Tag Archives: Warrandyte CFA

Have a ball and support the CFA

FIREBALL is back!
Following the highly successful gala events in 2014, 2016 and 2018, and after two false starts in 2020 and 2021, Fireball will again come to life on Saturday, July 29.
The brainchild of Julie Quinton, Fireball was formed following the 2014 Flannery Court fires; Julie organised a small team of locals to recognise our CFA volunteers’ enormous commitment of time, effort, and personal risk.
Out of this intention, Fireball’s mantra was forged: to ease the burden of fundraising from volunteer firefighters.
CFA volunteers sacrifice a huge number of hours for our community.
They put their lives on the line. They often sacrifice their holidays, private/social lives, and family time in their CFA duty to the community.
They have been known to cook their own barbecue fundraisers, put on trivia nights, run raffles, letterbox drops and more, all in a bid to raise much-needed money to buy equipment to help protect our community.
They do this because they are committed to volunteering and keeping the community safe: they do not complain or seek recognition, and many of them are not comfortable with publicity.
To keep them safe in their endeavours and to enhance their community safeguarding, the Fireball Committee believes the whole community should take on some of the responsibility of fundraising for CFA services that serve us all.
This year’s event has been given an incredible kick start with the support of Bramleigh Estate Warrandyte; they have donated everything – the venue, the meals, their staff, and the drinks for the night.
This generous sponsorship significantly reduces the Fireball Committee’s need to call on the support of local businesses, many of whom have faced tough times over the past three years.
The committee knows other charity functions have been helped where possible, and Fireball intends to minimise the further impact on local traders as much as possible.
The owner of Bramleigh Estate, Mary-Anne McPherson, is passionate about “giving back” to the community, reaching out to the Fireball Committee to find out how she could contribute.
“The approach that Fireball has used in the past in ‘letting the Fireys get on and do what they do best while we, the community, do the fundraising for significant spends’ resonated with me,” Mary-Anne said.
She originally proposed this level of sponsorship for the 2020 event, and we are pleased to say she has stood by her commitment to support the cause still in 2023, even after her own business experienced significant impacts and closures over the last few years.
“It feels even more important now to be able to take some of the load off the local small businesses who are still recovering from the last few years by supporting Fireball in this way,” she said.
Historically, Fireball, with the support of our wonderful community, has raised between $60K and $80K in an evening; in 2023, Fireball aims to keep that momentum going to raise sufficient funds for essential firefighting equipment – for the same CFA brigades who also limited their fundraising activities over the last few years due to community impact.
Now it is time, and the Captains of the Greater Warrandyte CFAs consisting of North and South Warrandyte, Warrandyte, and Wonga Park, have determined that the broader community would benefit from the purchase of a much-needed light tanker to be housed at the Wonga Park station.
Money raised from Fireball 2023 will be delivered to the Greater Warrandyte CFAs to ensure they are able to purchase this more agile appliance suited to the local environment.
Tickets are on sale now for $220.
Buy your tickets on the Fireball website www.fireball.org.au.
Get in quick to be a part of the gala event of the year.

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

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.

CFA still there for community

In these crazy and weird times that is COVID-19, many organisations and businesses are finding ways to adapt and remain relevant.

Warrandyte CFA is no different.

Despite all events, face-to-face meetings and weekly training being cancelled, the volunteers down at the station are finding new ways to adapt to isolation.

With the “stay at home” campaign in full force, the brigade is experiencing a downturn in call outs.

Community Safety Officer, Rebecca-Leigh Dawson said: “The community is being careful and doing the right thing”.

But rest assured, the volunteers down at the station are still here for you.

They are still working hard behind the scenes to ensure they are ready for any emergencies.

Captain of Warrandyte CFA, Adrian Mullens, highlighted the need for the volunteers to stay connected and continue to upskill.

He said, “The brigade management team continue to hold meetings online via Zoom, ensuring all operational needs of the station are being met.”

“We’re also maintaining a focus of member wellbeing and have assigned a select group of officers to remain in touch with all our volunteers,” he said.

The volunteers continue to train in whatever capacity they can.

There are multiple opportunities, from online training programmes available from CFA corporate, to joining in with CFA Group area led lessons.

But it doesn’t stop there.

The officers of Warrandyte CFA have taken it upon themselves to prepare localised training, designed for the unique characteristics of Warrandyte.

The interactive online tailored workshops include local infrastructure with specific maps, details of existing sprinkler and booster systems of sites around town such as the schools.

Warrandyte’s 1st Lieutenant, Will Hodgson said: “Our volunteers aren’t necessarily skilled in training preparation, so to undertake this task in preparing lessons for their fellow members in their own time is extraordinary”.

The training is attended by the Captain, Lieutenants, Officers and firefighters — offering plenty of opportunities for the members to effectively learn as a team.

“The adapted training is thorough with detailed framework, quality images, and thought-provoking questions,” Will said.

But it’s not just training and meetings, the team at Warrandyte CFA remain committed to providing educational resources as well as supporting some much-loved annual events.

The unprecedented challenge of the CFA being unable to shake their tins for the Good Friday Appeal, was quickly transformed to an online fundraising portal by the Royal Children’s Hospital.

A Virtual Tin Shake became the platform and the team down at the station were keen to ensure they could still help raise funds for the kids.

202 Victorian CFA brigades raised a total of $195,000 for the appeal, with Warrandyte CFA contributing a collection of $4,290 from our supportive community.

Warrandyte CFA’s efforts placed them second on the urban brigades leader board.

Will Hodgson, who has personally experienced the exceptional services of the Royal Children’s Hospital with his own children.

“I’m proud of what our members have achieved for the appeal.

“To raise more than we normally would in these unprecedented times is credit to the team’s unbreakable comradery and spirit”.

In these unpredictable times, your CFA volunteers are still here for you.

Warrandyte CFA’s members continue to undertake the groundwork to ensure they continue to be prepared to service Warrandyte.

The brigade wishes to express their appreciation to the Warrandyte community for supporting their volunteers in their efforts.

 

 

Fireball delayed

By JAIME NOYE

IT IS NO SURPRISE with all the uncertainty going on, this year’s Fireball event will be postponed.

The Fireball committee is mindful that so many businesses are struggling and respectfully recognises that it is not the right time to seek sponsorships and donations.

Chair of the Fireball Committee, Michelle Lambert said “With everything so uncertain, it’s not possible that they will be back on their feet and ready to support anything other than rebuilding their businesses by October”.

“Hopefully, by this time next year things will be improving, and people will be getting ready to celebrate and move forward” she said.

But there is good news.

Fireball is delighted to share that their extremely generous major sponsor; Bramleigh Estate, Warrandyte’s newest wedding venue, will continue to support a reschedule of this wonderful community event.

This means  Fireball is still able to maximise the profits being donated to the Greater Warrandyte CFA’s.

“Mary-Anne from Bramleigh, is the gift that keeps on giving” Michelle said.

“Considering the current climate, to still host Fireball free of charge, is an incredible demonstration of Bramleigh giving back to the Warrandyte community”.

Fireball made a commitment to the volunteers of the Wonga Park Fire Brigade to facilitate the purchase of a new light tanker.

Together with Bramleigh, the committee intend to follow through on their promise in 2021.

The event has been rebooked for Friday, October 22, 2021.

Fireball will continue to keep the community informed on event updates, all opportunities and ticket sales as we move through the aftermath of COVID-19.

Captain of Wonga Park CFA, Aaron Farr said: “We are ever so grateful for Fireball and Bramleigh’s continued support to honour the original offer, in light of the delay caused by COVID-19 and the tough financial environment”.

The Fireball Committee looks forward to resuming event preparations in 2021, to support the volunteers of CFA.

To keep updated on event announcements, the community can register their information at
www.fireball.org.au.

 

 

Summer scorchers

Mid-summer means we are mid fire season, so staying safe is a must during the fire danger period. While parts of our community work hard to keep us safe and informed, others have been less than helpful. Explore the issue in this compilation of our hot-weather stories.

Be Aware in an Emergency

By COREY BLACKWELL

MANNINGHAM Council is set to launch a new Emergency Aware program which will empower local communities to prepare for the impacts of various emergency situations. 

The program, which will be delivered in partnership with emergency service organisations, will aim to help local residents develop home emergency plans, and work together so they can be better prepared for the effects of fires, floods, storms and other emergencies. 

Mayor Paula Puccini said that the support of the local emergency services partners and local residents was vital to the success of the initiative. 

“It’s great to see these organisations, the Council and local residents coming together to create a stronger and more resilient community,” Cr Puccini said.  

While Warrandyte’s natural beauty is among its best features, it also leaves our community especially vulnerable to bushfires, making the prospect of an emergency plan even more necessary. 

A recent report published by the SES shows that home emergency plans greatly reduce the impact of an emergency and help those affected recover quicker.

According to the report, taking the time to make a plan helps residents to “think clearly, have a greater sense of control and make better decisions when an emergency occurs.” 

With the aid of the program, Warrandyte’s locals will hopefully be relieved of some of the stresses that come with summer’s scorching heatwaves, knowing they are better equipped to handle potential bushfires. 

Cr Puccini said she encouraged all residents in fire or flood prone areas to get involved in the innovative pilot. 

“Emergencies affect the whole community.

“This program reinforces the importance of working together to plan and prepare for emergency events,” she said. 

The program will see the Council work together with emergency organisations, such as the CFA, MFB, Victoria Police, and the Red Cross, to help residents implement preventative strategies.

To find out more about the program and how to get involved call 9840 9333.

Fair weather fools

Hot weather brings tourists flocking to Warrandyte to engage in the age-old tradition of swimming at the Pound.

Not satisfied with having a dip under the bridge or at the tunnel, swimmers have been heading to more secluded areas of North Warrandyte.

The lack of infrastructure at these locations leads to visitors’ cars blocking roads and, dangerously, impeding access for emergency vehicles.

Cars impede emergency access to Normans Reserve

There were several high fire days in early January, and the North Warrandyte Fire Bridge reported major difficulty accessing Normans Reserve.

Captain of North Warrandyte CFA, Trent Burriss, told the Diary that there were many cars parked along the roadside. 

“We just squeezed through, I had to fold some mirrors in… there was also a car parked across the gate,” he said.

Despite Parks Victoria closing the parks, many visitors ignore the signage and park in no standing zones.

People just don’t care, they come from out of the area, I don’t think it is locals that are doing it, that is the hardest things.

But we get a few people fined and then those people don’t come back, and the next people who come down do it,” he said.

“If there is a fire in there, how are we going to put it out?”

He says the parks all along the river are having the same issues.

“Bradleys Lane, Laughing Waters, Koornong Cresent — we’ve had cars parked on blind corners, we could just squeeze the truck through — but it is a no standing zone, and down at the end there were cars parked in the turnaround — it is all clearly signed, I know Jimmy (Bolton) did a lot of work with that down in the Koornong.”

Capt. Burriss says there are more emergencies than just fire when swimming in the river.

“If they are down there swimming and they hurt themselves or they drown, the other emergency services need access as well.”

The Brigade took to social media to try and warn of the risks of blocking access.

“Nearly 80,000 people have seen that post — which is great.”

He thinks that a tow away zone may be a deterrent, however policing the hot-spots needs to be a priority.

 “Parks [Victoria] should be down in the parks telling people to move on — but who is going to listen to the guys in green, unless you have a blue uniform with a gun on your belt, that’s the only time they are going to listen to someone.”

Station Officer at the Warrandyte Police Station, Sergeant Stewart Henderson, said the local police have been patrolling regularly and, since the early January incident, “are pleased to report we haven’t come across any further instances”.

Capt. Burriss wants people who come to Warrandyte on Total Fire Ban days to exercise caution.

“I know they are trying to stay cool — but go to the beach or something — don’t come to one of the highest fire danger spots in the world,” he said.

Plan to survive

AS WE MARK the 10th anniversary of the Black Saturday bushfires that devastated communities throughout our Green Wedge, CFA Captains are calling for better education for families in our bushfire-prone areas.

North Warrandyte Captain Trent Burriss told the Diary reaching new residents can be difficult.

“There have been lots of houses for sale, a lot of different people coming into the area — it is a different generation that are moving in now,” he said.

New residents come into the area and are unaware that summer in Warrandyte means being ever-vigilant against the threat of bushfire.

“Unfortunately we can only educate the people who want to be educated, but it doesn’t matter how hard you try,” Warrandyte CFA Captain Adrian Mullens told the Diary.

Capt. Mullens recounted a recent phone call with a resident who was unaware how to respond to a Total Fire Ban day.

“When this guy said ‘we have been here twelve months, my wife is the only one that drives and we have got five kids, how do we know if there is something happening?’; when you get phone calls like that it really makes you start wondering,” he said.

For the record, Capt. Mullens’s advice to his caller: “CFA recommends, on a bad day you make a conscious decision to leave the night before or first thing that morning, don’t wait around until you see smoke and flames, because that is too late”.

Capt. Mullens says a good idea is to educate the children first.

“I have a personal belief that they should be targeting the primary schools, they did it years ago with the ‘Stop, Drop and Roll’… say from Grade 4 up you would have the ability to instil something into the kids — people probably do not get the time to do these things, but if the kids come home and say ‘what’s our fire plan?’, well that’s going to get Mum and Dad’s attention and that is a pretty good way of selling it — to educate the kids, who are going to educate the parents.”

Locals have also been called upon as volunteers for the CFA, but as Capt. Burriss said to the Diary, the brigades struggle to keep up with recruiting.

“The hardest thing is that, and they don’t have time to commit to the fire brigade, and we are a commuter suburb so people go out to work and they just come here to sleep because house prices are higher, meaning they have to work,” he said.

Local CFA brigades offer community education sessions throughout the year, you can also join your Community Fireguard group, and ensure you have a range of options for staying informed during the fire season, such as the Vic Emergency App, the CFA website, or listen to ABC 774 Local Radio for emergency broadcasts.

Check out the Be Ready Warrandyte website, warrandyte.org.au/fire, for tips on making a fire plan for your family.

People and power wilt in heatwave conditions

By DAVID HOGG

WITH WARRANDYTE experiencing many days of temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius this January, Facebook has gone into meltdown with complaints about the heat, power outages and traffic delays.

Tuesday, January 15 was one such day and Warrandyte made the Channel 7 News on two fronts.

With the Fire Danger Rating for Central District classed as Severe and a Total Fire Ban in place, AusNet Services went ahead with an all-day planned power outage affecting around 500 residents to do remedial work in Aton Street and Osborne Road.

Affected residents, who had received prior notification, had realised that this was going to be a difficult day and had been phoning and writing to AusNet for a number of days beforehand asking them to reconsider and reschedule the work.

Jillian Garvey talked to AusNet on January 12 and was advised that it hadn’t been cancelled and would go ahead unless a Total Fire Ban was declared.

Meg Downie took to Facebook and wrote “AusNet are so uncooperative; we’ve had lots of ‘planned outages’ with some on very hot days and it isn’t fair to the frail and elderly who may not be able to go somewhere cooler.”

Despite the community uproar, the planned work did go ahead.

The Diary contacted AusNet Services for comment and Hugo Armstrong, Media and Communications Consultant in their Corporate Affairs section, provided the following statement:

AusNet Services’ Statement on January 15 Power Outage

In maintaining the safety and reliability of the electricity network, we are very sensitive to the need to balance the short term impact of maintenance or upgrade works with the long term interests of the community.

In very hot weather we normally review all planned works requiring customers to be taken off supply, to try to achieve this balance.

On Tuesday, January 15, (a declared Heat Health Day and Total Fire Ban day) approximately two thirds of all planned outages on our network were postponed.

The large planned outage affecting 446 customers in North Warrandyte needed to go ahead however, primarily because the work involved was bushfire mitigation work.

Safety regulations give us less discretion to re-schedule these kinds of works.

We thank affected customers for your patience and understanding.

These decisions are not taken lightly, and are made or reviewed at very senior levels within the company.

We remained mindful of the impact on customers (many of whom contacted us to express their concerns), and were able to complete the work (which included the replacement of three poles in Osborne Road, the installation of multiple bays of new overhead line, and some other works) and restore supply some two or three hours earlier than originally estimated.

The same afternoon a major accident occurred on the Fitzsimons Lane bridge between a bus and a 4WD, closing Fitzsimons Lane completely and causing massive traffic diversions in the area.

Again, hundreds of posts were made on social media, with local residents reporting traffic delays lasting hours on the eastbound approaches to Warrandyte.

A major complaint was traffic attempting, unsuccessfully, to take shortcuts through local streets.

Dianne Trenfield wrote “To all of those who try to jump six cars ahead of your fellow traffic jammers…..cutting up Blair St, Cemetery Rd, McCulloch Street and the cemetery end of Brackenbury St will get you nowhere; but we sure enjoy watching you find that out on your own.”

On Friday, January 25, another 40+ degree day with Severe Fire Danger and a Total Fire Ban, power outages hit Warrandyte and surrounding areas.

In the morning it was the turn of around 3,000 properties north of the river to lose power due to a fault, although this lasted less than an hour.

In the afternoon it was the turn of those south of the river experiencing one of the many load-shedding outages due to failure of supply against demand, and this lasted less than two hours.

Facebook was active with locals asking why our power infrastructure is so fragile, debating coal versus renewables versus nuclear, and

generally critical of State and Federal Governments; particularly as Victoria’s Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio had assured us earlier in the day that there would be no risk of blackouts.

This should serve as a warning to all residents that on hot days — and there may be plenty more to come this summer — we may find ourselves without power.

Everybody’s Fire Plan needs to take this into account.

Remember that a temperature forecast of 33C for Melbourne can mean a temperature approaching or exceeding 40C in Warrandyte.

And whilst some chose to vent their fury on social media, others sought cooler places such as shopping centres, cinemas or took a leisurely dip in the Yarra.

Fail safe

Warrandyte Fire Brigade have ensured they are able to remain operational in case of blackout, thanks to a generator purchased with a grant from the Warrandyte Community Bank.

The significant grant of $39,545 from the bank has allowed the brigade to install a 90kVA power plant to run the station in the case of a power outage.

Until the generator was installed, blackouts meant the firetrucks were trapped inside the station.

Captain Adrian Mullens told the Diary that the automatic doors can only be raised by the electric motor.

“Our engine bay doors are electric, so our pagers go and ‘boom’ the doors come up, if the power is out we can play around for ten minutes to try and get doors open,” he said.

The crew has to remove the door from its hinges to get the doors open.

“That adds significant time to our turnouts, and we are under a fair bit of pressure to get a truck out the door within four minutes,” he said.

The generator will now allow the station to remain fully functional during blackouts.

“If the power is to go off now within 10 seconds the generator starts up.

“A lot of places will only put in a relatively small generator, and you 

could only run a few lights, that thing runs the whole station and we have got a little bit up our sleeve”.

Capt. Mullens said that to have the ability to keep the station operational during prolonged blackouts was a major consideration.

“When we have members here waiting to go out on strike teams and the power goes out, we need to be able to continue to have power to run the doors, the radios and other appliances,” Capt. Mullens said.

In the event of a major incident power could be down for days or weeks, meaning that the station could become a lifeline for the community in the face of a Black Saturday level event.

“With the generator, we could continue to run the station as long as we can continue to supply fuel.

“The technology for solar and batteries to run three-phase is not there, so we felt the generator was the only way to go,” he said.

The last part of the installation is to put up a screen to help it blend into the surrounding landscape.

“That’s the way it comes from JCV — bright yellow — you can’t do much about that, but we will put up a fence to camouflage it.”

Despite the large outlay, Capt.Mullens says that he hopes there is no need for it.

“Hopefully it doesn’t get used,” he said.

Fresh approach to fire safety

THE DIARY have teamed up with Swinburne University and the CFA to produce a series of animated fire safety videos.

The resultant videos will be launched on the Diary’s website and social media channels, so watch out for them over the coming months.

http://warrandytediary.com.au/fire-safety/Our first video is up now, and explains the fire danger rating system.

Other videos talk about pet safety, preparing your property, using fire blankets, and fire safety for young children.

“We are blown away by the really out-of-the-box ideas these guys have come up with,” says CFA Region 13 Community Education Manager, Rohan Thornton.

Jaime Kroupa has lived in Warrandyte for around 15 years, and is one of the animation students at Swinburne University.

“It was great working with the Diary and CFA guys as ‘clients’ on our projects, it was great to have the feedback as we went along,” said Jaime.

She says being a Warrandyte resident gave her a better understanding of fire danger than some of her more urban cohort.

“I live only a couple of streets away from Flannery Court, and when the fire hit in 2014 I was at home, we expected the danger would be more in the bush areas around North Warrandyte, so we were a bit shocked when it happened so close to us,” she said. 

Jaime’s video was a stand-out amongst the nine videos produced for the Diary, and we look forward to showing you her work later in the year. 

She is still midway through her course, and she hopes she will finish in two years’ time with a Bachelor of Animation.

From there Jaime hopes to be able to work with some of the big Melbourne based animation studios, so she can work on feature films.

What will CFA changes mean for Warrandyte?

THE VICTORIAN Government has announced sweeping changes to the fire services which will split the CFA, and while it fundamentally will have no impact on the business of putting out fires, there will be a big change in the way CFA brigades operate behind the scenes.

A joint statement issued by Premier Daniel Andrews and Emergency Services Minister, James Merlino,  said Victoria has some of the best firefighters in the world, however they currently operate under systems and structures that have not changed since the 1950s.

“These important changes will deliver more modern fire services for a growing Victoria, making our state even safer”, said Mr Merlino.

Emergency Services commissioner, Craig Lapsley spoke to the Diary to reassure local residents and CFA volunteers the change for the community would be seamless.

“We have 1220 CFA stations now, and we will have 1220 when this is implemented,” he said.

CFA staff such as those at South Warrandyte will combine with MFB firefighters to form the newly created Fire Rescue Victoria, while CFA volunteers will remain with the CFA, which will return to being a volunteer focused organisation.

“It will still be local people going to local incidents… the same vehicles will be in the same stations, it is just that the signs out the front will be different” he said.

South Warrandyte Station as an integrated station will remain the same, but will have two signs, one representing the FRV staff and the other representing the CFA volunteers.

The situation for other roles within CFA — such as regional managers and staff, community education, trainers, mechanics, fire investigators — is a slightly more complicated issue.

“Operational staff at a Regional level will be employed by FRV but will be tasked to the CFA, however certain administration and technical staff will remain covered by the CFA’s [Professional Technical & Administrative] PTA employment agreement,” Mr Laspley said.

The Commissioner assured the Diary the boundaries between metropolitan and country areas will remain the same, however the Andrews Government has flagged the establishment of a Fire District Review Panel which will conduct future reviews of the boundary between fire services, based on population growth, urban development and the volume of Triple Zero calls.

When the Diary asked about the rumours generated by a photograph published in the Herald Sun showing Warrandyte was being considered for inclusion in FRV, Commissioner Lapsley said there were “no immediate plans to put staff into Warrandyte”.

He said that the position paid fire fighters in South Warrandyte, Eltham and Templestowe gave enough coverage to support the retention of a volunteer-only station at Warrandyte.

“South Warrandyte are getting into Yarra Street in 8-10 minutes”, he said.

Commissioner Lapsley said one of the most important consideration is to ensure surge capacity in times of major incident is protected, and that means ensuring we retain the State’s 50,000 volunteers.

Local member for Warrandyte, Ryan Smith is not so optimistic, and said volunteer retention at integrated stations may not be so easy.

“Sooner or later if you have 20 or so career firefighters there, volunteers aren’t going to get there for a call out and it’ll get to the point that they don’t want to be there to wash the trucks once a week”, Mr Smith said.

Mr Smith is concerned that if volunteers are not given respect they will not be there in times of calamity to provide the needed surge capacity.

“I can’t see anyone but the die-hard volunteers committing to the training just for the sake of three or four callouts a year in those extreme circumstances.”

Peter De Maria, a career firefighter at South Warrandyte, said the feeling at the station was positive and the change was little more than a change of badge.

“It’s no different — really it is not going to change, we will still train with [the volunteers], it is just modernising the service for career staff… but for the community it is a win because they will get a better service,” he said.

Captain at North Warrandyte CFA, Mick Keating hopes the CFA will continue to support volunteer training and skills development.

“As long as they don’t make us a second rate service and say ‘you don’t need these courses, these trucks, this equipment’, we still have houses and big buildings to look after, we still have road accidents, none of that is going to change I just hope there is no change to any of the the training regime or the opportunities that are available to volunteers,” he said.

Captain of the Warrandyte brigade, Adrian Mullens said it was still too early to comment and would like to wait until the dust had settled on the announcement, but wanted to reassure the community that it would be “business as usual”.

“We are still going to service the community as we have for the last 79 years,” Mr Mullens said.

These reforms are currently before Parliament, and if passed, are expected to take two years to be fully implemented.

Ryan Smith is not convinced that the reforms have the community’s interests at heart.

“If it was driven for efficiencies or driven because the system was broken or to save money or whatever you could argue it was good for the community, but what you are going to be doing is basically breaking a community organisation that everyone rallies around…this is just a fix because every other way they wanted to support the UFU was blocked for various reasons — is it a win for the community? No – I think we will just end up missing something that we had,” he said.

The government has confirmed that, until June 2019, the funding for the changes will not impact on the Fire Services Property Levy, which is charged to property owners via council rates.

With this comes a promise that the existing Metropolitan Fire District Boundary will remain in place for the next two years — for the purpose of determining whether Metropolitan or CFA levy rates apply.

Oh what a night!

FIREBALL 2016 is being applauded as an outstanding sold-out success, raising more than $70,000 in much needed funds for our local CFAs in a truly glamorous Saturday night affair.

The final figure matched 2014’s result when $70,000 was raised to contribute to a new truck for the North Warrandyte CFA. This year, the funds raised will go towards buying a Slip-On: a 4WD first-respondent vehicle on the wish-list of the Greater Warrandyte brigades for many years.

Fireball has grown since it’s inaugural event in 2014, generating hundreds of thousands of dollars and support for our local fire brigades: North Warrandyte, Warrandyte, South Warrandyte and Wonga Park.

The absolutely stunning Park Hyatt Ballroom was the place to be on Saturday October 15 with hundreds of guests from the Greater Warrandyte area dancing the night away in style—and showing their support for the fireys that dedicate so much of their time to keeping our community safe.

It was ball gowns galore and old Hollywood glamour with guests dressed to the nines in their best black tie.

Pre-dinner drinks were served in the luxurious foyer before the huge ballroom doors opened and guests flooded the dance floor and dining tables.

Melbourne’s hottest corporate cover band, Popcorn, sent the dance floor into a frenzy with covers from Taylor Swift and the Bee Gees, while guests also participated in a live online auction to raise more funds.

The live auction saw a stunning natural ruby necklace donated by Warrandyte’s own Ruby Tuesday actively stir the bidding, as did an original artwork by Laural Retz along with villas up for grabs in Thailand and Bali.

Another popular item was the wine fridge filled with wine which one local hairdresser was lucky enough to win.

Major sponsor and Fireball champion Julie Quinton was thrilled with the auction results and seeing the event come to fruition.

“Our committee has worked tirelessly for many months to not only build an event with significant fundraising capacity but also an event to remember,” she said.

“From early feedback we think we hit the mark. The Park Hyatt ballroom was alive and full to capacity with Greater Warrandyte taking it to town in support of our fireys and enjoying a quality night out to boot.

“Thanks to Warrandyte Community Bank, many attendees were chauffeured in and out of the city in comfortable buses from various parts of the area. The Park Hyatt ballroom delivered a stunning impression as our community entered on the night. It was alive and full to capacity.”

The Fireball committee will continue to raise funds for the CFA and expect the 2018 event to be an even bigger success.

“The objective of the night was for our community to take on the responsibility and obligation of fundraising from our local CFA volunteers. Fireball is the vehicle for our community to ease the burden of fundraising for our local CFAs,” Julie said.

“We choose to live and work in this beautiful, fragile and very volatile environment; so it makes sense for us to ensure those people who volunteer to defend and protect it are armed with the tools to best do that job.”

PHOTOS: Deb Sullivan

Warrandyte’s Fireball hot in the city

EIGHTEEN months of planning for the biggest community fundraiser in the greater Warrandyte region nearly came undone, ironically due to the sheer popularity of the event.

Days before tickets went on sale for Fireball 2016 our popular and much loved Olivigna restaurant, which was to host the night of nights, was unable to secure the necessary permit for the number of people who will attend. Such a permit would have required an amendment to the State Government Planning Scheme.

Undeterred, organisers quickly moved to Plan B and the committee of volunteers led by chair Michelle Lambert were able to secure the 5 Star Park Hyatt Hotel, East Melbourne, overlooking the Fitzroy Gardens.
“The demand for Fireball requires us to use a venue that can cater to our capacity,” said committee member Jaime Noye.

“With only days to secure a venue and with October positioned in the midst of wedding season we were thrilled to be able to secure the Park Hyatt. It offers a range of transport options to the city and it is a beautiful venue consistent with the calibre of event that is Fireball.”

Julie Quinton, who initiated the inaugural Fireball in 2014 and who has furthered her commitment to the Wonga Park and Warrandyte CFAs by offering Quinton’s Online Supermarket as the event’s major sponsor for 2016 said: “We thought two years ago that possibly after three or more Fireballs we would need to move to a larger venue to be able to handle the growth. It has come far earlier than expected and that can only be a good thing as we fundraise for a Slip On – a first respondent 4WD vehicle which is currently on the Greater Warrandyte brigade’s wish-list.”

The 2014 Fireball contributed to a new truck for the North Warrandyte CFA.

“Thank you for our new fire truck, our new toy.  It will serve our community well,” said North Warrandyte captain Mick Keating.
Despite the location change Fireball’s mission remains the same – “easing the burden of fundraising from our volunteer firefighters”. Every cent raised from Fireball 2016 will be returned to the Greater Warrandyte CFAs to ensure they are able to access the most up to date equipment.

Tickets are now on sale at www.fireball.org.au

Our bank is a beauty

NOTHING says helping the community quite like $2 million and that’s exactly what the Warrandyte Community Bank Branch has done – returned $2 million in grants and sponsorship contributions to the community in its 12 years of operation.

That’s money for schools, sporting clubs, the CFA, for our students and teachers, small businesses and people in need in our community, and even the community newspaper you’re reading right now.
It’s money Warrandyte deserves and money Warrandytians have earned by banking locally. That’s the key to opening the vault for money flowing back into our community – you bank with your Warrandyte Community Bank and everyone benefits, including you. It’s a bank like no other in that it givers back, not always ‘take’ like the others.

The Warrandyte Community Bank Branch is part of the Bendigo Bank group and has been an important fixture of the Warrandyte community since 2003. It was created thanks to funding and pledges from local people, who are now shareholders, with a team of professional directors made up entirely of volunteers.

SES

It’s a bank steeped in community spirit and which is determined to create new avenues for community benefit. And the vast majority of the profit is returned to the local community in several ways to the tune of $2m.

Every year, money from the bank goes towards local projects, programs, resources and infrastructure. It’s money used to support local people, keep them safe and improve their lives.

It’s an initiative the bank’s board chairman Aaron Farr is proud to be a part of.

“We’ve given $2 million back to the community, and $390,000 in the past 12 months, and we hope to increase that number every year exponentially,” Aaron says. “We’ve given money back to the CFA, to local pre-schools and schools, we’ve given money to help with the development down at the local sports club.”

Every year, $50,000 is awarded to the local CFA to ensure Warrandyte’s fire fighters have the resources to keep the community as safe as possible. Funds have contributed towards a new generator, new trucks, vehicles, lockers, defibrillators and more.

Warrandyte Kinder kids

But even the small grants can make a big difference – the kinder kids of Burch Memorial Pre-School have received over 100 new books, CD books, parent resource books and an upgrade to their Burch Bookworm Library thanks to a grant of $1518.

The Warrandyte Community Bank’s scholarship program has also changed lives, contributing $25,000 in the past year to university-aged students who may be facing disadvantage. Last year five students received $5000 to put towards their education.

“Our scholarship program has also provided funds to young people attending university who, without the money maybe wouldn’t have been able to attend university due to financial hardship or personal hardship,” Aaron says.

“I’ve been very proud of being involved in that because we’ve assisted those young people to grow and to develop and get back involved with the local community, and further their education.”

Community funding is only generated by accounts opened at the Warrandyte branch, which is why it’s important to bank locally. Money banked at the Warrandyte Community Bank Branch finds a meaningful purpose and helps not only improve the Warrandyte community, but to change lives in big and small ways.

For more info about how to make the move and change banks, or to find out about the Warrandyte Community Bank Branch’s Community Funding initiative, bendigobank.com.au/public/community/our-branches/ warrandyte

$2mill in 12 years

WARRANDYTE Community Bank Branch has ticked over the $2million mark in grant and sponsorship contributions in its 12th year of operation.

Warrandyte Community Bank chairman Aaron Farr said the Warrandyte and surrounding communities had thrown its support behind the locally owned and operated branch, transferring banking business across since the bank opened its doors in 2003.

“Local residents, traders, business owners and community groups have all seen the benefits of banking close to home,” Aaron said.

“We are extremely proud of reaching this milestone because it reflects not only the ongoing success of our business, but most importantly, shows how much of a difference we have been able to make in the community.”

Aaron said Warrandyte Community Bank Branch was a true community venture, which offered a full range of banking products and services in a business model designed to strengthen the local community.

“Achieving $2 million in funding shows that taking control of our community’s financial future is not only possible, but profitable,” he said.

“And the more people who choose to bank with us, the more profits we can return to the community through sponsorships and grants.

“Reaching the $2 million mark is such a fantastic achievement for a community enterprise that many per- ceived as a far-off dream 12 years ago.

“But we have taken this dream for a locally-owned and operated bank and turned it into a reality, financially sup- porting hundreds of community initiatives in the process. Thanks to the support of our shareholders, branch staff, company board and customers, we have been able to grow to be one of the biggest sources of community funding in the local area.”

Funding granted by Warrandyte Community Bank Branch has gone towards supporting a range of community groups, projects and events including:

Manningham SES – Inflatable Rescue Boat

An inflatable rescue boat is an essential and important piece of Manningham SES’s range of life-saving equipment. Receiving $18,254.60 in the 2014/15 grants program ensured the SES was able to replace a very old rescue boat with a new up-to-date model to be used in emergency situations.

Wonga Park Primary – Raising the Roof project

Wonga Park Primary School has been able to complete stage one of its Raising the Roof project. A $35,000 grant enabled the school to build the framework and raise the roof over an existing basketball court.

The undercover area is used for physical education, general play, before school tennis, after school basketball training, OSHC outdoor activities and community events.

Park Orchards Primary School – running track

February 23, 2015 saw the official opening of the new running track at Park Orchards Primary School (POPS). POPS received a Warrandyte Community Bank Branch grant of $33,000 making the school’s dream a reality. The two lane synthetic running track has been a hit with the school’s children who have been putting it to the test ever since.

Greater Warrandyte CFAs – Thermal Imaging cameras

A grant of $42,900 enabled the Greater Warrandyte CFA brigades to purchase much needed thermal imaging equipment. This is a huge asset for the whole community as it enables firefighters to check for hotspots which could reignite fires, to locate persons in burning structures or for search and rescue missions that were previously unseen or difficult to detect.

Warrandyte Pavillion

The Warrandyte Sporting Group with members of the Warrandyte senior and junior football clubs, Warrandyte Cricket Club and Warrandyte Netball Club along with the general public has been able to enjoy the newly built sports pavillion following its completion in 2014. Warrandyte Community Bank Branch contributed $150,000 to this local project.

Scholarships

Since 2011, local tertiary students have been able to kick-start their further education with a scholarship from Warrandyte Community Bank.

With $10,000 each over two years to pay for study related expenses such as course fees, equipment, book and travel expenses a scholarship can help ease some of the financial burden of tertiary education.