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free nment

Spring

viro and en e r u t ul ity, c commun

Issue 35 • 2019

Circular Fashion Community casseroles Batty about bats Art of the mountain much more

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The hillscene is created in partnership with Burrinja


BELGRAVE

Sunday of the Month

CRAFT . DESIGN .  PRODUCE .  MUSIC   REYNOLDS

LANE

BELGRAVE

WHATS ON

Burrinja | Cnr Glenfern Rd & Matson Drive, Upwey ph: (03) 9754 8723 | w: burrinja.org.au

SHIFTING THRESHOLDS // hillsceneLIVE 2019

SAT & SUN // 9 & 10 NOV | Karwarra Gardens Kalorama Memorial Reserve 1190-1192 Mount Dandenong Tourist Rd, Kalorama The artists of hillsceneLIVE 2019 have created works which delve into the provocation, “turbulent lineages to shifting thresholds”, which looks at both the individual and shared human experience, as well as all the nitty gritty thaings in-between. Be enticed by 2 days of cutting edge works pushing the boundaries of performative forms.

LLOYD SPIEGEL | CUT & RUN TOUR SAT 23 NOV 8PM | Burrinja Theatre Acoustic Blues master Lloyd Spiegel is proud to announce the release of his 10th album ‘Cut and Run’ and is headed out on a mammoth Australian tour to get people acquainted with the new tracks, and is not a show to miss for those who love incredible guitar playing, great songs and the odd tall tale.

BURRINJA SEASON 2020 on sale early December 2019 For Burrinja Season 2020 we have put together a diverse selection of live music, theatre and performances to delight, inspire and enjoy people of all ages. We have season favourites like the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow and Lux Radio Theatre. Paul Grabowsky will be gracing our stage with the talented Kate Cebrano; Archie Roach brings his stories and music. Theatre highlights include George Orwell’s Animal Farm created and adapted by shake & stir theatre co, and Ann Droid, a show which combines theatre with the newest digital technology. Join our mailing list to stay up to date with whats coming up at Burrinja.


editor’s rave

Spring is here I’m Mel Bateson, proudly the Guest Editor of the Spring Issue of The Hillscene mag. A Hills resident since 2005, I love this community, a haven for creativity, nature, education, sports, and friendship. Is it any wonder that more and more people are looking at settling down in the area? The range of topics covered by our talented team of local writers is testimony to this diversity. That warm sense of renewal that often accompanies the beginning of Spring is seen in the articles herein, for example in the rejuvenation at Monbulk College, thanks to the driving force that is Principal Margaret Uren. There is never a dull moment in these parts, and I can assure you that the topics we seek to cover are always more than we fit into any one edition of this mag! I’ve had the privilege of meeting with many people in the area during my term as Guest Ed, and I am richer for this experience. If you have ever had a nagging need to write, design or investigate on a local level, give some thought to applying for a guest editorship or guest designer role here. We hope you enjoy this edition of The Hillscene, as we have enjoyed producing it Signing off Mel x

The hillscene is created in partnership with Burrinja

Editor: Melanie Bateson Designer: Tiffany Morris-North Cover: Bev Hardidge’s artwork from Art of the Mountain exhibition Contributors: Toni Main, Melanie Bateson, Jane Thomas, Julian Guess, Lisa Ford, Kelly Castalletti, Maroulla Radisavic, Luke Argall, Cameron Semmens, Tiffany Morris North & Adriana Alvarez facebook: The Hillscene www.hillscene.com.au blog: hillsceneblog.wordpress.com/ For submission and advertising enquiries email: hillscene@westnet.com.au Printed by Ferntree Print on Envirocare 100gsm recycled paper. © Copyright 2016

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The secret treasure of

Kalorama Words and photography by Toni Main

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or many of us, when we think of the Dandenong Ranges, we think of mountain tops with picturesque views, luscious temperate rainforests, charming gardens and a great community of inspiring artists. What would you say if I told you that for two weeks in October, you only need go to one spot to experience all of these things? ‘Art of the Mountain’ is an art exhibition held at Karwarra Australian Native Botanic Garden and Plant Nursery in Kalorama. The exhibition will celebrate the beauty and diversity of the Dandenong Ranges by exhibiting artwork by local artists inspired by Australian native flora and fauna and the stunning natural landscapes of the region. The exhibition will be held between Saturday 5th and Sunday 20th October, in the height of spring, when you can see the native botanic garden flowering in the lovely weather. Over 70 artists are contributing works to the exhibition including renowned botanical artist Marta Salamon, who is inspired by the awesome structures within nature, both in creatures and plants, and

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award winning ceramicist Eva Glac, with her heartwarming ceramic sculptures of the intricate details in Australian native flora. You can also see beautiful watercolour renderings of native birds such as the Kookaburra and the Eastern Spinebill by local artist ITHAO, a regular teacher at Sherbrooke Art Society in Belgrave. There will also be pieces by unexpected artists such as knife-maker Matthieu Dechamps, jewellery crafter Helene Campbell (of Tall Trees Studios) and poet / illustrator Cameron Semmens. The exhibition will burst beyond the walls of the gallery, featuring abstract and figurative sculptures placed in the gardens created by skilled artist duo, Juet, who work with recycled steel, wood and stone. Programmed over the two weeks, you will also have an opportunity to experience more than the artwork, with creative workshops with Two Floors Studios artists on Saturday 12th October and demonstrations from textile artist Leesa Chandler on site on Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th October. Lee Goller will be facilitating a free pottery


demonstration / workshop for those that want to get their hands dirty on Sunday 6th and Saturday 19th October.

Friends. The garden has a small retail native plant nursery open to the public during normal Karwarra opening hours.

Claire Iocane-Hadley will be running an eco-dying workshop for those that want to be creative with nature on Sunday 6th October 10am – 3pm. These workshops are available to book, at $130 per person. The workshop will include a light lunch and a guided walk around the garden. For further information and booking details contact Karwarra Garden on 97284256 or Friendskarwarra@gmail.com.

Artists looking to exhibit in the Karwarra Gallery at other times of the year are welcome to contact Karwarra for more information. The fees are very affordable. All exhibitions must be in response to native flora and fauna to be presented in the gallery.

While there have been successful Botanical and Wildlife exhibitions at Karwarra in the past, the ‘Art of the Mountain’ exhibition will showcase a more flexible interpretation of Australian flora and fauna. This ‘passion project’ of The Friends of Karwarra is lead by Committee member Helen Beck. When Helen moved to the Dandenong’s, she was immediately attracted to the beautiful Karwarra Gardens, and with her long history of working in art and tourism, she saw the potential for something amazing to happen. “We started with teapot cosies.” Helen says. “We asked local artists to make teapot cosies that responded to our lovely flora and fauna, it was a great laugh, with some of the artists really playing and having fun with the theme and their quirky sense of humour, but we saw that this was just the beginning.” That exhibition premiered last year as a much smaller exhibition. “This year, we went big.” Helen and the Friends of Karwarra see ‘Art of the Mountain’ as an opportunity to promote the gardens and the gallery. The exhibition is a chance to further Karwarra’s exposure to the community. As part of the preparation for the exhibition, Helen contacted many well-known local artists to promote the opportunity. She went on to explain that “so many of the artists that I contacted to come see the garden, for inspiration, had never been here before and are returning with friends and family.” Helen hopes to see an increase in membership to Friends of Karwarra as more people in the community find out about this little treasure. Annual membership is only $10 for an individual, and includes invites to special events such as the opening of exhibitions and ‘Breakfast with the Birds’. Members can learn to look after a native garden, help with weeding, raking and propagation. If you are not so interested in the practical side of the garden you may have skills and interests that you can bring to The

Karwarra will also be the venue for this year’s hillsceneLIVE Festival Shifting Thresholds to be held on 9 + 10 November. The festival sees 16 live art makers create experimental art and performative expression that delves into our shared human experience as they unearth the lineages of our collective past and move towards our shared future. ‘Art of the Mountain’ Exhibition Saturday 5th – Sunday 20th October 10:00 – 4:00pm Tuesday to Sunday Karwarra Australian Native Botanic Garden and Nursery - Kalorama Memorial Reserve 1190-1192 Mount Dandenong Tourist Rd, Kalorama Ph: 03 972 84256 www.facebook.com/FriendsofKarwarraGarden/ Instagram friendsofkarwarra Friendskarwarra@gmail.com To find out more about the hillsceneLIVE Festival – Shifting Thresholds go to www.hillscenelive.com

Workshops & demonstrations Sunday 6th October Demonstrations from textile artist Leesa Chandler Free pottery demonstration and workshop with Lee Goller Eco-dying workshop with Claire Iocane-Hadley The eco-dying workshops are available to book, at $130 pp and include a light lunch and guided walk around the garden Saturday 12th October Demonstrations from textile artist Leesa Chandler Creative workshops with Two Floors Studios Sunday 13th October Demonstrations from textile artist Leesa Chandler Saturday 19th October Free pottery demonstration and workshop with Lee Goller

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Community Solutions in a Changing Climate Words by Julian Guess and Toni Main

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n Friday 9th of August, around 200 locals headed to Burrinja Cultural Centre in Upwey to hear from a range of speakers on community solutions in a changing climate. The event was a cross functional collaboration between Yarra Ranges Council and community groups, coming together to organise and promote the event. If you didn’t get a chance to attend this extremely relevant information session, here’s a quick run-down of what happened, thanks to Yarra Ranges Sustainability Officer, Julian Guess. Ellen Kimball founder of the Hills Community for Climate Action was our MC for evening and we heard from 11 year old Maleka Steel from Kick Ass Climate Action – a youth group based out of Yarra Valley ECOSS in Wesburn. Uncle Dave Wandin provided an excellent Welcome to Country, highlighting it is now believed indigenous Australians have lived in this country for some 120,000 years and have seen and adapted to changes in climate during this time. He said we needed food, water and shelter, the fundamentals for sustaining life. Yarra Ranges Mayor, Cr Tony Stevenson, was applauded when he announced that, at the recent Australian Local Government Association’s assembly in Canberra, the overwhelming majority of Council’s represented voted to call on the federal government to declare a national climate emergency.  Cr Stevenson then went on to highlight some of the sustainable achievements Council has made including over 3000 solar panels on 36 Council buildings generating over 1MW of power, 800,000 plants provided in Council’s Ribbons of Green program, 2 electric vehicles recently joining the fleet and support for community renewable energy groups. Our first main speaker was Dr Susie Burke, an environmental psychologist, who presented on Psychological Strategies to stay engaged and act on Climate Change. Our 2nd speaker was Associate Professor Lauren Richards from RMIT

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who spoke on Strengthening Community Resilience. Both presentations can be found on the Yarra Ranges Council website. Cr Stevenson, Uncle Dave Wandin, Dr Susie Burke and A/Prof Lauren Richards formed a panel on stage to answer a host of questions from the audience with the main themes: • Shelter and support for vulnerable families on extreme fire danger days • Food security in a changing climate • Greenhouse emissions from increased tourism • Emergency management in the face of a changed climate for both locals and visitors Many thanks to our guest speakers and to the many supporting community groups that made the event the success that it was. The Community Solutions in a Changing Climate event is part of a bigger program being undertaken by the Yarra Ranges Council in providing the community with more information about climate change. Julian told me that there was a perception that the community did not know the extent of the council’s actions in regards to the climate crisis, so they set out to showcase their efforts (such as energy efficiency programs, planting 800,000 plants on private land and much more). This lead to the creation of a short film Yarra Ranges – 2040 and prompted a push to provide helpful information to the community in regards


Photos courtesy of Kelly Castalletti from Yarra Ranges Council

to their personal commitment to combating climate change. Council has already held an information session in Healesville for the farming community which was well received. The next event will be an information session for the community about household energy efficiency and solar panels to be held in Mooroolbark on Wednesday 4th December, coinciding with Council’s roll out of a campaign around how solar panels can save the planet and also save energy costs for the home. Julian was excited to announce that the fabulous Rod Quantock has been confirmed as the MC for the event. If you would like to find out more about how you can get involved in climate action in the hills, you can contact: • Dandenong Ranges Renewable Energy Association (www.drrea.org.au) based in Emerald and Upwey, who aim to initiate community based renewable energy projects in the Dandenong Ranges and adjoining areas. • The new Facebook group the Hills Community for Climate Action, a grass-roots community group made up of residents of the Dandenong Ranges and surrounds, who hold grave concerns about the current climate crisis, yet are motivated to seek community solutions to inspire change from the bottom up.

For more information about what the Yarra Ranges Council is doing in regards to climate change you can head to www.yarraranges.vic.gov.au/ Environment/Climate-change. Whilst you are there, perhaps can watch the Yarra Ranges Council- 2040 short documentary and participate in the climate change survey. Yarra Ranges Council wants to hear from you about what else they should be doing about climate change. You can also download the presentations from the Community Solutions in a Changing Climate event. “Psychological Strategies to stay engaged and act on Climate Change” by Dr Susie Burke and “Strengthening Community Resilience” by Associate Professor Lauren Richards.

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Managing the Juggle –



Tamarind Croft

Words and pictures by Melanie Bateson

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y yearning to understand how others manage their version of the juggling act life, children, creative endeavour, paying bills, eating etc – has lead me to local, Tamarind Croft. She appears to be nailing it. Single mother, owner and designer of beautiful, comfortable, versatile and flattering clothing at Wilga. I had to know how she was getting this done! So in I went for a bit of a chin wag, and I can tell you I was left with the image of a determined, savvy chick with a strong desire to find her own way of balancing both her creative flare, and her home life. Tam, as she is affectionately known, first came to my attention when I was having a latte in Kallista several years ago. Her shop was beautiful, the clothing right up my alley, but it was the lady herself who made the greatest impression. It was

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her calm. I didn’t get it, knowing that she had two children at that point, and another on the way, (Quinn, now 15, Padma 8 and Daisy now 5)! I could barely manage to brush my teeth, dress myself and vacuum. It appears that part of the answer may lay in her genetics. Her mother’s background in high end retail fashion, her paternal grandmothers sewing skills, and the gift of a sewing machine at age 12 from her father were all supportive of Tam’s bent toward fashion design. Tam recalls with pride making velvet hooded cloaks with lace trim for her lucky Barbie doll, all from beautiful 1970s frocks compliments of her generous Mum. The original dresses were spectacular, however those dolls were no doubt the best dressed in the land. Moving to Melbourne from the Sunshine Coast in


1997, Tam applied to RMIT’s fashion design course, only to find that they were not interested. Travelling to Germany for love, she and her beau resided above a designer shop, and she started drawing designs like a fiend. Upon her return to Melbourne, and undeterred by the rebuff by RMIT, Tam made her first collection of flared pants out of saris purchased at the Dandenong Market, and a star was born. Her clothing was stocked at It Inc in Greville Street, after she got to chatting with a shop assistant there, who promptly bought the entire collection. Tam went on to stock her ranges, which also included lingerie, on consignment to Alice Euphemia, Dollhouse, Fat 52 in Fitzroy, and Fat 272 in Chapel Street, and was very proud to be a local designer. Her pieces were featured in Marie Claire magazine, it was clear that Tam was on to something. When pregnant, Tam suffered from an illness and had to stop her consignment work. Many people would have responded at this point by downing tools and dealing with the baby and the health and the stuff. Not our girl. She decided that opening her own shop would be the answer, so that she had greater control. It was also a new beginning. Seeing an empty shop in Kallista’s main street, Tam made enquiries. The fact that it was a former butchers shop, was very stinky as a result, still had meat hooks hanging from the ceiling, and an inadequate front window were minor details for Tamarind. She negotiated with the agent for a decent window to be installed, and cleaned like a woman possessed. Wilga opened when she was 7 months pregnant with Quinn. Initially stocking ranges designed by friends, some lower price point Chinese imports, as well as her own clothes, Tam sat at the sewing machine at the desk and sewed to her heart’s content. Quinn’s arrival did not deter her, despite the fact that he was none too pleased with the confines of the play-pen set up in the shop to contain him. The lower price point these days is being serviced by Tam’s exciting forage range, clothing made from vintage fabric that she finds in second hand shops etc. Forging on, Tam set up a 2nd shop in several locations, however they never took off quite like the shop here in Kallista. There is a certain kismet here that even she cannot quite define. Tam is now trying an online shop, and has opened a place in Queensland which is run by her Mum and younger sister. The juggle was aided by Kallista’s handy pre and

primary schools and the neighbouring General Store. From my perspective, here’s the clincher. Tam does not have the support of her family down here. Her sister and mother still reside in Queensland. She has friends who assist her here and there, but no constant, on hand babysitter. Tam’s determination not to be trapped by the “norm” has informed her choices, and given her focus, despite the many challenges. The shop employs several part-time staff, and Tam pays rent, so combined with the costs of designing, manufacturing and selling here in Australia, she’s not exactly luxuriating in a Hills mansion. Tam tells me that her idea of business success will be to finally earn herself a small wage from the shop, a goal she will achieve soon. Until then, she makes ends meet with the help of the Governments’ single parent pension, and lives as frugally as she can. When at home, Tam has made the conscious decision to leave work…at work. She doesn’t even bring her laptop home. This enables her to give her home time completely to her gorgeous brood, and ensure that her life has perspective. It would be all too easy to allow her passion for design and manufacturing to take over completely, but balance is essential. When the children are at the shop, they know that it’s work time, and when they are at home, Tam is just Mum. “Her Time” is once the children are asleep, and she can just veg out in front of the TV. She even manages to get to Yoga once a week. This girl’s juggle is an impressive one, to an onlooker like me, but to Tam, she’s just doing what she has to do to feel like she is control of her life. Her creative endeavour is as important to her as her family, and she has sacrificed a more lucrative financial payout to ensure that she can do both, her way.

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Welcome to the aerie creative ecology

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Words by Toni Main

nyone who has been into Burrinja in the last six months would know that the redevelopment is well under way. This redevelopment, funded by a partnership between the state government through the growing suburbs fund, and the Yarra Ranges Council, will see Burrinja reinvigorated into a flowing active and more useable space, incorporating reconfigured Burrinja galleries – with museum standard lighting and climate control, café, hospitality and music performance space and fully re-developed artist studios and creative making spaces. After all the anticipation, we are happy to announce that applications open soon for the new Burrinja artist studios to be known as The aerie creative ecology. The intention of the aerie creative ecology is to cultivate creative expression, promote creative economies and foster creative connections. The aerie is a place that aims to be a playful / creative / social / cultural space that is accessible to all. This new initiative includes purpose built studios, coworking habitats, an exhibition program and creative professional development opportunities. The aerie is all about like meeting like, and then finding underlying connections with other creative enterprises, providing scope for an intersection between the different artists in the community. At the heart of the aerie is studio tenancy for artists, creative enterprises and arts businesses across most

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disciplines, ranging from visual artists, to writers, from game developers to graphic designers, and everything in between. The aerie provides affordable space to support artists to undertake ambitious projects, sustain their practice and work collaboratively. Studio tenancy is through a competitive application process that will be assessed by a selection committee comprising of Burrinja staff; Cultural Development Producer, Exhibition Curator and Venue Manager, and one external arts professional. In making the final decision, we will take into account the following factors: • a mix of artforms • cultural diversity • gender diversity • access for artists with disabilities • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage of applicants • balance of emerging, mid-career and established artists • strong support for local artists Successful applicants will be offered a three year tenancy in the available studios. Such a long term tenancy is a luxury that most not-for-profit organisations are not able to provide; however, Burrinja sees the value in providing a stable and supported environment for artists and creatives’ long term, to enable them to develop their practice. As part of their tenancy, artists and creatives will also have access to the formal professional development


provided by Burrinja. The program will be provided through a series of workshops on arts business, marketing and strategic development, whilst The Cultural Development Producer will liaise with each tenant to support and mentor them through their tenancy. The purpose built studios have been designed to attract the 80,000 p/a visitors to Burrinja with glass frontage and the Burrinja boutique arts shop. Aerie artists and creatives will also have the opportunity to exhibit works as part of the Aerie exhibition program. It is our ambition that The aerie will become a regional cultural hub for creative, public and community engagement. Burrinja will promote, enable and support diversity of tenancy and equity of access to the aerie. All studio artists can participate in the Dandenong Ranges Open Studios Program with nearly 8000 visitations over two days. With a very extensive marketing campaign, visitors come from all over Victoria to experience the makers hidden in the hills. Burrinja is committed to supporting artists and the development of their practice by providing affordable space for artists to create work, and for

the local community to engage with art and culture that reflects both our heritage and contemporary lifestyle. Stage one applications (for the independent studio spaces) opens on 1st November and closes on 6th December, 2019. Successful artists will move into their new creative homes in early 2020 (pending completion of the redevelopment). To apply head to the Burrinja website. If you are interested in having a studio in the Aerie, please contact Burrinja’s Cultural Development Producer, Toni Main to find out more. You can also book in a place at the Aerie information session on 12th November, 2019. Bookings are essential as this session will also include a site visit to the newly built studios that will still be part of the building site. The aerie creative ecology Applications open 1st November Applications close 6th December Information session and studio tour 12th November For more information check out the Burrinja website www.burrinja.org.au/art/studios For any queries contact Burrinja’s Cultural Development Producer, Toni Main on ccd@burrinja.org.au or call 03 9754 1509

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Games Night Words and pictures by Jane Thomas

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bout five years ago my husband was invited by a friend to join a monthly board games night. I assumed they would be sitting around playing Monopoly or perhaps they were playing Dungeons and Dragons, and to be perfectly frank, neither of these options were particularly appealing. Monopoly is a board game that most of us have played to death and Dungeons and Dragons has the unfair stereotype of being a game played only by basement dwelling nerds. Over the ensuing months, however, he would come home and describe an amazing array of games. His friend lent us some games and the first one we played was Ticket to Ride. This award winning railway themed board game came out in 2004, is available in 19 languages and has sold over 6 million copies worldwide. It’s popularity does not surprise me, one game of it and I was hooked! Suddenly the world of board gaming, more correctly known as tabletop gaming, (which includes any game played on a tabletop such as board games, card games, dice games etc), had sucked me in. 

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I am not alone in my interest. Globally, games sales are set to hit $8.12 billion by 2021. There are dedicated table top game cafes and bars in inner city Melbourne where you can try out a huge array of games. I decided to see if there was anything a little more local and that’s when I discovered “Goat Games : Pub Board Game Night” at The Fat Goat bar in Upwey. I rounded up some friends and work colleagues and we headed on down to check out the September games night. The Fat Goat games night is run by Peter and Laura Serwylo who have been regulars at the bar since it reopened in 2018. They started bringing board games with them to play over a few drinks and after a while Fat Goat owner Ian Fern approached them and asked them if they wanted to run a board game night on the second Thursday of every month. Peter and Laura have a collection of around 100 board games at home. I asked Laura how they choose which games to bring. “We try and pick ones that are relatively easy to teach and


accessible to all sorts of people because you’re going to have people that play a lot of board games, and people who haven’t played them before, and people who are here to meet people and be social, and people who are here to be a bit more strategic so we bring a range of games and pick out ones on the night that seem to be suitable.” The numbers of people at these nights vary, and on the night we attended they were about 15-20 people, so three individual games tables were set up to accommodate everyone. Games played that night included the classic Settlers of Catan, as well as Dixit, Gentlemen Thieves, Survive:Escape from Atlantis and Citadels. One of the attendees brought along one of his own games and Laura said “if you can teach a game and you’re happy to play it then bring it along and see what happens”. They have had families with teenagers attend (kids are welcome as long as they are accompanied by a guardian) and every age group is welcome. You don’t have to have any experience at playing the games. Believe me, board gamers love teaching people how to play the games and sharing their passion. Adrien, an Upwey local, has been attending games nights for the last 8 months and has found a community through these gatherings. “We meet locals, we meet neighbours we didn’t know, we meet people from all walks of life and it literally ties the community together” She works in the area of mental health and says “In a time when there is lots of PTSD and depression this is the perfect time to get out of the house and play board games and connect” Another local, Alanna, saw the flyer in the window of The Fat Goat. She said she’s always liked board games but didn’t know about modern board games, and the games night had opened up a whole new world for her. I asked Alanna what she liked about the board games nights and she said “I really like socialising with other people, it is really good fun and you don’t need to know the group to join in. I have found with so many other things you need to have an “in”, whereas here you just don’t need one, you just turn up and say” I’m willing” and because everybody needs everybody else to play the game it creates an environment where yes, you’re welcome and bring your friends!” Both women reflected on the fact that, for women,

going out at night alone to meet people, particularly to pubs, can be an intimidating and sleazy experience, but going to a games night was a safe space where you are welcomed and can socialise with people with no expectations other than enjoying a fun night of gaming. Over a few hours, and some delicious mulled apple cider, I fully indulged my inner games geek. The variety of games means there is something to suit everyone. There are games that involve pure strategy, those that require imagination and creativity, cooperative games that require players to work together instead of against each other and games that involve role playing, to name but a few. Immersing yourself in a game is a wonderful way to put the stresses of the day to one side without resorting to staring at a screen. My mind was challenged and entertained and honestly, I can’t wait for the second Thursday of next month to roll around so I can head back to The Fat Goat and see what games Laura and Peter have brought along this time. Perhaps I’ll see you there? For details of The Fat Goat games nights check out their website -www.thefatgoat.com.au or www.facebook.com/pg/fatgoatupwey The Boronia Library has a tabletop games night on the first Wednesday of every month and Belgrave Library has a Dungeons and Dragons afternoon session on the fourth Thursday of every month. Check out www.events.yourlibrary.com.au for details. The Cockatoo RSL has a monthly UNO competition on Saturday nights, details can be found at www.facebook.com/CockatooRSL Burrinja Cultural Centre will be having a board games event in the near future, for details keep an eye on their Facebook page or website.

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Stories behind the facade Words by Adriana Alvarez ‘Stories behind the Façade’ is a heritage project and fine art exhibition showcasing a unique artform fused with heritage interpretation, bringing to life the multiple historical layers of significant buildings in the Dandenong Ranges. The brainchild of ‘Yola and Daria’ mother and daughter creative collaboration, Yola (Jolanta Pawlowska) and Daria (Samantha Moon) will be producing the paper cut art that is the central focus of the exhibition. The ladies stress that it has been very much a group effort. Within the project team, Jesse Raaen is in charge of the written component of the exhibition, he has also contributed many of his personal photos to the project. Tex Moon has conducted and edited all of the oral history interviews with community members. Yola is a paper cut artist who extends the traditional boundaries of the Polish art form known as ‘Wycinanki’ and applies it to Architecture. Daria shares her mum’s love for architecture and heritage and comes from a graphic design and illustration background. On the basis of this shared love and complimentary skills they decided to collaborate on this exhibition where the histories and associated stories of these buildings will be revealed not only through the artworks but through recorded community stories, written building biographies and photographs as well. Why did you pick the buildings that are in the exhibition? A lot of thought went into the selection of the individual buildings. It was important to us to have a representation of a range of architectural styles, we also took into account what stories the buildings hold. We wanted them to tell a story of a range of activities and characteristics that have made the Dandenongs what they are today. Tell me a bit about the process of researching the history and creating the artworks. Each artwork starts with the tedious but rewarding task of recreating an architectural drawing of the building from current and historic photos. In addition to the main building, at times I

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will highlight significant architectural design features associated with the building or property. Then the artwork is hand coloured to establish which papers and how many are required to produce the artwork. Once a selection of papers is sourced, I print different sections of the building onto corresponding coloured papers. Now I get to hand the artwork over to mum who then cuts (with scissors and scalpel) and glues every minute detail by hand to produce the final piece with some of the more labour intensive pieces taking her around 200 hours to complete. As for the research, it all started with a lot of Googling, trawling the heritage databases and talking to relevant people. We have been very pleasantly surprised by the level of support from members of the community, Historical Societies and Yarra Ranges council. After much deliberation we shortlisted buildings which significantly contributed to the Dandenong Ranges, and sometimes state and national, cultural history. Burnham Beeches (archt. Harry Norris) for its many uses/lives, contribution to local economy and its prominent Art Deco significance. Miller Short House (archt. Frederick Romberg) for prominent Modernist architecture and example of the migration of wealthy society from central/ inner Melbourne Mawarra ‘The Grove’ (archt. Harold DesbroweAnnear and LND Edna Walling) for its prominent scientific (botanical) and Arts and Crafts significance; Kenloch, for scientific (botanical) significance and example of the development of private homes to guest house and restaurants during the 1920s. Lastly, St Michael and All Angels church (archt. Keith Reid) for its historical, social and community value. We have to say a huge thank you to all the interviewees that have been so generous with their time and knowledge. Their stories and accounts of these buildings have contributed greatly to our understanding of the lives the buildings have lived and to the Dandenong Ranges cultural landscape.


Why do you think some buildings hold such fascination for people? Heritage buildings provide such a great snapshot of a moment. Their architectural styles and materials eternally stamp them to that time period. Architecture is an artform and some buildings are truly beautiful, people travel the world to experience it and it can quickly become an obsession. Of course, it’s more than that though, it’s more than the bricks and mortar, they are a living history. Once you start delving into the history, the stories of the people that lived there, the people who commissioned the houses, the buildings take on a life of their own. Something that we have found really nice throughout this project is the influence that buildings can have on people’s lives. It’s hard to put this into words but it has been an uplifting part of this project to see that intangible attachment that people form with a building. It’s the lives of the people who have come and gone from within it’s walls that create the real interest and fascination. What was your favourite story from the research? It’s hard to choose just one and also hard to answer this without spoiling the exhibition. There’s a bit of everything though: we have rags to riches stories; stories of famous people; stories of extreme wealth and decadence; an unexpected story of a pet cemetery; ghosts; multiple stories of inspiring strong female role models; human resilience and community support; philanthropy; buildings that have lived multiple lives and of course some incredibly innovative architectural design.

What talks will be part of the exhibition. Actress and playwright Sara Hardy, author of biography ‘The Unusual Life of Edna Walling’, will give us an insight into the inspiring landscape architect herself. “An evening talk on scientific (botanical) and horticultural significance of the regions, associated and neighbouring gardens. Craig Wilson, Gentiana Nursery will speak about the magnificent garden of Sir Arthur Streetons ‘Longacres’, Emma Moysey, Ferny Creek Horticultural Society will be giving an insight in to ‘Kenloch’ and John Curtis, Parks Victoria will give an overview of the beautiful Alfred Nicholas Memorial Garden, Pirianda garden (formerly owned by the Ansell family) and George Tindale Memorial Garden. ‘Yola and Daria’ will run an afternoon drop in ‘Q and A’ session with artist Jolanta (Yola) demonstrating the intricate art of ‘Wycinanki’ paper cutting. For those who are interested in a hands-on experience, Kelly Sullivan, local Hills vintage inspired contemporary pop artist, will be running a fabulous paper cutting and collaging workshop.

‘Stories behind the Façade’ will be showing at Yarra Ranges Regional Museum from Saturday 9 Nov 2019 – Sunday 26 January 2020 and is funded by Yarra Ranges Council through their Community Grants Program. For information visit www.yolaanddaria.com.au www.facebook.com/yolaanddaria www.instagram.com/yolaanddaria

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Batty about bats Words by Lisa Ford

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hen I told friends I would be writing an article about bats, some were politely interested, but others expressed revulsion. They went on to explain their concerns about bats carrying disease, even though very few people have ever died of bat-borne disease such as Hendra virus. You may as well be terrified of all manner of other things that kill many more people, such as cars, alcohol and even, well, other people! While no one owned up to it, I secretly wondered whether, deep down, bats’ literary association with vampires and witches has given them an undeservedly bad reputation? I myself have long been fascinated by bats: they are the only mammals who can fly, they hang kookily upside down in cheeky groups, and the unexpected sight of a bat darting nimbly through the night sky always gives me a thrill that nature in action is close at hand. What’s not to love? But it wasn’t until I moved to the Hills that I got up close and personal with one of these little darlings. A ‘bird’ which had moved into our house in Olinda to wake me up each night by flying around our bedroom turned out to be a microbat. He would edge his way out of the wooden wall panels each night and fly about until we opened the window to ‘let the bat out’. He always managed to return the next night, hinting at an uncanny ability to find his way home.

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But that was about as far as my knowledge of bats went. So when the Friends of Glenfern Valley Bushland (FGBV) advertised a Bat information night, I was in! I had never been to a Friends event before. As I trekked out on that cold, dark winter’s night, I was warmed by their companionship and hospitality and understood why they called themselves the ‘Friends’. Many of the members had evidently been cooking up a storm beforehand, and they generously shared a hearty feast of pumpkin soup, frittata, salad cups and cheese boards. This local band of nature-lovers have been volunteering for close to 20 years. They shared with me the dark history of the Glenfern Valley Bushland, which the Friends rescued and remediated from its former degrading land uses as a quarry, 4WD track and illegal dumping site. Their restoration work has included removal of extensive weeds, regeneration of native species and creation of frog ponds. The Bushland is being returned to a haven for nature and nature-lovers. And this is where bats come into the picture. Our guest speaker was Robert Bender, who explained how the Glenfern Valley Bushland is also home to little bats or microbats, mainly the common Gould’s Wattled Bats. These tiny insect-loving


fellows eat half their weight in flies and beetles every night, and yet weigh only as much as a 50 cent coin. As they are super small, they also need to be super-furry to survive in our cool climate. If you are already marvelling at how different bats are to us, think again. If you were to look at a bat’s skeleton, it bears a remarkable similarity to a human’s, except that our leg bones are long whereas their hand bones are long: way back, we share a common ancestor. Bats just overflow with ‘fun facts’: for instance, a quarter of Australia’s 360 mammal species are bats, but these 90 are only a small part of the world’s population of over 1200 bat species. This diversity is in part due to their sociability. Rather than compete with each other, each bat species will specialise so that every niche of food size and type is targeted. We humans have much to learn from such collaborative behaviour. Big bats or mega bats such as flying foxes are nomads who can fly up to 500 kms in a single night. While concentrated in the tropics, these populations are increasingly having to move south as the climate heats up. So spare a thought for these unfortunate climate refugees if you find one nibbling on your fruit tree. The next night, they may be rejuvenating our local eucalyptus forests, as flying foxes (along with birds) are Australia’s great pollinators. Little bats or microbats are so brave they have been found 3 miles up in the stratosphere, because where there are insects, bats will follow. Yet the smallest microbats weigh as little as a five cent

coin. These little fellows sport various designs of unusual facial structures, which enable them to hear their prey via an echo-locator system. By creating an incredibly precise sound image of their environment, they can feed as often as every 30 seconds. They are so successful that their overall body design has barely changed in 55 million years, since prehistoric times. So next time you spot a bat in the night sky, marvel at its superb adaptation to an increasingly hostile environment. Keep your cat and your dog in at night so these little creatures can fly safely. And consider placing a bat box in your gum tree to provide a safe haven for a microbat family, and a natural method of insect control for your summer barbies. If you find a lone bat in your bat box, it is most likely a male seeking a little ‘quiet time’. If you find up to 100 bats, they will all be females having a good old chinwag – just like at your barbie! Bats and humans do indeed share some things in common. If like me, you are interested to understand more about these fascinating creatures, Sue Churchill’s field guide Australian Bats is a great place to start. If you like the sound of the good works and camaraderie of the Friends of Glenfern Valley Bushland, new members are always welcome. www.glenfernvalleybushlands.org.au www.facebook.com/ FriendsOfGlenfernValleyBushlands

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Monbulk College Redevelopment Words by Melanie Bateson.

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hat an educative experience it was to catch up for a chat with Monbulk College Principal, Margaret Uren, on the topic of the school’s redevelopment progress. Margaret has discovered a skill set she didn’t know that she possessed, leading the team effort it takes to realise the vision of a school improvement project of this magnitude. “We had all old buildings that had asbestos in them. We had buildings that were needing a lot of repair, and so originally we got funding to refurbish. When we got the quotes to do that, the quote for part of it was more than 80% of building a new building. So to renovate a building that was 60 years old was not cost effective”. As a result, they then looked at funds that had come for the renovation to be used instead for a new building. These funds were promised by the shadow labour government, if they got into power during the 2014 election. The seat of Monbulk was held by James Merlino, and still is. The promise was kept. “We designed this building with architects Vincent Chrisp, and it went out to tender. The tender was so much higher than what we had, that it didn’t progress.” In the meantime, they received funding to do the second half of the building. “We had the 3 million for this building, the 7 million to do the other parts. That then went out to tender and came in within budget. That meant that it was going to be staged. They demolished the end of the wing, which was our library, some class rooms and they left the staff room. We put a temporary library up in another part of the college.” That temporary library was housed in said staff room, and the staff room was housed in a storeroom. Talk about making do for the greater good! That level of discomfort for the staff was maintained for around 15 months! The asbestos was removed over the Christmas holidays in the interests of student and staff safety. “Previously anyone coming to the school had to walk up a heap of steps to come in, or take the little

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Monbulk College Principal Margaret Uren

outside lift that was beside it. That got you into the front door but it didn’t get you to any of the interview spaces, it didn’t get you to the uniform shop, you then had to go to other places in the college.” This was a massive pain in the butt for the admin staff, who were forever up and down directing visitors to where they needed to go. “Whereas now, the area has been designed so the principals office, the general office, the interview room, the meeting space, the uniform shop and the sickbay, which was in another location again, are all at ground level when you walk in that front door from the carpark”.


As is generally the case up in the Hills, wet weather held the build up, so that it took the entire first term to have all of the furniture and boxes moved into the space. Now Stage 1 is complete making the college facilities easily accessible. The new library is uniquely and infinitely flexible, due to all library shelving being on wheels and with a beautiful exposed beam ceiling, is a light and airy space. As for the students, “All my kids that get in to the two new classrooms say “Oh Miss, are we in there today?!” with great excitement and anticipation. “The second stage, which is being built at the moment, is due for completion in a fortnight. That has six classrooms, four for our new Year 7 Centre, two computer classrooms. It has the new staff centre, and my staff are counting the days until they’re there. It also houses the Student Wellbeing Coordinators’ office.” The new girls toilets are also in this stage of the development, much to the chagrin of the boys! With some large areas of wall space in Stage 2, there will be ample opportunity to display hung art, to the delight of ‘Learning Area Leader’ from the Arts. Visual Arts and Technology will be in Stage 3, along with another half a dozen classrooms. When I suggested to Margaret that she won’t know herself when Stage 3 and thus the whole project is complete, she delighted “We already don’t know ourselves in these buildings!” Decking out the new digs has been accomplished with a mix of new items, such as the new and

upgraded phone system, and refurbishment of existing furniture like the 20-year-old, newly reupholstered chairs that are now as good as new. “I’m sorry, but I’m into sustainability,” states Margaret. These initiatives have also reduced the strain on the budget. Maybe the staff will even get a coffee machine as a result? Margaret has a meeting regarding the detailed design of Stage 3 in mid-September. Another tender process must be undertaken for this, and Margaret is hopeful that the build will begin about halfway through 2020. It is expected to be around a 12 month build. The timeline is, as they say, fluid. When builders Floyds told Margaret that there was a provision in the budget for signage, she had a clear picture as to what she wanted, with the wedge tailed eagle wing featured on the school logo to sit out. Nobody had done what she wanted before, however after being told flat out “Na” by one mob, a New South Wales signage company were willing to give her idea a try. “They did a really good job, we were really pleased”, says Margaret. Of course, large scale building project management wasn’t in Margaret’s training, back in teachers college. The professional manner in which she has handled the project speaks volumes of her smarts, and her can do approach. How fortunate our community is to have her attention to detail and genuine joy at bringing to life the dreams of students, teachers and government alike. www.monbulkcol.vic.edu.au


Community Casserole in Upwey Words by Melanie Bateson

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pending my formative years in rural Victoria, it was a given that, at times of need, food would appear as if by magic in the family home in the event of a death, birth, injury or slight inconvenience. Lasagnes, casseroles, meatloaf, muffins, choc-chip biscuits and slices of all mouth-watering types. Boom. There. It was with some dismay then that, years later when residing in the inner city of Melbourne, these nourishing gifts of care were nowhere to be found when I had my own bout of trouble. Moving up to the Hills, I found a bit of this care when I “found my tribe” in the pre school years. When it was time to choose a primary school for our cherubs, the one that had a casserole bank won hands down. It was with great interest, and quite a display of happy tears, that I heard of a lady who had taken this idea and run with it, right here in the Hills community. Alice Garrick, finalist in the Westfield Knox Local Hero awards, has something of a glow about her. When I met up with her for a chin wag recently, I was immediately welcomed and made to feel like one of the crew during a cook up for the Community Casserole. Along with Alice and chef Laura Ryan, several volunteers began to arrive. All donned an apron, checked in with the ladies regarding what jobs needed doing, and off they went. Chopping and stirring while engaging in a chat, this mini community was here to support

anyone in the community at large who needed a bit of a hand. Alice began by making the occasional meal for friends who were struggling a bit, with new babies and the like, when she first moved up to the Hills from Doncaster around 5 years ago. When a friend needed support for a bit longer than just one meal, Alice thought nothing of arranging a meal roster among their wider group of friends. She started a Facebook group, and through it asked people to double their meal size when cooking and donate the extra. And yes, Alice herself has been on the receiving end of a meal or two over her time. Eventually, local legend Stephen Barrington, CEO of ‘Foothills Community Care’ found a range of “casserole types”, again via Facebook, and invited them to come together and talk about their experiences assisting people in times of need. Steve hooked Alice and her team up with ‘Second Bite,’ a leading national food rescue organisation, using their produce to help reduce the amount of good food going to landfill. To bring in money to buy extra food, Alice and Steve also apply for grants. Alice tells me that the Upwey cook up makes around 150 meals per month. There are some registered home cooks who add around 50 to the meal count, and Sherbrooke Family & Children’s


Centre have just volunteered the use of their facilities and helpers to further pad out the numbers of meals produced. When it comes to the delivery of meals, be that one dinner, or a week’s worth of dinners and snacks for lunch boxes, there are a number of options. All of which depend on the comfort of the person receiving the meals. Alice does most deliveries, however if the recipient would prefer a familiar face, a friend can collect the meals and drop them in instead. That’s a remarkable level of care and sensitivity. You might be forgiven for expecting this mother of four children, aged 4-15 years, to be pretty worn out after facilitating 2000 meals a year. That glow I mentioned is for real, however, and all I saw was an energised, passionate, organised and capable woman, caring deeply for her community. www.facebook.com/Communitycasseroles www.foothillscare.org.au www.westfield.com.au/knox/story/ 4cSGBLjAsIvH1dXCS1CLCI/local-heroes-2019

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Circular Fashion hits Belgrave Words by Lisa Ford

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ecycled fashion has long been a hallmark of the Hills. Op shops staffed by friendly volunteers grace our foothills townships, miraculously absorbing unwanted goods while offering preloved treasures at bargain prices. When my kids were young and growing fast, the local op shops were a real godsend. Now that my boys are almost grown up, I still browse opportunity shops in the hope of that special find: a jaunty woollen hat, sleek black kid leather gloves or even, God bless, brand new snakeskin shoes in my size 8 (I have found them all!). But great fashion finds are more likely a nice surprise, rather than the rule. Enter Coffee and Clothes. When I first heard that Coffee and Clothes had opened up in the former Belgrave health food shop, my first thought was that it was just another recycled fashion shop. But when my friend Rachel organised the August special of a free styling consultation for us, I realised that Coffee and Clothes offers something more. As part of her consultation, business owner and fashion consultant Clare Hamilton emailed us her e-book beforehand to do some research on our body types. Rachel-rectangle, me-apple. Done! Or so we thought. On the wintry Monday afternoon of our appointment, I arrived wearing basic black as instructed. I waited for Rachel at a table in the Parisian-style café nestled within the shop, savouring a smooth almond latte by the cosy fire. There I met Clare, who explained that the café gives her women customers a place to relax and indulge, surrounded by racks of beautiful and exotic clothes and accessories. She talked about her passion for clothes but especially for affordable slow or circular fashion. Slow fashion is the industry’s response to the major environmental problem posed by

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cheap fast fashion, which sees 70% of all clothing consigned to rubbish tips in their first year of use. And that’s without considering other significant problems associated with fast fashion, such as the use of slave labour to produce such cheap clothing and the use of toxic pollutants. Selling second-hand fashion is part of the broader concept of a circular economy, where clothing is well-made and circulated back into the community or repurposed for a second or even third life. It extends the lifespan of clothes already in circulation, dampens demand for new clothes and fewer clothes are consigned to the rubbish tip. Clare stocks preloved fashion which still has plenty of life. Some of her stock had also been re-furbished, such as designer jeans renovated with brocade or bling. Clare goes one step further, offering styling consultations so that her customers develop a better understanding of what looks good on them and make purchases they are happier with. Good purchasing decisions mean fewer mistakes, less consumption and more sustainable fashion. There is an added social benefit, in that some of Clare’s new customers feel down about their appearance: learning


how to dress for success can be a real confidence-booster and a game-changer for them. Even Rachel and I, who already love clothes, were delighted to learn that we had misread our body types and were instead, respectively, an hour glass (remember Marilyn Monroe!) and inverted triangle (think Elle McPherson!). Ok, so these labels reflect general principles only, but they did make us feel much better about our shapes.

place to meet a friend for coffee and browse for that great fashion find, of which you are almost assured, thanks to Clare and her dedicated staff. 1658 Burwood Highway, Belgrave www.coffeeandclothes.com.au

For Rachel, it meant that after half a century, she finally discovered her waist! Clare whizzed around the racks, showering Rachel with clever suggestions for showing off her newfound shape. And I have to admit, Rachel looked fabulous! Sporting a white ruffled shirt and tight-fitting black jacket, she looked years younger. Next, she wafted around the change room in a floaty earthtoned kaftan as if straight off the catwalk. Finally, she strutted her stuff in a closefitting musk top that oozed style. All 4 items promptly left the shop with her. For myself, I was pleased to discover that I actually had shoulders to show off, as well as legs! Clare worked equally hard to find some unique items to suit my shape, flitting upstairs and down as she searched her stock in earnest. I tried on floaty summery chiffon and slinky silvery mesh, shapely black jackets and a dramatic drawstring-waisted woollen coat in brilliant fire engine red. But the only items that really worked for me were a long sought-after pair of close-fitting (yet comfortable!) leatherette black pants and a draping charcoal grey asymmetrical top cut in at the thigh to lengthen my legs. Stylish but under-stated – my signature style. Clare seemed a little disappointed that I had not found more treasures. But I reassured her that I had seen the light and was embracing slow fashion too, which meant first acknowledging guiltily that I already owned too many clothes! Coffee and Clothes adds a worthwhile, interesting and fun layer to the recycled fashion scene in the Hills. It’s a great

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The Pantry Unwrapped Words by Adriana Alvarez.

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n the small Belgrave South shopping strip, amongst the hairdresser, accountant and cafes is a small shop which is quietly going about its business of helping to reduce waste, specifically plastic waste. The Unwrapped Pantry is a bulk whole food and health food shop, which is aiming to minimise waste and be a positive part of the community. It is owned by Belgrave local Yvonne Paice, a passionate zero waster, gardener, vegan foodie and Mum. The shop has been there for three years, but it has been owned by Yvonne for the past year. “I’ve always been, for many years, a passionate zero waster, and I guess it was just a good opportunity to turn what I was really passionate about and what I was already doing anyway into a job,” says Yvonne. Some of the products stocked include nuts, rice, pasta and legumes, pulses, grains flours, sugars, spices and dried fruit. Oats is a big seller, and she stocks the popular steel cut oats. Cleaning products, including ‘uber local’ soaps made in Belgrave as well as liquid hand soaps, body wash and shampoo and conditioner. She also has a local swap section where people can bring their excess home grown produce and swap it for free. In the last couple of months Yvonne has added fresh produce, which she tries to source locally. The way it works is as follows; you bring your own containers, you weigh them first, then you go about filling them, weigh them again and deduct the weight of the container, so you’re only paying for the contents. “You can bring your own containers or there are paper bags on site.” says Yvonne. “Or I’ve got jars as well, that people give me and I sterilise, so if people are unprepared there’s something here that they can use.”

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When I ask about how her products get to her shop Yvonne admits that the term zero waste is problematic. “I try not to use that term or completely package free because obviously it’s not. It has to come to me in something. I try to always buy a whole bag of whatever it is I’m buying. So it’ll come to me in a bag or box... but it just helps to minimise.” There’s so many things to consider and it’s hard to know what the best approach is to reducing waste. For example, the weight of packaging adds to transport costs, the distance the products travel, larger pieces of plastic are easier to recycle than smaller pieces, etc. Yvonne sends the plastic she receives to Terracycle, which recycles soft plastics, and takes the cardboard boxes home and turns them to mulch. “I don’t pretend to be zero waste, I’ll tell people exactly what it comes in. It’s just all about minimising as much as possible.” Yvonne says she’s always trying to improve and she’s happy for people to make suggestions. For example, for any products that aren’t whole foods she lists the ingredients on the label, or the back of the label if there’s not enough room, so people know exactly what they are buying. Currently she’s working on making sure she knows where, what

country, each product comes from. Because sometimes that information isn’t given and it can make a big difference. Everyone, she notes, is at a different part in their journey to reduce waste. So how did her journey begin? “It’s a funny thing isn’t it because I don’t even remember. I remember always being conscious of waste. So when I was I kid I would pick up rubbish and you know think, ‘Oh that’s very wasteful’ with water, anything. And it’s just grown, when I had kids, I got more interested in food and health and it all just kind of comes together, when you think about when things only get used once or just get thrown on the hard rubbish collection and you think, where does that go and aren’t we going to run out of room. You know what I mean, so it’s just grown.” It’s definitely a growing concern for many people and shops like Unwrapped Pantry are helping to start a groundswell that will hopefully give people real alternatives to buying everything pre-packaged. Their approach to locally sourced products that have minimal packaging is a step in the right direction towards a more sustainable future. To find out more www.unwrappedpantry.com.au or www.facebook.com/unwrappedpantry

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cafe tarts Maria cafe - Upwey

Review by Tiffany Morris-North

Meet Maria. She just moved into Upwey. She’s bright, friendly and has a touch of Mexican about her. We arrived on a very busy Sunday morning. There was already a queue for coffee and a waiting list for tables. After a short wait we were shown to a table, offered still OR sparkling water, and given a menu. One look at the menu and we were salivating. It was refreshing to see something a little different to the usual café fare. We made an extremely difficult decision NOT to have the churros waffles with chocolate fudge sauce, marscapone and strawberries. Instead, we chose Huevos Rotos – fried eggs, chorizo ragu, jamon, potatoes, fried bread and avocado cream served in an individual pan with a tomato and feta salad on the side. We also tried the croquettes hollandaise– sweet potato and chorizo croquettes with poached eggs and hollandaise garnished with dried chilli threads that really gave it a WOW factor! To finish off we chose a Portuguese tart to share from the extensive sweets cabinet. All meals were priced below $20 and we really couldn’t fault them. The service was fast and friendly, although we did have a little trouble getting somebody’s attention to order more coffee and a cake! Overall a great modern addition to what’s fast becoming the place to eat in the Hills, Upwey. 56-58 Main Street, Upwey www.mariamelbourne.com.au

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Spring Poems

And I asked God...”Give me days to see the blossoms on the tree” ...and He did. “Give me words to describe them” And God said... they’re all in your heart. – Maroulla Radisavic

Spring is like a sneaky teaspoon of joy it seeps gradually, quietly in surprising us with our first belly laugh  since we lost her  – Anonymous

There are flecks of green appearing in the trees. I can feel the warming days working their wonder in me. What can I do? But wait... wait... for this flowering of new colour beyond the greys and new stems from old branches. – Cameron Semmens

Photo: Adriana Alvarez

I have being broken down by winters spell The cool warmth ignites a new passion A pin prick of light attracts my intentions I grow roots and I rise like a seedling towards the sun – Luke Argall

Profile for Adriana Alvarez

Hillscene 35 - Spring 2019  

Fascinating articles and stories from and for The Dandenong Ranges.

Hillscene 35 - Spring 2019  

Fascinating articles and stories from and for The Dandenong Ranges.

Profile for hillscene
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