Tag Archives: Our Living Treasure

Our Green Queen

ALTHOUGH Judy Green didn’t come to live in Warrandyte until 1969, her family was associated with the area generations ago. Her grandfather Samuel Painter was an original member of the Wonga Park Village Settlement in 1893.

At the outbreak of WW1, Judy’s father Les Painter answered the call and joined the ranks of the Australian Army. Les served in Gallipoli and fortunately was one of the lucky survivors. After the war, Les was in London waiting to be repatriated back to Australia when he met Judy’s grandmother Dorothy. In 1921 they married in London before the young Aussie digger brought his bride back to Australia and settled in Cheltenham.

Judy grew up in Sandringham and Springvale and attended Dandenong High School. She met her husband Cliff Green in 1957 and they were married in 1959.

Cliff, then a young primary teacher, was sent out to teach in country Victoria. For the next seven years, he was a headmaster/teacher in the tiny Mallee town of Rainbow and then at Torrumbarry on the mighty Murray River.

The Greens began raising their brood of four children during their time in country Victoria. Mandy, now 56, Kathy, 54, and Fiona, 50, were born during their time in the country, and David, the youngest, 43, was born in Warrandyte. All children attended Warrandyte Primary School.

Two of the Greens kids have bought houses and settled in Warrandyte and are bringing up their families here.

“We see a lot of the kids, we also have 11 grandchildren and recently we have a new addition to the family, our brand new great grandchild Tayo, who is only six-weeks-old,” Judy says proudly.

Judy drives her son David’s children to and from school every day.

“I really enjoy doing that, it’s great to have the daily connection with them,” she says.

In 1969 when Cliff and Judy moved to Warrandyte, they fitted into the local community straight away. Cliff joined the youth club committee and Judy joined the mother’s club and the Warrandyte Tennis Club.

“We both felt a sense of belonging straight away,” Judy told the Diary. They eventually moved into the brand new home they had built in Webb Street and have lived there ever since.

Judy trained and worked as a medical technologist and Cliff joined Crawford Productions as a staff scriptwriter. Later when Cliff went freelance, Judy learned to type and helped Cliff with his scriptwriting business.

“She was invaluable to me,” chimes in Cliff. “Judy was meticulous about accuracy. She acted as a sort of editor and wouldn’t allow me to exaggerate. As a scriptwriter I was writing fiction, flights of fancy, but with local stories for the Diary, I was supposed to be writing the truth and Judy helped me achieve that.”

COLUMNS - our green queen

When Judy joined the tennis club it became a big part of her life.

“I was fully involved in managing the junior competitions and playing competition tennis,” she said. Judy is now a life member of the club and still plays for WTC in the night tennis competition.

Judy has won the WTC club person of the year “a couple of times”, she said modestly. In 1993, Judy and Keith Wilson co-wrote a history of the WTC. The book is entitled Rallies by the River – A Centenary of Tennis in Warrandyte.

Judy has been very involved with the community garden, a project she is very passionate about.

“We grow our own vegetables and don’t use sprays,” said Judy. “It’s a great way to socialize and being right down on the river it’s a lovely spot to go.”

She also helps with archiving at the Warrandyte Historical Society and volunteers at the Warrandyte State Park Nursery.

Judy and Cliff have made lifelong friends since moving to Warrandyte 57 years ago, including well known locals such as Jock and Di Macneish, Val and Austin Polley and Shelagh and Richard Morton.

What does Judy think of Warrandyte’s future?

“Well,” she replies thoughtfully. “Let’s keep it the way it is. It’s still the same sort of place that it used to be, even though there’s more people living here. We haven’t lost the feel of the place and the community spirit is still alive. Hopefully we can share our future without service stations,” says Judy, making it very clear how she feels about that particular issue.

“I’m also concerned with what they might do to the bridge. Another bridge downstream is desperately needed. Traffic on the bridge is a problem any time, but especially when the threat of bushfire hangs over us for three months of the year. Living here is worth the worry over fire season though, because it’s so good living here for the other nine months.

“Warrandyte’s been a great place to live and bring up our family,” she added. “We love the environment here, especially the river. Cliff and I walk along the river most days unless it’s raining. As a community we must always be vigilant to what’s happening and try to preserve the physical environment as much as possible.”

Robin banks on a winner

Our Living TreasureWHEN Robin and Lainey Horkings sat down with a city bank manager to apply for a loan to build their house, the manager asked incredulously,

“Who’d want to live at Warrandyte?”

The young couple weren’t deterred by his cynical remark and replied enthusiastically: “We do, we want to live at Warrandyte.”

They bought their block of land in Webb Street back in the days of pounds, shillings and pence for only £1250. (It seemed like a fortune then.)

Their house was finished just before they were married in 1968 and they have lived there happily for the past 46 years raising a brood of three children along the way, Bruce now 41, Erin 39 and Jeffrey 35.

Robin and Lainey Horkings on their wedding day.

Robin and Lainey Horkings on their wedding day.

“Although the kids live in different parts of Australia, we are still in weekly contact and are very close,” Lainey said proudly.

“And the kids are close with each other as well, our six-year-old granddaughter Myah lives in Queensland but she rings us every week with lots of questions for Grandpa.”

When Robin came to live in Warrandyte in 1953 he was only 12.

“It was rather an eye opener coming from a big city school in Auburn South,” Robin remembers. “We had four grades in one classroom and a playground that stretched from the pine plantation to Fourth Hill Tunnel.

At lunchtime we used to fish for yabbies in the dam next to Lil Whitehead’s house opposite the school.

“My classmates were Bruce McAuley, Barry Able, Darryl Pike, (the policeman’s son) Irene Hendry, Lorraine Norman and Barbara Schneider.

“Things were different back then,” he continues. “To get a milk delivery you’d leave a billycan with your order and some money in it hanging off a tree in Mitchell Ave. Along came the milkman Tiger Flowers with his horse and cart and he’d bail out the milk from a churn into your billycan and take the money.”

Robin says with a smile “the place was dominated by artists and potters in those days”. “They were a bohemian crowd, but you couldn’t hold that against them,” Robin said.

“I worked a couple of seasons at the butchers when I was still at school. My job was to link the sausages but the interesting part was the deliveries. We used to deliver as far as Christmas Hills in the van and I had to run in with the meat and collect the orders. Some of the customers used to invite us in for a cup of tea or something to eat.

“I remember one big bearded fella who wore shearer’s pants and a flannel top. He must have been a trooper back in the day because he told us that he was on duty the day they brought the Kellys in.”

Robin was the first registered scout of the newly formed Warrandyte Scout Troop.

“Our first meetings were held on the riverbank behind Ken Gedge’s chemist shop,” Robin said.

“On dark nights we met under a Tilly lamp fastened to a tree. Eventually we all bucked in and built the scout hall in the early ’50s.”

Later, Robin was able to give something back and worked as a cub leader for 20 years.

On school days Robin had a foolproof way of knowing if he was running late for school or not.

“If I heard Barry Able riding his horse across the old wooden bridge, I’d know it was 8.30am,” Robin said.

“He was as regular as clockwork and the horse’s hooves made such a racket on the wooden roadway.

Warrandyte was so quiet in those days. At night you could hear the old waterwheel on the river squeaking as the wheel turned with the current.”

Unfortunately the picturesque waterwheel that was situated above the swimming hole opposite the pub is long gone now.

Robin smiles as he talks about the old days and tells the Diary a story about Bill McCulloch who was the last mounted postman in Victoria.

“When the new postie took over Bill’s route he asked us if the previous postman was 10 feet tall because local residents had placed their letterboxes in a high position to accommodate Bill who was sitting up on his horse Silver. We replied, ‘No mate, he rode a horse!’

Things changed for Robin in 1959 when he was involved in a serious motor accident.

He was a passenger in a car that hit a tree alongside the Ringwood-Warrandyte Road. The accident affected Robin’s ability to concentrate and he changed his employment as a result of it.

Robin said: “I never really remembered anything about the accident.

No memory of it at all.”

Robin worked for 40 years at the Board of Works and then spent the last 10 years of his working life at Warrandyte Cemetery as a general hand and gravedigger.

Lainey worked as a nurse and also at a Ringwood doctor’s surgery early in the marriage but later worked in childcare.

Rob at 73 and Lainey, 68, are both retired now but keep themselves busy. Rob is still very fit and takes his dog Indie on long walks every morning right up to Eagles Nest at the top of Webb Street.

“And there’s always wood to split and grass to cut,” he says.

Lainey is heavily involved as a volunteer with Mainly Music at St Stephen’s hall and does patchwork on Thursdays.

Robin fondly reflects on his life in Webb Street.

“Everything’s been good here. There’s something about Warrandyte that gets into you and you can’t get it out of your system,” he said.

“Where else can you walk five minutes up the road and see wallabies, kangaroos and echidnas. Also parrots, wrens, kookaburras and currawongs.

“I think that bank manager got it wrong back in 1967. Warrandyte is a great place to live,” said Robin with a triumphant grin.