Tag Archives: Warrandyte Diary

One sausage at a time

THOSE STATE Emergency Service (SES) people from the Manningham Unit are smart.
They help advertise their skills and display their equipment at the local warehouse hardware store.
I think my owner calls it “Bunnys”.
They meet all their potential customers before any emergency even happens.
My favourite aisle is 25.
Prowling up and down, taking in all the aromas, I adore this aisle with all its plants and fertilisers.
My absolute favourite scent is blood and bone.
My owner is always dropping into Bunnys to pick up all sorts of nuts, bolts, brackets, bits of wooden sticks and stuff to paint it all with. Recently, I discovered aisle 26.
Around Australia, this new aisle has delighted my fellow pets with its excellent selection of yummy food treats, toys, and pet accessories.
Often the people in red shirts and wearing aprons give me free samples.
They really appreciate my highly developed ability to appreciate treats.
I often chat with the special orders desk people as well.
They are very helpful and have put all my free samples into a special plastic box just under the desk. Each time I visit, they let me sample their latest products.
This magical box never seems to empty. Many humans visit Bunnys on a weekend for the famous sausage in bread.
I just love doing this because it’s a sizzling way to help a charity.

Manningham SES Open Day

At the recent Manningham SES Unit Open Day, they invited what seemed like 100s of young, hungry Scouts.
They were ravenous after visiting all the fun stands with all the searching and rescue equipment on display.
I got myself a canine life jacket in case they let me ride in one of those rubber duckies.
After visiting all their equipment stands, I looked over and — there it was — the Bunnys’ sausages had come along too!
Not only did I get to see my favourite red-shirted, apron-wearing humans alongside my new best friends, the orange-emblazoned members of the SES, but all the sausages were FREE!
It topped off an excellent night for the Scouts.
Those SES people are brilliant.

Balance is the key to a successful sporting life

THE “GREAT WALL of Warrandyte”, Rachael Lynch OAM was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in the 2024 Australia Day Honours for her services to hockey.
Rachael was awarded for her distinguished career on the hockey pitch, alongside her significant work off the pitch as a mental health ambassador, and as a nurse.
Australia’s “most capped goalkeeper ever”, the two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist, Rachael was also a dual Olympian, a World Cup silver medallist, and played 233 games for Australia across her international career.
Off the pitch, she is a nurse at Austin Hospital, a hockey coach, a Performance Lifestyle Advisor with the Victorian Institute of Sport (VIS), and a passionate advocate for mental health, serving as an ambassador for RUOK? Day.
Rachael told Warrandyte Diary she has followed the different honours and awards given to Australians over the years and some of the incredible things that they do.

“It is something that is very special and highly regarded, so I am absolutely privileged and honoured to receive one,” she said.

She said she has always tried to keep a life balance, which she is trying to instil in the athletes she supports at the VIS.

“I have four different sports I am looking after at the VIS, none of them being hockey, so I get to share some of my experiences around — like the importance of having a bit of life balance as an athlete.
“I was working as a nurse throughout my whole career, and it was something I was incredibly passionate about, because having those other areas and those other identities allow you to become a better person and a better athlete as well,” she said.

She said while the gender pay gap was a reality, having employment away from elite sport was grounding.

“It was something that gave me perspective, and health is good for that, but I think every athlete is going to go through those ups and downs in their career, and it just allows you to keep you grounded.
“Having something else that you are good at as well, if things aren’t going well in your sport, you have also got those other areas and those things that you are passionate about.
“If I ever met someone for the first time and they asked what I did, I always said that I was a nurse — I didn’t say I was an athlete — I am equally proud of my sporting career, but nursing is something I think is a bit more relatable to people.
“As much as we want the pay gap to close and we want female athletes to have some equality, it would not matter what someone was getting paid; I would always suggest or encourage them to have those other areas outside of their sport.”

Rachael said while she has many highlights on the pitch, it is her legacy of life balance she instilled in the Hockeyroos during her time on the squad she feels most proud of.

“Normally, in an Olympic year, you don’t work or study, just because of the increased load, but I pushed hard to be able to work in that year because it was really important to me and gave me the perspective and balance throughout the year helps me play better.
“At the time, there were only three of us who were working, but then, for the leadup to the 2020 Olympics, nearly everyone in the team was working or studying, and that was a bit of a legacy for me, and I wanted to encourage and educate the importance of that.”

Her hockey career has not always been smooth sailing. In the leadup to Tokyo, players’ lack of confidence in the off-field leadership of Hockey Australia was brought to a head by a decision by selectors to drop Lynch and fellow Hockeyroo Georgie Morgan from the team, only to have the decision reversed on appeal, and the selection panel resign.

“I did six months in the lead into the Tokyo Olympics training by myself because I wasn’t in the team; I had to go through a legal battle to get my spot back, which I did.
“There was a lot that needed to change in the sport, which is what happened, and it was just great to see the group so happy and able to be themselves.
“It was unfortunate how it all played out, but I was happy to be a part of it,” she said. She said the challenges leading up to the Tokyo Olympics made the event even more sweet.
“To be able to get there and go away with a group of girls who felt we were doing something really special, and I guess that was what allowed me to retire feeling pretty content because the sport was in a much better place by that point.”

Rachael has been an ambassador for RUOK? Day, Lifeline, Live to Give, Donor Mate, and also coaches and mentors rising athletes.

“I like to keep myself busy and do several different things, and certainly, in my coaching, I have been fortunate.
“I have got so much out of hockey over the years and to have the opportunity to give back, whether through different mental health activations or my coaching — looking after up-and-coming goalies.
“I am always trying to grab opportunities to share some of the special things that I got from the sport with other young athletes or even older athletes; I really enjoy that,” she said.

Rachael took the opportunity to give a special thank you to her mum, dad, and brother.

“Because they have been there for every step of the journey with me, and I know there were a lot of sacrifices very early on for them to allow me to travel and compete, and so I am also very grateful for that.”

Rachael’s mother, Anne Lynch, spoke to the Diary and said she was very proud of her daughter.

“She is just a beautiful person, she works very hard, and does a lot of community work — she deserves it.
“We are just so excited for her, and based on the messages I have received, the rest of the community are too,” Anne said.

Rachel still gets out on the pitch, playing in local and national competitions.

“I play for Camberwell in the Melbourne competition, and then I also play in the Melbourne team in the national league, so nothing international, but I still love the sport.”

She said she doesn’t think the honour will change things too much for her. “I try to have a positive influence in any environment that I am in, whether it is work or coaching sport.

“The thing I value the most is having balance, perspective, and just being kind to people.”

Rachael joins a number of athletes who were recognised for their services to sport in the 2024 honours.
Commonwealth Games Australia President Ben Houston noted their recognition and congratulated all on their service to sport and their community in Australia.

“Commonwealth sport is at the heart of Australia’s story, and we welcome the continued acknowledgement of those that have contributed to the green and gold at the Games,” said Mr Houston.
“Our congratulations to those who were elevated to and received a Member of the Order of Australia, as well as the recipients recognised with a Medal of the Order of Australia.”

The Governor-General congratulated the 1,042 Australians who received honours this Australia Day.

“Recipients have made a difference and had an impact at the local, national, and international level.
“Individually, they are inspiring, and collectively, they speak to the strength of our communities.
“Recipients come from all parts of the country. “They have served and had an impact in just about every field you can imagine; their stories and backgrounds are diverse.
“We value their service, thank them for their hard work and selflessness and celebrate them.
“To each recipient: know that you have the thanks and respect of your nation. “In my experience, most are humble and often try to deflect attention or praise — please enjoy the moment because your country has decided that you deserve recognition,” the Governor-General said.

Supporting young artists

A CELEBRATION of the next generation of artistic talent saw friends and family gather recently at the Warrandyte Community Centre for the 2023 Warrandyte Arts & Education Trust’s Youth Arts Award.
This biennial event is a chance for the Trust to support an aspiring artist with a significant financial contribution of $10,000.
The money for this award was funded solely with profits from Warrandyte Diary’s newspapers (Warrandyte Diary and Manningham & Nillumbik Bulletin), which means advertising in the Warrandyte Diary and Manningham & Nillumbik Bulletin, by extension, supports a young Warrandyte artist.
The evening’s guest speaker was Yarra Ward Councillor and teacher Carli Lange, who spoke about Warrandyte as “the home of the artist” and the importance of nurturing artistic endeavours in today’s youth.

“We are here, this evening, supporting young artists through this community arts award.
“We are actively encouraging young artists in their endeavours while experiencing the enjoyment of their art from a young person’s perspective, and that is one of the best perspectives to have.
“You have made an incredible success, and you are incredible, every one of you.
“You took the courage to nominate yourselves to go through and express your ideas and your heart through an expressive and creative art form.
“With joy, we say what an outstanding achievement you have made in the expressive field you have chosen.
“You are an incredible example to young artists in our community, and tonight is a tribute to each one of you.
“Youth community arts awards like this one provide a vital role in providing opportunities for young people to engage with the arts and develop their skills and talents.
“I am honoured to be here tonight, I can see the work, the journey, of young, professional artists, and I am honoured to be celebrating, joining in, and embracing their wonderful sense of the world, because we are all the better for it.
“You, as young people, as young artists, are vital to our community’s longevity and sustainability and to the arts, and with joy, I say congratulations,” said Cr Lange.

Award recipients Agnieshka and Bridie with Youth Arts Award Committee members David Tynan, Mary Ann Gibson, and Jock Macniesh

Since 1989, the award has helped talented artists such as Bridgett Liddell, Gabrielle Davidson, Peter Daverington, Loughlan Prior, and Ruby Martin. Now, we can add and celebrate Bridie Frances and Agnieshka Markwell to this list of recipients. Bridie and Agnieshka shared the $10,000 prize, taking home $5,000 each.
Bridie and Agnieshka were two of five finalists who were met and assessed by up to three talented experts in the young artists’ discipline.
Bridie, a singer/songwriter who listed amongst her influences Ruby Fields, Jack River, Missy Higgins, Gang of Youths, Slowly Slowly, and Spacey Jane, met with her musical mentors Heather Jamieson, Cath Rutten, and Lisa Young for her assessments.
Bridie’s assessors said:

“Bridie has a strong sense of the sound and artistic qualities that she is aiming for.
Despite her age, she is, in the truest sense, an artist moving very authentically towards her own sound.
Her dedication and love of all aspects of music is commendable.
Her volunteer work, songwriting, and singing show her experience and creativity.
Bridie is a warm and passionate young musician, committed to recording and performing her original works and working in other music industry roles.”

Agnieshka is an opera singer and listed Amy Manford, an Australian-American soprano singer, among her influences.
Her assessors, Carrie Barr, Jamie Moffat, and Nina Korbe, described her passion as:

“Agnieshka’s voice is very lovely, with her technique developing well. I was impressed with the vocal maturity in one so young.
She showed musicality in expression and connection to the text, good range, extensions, nice stagecraft and facial expressions communicating her character.
I am confident that Agnieshka has great potential, and if her training and career are correctly guided, she will emerge as a very fine singer.
She has an unusually strong connection with the music she sings, which is rare for someone so young, and I am impressed by her musical intelligence.
Agnieshka has a sweet, warm, youthful tone with a good sense of line and poise.
Her natural musical instincts and diverse experience in her career so far have served her well.”

After the award presentation, the Diary spoke with both Bridie and Agnieshka about what winning the award means to them.
Both recipients spoke about the excellent opportunity to meet with and be mentored by talented artists and experts in their preferred artistic discipline.
“Just talking with them, asking for advice about my future, and getting their advice on my performance was just incredible — that process alone was enough,” said Agnieshka.
Agnieshka will use the $5,000 prize to help give her a chance to study at the Royal Academy of Arts in London.
“The whole thing is just awesome,” said Bridie.
“Even this event, just being able to meet all the other finalists.
“There are so many people in the music and arts community in Warrandyte, and they all have so much talent and knowledge to give, so it is just amazing to be able to recognise that as well.”
Bridie went on to say she would use her share of the prize to book some studio time and record an EP. The Diary would also like to congratulate the other finalists, Isabel Khong (painting — abstract, contemporary and surreal), Eddie O’Rourke (monochromatic figure drawing), and Ariel Price (painting — nature, buildings, people), for going through the assessment process.
The Warrandyte Arts & Education Trust Youth Arts Award will return in 2025.

Ryan Smith calls it a day

THE ELECTORATE of Warrandyte will be going to a byelection following the shock retirement of Ryan Smith MP.
You can read his resignation statement below.
Mr Smith has been the Member for Warrandyte since 2006, after retaining the seat for the Liberal party following the retirement of Phil Honeywood, who had held it since 1988.
Mr Smith joined the opposition frontbench in 2008 and was Minister for Environment and Climate Change and Minister for Youth Affairs during the Baillieu and Napthine governments.
He has served on the frontbench in opposition and has been Shadow Minister for Finance, for Planning and Heritage and for Suburban Recovery.
Following last year’s election in November, Smith had flagged his intention to run for the Liberal leadership, but eventually pulled out of the race.
The resignation will trigger a byelection, which will be seen as a test of Opposition Leader John Pesutto’s leadership.
The Liberals expect the byelection to be held in mid to late August.
Pesutto spoke to the media following the announcement and said he learned of Smith’s resignation like the wider public, by reading his statement.
“I think we all need to respect the way Ryan wanted to own the way he wanted to make these announcements,” he said.
He said the Liberals will “throw everything” at Warrandyte to retain the seat.
I’ll be working, obviously, with the membership and the leadership of the organisational side of the party to make sure we choose the strongest candidate.
“I would very much like to see a woman in amongst the candidates”, Mr Pesutto said.
Several women have already been understood to be lining up for the seat, including the Liberal federal vice-president Caroline Inge, Manningham Councillor Michelle Kleinert, and owner of Bramleigh Estate, Mary-Anne Lowe.
Former Manningham Mayor, Councillor Andrew Conlon is also putting his hand up for Liberal preselection.
There is also talk around former MP for Kew, Tim Smith, who resigned from the Liberal party following a drunken car crash, who has stated he is thinking of running for preselection for the seat.
It is also unclear whether the Labor Party will contest the byelection, but the party’s success at the Aston byelection has given some ALP supporters hope of another upset.
Previous Labor candidate for Warrandyte Naomi Oakley said she was not ruling out a run.
“Whilst I will always take any opportunity to advocate for my community, the ALP will make a decision in coming weeks about whether to contest this byelection.”
Raymond “the Snake Man” Hoser has announced he will be running in the upcoming byelection as an independent.
He released a statement saying he will be running on a centrist platform of ethics, economics, law and order, and environment.
Hoser said: “I am needed to deal with the snakes in the Victorian parliament”.
He said that only with a strong independent elected to the seat will the local area be properly represented.
The Liberals currently hold Warrandyte by a 4.2 per cent margin, so is considered safe Liberal.
People from across the electorate, and beyond, have extended their best wishes to Mr Smith.
Mr Smith’s Federal counterpart, Member for Menzies, Keith Wolahan thanked him for “outstanding service to our community and our state”.
“Wishing you and your wonderful family the very best for what comes next,” Mr Wolahan said.
Both Park Orchards Rate Payers Association and Park Orchards Market Committee took to social media to thank Mr Smith for his dedicated service to the electorate.
Manningham Council released a statement acknowledging and thanking Ryan Smith for 16 years of dedicated service to the Manningham community as the Member for Warrandyte.
Mayor of Manningham, Cr Deirdre Diamante said: “As a former Minister and active local member his impact has been meaningful and significant.
“We wish Ryan and his family all the best in the future.”
Cr Diamante said Council will “use the upcoming byelection to continue to strongly advocate for improvements to roads, transport, services and infrastructure for the Warrandyte electorate”. Prior to politics, Smith spent 18 years in the financial markets working for a number of Australia’s leading institutions before winning election to Parliament in 2006.
His last job before parliament was as Manager of Institutional Banking Service for the Commonwealth Bank.
He says he will be returning to a role in the corporate sector.

Ryan Smith announces retirement from Parliament

IT IS WITH mixed emotions that I have informed the Speaker of my intention to resign from the Parliament of Victoria, with my formal resignation date being July 7.
After over 16 years serving as the Member for Warrandyte, and with a great deal of consideration, I have decided it is time to bring this chapter of my life to a close.
I have been privileged to hold this role and believe that many who choose this career do so with their communities’ best interests in mind.
However, amongst other reasons, I have become increasingly uncomfortable with the growing negative tone of politics, both internally and more broadly.
My role as a community representative has brought me into contact with an amazing array of people throughout the electorate, and I have valued the opportunity to work with and for them all.
I have held over a dozen shadow portfolios through the years of Opposition and, again, the stakeholders connected to these have been a pleasure to meet, and I appreciate everything that they took the time to teach me.
It is important to recognise former Premiers, Ted Baillieu and Denis Napthine, who allowed me to sit at the Cabinet table with them as Minister for the Environment and Minister for Youth Affairs.
I am very grateful for their confidence in me.
Some further words of thanks
Firstly, to my local community – thank you for your support over five election victories.
My hope is that you believed I did my best to represent you and to be responsive to your needs.
Whenever the cut and thrust of politics made me question my career choices, spending time in our community always gave me the positive answer why.
Working as your representative and advocate has been an enormous honour and pleasure.
To my parliamentary colleagues – thank you to those who I have worked alongside over the years.
Particular thanks to those with whom I have developed firm friendships; your companionship and good humour has always been a valued asset.
To the Liberal Party – I am constantly impressed by the people who make up the membership of our great Party.
Thank you to those who have supported my preselections, and to all of those who have put up their hand to help me and the Party right across the state.
Whether it be handing out How to Vote cards or nominating to be a candidate, you are the foundation of our movement. I ask you to never forget our values and principles and to remind those who do.
To the press – thank you for the relationship we have had.
I have found the vast majority of you to be honest, forthright and fair.
You are an integral part of the political process and I welcome your increased willingness to scrutinise those matters which need a light shone on them.
To my many supporters and friends – thank you for everything you have done to support my campaigns, for your wise counsel and your faith in me.
To my staff – these are the people at our Electorate Office’s frontline, the ones who make the first impressions which are pivotal to how we are viewed by our community.
I could not have asked for better.
Thank you to all those who have worked with me over the years, but particular thanks to those who are working with me now.
Helen, who was been with me from the beginning and who has been a treasured confidante.
Marty, whose good humour and patience when dealing with our constituents has made him an invaluable part of our team.
Antonietta, whose infectious enthusiasm always brightens our day
Thank you to each of you.
Finally, a special thank you to my wife, Avril, and my children, Brodie and Jaime.
My son was one when I entered politics and my daughter was born into it.
I am exceedingly proud of both of them and they have been, not only the lift I need when I get home, but a big reason why I work to try to make things better for our community.
Avril – thank you for supporting me on this journey, which is just a part of our lives together.
I could not have asked for a better companion through these years, and I am looking forward to the next stage of our lives together.
I wish the next Member for Warrandyte the very best of luck and remain optimistic that the contest of ideas will ultimately provide Victoria with its best days ahead.
I will not be making further public comment at this stage.

Celebrating 20 years of giving back to the community

THIS YEAR, the Community Bank Warrandyte celebrates 20 years since opening its doors and establishing itself as the major contributor to local charities, arts organisations, educational facilities, sporting clubs, emergency services, and infrastructure projects.
In the early 2000s, the mainstream banks were packing up shop, and Warrandyte was left with no banking options.
Too early for the digital banking age to be suitable for most residents, our community was left with a big hole in the retail streetscape.
It was the bravado of a few locals that we owe thanks to today.
Headed up by John Provan, 10 Warrandytians came together with a proposal to bring a community bank to Warrandyte.
To do this, Bendigo Bank required them to raise $600,000 in capital, and while it was a tough feat, thankfully for Warrandyte, they got there.
This milestone was celebrated on Friday, April 28, 2023, marking 20 years of charitable giving with a birthday party at The Grand Hotel Warrandyte’s venue space, Next Door.
Around 90 guests including shareholders, staff, directors, dignitaries, and community partners, celebrated the evening reminiscing the success and the projects the bank has had the honour to be a part of.
Meredith Thornton, former Director, and Secretary during the time the bank was forming, reflected on the bank’s inception.
“John Provan said to me, ‘What are we going to do about this?’ and we decided if it was good enough for Hurstbridge to have a Bendigo Bank, then it was good enough for Warrandyte”.
But Meredith said that it was incredibly hard work, meetings every week, a lot of governance and an enormous challenge to raise the capital in time.
Finishing her speech on a high, the room agreed it was an “incredible achievement and a true success story”.
Today, 20 years later, the Community Bank Warrandyte still graces the same site on Yarra Street for all residents to access valuable banking services.
Not only that, but the Community Bank Warrandyte, over those years, has returned up to 80 per cent of its profits back to the community, year-on-year.
These profits, returned through grants and sponsorships, offer a community service unrivalled by traditional banking models.
In fact, back in the beginning, social enterprises were not as common, and it was a rare occurrence for businesses to give away most of their profit.
The demonstrated longevity of this banking model has meant the ability to offer impactful financial contributions back to the community.
Following the reflection, the best birthday gift was given to nine lucky grant recipients – each receiving a share of $360,000.
This additional/special round of funding will be used to support our local infrastructure in schools, community centres, kindergartens, the RSL, and the Mechanics’ Institute (see the story behind that on page 7).
After 20 years of giving back, the total investment sum injected back into the communities of Warrandyte (central, North, and South), Park Orchards, Wonga Park and surrounds now totals $4.8 million.
Chair of Community Bank Warrandyte Aaron Farr, said: “It’s a privilege to work on a volunteer board that has such a significant impact on where we live.
“I can’t wait to see through to the end of the year, tipping over the $5M mark in contributions.”
The evening rounded out with guests enjoying some live music by Nick Charles and Liz Frencham, a delicious birthday cake supplied by Scrumdiddely Cakes and Cafe, and an opportunity to enjoy historical images and media clippings of the bank’s journey through its time in Warrandyte.

Farewell Dee

Finally, the evening farewelled a much-loved member of staff.
Dee Dickson, who readers may know, has been responsible for the Community Liaison role and local relationships with many clubs and groups over the last eight years.
A treasured and community-minded individual that will surely be missed.

Community asset

On reflection, 20 years and $4.8M leaves you thinking, what would our community do if the bank closed its doors?
Where would your group, large or small, turn to for Warrandyte’s next needed $5M?
Happy birthday to Community Bank Warrandyte; its staff, volunteer board members past and present, shareholders, our community partners, and of course, our customers – you are why we are celebrating 20 Years in Warrandyte.

Community Bank a white knight for Mechanics’ Hall


IN AN ARTICLE in the March 2023 Warrandyte Diary, Grant Purdy of Warrandyte Arts called for financial help to restore the aging Mechanics’ Hall in Yarra Street.
As the hall’s centenary approaches, Grant said they needed more than $50,000 to complete urgent repairs to the roof.
The Diary is pleased to report that the Warrandyte Community Bank has provided $64,551 in funding for a repair of the roof to prevent the collapse of our beloved hall.
It was noted that the hall is “of the community, for the community” because the building, and its grounds, are owned by everyone within two miles (3.2 kilometres) of the Mitchell Avenue site – a true community asset.
The funding was announced at the 20th birthday celebrations of the bank, where Community Bank Chairman Aaron Farr discussed the importance of the hall to the community and why the bank provided the generous support to Warrandyte Arts.
“The Mechanics’ Institute in Warrandyte has provided a home for the arts for 144 years – the present hall has been in use for 95 years.
The Warrandyte Mechanics’ Institute and Arts Association (WMIAA), now known simply as Warrandyte Arts (‘for good reason,’ he quipped, having stumbled over the cumbersome historical name), and its home at the Mechanics’ Institute Hall has, for many years, provided an essential and easily accessible venue for all forms of art and performance to the residents of Warrandyte and the surrounding community of Manningham.
Today the arts community associated with the hall is flourishing.
Most years, there are over 120 members of the association engaged in a range of artistic activities and groups.
The hall is almost in constant use by those groups and by other hirers who hold meetings, exercise sessions, events, shows, and social occasions in the hall.
Thousands of people, each year, use and enjoy the venue.
Warrandyte Arts and the hall are an incredibly valuable and well-recognised cultural asset to the local and wider community.
However, the building, with its original methods of construction, has begun to deteriorate to the extent that the hall’s future has been in jeopardy.”
Grant Purdy then explained the “mechanics” of the repairs, thanking Jock Macneish for his design work.
He said the new roof supports will remove the need for the metal tie rods that run the width of the auditorium holding the walls together, which are themselves at risk of failure due to age.
Without the works, Grant explained, if these rods failed the existing truss design would push the walls out “with a scissor action,” he demonstrated, lacing his fingers together like in the children’s rhyme Here’s the steeple.
There is much work to be done, he said, with the hall closing over the summer while the work is undertaken.
Grant said the funding from the bank was most welcome, with income made by the association from drama productions, room hire, and other fundraising roughly matching outgoings on regular maintenance and upkeep of the elderly building – so try as they might, a significant expense like this was beyond the means of Warrandyte Arts to fund themselves.
Warrandyte Rotary and the Warrandyte Riverside Market Committee have also pledged $5,000 each towards building works, for which Grant says the association is grateful.
He said once these works are completed, he hopes the hall will be around for another 100 years.

Warrandyte Festival 2023: A colourful celebration of community


WITH EXPECTATIONS high for a spectacular festival, there was disappointment when the Saturday festivities had to be cancelled due to the CFA issuing an Extreme Fire Danger rating.
But better to be safe than sorry; with the day also being declared a Total Fire Ban, when the hot north winds picked up on Saturday afternoon, everyone agreed it was probably for the best.
The fabulous Festival Committee pulled out all the stops and gave us a bumper Sunday program so that everyone could enjoy the best Warrandyte has to offer.

The town came out in force to enjoy the entertainment.
As we arrived at Stiggants Reserve, we were greeted with the fantastic sculptures loaned to the festival by Tim Read of Tread Sculptures, from the giant whistle to the enormous bugs, all made from recycled steel.
First up was the Billycart Derby, where a range of contraptions, piloted by the bravest kids in Warrandyte, zoomed down Police Street into the waiting mulch pile.

  • 1st place: Sophie in For Heaven’s Sake
  • 2nd place: Eliza in Pink Wheels
  • 3rd place: Owen
  • 4th place: Hugo

The local emergency services had each built a cart, with North Warrandyte CFA, Warrandyte CFA and the Warrandyte Police going head-to-head in the Emergency Services race.
Hugo Lightfoot from Andersons Creek Primary School won the privilege of piloting the police cart by winning the billycart design competition and then won the Emergency Services race.

Meanwhile, on the River Stage, the pet parade played host to pets of all shapes and sizes — mainly of the pooch variety, but there was an appearance from a blue tongue lizard who took out the most unusual pet award.
Pet Parade Results
Biggest dog: 1st Enzo, 2nd Clover, 3rd Dash
Smallest dog: 1st Bonnie, 2nd Gizmo, 3rd Zuggy
Waggiest Tail: 1st Suri, 2nd Mali, 3rd Millie
Best groomed: 1st Cookie, 2nd Popeye, 3rd Enzo
Shaggiest dog: 1st Gooba, 2nd Iggy 3rd, Rueben
Cutest dog: 1st Winnie, 2nd Cosmo, 3rd Bowie
Dog with the most appealing eyes: 1st Millie, 2nd Rueben, 3rd Popeye
Best trained dog: 1st Bosley, 2nd Gooba, 3rd Clover
Dog most like its owner: 1st Chester, 2nd Suki, 3rd Gooba
Dog with the most appropriate name: 1st Dash, 2nd Scout, 3rd Ziggy
Loudest dog in Warrandyte: 1st Millie, 2nd Gooba
Best in Show: 1st The trio of siblings, Ziggy (and co.), 2nd Gooba, 3rd Popeye
Most unusual pet in the show: Thelonious, the blue tongue lizard

Activities on the main stage commenced with some local students participating in the World’s Greatest Shave to raise money for the Leukemia Foundation.
A hard act to follow, the weekend’s musical entertainment was kicked off by legendary local a capella group the Vocal Agents, who wowed the early crowds with gorgeous renditions of classic songs.

By this time, the Kids Market was up and running, where local kids sold their homemade wares, as was the art and craft market and food stalls run by the local clubs, schools, and businesses.
And, of course, the Scouts’ Giant Water Slide, which had a slower trade than they would have had during Saturday’s 36-degree day, but it was still a popular attraction for many of the kids who wait all year for their chance to make a splash.

Gallery photos: SANDI MILLER

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To make up for the cancellation of Saturday’s parade, the Monarchs lead a mini parade through the festival precinct, with the roving entertainers combining to make a mass band and some of the local clubs and kinders parading along with some very talented stilt walkers.

The day continued with all the old favourites — and some new ones — such as (deep breath) the Duck Race, Dodge Ball, Silent Disco, The River Dragon, Battle of the Bands, Gold Mine Tour, Mountain Bike Ride, Jelly Bean Races, The Community Garden, Open Mic, magicians, T-shirt painting, circus skills, art installations, SES, CFA, FOWSP, Woodturning, basketball skills.

The main stage grooved through the afternoon, emceed admirably by Warrandyte Theatre Company’s Emma Wood, with music from Stephen Grady, Katie Bates, Sunday Lemonade, Hana + Jessie-Lee’s Bad Habits, then a Welcome to Country from Wurundjeri Elder, Uncle Ian Hunter and official opening by the 2023 Monarchs, Ronnie Pederson and Connie Solty.
The stage rocked into the evening, with The Scrims, 19-Twenty, Ella Thompson, and Jazz Party getting the crowds on Stiggants Reserve dancing as the sun went down.

After sunset, the festival lanterns came into their own.
Produced at the Neighbourhood House’s lantern workshops with the help of Lachlan Plain from Sanctum Studio, the lanterns provided a festive atmosphere around the evening’s events.

Whew — what a day!
Congratulations to the Warrandyte Festival Committee for putting on a great show and to Warrandyte for their resilience and flexibility in making this a festival to remember. Warrandyte really did show their true colours — and it was glorious.

To see our full coverage, pick up or download a copy of the April 2023 edition.

Current Edition

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North East Link gets set to get boring

MAJOR WORKS are back up and running after the summer break on the North East Link, and 2023 is shaping up to be a massive year for the major road project.
Acting Premier Jacinta Allan announced the first pieces of the enormous tunnel boring machines (TBMs) are now being built, ready to arrive later this year.
Ms Allan said the project brings many big and important benefits to Melbourne’s northern suburbs communities.

“With tunnel boring machines on the way, locals are going to see a huge amount of construction as we get ready to start tunnelling in 2024.”

She said five road headers, including some used on the Metro Tunnel, are being refurbished to dig a section of the North East Link tunnels in Bulleen.
CEO of the North East Link Authority (NELA), Duncan Elliott, explained that crews were currently building the launch site box.

“This is basically a large concrete launch site for the TBMs, and they’ll launch [from Watsonia] and have a six-and-a-half kilometre journey south to Bulleen.”

The launch box will be 40 metres deep and 200 metres long and will include more than three Olympic swimming pools worth of concrete and 1,700 tonnes of steel.

There are 379 piles that will anchor the sides of the box with steel reinforcement. 

“Parts will come in later this year to assemble the TBMs, and we look to launch them in 2024,” he said.

Member for Ivanhoe Anthony Carbines said the project has been talked about for a long time.

“It is exciting to be preparing for the arrival of our TBMs — this is another important step in removing congestion from local roads.”

Away from the tunnels, Ms Allan said there’s also a range of works going on across the footprint of the North East Link project, including works at Lower Plenty Road to begin excavating tunnel ramps; realignment of Bulleen Road to make room for the new Yarra Link Green Bridge; and the major interchange connecting an upgraded Eastern Freeway to the tunnels — making sure traffic can keep safely moving on this busy road during construction.
She also highlighted the construction of Melbourne’s first dedicated busway, “which will become a big boost to bus public transport services for the northern suburbs”.
As well as the 34 kilometres of walking and cycling connections and new recreation and sporting facilities for this part of Melbourne.

“And then there’s also the Bulleen Park and Ride facility that will be completed by the middle of the year,” she said.

M&N Bulletin asked Ms Allan what support was being provided to affected businesses and institutions like Heide Art Gallery.
She said from the beginning NEL has had extensive and ongoing conversations with households, businesses, and with cultural organisations like Heide about how some of the construction disruption is impacting the local community.

“We do understand the construction of a project of this size and scale will have an impact on different parts of the local community, and will move along the corridor as work progresses.
“There’s a range of different support measures that are in place depending on whether you’re a trader, a business, or a householder, and we’ll continue to have those discussions on a one-to-one basis, tailored to what those individuals are looking for support during the delivery of the project.”

She said at the end of the project, there will be many benefits that come from getting trucks off local roads, “and we’re already seeing the additional sporting and recreational facilities that have been constructed as part of the project, and we’ll continue to have those discussions and conversations with the local community”.
Member for North-Eastern Metropolitan Region Sonja Terpstra said there is much to look forward to on North East Link this year.

“From the completion of Bulleen Park and Ride to the completion of the TBM launch box — this project is going to be a game changer for so many Melburnians.”

North East Link is a significant employer, with 2,200 workers already on the project, including 160 apprentices, trainees, and cadets, who have worked more than 143,000 hours.
Over the life of the project, North East Link will create 10,000 local jobs.
Ms Allan said the Labor Government is investing more than $20 billion in Melbourne’s northeast to improve the transport network, including North East Link, Hurstbridge Line Upgrade, Fitzsimons Lane Upgrade and removing 21 level crossings.
M&N Bulletin asked Ms Allan, considering the North East Link was set to deliver major local traffic improvements, if the works conducted at Fitzsimons Lane Project, which saw the destruction of the Eltham Gateway, were premature.
She said she did not believe that it was.

“The interface with the North East Link project was considered as part of that project [Fitzsimons Lane], but it was seen as a project that we needed to support.
“We needed to improve the ability for traffic to move in and out of the Eltham community to make sure it could be done in a safe way.
“And that project is now being delivered,” she responded.

The North East Link tunnels and freeway upgrades will be complete in 2028.
NELA forecasts travel times will be reduced by up to 35 minutes and the project will take 15,000 trucks off local roads.
The project is jointly funded by the Commonwealth and Victorian governments.

Calling all Warrandyte artists aged 18-25, be in with a chance to receive a $10,000 cash award to help you develop in your artistic field. Simply click on the QR code or visit the following link and fill out the simple form.

Entries close January 20, 2023.

October 2022

Read the October 2022 edition of Warrandyte Diary online, or download it by clicking here


“Missing Link” shared path getting closer

THE SHARED path linking Warrandyte to the Main Yarra Trail has made another small step forward.
A window for public response to planning application PLN22/0002 — vegetation removal associated with the construction of a public shared path — between Alexander Road and the Mullum Mullum Trail closed on September 21, and there were three submissions in response.
Meanwhile, Council will be hosting an information session on October 26, at the Warrandyte Community Hall (Senior Citizens Centre), for further discussion regarding the plan to construct a shared footpath along Taroona Avenue, connecting  Warrandyte-Heidelberg Road with the Warrandyte River Reserve/Everard Drive.
The Taroona Avenue Shared Path has been contentious.
In the multiple iterations of this shared path, extensive tree removal has required public advertisement of the works and has resulted in a community response against the plans — with feedback ranging from opposition to the number of trees being removed, the unsympathetic design which is out of character with the surrounding built and natural environment, and even some groups/submitters questioning if a shared path is genuinely required along an often quiet residential road, which only sees extensive traffic during large town events such as Warrandyte Riverside Market.
Council says the path will form part of its Main Yarra Trail Extension Project to facilitate the safe movement of pedestrians and cyclists through the local area in all weather conditions.
The forthcoming information session will allow community members to meet with Council officers and discuss possible solutions for completing this missing section of the Main Yarra Trail along Taroona Avenue.

The Main Yarra Trail Extension Project

The Main Yarra Trail will provide a seamless connection from Warrandyte to the CBD when completed.
The trail will benefit pedestrians and cyclists by joining the Main Yarra Trail, Mullum Mullum Trail and other trails.
The trail extension aims to deliver increased participation in physical activities such as walking and riding to school, shops, and work.
Linking the CBD to Warrandyte will also be a major drawcard for recreational cyclists and tourists.
The plan for this trail has evolved over 20 years, and is being built in stages:

Stage 1: Beasley’s Nursery – Alexander Road.
This 750-metre section of the trail will provide safe off-road access from Mullum Mullum Creek to Alexander Road, where it joins into the existing trail.
Construction is planned for late 2022 to early 2023.
Stage 2: Alexander Road – Pound Road.
This one-kilometre section from Warrandyte High School to Pound Road was completed over several phases between 2011 and 2020.
Stage 3: Pound Road – Taroona Avenue.
Council is working with the Department of Transport on the design of this section of the trail.
This 1,385-metre section includes steep and curved roads with heavily vegetated roadsides.
Council aims to reduce the loss of trees, keep access to residential areas open, and provide a safer path for the community.
This section also intersects with bus stops, so safety measures will be important.
It is due for completion in 2023/2024
Stage 4: Taroona Avenue.
Based on community feedback in 2019, Council is reviewing the design for the 400-metre Taroona Avenue section of the trail.

The trail extension is listed in several of Manningham Council’s strategic plans, including the Manningham Bicycle Strategy and the Active for Life Recreation Strategy.
Manningham Mayor Cr Michelle Kleinert said cyclists and pedestrians currently travel along informal and disconnected footpaths and arterial roads, which poses a safety risk.

“The Warrandyte Township is a major tourism and recreation destination on the Yarra River, on the edge of the Green Wedge.
“This trail extension will make it easier and more enjoyable for recreational cyclists and locals to access and enjoy all that Warrandyte and the river offer.
“This is a good thing for local business and tourism,” she said.

Council has already begun ancillary works along the proposed route of the trail extension with the recently completed barbeque area and bike repair station at Warrandyte Reserve; the new rest stop has already seen extensive use.
There is also a new bike repair station, picnic table, map board and drink fountain near Beasley’s Nursery.

Have your say

This information session has been on hold since September 2021 due to COVID, but residents criticised the last round of plans for excessive tree removal, impact on sports and market parking and a potentially dangerous road crossing near First Street.
This path will be built and will be with us for a long time.
As we discuss what we imagine Warrandyte to look like, this is the perfect opportunity to put this into action.

Date: Wednesday, October 26, 2022
Time: 5pm–7pm
Location: Warrandyte Community Hall, 8 Taroona Avenue, Warrandyte.
For more information, visit yoursay.manningham.vic.gov.au/main-yarra-trail.

Electric Avenue: EV Expo coming to Doncaster Hill

MC2 BECOMES Electric Avenue this October with the Future Vehicle Expo.
Two years in the making, due to the pandemic, the combined Rotary clubs of Doncaster, Manningham, and Templestowe, with support from Manningham Council, will present an electric wonderland with display cars, seminars, vendor stands, and even an electric bike test track, managed by local electric bicycle businesses REV Bikes.
The Diary sat with expo coordinator David Rosenwax of the Rotary Club of Doncaster to discuss their forthcoming expo.
“We are asking the public, is now the right time to buy electric cars?
“We want people to be more conscious about the world and how green we can make it.
“I think we need to start looking at being greener and modifying our ways and we know there are a lot of challenges in people’s minds.
“So we are hoping the seminar speakers can talk the general public through that,” he said.
Three seminars will be chaired and panelled by industry experts throughout the day:

  • Electric Vehicle Technology and Charging
  • Sustainable Travel Options and Technology for In-Car Safety and Travel Information
  • Automated and Driverless Vehicles and Trials, are we there yet?

Alongside the seminars will be a range of electric and vintage cars on display, including a petrol DeLorean – similar to the one used in the Back to the Future film franchise.
“We’ve got Doncaster and Warrandyte Scouts attending and they are going to run the DeLorean stand.
“I bought a Doc Emmett costume so hopefully they can make a few bob out of that by taking photos of people standing next to him and the car.”
With a range of other community groups also attending, it is hoped these groups can use the opportunity to raise awareness, and maybe vital funds, for their organisations.
One of the biggest topics of discussion surrounding electric vehicles, especially in Australia, is range, especially when electric vehicle incentives are compared to places like Europe and Scandinavia.
David said countries like Finland are only two years away from phasing out petrol vehicles, but the vast distances in Australia make the uptake of electric vehicles challenging.
“Finland is a small compact country – and Sweden and all those places – they’re great, they can do it, but they don’t have roads that go from here to Perth with only three cars on the road for the next 500 kilometres.
“We’re a large country with a population of around 25 million and maybe only eight to 12 million people own a car.
“It’s very different.”
David went on to talk about the type of infrastructure you see in more densely populated countries, of expansive service stations with banks and banks of charging booths and a fully serviced restaurant, which some argue is not practical in Australia at this time.
“There are all sorts of issues to be resolved here, but I think there’s a lot of negativity around it and I’m hoping this event might help negate some of that negativity.”
Batteries and electric cars are evolving systems and while range has greatly improved, and – in theory – Melbourne to Sydney would be possible on the same number of recharges as the equivalent tanks of fuel, access to charging points appears to be the biggest hurdle, outside of the current supply chain issues impacting many industries.
So, Mr Rosenwax suggests that maybe we skew our thinking to consider electric as an urban solution.
EV Automotive is a Queensland-based electric vehicle company specialising in electric vans; their EC-11 electric van will also be on display at the expo.
“It’s an electric one-ton van and it can do 400km [per charge] – you wouldn’t drive around the city in any one day and do that many kilometres.
“So, I am thrilled they are coming because that shows the world you can drive around the city, it seems to be a bit of an urban thing,” he said.
With everything from electric bicycles and scooters to electric cars and even solar-powered vehicles alongside some vintage petrol cars for lovers of historic vehicles, there is likely something for everyone.
For more information and to book tickets for the free seminars visit futurevehicleexpo.com.au.

Be Part of the Recreation and Sport conversation

MANNINGHAM Council has voted to establish a Recreation and Sport Advisory Committee (RSAC).
At Manningham’s August Council meeting, Cr Laura Mayne moved the introduction of the new RSAC, which will run for a two-year trial. “We are introducing this committee so we can have a municipal-wide analysis of Rec and Sport in Manningham as well as representing to our community our commitment to this area.”
She said the committee’s purpose will be to provide strategic advice to Council, particularly in implementing, monitoring, and evaluating Manningham’s Active for Life Recreation Strategy 2010-2025.
The RSAC will operate in place of the Municipal Recreation Association (MRA), which, until it was wound up in 2018, provided community advice on sport and recreation matters to Council.
Members of the community wishing to apply need to show a connection to Manningham – either that they live, work or study in the municipality – and should not presently be an incumbent president, secretary, or treasurer of a sports club.
“We are hoping to have an all-rounded diverse group of up to 15 people who are passionate about Sport and Rec, are intertwined with our local community, and are willing to volunteer their time.”
The committee will be chaired by Cr Andrew Conlon, and includes Cr Stephen Mayne and Cr Carli Lange.
“Overall, I am excited to see the formation of this committee and very optimistic about the contributions it will provide as Rec and Sport is vital to community connection, can do great things for community inclusion and support, and is key to our physical and mental health,” Cr Laura Mayne said.
Cr Lange told the meeting that she was excited about serving on the committee to discuss important aspects of recreation and sports governance.
She said the Active for Life Strategy discusses principles around keeping healthy and resilient citizens, improving physical outcomes, and having inclusive recreation and sport.
“It is about meeting daily physical challenges that we have and offering choice to our Manningham residents in the recreation and sport that they do, both passive and active,” Cr Lange said.
Cr Stephen Mayne noted that Council has adopted the name “Recreation and Sport” rather than the traditional “Sport and Recreation”.
He said it sends the message that the committee will not just be about cricket, footy, and soccer.
“But about the cyclists, the golfers, dog walkers, the personal trainers – it is everyone who likes to recreate and participate in sport,” he said.
Cr Stephen Mayne said that while they have banned incumbent club presidents, treasurers and secretaries from being on the committee, there is nothing to stop former presidents, treasurers and secretaries.
“It would be great to get people who can go across multiple areas, someone who has been a president of a cricket club, but who is also a keen cyclist and swimmer, as opposed to a cricket person, a footy person, a soccer person, with everyone just pushing their narrow interest.” Expressions of Interest to be on the committee will open later in September, with the committee expected to be endorsed at Council’s November meeting.

Winter Solstice time to celebrate our river

THE WINTER Solstice is often a time of curling up in front of a fire with a good book, or for some, it might be dancing naked in the forest.
For the Birrarung/Yarra Riverkeeper, Charlotte Sterrett, what better thing to do than take a swim in the Birrarung?
On a crisp winter’s day, Charlotte and a hardy crew, including the ABC’s Sammy J, took to her favourite swimming hole to celebrate the solstice and World Bathing Day.
She spoke to the Diary before taking a dip.“In the Southern Hemisphere, we get the cold end of the stick, but we are here to celebrate all that is good
and wonderful about the Birrarung/Yarra River.
“We are in North Warrandyte at my favourite swimming hole where I come with my family and friends in the summer and sometimes in the winter when my daughter wants to come and swim,” she said.
Charlotte said the good news is that the Riverkeepers Association was setting a target to have a swimmable Birarrung by 2030.
“We want to have a swimmable river from source to sea.
“At the moment, there are only certain parts of the river that you can swim in, Warrandyte being one of them.
She said swimming in Warrandyte after heavy rain is not recommended because of the pollution that enters the river, and when you get further downstream, the water quality gets worse and worse.
“In fact, when you get past Dights Falls, you are not allowed to swim, so we would like to see many changes to help the river become protected, healthy and loved so that everybody can swim in the river by 2030 — we think is achievable.”
She said the EPA measure the levels of E. coli, which is one of the indicators they use, so when those levels are too high, you are not allowed to swim — or they suggest that you don’t.
But other pollutants are coming into the river, polystyrene particularly further down stream, chemical pollution, a lot of sediment runoff,
fertilisers, and agricultural waste that end up in the river.
But she said there are plans to change all that.
“There is research being done, we have some of those people here today from Regen Melbourne and from the Yarra Yabbies who are here to have a swim here at this end of town so they can see what that is like, and then we can replicate that downstream with actual swimming pools — five of them.
“In Warrandyte, we are very lucky, in summer the river is a bit lower, and there are some beautiful rocks, and when you are sitting in the middle of that river, it is the best place on earth.
“We can swim here year-round, and we want that for everyone.”
She said the solstice swim was a huge success.
“We had so many people, and everyone loved it — the look on people’s faces was pure joy, but pure cold terror.”
Sammy J said all that was on his mind when he got the feeling back in the bottom half of his body was to perhaps
have a pie at the Warrandyte Bakery.

Community School gets new digs

A TINY SCHOOL has been changing lives for almost 50 years, and it will now have the facilities it deserves after an $18 million redevelopment is completed.
Croydon Community School opened as an “alternative school” in the 1970s and has been catering to students who do not fit — or do not want to fit — within the mainstream system.
Having operated largely out of portable buildings at the old Croydon Primary School site in Mt Dandenong Road, it is now moving to a brand-new, purpose-built facility in Croydon Road at the vacated Croydon High School site.
Principal Bronwyn Harcourt said the school’s student population has been kept small.
“It was 23 when I started; it is 126 this year, but we had deliberately reduced our numbers before moving to the new site, but we’ve got about 73 this year alone on our waiting list.
“And we get enquiries from Grade 4 families for Year 7 transitions and Year 11 kids who are struggling in the mainstream.”
She said the Big Picture Learning model the school uses is becoming more and more an option of choice.
Bronwyn said that Big Picture Learning allowed them to engage with students based on their passions.
“When they are engrossed and loving a topic and are able to explore it fully — students have followed passion projects including a school-wide scale model of the Tasmanian Rail system and a taxidermy project — the learning and the confidence that is picked up along the
way — they learn how to learn,” she said.
Assistant Principal Kaye Bhan told M&N Bulletin that the school is a public school, so it is open to accepting all types of students and, in essence, is run like a gifted program with student-directed learning.
She said if they attract only bright kids, “who are wonderful to have, and we want them, but we want the others who are at risk of falling through the gaps”.
Education Minister James Merlino and Member for North East Metro Sonja Terpstra recently toured the close-to-completed school.
Mr Merlino described the project as “really critical”.
“Every school project is important, but this is the last stop for these kids, and if we can engage with them and deliver them a pathway, we set them up for life,” he said.
The school redevelopment follows the ethos of the school community, with the architects consulting with the students to enable the school to be fit for purpose.
The new school offers townhall-style performance space for the music faculty, which opens onto the main courtyard, with a creek running through the outdoor areas, a multi-purpose outdoor court, stationary bikes where students can add charge to the school’s power supply, classrooms (called advisories) including Science, Food Tech, Physical Education and Technology facilities, there is even a wood-fired oven, computer lab, 3D printing workshop, and a wellness centre with private spaces for counselling or other medical interventions.
Bronwyn said the school also has an integration area for students that are disengaged from the education system.
She said school staff can work one-on-one or even two on-one with the students to build trust.
“Trust with young people who have none in adults — and young people who are used to transactional relationships.
“It is about them having a having a home here, where they feel comfortable and welcomed.”
The integration area even has a separate entrance to the main school so students can come and go on their terms.
Students were all able to participate in work experience with the various trades during the construction.
One Year 12 student, Marcus Joy, had been on-again, off-again with his school attendance but has become engaged with his learning, and, Bronwyn says, “he shows up every day, coffee in hand” and will graduate at the end of the year.
Marcus stood out as part of his work placement with the project’s landscaping team and has now been offered an apprenticeship with the firm.
During his tour of the facility, Mr Merlino offered the school community, the architect practice Crosier Scott and building company McCorkell Constructions his congratulations on the project.
“This is one of the best projects I’ve seen in my eight years, so well done,” he said.
Students will say farewell to Mt Dandenong Road at the end of Term 2 and move to the new campus at the beginning of Term 3.

Local author tackles racism in sport

SPORT IS OFTEN considered the great equaliser.
Nelson Mandela remarked that “sport has the power to change the world.
“It has the power to inspire, it has the power to unite people in a way that little else does.”
The End of the Game is by Warrandyte-based author Michael Fiddian and explores this notion through the eyes of Tom Wallace and a small fictional country town called Duneldin.
It is September 1992, the whole town is enveloped in footy fever when the under 18s win through to the Grand Final – a feat not seen for 22 years.
Tom had only moved to Duneldin from Melbourne at the start of the year, and while he missed his friends and life back in the big city, joining the football club certainly helped him make friends and find a place.
One of the players in particular, Albert Edwards, was quick to strike up a friendship with Tom.
So when Albert is racially abused by some of the local parents, Tom is stunned and feels uneasy and unsure as to what to do and how to react, and despite all the celebrations in the lead up to the Grand Final, Tom is sure Albert has payback planned but has no idea what.
What is powerful about this story is that some 30 years after it is set, in 2022 the kind of racism that Albert faced is still very prevalent.
Author Michael Fiddian set the book in September 1992, three months after the Mabo Decision because “that (time) was meant to be the cusp of change.”
Throughout the book, Tom struggles to truly believe and understand how easily this kind of thing happens, and as readers we are challenged with issues of race that we may not realise exist all around us.
Tom is meant to be a bystander with a conscience, and the whole week in the build up to the game, he has inner turmoil as to what he should do and say, and how can he fix this.
Yet this is not something he can just fix and in the end the realisation is that he does not have any idea what it is really like.
As Michael Fiddian explains: “Albert realised he might win a battle but he is not going to win the war.
“Writing this (story) is trying to help win that war.”
This is a must read – footy fan, or not – the issues tackled in the book are ones that are not confined to the white lines on a Saturday, nor do they just exist between the four quarters.
They exist after the end of the game.
After the end of each and every game.
The End of the Game is published by Fairplay publishing and available as both paperback and ebook from fairplaypublishing.com.au or at good bookshops.

The Screen Wars: How to stop it tearing your family apart

You have finally finished up work in the home office.
The kids have been home from school for an hour.
You stick your head in on teen number one; he’s in front of his computer with Discord chats on one screen and a fast-moving game he’s yelling at on another.
You check on teen number two, and it’s pretty much a mirror image, except she’s laughing at Tik Tok.
Your next shift has started without you, and you already feel like you’re on the losing side.
The Screen Wars: phones, tablets, laptops, PCs playing all the games, social media, funny videos, messaging services, school requirements and work access all in one.
The war started well before COVID, but let’s face it, COVID has bought it into starker focus.
The screens that allowed us to connect became our lifeline to work, school, friends, and entertainment.
We have all become so reliant on them that we have forgotten how to function with less.
So, how can we reduce their overuse without an all-out war?
This is a question I am so often asked by the parents of young people I see.
Our need for up-to-date information, especially during the lockdowns, was intense in recent years.
There were daily press briefings on rules, numbers, and the heartbreaking toll of deaths.
Each time we picked up the screen, there was a sense of “I know what I need to”.
We still need information but not as frequently.
Letting our icy grip loosen on the screens will take time and conscious choices by our families and us.
Don’t blame the kids, ourselves, or the screens.
They did the job, and they kept us going.
We were all so sick of seeing each other or pretending to be ok over lockdowns that it was easier to say, “ah, let them do it,” while we cosied up with Netflix or our friends on Facebook.
But now, like that partner you want to break up with and go back to being friends, our focus needs to change.
A big step is a family plan/contract that is built with input from everyone whilst calm.
It needs to be clear how long screens can be used over weekdays/weekends and maybe a day a month with no rules.
Where possible, get your young people to decide when they will use their allotted time.
You cannot ask anyone to go from eight hours a day to 30 mins.
There will be a complete family revolt.
Most importantly, you as the parents need to lead this by role modelling it.
Young people will quickly shut down if there is one rule for the grownups and one for them.
So, if there are no phones at the table, get a phone basket, and everyone pops theirs in.
If its no screens before school, then everyone needs to.
If rules get broken, the contract needs to have agreed consequences.
If people start slipping screens before school, turn Wi-Fi off for that period.
But don’t pull out heavy-handed consequences straight away.
We want to bring about the change gently, with love, with humour and with an understanding that this is not easy.
Decide on other things to help fill the time.
You can’t take away and leave a gaping time hole.
If your kids like a bit of sport, head down to the local basketball courts or football ground, get some exercise equipment or do yoga.
If your kids are more creative — get the art stuff out.
Get the cameras out and print out the best ones for the walls.
Music or podcasts — the non-screen silence can be unnerving for some at first.
Do home mani-pedis, facials, or hair treatments together.
Or solo ones like scented baths, et cetera.
Each person learns how to cook a new meal that they love.
Get them with their friends in person.
Make a firepit for fires with marshmallows.
If there are extra jobs around the house, they could make a few extra bucks out of — get them on those.
Ask your kids if there is a new skill they’d like to learn — car maintenance, carpentry, cake decoration; find a short course together.
Finally, we need to reteach ourselves and our kids how to be without constant screen attention.
This isn’t an overnight venture; it will take time and conscious awareness.
Talk to your young people over time about how they are going with it.
If they say it’s hard, then validate that it IS hard.
Share your experiences of what has and hasn’t worked for you.
It’s incredibly important to remain calm, collegial, and full of praise for the steps your family make in overcoming this issue.
Until next time folks!
Natalie Rinehart (B.A.Sci (Psych); Grad.Dip.App.Psych) is a Young Person & Family Counsellor/Life Coach
0425 735 106

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