Tag Archives: newspaper

The Diary goes global

Thanks to our readers, the Warrandyte Diary is making its way to all corners of the globe, including the Middle East, Asia, the United States. Here are some of our favourites!

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Fireball

The successful Fireball event in October raised thousands of dollars for the local CFA groups

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Not your everyday bank

Warrandyte Community Bank notches up $1.7m in community grants

SHAREHOLDERS and representatives from organisations in Warrandyte and surrounds filled the Mechanics Institute Hall last month for the Warrandyte Community Bank’s annual general meeting and official announcements of grants and scholarships.

A total of $377,000 was allocated to almost 70 groups to go towards projects, community programs and infrastructure within the community.

Warrandyte Community Bank has now returned an incredible $1.7 million in grants and sponsorships since its inception in 2003.

With an upbeat energy in the room there was a strong sense of gratitude expressed to outgoing chair Sarah Wrigley.

Hands up who loves Warrandyte Community Bank: Staff, directors and grant recipients at Warrandyte Community Bank's AGM

Hands up who loves Warrandyte Community Bank: Staff, directors and grant recipients at Warrandyte Community Bank’s AGM

Many of the grants and sponsorship recipients thanked Sarah for the years of dedication and commitment she had made to the program and the bank itself.

One very happy recipient was Warrandyte High School, which received $25,000. In a joint submission with the Lions Club of Warrandyte, the school had sought funding to asphalt the car park behind the school basketball stadium.

Dr Stephen Parkin, principal of Warrandyte High School, thanked Sarah for her “significant contributions to the Warrandyte community and to the learning experiences of students at Warrandyte High School”.

Other major projects to receive a community grant or sponsorship included funding to acquire an inflatable rescue boat for Manningham SES.

Greg Mitchell, controller of Manningham Unit SES said it was a “great privilege” working with our community bank on the project.

“The understanding and support given by Sarah and Mark (Challen, bank manager) to our unit to help us replace a very old rescue boat was outstanding,” Greg said.

“Because of the Warrandyte Community Bank’s efforts and dedication to the community, I was honoured to collect a cheque at the AGM to purchase a new rescue boat that will support our local community and the larger Victorian community for many years to come.”

Manningham SES provides rescue services for a large part of the Yarra River from Wonga Park to Dight’s Falls and requires two rescue boats on the water in any situation.

Also in attendance was Manningham Community Health’s Jenny Jackson, who said Manningham Community Health Services was thrilled to partner with Warrandyte Community Bank to support the mental wellbeing of young people in the greater Warrandyte area.

“As CEO of the not-for-profit health service, I am constantly delighted to see the wonderful work of our local Bendigo Bank branches in bringing all members of the community together in such a meaningful way for the benefit of the whole community,” Jenny said. “Being present at the AGM was yet another opportunity to observe genuine community partnership and I urge all Manningham community residents to support their local Bendigo Bank branches so that this great community partnership work can flourish even further.”

Aaron Farr, in his address as incoming chairman, told the audience he has “some very large footsteps to follow” and in doing so looks forward to embarking on his new role.

“In continuing the role of chairman I look forward to leading our community bank in building on the foundations set in place,” Aaron said.

“With continued and ongoing growth, the Warrandyte Community Bank will be well placed to contribute more financially to the community into the future.”

Also in attendance were the bank’s scholarship recipients, Gabrielle Mitchell (2013), Mitchell Dawson (2014), Nik Henkes (2014) and Joshua McMullen (2014).

Josh said the scholarship had helped him immensely with tertiary studies.

“It took off a lot of stress normally associated with the beginning of a year at university with purchasing textbooks and other supplies, and helped me cruise on in to my year of study with a positive attitude,” Josh said.

“It’s not your everyday bank!”

Christmas on the edge

Village Green

OUR first proper home after we married was a tiny, pock-marked, white ant-riddled cottage, perched on an impenetrable limestone ridge on the edge of the Mallee, known officially as the Head Teacher’s Residence.

Attached to this shaky old structure was the single schoolroom. It was here we enjoyed our first years of teaching, at State School No. 4041 Wheatlands.

As the end of that first year approached, we were reminded, on a fairly regular basis:

“We’d better start practicin’ for our school concert.” We were told the concert consisted mainly of carols and “some other stuff”.

A local young pianist of some talent provided the music. She had taken it upon herself to teach the children some beautiful Australian Christmas carols. We followed this up with some bush ballads.

We decided to extend the Australian content.

We had toyed with the idea of performing a little play.

We searched the shelves of the educational bookseller in Bendigo but found nothing suitable: all too ‘English’ or too ‘soppy’ for these down-to-earth Mallee kids.

I had been reading The Magic Pudding to the whole school – all eight of them. (You try holding the interest of kids from Prep to Grade 6 with the one book.) The book was highly successful – perhaps we could do a dramatisation of The Pudding?

Being a published author by this time and recognising my moral responsibility, I wrote to Norman Lindsay seeking his permission. I included a number of children’s drawings of his characters with the letter and received a charming response, granting permission.

We built the script on the blackboard with the kids all collaborating, cast the play from the steps and stairs that was the total enrolment of the school – Bunyip Bluegum, Sid Sawnoff and the rest of them – and began rehearsals.

All seemed to be going well, but by the time we were approaching performance I realised the Grade 5 girl cast as Bunyip Bluegum was not coping with Bunyip’s convoluted dialogue. At the last minute I made a drastic decision. I would have to play Bunyip Bluegum! So I donned the magical koala ears – crafted by a skilled parent from rabbit fur and wire – and gave it a run.

Problem: I didn’t know the lines! So we built a cardboard gum tree and hid the original Grade 5 girl inside as ‘prompt’.

The performance was a wild success. The combination of me with rabbit skin ears and the Grade 5 girl bellowing the lines ahead of me from inside the tree, with me following limply behind, brought the house (or rather the corrugated iron hall) down.

The following year we had to eclipse our previous effort. So we decided to write our own play – and we’d make it a musical!

Once again we constructed the story and dialogue on the blackboard, titling it Christmas at Boggy Creek.

This time we could craft the characters to the children who would be playing them.

(The Grade 4 girl who was the village postmistress who opened everyone’s mail, actually became a real postal clerk and remained so through her working life.)

We incorporated several bush ballads with lyrics tweaked to fit our story. The plot explained how it was discovered that Santa Claus was not visiting Boggy Creek that year – so something must be done. Skulduggery was discovered, but justice prevailed, the local bushranger turned from villain into hero and the ‘real’ Santa Claus appeared on stage with his bulging bag and proceeded to hand out presents – purchased by the Mothers’ Club – to every school child and preschooler in the hall.

We knew it would be a hard act to follow; but by the following February the teacher had moved on and the school had been closed due to diminishing enrolment. A neighbouring farmer bought the limestone ridge, and demolished school and residence. The site has long since reverted to wheat crops.

Footnote: A writer friend, who viewed the performance, suggested I send the script to the ABC. So I did what I thought was a creditable radio version and posted it off. It came back in due course, suggesting the work was mainly visual. Could I rewrite it for TV? This 40-minute version went to air the following Christmas with a fine professional cast, marking the beginning of my future new career.

Better ‘very’ late than never

LATE again! It’s always been a bit of a running theme at our place, despite my best efforts.

When our kids started high school they discovered that there was a Late Book in the Head’s antechamber. All entries had to be signed off by an appropriate adult. Their school was located far from here, and excuses that were standard fare in Warrandyte were decidedly novel in suburbia.

My eye ran down the page of preceding entries.

“Dentist … headache … optometrist … dentist …”

We soon changed that.

“A tree fell across our drive, and we had to wait for somebody to come with a chainsaw,” was a reason for missing the school bus on more than one occasion. I suppose I could’ve phoned somebody to ferry the kids to the bus stop but we were invariably cutting it fine and of course we didn’t find the fallen tree until we were leaving. No, we were just late. Sometimes very late.

“I slept in because I was out all night on a platypus survey.” An excuse to be used only sparingly, admittedly, but one of undeniable originality.

“I slept in because Mum’s car was being repaired and we had to get the bus home.”

That took some explaining. In those days there was no bus along Research Road after 7 p.m. so after a late finish at school we ended up having to walk several kilometres from the bridge. I seem to recall a black moonless night, too dark to see roadside puddles.

By the time we’d trudged up the last hill it was very late and we were wet through with squelching shoes. I did consider hiring a car, but doing without seemed so much more adventurous. And it was educational. I can vouch for that.

“One of our budgies started attacking the other budgies. We had to get another aviary so we could separate them. It took ages to catch her, and there was blood and feathers everywhere. I had to go and put a clean shirt on.” I remember some amusement at work as well when I phoned in late with that story.

“We got snowed in and missed our flight home.” Entirely true, Your Honour. On the last morning of a long weekend getaway, we awoke to find our car covered by a foot of snow and the only road out impassable. It took hours for the snowplough to get through. I didn’t realise that nobody at work had believed me until I took my photo album along a couple of weeks later. “Oh, you really DID get snowed in!” they exclaimed, looking amazed. I was a bit miffed by that. We seem to have excuses enough through natural causes – I can’t recall ever having to invent one.

“We had to find the baby Tawny Frogmouth and put it in a safe place.” It had fallen out of its nest. The parents fed it and looked after it at night, but we couldn’t leave it flapping helplessly on the ground during the day or the neighbour’s cats would have made short work of it. As it got stronger over succeeding weeks, the little beggar got harder and harder to find.

“We were in Queensland competing in Nationals and the beaches got shut down for two days because of sharks.

After that everything was running behind schedule …”

Well that was all over the TV news, with spectacular aerial footage of packs of sharks hunting a thick black cloud of sardine-like tiddlers along the shoreline. Nobody could argue with that.

But the excuse that I’ve had to use most frequently over recent years – an excuse that everybody understands, even those unfortunate enough to be buried in the wilds of suburbia – has just struck again.

“My computer won’t work – Windows keeps crashing! Damn!’

It’s obviously time to go right to the top for help.

“Dear Santa …”

Spooky cute

Halloween hit the streets of Warrandyte again this year as all sorts of creepy crawlies, witches, monsters, vampires, black cats and even female teenage mutant ninja turtles converged on homes for a trick or a treat.

Sarah and Rosie set about giving everyone a fright before bewitching one and all with those wickedly delicious hypnotic big browns … and demanding some treats!

Diary shines at awards

WARRANDYTE Diary was a proud finalist in six out of nine independently judged categories at the annual Community Newspaper Association of Victoria awards recently.

Living up to its motto of “for the community, by the community”, the Diary received a notable thumbs-up, winning the award for Best Community Content among others.

Seven newspapers were short-listed for this award, with three finalists selected against strict criteria: ownership; whether there was an invitation for community people to write; writers being named; variety of writers; type of content about community; whether the writing style seemed community or corporate based.

The Diary was also recognised for: Best Layout & Design (winner); Best Photo (finalist); Best Sports Coverage (finalist); Best News Feature (finalist), and the jewel in the crown – Best Newspaper (winner).

In choosing Warrandyte Diary as the winner in this category, the judge said:

“I was won over by this newspaper’s excellent understanding of its local community. It has a superb lay out with headings and sub-heads that perfectly fill the space, lots of good quality photographs and there is an abundance of life and colour in this 40-page paper.

“There’s a good mix of hard and soft news plus stacks of wonderful feature stories – everything from Australia’s most remarkable school through to a Warrandyte doctor talking about a birth drug breakthrough on the world stage and a well written and photographed feature by Bill McAuley about a local living treasure, Hugh McSpedden.

“It’s also great to see a newspaper that is not afraid to have some fun with a humorous ‘Over The Hills’ column on page 2 and the use of cartoons on several other pages. Throw in plenty of excellent opinion pieces, five pages of sport and an eight-page lift-out on the Great Warrandyte Cook Up (with the cutest mini-chefs you ever did see!) and it all makes Warrandyte Diary a worthy winner of this year’s Best Newspaper Award.”

Diary editor Scott Podmore described the win in last month’s edition as “a fantastic result, not only for our great little team, but all our contributors and the Warrandyte community that we serve”.

“It’s a really lovely way to cap my first year as editor of this newspaper, the communication hub of Warrandyte,” he said. “But I was obviously given an enormous head start and advantage on all the others, and that’s called the Cliff Green factor – the best part of 40 or so years of Cliff building the foundations and growing the best community newspaper in the world, let alone Victoria, and I’m merely steering the ship.”

Warrandyte Diary is one of more than 200 community newspapers regularly published in Victoria.

CNAV, the peak body that represents them, actively works with its members to enhance the capacity and standing of community newspapers in Victoria, and also seeks to raise their profile with all levels of government.

To advance its aim of fostering communication between the papers, the organisation hosts an annual conference, which administers the CNAV awards.

Financed solely through advertising, Warrandyte Diary at 44 years old is the longest continuously running community newspaper in Victoria.

Long may it serve…

(page 7, Warrandyte Diary, November 2014)

Scenario event a great success

A packed audience of more than 160  from Warrandyte, Park Orchards and surrounding townships actively participated in a ‘Be Ready Warrandyte’ bushfire scenario based on the February fire – but with significant changes and potential outcome.

Warrandyte Community Association chairman Dick Davies said “the scenario was realistic” using CFA Phoenix Fire modelling.

“Our BRW local emergency service officers envisaged what could have happened last February if a similar situation had escalated”.

The scenario was a serious fire in Park Orchards spreading to North Warrandyte with a wind change.

Steve Pascoe and Joff Manders did a great facilitation job, painting the picture, asking the questions and engaging both the panel of experts and the audience.

Questions such as “what are your actions triggered by this warning” and “what are the dangers facing you now” elicited a lively interaction between the facilitators, audience and panel.

Steve is an emergency management and fire safety consultant familiar to Warrandyte audiences after facilitating a debriefing forum after the February fire. He works closely with the Victorian Emergency management commissioner.

Steve is a Strathewen resident who experienced and survived the impact and aftermath of Black Saturday.

Joff Manders, a well-known Warrandyte identity, is a former MFB commander and advisor to the Eastern Metropolitan Regional Strategic Fire Management Committee.

The panel of experts included local CFA captains Greg Kennedy and Adrian Mullens, local senior sergeant Stewart Henderson, chief park ranger Conrad Annal and Joe Buffone, the director of Risk and Resilience at Emergency Management Victoria.

Cartoonist Jock MacNeish captured some of the proceedings in his inimitable style.

Mr Buffone congratulated the WCA and the Warrandyte community on the success of the evening and the level of community engagement.

At the end, Mr Davies presented Pastor David Molyneux with a Certificate of Appreciation in recognition of the outstanding assistance in hosting fire meetings from the Warrandyte Community Church to the Warrandyte community since Black Saturday 2009.

More information on local fire planning and Be Ready Warrandyte events is available on the WCA website. More info or inquiries phone the Victorian Bushfire Information Line 1800 240 667.

Be Ready Warrandyte is supported by funds from the WCA, Manningham and Nillumbik councils, the Bendigo Bank, Warrandyte Community Bank and the Warrandyte Community Market committee.

(page 4, Warrandyte Diary, November 2014)