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Heritage wrap

The June 2022 edition of Warrandyte Diary has several stories around the theme of heritage – in relation to construction, preservation and planning, these stories make up our feature article this month.
Feature photo: PAUL KELLY

Memorial Gardens embrace our spirit of place

By DON HUGHES

QUIETLY NESTLED in the heart of Warrandyte is a place of deep reflection, commemoration, and connection.
Warrandyte Memorial Gardens commemorate our fallen warriors.
Overlooking wonguim wilam and the Warrandyte bridge, the Gardens are a place to remember and reflect upon the tragedy of war.
Each Anzac Day, our community gathers to commemorate and pay their respects to our service personnel.
Daily, the Gardens also provide a place for individual reflection and respite; every community needs a special place like this.
Warrandyte RSL, as custodians of the site, are working actively to preserve the heritage and spirit of the Gardens, as well as maintain and upgrade the facilities for modern-day needs.
Warrandyte RSL President and current serving Army Engineer, David (Rhino) Ryan, highlighted that:

“The Gardens require significant upgrading to bring them into the 21st Century.
Many challenges face the steep site, hewn into the rocky riverside slopes of Warrandyte, where access is difficult for many.
Careful landscape engineering can tame and complement this special place”.

Gifted to the people of Warrandyte in perpetuity by surviving soldiers and grieving families of soldiers from WWI, the Memorial Gardens offers a sacred place for all.
Vietnam Veteran and Memorial Trustee, Lionel (Horrie) Aldenhoven, told the Diary:

“Dominating the Gardens, as a symbol of resilience and respect, stands an impressive stone tower.
“Built by local stonemasons early last century, it embodies the blood, sweat, and tears of a whole community within the stone and mortar joints — the heritage significance of this special place is obvious — it connects the whole community.
“As the current custodians, we must ensure it remains so”.

Manningham Council has previously provided much needed financial support to Warrandyte RSL, providing $25,000 in 2018 to facilitate vital structural repairs to the balcony section, which had become unsafe and was closed to the public. Yarra Ward Councillor Carli Lange reflects on the importance of the Memorial Gardens.

“The Warrandyte Memorial Gardens are a peaceful, sustainable, and inclusive space where we can celebrate life with its diverse culture, wildlife, and the natural environment.
“Warrandyte is resilient, and we can build on our community’s assets through inspiration and reflection, to provide quality public spaces that support health, happiness and wellbeing,” she said.

Local stonemason, James Charlwood told the Diary that careful consideration should be given to any works on the Memorial Gardens to maintain the integrity of the stonework.
Pointing to the redevelopment of the bus stop at the base of the gardens, “which was a miserable failure”, Mr Charlwood said that using the right stone and skilled stonemasons is vital.

“The revitalisation of the whole memorial precinct that myself, David Ryan and others have talked over is very much in need, with non-compliance of the pathways and lack of ramps, and the lack of a cohesive plan.
“It is an expensive exercise, but to have a well-formulated masterplan approach, particularly regarding stonework and hard landscaping, that adopts some principles and approaches that would then see it happen bit by bit eventually,” he said.

As always, careful collaboration and active consultation, engagement and education will be essential for any pathway forward which considers the whole social, spiritual, historical and physical environments of the site.


Riverbank works near completion at Taroona Reserve

By JAMES POYNER

CONTRACTORS have now completed major bank reconstruction works at Taroona Reserve, a Melbourne Water spokesperson attributed the works to “extensive recreational use which resulted in heavy erosion in the area”.
The spokesperson went on to outline the project.

“Works include the construction of a rock wall made from mudstone followed by planting a mix of grasses, shrubs and local canopy species.
Temporary fencing will also be installed to protect the plants while they grow.
The plants will be maintained over the coming years and will provide habitat and shade for the future.
This project, which is due to be completed in July 2022, will ensure recreational use can continue without further eroding the bank and causing more degradation to the existing vegetation, habitat values and water quality in the river itself.
The work is part of a larger capital works program, the Middle Yarra Habitat Improvement Project, which includes revegetation works and weed control at 13 locations along the Yarra River between Templestowe and Warrandyte.
Areas are selected in consultation with Parks Victoria, Manningham Council and Nillumbik Council as land managers along the Yarra from Templestowe to Warrandyte.”

Users of Taroona Reserve will note that the bulk of the works are complete, and the beach is again available for use.


Exploring our heritage foundations

By VALERIE POLLEY

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Photos: PAUL KELLY

A MOST APPRECIATIVE audience of some 50 people attended a recent talk held by the Warrandyte Historical Society, titled Foundation Stone, presented by James Charlwood of Cathedral Stone.
The newly renovated Federation Room at the Grand Hotel Warrandyte proved an ideal venue for James’ illustrated talk. He started by asking what heritage is before running through many photos of heritage buildings.
He proposed that heritage is both personal and accumulates across generations.
He argued it attaches to our place and to the detail of our township and the natural environment.
He suggested that heritage places are like children, unable to care for themselves and need us to look after them.
He covered the requirements of the Burra Charter with its guiding principles.
Using the restoration of a stone statue of Robbie Burns initially placed in the Camperdown Botanic Gardens and severely degraded over time, James showed that teams are necessary for this kind of work. It entails replacing like with like; it requires research for authenticity and craftsmanship using all the available skills and disciplines.
The photos of before and after the restoration demonstrated the level of detail required.
James then touched on the various themes of historical significance for the town. Indigenous heritage and bushland environment, people, gold mining, arts, stone, and Warrandyte’s place as one of the premier riverfront townships on the Yarra River (Birrarung).
James discussed a plan currently being compiled. This plan hopes to identify sources of similar stone as replacement stone given the local stone is no longer quarried; how and where to stockpile any remnant stone as buildings are demolished or renovated, and develop a policy for the use of the stone in the township.
James finished with a proposal for a draft set of core values for the town (a summary follows):

  • Maintain the township character, Care for the natural environment;
  • Preserve river health;
  • Encourage pedestrian amenity;
  • Deal with fire risk;
  • Manage storm abatement;
  • Work on sustainability.

James appealed to his audience to join with him and others working towards plans for the future.
His final slide showed several curb treatments in the town centre area.
It illustrated the various solutions over time (from bluestone and stone to concrete channelling) and highlighted the lack of a cohesive view for the future.
It inspired a great deal of conversation and debate over afternoon tea.
A recording of James’ talk can be viewed at : warrandytediary.com.au/community-collaborations
This story first appeared in the Warrandyte Historical Society newsletter and has been edited for this publication.


Planning review

MANNINGHAM Council is reviewing its Planning Scheme and is seeking community input.
Under the Planning and Environment Act 1982, the review is required by the local government every four years.
In particular, feedback is sought about:

  • What aspects of the Planning Scheme are working well?
  • What aspects of the Planning Scheme need improving?
  • What is missing from the Planning Scheme?

The Planning Scheme includes the following key themes:

  • Residential/neighbourhood character
  • Environment/rural areas
  • Activity Centres
  • Employment Heritage, arts, cultural and leisure
  • Transport and car parking

Manningham Mayor, Cr Michelle Kleinert, says,

“I encourage everyone in the community to get involved.
“Now is the time for your input to help shape our future directions for the planning scheme.
“Any proposed changes to the Planning Scheme require approval from the Minister for Planning.
“We will continue to advocate on behalf of our community to reflect their values and needs,” she said.

The community have until Monday, June 20, to submit feedback via: yoursay.manningham.vic.gov.au/planning-scheme-review.
Council has also scheduled a drop-in session at Manningham Civic Centre, 669 Doncaster Road, on Thursday, June 9, between 4pm and 7pm.
No other drop-in sessions have been scheduled at the time of writing.


Have your say:MP calls for road upgrade

MEMBER FOR Warrandyte, Ryan Smith stood up in State Parliament recently to speak on behalf of Warrandyte constituents asking for upgrades to Heidelberg-Warrandyte Road.

“As the major arterial for entering and exiting the township of Warrandyte from the west this road is in desperate need of upgrading.
The limited street lighting along the road is also concerning particularly with Warrandyte High School and local sporting grounds being in such close proximity and the cyclists on the road also face safety issues, due to the lack of lighting.”

He then asked the Department of Transport to complete an audit of the road quality and safety and undertake resultant works.
Does Mr Smith speak for the people of Warrandyte in asking for urbanisation of our rural road, which would fundamentally change the gateway to our township?
Let the Diary know.
Send your comments to editor@warrandytediary.com.au

Council pushes back against Christmas Hills land sale

THE NILLUMBIK Council meeting in April considered a request by Melbourne Water to make amendments to the Nillumbik Planning Scheme to facilitate the sale of land in Christmas Hills.
As the Diary reported during the community consultation phase in 2018, Melbourne Water has determined the proposed Watsons Creek Water Catchment is not necessary and so is seeking to subdivide and sell off the land that has been set aside for that project.
In its Land Use Survey, Melbourne Water divided the land into 43 parcels, which they seek to dispose of following rezoning, of which 22 lots would be below the minimum subdivision size in the Rural Conservation Zone (RCZ).
Melbourne Water has indicated it is also seeking to provide controls on lots under the minimum lot size and with significant vegetation/bushfire constraints to prevent future development.
Council is looking to ensure the undersized blocks are unable to be built on in the future.
However, Cr Karen Egan noted that some people who purchased land in the last land sale were caught by a similar provision, when they purchased the land expecting to build their dream home in paradise, but then discovered they were unable to obtain a building permit.
She advocated for a community education program around the sale to ensure no one gets caught like that again.
Councillors met with Melbourne Water representatives in March for a briefing about the requested changes to the planning scheme.
The briefing raised several points including traditional owners’ rights, bushfire management, inappropriately sized blocks, and the future of the Mechanics Institute and tennis courts.
In a letter to Council on March 31, Melbourne Water said the Mechanics Hall and the tennis courts are currently within Public Use Zone 1 (PUZ1).

“This zone cannot be retained on the land due to the surplus nature of the land with respect to Melbourne Water’s ownership.
An alternate zone is required.”

The letter said the community has indicated a desire to retain both the Mechanics Institute Hall and the tennis courts as publicly available assets.

“Melbourne Water has proposed to facilitate this through the Masterplan and rezoning which supports Council purchase and ownership of this land through application of the PUZ6 (Local Government).
However, if Council are unable to purchase the land an alternate zoning (not a public land zone) will be required that still facilitates use by the community.”

Melbourne Water then suggested the Mechanics’ Institute Hall should come within Rural Conservation zoning as the property is privately owned.
At the April Council meeting, representatives from Christmas Hills Landcare, CFA and other groups used public question time to request Council meet with them about the land sale and the impacts on the existing community.
Mayor Peter Perkins advised the groups that Council would indeed facilitate a future meeting with the Christmas Hills community representatives.
Deliberations were then made at the April Ordinary Council Meeting regarding Council’s role within the divestment.
Sugarloaf Ward Councillor, Ben Ramcharan moved a motion rejecting the proposed amendments to the planning scheme.
“We know the land is going to be sold, it has to be sold, that is a fact and what we need to do is work with the Community, Melbourne Water, and the Land Planning Service to limit the impact of this on the local environment and local community,” Cr Ramcharan said.
The tennis courts were built using bushfire relief funding and are very well valued by the Christmas Hills community, and are managed by a committee of management and run as a not-for-profit.
“It is about the community meeting together in a community space,” said Cr Ramcharan.
A spokesperson for the Christmas Hills community, David Evans said the tennis courts are already managed by the Mechanic’s Hall committee, and their hope is the courts could be incorporated into a title that includes the hall.
“The courts could not be gifted to the committee as it is a private entity, so we hope that the Council could be some sort of intermediary in that respect.
The Council officer’s report noted Melbourne Water’s proposal would cause a huge impost on council in facilitating often complex planning applications, be a financial burden on council with an increased population requiring additional infrastructure, such as roads, and highlighted the additional work that CFA will need to undertake in mitigation works.
Council unanimously voted on a three-point motion.

That Council:

  • Does not support the proposed amendment to the Nillumbik Planning Scheme by Melbourne Water to facilitate the divestment of its land at Christmas Hills in its current form for the reasons identified in this report.
  • Authorises the Mayor to write to the Minister for Planning and local MPs requesting that the Christmas Hills Tennis Courts be retained by Melbourne Water or gifted to Council in order to protect it as a valuable community asset.
  • Directs officers to work with councillors and the Christmas Hills community to prepare a submission to the future Government Land Planning Service Advisory Committee process in consideration of the proposed amendment.

The motion will, in effect, remove Council from overseeing the planning scheme amendment and will see them only as a submitter to the Government Land Planning Service Advisory Committee (GLPSAC).
However, Council has agreed to advocate on behalf of the Christmas Hills Community during any future consultation.
Doug Evans told the Diary the community was happy that the Council chose not to support Melbourne Water’s proposal.
“We hope we can find a position both Council and the community can support and speak together with one voice when GLPSAC have their submission phase.”