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Country Club in crosshairs over kangaroo cull

OUTRAGE and immediate action from the local community and local wildlife protection groups brought about a stay-of-execution for the kangaroos at Heritage Golf and Country Club, on Tuesday, April 27.
With mere hours’ notice, owners of properties adjacent to the golf club on the edge of Wonga Park were informed a kangaroo cull would take place on the grounds that evening.
This information was immediately shared on various community group and wildlife protection social media pages.
The information was shared widely, Warrandyte Diary has recorded 221 comments across 27 shares of its post with many comments expressing distaste at the advertised action, there was also some debate around the issues of dealing with wildlife populations, as Melbourne’s suburban growth continues to place settlements in wildlife territory or push populations into green wedge areas.
The Heritage Golf and Country Club’s own Facebook page received 838 comments on their most recent post with people protesting the kangaroo cull.
Local wildlife protection group Save the Kinley Kangas (STKK) mounted an on-site protest, on the evening of Tuesday, April 27 and through combined community action were able to postpone the cull.
A further demonstration was scheduled for Wednesday, April 28 but this was called off at the last minute when demonstrators were able to get assurances the cull would be postponed for the time being.
STKK is a team of highly skilled veterinary and wildlife experts that mobilised with the community in response to a proposed cull of the kangaroo mob on the Kinley development in Lilydale.
The Diary spoke with STKK representative Alyssa Wormald.
“We worked collaboratively with the developer to produce a high-level relocation proposal for the Kinley kangaroos, based on proven best-practice methodology,” she said.
Ms Wormald told the Diary they had heard about the Heritage Golf Course cull, via social media, at 2pm that afternoon and that the cull was a financial decision and not about population control.
Ms Wormald also informs the Diary that while the cull is temporarily postponed, the kangaroos are still at risk.
“Our understanding is that this is a poorly considered financial move to sell the carcasses for pet food.
“According to long term residents and staff, the kangaroos cause no trouble and are beloved by locals and guests alike.”
7 News reported the General Manager of the Club intends to go ahead with the cull as soon as they can.
“We hope to convince them that it would be a great PR move to cancel the cull and show they are a club that respects wildlife and the community by working with us to resolve any genuine issues with the kangaroos,” she said.
The Diary also asked the group about how the response would have played out if notice had been days or even weeks in advance.
“It’s deeply concerning that culls are allowed to go ahead with so little notice and no community consultation.
“It is extremely distressing to the many people who care about these local mobs.
“If we had known about it in advance, we could have reached out to the club to provide our assistance pro-bono.
“We could have worked together towards a really positive outcome for all involved.
“As it is, we have offered our services to the club but we have had no response, possibly because they have been bombarded with communications from concerned community members.
“It is essential that wildlife be considered in future planning, preserving habitat and green corridors wherever possible.”
The Diary then asked Alyssa about how we manage wildlife in the face of suburban development.
“If wildlife cannot be adequately accommodated, relocation must be the next step.
“The State Government has an outdated resistance to the relocation of kangaroos based on flawed research.
“We know experts like ours can safely and humanely relocate kangaroos and this should always be the first option.
“The government makes it extremely difficult to gain approval to move native macropods yet there are no restrictions on moving introduced farm animals that are environmentally damaging.
“It is non-sensical,” she said.
The Diary also reached out to Heritage Golf and Country Club for comment but are yet to receive a response.
STKK report that they have negotiated a cease-fire while talks take place to find a solution.
The Diary continues to monitor the situation.

Mental Health

VALUES are at the core of self.
Understanding your values helps a person decide what is most important in their life.
Being able to identify those values is a little bit trickier, because values can be influenced by so many different things and it can be hard to recognise which are our values or those of someone else.
In general, values are related to the way in which we decide to live and work.
Our values should determine our deepest priorities, without any outside influence.
However, being influenced by outside sources happens whether we like it or not and these can impact our actions, unintentionally or intentionally, changing the way we behave or the way we live or the way we work.
When we live by our own values, we tend to be happy, content and relaxed.
Satisfied even.
When we move away from our values, by outside influences perhaps, we become unhappy, anxious and stressed.
We feel uneasy.
Living by our values is very important for our mental health, once we understand what our deepest personal values are, we are able to assess if we are living by them, or if we need to change the way we are functioning.
It is also important to understand that over time, our values may also change, depending on our life circumstances, but core values never leave us.
If you are thinking that that sounds like a contradiction in terms, you are right.
The point is, we have a set of core values that are at the centre of our being that are usually pretty sound, and yet some of our other values don’t have such strict boundaries and may alter as life develops, as we enter relationships, have children, develop our careers and so on.
What was important in the past, may not be so important now.
Values are the principles by which we live our lives.
Our earliest values are dictated by family, friends and relationships.
But as we grow and mature, we are able to fully identify and develop our own set of values.
Take a moment to think about your own values, perhaps make a list of them.
Where did those values come from, who influenced them and more importantly what influenced them?
Determining your values can be as simple as thinking about the things that have had a positive influence on your life, things that have made you happy, that make you feel safe, that you are proud of, et cetera.
Once you start thinking about your values, it is easier to understand your core values, the things that matter most, that are unwavering.
Sometimes it is hard to live by our values, because life throws curveballs at us that might try to knock us off track.
This is normal, it is how we react to these curveballs that is important — once we have identified our core values, handling difficult situations becomes less stressful.
For instance, identifying the direction in life we wish to take, making important or life changing decisions or knowing how to act in awkward situations becomes easier.
Being true to yourself is living by your core values.
These core values are the foundation for a strong and healthy, happy life.
If you cannot or have not identified your values, then how do you know when you have violated one of them?
Usually, it is because you have a deep sense of unease, you feel sick in the stomach, you become anxious or feel guilty or even shame.
Essentially, when we have identified with our values and live by them, we experience a deeper sense of happiness and peace of mind, we function better and become more productive, creative and respected.
It is important to remember however, that not everyone shares the same values.
Respecting your own values as well as other people’s values is important.
Remaining non-judgemental and respectful to other people’s values is an attribute that is worthy of being on everyone’s list of values for a more harmonious existence.

Stephanie Foxley has lived and worked in the Manningham district for over 20 years.
Now relocated to Queensland she offers online counselling services via Zoom.
Medibank, Bupa, Police Health Fund and Doctor’s Health fund accredited.
Member of ACA and CCAA and PACFA
Mobile: 0407 921 122
Email: newlifehealingspace@gmail.com
Website: www.newlifehealing.com.au

Beyondblue Australia: 1300 22 4636
Lifeline: (Crisis Support) 13 11 14
Headspace: (12-25 years) 1800 650 890
Coronavirus Health Information Line: 1800 020 080
Health and Human Services: www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au

Kara Colborne-Veel flies high with the Pies

THINGS YOU may know about Warrandyte local Kara Colborne-Veel:

  • she works at Riverview Café,  
  • she loves her footy,
  • she grew up supporting Carlton. 

Things you may not know about Kara: 

  • she had a major injury to her ACL in 2017 at just 16 years old,
  • she works with the AFL as a Games Development Coordinator,
  • she plays in the VFLW for Collingwood. 

Playing her junior football at Bulleen-Templestowe, Kara says: “at the start I was like, it’s just footy I’ll have fun with it.”
When she started getting opportunities to play at a higher level she started thinking “maybe I could make something out of it, now I can just go for it.”
However, after just a few years, a major ACL injury forced Kara out of footy for around 18 months.
After an injury so early in her career, Kara said: “I thought, that’s it, that’s over for me because I don’t get the TAC route where everyone gets their opportunity.”
The TAC Cup Girls competition, which came into existence around the time of her injury, is a competition for women aged 16–18 to play at a higher level and hopefully lead to a pathway with the AFLW/VFLW.
For Kara the pathway was less conventional.
“I just took every other opportunity that came my way,” she said.
She spent a summer training with the Western Bulldogs VFLW as well as being recruited by Park Orchards.
After some impressive performances, she secured a spot on the VFLW list at Collingwood.
Kara has played five games this season for the undefeated pies, predominately in the forward line, and was named as an emergency in their 67-point win over Williamstown on May 1.
Recently with the completion of the AFLW, many of the players have returned to VFLW training; and because only a maximum of ten AFLW players can play in a match, the fight for spots, and training has become more intense.
Kara enjoys the training.
“It is good to have the AFL girls back because we get to learn off them, and they help us, they are like our mentors.”
She said AFLW Magpies co-captain Steph Chiocci has helped “big time”, but says the girls all help each other.
“It is hard work, but I love it,” she said.
Her main goal is to hopefully be drafted in a few years and play in the AFLW, however right now she says her goal is to stay on the VFL list.
“Staying at Collingwood would be really good because I love it there.”
The pathways available for entering the AFLW/VFLW are increasing, and many current female athletes are making the switch or playing both.
However, while enticing other elite athletes to the sport is important, growing the sport at the elite level means that a growth at the grassroots level is vital.
Kara herself has seen that change.
“When I was playing in the YJFL (Yarra Junior Football League) for Bulleen-Templestowe, there were maybe five clubs with women’s teams, we didn’t play against many teams.”
In fact, the inaugural season in 2011 had just 10 teams in an Under 18s “Youth Girls” competition, by 2019 that number had grown to 122 female-only teams across eight age divisions.
It is a sign that young women are starting to become more involved, and at a rapid pace.
While the opportunities at elite level are smaller, given the shorter season for the AFLW/VFLW, and less teams than the AFL/VFL, it also means that with a continued growth in the number of women playing.
More teams and opportunities will present for pathways to the elite level, allowing for a longer competition with more teams.
Kara says this “would be the ultimate goal, I would love for the girls to play the same season as the boys.”
For that to become a reality, it is vital that all those girls who want to play football, or who currently play know that those opportunities exist.
“The more girls that go to training, the more they will realise, something I feel which is that football is a home for me, its my second family and that’s why I love it so much, all the girls are like sisters,” she said.
From the whole Warrandyte community, (and this one-eyed Pies supporter) we want to wish Kara the best of luck for the rest of the season and we look forward to seeing her continue to achieve greatness in the years to follow.

Best of contemporary art on show

THE BARN GALLERY at Montsalvat is once again the setting for the Nillumbik Prize for Contemporary Art.
The 17th iteration of the prestigious art competition saw 323 entries, responding to the theme “Return”, with the 40 shortlisted finalists currently on show.
Emily Wubben, Exhibition Curator and Collections Management Officer for Nillumbik Council, said there was a good mix of local and national entries.
“The finalist exhibition is a good representation of the entries we received, both locally and nationally, with eight local artists among the 40 finalists.”
The contemporary biennial acquisitive art prize open to artists working in any medium in Australia.
The winner was announced at the exhibition opening on May 6, and for the first time, the Prize has been awarded to a digital artist.
James Nguyen, of Murumbeena, was presented the $20,000 prize in the Open Category for his moving image, The Camelia Economy.
The 20-minute, 29 second video tells the story of a handful of seeds given to the artist by his late grandmother on his return to Vietnam.
In Australia, his family grew the seeds into tea plants which they use to trade and swap with the community, symbolising the preservation of their culture of storytelling, care and entrepreneurship that has survived war and political exile.
Georgia Cribb, Director of Bunjil Place Gallery and one of the three prize judges, said it had been immensely challenging to determine a winner from a strong field across a range of media.
“We are delighted to learn that this is the first time that the prize has been awarded to an artist working in a digital medium,” she said.
The $10,000 local prize was won by Eltham artist Nusra Latif Qureshi for Remnant Blessings-I, an acrylic, graphite, gouache and gold on illustration board.
Nusra told the Diary the award means a lot to her on a personal level, as it is representative of the inclusiveness of the community.
She moved to Eltham about five years ago and says she has found it is a “very nurturing community”.
“I am finding that I am part of the community in a very interesting way, and I know that Eltham has always been a place where artists love to live and make it home.”
Nillumbik Mayor Peter Perkins said this year marked the 17th anniversary of the prize, which was highly regarded around Australia.
“This is a prestigious exhibition for artists to showcase excellence in contemporary art and is a celebration of Nillumbik’s rich artistic and cultural community,” Cr Perkins said.
“Council prides itself on being a strong supporter of the arts on all levels.
“Congratulations to the winners and all the finalists for their impressive and inspiring works.”
Sculptor Clive Murray-White, an artist-in-residence at the Dunmoochin art collective, took out the $500 Mayor’s Award for his work, Assisted Suiseki No: 9.
Cr Perkins said, “This striking piece can be viewed from any angle and immediately caught my eye as it is both contemporary and timeless.”
The open and local prizes are acquisitive, and the winning works will be included in the Nillumbik Shire Art Collection.
Emily said the calibre of the works was extremely high and there was a wonderful cross-section of works in all different media.
She said “Return” has been interpreted in a variety of different ways by the artists.
“These have included an exploration of returning to a sense of ones-self, of true identity — also stories of migration and connections to or memories of home as well as ideas of what returning to normal might be in the COVID context as well as an exploration of retuning to different techniques and methods.
“So there has been a very diverse range of very insightful and creative responses to the one theme,” Emily said.
The biennial prize was judged by Miriam Kelly, Curator at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art; Georgia Cribb, Director of Bunjil Place Gallery and Victoria Lynn, Director of TarraWarra Museum of Art.
The finalists were shortlisted by an independent panel of industry experts: Francis E. Parker, Curator of Exhibitions at Monash University Museum of Art, Jade Bitar, Visual Arts Officer at the City of Stonnington and Helen Walpole, independent art and museum curator.
The Finalist Exhibition is now open at Montsalvat until July 1, 2021.
Entry is free.
Montsalvat is currently open Thursday to Sunday, 10am–4pm.
Visitors are encouraged to vote for their favourite artwork in the People’s Choice Award, which will be announced on July 15, 2021.
For more information about the Nillumbik Prize for Contemporary Art, go to nillumbik.vic.gov.au/npca

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Lest we forget

Anzac Day services were held across the country, and after missing the camaraderie during last year’s lockdown, this year people were eager to gather together to remember our fallen heroes.
Across Manningham and Nillumbik moving services were held during Anzac morning.
Well-attended dawn services in Eltham and Doncaster preceded a mid-morning service in Templestowe, along with marches and commemorations in Warrandyte, and Montmorency, where moving tributes to veterans old and young were held.
The new tradition of remembrance at home saw people light up the dawn in their driveways, with livestreams from national and local services allowing connection from afar.

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Fitzsimons Lane roundabout

An update and Call for Action

A group of outraged Eltham residents are continuing their campaign to get Major Roads Projects Victoria (MRPV) to pause construction work on the proposed “upgrade of the Fitzsimons Lane roundabout”.
The approaches to this roundabout are the northern gateway to the areas bushland landscape character, which they are calling on to be conserved.
The objectors to the project say the scale of this upgrade is totally unnecessary.
Diary readers will have read about project workers cutting down and chipping all trees on the roundabouts on February 15, 2021, during a COVID lockdown.

Eltham locals Vicky Shukuroglou and Nicole Johnstone became so disturbed at the pattern of refusal of access to information and poor community consultation they decided to call a meeting at the Eltham Golf Club on March 31.
They said the community was being systematically manipulated by MRPV through the implementation of a mis-directed corporate stakeholder management strategy and wished to canvas and respond to these concerns.

The March issue of the Diary reported about the claims of deficit in consultation, the overkill scale of the design, inaccuracies in the traffic modelling figures and the dismissive response to an expertly prepared alternative, lower impact design submitted by Eltham Community Action Group.

Protest Action continues

Those attending the March meeeting were treated to presentations by three engineering experts on the alternative plan and on traffic modelling together with a paper on the legal issues surrounding the process and interaction with MRPV.
Speakers told the meeting “this is not a normal road upgrade”, as its inclusion within the scope of the greater North East Link Project means that the Fitzsimons Lane Upgrade falls within the grand scale thinking, funding and legal Great Wall boundary of the Major Transport Projects Facilitation Act 2009.
The Fitzsimons Lane Bridge is the next upstream Yarra River crossing to the Bansksia Street Bridge and therefore to the North East Link, hence why they consider Fitzsimons Lane should be “fixed” too.
In a paper, Interpreting the Fitzsimons Lane Traffic Forecasts, presented to the March meeting, Civil Engineer Denis Johnston contends the MRPV traffic forecasts do not justify the upgrade.

This paper is available on the website below.

The report discusses:

  1. the MRPV assumed a traffic volume growth rate of more than three times the average growth rate forecast in the NE Link modelling.
  2. MRPV officers said they did not account for the traffic relief of the NE Link opening in 2027 – when asked why, officers said  ‘the business case people said not to’.
  3. MRPV did not account for the reduction in traffic flows on Fitzsimons Lane that will occur when the NE Link opens in 2027 (approximately 25 per cent in peak periods according to the NE Link modelling).
    Figure 1 from the paper demonstrates this upgrade cannot be justified on traffic volume grounds.

After 2027 the reduced traffic flows can be handled efficiently by the existing roundabout.
The alternative design which is kinder to the environment, does not include a retaining wall up to five metres in height, is safer for cyclists would be a cheaper and better solution.

Further Action

The wrap up message from the meeting was to renew community protests to call for better conversations and transparent governance, as the refusal by authorities and Government to seriously listen to the community justifies a “Call for a Pause”.

A revamped website now provides further details and contact list for protest submissions: www.elthamroundabout.wixsite.com/my-site

Fact Sheets

Meanwhile MRPV has released a series of Fact Sheets outlining different aspects of the project.

A Fact Sheet on the design process has outlined the recent changes they have made to the project design during the course of 2021.

“Design refinements that have further reduced impacts to trees include:
• minimising the works and footprint of the intersections where possible
• project-wide design changes to avoid impacting underground services
• realignment of the Porter Street eastern section (saving over 10 trees including two river red gums and four sugar gums)
• maintaining the kerb line and minimising earthworks on the eastern side of Fitzsimons Lane at the main road intersection
• reduced retaining wall footprint at the Main/Fitzsimons intersection.”

They have also released pamphlets on Environmental Impact, Dust, Noise, and Business Support during construction.

The documents can be found at roadprojects.vic.gov.au/projects/fitzsimons-lane-upgrade/factsheets

Brady Poole claims Pascoe Medal

18-YEAR OLD Brady Poole claimed Warrandyte Cricket Club’s Steve Pascoe Best & Fairest Medal, becoming the second-youngest player to do so in the awards history.
Poole took out the “P”, along with the Gerald Walshe First XI Medal, with 23 votes after hitting 174 runs and taking 19 wickets in a stellar all-round season.
In front of a packed venue, last season’s winner, Josh Aitken, presented Poole the latest red and white striped jacket, a garment awarded exclusively to Pascoe medallists.
Poole, also Warrandyte’s youngest ever First XI debutant, claimed the club’s highest honour ahead of Craig Haslam (21 votes) and Second XI skipper Luke Warren (17 votes) in an exciting vote count.
Poole has compiled an impressive Warrandyte cricketing resumé already.
Moving from Sixth XI cricket to the First XI in the space of a season, debuting in the Ones at just 13, premiership player and captain and now a place among the club’s elite as one of the club’s Pascoe Medallists.
Just two votes behind in second, Haslam amassed seven half-centuries and 239 runs this season to win the inaugural Greg Warren Eighth XI Medal.
Warren claimed 25 wickets at an average of 13, claiming the Brett Kline Medal as the Second XI Best and Fairest to make it back to back awards after previously claiming the Third XI Award.
Third XI Skipper and U16 premiership Coach Brandon Stafford capped off a stellar season by winning the Nathan Croft Third XI Best and Fairest after claiming 28 wickets at an average of just 12.
Shaun Ison made it back to back Jim Gathercole Medals in the Fourth XI after hitting 176 runs and taking 15 wickets.
Drew El-Moussali was another back to back Best and Fairest winner, taking out his second Rob Leguier in as many years after topping the club run-scoring with 497 at a whopping average of 82.
At just 16 years of age, Isaac Rakuscek took out yet another Best and Fairest, claiming the Ivan Vojlay Medal after previously claiming the Seventh XI Award in 2019/2020.
Travis Jackson, a cricketer fondly referred to as ‘The Run Machine’, was the Andrew Thomas C with 262 runs to his name in 2020/2021.
The President’s Award was presented to Michelle Heffernan for her work in getting Girl’s and Women’s competitions up and running.
With last year’s full event cancelled due to COVID restrictions, a sizeable crowd walked down the literal red carpet into the Warrandyte clubrooms bringing the season proper to a close for the club.

Fitzsimons Lane River Peel relocation

ONE OF THE City of Manningham’s most recognisable landmarks is about to move to a new home.
The River Peel sculpture will be relocated as part of the Fitzsimons Road Upgrade, being delivered by Major Road Projects Victoria.
The artwork is currently situated at the Fitzsimons Lane and Porter Street roundabout, which is being redeveloped to remove the roundabout and install traffic lights.
River Peel will be carefully dismantled and temporarily placed into storage before being reinstalled further along Fitzsimons Lane, close to the Yarra River crossing.
Manningham Mayor Cr Andrew Conlon described the River Peel as an “iconic local artwork signifying the unique river landscape and orcharding past of the local area of Doncaster and Templestowe”.
He said the relocation of River Peel from the roundabout to farther along Fitzsimons Lane will allow residents and visitors to continue to enjoy this sculptural piece in Manningham.
Work to remove the sculpture from its current home will begin on April 8, with the relocation expected to be completed by the middle of the year.
River Peel was created in 2001 by artists Michael Bellemo and Catriona Macleod.
It draws on the local heritage and surrounding landscape, imitating the Yarra River as it bends and turns through the area, and an apple peel to reflect the history of orchards in Doncaster and Templestowe.
MRPV has worked closely with Mr Bellemo and Ms Macleod, Manningham Council, Parks Victoria, Department of Transport, and Wurundjeri as the Registered Aboriginal Party to agree on the relocation site for River Peel.
The move will ensure the sculpture continues to be a gateway piece to Manningham on Fitzsimons Lane.
The Fitzsimons Lane Upgrade will redevelop four intersections along Fitzsimons Lane, which is a major thoroughfare connecting Melbourne’s northern suburbs with the city and eastern suburbs, and is used by more than 60,000 vehicles every day.
Major Road Projects Victoria Program Director Dipal Sorathia said the Fitzsimons Lane Upgrade has been designed to respond to the area’s growing transport needs, while also respecting the heritage of the local community.
“We’re proud we’ve been able to help find a new home for River Peel, which ensures it keeps its status as an important Manningham gateway piece for decades to come.”
He said, once completed, the road will be safer for all road users and provide drivers with faster, more reliable journeys.

Community objection

The project remains a focus of strong community protest.
The large-scale removal of trees at the Main Road and Fitzsimons Lane intersection — during the February lockdown — has not sat well with many residents, who felt the timing was a smack in the face for objectors.
Three residents local to the roundabout have become alarmed at MRPV’s interaction with local Councils and the community during the design stage and early works.
Vicki Shukuroglou and members of the Johnstone family convened a well-attended meeting at the Eltham bowls Club last week to report on meetings with MRPV and to plan further protest action.
Local engineers told the meeting they had presented calculations and plans supporting their contention that the 25 per cent reductions in traffic volume (14,000 vehicles per day) resulting from the North East Link have not been factored into the 6-8 lane design, only to be told the MPV design supports the business case for the Project.
Other speakers highlighted gaps in the environmental approvals and processes.
Ms Shukuroglou called for this meeting be the beginning of a call to “Pause this Project”.
A full report of the meeting will be published in the April WD Bulletin.
MRPV said in a statement, the project is the first in a multi-billion-dollar pipeline of road upgrades in Melbourne’s north as part of Victoria’s “Big Build”.
The statement said the project is generating much-needed jobs as part of the State Government’s COVID-19 response.
MRPV remains committed to delivering the Fitzsimons Lane Upgrade by the end of 2025.

Staying local to honour their service this Anzac Day

AFTER LAST year’s lockdown saw Anzac Day commemorations much changed, Victorians will be able to honour the sacrifice of our service men and women in person this year.
While attendance at the Dawn Service and March to the Shrine of Remembrance is to be limited this year, local services will be held at local RSLs across the state, including Warrandyte.
The Victorian Government has worked closely with RSL Victoria to ensure veterans and their families could march this year, but encourages Victorians to stay local on Anzac Day.

Chief Executive Officer of RSL Victoria Jamie Twidale said RSL Branches and local councils across the state are gearing up for an Anzac Day that will see the whole Victorian community commemorate in a COVID Safe way.“This Anzac Day — as we have done every year for over a century — we will remember them — Lest we forget.”

RSL sub-branch, local government and community services are being planned, so finding a service close to home is an easy, meaningful, and a COVID Safe way to remember those who served.
The Anzac Day March can proceed safely with 5,500 people, in line with the application submitted by the RSL and approved under Victoria’s Public Events Framework.
The traditional Dawn Service and Commemorative Services will also be held with smaller numbers in partnership with the Shrine of Remembrance, and streamed for all Victorians to watch on Facebook.
The Warrandyte RSL has advised that the traditional Anzac Day march and service will proceed on Sunday, April 25.
The march will step off at 10:30am in Yarra Street, from the carpark opposite Whipstick Gully Road.
A service will be held at the cenotaph in the RSL Memorial grounds at the conclusion of the march at 10:45am.
Secretary of the Warrandyte RSL, Del Caulfield said there will be limited reserved seating available from the RSL balcony for elderly or disabled veterans or those with restricted mobility.
Attendants will also be available to anyone requiring assistance on the day.
“Regrettably due to COVID-19 restrictions, the community morning tea which usually follows the service cannot be provided,” she said.
The Lions Club of Warrandyte will instead offer a sausage sizzle within the RSL grounds with all proceeds going to the Lions Club of Warrandyte.Police have confirmed that Yarra Street, will be closed between Whipstick Gully and the Warrandyte Bridge for the duration of the march.

42K Media will again be working with the Diary to produce a Livestream of the Warrandyte service.
Details on how to view the stream will be made available in the week leading up to the event.
Readers can also share their show of remembrance from home by taking part in #lightupthedawn on social media, while observing the traditional minute’s silence from their driveways, front yards, or balconies.
Anzac Day, April 25 — one of our most important national days — began as a commemoration of the landing of Australian and New Zealand forces at Gallipoli in 1915 during World War One.
It has grown to become a reflection on the service and sacrifice of all Australians who have served in conflict or on peacekeeping operations.
On Anzac Day, donations to the Anzac Appeal are encouraged through anzacappeal.com.au.
To reserve seats or for any further information about the local service please phone Del Caulfield on 0481 307 696 or leave a message at warrandytersl@gmail.com.

 

New dog on-lead area around Warrandyte Lions Park

MANNINGHAM COUNCIL has made changes to dog controls in the Warrandyte River Reserve to ensure dogs remain on lead near the Warrandyte Bridge including the recently upgraded Lions Park area.
The change has been introduced to support safety for residents and visitors to this area and those enjoying the newly upgraded community facilities within the reserve.
Dogs must be on lead within the newly designated on lead area, which is a 260-metre section of the Warrandyte River Reserve, between 183 Yarra Street and the Warrandyte Bridge.
The new on lead area is in accordance with Council’s resolution in September 2020, which introduced Order Number 4 Dog and Cat Controls across Manningham.
This order was introduced in line with the Domestic Animals Act 1994.
There are still sections within the Warrandyte River Reserve that are designated as off lead areas.
In Manningham, dogs are only permitted off lead in designated areas providing the dog is kept under control at all times.
Dogs must be on lead within 15 metres of:
• public barbecue facilities
• children’s play equipment
• organised sporting events
• approved community functions or public outdoor meetings.
There can be penalties for owners who let their dog off their lead in areas where it is not permitted.
It is important to note that dogs are not permitted within the Federation Playspace area of this reserve.
For more information, on dog controls including on and off lead areas, visit manningham.vic.gov.au /changes-to-dog-on-lead-areas
or call 9840 9333.

Jack does it for MS and mental health

JACK WHELAN met a cheering crowd outside Grand Hotel Warrandyte on March 23, after completing a 2,043 kilometre ride around Victoria, raising money and awareness for the charities MS Australia and Outside the Locker Room.
Setting off from Lake Hume on March 9 and averaging 145km a day, Jack, along with a dedicated support crew, cycled through iconic landscapes such as the Murray River and the Great Ocean Road.
On the afternoon of Wednesday, March 23, he reached the final landmark of his epic journey — The Grand Hotel, Warrandyte — where a joyful crowd had gathered to toast the end of a long two weeks in the saddle.
Surpassing double his original target of $50,000, on Wednesday afternoon he had raised more than $119,000 for his chosen charities, and the Diary was there to welcome the saddle-sore Park Orchardian home, where he spoke to us about his adventure.
“It was a great adventure and I loved absolutely every minute of it.
“Obviously parts were more challenging than expected, and parts were maybe a little bit easier, and more enjoyable than I expected.
“The highlights were the time spent with family and friends around the campfire laughing, telling jokes in the night time.
“We got to ride through some of the most beautiful spots in the world.
“The Great Ocean Road, through the Otways, and we got to spend a lot of time along the mighty Murray River as well, which was really, really, special, and to share that with people I love the most made it really special.”
Jack was riding for two Charities; MS Australia and Outside the Locker Room, two charities Jack has a close personal relationship with.
“I lost my cousin to Multiple Sclerosis at a fairly young age.
He was diagnosed at 28, and from the day he was diagnosed he never worked another day in his life, and sadly passed away about four years after that.
So if I was ever going to do something, MS Australia was the one.
Moving onto the mental health side of things, I experienced some of my own mental health challenges, which a number of us have and a lot of us will do.
I was fortunate enough to have a front row seat to some of the stuff Outside the Locker Room do, so I decided they would be the charity that I also wanted to support.”
Before heading into the Grand Hotel for a well deserved pint of Stone and Wood, Jack had one final message for his supporters and sponsors.
“I would love to say thank you to everyone who has donated so far, we have had over 280 individual donors, which is mind blowing, and I would say I only know 25 per cent of them.
“So people who don’t even know me have done it out of the goodness of their heart, so I will be forever grateful.
“The guys at Port Melbourne Cycles looked after the bike, gave us a heap of hydration and energy and all that kind of stuff — advice and knowledge and wouldn’t take any money, so I would like to give them a massive shout out as well.
“I am extremely appreciative for everyone’s support.”
Since completing his ride, Jack’s Miles for Smiles fundraiser has increased to $122,600.
Jack is planning to keep the fundraising page open for a few more weeks, and will close it off once the “thank you” video that documents his journey is released.
A link to the website where you can donate to his cause can be found at www.facebook.com/Miles-for-Smiles-106216371138548

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.