What do we want Warrandyte to be?
4th July 2022
JAMES CHARLWOOD is not only a Warrandyte local but an advocate for
retaining heritage through appropriate building.
He is Director of Cathedral Stone, a stonemason leading in the field of traditional stonemasonry and conservation.
He recently gave a talk on the subject as part of a series of talks organised by Warrandyte Historical Society; a recording of his talk can be found in the link at the bottom of this story.
Following his talk, the Diary reached out to Mr Charlwood to continue the conversation on what we want Warrandyte to be.
Mr Charlwood is passionate about using herit age techniques and materials sympathetic to that goal in all aspects, from what materials we use in our buildings to what our drainage systems look like and to avoid — what sometimes feels like — the inevitable Elthamisation of Warrandyte if we continue to let convenient, utilitarian, building practices run rampant in our town.
The Manningham Planning Scheme is under review, and while the public consultation has ended, it is still a great time to start discussing what Warrandyte is to us — its current, new and future residents.
Mr Charlwood has noted some key discussion points, which we have summarised below:
Iconic landscape and historic character
Less than an hour’s travel from Melbourne’s CBD, and even serviced by a direct buys route, the bush setting and proximity to wildlife and the river is a big draw.
So, why would we use planning policies and overlays which work against the natural environment, not with it?
Our township’s history lives in the walls of its buildings and the stones in its footpaths and is reflected in the trees, river and bush in which our houses sit.
Growing development pressure on our Warrandyte Township means we’ll lose Warrandyte as we know it.
We need to identify our unique Warrandyte character and adopt this into roadside landscapes and new buildings; through context-sensitive
design, using traditional and heritagesensitive materials, our town can evolve without losing its character.
Premiere riverfront township
By population and proximity to CBD,
Warrandyte is the number one riverfront township; there is no other.
Warrandyte’s community is responsible to all of Melbourne to be leaders in managing river water quality and river environs.
Concrete gutters and pipes treat water as a waste product and discharge polluted water into the river.
The solutions currently available to us seem to be either spoon drains or curband-channel, which are dangerous, and rubbish strewn or undesirable.
Water-sensitive drainage alternatives that mimic natural water-cycle systems would reduce stormwater runoff, and the risk of harmful pollutants and algae blooms impacting our natural environment.
Carbon abatement in action
Concrete production is one of the highest carbon-emitting activities; its product can only be used once.
Natural stone can be dug back up and repurposed.
State and Municipal engineers are addicted to concrete.
Examples include the rough handling and crude workmanship at the bridge bus stop stairs and the poor rendition of our civic landscape along Yarra Street (c. 2010).
Let’s get jingoistic about Warrandyte… or we will lose it!
The engineers are coming; let’s not Elthamise Warrandyte.