Tag Archives: warrandyte historical society

A Woi-wurrung name for our park

THE UPGRADED park and land along the Yarra River in Warrandyte, locally known as Lions Park, will be given an official Woi-wurrung name to reflect the language, culture and heritage of the local Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung people.
Once endorsed by Council at its September meeting, the park will be officially named wonguim wilam.
Following earlier consultation with key stakeholders, Manningham Council met with the Warrandyte Lions Club and Masterplan Community Reference Group, who showed support to adopt a Woi-wurrung name for the park.
Council has worked with Aunty Doreen and the Wurundjeri Woi- wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation, who has provided the park name of “wonguim wilam” [pronounced “won-goom willum”], which means “boomerang place”.
Manningham Mayor Cr Andrew Conlon said Council’s commitment to reconciliation is underpinned by respect for the rich and complex nature of the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung culture and heritage and thanked the Warrandyte Lions Club for taking up this important opportunity in reconciliation.

“While Council has committed to creating equity, equality and building relationships, and is close to finalising our Reconciliation Action Plan, reconciliation requires a commitment from the whole community,” he said.
“The Lions Club has shown their willingness to be a community leader by supporting this name change.”

In the coming weeks the precinct will officially adopt the Woi-wurrung name approved by the Wurundjeri Woi- wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation, honouring the original owners of the land.

“We would like to thank past and present members of the Warrandyte Lions Club of the last 40-plus years for maintaining the park and the tennis courts, as well as contributing $45,000 towards the latest exercise equipment,” Cr Conlon said.

Warrandyte Lions Club President David Englefield said it was an honour to look after the park and provide a much loved gathering space for the community over the last four decades.

“The Lions Club has always been looking to make a difference and improve the lives of the Warrandyte people and others in our community,” he said.
“Reconciliation is important and this is an incredible opportunity for us to work with Council and with due consultation, provide leadership in honouring First Nations communities.”

Works on the playspace upgrade are anticipated to begin early next year and completed by mid-2022.
The completed upgrade of the park will feature significant signage taking visitors on a journey through its history and the involvement of the Warrandyte Lions Club.
Manningham will continue to work with the Warrandyte Lions Club on recognising their contributions on a plaque and interpretive signage.
Manningham will continue to work with the Warrandyte Lions Club, Warrandyte Historical Society and the Warrandyte Community Association on the maintenance of the park to ensure it honours its past and present custodians.
An official naming ceremony is planned to be held when COVID restrictions allow.

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A walk into Warrandyte’s history

MANNINGHAM CITY Council and Warrandyte Historical Society have installed another four historical plaques highlighting the rich history of the township.

Historical Society Secretary Valerie Polley said plaques were installed on the Warrandyte Mechanics Institute on the wall facing Yarra Street adjacent to the path leading to the outdoor area, on the front stone wall of the Old Fire Station, on the front wall of the Wine Hall, and on the right hand side of the stone retaining wall behind the War Memorial.

The plaques have been installed on historical buildings around Warrandyte and join another five, which were installed in 2017 at the Warrandyte Grand Hotel, Old Warrandyte Post Office (now museum), Warrandyte Bakery, Gospel Chapel (now Stonehouse Gallery) and the former Butcher’s Shop (now Riveresque).

The Historical Society provided the pictures and text and the council produced and installed the plaques.

The plaques tell the history of each building, providing residents and visitors an insight into the important history of the Warrandyte Township.

The owners and representatives of the properties were consulted on the placement of the plaques in a prominent position.

The new plaques add to the rich fabric of Warrandyte historical documentation and provide a COVID Safe friendly way for those interested to engage with and explore the history of Warrandyte township.

 

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Val Polley honoured

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Val has long been involved with Local Council activities.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Old Warrandyte dairy faces uncertain future

THE OLD WARRANDYTE Dairy, an important reminder of the history of Warrandyte as a township, is under review by Melbourne Water to determine the building’s future.

Even though modern Warrandyte is a suburb of metropolitan Melbourne, until the late 20th century the village was an independent township.

Built in 1948, the building served as a cool room for storing milk delivered from Box Hill.

Melbourne Water currently own the site, and therefore the building, and in late August erected a fence around the entrance to the old building and are now seeking community feedback while they decide the future of this severely dilapidated building.

Andrew Mellor, Team Leader for Melbourne Water’s north east regional services spoke to the Diary about the condition of the building and Melbourne Water’s desire to come up with a solution which serves both the integrity of the site and respects the importance of the building in Warrandyte’s history.

“An engineering assessment of the building will be undertaken in coming weeks, which will help guide discussion around the future of the building.

“We want the community to guide the decision making on a use for the site which is most appropriate for time,” he said.

The Diary also spoke with Margaret Kelly, President of the Warrandyte Historical Society who explained the significance of the building within the township and the reasons why the community should engage with Melbourne Water in deciding the future of the building.

Ms Kelly explained the butchers building, old post office, bakery hotel, dairy and churches are all part of the infrastructure that defines a township.

“There are not many places around that are suburbs of Melbourne that still have all those buildings; that is why I think it is really important to preserve the story of Warrandyte as an independent township,” she said.

Under the Warrandyte Township Heritage Precinct, the old dairy is listed as a building of contributory significance which adds an extra dimension to this story as the building’s original purpose adds to the gestalt of the Warrandyte township.

Ms Kelly believes the loss of this building could not just degrade the history of the township but start a cascade of changes to other buildings within the heritage precinct — but the way forward is not to simply preserve it for the sake of preservation.

“[The] concern is when one building goes that weakens the overlay, so what is to stop someone else who owns another building saying ‘why can’t I knock my one down and move that as well’, so I think you don’t want the dominos to start falling — if it is in a position where it can be saved, I think it should be and in a practical manner as well, not just to preserve it for the sake of it,” she said.

Melbourne Water have told the Diary they will be holding a number of community meetings in the near future.

As we go to print, dates for these meetings have not been set, but follow the Diary Facebook page for information and feedback from these meetings.

Blacksmith’s Hut moves

ONLOOKERS outside the Old Post Office Museum recently were amazed to see a trailer, loaded with a dismantled building, being expertly backed onto the site. The move was the culmination of several months work to save a small relocatable building from loss.

The Blacksmith’s Hut, a small timber and corrugated iron building owned by the Warrandyte Historical Society, was listed on
the Doncaster and Templestowe 1991 Heritage Study as being of at least local interest. It was thought to have been occupied by one of the Sloan family who operated as a blacksmith. It was located for many years behind the then butcher’s shop in Yarra Street. It was later moved to the Getson’s site (Community Centre site) when the Historical Society set up its museum there.

The hut was a centerpiece of
a functioning blacksmith’s shop where every Saturday the blacksmith would undertake repairs and blacksmithing. With the closing down of the site to enable the building of the new centre in the late 1980s, the hut was removed to land in Tills Drive owned by Shirley and Ted Rotherham where it was used for hay storage for many years.
 Fast forward to 2014 and the Rotherham house and land in Tills Drive was about to be auctioned. Manningham’s Heritage Adviser raised a last-minute warning that the hut would be lost if the Society did not act urgently. Frantic phone calls and an obliging seller and purchaser averted this fate and the hut remained on site while the Society sought ways to transfer it to the museum.

Finding a way, funds and permission proved time consuming over the first few months of 2015. However, problems were eventually overcome culminating in the dis- mantling of the hut on-site, loading it onto a trailer and moving it to the museum site in ‘flat-pack’ form. Heritage carpenter Matt Jeffries (aka Crackajack) was responsible for the successful move (aided by a number of willing volunteers) and will also be responsible for reassembling the hut on the museum site.

The Heritage Architect has written a new citation for the hut that says it is rare and relatively intact example of a homemade black- smith’s wagon/sleeping quarters with an attractive ‘domestic’ appearance, probably to encourage trade, which demonstrates a way of life and business for a single man during the 1930s Depression. It’s also important for its association with blacksmith Paul Sloan of the prominent Sloan family, who from the 1850s practiced various trades and businesses in the district, including William Sloan’s Yarra St butcher’s shop established in 1901. The citation considers the hut is of local significance and may well be of state significance due to its rarity.

Photos of the move uploaded
on the Society’s Facebook page invoked an immediate response with several people remembering it as being located on the river bank or playing in it as a cubby. The hut has obviously had several uses over its life and will shortly enter another phase in the grounds of the museum.

The Society possesses blacksmith tools and equipment that may
be able to be displayed once the hut is reassembled. Plans are currently being made as to the hut’s placement on-site and its future use. It is hoped the next phase will commence soon with the support and advice of Manningham council. The Society thanks previous and present owners for their forbearance in moving the hut and all the volunteers involved thus far. It, along with many others in the community, looks forward to seeing it restored once more.