artists, what was discovered over the course of the evening is the amazing potential for our new Village Green as a gathering space and place for all manner of purposes.

However, this Green may be short lived, as it is planned to be incorporated into an extended playground in Stage 2 of the site development.

Yarra Ward Councillor, Carli Lange attended the event and said, “it was clear — the vision for Lions Park upgrade had come to life”.

“The new, treasured and beneficial open space in front of Taffy Jones Hut has become a connection for all — families, groups, couples, individuals, everyone!

She said the grassed area between the playground and the Lions Park extension was a “Groove on the Green” — enjoyed by everyone.

She said the green had potential to be a picnic area, a game field, a social buzz and an audience arena.

She said many locals had spoken to her to say “thank-you” for this flat grass area to host presentations, speeches, entertainment, shows, rehearsals and galleries — a much needed connection point for all.

“Many locals said ‘Please, please, keep this new grass area — just as is — please keep it open, flat, grassed’,”Ms Lange said.

Warrandyte Resident Doreen Burge noted how well the new Green was utilised during the event, and said the extension of the playground, “seems very short-sighted given the possibilities for this lovely lawn and its proximity to the natural stage of Taffy’s Hut”.

Warrandyte Historical Society made a submission to Council in December, saying the Stage 2 upgrade would: “result in an overdeveloped Park with insufficient space for simple activities, such as sitting or playing on an open grassed area”.

“We feel that an extension to the playground is unnecessary given the many new features of Stage 1 that can be utilised by older children.

“We are concerned that the open views to and across the river will be compromised by the addition of more play equipment.

“We feel the current grassed area is an asset to this new park and would be well-utilised by families and all age groups if it were to become a permanent feature.

“It would be disappointing to see this area covered with play equipment.”

Karen Mew who coordinates Pottery Co, which backs onto the space told the Diary they are planning a series of events in the area, including Indigenous talks and music events.

This grass area will be the start and part of many community events of Taffy’s Hut, but to do that we need to keep our green.

Ways to stay connected

THE BRAWL between the Australian Media and digital platforms, moderated by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) through the News Media Bargaining Code turned an ugly corner this morning as Facebook pulled all Australian news content from their platform.

All content deemed “news” both domestically and internationally has been pulled from Australia and has also impacted pages such as Bureau of Meterology (BOM).

While mainstream media platforms have the budget and personnel to weather the storm and find alternative ways to connect to their audiences, small community publisher – such as the Warrandyte Diary are less fortunate.

For many, who have been adapting to an increasingly digital landscape, Facebook’s action sends them back to the dark ages.

Maybe this is a good thing.

Maybe this is a chance to get away from the dancing cat memes and incessant trolling, but Facebook’s action caught everyone off guard and media companies across Australia and now pivoting to reconnect with their audience.

Warrandyte Diary and WD Bulletin are still here and now has even more ways to keep you engaged, informed and up to date.

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More to come…

We are actively working on more ways to connect digitally, so watch this space for exciting new announcements about ways to catch up on local content.

Life in the times of COVID-19

RUNNING FROM February 5 to April 5, Montsalvat will be host to an exhibition titled Art in the Time of COVID-19.
The Exhibition consists of over 40 local and national artists, all of whom have been commissioned to share their artwork that responds to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The exhibition features works in the Local category from Elisabeth Bromley-Kulugitago, Michelle Caithness, Clive Murray-White, Jonathan Crowther, Karena Goldfinch, Lana de Jager, Carl de Jager, Siri Hayes, Emmy Mavroidis, James McMurtrie, Angela Nagel, Mandy Ord, Camilla Tadich, Ronak Taher, Melisa Savickas, Tara Stubley, Jennifer Dellaportas, Peter Wegner, and Gali Weiss.
Open category works from Dale Collier, Jane Crappsley, Fan Dongwang, Minna Gilligan, Tyler Grace, Michelle Hamer, Spencer Harrison, Paul Kalemba, Robbie
Karmel, Deb Mcfadzean, Anna McDermott, Valentina Palonen, Jenny Pollak, Zorica Purlija, Greer Townshend, Luigi Vescio, James Voller, Joel Zika, Liz Walker, and Yu Fang Chi.
The arts community, like many others, has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic.
Nillumbik Mayor Peter Perkins said Council was proud to support the Shire’s vibrant arts community through such an important project.
“History has shown that adversity brings out the very best in communities and this response from the arts community has been no different.
“The pandemic has touched us all in one way or another and these works are a reflection and reminder of life during 2020 and the struggles, challenges and uncertainties we all continue to face,” said Cr Perkins.
The works are a mixture of both reflective and experimental pieces, presented in a variety of mediums including painting, printmaking, photography, drawing, mixed media, sculpture, installation, textile and video.
The Diary spoke with local artist Siri Hayes, an artist who specialises in photography, video, and textiles, particularly botanical dyes.
Siri, like many people, used the 2020 lockdowns as an opportunity to take on “COVID projects”.
“Something they have always wanted to do but have not had the time for,” she said.
With the free time Siri said it meant that she could investigate indigo dying, which she says is probably the most complicated of the botanical dyes to make.
“It is quite scientific; it requires all the conditions to be right.”
The fruits of this labour will be on display at the Art in the Time of Covid-19 exhibition in the form of a three-metre-long weaving of yarn titled Wurundjeri country, Chux Blue.
The weaving was made using her indigo dye made from the native plant Indigofera australis.
Aside from being used to make dye, Siri told me the Wurundjeri people would crush the leaves and add them to water which would stun or kill fish and eels.
Her weaving was originally meant to be, essentially, “a really enlarged Chux cloth”
“I actually found one on the ground all covered in clay and a photo of that is also going to be in the show as well, so there’s a relationship between the cloth that I have made and then there is also the photo next to it.”
The Warrandyte Diary was given access to the gallery and those involved prior to the exhibitions opening.
To hear more about what the exhibition means to those involved and arts in Nillumbik generally, see our video on the Warrandyte Diary website.
Art in the Time of COVID-19 is presented in conjunction with Nillumbik Shire Council and on at Montsalvat in the Barn Gallery, The Skipper Studio and the Montsalvat Grounds until April 5.
Due to COVID restrictions, tickets must be pre-purchased.
Bookings and more information at www.montsalvat.com.au

Photo exhibition captures Manningham during lockdown

THE LIGHTS are on and everybody’s home.
Manningham Art Gallery’s first exhibition of the year, Empty Streets and Stacked Chairs, documents life in the final two weeks of Australia’s first COVID-19 lockdown in May 2020.
Photographers Bill McAuley and David Wadelton captured this historic moment in a series of poignant images featuring deserted shopping centres, desolated streets, closed schools and masked baristas.
Manningham Mayor, Cr Andrew Conlon said the exhibition has allowed us to document a shared experience from the pandemic and tells many stories of our community and how we have been affected in different ways.
“The exhibition tells a tale of the perseverance of the human spirit during an unprecedented time, and explores fear and adaptation with a glimmer
of hope shining through,” he said.
“It provides a portrait of Manningham and a snapshot of the different experiences our community has gone through, whether sad or heart-warming.”
The exhibition is open now until Saturday, March 27 at Manningham Art Gallery, 687 Doncaster Road, Doncaster.
In person and online artist talks with photojournalists Bill McAuley and David Wadelton are also scheduled during February.
Booking is essential.
Bill McAuley Artist Talk Tuesday, 16 February 11am to 12:30pm
manningham.vic.gov.au/artist-talk-with-bill-mcauley
David Wadelton Artist Talk Tuesday, 23 February 11am to 12:30pm
manningham.vic.gov.au/artist-talk-with-david-wadelton
For more information about the exhibition, visit
manningham.vic.gov.au/empty-streets-and-stacked-chairs

 

Photos below by Bill McAuley

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Photos below by David Wadelton

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Community notice: Come join the Lions Club of Warrandyte

The Lions Club of Warrandyte would like to invite any interested member of the wider community to our first meeting for 2021.
At the moment we have 10 vacancies in our Community Lions Club for people with an interest in helping others and raising money for not only local persons in need of support, but any where assistance is needed through our magnificent OpShop.
For those of you who have been watching the redevelopment of Lions Park down near the bridge, you may have noticed the installation of four exercise work out equipment installed by Council and paid for to the tune of $45,000 donated by the Lions Club Of Warrandyte, from the op shop and the support of the Warrandyte Community Market.

So if you think you like to help your community and be able to attend a meeting for a couple of hours a month, and participate in Club activities including the Op Shop you would be made most welcome.
Our next meeting will be held at Bocca Italian Restaurant near IGA on Tuesday, February 9 at 7:30pm.

RSVP by Monday, February 8 by contacting Mr Denis Robertshaw Club Membership Coordinator on 0407-533-342

 

Construction to commence on Fitzsimons Lane intersections

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recycling goes up in smoke

RESIDENTS of Research received a lesson in the dangers of not properly disposing of their waste and recycling when they witnessed a small fire outside Research CFA Station.
On Wednesday morning, January 13 the driver of a garbage truck, collecting recycling, noticed his load had caught fire, and proceeded to drive to, and dump its load in the Research CFA carpark.
WD Bulletin spoke with Jarrad Bradley, 5th Lieutenant, Research CFA about the incident, he provided this statement, and picture.

“On Wednesday, January 13, at 07:36, the Research CFA brigade received an emergency fire call for a truck fire at the Research Fire Station.
Upon arrival at the station, members discovered that there was a large pile of rubbish on-fire in the middle of the station carpark.
It was quickly ascertained that a local rubbish truck, full of recycling refuse, had experienced a small fire in the load and had deposited the load into the station car park to save the truck and to allow for complete extinguishment.
Members safely entered the station and immediately deployed the Brigade’s tanker so that the fire could be delt with.
Several members used BA [Breathing Apparatus] to ensure that the smoke and any possible hazards where not a risk.
The fire was soon extinguished and the task of pulling the pile apart commenced.
This was to ensure that any embers or smouldering debris were out.
The remaining pile was later transferred to a dumpster via a bobcat and the rubbish contractor completed the disposal and the car park was washed clean.”

Smoke was visible around Research and triggered a warning via the VIC Emergency app.
The statement goes on to say.

“While a specific cause of this fire was not apparent, these types of fires are usually caused by the incorrect disposal of dangerous items in household rubbish bins.
Please ensure you check what can and cannot be put in your bins.
Particularly dangerous items include hot embers and ashes, gas cylinders — including small camping type Butane cylinders, and modern rechargeable batteries — especially Lithium, phone, laptop and LiPo batteries.
Please remember to check what goes into your bins, especially the correct disposal of batteries.”

Thanks to the quick thinking of the garbage truck driver, and the professionalism of the Research CFA volunteers, the events of Wednesday morning were quickly contained.
For information on how to properly dispose of e-waste, visit your local council’s website.

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Images courtesy: Jarrad Bradley, 5th Lieutenant, Research CFA

Chock-full of chooks

FOR THE LAST six months, Eltham local, Joan Denison has been using her passion for art to spread joy throughout her community, creating Iso Chook paintings on old fence palings.
WD Bulletin previously featured Joan and her quirky cartoon-like chooks at the beginning of her Iso Chook journey in our September 2020 issue.
Since then, demand for her Iso Chooks has grown and her paling paintings are now proudly on display through Eltham and surrounding communities.
Joan’s love for illustration began when she studied fashion design at RMIT, and later had a long career working for fashion houses.
Joan now frequents groups such as the Nillumbik U3A, who usually gather and paint together weekly.

“I’ve always been painting and drawing,” she says.

Joan was saddened to see her neighbours’ spirits dampened during the trialling times of the pandemic, so to spread a bit of joy, she painted a small group of chickens for her garden, so onlookers could have a smile.

“We noticed that people were stopping and taking photos of them, and so we painted some more.
“We put a sign outside our house and people started helping themselves,” Joan told WD Bulletin.

Joan and her husband had set up a stall every Saturday to give away free chook palings to the community, which received a fantastic response from families, especially those with small children.

“The line was all the way down the hill!” says Joan.

Enthused about the chooks taking Eltham gardens by storm, Joan’s neighbours and community members offered her free fencing to continue her crazy chook journey and during one of the most testing times for Victorian’s in recent history, Joan’s chooks became a symbol of hope and community cohesiveness.

“In the one hour we were allowed out for exercise, my husband and I went around putting chooks in peoples’ letter boxes just to surprise them — like Father Christmas!” Joan laughs.

To date, Joan has painted over 1,000 Iso Chooks and with demand still out there, she is showing no sign of stopping and is now taking commissions from community organisations.

“I’ve given to lots of hospitals, nursing homes, and five schools.
“It’s been a very interesting journey I tell you — it takes a lot of work,” she says.
“I’ve slowed down a bit, since Christmas.
“People are a lot busier now, we’re not seeing many people walking past our house anymore,” she says.

In decades to come, many will look back on 2020 and only see crisis, but for residents of Eltham, they will remember hope, joy and a connected community, symbolised by Joan’s Iso Chooks.

If you would like to contact Joan for a commissioned piece, she can be contacted through Facebook Messenger.
https://www.facebook.com/joan.denison.52