Tag Archives: val polley

Val Polley honoured

CONGRATULATIONS to Val Polley, doyen of the Warrandyte community, who has been named in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Awarded an Honorary OAM for her “services to the Warrandyte Community”, which recognises her tireless work over a period of almost 50 years.

“I have to say it came as a complete surprise and I’m touched that others have thought me worthy of it,” Val told the Diary.

President of the Warrandyte Community Association, Dick Davies, told the Diary: “While many, many personalities and identities contribute greatly to the Warrandyte Community, it is hard to match Val’s long-term dedication as a planner, environmentalist, historical society stalwart, former Councillor and Mayor, and one of the founders of the WCA.

“Two major themes underpin her commitment: concern for residents and concern for the environment,” he said.

Val said her participation in community affairs started early when she was drawn in by local activist Joy Henke back in the late 1960s.

“It started with environmental issues and with groups such as the Warrandyte Environment League and Friends of Warrandyte State Park,” she said.

Since then she has long been actively involved in all local conservation activities: as a founding member of the Warrandyte Environment League (1970–75); as a committee member of the Yarra Valley Conservation League (1972–78); and since 1982 until today she is celebrated as a founding member of the Friends of the Warrandyte State Park (FOWSP).

In the wider community she has been equally active: 1972–78 council member of the Warrandyte Primary School and Anderson’s Creek Primary School; 1978–87 Council member of Warrandyte High School, as president from 1985–87 she was responsible for planning and oversight of the new buildings.

From 1976–78 she was a founding member and president of Doncaster and Templestowe Spinners and Weavers Group.

In the late 90s she was an OXFAM community support group member, as well as director/secretary of the Warrandyte Community Centre Supporters Group Inc., which managed the property on behalf of the Council.

Since 2001 she has been a member of the Warrandyte Community Association, where she was a Committee member from 2004–7 and president in 2006.

She also found time in 2003–4 to be a founding director of the Warrandyte Community Bank.

Val campaigned for many years, for the “Creekside” retirement complex.

In the past, because of the local terrain, elderly residents had been obliged to leave their homes and friends in the local community for more manageable properties elsewhere.

The project was first mooted in 1987, and she made it a central theme of her successful campaign to be a Doncaster and Templestowe Councillor.

“The fact that it took another 20 years before realisation is testament to Val’s early commitment and resolution to further community benefits,” said Dick.

Val continues to work for the cooperative to search for appropriate land for further residences.

Val has long been involved with Local Council activities.

From 1977–79 she was a member of the Doncaster and Templestowe Arts Advisory Committee, and from 1988–89 a member of the Warrandyte Township Improvement Study Committee.

Val was elected as a councillor to the City of Doncaster and Templestowe Council, serving from 1989–94, and as Mayor from 1991–92.

As a councillor with residential and environmental interests at heart, she supported strategic planning for heritage properties and open space, roadsides, and residential and commercial centres complemented by rate reductions.

She opposed dual occupancy, which would have increased housing density in a major bushfire prone area.

Val chaired a study on the heritage of the Old Warrandyte Post Office building; which was eventually restored and now houses the Warrandyte Historical Society.

She was involved in long-term planning for the Warrandyte Township and served on the Middle Yarra Advisory Committee, helping to save Green Wedge land in Park Orchards and Warrandyte, now enjoyed as part of the ‘lungs’ of the eastern suburbs.

Val also served on a Plant Pest Advisory Committee to safeguard the local environment and State Park from invasive weeds.

Val is currently Secretary of the Warrandyte Historical Society and has been an archivist and occasional committee member since 2005.

She has been instrumental over the past five years in the strategic direction, planning and procedures of the Society.

“She liaises with numerous external bodies and people, develops outstanding exhibitions, keeps history alive with articles in the Warrandyte Diary — she is truly a driving force behind the Society,” said Dick.

Val recently celebrated the Warrandyte Community as author of Wonderful Warrandyte – A History.

From 1987–88, Val was chief-of-staff of the Warrandyte Diary, and she continues to be an occasional feature writer celebrating local life, history and local identities.

Given that during this period Val had full time senior management employment and a family to bring up, it is difficult to appreciate how she found the time to contribute so much.

“She continues to do so, effectively and with such good grace and general approbation, that she is a role model for effective liaison between Government and our local community,” said Dick.

Val says she feels “privileged to live in Warrandyte… and to be part of such an inclusive, vibrant community.

“My involvement across various issues and organisations in the township has always led to friendships, new skills and a sense of satisfaction in putting something back.

“Looking back, it’s been such a rewarding journey with great people and good outcomes along the way.

“How lucky are we in Warrandyte?,” she said.

“Without such people, with the personality and skills to make things happen, well-meaning local initiatives are ineffective,” said Dick.

Val was granted an “honorary” award because she is not an Australian citizen.

500 reasons to love our Diary

This edition marks No.500 for our much loved Warrandyte Diary, a newspaper keeping us informed on all community matters for almost 46 years. We ask some of the team to share their thoughts on what makes our paper so special.

screen-shot-2016-09-12-at-2-55-15-pm

Cliff Green

Founder, former editor and Diary godfather

Is the Diary a great little paper because it has been created in Warrandyte, which is a great little place? Or is Warrandyte a great little place because it has the Diary? Both answers are correct.

The quarto-sized 12 pager was only a few issues old when Peter Lovett knocked on our front door: “Want a hand with that little paper you’ve started?”

Did I ever! “We’ll hunt up some real news and chuck the type around a bit,” he said. So began a seemingly endless stream of co-editors, associate editors, standby editors, replacement editors. Most of them professional journalists, all of them local stalwarts: Lee Tindale, Bob Millington, Mark Davis, Robert White; plus a huge army of volunteer writers, cartoonists, photographers and artists and especially our young cadets, who have learned the trade with us.

Warrandyte is rich with talented people; many of them have donated their skills to this paper.

Across the 500 issues, and almost 46 years, this community has created something special.

Current editor Scott Podmore is expanding this legacy, developing a new frontier into the digital age and better integrating our financially essential advertisers into the community news pages.

Here’s to our next 500 issues!

Briony Bottarelli

Office manager and Diary gatekeeper

About 10 years ago I met Jan Tindale, wife of the infamous Lee Tindale, sports editor and voice behind “Smokey Joe”.

Lee had passed away, but I became friends with Jan. Rae Danks’ health was failing and she retired, so Jan suggested I might like to take on her position of handling administration and advertising at the Diary. The paper was struggling financially at the time and a great deal of satisfaction came with me being able to lift the coffers somewhat.

Having grown up in Warrandyte. I love the open spaces, the river I grew up with and learnt to swim in, the tall trees, the birds, nature itself – and of course, the community.

Working at the Diary has enabled me to become even more involved in the community and meeting more locals I hadn’t known before. I commenced working with Cliff Green who probably stayed longer than he may have wished, but was determined to keep this wonderful paper going. He was relieved when Scott Podmore came along and offered to take the job on. Scott has opened the paper up to a wider and younger part of the community with modern technology hitting the Diary (and me) big time. I work in the best office in Melbourne. I love what I do and I hope the Diary, the longest running tabloid in Australia, keeps running for a long time to come.

Jock Macneish

Cartoonist, Diary’s “Gandalf”

Do you keep a diary?

Does it describe what you’ve been doing, record your private thoughts, and chronicle your opinions on anything and every- thing?

I’ve been keeping a diary for the past 46 years. It’s called the Warrandyte Diary.

It’s not exactly private, but it does document the things I’ve been thinking about since December 1970.

In 4000 illustrations, spread over 500 editions, the Diary has published a guide of my somewhat oddball way of thinking about Warrandyte. It’s meant doing a lot of drawing, and a lot of thinking. But it’s a wonderful privilege to be able to share my story with Warrandyte people.

And as many Warrandyte people know, I’m a compulsive show-off, despite not having very much to show.

The Warrandyte Diary means that I have a great excuse to strut my stuff in front of the Diary readers, whether they like it or not. So far, nobody has yet demanded that I stop drawing cartoons about our town and it’s long-suffering citizens. I take it as a sign of grudging tolerance, if not actual acceptance.

Can’t wait to put it in my Dairy. Look out for it.

Scott Podmore

Diary chief and current flag bearer

“The essence of community, its heart and soul, is the non-monetary exchange of value; things we do and share because we care for others, and for the good of the place.”

They’re the wise words of Dee Hock, the same man who founded VISA credit card and a major in influencer on constructing thought-experiments about the nature of organisational management. It makes me think of the Diary, an important non-profit community newspaper with a big impact on its readers. Everyone cares about it. I took over this magical publication as editor when Cliff Green passed me the baton three years ago this month. Managing it has been, and is, challenging but rewarding. I think we keep most people happy and everyone looks forward to it coming out each month.

The Diary works so well because it’s a classic case of being produced by the people for the people. It provides us with a community heartbeat and unites our people, clubs, schools, businesses and service groups not only as a platform to bring you news, photographs, funnies, advice and much more by way of newspaper format, but also as a powerful voice when we need it.

What makes it really special is its people. The people care about the newspaper. The newspaper cares about its people. Long live the Diary.

Stephen Reynolds

Diary photographer and stalwart

Having spent the last 15 years photographing every aspect of Warrandyte for the Diary, whether it be the festival, monthly market, theatre productions, community forums, celebrated artists, ANZAC Day, the changing seasons, personalities, sport or just our cherished environment of the river and Australian bush, there is one thing that continually stands out to me as quite unique in a metropolis of four and a half million people.

While outsiders might classify us as “fringe suburbia” that one unique quality that both Warrandyte and the Diary espouse and re ect is “community”.

In our fast paced, ever changing world Warrandyte still retains a notably distinct, rural charm with a country feel that embraces our community organisations and diverse social fabric, be it
schools, sport, the CFA, churches or service clubs.

As one who attends, observes and photographs many of Warrandyte’s functions the enthusiasm, involvement and commitment of her community parallels that of the Diary where each month a band of dedicated contributors including journalists, artists, poets, cartoonists and photographers produce content that reinforces that very quality and have done since the first issue rolled off the press in 1970.

It is that contribution that reinforces the old saying “you only get out of something what you put into it” that for me makes the Warrandyte Diary an integral part of, and mirrors that very community. Congratulations to our Diary team and most importantly Warrandyte for supporting us for 500 monthly editions.

Val Polley

History writer, Diary legend

What the Diary means to me is its truly local news, views and issues – the stuff that binds a community together. There is little doubt in my mind that Warrandyte would not be, or look, the way it is without the Diary. It has provided ongoing support for events (think of the festival), campaigns (such as One Warrandyte, Be Ready Warrandyte), sports (those great pages in every issue) and people (too numerous to identify individually).

It has provided encouragement and opportunity to locals to find their voice through writing, photography and poetry.

Not only that; it’s been notable for mentoring new talent and journalistic skills among young aspiring journalists. It is also a wonderful example of volunteerism. Without many volunteers giving their time over the decades the Diary would not exist. We owe them all a debt of gratitude.

Finally history, the Diary has provided 500 issues and over 40 years worth of documented Warrandyte history thus far – priceless.

Thank you Diary for the 500 issues that have been part of my life, I cannot imagine a Warrandyte without you. Congratulations on a wonderful achievement.