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TURNING THE calendar over from January seems a bit like firing the starters pistol at an athletics track.
The moment it turns; the cruisy, lazy days of January start to fade from my memory, the prompts on my calendar no longer visible, and the days ahead fill with routine and to do lists that require the skills of a hurdler.
But before it fades completely I want to grab hold of a few moments and set them firmly in place.
One in particular was from our annual family trip to Tasmania to see my mum.
Typically, we don’t venture far from Mum’s place, instead we just slow down, enjoy long walks on the beach and a few too many serves of hot chips and ice-creams after swimming in the ocean.
But this year we added a little something extra and took off for a few days to the Tasman Peninsula, primarily known for its main attraction, the Port Arthur Historic Site, and some incredible rock formations at Eaglehawk Neck.
We skipped Port Arthur and its busloads of tourists and instead found spectacular beaches, captivating scenery and a remote gin distillery that makes Butterfly Gin — a deep blue gin that turns pink when tonic water is added.
It was an impulsive escape, and we just happened to be the lucky family that got the last available room on the entire peninsula that weekend — staying at Pirates Bay (how fun does that sound?) — one of the aforementioned beautiful beaches.
The peninsula is host to amazing walking tracks, many taking you to cliff tops that make you feel giddy as you look over the edge at powerful waves that crash the rugged coastline beneath you, and small seaside villages that offer magnificent views.
Doo Town is one of these villages.
A tiny seaside town of shacks at the south end of Pirates Bay, it is famous for its quirky house names.
A tradition that started in the 30s, when Hobart architect Eric Round named his shack “Doo I”.
His neighbour quickly replied with Doo-Me and a friend followed up with Doo-Us.
The tradition still continues today with most of the town’s shacks having “Doo” names, such as Dr Doolittle, Toucan Doo and a favourite of mine, Doo-write, and then there is Doo-lishus, the food van at the nearby Blowhole.
The hunt was on for the best name.
And then we happened upon Doo Drop Inn and I firmly announced that was the winner for me.
I love it when people drop in.
It doesn’t happen often and of course you can be caught unawares, but it makes my day when a friend just drops in because they were “in the area” or “had a few minutes to spare”.
But it is rare, perhaps a thing of the past, a habit of bygone days when neighbours and friends just dropped in for a cuppa.
According to my research, which involved the very scientific face to face conversations with local friends and a social media post, I’m of a rare breed myself and most do not like a drop in.
I was shocked.
It seems the drop in has been replaced by invitation only, with busy lives set up to take the blame.
I wonder how much the pressure to have things in order adds to it, and of course, the Instagram images of beautiful homes feeds the inadequacy many feel in relation to housekeeping and home decorating skills.
One research participant said, “I need a few days’ notice, so I can tidy up, bake, make the house look nice and make sure there is a bottle of wine in the fridge.”
My oh my — that sounds more like a fancy dinner to me, and unfortunately her sentiment was echoed by many others.
And to that I say stop this madness.
What are we doing to ourselves that how our homes look is more important than having an open door?
What are we doing that our lives are so busy that we must schedule every visit, every cup of tea with a friend?
Here’s the challenge — stop the styling, stop setting ourselves up for perfection, just let go and instead breathe deeply of the friendship and spontaneity of a friend at the door — they didn’t come to see your house.
Perhaps be the one that drops in on friends, maybe it’s time to start a revolution and bring back the drop in.
As an extrovert I love to see my friends, any time of day and night, and I am happy to be distracted, to discard any task for a conversation.
So if you need somewhere to practice — doo drop in.
THE PREMIER running event in every Warrandyte runner’s heart, Run Warrandyte, is back for another lap (or three).
The ninth iteration of the annual event, will be held on Sunday, March 1 and has nominated Guide Dogs Victoria as its official charity partner, allowing participants the opportunity to fundraise to help the charity raise the money needed to breed and train a four-legged companion for those who are vision impaired.
It costs approximately $50,000 to breed and train just one guide dog.
The run is also a great opportunity to raise money for the Warrandyte Sporting Group with a combination of runner fundraising and profits from the run going towards important projects at the Warrandyte Sports Club.
Run Warrandyte Committee member, Michelle Bean, spoke to the Diary about the run and how it has contributed to the Sporting Group over the past eight years.
“To date we have raised a total of $53,000.
“These funds have been put towards past projects such as the new electronic scoreboard.
“Future projects include court and field lighting upgrades, as well as assisting in the enhancement of player training and wellbeing,” she said.
Run Warrandyte 2020 is also doing its part for the environment — the run is making steps to becoming a zero waste event.
Before the event, the committee is encouraging participants to not print their registration confirmations when they come to collect their bibs, instead showing a copy of the confirmation on your smartphone will suffice.
On the day, water on course will be provided in biodegradable cups and packaging, and participants and their families are encouraged to bring their own water bottles or collapsible cups for use during the event, these items are also available to purchase through the event registration website.
The event distances of 2.2, 5, 10 and 15 kilometres will follow the same course as the previous two years, offering 5–15km runners the opportunity to run through picturesque bushland in The Pound.
With assistance of the Day family, these runners will get an opportunity to run a unique course not normally accessible to the public.
“Numbers for the event continue to grow and the committee receive great joy in playing a part in providing a fun day for the community.
“The committee is ever grateful to the major sponsors that help make the event happen including, Warrandyte Community Bank, The Grand Hotel, Goldfields Family Medical Centre, Charlie Bins, Harding Swift Caravan Services, Ringwood Warrandyte Osteo, Quinton’s IGA, Johnstone Reimer Lawyers and Project Clothing,” said Michelle.
With distances catering for all ages and ability levels, Run Warrandyte is the ideal community event to get active and experience the wonderful Warrandyte bushland that surrounds our town.
MANNINGHAM CITY Council unanimously approved the motion to declare a climate emergency at their January 28 Ordinary Council Meeting (OCM).
This motion brings Manningham Council in line with more than 1,000 councils across the planet, and over 85 councils in Australia who have been declaring climate emergencies since early 2019.
The global political movement to recognise the threat of climate change and take action against it began in April 2019 with Scotland and Wales becoming the first countries to declare a climate emergency.
During the January 28 OCM, Councillor Mike Zafiropoulous tabled Notice of Motion 1/2020 and outlined the need for this action.
“As councillors we have a responsibility, not only to address the local concerns of residents through core issues such as waste collection, planning permits, road maintenance, et cetera — but also broader issues such as the climate emergency we are facing,” he said.
Later, Cr Zafiropoulous went on to talk about the evidence.
“The scientific evidence on this issue is overwhelming and the consequence of no action is catastrophic, not only for Manningham, but for the whole planet.”
Cr Andrew Conlon, who seconded the motion, spoke specifically of the increased impact Warrandyte faces.
“Without climate change, Warrandyte is already in the most prone, most at risk areas in terms of population, terrain and fuel, in the world.
“So it would be ignorant of us to basically put our heads in the sand and not acknowledge that we can do more and that we will do more in the years to come.”
An amended motion, introduced by Cr Sophy Galbally, to add the words “climate emergency” specifically to the clauses of the motion being discussed, triggered a 30-minute debate into the definition of the words “serious” and “emergency”, highlighting concerns surrounding the bureaucratic implications of the use of the word “emergency”.
In his closing remarks, Cr Zafiropoulous spoke about the popularity and symbolic nature of the term “Climate Emergency” and the importance of Council to follow a global trend.
“…to be consistent with other organisations initiating such action, I think it is much better to use the term Climate Emergency in the motion… I think it strengthens the motion if we include it there.”
In attendance at the OCM were representatives of WarrandyteCAN who have been lobbying Manningham Council on the issue since August 2019.
In late September, members of WarrandyteCAN met with the then Mayor, Councillor Paula Piccinini and Mannigham Council CEO Andrew Day to discuss the issue, following the matter up with letters to other councillors in support of a climate emergency declaration and implementation of a structured emergency action plan.
Subsequently, WarrandyteCAN had a meeting with Cr. Zafiropoulos.
“WarrandyteCAN is very grateful for having been given the opportunity to present our case to the Council, and we highly commend the Councillors for passing this landmark resolution,” said WarrandyteCAN President, Jeff Cranston.
The passing of Notice of Motion 1/2020 not only means Mannigham recognises the threat of climate change to the municipality but empowers council to prepare a response in its 2020 Environment Report by including a Climate Emergency Response Plan.
OUR LOCAL Country Fire Authority (CFA) brigades have been working tirelessly over what has turned out to be a very long summer.
Commencing with support to the Rural Fire Service (RFS) in New South Wales in October, members of Warrandyte, South Warrandyte, North Warrandyte and Wonga Park have joined their firefighting colleagues around the country.
As discussed in the December Diary, there were members from all our local brigades deployed to New South Wales.
Since that time, the brigades have sent members to the conflagration in East Gippsland, the Victorian Alpine Fires, as well as several fires closer to home — in Plenty Gorge and Sunbury.
Most importantly, the brigades have retained a contingent back at the station to protect the local area as our summer kicks in.
The Diary sat down with a panel of volunteer officers and CFA station staff from our local brigades to discuss the events of a very busy summer.
2nd Lieutenant from Wonga Park, Luke Summerscales said the CFA has been busy since September, with bushfires in Queensland, New South Wales and now Victoria.
“The NSW deployments were full on, CFA had 50 trucks and 20 support vehicles all sent to NSW — and thousands of firefighters on the ground all at once,” he said.
He said it was fortunate that the CFA crews were released from the NSW fires when they were, just before Gippsland took off.
Warrandyte member and District Group Officer (DGO) for the Maroondah Group of brigades, Shane Murphy told the Diary that the group currently has an ongoing commitment in Gippsland.
“We have had 20 rotations of crews that have gone through there since December 28.
“They have been a mixture of brigades from around here, either individually or as composite crews that have made up the strike teams,” he said.
He said the crews have been undertaking a range of duties, including firefighting and asset protection and have been fairly active during that period of time.
“Now on top of that, there were a number of strike teams that went out on more of a short haul, out for a day,” he said.
The brigades’ vehicles have been busy too.
South Warrandyte Tanker has been out on the fireground constantly since November 8.
The highest ranking volunteer at South Warrandyte, 1st Lieutenant Nathan McDonald told the Diary that the truck spent time in Grafton and Singleton.
The truck was on its way back home when fires in Batemans Bay caused it to be redeployed to the New South Wales South Coast, where it spent the remainder of the year.
After Batemans Bay, it made it back from there to Seymour where it received minor repairs by CFA mechanics before being delivered back to the station.
“We put in about five hours into cleaning the appliance, then it was back on-line for about 45 minutes before it got shanghaied up to Wangaratta to form up another strike team,” Lt McDonald said.
South Warrandyte Station Officer Peter Nolan said the tanker was originally crewed by a South Warrandyte crew in New South Wales, but when it came back it was used on about three or four Staff Strike Teams — one of South Warrandyte’s Station Officers plus a South Warrandyte volunteer, who is a staff member in Portland, were on it.
“We have a photo up there of him standing in front of the truck, miles away.”
South Warrandyte’s tanker has been used far and wide.
“It has racked up a few kilometres,” SO Nolan said.
Warrandyte Captain Adrian Mullens explains the trucks and the crews are two separate entities.
“The trucks can come from everywhere and once they have the trucks together, they become a resource,” he said.
DGO Murphy adds: “The groups of trucks that are sent away are always a similar configuration of trucks, all the trucks have similar capability, so if you are used to having a truck of a similar capacity then you will go away on a group of trucks that have a similar capacity — what name is on it doesn’t matter — it’s a red truck — it doesn’t even need to be red — if it is a truck that you have some crews and some knowledge with, then they make sure they have someone as strike team leader that can make sure that they have the right crews and resources and are going in the right direction.”
Warrandyte has made great use of its Slip-On appliance, which was purchased with the proceeds of the 2016 Fireball.
South Warrandyte’s brand-new Forward Control Vehicle, also purchased with thanks to Fireball has been at Buchan in East Gippsland as the Forward Control Vehicle.
“It only had 1,300kms on it.
The morning it went away we had it serviced at Yarra Valley Toyota.
“So a big thank you to Yarra Valley Toyota and a big thanks to Fireball,” said Lt McDonald.
Images courtesy Wonga Park CFA
North Warrandyte members have been deployed all over East Gippsland, from Buchan to Mallacoota with crews working five-day rotations — with one day’s travel to and from the fire and three days working on the fireground.
Some of our local firefighters were at Mallacoota on New Year’s Eve.
“They were very busy, saved a lot of houses,” Lt McDonald said.
“The foreshore caravan park had around 9,000 people so I think by the time they closed the road about 3,000 people had left and there were still about 5–6,000 people, and all the residents that had decided to stay and defend their property,” he said.
He said the crews had trigger points for the trucks to fall back into town.
“The triggers were hit pretty early on Tuesday morning, so all the crews fell back into the Mallacoota township.
North Warrandyte Captain, Trent Burris added: “They were told that it was going to be 24 hours before it got there and it came in 12”.
Lt McDonald said between about 8am until midday the crews were flat out, some working 36 hours straight.
“They were putting out house fires, spot fires, car fires, whatever was popping up where it was blowing into the town.
“They had a brief reprieve for about an hour and a half before it went through another area and popped out the back and started impacting more houses on the other side.
“They worked right through that day and into the following morning, just going around mopping up, and trying to put out any of the fires that were still burning that were impacting on further properties.
“A lot of good work was done in Mallacoota,” he said.
Wonga Park 1st Lieutenant Warren Aikman said he and his crew were deployed to the Buchan area.
“We worked on road clearing — on the road to McKillops Bridge — in addition to patrolling the fire line around Buchan and assisting local brigades and residents to eliminate hot spots and secure properties,” he said.
The volunteers from South Warrandyte have also been busy.
There have been three rotations of crew deployed on tankers, with some members working on the Forward Control Vehicle either as Driver or Assistant Strike Team Leader.
Members from South Warrandyte have been posted to East Gippsland since late December, working in Buchan, Bruthen and Mallacoota
“We had a combined crew with Wonga Park on the Tarneet Tanker in Mallacoota — trucks were from here, there and everywhere.
“Some crews were on Eltham Tanker, then Kangaroo Ground and Tarneet”.
Since their deployment to NSW, the Warrandyte brigade have been involved in fires at Plenty Gorge and were deployed to the fires around Banalla and Euroa.
Lt McDonald said that brigades have to be careful when deploying people to keep enough crews for local jobs and not to overtax brigade members.
However, he says having staff manning the station has aleviated this issue at his station somewhat.
“In years gone by you always had to consider, who am I going to send away and who am I going to have still at home to respond to local jobs because — you still have a duty of care for your own community,” he said.
Each of the brigades has sent around 15 members to the fires, which in most cases is around a half of their active volunteer firefighter contingent.
Captain Mullens said there is an impact to families and employers when CFA members need to be deployed, especially for self-employed members.
“For people who work in the public sector they have Emergency Services Leave, but for the guys that work for themselves …”
Lt McDonald adding that he and other members took annual leave to be able to volunteer for Strike Teams.
“At any one time if you send a crew away it is usually four or five people and then if you are trying to send a changeover crew as well — that is 10 people out of your brigade and that takes almost a third of your active members away, especially when you have come into a season when you have had NSW deployments in October, November, December and then we start hitting our fire season and people are getting back into work,” he said.
3rd Lieutenant Peter Cahill from North Warrandyte said there has been an “absolute plethora” of people expressing interest in volunteering.
The best avenue to register is to fill out the expression of interest form on the CFA’s website and that will be allocated to your closest brigade.
Captain Mullens acknowledges that it is a very emotional time and people are keen to pitch in.
However, the best course of action is let the dust settle.
“And if you are still interested in April then apply for a recruit course, which will be run later in the year”.
Captain Mullens advised residents to “get out and still clean up around your houses”.
Saying there will be a lot of new growth after the rainfall.
“February is traditionally our bad time of the year, and there is a lot of leaf litter around after the hailstorms the other day.
“There is a bit of a false sense of security now that the weather has cooled off, but it is far from over,” he said.
MENS’ MENTAL health has a new home in Warrandyte.
Two years in the making, the Warrandyte Men’s Shed held its inaugural meeting on Wednesday, January 15.
The Warrandyte Men’s Shed is the latest project by Chris “Chewy” Padgham who has a history of advocating for male mental health.
In the past he has worked for the Victorian Red Cross Men’s Referral Service, MensLine Australia, Shire of Yarra Rangers Kids’ Service and he is currently Group Leader for Warrandyte Scouts.
Until they can find a permanent venue, the Warrandyte Men’s Shed is making use of the Warrandyte Scouts Hall to host its weekly get-togethers.
At the first meeting, Warrandyte Lions provided decks of cards, board games and basic supplies for tea, coffee and sandwiches.
“I just want to create somewhere where men can get together, enjoy each other’s company and do the things they like to do,” said Chewy.
“I’m really just trying to create an environment to facilitate that.”
The concept of a Men’s Shed in Australia as a place for men to come together, and “work” together towards positive mental health first began in the late 1970s – early 1980s.
Traditionally, these community “sheds” are a space where retired men can work on community projects together, usually using practical, mechanical, carpentry and metal working skills they acquired through their former working life, and this concept is still deeply rooted in what a modern Men’s Shed is, but with Generation X entering the retirement window, the types of skills retired Australians have are beginning to change.
Eltham Men’s Shed is a great example of this with their website posting about the Shed’s activities outside the traditional workshopping projects – such as gardening, photography, cooking and even weekly bicycle rides.
What does this mean for our Warrandyte Men’s Shed?
It means its purpose and its potential is open-ended.
The collective work and social experiences of the members of the inaugural Warrandyte Shed were diverse.
“We could have these meetings under a gum tree, it doesn’t really matter”, said member, Don Hughes.
“It’s about getting a bunch of blokes together to share stuff and help out when we can,” he said.
Living up to these words, the group did exactly that.
The group moved from the Scout Hall for their second meeting and formed a working party to help a local resident clean up her front yard following the devastating hailstorm that pummelled Warrandyte recently.
Don also spoke about how the Warrandyte Men’s Shed can offer support to males of all ages.
“There’s also a place for younger men, perhaps they get retrenched or something like that, this could be a place for them too.
“Often there is a youth element who may need an uncle figure and this could be a place for them to get camaraderie that way,” he said.
Currently auspiced by Warrandyte Community Association, Chewy is going through the process of getting the Warrandyte Shed registered with the Victorian Men’s Shed Association (VMSA), he is also looking to council for support.
Regardless, the Shed is up and running.
The vision of VMSA is “for all Victorian men to be happy and healthy contributors within their local community”; with Warrandyte’s rich tapestry of community focussed organisations and its artistic history it is still unclear how this vision will manifest in the Warrandyte Shed.
However, camaraderie, sharing stories, and helping others were core values within the group present at the first meeting, and whatever direction Chewy and the other members take their Shed, it is sure to contribute significantly towards fostering positive masculinity in our community.
Men of all ages are welcome to attend the Warrandyte Men’s Shed.
The Shed meets every Wednesday at 10am at Warrandyte Scout Hall, Stiggants Reserve.
Membership costs $15 per year.