AS ANNOUNCED on social media in August, the Warrandyte Festival is moving in 2024.
Next year, celebrations will take place in April instead of March, and a format change will see the event take place on Friday, April 19, and Saturday, April 20 only.
Most of your usual favourites will be back, with some enjoying a new time of day or location.
Activities will start at 5pm on Friday.
Enjoy the Billy Cart Derby under lights, kids’ activities, Silent Disco, and lots of food options.
From 7pm, the Warrandyte Film Feast will feature live musicians, short films, and fabulous food.
The Warrandyte Donvale Rotary Art Show has also indicated it will follow the Festival, with 2024 taking place on April 19,20 and 21.
On Saturday, enjoy community stalls, the Dodgeball Comp, Open Mic, Silent Disco, Duck Race, Battle of the Bands, Pet Parade, and much more. As always, there will be lots of homemade food, market stalls, and live music until 10pm.
Festival President Dwayne Schuyler spoke about the decision to change the date and format.
“After months of careful consideration, the Warrandyte Festival Committee have chosen to host a two-day celebration in April.
As locals would know, we all had a hard couple of years.
The Festival Committee worked tirelessly over COVID-19 to have the right protocols to safely run the event, only to have it cancelled two years running.
This took a huge toll on our volunteers and finances.
We’ve also had a few individual Festival days cancelled over recent years, including in March 2023, due to the Fire Danger Rating.
It was absolutely necessary but also heartbreaking for the community and the volunteer organisers.
“It makes more sense to schedule the Festival slightly later in the year.
“We look forward to taking advantage of the autumnal atmosphere and mixing things up.
The most significant change to the program is the Street Parade, which has been relocated and reimagined.
“We won’t be closing off Yarra Street for an hour and a half in 2024, meaning less pressure on the bus lines and emergency services and more access to street parking.
“Instead, a walking Parade will see participants follow the river along the walking path, starting near Webb Street and ending in Stiggant Reserve.
“The reimagined parade will be a great opportunity to showcase the river.
“We can’t wait to see everyone dressed up and enjoying themselves,” said Mr Schuyler.
A complete program of activities and entertainment will be released in early 2024.
If you want to get involved, expressions of interest for food and market stalls will open in November or December, and other application forms will open in February 2024.
The Warrandyte Festival is run entirely by volunteers.
The Committee meets once a month and welcomes new members with new ideas.
Anyone interested in joining the committee should email: email@example.com.
“The Festival will always be a highlight in the Warrandyte calendar.
“We look forward to April when we will, once again, celebrate our wonderful town and showcase lots of talented locals,” said Mr Schuyler.
BANDS WILL be back on the Main Stage at Stiggants Reserve from 4pm to 10pm on Saturday, 23 October, all going well. Despite the ongoing threat of cancellation due to COVID-19 restrictions, Warrandyte Festival organisers continue planning the one-off community celebration. Warrandyte: Together Again — which will feature the iconic festival event, the Battle of the Bands — will focus entirely on musical entertainment. However, complying with COVID health and safety standards for large gatherings is an added task for the volunteers staging this musical event. A festival committee spokesperson told the Diary that to meet expectations from primary festival-funding body Manningham Council, organisers must prepare a comprehensive COVID-Safe Plan.
The overlay addresses five key areas: oversight and administration, attendee management, cleaning and hygiene, workers, vendors and contractors, and operational spaces. This increased workload — to provide and implement measures and event controls to reduce the risk of COVID transmission — has meant curtailing the size of the event originally planned. Spirits remain high among the organising group.
“The show must go on,” an enthusiastic spokesperson said, “and barring any lockdown issues, it will!” For decades the Battle of the Bands has provided a platform for young local musicians to perform in front of a home audience. Contemporary bands and musicians, aged 12 to 25, interested in being a part of the Battle this year are invited to email a summary of their act to firstname.lastname@example.org. This year, awards from the Battle’s Melbourne music industry judges — including a day’s session in a recording studio — will be accompanied by the People’s Choice Award and a new award, to be presented by Manningham Council in support of our local music industry. The Battle will get underway at 4pm on the Main Stage at Stiggants Reserve. A Welcome To Country and opening of the event by council Mayors is also planned. Following Battle of the Bands, several musical acts will rock the stage from about 7pm. At this stage, a limited number of food stalls will be provided. Warrandyte Diary will keep you posted on further updates. Stay tuned.
IT IS WITH huge enthusiasm that Warrandyte Festival Committee has recently been discussing the return of its much-loved local weekend.
Warrandyte’s unique festival has enjoyed a proud history, dependably entertaining and celebrating the local community since 1977.
Life, of late, has been utterly transformed due to Coronavirus, with many organisations now having to “reimagine” day-to-day activities and one-off events.
Because the untimely emergence of Coronavirus brings with it the horror of cancellation, the when, what, and how of staging a large event needs careful consideration.
The option to crank up a full festival weekend later this year, then attempt to pull that off again in March 2022 is an effort even beyond these committed volunteers.
They are good, those festival-party-people, but not that good — but there will be a celebration this year.
Warrandyte: Together Again will be staged at Stiggants Reserve from Friday evening, October 22 through Saturday, October 23 only — there will be no Sunday activities.
Festivities kick off on Friday night with a short-film extravaganza.
Seating will be suitably spaced, so tickets will be limited — you will need to get yours quick once they go online.
Saturday will feature a solid music programme: kids’ and community choirs and the full thrust of an epic Battle of the Bands.
Two major acts will play the Main Stage between 7pm and 10pm on Saturday night.
Front-of-stage real estate will be prime seating, so don’t forget your picnic blankets (although there will be limited takeaway food and drink for purchase).
There will be dedicated fun for the kids: circus activities and the like.
And there is a wee rumour that “light magician” Hugh McSpedden is planning something special.
Anyone that has had the privilege of seeing one of Hugh’s “spectacles” won’t want to miss that.
Service providers will, as usual, showcase their range of opportunities and the involvement of local community fundraising stalls will be welcomed.
More details of what’s on offer will unfold as preparation for October develops, so keep a lookout in the Diary for updates.
A fully gold-plated edition of Warrandyte Festival — with favourites like the parade, billycart derby and duck race — is on the agenda for March 2022.
In the meantime, festival organisers are working hard on getting everyone together again.
So, tell all your friends and we will see you in October, Warrandyte! We’ve missed you.
Warrandyte’s annual festival kicked off last month with popular evening events, Warrandyte Film Feast and Warrandyte Donvale Rotary Art Show.
The festival celebrated the town’s hallmark qualities over the weekend of March 22–24 via the theme “Stars of Warrandyte”.
Saturday’s trademark Grand Parade was filled with firefighters, councillors in classic cars, floats adorned
with superstars, theatre nuts blowing bubbles, community bank benefactors holding big cheques and
A star-studded cast came out with props and colourful costumes.
Sporting clubs, IGA apples, Ringwood RSL rat-a-tat-tatters, ultimate martial artists in full spin, Neighbourhood House knits, an old Dodge, a young Billycarter, Arty Farty umbrellas, the honourable Ryan Smith all fired up about Fireball…
Variety Bash “Benzey” — now there’s a star! Sixteen Variety Bashes throughout Australia, raising money for children’s charity.
Giant ducks, mountain bikes, Dylan’s trike (made at school from recycled materials), CFA pumpers, scouts getting about — and all this to the shout of Town Crier Ian Craig.
Commentators kept it entertaining, even trotting out a joke or two: “These ducks look like they have their eyes covered, but actually… they’re Peking ducks!”
Rain made a half-hearted attempt to dampen enthusiasm but never really had a chance.
You see, for locals, nothing speaks to community pride more than Warrandyte Festival.
This year, the town clocked up 43 straight festival runs, thanks to a committed band of volunteers who continue to come up with ideas and the gusto to see them through.
A week earlier, organisers were told by Manningham Council that due to safe food-handling regulations, the Kid’s Market would not be able to sell baked goods — staples for these stalls, really, but rules are rules.
Families were notified and organisers feared the worst: dozens of disappointed children and parents, doing their buns and pulling out.
But, that is not the Warrandyte way.
A prize-winning number of stalls were registered — 70, in fact.
One young stallholder said it best: “We just ate all our cakes and made pet rocks instead!”
Kids’ Market organiser Grace Johnstone told the Diary that many interesting ideas were presented on the day, but it was “Warrandyte’s spirit of cooperation that was truly on show”.
Taking the cake, for mine, was a repurposed duck-race duck —complete with potted plant — “Hugh Quackman”.
Sunday’s Billycart Derby action drew a few choice words from parade monarch and motorcycle racing champ Cameron Donald, who helped out on the mike.
Cam’s commentary skills were tested — a minor stack, a false start and several finishes that looked too close to call — but he came through unscathed. Phew!
Meanwhile, on the Main Stage, the smooth countrified vocals of local performer Jo Pearson and the Pearl River Ramblers set up a further flow of excellence from Sydney’s alternative Country combo The April Family, dirtgirl and Mother Earth.
Fabulous Tom Petty/Fleetwood Mac and feisty Janis Joplin tributes followed on.
A day earlier, Riverbank Stage audiences had kept pace with drumming sensation African Star, before local bands Velvet Lounge and Riffmasters chilled things down to create a relaxed vibe.
In a new move, festival organisers brought Friday night’s three-hour Battle of the Bands (BOB) to the Main Stage on Saturday.
Applause for first-time festival volunteer Opal Gough.
It was a huge hit, giving young acts the opportunity to play primetime on a stage that has seen local bands like The Teskey Brothers and The Scrims go on to achieve success further afield.
Among others, bass player for The Teskeys, Brendon Love, stepped up as a Battle judge, offering the young players valuable feedback and advice.
Also helpful was Ben Dennis, (ex BOB organiser and manager of award-winning Australian electronic music duo Peking Duk) who generously produced 12 tickets to an upcoming Peking Duk concert as an event prize.
Ethical Decimal, a four-piece all-girl band from Castlemaine Secondary College, won the competition overall.
Gozleme, crepes, salted caramel ice cream, those little pancakes that everyone loves, a giant spring roll — I couldn’t decide among some fab food choices this year, so tried them all — in one afternoon.
A good thing St John’s Mobile CPR Learning Lab was on standby.
A lifesaving initiative to build resilience by training more people in CPR, 12-year-old visitor from Shepparton Tom Di Petta did the training:
“It was fun and the instructions were clear, I learned CPR in 10 minutes.”
Tom looked very keen to practice his newfound techniques, (at the time we spoke I was slowly sagging under the weight of Polish dumplings and lychee infused beer!)
Later, lighting genius Hugh McSpedden boosted the night sky and transformed trees around the Main Stage with creative images.
But, stars eventually fade from view.
And just like that, another Warrandyte Festival slipped by like a wet child on a giant water slide…
If you lost your mind over Hugh’s light show, the Information Caravan has it and some other things as well! Watches, hats, mats and multiple pieces of Tupperware with the name Carla Thompson on them: contact Carolyn on 0411 789 922 with lost property enquiries.
Main Stage music medley
By IAN CRAIG
WHILE THE day started with the weather raining on our parade it ended with a twilight battle of the bands in Stiggants Reserve in what could only be described as a very pleasant and balmy evening.
Sitting in my favourite camping chair enjoying a pint of Kellybrook Ale, this sure was a good idea to hijack my wife Jo’s Warrandyte Diary assignment.
“You just keep working on your other writing assignments I will do this one for you,” says I, ha-ha, all part of my cunning plan.
With Greg Champion MC’ing the night and surrounded by three to four hundred fellow festivillians it was a pleasant night indeed.
As Greg Champion said to me when I asked him about the night, “The Battle of the Bands has brought more people in then our band … be young or die”.
Don’t take it personally Greg.
The competition started in the 80s with the back of a tray truck for the stage in the middle of the footy oval.
After a number of moves it has finally made it to the main stage and judging by the crowd it is there to stay.
The idea behind Battle of the Bands is that young aspiring musicians get a chance to demonstrate their creative “musicality” (I don’t know what that means but the judges told me that’s one of things they were looking for) in front of a good audience and the judges score them on the things that musically talented people look for in an up and coming band.
The judges are no slouches in this field with Fiona Steel (half of the indie folk duo GraceJean and session artist), Brendan Love (from Warrandyte’s own The Teskey Brothers), Joseph Dwyer (Moring After Girls), Fossa (Melbourne based Hip Hop Producer) and Kain Hardie (musician and music journalist).
Fiona told me she was, “looking for overall musicality, interaction with each other, interaction with crowd”.
I asked if it brought back memories for her.
“Yeah it does actually … I did a few of them when I was younger … it’s interesting being on the other side.”
Of course the audience got in on the act with the people’s award voted through the event page on Facebook.
Nice touch although there was a lot of voting happening before some of the acts even hit the stage, go friends.
Acts included Reborn Rebellion, Dead Pig, C-K-H, In The Works, Bleached and Blessed, Ethical Decimal, Suzi and Space Goats.
The winner of first prize (a full day of recording at Jet Studios) was Ethical Decimal, a young all female band from Castlemaine Secondary College.
Runners up were a young solo act, Suzi Yaghmoor from Mornington Peninsula and Dead Pig from Park Orchards.
First timer organiser Opal Gough, joined the Warrandyte Festival Committee in November last year.
“I think the kids were great,” said Opal, “they’ve pulled in an amazing crowd … that was really good support for them.”
Well done to Opal, her assistants and the committee for a great night, we thoroughly enjoyed the entertainment and the beautiful evening.
Blast into Warrandyte’s past
By JAMES POYNER
THE WEATHER was glorious for the Hanson’s annual Sunday afternoon Gold Mine Tour and a group of around 50 people made their way up to the top of Webb Street for this Festival highlight.
Entry to the tour is free, with a small donation requested to raise money for Oxfam’s Walk Against Want, which raises money to assist women in developing countries who have to walk tens of kilometres each day to fetch fresh water.
The tours have been running since 1978 and up until recently were run by John Hanson himself.
But 42 years is a long time to run Gold Mine tours and these days, John has passed the baton on to his children; Peter, Jenny and Christine.
But before we headed off on our tour with Jenny and Christine, John gave the group potted history of gold mining in Warrandyte and the popularity of the tour.
“Typical gold country has three different types of eucalypt, red box, long leaf box and red stringy bark and often if they saw those sorts of trees [the miners] would think there is gold in the area,” he said.
“In some years, I had 200 people turn up, I borrowed a loud-hailer and off we went, but with 200 people, it was pretty slow.
“One year I decided to split it into two groups, 1pm and 3pm — 1pm 35 turned up, 3pm 150 turned up so I went back to just one time,” he said.
A short, bushy walk through the Hanson’s property and we reconvene at the top of Tunnel Street where Jenny begins the official tour.
Jenny explains there are two types of gold found in Warrandyte, alluvial gold and gold found in quartz seams.
Alluvial gold was panned in the creeks and the Yarra and our tour would involve a walk down the hill to Andersons Creek to visit the cairn where gold was first found in Warrandyte.
But before that, Jenny took us to Forth Hill Gold Mine where the group could get a feel for what it was like to be in one of these mines, even if nowadays, people can only walk 10 metres inside the old mine.
Jenny’s knowledge of the mine is impressive and it is enthralling to watch her map out the layout of the mine in the dirt.
A lot of this knowledge extends from previous decades, before the mine was closed to the public when she was able to explore the network of mines around Warrandyte.
With public safety paramount, access to the mines is prohibited and we have to use our imagination as Jenny imparts history and personal experience.
The second, and last, stop on our tour is to the Gold Memorial cairn, on Gold Memorial Road.
“This is the spot where they first found gold in Victoria, in 1851”.
An exciting statement and given the regions history with gold mining, really helps place Warrandyte in Australian history.
“Louis Michel came here with a party of four who were panning in this creek and found a few specks of gold…that then started the gold rush in Warrandyte.
“They had sections of the creek, it was tent city for about five kilometres, between here and what is now Ringwood.
To add an extra pinch of excitement to the tour, descendants of Louis Michel, his great-great-great-grand-daughter and her children were on the tour.
Living in Eltham, it is fascinating to see that Warrandyte’s gold history still maintains a local connection.
With the tour torch successfully handed to his children, it looks like the Gold Mine Tour will be around for the next 42 years, we only scratched the surface of Warrandyte’s mining history but with the knowledgeable Hanson’s at the helm, I look forward to learning more about the history of Warrandyte’s gold mines in years to come.
A tail-wagging success
By CLAIRE BLOOM
THE PET SHOW is a long standing fixture of the Warrandyte Festival.
I can’t recall exactly when it started, but I suspect I have MC’d this event for more than 30 years.
And a wonderful and heart warming number of decades it has been.
This year, we again had sponsorship from the Warrandyte Veterinary Clinic who provided some wonderful hampers for the prestigious Best in Show Award.
This year’s big winner being a gorgeous spoodle puppy named Monty.
Other prizes included the Most Unusual Pet, going to a pigeon pair of ferrets (oops maybe don’t mention the pigeons.)
The usual categories such as Dog Most Like its Owner (loved the couple of Wonder Women.) and Shaggiest and Waggiest dogs were lots of fun.
The Loudest Dog in Warrandyte was ear piercing and won by a most vocal fox terrier.
This little rascal’s name is suppressed in case the Dog Ranger gets any ideas.
Well, not really, but it was certainly a noisy little dog.
Of course, Best Trained Dog always excites our imagination, Big Boy Bosley seems to have a new trick each year, and was happy to play dead when his Mum shot him (with her index finger, of course).
Molly, another spoodle, was most attentive as her trainer placed a treat on both front paws, and waited for the command to eat.
I thought I might try this with my black lab, but it’s never going to happen.
Overall, lots of bragging rights as most dogs (and the ferrets) managed to excel at something, including Dog with the Most Appealing Eyes or Best Groomed Dog in Warrandyte.
A big thanks to Judges, WHS Principal Dr Stephen Parkin and Warrandyte Vet nurse, Kimberley and their assistants Mrs Suzanne Martin and Bree.
Photo: Stephen Reynolds – The Scrims, Warrandyte Festival 2018
THE WARRANDYTE Festival is the annual celebration that gives families and friends the opportunity to celebrate all that is great about Warrandyte’s unique community.
Impressively, volunteers have staged this beloved event for 43 continuous years!
One of the best things about Warrandyte’s biggest weekend is its “home-grown” attitude, which gives local talent the chance to shine.
Artists may dance or play music on stage; enter the Film Feast; hang their art in Friday night’s Rotary Art Show or sell hand-made crafts at market stalls.
Some perform in events like the Grand Read, which features Warrandyte’s literary best.
“Stars of Warrandyte” is the theme for Festival ’19, which runs from March 22 – 24.
Warrandyte schools, sports clubs and community associations are just a few groups who will kick off the fun-filled weekend, when they march in colourful costume in Saturday morning’s Grand Parade.
Organisers tell the Diary there are plans to expand several festival events.
The iconic Battle of the Bands, which gives local youth bands the chance to battle for the prize of spending a day in a recording studio, will move to centre stage from 4pm on Saturday March 23.
“Previously, the Battle of the Bands has been staged on a Friday night but the committee decided to bring the event into Saturday’s music programme to expose the local youth music scene to a wider audience,” says festival committee president Jamie Ferguson.
“We will be approaching local schools before Christmas to try and unearth as many of Warrandyte’s emerging acts as possible.
“We’d love to hear from any young performers keen to be involved.”
As usual, Main Stage performances begin after the 12pm Opening Ceremony.
Sunday’s Main Stage programme will start before 11am and continue a little later, finishing around 10pm.
All the good times return: billycart racing; barrelling down the Scouts’ giant waterslide; duck racing and dog showing.
Warrandyte Film Feast expects to grow substantially in 2019, because what’s not to love about short flicks, a good brew — beer, wine or coffee — and perfect pizza?
The past two events sold out fast and those who lucked in have spread the word, so, co-ordinators are hitching the event to a larger marquee.
The Lounge will start buzzing from 6pm with live music, before the first film screens at 8pm.
Organisers are receiving interest from the filmmaking community already and will put out a formal call to filmmakers over the next few months.
If you want to get your film fix on, Warrandyte Film Feast happens outdoors on the banks of the Yarra on Friday March 22, 2019.
Tickets go online early next year.
Be sure and grab some for your mates if you don’t want them to miss out.
Keep up to date with festival news by visiting Warrandyte Festival Facebook page.
Further festival details in Warrandyte Diary from February 2019.
Battle of the Bands: If you would like to take part in the Battle of the Bands email:
Film Feast: submission guidelines will be available on the Festival website at a later date, but filmmakers can send links to their films or request more info by emailing: email@example.com
Art and craft market: Stall holder applications close December 14.
Forms can be found on the Festival website.
Volunteer: An inspired group of people of all ages puts Warrandyte Festival together.
If you like the thought of planning a big party or have a cracking festival idea please email:
WARRANDYTE Festival organisers are pleased to announce that canoeing is back!
One of the keys in keeping a long-term community event like the festival in the ‘much loved’ category is to balance the mix of entertainment.
Canoeing on the Yarra was once a popular festival activity that began as early as 1979.
It delighted festival goers for many years, but was phased out of the programme due to insurance difficulties.
This year, Canoeing Victoria’s PaddleHub will provide easy to paddle, sit-on-top kayaks and qualified coaches and instructors over the weekend.
Offering supervised family fun on the water for all ages, PaddleHub will run hourly from 10:30am–3pm on both Saturday and Sunday. (Charges apply.)
New this year at the festival, Manningham Council presents Polyglot Theatre’s Ants.
Polyglot Theatre is Australia’s leading creator of interactive and participatory theatre for children and families.
Ants is an interactive roving performance which has giant Ants bringing children together in a gentle and unusual landscaping project.
The creatures are half ant/half human, patrolling nooks and crannies in search of food, collecting objects and making friends.
You can see the Ants throughout the day near the Manningham Council tent, help them with their crumbs and make your own Ant antennae!
Warrandyte Festival and Striking Productions have combined to present another riverside staging of short films.
Live music and food will be available at Warrandyte Film Feast from 6pm on Friday March 16 at the Lounge on the Lower Riverbank.
Screening starts at 8pm. Opening film Children of Ignorance — written, produced and directed by volunteer Film Feast co-organiser Rosalie Ridler of Striking Productions — tells the story of an end of year work party.
There’s a lot going on: eating, drunken therapy, gossip and speculation over ‘Dave’s new mail order bride’ – not to mention a catastrophic event.
Starring a talented cast and crew, the story tackles racial profiling, sexism and prejudice in society.
Also included in this year’s eclectic mix, are two shorts written and directed by local filmmaker Ryan de Rooy.
Simon is a tragic story about a young, socially isolated boy who ventures to his local pub to have a drink with his best and only friend, Chris, but as the night dwindles, conflict arises, changing their lives forever.
In music video Dragon Blood, a bride, believing the spark in her relationship has perished, leaves a clue for her husband in the form of a cocktail umbrella, with hopes he will follow its path and reignite the spark.
Written and directed with his distinct brand of black humour, award-winning filmmaker Matt Miram’s Deep Sea Fishing demonstrates how, in the dating world, some people are just using the wrong bait!
People’s Choice prizes (sponsored by Palace Cinemas and local Internet experts Australia Online) will be awarded on the night.
Please note: none of the films to be exhibited have been classified in accordance with the Australian Classification Board. Content is varied, uncensored and may offend some viewers.
Generally, the films shown earlier in the first part of the event have family friendly content and are less likely to cause offence.
Tickets cost $15 and go on sale from February 1 until sold out. Contact www.trybooking.com/TPDU or visit TryBooking and search for ‘Warrandyte Festival’.
Always popular, the 34th Warrandyte/Donvale Rotary Art Show hosts its gala champagne opening on Friday evening.
Festivities take place at the Warrandyte Community Church on Friday March 16 from 7pm–10pm.
A ticket costs $20 and includes supper and refreshments The Art Show Gala launches a weekend-long exhibition of artwork by local and interstate artists.
Weekend viewing of the Art Show extends from 9am–8:30pm Saturday and 10am–4pm on Sunday.
Warrandyte Festival will be held over the weekend March 16–18.
The theme for 2018 is “Streets of our Town”.
Capturing everyone’s imagination on Saturday is the Grand Parade, with its costumed ensemble of schools, kindergartens, community and sporting groups gathered on Yarra Street to start the colourful walk to Stiggants Reserve.
On Saturday March 17 2018, Ringwood-Warrandyte Road/Yarra Street, (between Falconer Road and Harris Gully Road roundabout) will be closed to traffic from 10:30am until 12pm.
The parade kicks off at 11am. As usual, craft and produce market stalls will offer home grown, home sewn and home made goods.
A full festival program and rundown of events will feature in the March edition of the Diary.
For general information, go to www.warrandytefestival.org
Scouts waterslide, kids’ market, the Grand Read. Battle of the Bands, billycarts… and canoeing!
Be sure you get along to the festival that has it all.
THE Grand Read may not have been going for as long, but this literary event has long been the cherry on top of the fabulous cake that is the Warrandyte Festival.
Grand Read regular Jock Macneish gave a warm introduction, setting the tone for an intimate evening in the packed-out function room of the Grand Hotel.
This year’s featured writer was Arnold Zable.
He is an advocate for human rights and a lot of his work focuses on the experience of immigrants.
He has many literary accolades to his name, including: People’s Choice Award: Tasmanian Pacific Fiction Prize for his novel Cafe Scheherazade (2003), nomination for The International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for Sea of Many Returns (2010), and Life membership to Writers Victoria (2015).
Arnold Zable writes about refugees and the plight of the human condition, he describes his writing as a “beacon of hope for those displaced, disconnected, and disorientated”.
He described his writing as “painting with words” and before every passage read he would ask the audience of close to 100 if we could “see it”.
Zable chose to read from his latest book The Fighter: A True Story.
He writes about the life of Henry Nissen, an immigrant from Germany who settled in the working class suburbs of Melbourne and represented Australia as a flyweight boxer in the 1960s and 1970s.
Zable’s words recreate the harsh world that Nissen grew up in, but he spun his prose poetically and the audience hung on every word.
The Fighter: A True Story has been shortlisted for the 2017 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Fiction.
The Grand Read frequently favours poetry over prose, as the shorter form fits well with the evening’s format.
Following Arnold Zable’s poetically woven words were a series of enjoyable poems from a variety of artists.
John Jenkins read extracts from his poem The Wine Harvest, a poem that reflects on a time, in 1999, when he worked as a labourer on the wineries of the Yarra Valley.
His poem displayed some wonderful allegoric qualities as he recounted the hard life of a labourer through wine tasting terminology.
Karen Throssell, who has published a number of poetry books including Chain of Hearts, and The Old Kings and Other Poems, and who currently teaches Creative Writing classes in Diamond Creek, took the evening along a path of politics with a whimsical poem exploring her observations of Donald Trump’s youngest child during Trump’s victory party following the 2016 US presidential election.
Andrew Kennon reflected on his experiences in the High Country.
Sandy Jeffs, originally from Ballarat, is a poet who writes about her experiences living with schizophrenia.
She is an advocate for living with mental illness and author of the best-selling book Poems from the Madhouse.
For the Grand Read, Jeffs read a couple of poems: Cold Chemical Comfort illustrated the numbing effects of modern day drugs, while her poem about celebrity and the fascination with it that popular culture demands, was sobering but refreshingly chemical.
Kevin Bonnett, author of De-icing the wings, read from his poem Lake Louise as well as a series of responses to photographs.
Laurie Webb is a bush poet who spends a lot of time working with local communities in Africa.
He read from his latest poem Gratitude Journal which is based on his experience with PTSD after being involved in a car crash in the Congo.
The evening also featured a reading from Warrandyte’s own Jock Macneish, whom recounted a trip he made some years ago to Scotland, where he went on a journey to find George Orwell’s lost motorcycle.
You can read his story in the travel section of this month’s Diary.
The evening was a wonderful finish to the festival and the poetry and prose on show was stimulating and inspiring.
If you have never been to the Grand Read before, then make sure you come along next year, I certainly cannot wait to see who they will have on show in 2018.
WARRANDYTE’S biggest weekend is coming your way March 24, 25 and 26. This year, Warrandyte Festival honours 40 years of community celebration. It is time, lovers of ‘70s rock, to fish out your flairs and party like it’s 1977! The best in home-grown, family fun, Cherie Moselen walks you through the festival that has it all.
BATTLE OF THE BANDS
From 6pm on Friday March 24, local youth bands battle it out at Stiggants Reserve for the top prize: a day in a recording studio.
Headlining the event is last year’s battle winner, Cardinia. Soft drink, water and a Scouts’ sausage sizzle will be available on the night for cash purchase only. This is a drug, smoke and alcohol free event. Admission is FREE.
Enjoy Warrandyte/Donvale Rotary’s 33rd exhibition of artwork by local and interstate artists. Preview the art and join in the festivities at the Gala Champagne Opening from 7pm – 10pm on Friday March 24, at the Warrandyte Community Church in Yarra Street. A gala ticket costs $25. Weekend viewing extends from 9am – 5pm on Saturday and 10am – 4pm on Sunday. A $5 ticket includes a catalogue. Entry is free for children and senior students.
THE LOUNGE BY NIGHT
Film lovers—don’t miss out! The Warrandyte Film Feast makes its debut at The Lounge on the lower riverbank of Stiggants Reserve on Friday March 24. Sixteen short films from different genres will be screened, including Apprentice of the Year, starring Shane Jacobson, and locally made film, Heed, among others. MC for the evening is Australian actor Daniel Schepisi. Fabulous food and drink can be purchased from 6pm; the first film starts at 8pm. A ticket costs $10. Book online at www.trybooking.com/OPEG. NOTE: Films are not classified and some content may offend.
THE LOUNGE BY DAY
String Band music will entertain Lounge audiences from 12pm – 5pm on Saturday. See authentic old-time Cajun band Iron Gob String Band, the Stetson Family, Honeyfields and the Strzelecki Stringbusters. On Sunday, check out the Funky Monkeys circus band from noon, followed by a Sanctum Theatre presentation of Otto Learns to Fly—an interactive children’s puppet show. Ukuleles and hula hoops also come out to play. And it is all for FREE!
This year, four parade monarchs have been chosen to honour the festival’s origins. Donning royal regalia are festival pioneers Yvonne Reid, Howard Geldard, Patrick Nuzum and Tim Ferguson. The procession makes its way from the Mechanics’ Institute in Yarra Street to Stiggants Reserve on Saturday March 25 after official kick-off at 11am. Community groups, schools, sports clubs, vintage cars, a vintage flyover and fabulous floats—that’s Warrandyte on parade. Incredible!
MAIN STAGE MUSIC
Music starts at midday with local school and bush bands and continues with quality acts Mango Retreat, Dannika, The Teskey Brothers and The Scrims, among others. Sunday’s programme features a variety of talent from 11.00am. A festival favourite for 20 years, acclaimed bush band Paradiddle will rouse the crowd at 3pm, followed by The April Family, The Weeping Willows and Aleyce Simmonds. Lovers of ‘70s rock—don’t miss Mother! While Nudist Funk Orchestra is closing the show! Bring seating and a picnic, or buy food and drink across the weekend.
Children’s entertainer Keeping the Beat brings noonday fun on Saturday, followed by a diverse musical line-up including Fulton Street, Watercolour and Sideglance. Get your tango on by the banks of the Yarra from 7pm Saturday. Enjoy a dance class, special show from Sidewalk Tango’s Performance Troupe and two hours of “Milonga”! Sunday’s programme will please animal lovers with everyone’s favourite Pet Parade at 9:30am and Wildlife Exposure on at 11:15am. Music lovers stick around also, to see Beautiful Beasts, Real Love and Warrandyte’s own Mia Hamilton.
An all-access bus service returns to the festival this year. Provided by Nillumbik Council, this community bus has full wheel chair accessibility. It will run every 15 minutes, stopping at the Warrandyte Sports Club carpark; at the top of Stiggants Reserve; at the bottom of Stiggant Street and opposite the Community Centre. The bus will operate from 11:30am – 5pm on Saturday and 9am – 5pm on Sunday.
BYO bathers and towel (change tent available) and get ready to slip and slide downhill at Stiggants Reserve. Hosted by Warrandyte/Park Orchards Scout Group. Charges apply. It is giant. It is awesome!
Have you got the steel to join the billycart hall of fame? Wheels line up at the top of Police Street from Sunday 9:30am. Registration of $8 takes place between 8:30am – 9:15am for children aged eight to 15 years. The event features a parents’ race, trophies and great prizes. Carts MUST meet strict safety criteria. For enquiries call 0418 357 282 or go to the website: www. warrandytefestival.org.
Duck down to the river at 2:30pm on Sunday to watch 1,000 plastic duckies take the plunge. The first to float downriver from Police Street to Stiggant Street wins the trophy. Ducks can be prior-purchased for $3 from local schools, or during festival weekend from the Information Caravan.
Discover a range of opportunities through local groups and service providers, including: Aboriginal art exhibition, Animals on the Move, Be Ready Warrandyte, Combined Emergency Services, Eltham Steam and Stationary Engine Preservation Society, Friends of Warrandyte State Park, Manningham City Council, Middle Yarra Landcare Group, Reconciliation Manningham, Warrandyte Community Association, Warrandyte Community Garden, Warrandyte Toy Library, plus miners, blacksmiths, woodcrafters, reptiles, and solar/electric bikes.
Directed by local arts therapist Tania Virgona and supported by Manningham Council, this activity encourages children to collectively create artistic instalments such as cubbies, nests and sculptures as influenced by local flora and Indigenous heritage. Nature Play runs from 12:00pm – 4pm on Sunday only.
Written and directed by Warrandyte Theatre Company members, Open Book Follies is a romp of comic sketches and musical numbers. Performance dates for 2017 are: March 23, 24, 25, 30, 31 and April 1, 6, 7 and 8. A ticket costs $25 (concession $20). BYO food and drink. Showtime is 7.30 for 8pm at the Mechanics Institute Hall. Book online at www.warrandytehallarts.asn.au
This year marks the Grand Read’s 20th evening of presenting quality readings from local poets and writers. The feature guest for 2017 is Arnold Zable, an award winning Australian writer, storyteller, educator and human rights advocate whose writing focuses primarily on migrant experience. Warrandyte’s literary showcase takes place upstairs at the Grand Hotel at 7:30pm on Tuesday March 28. A ticket costs $20 (Concession $16) and includes a light supper. For catering purposes, please purchase in advance from Warrandyte Neighbourhood House on 9844 1839. Or visit the website: www.warrandyteneighbourhoodhouse.org.au
Check out www.warrandytefestival.org for information including: road closures, programme details, accessibility info, maps and registration forms. Facebookers can search “Warrandyte Festival” for regular weekend updates.
Pick up or download the March edition of the Warrandyte Dairy for your four-page pull-out of the 2017 Warrandyte Festival.
Warrandyte Festival 2017 will hit the town over the weekend of March 24-26. Pop it in your calendars, folks, because it’s going to be SPECtacular.
The theme is “Warrandyte Festival—since ’77: 40 Years of Fun” and it promises an extra special celebration in honour of the festival’s long-standing history in the township.
Warrandyte Festival was first held in April 1977 as an initiative of War-randyte Environment League (WEL). The idea “for all of Warrandyte to come together in a community festi- val, without the commercialism and exploitation of the more elaborate affairs closer to the city” came from Stan Stewart, local Presbyterian minister at the time and president of WEL from 1974-75.
Given the potent energy building in the Warrandyte community during the 1970s it’s not surprising more than one person suggested the town hold a festival, but in 1976, three WEL members – Patrick Nuzum, Anne Martin and Howard Geldard – got together to canvass support for it from the community, including the historical society and arts association, local traders, sporting clubs and councillors.
With a budget in hand, local lads willing to help with the sound and setup of equipment for a concert and Diary cartoonist Jock Macneish designing posters to let the town know what was afoot, the first festival got underway.
Forty years on, Warrandyte Festival is still run entirely by volunteers. As an event that has experienced longevity when many like it have finished up, it is somewhat unique in Victoria.
Warrandyte’s “big weekend” will feature much-loved events: the Grand Parade, Scouts Waterslide, Billycart Derby, Nature’s Play, Duck Race and Kids Market.
Food, of course, there will be glorious food. It’s always a good idea to bring your appetite—and dance moves.
Are you ready for this? Organisers will be putting on a ‘70s Disco! Think, “Saturday Night Festival Fever.” Get your gear out from the back of the wardrobe. I’m talking flares, Warrandyte. You know you’ve got them. Saturday night will also feature a variety of youth bands. Festival favourites Nudist Funk Orchestra will give Sunday’s Main Stage their funk- lled attention. And a blast from the past, Paradiddle – the mighty bush band who first played at the festival in 1978 and went on to close the weekend for the next 20 years – will make a special appearance. Warrandyte Festival is also creating a Light Sculpture Competition for 2017 and is asking participants to design, build and enter sculptures in a variety of categories.
“Rising Sun” is the category for schools, youth organisations and child prodigies. “Light Under a Bushel” is an adult category for those who are not professionals in this field but who are, nonetheless, in possession of inspiration.
Finally, “Sirius”. It’s the brightest star in our night sky and the category for professional artists and lighting technicians. The festival will work with applicants to identify a location that best ts the concept of their sculptures and maximises their impact. Competition requirements – voltage, safety, stability and the like – will be outlined in the application form, which is available online at warrandytefestival.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org
But wait, there’s more! A new book is being launched in honour of Warrandyte’s time-honoured festival. Warrandyte Festival Celebrating 40 Years: ‘Best One Ever!’ is a salute to both the character and continuity of Warrandyte’s unique annual celebration.
It’s a colourful story. Of concerts and camel rides, parades and whacky races. Of families tuckered out on picnic blankets as Sunday evening bands perform final tunes. And of countless volunteers radiating ideas and pitching in. It illustrates not just the fun of Warrandyte Festival but also the undeniable power of community to enrich lives.
So many good times; such a great Warrandyte tradition!
Festival lovers will be able to spot themselves over the years: on a oat in the parade, at the market, in a Sulo bin race, under lights at the front of the stage or in many other wonderful events.
The book is a limited edition and can be pre-ordered for $40 through the website: warrandytefestival.org
The Diary will bring you more on Warrandyte’s biggest event of the year in following months.
Until then, shuffle that ipod and tap into some Bee Gees dance tunes. Barry’s R & B falsetto is sure to bring on the fever!
WARRANDYTE Festival. It’s a battleground for young musicians, a race to glory for daredevil ducks and a feast for fun- lovers. Coming your way on March 18, 19 and 20, CHERIE MOSELEN guides you through some of what’s on offer.
Watch local youth bands at Stiggants Reserve main stage fight for the top prize, a day in a recording studio. Battles rage from 6.30pm on Friday 18 March with featured headliner this year, Amiko. Soft drink, water and BBQ will be available for cash purchase. This is a drug, smoke and alcohol free event. Admission is FREE.
Warrandyte Rotary’s 32nd Art Show will exhibit work by local and interstate artists. Preview the art around 500 paintings as you enjoy a gala champagne opening at 7pm on Friday 18 March. Venue: Warrandyte Community Church, 57 Yarra Street. Tickets cost $25. The Art Show opens on Saturday and Sunday from 10am.
Yarra Street (between the Kangaroo Ground Road bridge roundabout and Harris Gully Road roundabout) will be closed to traffic from 10.30am until 12pm on Saturday 19 March 2016.
Watch Warrandyte’s fabulous street parade boogie on down to Stiggants Reserve! The official ceremony starts at 11am on Saturday March 19. Parade marchers leave from Mitchell Avenue. Community groups, schools, sports clubs, your CFA and fabulous floats you won’t want to miss it!
The official opening kicks things off at noon. Meet your monarchs and get ready for entertainment from local school and bush bands. The Scrims (formerly known as the Scrimshaw Four) and Teskey Brothers slot into a fabulous line up on Saturday afternoon. Sunday’s program starts at 11.30am and includes acts: Pinball Machine, Little Stevies, Chocolate Lilies and The Demon Parade. (If you love a bit of banjo twang, don’t miss final band, ARIA nominated Mustered Courage!)
Cruise along the Yarra on board the festival’s faithful ships of the desert. Camel rides leave from the bottom of Police Street at 8.30am throughout the weekend.
If it’s extra speed you want, try the Scouts’ Giant Water Slide from noon Saturday and Sunday. Charges apply for both activities. Family Bike Ride leaves on Sunday 9am from Warrandyte Netball Courts, Taroona Avenue. Conditions apply (see program).
Children’s performer Carmen Up brings on the entertainment at noon on Saturday, with African Star Olly Friend and Side Glance, among others carrying the show. Sunday’s fun gets underway with the Pet Parade at 9.30am. Get excited for Sergei & Svetlana (the strongest people in the world!) and stay tuned for bands featuring young Melbourne up-and-comers.
Located downhill adjacent to the Warrandyte Community Church this is the place to drop the kids on Saturday afternoon. Puppeteers show, The Funky Monkeys, drumming, ukuleles and jujitsu for those with plenty of beans. All for FREE!
On Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon, the boogie is live. Tango lessons, Hip-hop, Tribal and Bollywood, Go Go or Belly dancing… this is your chance Warrandyte, to get your groove on.
The Derby is back and the challenge is real. Carts line up at the top of Police Street from Sunday 9.30am. Registration takes place between 8.30 – 9.15am for children ages 8 to 15 years. Parents’ race, trophies and great prizes… it doesn’t get any bigger. Carts MUST meet strict safety criteria. For enquiries and registration call 0418 357 282 or email email@example.com.
Up to 1000 plastic ducks dive into the Yarra on Sunday at 2.30pm… but only one will make it downriver to Stiggant Street as the winner! Ducks can be pre-purchased from local schools or from the Information Caravan at the festival, for $3. Ducks will be displayed at the Kid’s Activity Top Tent on Sunday from 11.30am – 2.30pm. Launch takes place from the bottom of Police Street.
Local groups and service providers will offer information and a range of opportunities. Check the program for the complete list of static displays situated along the riverbank. Furthering this year’s festival theme “Boogie in the Bush”, Warrandyte Historical Society Museum will house a special exhibit called Decades of Dance, showcasing dance and dancing in Warrandyte over the years.
In its 19th year, this year’s Grand Read feature guest is Jennifer Harrison, 2011 winner of the Christopher Brennan Award for lifetime achievement in poetry. Enjoy the work of quality poets and writers at this much-loved literary event, from 7.30pm on Tuesday 22 March upstairs at the Grand Hotel. Adult $20 (Concession $16) includes a light supper. Please purchase in advance from Warrandyte Neighbourhood House on 9844 1839. Visit warrandyteneighbourhoodhouse.org.au
Imaginative outdoor art and craft for children of all ages, Nature’s Playground is proudly supported by Manningham council. Located next to the children’s playground, discover a unique play space to create cubbies, nests and sculptures influenced by local flora. From 12pm to 4pm, Sunday only.
‘Follies Goes Viral’ is the latest contribution of laugh-out-loud comedy from Warrandyte Theatre Company. A clever look at society’s fascination with ‘things that go viral’, show dates as follows: 31 March and 1, 2, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16 April, from 8pm at the Mechanics Institute Hall.
Check out warrandytefestival.org for more info: program details, accessibility info, road closures, maps and registration forms. Warrandyte Festival is dedicated to reducing the amount of waste produced each year. Please do your part. Find a bin, bring a water bottle and consider using your own cutlery and crockery. Your efforts will not be wasted!
THE much-anticipated Warrandyte Festival has come and gone for another year. The sun shone, the arts were embraced and our royal monarchs Cherry and Joff Manders rode a pair of curious camels down Yarra Street. It doesn’t get much better than that!
Warrandytians gathered in their thousands to enjoy the weekend that trumps most out east. The atmosphere was buzzing and it was smiles all round as the spirit of the festival took hold.
The festivities began with Battle of the Bands on the Friday evening. All bands were talented – their stage presence was electric and the extent to which they banged their heads was admirable. AMIKO were lucky enough to take out the title this year, scoring a two-day recording contract in a professional studio.
The iconic parade down Yarra Street was a treat for everyone as always. Special guests including Cr Paul McLeish, the mayor of Manningham, and Cr Ken King, representing the mayor of Nillumbik, enjoyed prime viewing from the community centre balcony. Warrandyte’s veteran MP, Ryan Smith, was there to catch all the action too.
Our King and Queen were dressed to impress in their regal attire, yet still somehow managing to climb atop their chosen camels. Fortunately, their royal steeds were not spooked by the fire trucks or bagpipes and our monarchs rode forth safely … despite our Queen’s “Kingsley” looking a little frazzled in the early stages.
Of course, all of Warrandyte’s favourite community groups and services, sporting clubs and schools also took part in the parade with gusto. Well-known businesses Warrandyte Community Bank and Quinton’s IGA were in full festival spirit, as well as the Warrandyte Theatre Group standing out in their vibrant costumes.
The 2015 theme Smart Arts became increasingly apparent as many little artists from Warrandyte Primary and Anderson’s Creek emerged. Equipped with their berets, palettes or own artistic creations, these kids were clearly ready for the big weekend ahead.
It’s hard not to appreciate the cuteness of the local tots of Warrandyte’s kindergartens and preschools. Crowded into the back of their trucks turned floats, nothing was going to stop them from waving enthusiastically to their families.
Warrandyte Neighbourhood House also embraced this year’s theme through the acknowledgment and celebration of Deborah Halpern’s newly installed sculpture. Calling themselves the Community Queen’s of Shire, the ladies walked forward with much grace and style.
Once again, Peter Norman drove his blue 1954 Fordson Major. Peter and his tractor represent the Diary year after year and always do us proud.
As the parade concluded, it was time for everyone to head down to Stiggants Reserve to engage in more festival fun. The trickiest part was trying to figure out where to go and what to do first!
Given the theme, art was certainly abundant within the festival grounds. The unmissable ‘Fat Ladies’ and their companions the ‘Skinny Men’ were back once more, continuing to draw many admirers.
For curious young minds, ‘Smart Arts Central’ was undoubtedly the place to be. The workshop space was transformed from a circus show to a ukulele studio, to a drama theatre and more. The amount of audience participation and level of enthusiasm within the crowd was infectious.
There was no shortage of artsy activities and events within the reserve. Many stalls presented opportunities for the kids to make or engage with something creative, such as paint a communal blank canvas while waiting for your turn to ride a camel, or colour a plaster model to keep as a souvenir.
Keen young readers’ needs were met as a beautiful tree adjacent the main stage had picture books and colourful pom poms hanging from the branches. It looked majestic and the novelty of it made it very inviting. Somehow, reading a book hanging from a tree becomes so much more satisfying than reading one ordinarily.
Other community stalls also embraced the festival’s smart arts theme. The Warrandyte Uniting Church offered simple but effective plate decorating fun, while the Yarra Warra Kinder gave the option to do some cool bush-style threading.
A unique jewellery store ‘Name on a grain’ also sparked interest and suited the festival theme. With precision, the stall managers would write a name or word on a tiny grain of rice and encapsulate it within a small transparent pendant. The dainty result made for a wonderful gift.
For that matter, gift opportunities were everywhere: from soaps that look good enough to eat to home made terrariums and potted cacti.
While the kids were easily entertained, adults at the festival were also well catered for with food, drink and entertainment. It also offers a chance to catch up with fellow Warrandytians and others.
Festival-goers were once again spoilt for choice when it came to food. The event embraced multiculturalism as reflected in the available food options. Take your pick from Polish dumplings, Italian-style woodfire pizza, French crepes, Dutch poffertjes, authentic Indian curry, or maybe the classic Slovenian kransky in bread from the Warrandyte RSL.
Twistos, Korean-style twisted potatoes (those intriguing fried twists on a stick), were another popular option, and one of those novelties you almost feel obliged to eat in the spirit of the festival – similar in that way to the CFA’s famous hot jam donuts!
Once you made your all-important food choice, the time came to pick a stage and performer to listen and/or boogie to. The music scene was outstanding this year with a lot of talent across both stages and days.
The riverbank stage featured a diverse range of performers, from the lovable one-man-band Uptown Brown to cool indie rock band Pinball Machine. Great sound and enthusiasm all round.
The main stage of course gave all the local schools a chance to shine, but it was later in the evening when the party really started.
Melbourne-based band Jakubi got everyone up and dancing with their unique mix of hip-hop, reggae, soul and synthesised rhythms. Their energy was contagious and created a positive vibe.
After their performance, the band posted on their Facebook page (which has close to 20,000 likes) that there was ‘somethin’ crazy in the air last night [at the] Warrandyte Festival.’ Along with a video of Stiggants Reserve going wild, the guys also wrote: ‘Thank you so much to everyone that came out and destroyed that poor grass with us. So much love!!!’ Cue all the young girls’ hearts to skip a beat!
A new acoustic tent also found its place at the festival this year. The performers Dan, Tom and Ruby sung stripped back covers of songs as well as original material. Their music was a delight.
Warrandyte High School’s dog show and pet parade was a hit as always with no shortage of cute pups under the big red top. Much to the amusement of the audience, many pets got distracted when attempting to perform their best trick. But Claire Bloom was always sure to console owners and pets with an encouraging “good try”.
Simultaneously, the tension was building over at the annual billy cart derby. This year saw various well-designed vehicles, including a new type of cart, the reverse three-wheeler. As competitors were narrowed down, the onlooking crowd continued their enthusiastic support – in particular, the always-loud ‘CherryBomb’ cheer squad, who made sure everyone knew who they were rooting for.
While there were a few close calls, everything ran smoothly and there were no major collisions. St John’s Ambulance Service, in conjunction with the trusty mulch pile, stood by regardless to ensure the safety of all drivers.
If you have an interest in our town’s past, hopefully you were able to make it to John Hanson’s historical gold mine tour. John’s vast knowledge about our town’s founding gold miners was fascinating as always, and after a number years the tour remains popular among Warrandytians and visitors alike.
When it comes to wacky Warrandyte traditions, the iconic annual duck race is right up there. The tension was building on the riverbank as onlookers counted down from 10 to the release of the decorated ducks. Three, two, one… and the race was on! Tension subsides as the ducks float slowly downstream. Duck owners follow their progression from the riverbank, hoping their ducks took out the title.
Other market and community service stalls also made their annual appearance.
The CFA had a strong presence as usual, offering food, drink and information about the continued need for fire safety coming into the winter months. Many took the challenge of squirting the fire hose in an attempt to hit the target, or hugging it out with the life-size smoke detector.
Furthermore, what would the Warrandyte Festival be without the Eltham Steam and Stationary Engine Preservation Society? Or Woodcraft Manningham? Or the Scouts’ Giant Waterslide? These are the golden treasures that you look forward to seeing each year. Their presence evokes feeling of nostalgia for many.
As the festival drew to a close, we returned home tired and foot-sore but with fond memories of the weekend that was.
It is important to acknowledge all the hard work and preparation that went towards bringing the festival to life. A big thankyou and well done to the wonderful festival committee, the emergency service teams and everyone else who graciously volunteered their time. Once again, they coordinated another fantastic event. Your efforts do not go unnoticed!
1. Is there anything else to do but rock up to the annual Warrandyte Festival starting tonight and running all weekend? No, indeed not. Let’s party and soak up the wonderful atmosphere! Weather gods are smiling too. Tomorrow: 23 and sunshine. Sunday: 27 and sunshine. Check it out online
2. The Grand Read is back. Tuesday March 24 is the night as a line-up of award-winning poets and writers read their works upstairs at the Grand Hotel Warrandyte from 7.15pm (for a 7.30pm start). Presented by Warrandyte Neighbourhood House.
3. Warrandyte Theatre Company presents Penny For Your Follies, rip-roaring fun at the Warrandyte Mechanics Institute from March 19-20-21-26-27-28 and April 9-10-11. For more visit here
4. Ready for Prep? Wednesday from 7pm-8pm, it’s Anderson’s Creek Primary School’s information evening for Foundation (Preps) 2016. We love our schools, and newcomers we promise you’ll love ACPS.
5. The 31st Rotary Warrandyte Art Show is on all weekend at the Warrandyte Community Church in Yarra Street. Check out some beautiful paintings.
It’s got music. It’s got soul. Even designer ducks! Warrandyte Festival is coming your way March 20, 21 and 22. CHERIE MOSELEN walks you through the weekend that has it all.
Local youth bands amp it up in a battle for the top prize – a day in a recording studio – from 6pm on Friday March 20 at Stiggants Reserve. Feature headliners this year are Cash the Madmen and Selling Time. Soft drink, water and BBQ will be available for cash purchase on the night. This is a drug, smoke and alcohol free event. Admission is FREE.
Enjoy Warrandyte Rotary’s 31st exhibition of work by local and interstate artists. Preview the art and join in the festivities at the gala champagne opening 7pm – 11pm on Friday March 20, at the Warrandyte Community Church in Yarra St. Tickets cost $25. The Art Show opens on Saturday and Sunday from 10am. A $5 ticket includes catalogue. Student entry is free.
Yarra St, between the Kangaroo Ground Rd bridge roundabout and Harris Gully Rd roundabout, will be closed to traffic from 10.30am until about 12pm on Saturday March 21.
This year’s festival monarchs and “Smart Arts” ambassadors, Cherry and Joff Manders, will lead the street parade from the Mechanics Institute in Yarra St to Stiggants Reserve. The official ceremony gets underway on Saturday March 21 at 11 am. Community groups, schools, sports clubs, vintage cars, fabulous floats to beat the band – don’t miss it!
MAIN STAGE MUSIC
The music starts at 12.15pm with local school and bush bands and continues with quality acts Winter Suns, Jakubi and Nudist Funk Orchestra among others. Sunday’s program features a variety of talent from 11.30am, including Wishful, The Solicitors and Davidson Brothers. Bring seating and a picnic, or buy food and drink across the weekend.
Uptown Brown kicks off the entertainment at noon on Saturday, followed by a diverse line-up including Sideglance, Tristan Bird and FLAXXON. Sunday’s program starts with everyone’s favourite Pet Parade at 9.30am. Triple J Unearthed High Acts will give music lovers plenty to look forward to in the afternoon.
DRESSED UP DUCKS
Pop in to the Top Tent, Upper Reserve, on Saturday between 10am – 5pm and Sunday 9am – 12pm to vote for your favourite designer duck in Warrandyte’s Most Decorated Ducks competition. Trophies awarded. Official winner announced Sunday at 11.45am.
The Family Bike Ride meets at the Netball Courts in Taroona Avenue at 9am. Enjoy a leisurely ride through the festival precinct and Black Flat. Riders must provide own safety equipment and a responsible adult must accompany children under 15. Registration can be completed on the day. For rules and regulations visit the website www.warrandytefestival.org
Have you got the ‘metal’ to join the billycart hall of fame? Carts line up at the top of Police Street from Sunday 9.30am. Registration takes place between 8.30 – 9.15am for children aged eight to 15 years. The event features a parent’s race, trophies and great prizes. Carts MUST meet strict safety criteria. For inquiries call 0418 357 282 or email contact@warrandyte festival.org
Up to 1000 plastic ducks take the plunge on Sunday at 2.30pm – the first to make it downriver from Police Street to Stiggants Street wins. Ducks can be purchased beforehand for $3 from local schools, or during festival weekend from the Information Caravan. Spec-quackular!
Discover a range of opportunities through local groups and service providers, including: Aboriginal art exhibition, Combined Emergency Services, Parks Victoria and Friends of Warrandyte State Park, Reconciliation Manningham, Warrandyte Community Garden, Warrandyte Community Association, Climate Action Now, Warrandyte Toy Library, local council, stationary and steam engines, miners, blacksmiths, woodcrafters, Animals on the Move, reptiles, and solar/ electric bikes. Warrandyte Tennis Club return with mini nets and radar gun.
SMART ARTS CENTRAL
On Saturday, this tent – located downhill from the Community Church – will give audience members an opportunity to get involved with some of the stage performers. Check out the Funky Monkeys children’s music and circus show from 12pm, followed by ukulele and African drumming workshops and pro- fessional storyteller. All for FREE!
NATURE ARTS PLAY
This popular activity, which returns with the help of Manningham council, can be found at Smart Arts Central this year. Children can build a unique play space of cubbies, nests and sculptures influenced by local flora, from 12.00pm on Sunday only.
Written and directed by Warrandyte Theatre Company members, A Penny For Your Follies! is just the ticket to tickle your funny bone. Comic sketches and musical numbers will be staged on: March 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, 28 and April 9, 10 and 11, from 8pm at the Mechanics Institute Hall.
In its 18th year, The Grand Read’s feature guest is Alex Skovron, author of five collections of poetry and a prose novella. Enjoy the work of quality poets and writers at Warrandyte’s annual literary night of nights from 7.30pm on Tuesday March 24, upstairs at the Grand Hotel. Tickets cost $20 (Concession $16) and include a light supper. Please purchase in advance from Warrandyte Neighbourhood House on 9844 1839. For more info visit the website www.warrandyte neighbourhoodhouse.org.au
Check out www.warrandyte festival.org for information including: program details, accessibility info, road closures, maps and registration forms. Facebookers can search ‘Warrandyte Festival’ for regular weekend updates.
With four star RACV rating, this B&B offers a self-contained two bedroom apartment which can sleep up to five people.
Situated within the heart of the old township, guests are minutes away from Warrandyte’s history, nature, art or the towns many eating establishments.
Alternatively, Crystal Brook Tourist Park is another excellent option for those looking for something a bit more versatile and spacious.
Whether you’re keen to camp, caravan or reside in a deluxe creek-side villa, Crystal Brook Tourist Park caters for all your needs and desires — minus the expensive price tag!
And it’s on the fringe of Warrandyte in Doncaster East on Warrandyte-Heidelberg Road opposite Beasley’s Nursery.
The popularity of sites like Airbnb have not gone unnoticed with Warrandyte homeowners and a quick search of Warrandyte reveals more than 20 options for the traveller who prefers a more homely vacation experience.
Sporting a number of café/bar/pub options and with many of these holding regular “special events” or even live music, a night out is becoming increasingly more popular.
In the centre of Warrandyte there there isThe Grand Hotel and its new sister establishment Next Door— which you will find next door, are great options for listening to live music or for bit of a pre-event tipple before heading off to the Mechanic’s Hall the latest offerings be that theatre or music.
Don’t forget the good old Warrandyte RSL, a favourite for many thanks to its laid back atmosphere up high on the hill in Brackenbury St.
A beaut spot for a game of pool, a drink and a barbecue on the balcony, it’s also a top live entertainment venue the entire family can enjoy with acts on every second Friday night and the last Sunday of every month.
BEST FOR FOOD & COFFEE
There is no denying that Warrandyte offers a feast for all the senses, especially your taste buds.
From excellent rustic bakeries to exquisite fine dining, Warrandyte has something to satisfy your hunger for every occasion when it comes to food.
Breakfast, lunch or dinner, Warrandyte has it covered.
Warrandyte is also home to two Fish and Chip shops — West End Fish & Chips and Seafood by the Yarra.
For the ultimate fine dining experience, why not book a table at Altair on Yarra Street.
GREAT WALKS & BIKE TRAILS
When surrounded by the beautiful bushland and scenic views that Warrandyte has to offer, the desire to go for a walk or bike ride is almost second nature.
Additionally, the hill-filled and vast landscape of our town also makes for great exercise.
So where do you start?
The tranquil walk along the Yarra River is probably the most loved and frequently used track that Warrandyte contains.
Another family-friendly track is the scenic and isolated Main Yarra Trail, where you can begin your journey from Beasley’s Teahouse and ride or walk your way towards the city.
For keen mountain bike riders however, the fire trails of fourth hill present a greater challenge.
There are some great walking trails to be found the The Pound and there is a very scenic walk from Black Flats to Jumping Creek Reserve, which can be accessed from Tills Drive.
North of the river, the Koornong Linear Reserve, off of Osbourne Road is a hidden gem as well as some nice walking an swimming spots at the end of Bradley’s Lane and The Boulevard.
Parks website is a good place to start, but also check out the Runners of Warrandyte Facebook group for advice and inspiration.
MUSEUMS & GALLERIES & INFORMATION
Warrandyte is famous for its rich history of gold mining, Indigenous roots and influential art culture.
Thus, our town has many attractions and places of interest that truly make it a special place to live and visit. For those with an interest in Warrandyte’s history, it is imperative that you visit the Warrandyte Historical Society — a small gallery that aims to preserve and celebrate the town’s past.
Follow your historical lesson with a venture down Whipstick Gully, the home to the gold mines in their original form.
Whilst you’re at it, be sure to be on the lookout for the distinctive Warrandyte listening poles. With a push of a button, listeners are taken back in time through story and song.
In addition, Warrandyte’s secondhand bookshop, Yarra Cottage Books, offers a unique, cultural experience as it showcases rare texts and first editions of books — what you might find will surprise you.
Warrandyte is central enough that a multitude of great day trips to nearby suburbs are reachable within half an hour. In fact, Melbourne’s CBD itself is only 40 minutes away straight down the Eastern Freeway.
For a more local adventure, however, take a drive to Eltham which is only 10 minutes northwest of Warrandyte.
It is certainly worth a visit to grasp a bit of history, pay your respects and admire the superb views.
Along similar lines, Montsalvat of Eltham is a beautiful artist colony where you can take a walk through the scenic gardens, capture some photographs of historic buildings and follow up with lunch at their own café/restaurant.
A trip out to the Yarra Valley is also a must, landing right on the half hour mark from Warrandyte.
Whether you’re a wine enthusiast or a chocoholic, the Yarra Valley has something for everyone.
The wine region is exceptional, with plenty of outstanding wineries waiting to be discovered.
To the delight of avid market-goers, there is no shortage of vibrant, atmospheric markets within the area.
Naturally, the crowd favourite of our Facebook community is naturally the one and only Warrandyte Market, which takes place on the first Saturday of every month.
Check it out for amazing local produce, arts and crafts, plant life, homewares and excellent food and drink.
When the Warrandyte Market isn’t on, there are still plenty of options nearby including the monthly Park Orchards Farmers Market on the third Saturday each month. Popping up every Saturday, the St Andrews Market is certainly worth a visit for its cool, hippy vibes and unique buys.
Thank you to the following people who made suggestions as well as those who contributed anonymously:
Ashlee Hughes, Cara Harwood, Karin Walford, John Luttick, Angela Davies, Debbie Hodgson, Peta Ann Dibb, Grant Egan, Kaz Meady, Danae Barnes, David Schwarzer, PeteandMel Mac and Wendy Snowball.
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