Dandenong Star Journal - 7th December 2021

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Tuesday, 7 December, 2021


Aaron Goodall, Damien Rivalland and Ryan Flack from KLM Spatial celebrate taking out the Overall Business Award.


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Top development Second-generation Dandenong company KLM Spatial moves with the times with a down-to-earth respect for its past. The innovative land development consultancy has taken out the Overall Business of the Year at the Greater Dandenong Chamber of Commerce 2021 awards at a gala dinner at Palmyra Hall on 2 December. Its directors Ryan Flack, Aaron Goodall and Damien Rivalland paid tribute to the 35-yearold company’s founders, who were also their mentors. “They gave us the opportunity to step up and mentored us,” Mr Goodall said. “We’ve introduced new technology and

concepts but that’s built upon the thinking of those founding leaders had mentored.” KLM has grown from a staff of two to more than 50, tripling in size since its merger in 2000. Its rise has mirrored the South-East growth corridor’s expanse of urban and greenfield developments. “There’s opportunities also for the north, west and east of Melbourne. But Dandenong always will be the head office,” Mr Goodall said. The founders Rudd Lindley, Roger Greene, Phil Dingeldei and James Caddy fostered a fun office and a family-oriented philosophy, Mr Rivalland said. “You spend so much time in the office together. We want to retain staff, so it’s always

been one of their key drivers.” KLM also took out the awards’ Innovation & Technology trophy. Among the innovation is virtual technology (VR) used to great effect especially during Covid lockdown, Mr Rivalland said. “You can walk through the house design with VR and understand the product that will be built. “It’s not just an artistic render.” Other winners were inspiring Chisholm engineering graduate Natalie D’Rozario (Young Enterprise Award), Classic Grillz (New Business), The Footcare Clinic (Small Business), ABU Engineering (Manufacturing & Construction) and Sandown Greyhound Racing Club (Corporate Social Responsibility).




By Cam Lucadou-Wells


Engineering a victory By Marcus Uhe Brothers-in-law Jonathon Buntz and Jay Grenfell have been recognised at the 2021 Greater Dandenong Chamber of Business Awards. Their business A.B.U Engineering won the Manufacturing and Construction award at Thursday’s award ceremony on 2 December. A.B.U specialises in specialist precision engineering, providing products including thinwall packaging and medical tooling. Buntz said their business wasn’t immune to the difficulties presented by Covid. “This year has been great but last year was definitely one of the toughest I’ve gone through,” he said. “In the new year, we have come back bigger, better and stronger than ever.” In 2018 ABU completed the construction of their manufacturing facility on Assembly Drive in Dandenong South. The business has been passed down through the Buntz family, established by Jonathon’s Grandfather, Walter in 1958 before his father, Steven took-over in the late 1980s following Walter’s death. Jonathon Buntz and Grenfell joined forces in 2015 to take joint ownership of A.B.U.


Peter Angelico (SEMMA) and Manufacturing & Construction Award winner Jonathon Buntz from A.B.U Engineering. Picture: THREE HEARTS PHOTOGRAPHY/JULIE HEDGES


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Tuesday, 7 December, 2021



A win for Sandown

City backs revitalised businesses

By Cam Lucadou-Wells Sandown Greyhound Racing Club was first past the post for its generosity during Victoria’s Covid lockdowns. The 2021 Corporate Social Responsibility Award winner has been cooking 200 fresh meals a week for charity during the rolling 20-month crisis. Its meals have been provided to charities Servants of the Two Hearts and Reaching Out Because We Can to help numerous people in need. When the first lockdown struck in March 2020, Sandown Greyhounds’ chef created 1000 charitable meals from a surplus of food, business manager Bernadette Dillon said. “We had all of this food that would otherwise have gone to waste. So we contacted Greater Dandenong Council and they got me in touch with Noble Park Community Centre, and in turn the two charities.” The club also runs a Greyhound Adoption Program to re-home retired racing greyhounds. Sandown Greyhounds, with its well-appointed Henry Harrison Grandstand, hosts about 1200 races a year for crowds of about 5000. It recently staged the world-renowned greyhound race, $600,000 Melbourne Cup. CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY AWARD SPONSOR: MACPHERSON KELLEY WON BY: SANDOWN GREYHOUND RACING CLUB NOMINEES: THE FOOTCARE CLINIC, KLM SPATIAL, POLYFLOR, STUCCHI AUSTRALIA, DANDENONG CLUB, SANDOWN GREYHOUND RACING CLUB

Greater Dandenong mayor Jim Memeti congratulated local businesses recognised in the Greater Dandenong Chamber of Commerce’s awards. “It was so pleasing to see our local businesses honoured for their hard work and dedication to their craft,” Cr Memeti said. Post lockdown, the council was focused on “rejuvenating our great municipality in a Covid safe environment.” “Together we are working to create a city that supports entrepreneurship, quality education and employment outcomes. “Our local businesses are valued by our community and have our support for better times ahead in 2022.”

Jason Ashton (Macpherson Kelley), centre, and Corporate Social Responsibility Award winners Bernadette Dillon and Yvette Oudman from Sandown Greyhound Racing Club. Picture: THREE HEARTS PHOTOGRAPHY/JULIE HEDGES

Mayor Jim Memeti, right, with deputy mayor Eden Foster.

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Tuesday, 7 December, 2021




Youth Enterprise Award winner Natalie D’Rozario and Paul Konig (Chisholm).


Graduate makes a stand The double-challenge of landing an engineering job as a woman during Covid has not deterred international student Natalie D’Rozario. The Youth Enterprise Award winner recently graduated from Chisholm Institute with a Bachelor degree in Engineering Technology, specializing in mechanical and manufacturing units. Ms D’Rozario says she’s been inspired by strong women in her family in Bangladesh to follow her dreams. No matter that she was just one of three females in her Chisholm cohort. Her first semester class comprised 50 males. “I think as a woman you have to make your mark. You have to stand up and speak.”

She chose engineering to make use of her sharp analytical thinking and complex problem-solving ability. She made the long flight to Chisholm, attracted to its practical course components. Unfortunately, Covid remote learning meant students were shut out of labs. They had to resort to household items for their engineering experiments. On the plus side, it forced her to apply her knowledge to a non-industrial setting, she says. Her resilience has come to the fore during Covid. As an international student, she was not eligible for JobSeeker support during lockdowns. State Government and local council support was however still on hand, she said.


However the job-search for an engineering job has been “really hard”, she concedes. She’s ineligible for most graduate programs, which are open for Australian citizens only. Plus she is locked out of many engineering jobs, because they require at least two years’ experience. “But the thing is we put in the hard work, so we have got to have more opportunities. “Hopefully there can be more intern programs for women in engineering so there’s a launch pad after graduation.” Currently working in admin and as a pharmacy assistant, she also has hopes of teaching engineering. “I wasn’t to inspire girls as well as anyone who wants to pursue this field. I want to show

them there’s this opportunity.” Ms D’Rozario has meanwhile deeply missed her family, who she’s been unable to visit throughout the pandemic. “Even with this new variant, if I go home, I can’t come back. They are opening up borders but it’s too uncertain. “I’m hoping my family will be here for my graduation in March.” The category was sponsored by Chisholm Institute. YOUTH ENTERPRISE AWARD SPONSORED BY: CHISHOLM WINNER: NATALIE D’ROZARIO NOMINEES: KURT HOAREAU, SAMANTHA KRAUSE, NATALIE D’ROZARIO, GERALDINE BILSTON

KLM Spatial has provided award-winning, industry-leading land development consulting services to Australia’s private and public sectors for over 30 years.


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Tuesday, 7 December, 2021



Designing a winner By Marcus Uhe KLM Spatial will need to design a new space in their trophy cabinet to place their Innovation and Sustainability Award from the 2021 Greater Dandenong Chamber of Business Awards. The award recognises businesses that develop and research to change their primary product or industry, or initiatives that contribute to making Greater Dandenong a more sustainable place to live, work and play. The business has adopted virtual reality (VR) technology to create a realistic rendering of their building designs, which was particularly useful for the during Covid lockdowns. “You can walk through the house design with VR and understand the product that will be built,” Damien Rivalland from KLM Spatial said. “It’s not just an artistic render.” KLM Spatial offers land development consulting services for over 35 years from their Ordish Road facility in Dandenong, specialising in town planning, land surveying, engineering and building design.

Innovation & Sustainability Award winners Aaron Goodall, Ryan Flack and Damien Rivalland from KLM Spatial. Picture: THREE HEARTS PHOTOGRAPHY/JULIE HEDGES

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Banu Sulaiman’s success By Marcus Uhe From little things, big things grow. Hamida Banu Sulaiman entered the hospitality industry as a home caterer in 2017. Encouraged by friends and family to enter the hospitality field, Hamida provided catering at a ball event for 500 people, depsite little exposure to the industry. Now, her restaurant Classic Grillz in Lonsdale Street Dandenong has won the New Business Award in the 2021 Greater Dandenong Chamber of Commerce Business Awards on Thursday 2 December. The business opened late last year and she credited her loyal customers who warmed to her “good quality home food” for surviving the Covid period. Hamida studied nutrition and dietetics and loves providing for her family, who gave her the impetus to try her hand at hospitality. The award recognises a business within any industry and of any size who commenced trading from 1 January 2018 onwards. The takeaway shop offers modern Australian cuisine as well as biryani wraps, noodle dishes, curries, stir-fries and fried rice.


Richard Sherman (Star News Group) and New Business Award winner Hamida Banu Saluimah from Classic Grillz. Picture: THREE HEARTS PHOTOGRAPHY/JULIE HEDGES


Dandenong Club’s Jan Little is presented the Hospitality & Tourism Award by Cr Angela Long (City of Greater Dandenong). Picture: THREE HEARTS PHOTOGRAPHY/JULIE HEDGES

Community keeps the faith to all the finalists and winners of the 2021 awards.

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Tuesday, 7 December, 2021


To survive and thrive in business over this past few years has been incredible in itself, but to be recognised as an outstanding business in the Greater Dandenong Chamber Business Awards is remarkable.

By Cam Lucadou-Wells The past two years have been a battle of survival for the Dandenong Club, as it has for all of Melbourne’s dining and entertainment venues. The 65-year-old club is not only bouncing back out of Covid lockdown, but has been crowned the Greater Dandenong Chamber of Commerce’s Hospitality & Tourism award winner for 2021. Jan Little, who runs the club’s food and wine club, said 2021 had been even slower than 2020. “I’m so delighted and very proud in what we’ve done in the past few years under great difficulty,” Ms Little said. “Thank you for the support of the local community and the members.” She said the club was now starting to come back to life after lockdowns.

Live music was back, bowls members were returning to the world-class greens, the gaming room had re-opened and most regulars at the club had resurfaced. The Dandenong Club was established in 1956, as an initiative by the Dandenong Chamber of Commerce to provide a hotel with dining and drinks for members and guests. The stylish establishment includes four bars, a cafe, a bistro and function rooms with ample car parking. HOSPITALITY & TOURISM AWARD SPONSOR: CITY OF GREATER DANDENONG WON BY: DANDENONG CLUB NOMINEES: CLASSIC GRILLZ, DANDENONG CLUB, SANDOWN GREYHOUND RACING CLUB



Walking their way to win By Marcus Uhe Kim Ngan Harwood’s podiatry business The Footcare Clinic has walked away from the 2021 Greater Dandenong Chamber of Commerce Business Awards ceremony on Thursday 2 December with the Small Business Award. Harwood said the award meant a lot after her “great team of people” had come through a “tough 18 months”. “This is the stamp on it,” she said. “I think we built a lot of resilience in this time. What hasn’t killed us makes us stronger.” The small business award is eligible to a business with 25 employees of less and/or an annual turnover of less than $10m. The Footcare Clinic was the first private podiatry practice to open in Keysborough back in 1998, two years after Harwood graduated from podiatry school. Starting off with only one podiatrist and working out of Kim’s home, Footcare now have three full time podiatrists and two customer excellence officers at their Kingsclere Avenue clinic, offering over 40 years of combined experience. What started as treating a only a few customers in the evenings, The Footcare Clinic is now open to the public six days a week.


Ted Turner (Ashfords) and Kim Ngan Harwood from The FootCare Clinic.


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Tuesday, 7 December, 2021



Top-deck playground plan slammed

Rallying for top of the tables tilt

Panthers on the prowl






Flooded firms left high and dry

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Green lit for safety By Cam Lucadou-Wells

Department of Transport’s Ranga Silva, past and present school council presidents Laurie Cooper, Heather Norman and Marita Crilly, Victoria Police Inspector Graham Stanley, Dandenong MP Gabrielle Williams and Emerson School principal John Mooney walk the new crossing. 259712 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS als - this pedestrian upgrade will greatly benefit the community at Emerson School.” Funds are finally flowing at a school, which had not had major capital works for nearly 50 years since opening in 1973. Last year, Ms Williams announced $15.56


Emerson School’s 23 years of pleas for a safe road crossing have finally been answered. The pedestrian lights were turned on across the busy four-lane Heatherton Road outside the 400-student specialist school on Friday 3 December. A ‘Keep Clear’ road marking is also at the entry point to the school, with a detector loop installed at the exit for the mass of cars and buses turning onto Heatherton Road. ‘No Stopping’ signs either side of the lights and brighter public lighting are also part of the upgrade. Emerson School principal John Mooney no longer has to don a fluoro vest to play traffic cop amongst the streams of traffic. No longer do students and families march 300 metres east to Gladstone Road to cross at lights, or more directly, run and dodge between traffic. He’d once been told by the then-named VicRoads there needed to be a “death at our front gate” for a crossing to be built. “To watch our students cross together today brought a real cheer. “It’s really amazing. It’s happened.” Also in the school’s corner were Greater Dandenong Council and Victoria Police Inspector Graeme Stanley – who was on hand for the opening. Insp Stanley, in a letter of support in 2019, wrote of a “critical” situation due to drivers speeding above the 40 km/h speed limit outside the school. Also there were the most recent three school council presidents Marita Crilly, Laurie Cooper and Heather Norman who collectively pressed for the crossing over two decades. Another active supporter was Dandenong MP Gabrielle Williams, who said the funding came from the joint state-federal $19.5 million Pedestrian and Safer Schools Initiative. “We must keep local school children safe near our roads with new and improved infrastructure, especially near high-volume arteri-

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Le-Anne Hood and her son Tommy Hood after his most recent ride at Melbourne Cable Park on 29 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS November. 259985

Tommy Hood, his mother Le-Anne Hood, second left, and Melbourne Cable Park staff Anne, Chef Todd and Ben. 259985 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

Waves of generosity By Cam Lucadou-Wells The community is right behind you, Tommy Hood. For the past two months, the 10-year-old wakeboarder, snowboarder and all-round sports star has been grounded by a gruelling procession of hospital, surgeries and chemo. At first GPs thought it was asthma. Until shockingly, doctors found a massive tumour in his chest. He was diagnosed with a cancer, T-cell lymphoma. Since then, supporters have rallied into action. One of them is one of Tommy’s favourite spots - the Melbourne Cable Park, which is set to stage an action-packed fundraiser on 11 December. The Bangholme-based cable park calls it ‘Tommy’s Day’ – an extravaganza of live music, an outdoor movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off as well as aqua park, wakeboarding and high ropes activities. All proceeds from food and ticket sales will go to Tommy as he faces a long road of treatment. On 29 November, the cable park was Tommy’s first stop after three weeks at Monash Medical Centre. Dosed up with antibiotics, he fell on his first ride back on the water. After that, he amazingly held on for four laps. “The medicine is taking its toll. He’s doing it really tough, the poor little boy,” his mother Le-Anne Hood said. She’s made a point of nurturing Tommy’s love of the outdoors. Their camping trips, snowfield adventures have been a staple. During last summer holidays, the cable park was his home away from home. “He spent summer on a kneeboard going round and round, singing to himself and splashing people,” Ms Hood said. When he stacked the wakeboard, one of the cable park’s staff Ben picked him up “like

in The Lion King”. Soon he revelled in taking jumps and carving across the lake for hours on end. Tommy’s Day has arrived at a time of great need. Despite the immense efforts of Ms Hood’s friends like Kathryn Quinton, Fiona King, Jane Martin, Mel Robertson, Sarrah Esadon, Jane Lyon, Amelia Clarke and Bron Hunt. They’ve been delivering food, coffee, driving, washing, mowing, banking as well as doses of spirit-raising laughter. In the past two months, they’ve risen more than $17,000 on Go Fund Me to cover the rent and mounting bills so single mum Ms Hood could put work on hold to be by her son’s side. When Tommy goes to hospital, she packs her bag and doona and bunks in with him. But the funds are dwindling fast on expenses such as sterilising their home. All the while she is facing eviction and her broken-down car needs replacing. Ms Hood is hoping to acquire a 4WD. It would be perfect for her and Tommy’s next bold adventure in the wilderness. But most of all, financial stability for the uncertain road ahead. Melbourne Cable Park owner Ian Clark said he was “more than happy” to donate his venue and all proceeds of Tommy’s Day to the family. “Tommy loves life who likes to jump on his bike and to catch up with his mates. It was good to see him here the other day loving life again. “We’re coming off Struggle Street (during lockdown) but compared to what they’re going through, we’re fine. “So bring along your friends and family – this is where everyone can step in and do a little bit to support a family in need.” Tommy’s Day is at Melbourne Cable Park, Riverend Road, Bangholme on Saturday 11 December, 10am-6pm. Details: bit.ly/tommysday To donate, go to the Go Fund Me page gofundme.com/f/tommy-hoods-fight

Tommy Hood reacquaints himself with the cable park ahead of Tommy’s Day on 11 December. Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS 259985 2 STAR JOURNAL


Tuesday, 7 December, 2021

Le-Anne and Tommy Hood in the snow.

Tommy Hood, loving the water. dandenong.starcommunity.com.au


IN BRIEF Heat shuts Covid clinic A Covid vaccine pop-up clinic in Dandenong has temporarily closed two days in a row due to hot weather. With the outdoor temperature topping 30°C, the marquee clinic in Palm Plaza was closed by mid Tuesday afternoon (30 November). and closed again on Wednesday afternoon (1 December). The drive-through Covid testing clinic in Carroll Lane, Dandenong, which also operates under a marquee, was also closed over the same periods. Monash Health stated vaccinations were still being delivered at Sandown Racecourse. No booking was required. Alternative Covid testing sites are found at: coronavirus.vic.gov.au/where-get-testedcovid-19 As of 29 November, Greater Dandenong’s double-vax rate reached 89.5 per cent. The single-vaxxed rate is 93.4 per cent. There were 496 active cases and 31 new daily cases on 30 November. More than half of the active and new daily cases are in the Dandenong postcode (258 active cases, 22 new daily cases). It is among the region’s most vax hesitant postcodes, with less than 85 per cent fully vaxxed as of last week.

Greg Flood and local business people stranded by three-day floodwaters across Centre Road and Rimfire Drive, Hallam. 259111 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

Stranded by floods By Cam Lucadou-Wells Hallam businesses say they have been left repeatedly high and dry by long-dwelling floodwaters across Centre Road and Rimfire Drive. Most recently on Wednesday 17 November, both lanes of Centre Road were deeply submerged for three days due to overflow from the adjoining Hallam Valley flood plain. Eclipse Security Systems owner Greg Flood said local enterprises were effectively stranded from customers and deliveries. “Some of these small businesses have suffered really badly in the pandemic, and now they haven’t been able to get customers.” About seven cars were drowned in floodwaters, trucks damaged and staff ferried by 4WD to get to work. A row of stranded cars’ number plates were hung forlornly in a nearby tree during the calamity. It’s been a case of rinse and repeat for the past dozen years, Mr Flood says - despite calls

for either a levee or the raising of Centre Road. In the meantime, housing and industrial development threatens to create more run-off. Melbourne Water, which manages Hallam Valley floodplain, and City of Casey, which is responsible for Centre Road and its drains, have been in talks. Melbourne Water south east waterways manager John Woodland said the “possibility” of raising the section of Centre Road was being discussed with Casey. “We are currently investigating the design and construction of a new channel in the floodplain which will reduce the amount of time floodwaters remain on the road,” Mr Woodland said. The water authority regularly inspects the floodplain drains, with contractors recently desilting an open channel and “jetting” the drain to “ensure it is functioning correctly”. Casey’s city presentation manager David Richardson said the council was advocating to Melbourne Water to improve the flood-

plain’s drainage system. It also sought Melbourne Water to “investigate new approaches” to protect Centre Road, Mr Richardson said. During Casey and Melbourne Water’s emergency response, Club Hallam owner David Gaul says he witnessed a “comedy of errors” in which a worker poured petrol into a running pump. Unsurprisingly, the machine and its operator managed to catch alight. Mr Gaul’s brothel in the meantime was inaccessible to staff and customers for three days. “This flood was the worst I’ve seen it in 18 years here. The Uber drivers with our girls wouldn’t come in. “There’s been a lot of back and forth between the council and Melbourne Water but we don’t see any action.” Meanwhile, Mr Flood was encouraged that “at least they’re both talking about it”. “But all they’ve been doing for 13 years is talk about it.”

Gallery sale on hold due to DNA glitch By Cam Lucadou-Wells The proposed sell-off of Walker Street Gallery and Arts Centre has been put on hold. It gives respite to the venue’s community arts tenants Connections Art Space and Fusion Theatre, who had been unable to find a suitable new home. Meanwhile, Greater Dandenong Council revealed the Precinct Energy Plant (PEP) in central Dandenong would be redeveloped for community arts. The council suspended the Walker Street gallery sale partly due to Covid-related delays for the upcoming Dandenong New Art (DNA) gallery in Mason Street. The DNA project had also been stalled by “some complexities in delivering a very unique design and structure”, the council stated. Mayor Jim Memeti said the Walker Street gallery would continue to operate until the DNA’s opening in mid-late 2022. The DNA was originally expected to open this year. “We want to continue our support for our creative community and have therefore suspended the sale of the Walker Street gallery site until we have more certainty around the opening of the new purpose-built gallery and the proposed PEP community arts development,” Cr Memeti said. In a council statement, the DNA and PEP would form a “leading edge arts precinct in central Dandenong”. They would replace the “ageing” Walker dandenong.starcommunity.com.au

Fusion Theatre’s evening ensemble in rehearsal at the Walker Street Gallery and Picture: GARY SISSONS Arts Centre. 260433 Street gallery which was hampered by dated technology and accessibilty issues, the council stated. The DNA – a contemporary art gallery in a refurbished former Masonic Lodge in Mason Street – would be a “state of the art facility to inspire our community”. The PEP – which adjoins the DNA in Settlers Square - would provide workspaces, creative studios and a small black-box theatre space for local arts. It would host a “range of purpose-built creative production spaces to complement the (DNA) gallery and support local arts participation and production”. A “relieved” Fusion Theatre artistic director Jo Raphael said the inclusive group of up to 40 actors were concerned about losing their home of nearly 20 years. “It’s not an intimidating arts space, but

somewhere that we can be creative, inventive and experimental,” she said of the Walker Street arts centre. “What we enjoy is having Connections Art Space in the space as well, so we can have collaborations across different art forms.” Ms Raphael said there was so far “no clear direction” on how the PEP plan would unfold. Since the sale announcement, the group had been unable to find a suitable, alternative home that was central and close to public transport. For example, the premier theatre The Drum, which hosts nationally touring shows, was “out of our reach”. Former councillor and Greens federalelection candidate Matthew Kirwan welcomed the suspension of the “short-sighted” sale of Walker Street arts centre. “We would have gained in Dandenong one thing – an elite destination regional arts gallery – and lost a dedicated community arts space for our own community. “Now invaluable community grass roots initiatives like Connections Art Space and Fusion Theatre will be able to continue to thrive and more broadly there will continue to be a space for community arts for Greater Dandenong residents in an approachable community setting.” Councillor Rhonda Garad, who announced the sale’s suspension at a 29 November council meeting, said: “We have to make sure community arts spaces are supported and they have certainty of a facility.”

‘Odd’ driving at 0.167 A drink driver has allegedly blown more than three times over the limit in Lyndhurst last night. Two paramedics had followed the woman’s car after she side-swiped a fast food outlet’s wall on Westernport Highway, Skye about 10pm on Thursday 2 December, police say. The black Mazda was reportedly being driven “oddly” on Thompsons Road in Lyndhurst, according to the paramedics. Police were alerted and spoke to the 35-year-old driver who allegedly appeared “under the influence”. She allegedly recorded a blood-alcohol reading of 0.168. The Point Cook woman is expected to be charged on summons with exceed the prescribed concentration of alcohol whilst driving, drive whilst prescribed concentration of alcohol 0.05 or above, and drive unregistered motor vehicle.

Passenger killed on Springvale Rd A passenger has died and a driver is fighting for life after a car crashed into a pole in Springvale South. Emergency services freed a male driver and female passenger from the wrecked car, which crashed on Springvale Road about 5.30am on Friday 3 December. Both were taken to hospital in a critical condition, police say. The passenger later died at hospital. Major Collision Investigation Unit detectives are investigating the crash. Any information or dashcam footage to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or www. crimestoppersvic.com.au

Pair arrested at drug raid Two men have been arrested at an alleged drug raid in Noble Park. SD3 Divisional Response Unit police officers say they seized heroin, methylamphetamine, cannabis and prohibited weapons from the premises about 12.30pm on Thursday 25 November. Cash and mobile phones believed to be linked to trafficking illicit drugs were also seized, police say. A 53-year-old Noble Park man was charged with traffick heroin, traffick cannabis, possess methylamphetamine and several other related charges. He was bailed to appear Dandenong Magistrates’ Court next year. A 49-year-old Keysborough man was released pending further investigation.

Fatal car wash charges A service station operator has been charged after the death of a customer in an automatic car wash in Springvale in November 2019. The 73-year-old Mulgrave man drove into the car wash then walked out to re-enter an access code. As he tried to get back into his vehicle, he was crushed when the wash cycle started and his car door was struck by a gantry. He died from his injuries in hospital three days later. WorkSafe charged Chevron Australia Downstream Fuels Pty Ltd with four breaches of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. The case was listed for a filing hearing at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on 2 December. Tuesday, 7 December, 2021




Experience crosses years Works to remove the dangerous and congested level crossing at Hallam are powering ahead, with one of the Level Crossing Removal Project’s most experienced engineers leading the way at the Hallam Road site. Salam Al-Mulla has worked on seven level crossing removal projects since first starting as a site engineer when the project began in 2015 and has contributed immensely to the success of the project. Al-Mulla said working on level crossing removals has given him the ability to develop skills across a broad range of areas thanks to the diverse nature of the work. “In terms of personal and professional development, one thing that is great about level crossing removal projects, is that they provide exposure to a number of different disciplines,” he said. “I have been involved with the rail systems, including signalling, and I have also delivered a number of civil, structural utility and station building works. “These projects have given me numerous skills, which allow me to fulfill my role here at Hallam while also allowing others to learn from my experiences so they can take a step forward as I did, from site engineer to construction manager.” From projects in St Albans, Blackburn, Caulfield, Dandenong, Lower Plenty, Heatherdale and now as a construction manager at Hallam, Sal – as he is known to his colleagues – has seen it all. The role of the construction manager is key on any project site, but it is particularly important at level crossing removals where crews are

Salam Al-Mulla is up to his seventh level crossing removal site. 260298 often working in congested areas to complete the job as quickly and as safely as possible, with minimal disruption to train services or roads. For Al-Mulla, this means ensuring the team is working well together so that the project is delivered safely, successfully and on time, producing positive outcomes and benefits for the community. His engineering knowledge and level crossing removal experience is invaluable at the Hallam site, where crews are working to build a rail bridge over the road and a brand-new, elevated Hallam Station.

Level Crossing Removal Project chief executive Kevin Devlin said that people like Al-Mulla have been crucial to delivering the project. “Getting rid of more than 50 level crossings in six years is no easy feat, but our team of dedicated workers, sub-contractors and suppliers have made this huge achievement into a reality and I’d like to thank everyone for their hard work since the very beginning,” Devlin said. Sal’s contribution to the Pakenham and Cranbourne lines alone has been immense, not only through his work at Hallam Road, but also his work on the Caulfield to Dandenong

Picture: SUPPLIED project, which removed nine level crossings by building elevated rail. He said being able to drive past these projects with his family and tell them he worked on them gave him immense pride. “I feel extremely proud to be part of this and the benefits it has provided the community,” Al-Mulla said. Works at the Hallam Road site will be completed in 2022, bringing the Pakenham line one step closer to being level crossing free by 2025.

Back on the tools: A healthy change for ex-stonemason By Cam Lucadou-Wells After a life-changing diagnosis with silicosis, a Dandenong North stonemason said he had no choice but to reinvent himself. Daniel Andrew has been named as a finalist in the WorkSafe awards 2021 for his inspirational return to work – retraining in a new field as an apprentice heavy diesel mechanic. On 1 December, Mr Andrew also fronted the media as the State Government unveiled a Bill for easier access to compensation for silicosis-struck workers and families. Since the start of 2021, four Victorians had died from silica-related illness. WorkSafe had accepted 59 silica-related injury claims. Twelve months ago, the active sportsman and non-smoker was stunned that he had the incurable, potentially fatal lung condition. “It was a massive kick in the guts.” His symptoms were negligible at the time, apart from feeling a bit “sluggish” while playing footy. He’d only got tested after being prompted by work colleagues. With a young child on the way, Mr Andrew decided there was no way he could resume his 10 year career in masonry. There was then the “mental battle” of retraining and finding work. He applied for up to 30 jobs before landing an opportunity with Transdev Melbourne in Fitzroy. “It wasn’t easy. A couple of times, employers see I’m on the WorkCover thing and they back off. “I think they need to look into it more – they can get insurance from WorkSafe so if some-

thing happens, they’re not liable for it.” Mr Andrew knows of afflicted workers as young as 25. And other “older blokes” who refuse to get tested and keep working in the field. Silicosis is linked to silica dust produced while making stone benchtops, mostly from engineered stone. Even when the stone is watered down for a ‘wet cut’, a lot of dust is produced, Mr Andrew says. Wearing sundstrum half-face masks that cover the nose and mouth with an enormous filter is clearly not enough. Mr Andrew also has his doubts over the new series of masks that are fed compressed air. “Nothing is 100 per cent (protection). “I don’t know how they can import engineered stone and why it’s not fully banned.” The Government’s new bill would permanently ban dry-cutting and introduce Australia’s first licensing scheme for working with engineered stone. The condition doesn’t impede Mr Andrew. He still runs twice a week, aims to keep his lungs as healthy as possible and gets them regularly tested. However, there’s no known cure for the lifelong condition. It’s unknown how much it will worsen, he says. His specialist says there’s a “minimal chance of it becoming bad later in life”. “Who knows what can happen? Or what might start it up?” The WorkSafe award winners will be announced on 24 February.

Dan Andrew has eyed off a career-change after a life-changing silicosis condition. 259705 Pictures: STEWART CHAMBERS

Lift life-saver recognised A Keysborough business with a potentially life-saving device has been nominated for a statewide workplace safety award. Equipment Safety Systems is a finalist in the WorkSafe Awards for developing an OverWatch system to prevent crushing or shearing accidents while using scissor lifts. The system uses radar and laser technology to track the operator and machine’s movements. If the operator moves suddenly or is outside a set work zone, the machine stops. 4 STAR JOURNAL


According to WorkSafe, workers using scissor lifts have been seriously injured or killed if hit from above or the side. Equipment Safety Systems has sold more than 5000 units in Australia since its launch in May 2020. The system was designed, developed and manufactured in the company’s Keysborough factory. It is a finalist in the awards’ workplace health and safety solution category. Winners are announced on 24 February.

Tuesday, 7 December, 2021

Dan Andrew has been named a WorkSafe awards finalist after an inspiring return to work. 259705 dandenong.starcommunity.com.au


Top-floor play plan slammed By Cam Lucadou-Wells Dandenong Community Association has lashed out at council plans for a child care and kindergarten on the top deck of the suburb’s proposed community hub. According to Greater Dandenong Council’s concept plans, the two-storey Dandenong Community Hub would provide early childhood services, maternal and child health services as well as two outdoor playgrounds on the first floor. The ground floor includes an outdoor community space and playground as well as community and youth lounges, makers spaces, active studio and community kitchen. DCA spokesperson Silvia Mastrogiovanni says children’s playgrounds have no place on upper deck “balconies”. “Everyone we spoke to was appalled that Council would consider building a secondrate facility that has children’s playgrounds on balconies. “They wouldn’t send their children to it despite knowing Dandenong needs more children’s facilities to cope with its rising population. “They want their children to play on the ground and to connect with nature.” Ms Mastrogiovanni said the building could potentially expand its footprint for groundlevel childrens amenities. For that purpose, there is a large tract of council-owned land and car parks on Sleeth Avenue and Stuart Street to the north. “Council is letting Dandenong residents down and everyone is feeling it.” Greater Dandenong community services director Martin Fidler told public question time on 15 November that a multi-storey building was required to “incorporate all aspirations and needs”. “Children’s services such as kindergarten and childcare have been placed on the first floor in order to ensure adequate security and

Dandenong Community Association members Carmel, Silvia, Earle, Sabrina, Oliver and Sue outside a first-floor playground at a local child care Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS service. 258033 access control is provided alongside the publicly accessible facilities on the ground floor. “There are many examples of high quality and best practice childcare and kindergarten facilities that have been developed on multilevel buildings in Melbourne across Victoria and around the world.” Mr Fidler was asked by a resident why the

Dandenong hub’s playground was smaller than those at the Springvale and Keysborough South hubs. “The playground that is listed in the draft concept plans for the Dandenong Community Hub is designed along with many other community features for the site that was endorsed by Council on 13 September this year.

“Further development of the playground and opportunities for community feedback will occur as detailed design is undertaken throughout 2022.” The concept plans and business case for the hub are expected to be finalised this month. Construction is expected to begin in late 2023-early 2024, subject to funding.

Cleanup: Testing times for Covid-hit school Denis Zooms in for carols By Cam Lucadou-Wells

All of Dandenong North Primary School’s students and staff have been ordered into Covid testing before being allowed back at school. The besieged school was closed on Friday 26 November after several earlier shutdowns and further confirmed Covid cases the previous Monday. Under Department of Health directions, about 600 students and 100 staff needed to show a negative Covid test to come back to school on Monday 29 November. The department had decided there was a need for a “clean start” after Covid infections had been “bubbling along” at the school this term, principal Kevin McKay said. School administrators and volunteers worked late into the night, collating and processing the 700-odd Covid test results being either phoned in or being physically brought into the school. There was no help from the health department’s contact-tracing team, which left the school’s limited staff resources “stretched above and beyond”. The rich diversity of students and families is often the school’s “greatest gift”, Mr McKay says. But in this instance, it presented a communication “challenge”, due to language barriers as well as a lack of interpreters. “Our staff were fantastic. I couldn’t have done it all myself.” The school has been shut down several times in the past two months, with 24 separate occasions in which there’s been a positive case. On each occasion, it was up to the school to contact trace. Effectively, each infected students’ classmates and families needed to be informed and tested as “positive contacts”. “Each time we devote two staff for half a day on the paperwork and contact tracing. “It’s been very difficult. No one else can do it for us.” Mr McKay said students were also unsettled by the upheaval. Most parents had been “just fantastic” in dandenong.starcommunity.com.au

Greater Dandenong Carols will be staged online on Friday 10 December. The 74th annual event dubbed ‘Bringing Christmas Home’ features carols legend Denis Walter as host. Other acts are Mixed Signals acapella, Aaron Lee from The Voice, local singer Vanessa Cox, the Greater Dandenong Band and Santa Claus. Registrations are required to tune into the event via Zoom. As part of the event, a ‘Sneaky Elf’ competition is being run until 12 December. Greater Dandenong Carols is livestreamed free on Friday 10 December, 7.30pm-8.30pm. The event can continue to be viewed during the following week. Details: greaterdandenong.vic.gov. au/carols

Principal Kevin McKay says the school has been “stretched above and beyond” by frequent Covid Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS cases. 214367 understanding the situation. Some refused to have their children tested, meaning they were required to stay from school for 14 days. Encouragingly, Tuesday 30 November was the first day of no reported new cases at the school for some time, Mr McKay said. He has no criticism for the school’s reopening in term 4, despite the region’s lagging vaccination rates.

“It had to happen at some stage.” He hoped that primary school children would be vaccinated for 2022. He doubted that it would be made compulsory. Last year, the school and the nearby Emerson School minted student medals to mark a difficult 2020. “Perhaps we should have waited this you,” Mr McKay said – with a rueful laugh.

Denis Walter and the ‘sneaky Christmas Elf’ will appear at a virtual Christmas Carols event hosted by City of Greater Dandenong. Picture: THOMAS BARNES

Tuesday, 7 December, 2021



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Duo’s tilt to top the tables By Marcus Uhe

Connie and Parleen in training for the World Youth Championships. 260036

Parleen Kaur (left) and Connie Psihogios are off the World Youth Table Tennis Championships in Portugal this week. 260036 Pictures: ALEKS LAZAREVIC

“It’s sad when we’re trying to encourage sport and they’re not sure if they can go because of the cost,” she said “Connie’s got a huge, huge future. She’s so focused, she’s such a hard worker and this is just one step in her career. “To have two girls from Dandenong selected for world championships is phenomenal.” Ranked fifth in the world for her age group, Psihogios has been consistently competing above her age level and will do so again in Por-

and next youngest was 18.” Her coach, Michael Mastromonaco said the tournament would be a terrific experience for Psihogios, as it will mark the first time she has competed overseas. “She’ll get to see what the top players are really like,” Mastromonaco said. “She’s got the ability to play more a spinning game than the locals.” “If she gets a good draw she might make it through but she’s competing against 15-yearolds when she’s only 12.”

tugal when she enters the under 15s competition. Lazarevic said that Psihogios was already dominating open age tournaments at Dandenong. “She’s only 12 but she’s one of the best players in the club, and I’m talking top senior grade men’s and women’s combined,” Lazarevic said. “One of her biggest successes was qualifying for final stage of Olympic qualifiers at end of 2019. The final stage of qualifying was in January 2020 and she was only 11 years old,

Mowers in the urban jungle By Cam Lucadou-Wells Greater Dandenong Council’s mowing regime has escalated to try to tame the jungles of grass in its parks and reserves. Staff were now mowing on Saturdays and Sundays as well as early and late on weekdays to get on top of the issue, city engineering director Paul Kearsley told a council meeting on 29 November. High profile parks such as Dandenong Park and Keysborough South are being prioritised for mows every three weeks, he said. Sports grounds had been double-cut in a week for the first time in several weeks. They had also been plied with growth inhibitors. “With double cuts going forward, they will be presenting well in the next fortnight.” Mowing was boosted to every three weeks at the sides of Cheltenham Road, Princes

Highway and Springvale Road, as well as extra mows at Somerfield Reserve and Djering Trail. “With the current beautiful weather with no rain, we don’t need any more rain – the parks should start to be drying out. “And therefore they should start to become accessible for our mowing machines.” In public question time, the federal Greens candidate for Bruce and former councillor Matthew Kirwan said residents had been complaining about overgrown grass in parks. He asked if the council would start taking into account the impact of climate change in its mowing schedules. Mr Kearsley said officers would report on the impacts of the recent wet, warm weather. “If that means that we have to tweak our program, tweak our budgets as we go

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An overgown Jellicoe Reserve in Noble Park. through … El Nina then we can certainly put that to Council for some further consideration.” In response, Mr Kirwan told Star Journal that ascribing the events to El Nina ignored the rising frequency of extreme weather due to climate change. He said maintenance schedules had to match this impact.

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The Greater Dandenong Table Tennis Association will have two representatives at the 2021 World Youth Table Tennis Championships in Portugal starting Thursday December 2, with help from a community crowdfunding campaign. Dandenong’s Connie Psihogios, 12, and Berwick’s Parleen Kaur, 18, are the only two female junior players from Australia to qualify for the tournament, and a GoFundMe has been established to help cover the costs of their trip. President of the Greater Dandenong Table Tennis Association Aleks Lazarevic established the crowd fundraising page with a goal of raising $7000. “Her (Connie’s) flights are going to cost her around $4000, and entry for the tournament and accommodation is roughly another $4000,” Lazarevic said. “Travelling is very, very expensive at the moment because of Covid. She also has to pay for PCR testing when she leaves Australia and when she arrives back.” Psihogios will have to pay her way there through donations and member contributions from the club, as the government bodies for table tennis are not able to provide significant financial support. As of Friday morning, Connie had flown to Portugal and the campaign reached its target, including $500 from Greater Dandenong Council. Greater Dandenong councillor Lana Formoso praised Connie for her “magnificent achievement“ but lamented that a GoFundMe page was needed for her to realise her dreams. Cr Formoso said the lack of funding and sponsorship for table tennis meant the athletes had to pay for their own flights, accommodation and entry fees to represent Australia.

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Compiled by Dandenong and District Historical Society

100 years ago 8 December 1921 Dandenong Industries When you entered the marquee housing “local industries “at the Dandenong show one was struck immediately that here was the alive Dandenong, and a sample of what can be done. The Gippsland Co-operative Bacon Curing Factory had a display of cured bacon and hams to equal anything in Australia. Dandenong Butter Factory displayed a clean and attractive exhibit. Dandenong Preserve Pty Ltd were on hand – with their specialities – dehydrated vegetables and cordials. Garside Bros at Dingley were to the fore with an all-round exhibit in the preserving line. Mr A Kingsbury, Dandenong had an exhibition on hand of locally manufactured fireplaces and mantels in blackwood and mountain ash to compare with any. Mr P Jewel showed some splendid examples of boot manufacture, hand-made in his “Busy Bee” establishment in Dande-

nong. The Australian Milk Pty Ltd brought to the public the fact that they are well placed in the condensed milk line. The Dandenong Box Factory had a display of butter boxes on hand, in fact, boxes that could be used for all purposes. Mr ACW Baily, building contractor Dandenong, provided miniatures of the work done in his local factory. The models comprised gate, glass door, louvre panel door and casement.

50 years ago 7 December 1971 Noble Park joins late Traders Noble Park had its first real night of late trading last Friday when 70 per cent of shops in the centre opened until 9pm. On the first night of Friday night shopping very few shops in Noble Park opened, with the result that regular shoppers went to Dandenong, Springvale and other regional centres which opened. Meanwhile the boom in shopping in

Dandenong continued last Friday night. The streets were again crowded and shoppers in their thousands jockeyed for parking spots and counter space.

20 years ago 3 December 2001 Heroes for a day They are the people the community relies upon. The ones who are there when everyone else has packed up and gone home, washing the dishes, packing away the gear, doing the paperwork and getting the job done. Call them heroes and they will blush, shrugging away the accolade. Yet that is what they are, and it is about time their efforts received proper recognition. Following the International Year of Volunteers, the Journal and the City of Greater Dandenong are launching a series championing the cause of our local heroes, those people who deserve recognition but rarely get it. Once a month The Journal will

have a special story about such a person who makes a difference in our community.

5 years ago 5 December 2016 Singers ready to raise their voices Harmony Square will light up on Friday 16 December when the City’s annual Carols by Candlelight takes full voice. It is the second year the carols have been held in Harmony Square. Justin Peters is excited to once again be the MC for this year’s carols, Justin is a classically trained tenor who regularly sings at weddings and churches across Victoria. He is a regular at Carols by Candlelight and has also performed many times at Dandenong’s Australia Day festivities, the mayoral ball and during Senior’s Week. ‘With one voice’ led by the extraordinary Nick Johnson, will bring a program that brings together people of all ages, background, and life stylers through song.


All I want for Christmas

Stand against ageism Greater Dandenong Council’s home care support workers have joined a campaign against ageism. About 130 of the council’s Community Care staff and chief executive John Bennie took the EveryAGE Counts pledge at Springvale City Hall on 30 November. Under the pledge, they undertook to “stand for a world without ageism where all people of all ages are valued and respected and their contributions are acknowledged”. “We commit to speak out and take action to ensure older people can participate

on equal terms with others in all aspects of life.” Launched in 2018, the national campaign aims to shift negative attitudes towards older people and ageing. It aims to “reframe our older years as a valid, positive and meaningful part of life”. The council’s Community Care service provide home care support, respite services, Meals on Wheels and home maintenance to older residents and residents with a disability.

By Reverend Graeme Peters from St James Anglican Church, Dandenong What would you like for Christmas? It’s a common question amongst family and friends as Christmas draws near. My answer is quite simple. I want World Peace. It might sound like a beauty-queen’s answer and it might even sound unrealistic and a bit utopian, but I really would love to have peace in our world this Christmas. I loved reading of the moment troops from both sides laid down their weapons in World War I and came out of the trenches on Christmas Eve to sing carols together and exchange gifts. Christmas gives me hope for world peace. As we celebrate Jesus’ birth at Christmas, I’m reminded Jesus came as ‘the Prince of Peace’. He came to bring peace between God and humankind. He came to call us to love each other, to forgive each other, and to live a new way at peace with each other. But I also find myself asking: “If Jesus is the Prince of Peace, where is the peace he was to bring?” I believe that Jesus does have a plan for world peace, and it starts with us. The peace that Jesus brings begins with us finding peace with God. As we make peace with God through Jesus, his reign of peace begins in our hearts. And as this reign of peace grows, we experience forgiveness, hope for a better world, reconciliation with our enemies, and a new way of living. We even become peacemakers! Through actively seeking peace with others, we can move the world one step closer to world peace empowered and inspired by Jesus, the Prince of Peace. I want world peace, and I want it now. But

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Tuesday, 2 February, 2021

Second go at life

Selba Luka, centre, receives her award from Mayor Angela Long and Deputy Mayor Sophie Tan.

By Cam Lucadou-Wells Twanny Farrugia has made it his mission to

By Danielle Kutchel A tireless champion for African and CALD communities has been named Greater Dandenong’s Citizen of the Year. Selba Luka, founder of Afri-Aus Care, received the award at an invite-only event at Springvale City Hall on Tuesday 26 January. She admitted the award was a total shock, but a welcome one, and dedicated it to the community, staff, volunteers, supporters and


sponsors of Afri-Aus Care. Born in Malawi, Ms Luka often says her heart is in South Sudan as she works closely with the south-eastern South Sudanese community. Afri-Aus Care was born of her experiences when she arrived in Australia, where she experienced difficulties and hardship in her first years in the country. The not-for-profit provides mental health


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Selba (front) and volunteer Veronica in the Afri Aus-Care veggie garden. The organisation provides cooking classes for vulnerable members of the community. 213664

Tuesday, 7 December, 2021

support, outreach and skills development for members of the African and CALD communities. It works closely with youth offenders, providing them with a pathway out of these behaviours and into a more positive contribution to society. During the pandemic for example, ex-offenders helped create food hampers and deliver these to the most vulnerable in society. Afri-Aus Care also works with “the mamas“,

African women who are new to Australia and need assistance to find employment and learn English. Many of these women are survivors of domestic abuse, and Afri-Aus Care provides mental health support too as they build a new life. Speaking at the Australia Day ceremony, Ms Luka said she was honoured to have received such a prestigious award. “May we continue to be united. Dandenong is a great city to be,“ she said.



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City’s top citizen

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Reverend Graeme Peters makes a wish for world peace. what can I do to achieve this beautiful goal? Peace begins with me and you choosing to turn the other cheek. Peace begins with me and you choosing to forgive the person who has hurt us. Peace begins with me and you stretching out a hand of friendship to a stranger, to a neighbour. My hope for this Christmas is peace!

$2m mystery Tatts winner A shopper in Dandenong North has struck it rich after buying a $2 million-winning TattsLotto ticket. The anonymous winner bought the ticket at Brady Road Family Supermarket ahead of the 27 November draw. Supermarket owner Jouhaina Melrose said this was the outlet’s third division-one win – the previous about four years ago. “When we first heard we’d sold it we were super stoked. We’re so happy for our winner, whoever they might be.

“We would love to congratulate the winner in person. It’s a great time of year to win division one.” Another South East division-one winner in the same draw is yet to claim their prize. Their $2 million winning ticket was unregistered and bought from Beaumaris News Lotto & Gifts. In Victoria, division one winners have six months to claim their prize from Tatts. After that time, the State Government can claim the winnings. dandenong.starcommunity.com.au


Floral best at Christmas Floral arrangements are a perfect way to add some colour to your Yule time table. Ensure your house is looking its festive, floral best with these popular blooms. Lilies Lilies and amaryllis are always a popular choice at Christmas in a variety of colours. Many varieties have a beautiful scent that will perfume your home. They can be placed in an arrangement with other flowers or in a vase on their own and prefer to be kept away from direct sunlight in a cool environment. Remember though that lilies are extremely toxic to cats, causing acute renal failure, so think twice before gifting them to your cat-loving friend and keep them out of reach of your own felines. Poinsettia The poinsettia has come to symbolise Christmas, and with its bright red and green foliage it’s not hard to see why. They are commonly found in pots, ready to adorn a table or bench in your house. However, they can be finicky; they don’t like too much water, but take care also to not let them dry out. If the leaves begin to turn yellow and fall off, you may not be watering it correctly. They’re native to Mexico, so they also prefer warmth and light, and make sure to protect them from wind and draughts to keep them happy for the Christmas season. Rosemary It might not be the first plant that comes to

Poinsettias are an iconic Christmas bloom.

Lilies work well on their own or in an arrangement with other festive colours. mind when you think of Christmas, but this Mediterranean herb is actually perfect for an Australian Christmas. It’s easy to grow and care for, and fills the air with a mouth-watering perfume. It can be pruned into a Christmas tree shape if desired, and best of all, pairs deliciously well with the Christmas roast.

Bring some Rosemary inside for your floral arrangement - and the roast!



Tuesday, 7 December, 2021




Research targets unreported racism By Danielle Kutchel

Sam Morison and her adopted Dog Picture: SUPPLIED Buddy. 230789

Traditional pet names in fashion The Lost Dogs’ Home has announced its top pets names for 2021 with tradition back in fashion this year. The data, taken from its adoptions records for this year revealed Buddy was the most popular name with adopters for dogs while Charlie was the top choice for cats. Last year’s most popular choice for both cats and dogs, Luna, was still a popular choice only falling one spot to second in the past 12 months. The Home’s spokesperson Suzana Talevski said Buddy was a name that celebrates that incredible bond of friendship, ‘‘Buddy is a timeless name for your best friend,” Talevski said. “With more and more people recognising and appreciating animals as family, Buddy is a name that speaks volumes of the appreciation we have for our ‘doggos.’’’ Cat lovers also favoured an old-time favourite placing Charlie at the top of the list for kitties. ‘’One of the most popular names during the late 19th century, Charlie is a name that can be used for both male or female cats,” Talevski said. “Charlie is seen as a very friendly name and has its roots in a German word meaning “free man” – though we hope you don’t let your Charlies roam free through your neighbourhood.’’ The Lost Dogs’ Home have put together simple tips to help if you get stuck with coming up with a name for your pet. Give yourself some time to get to know them and choose a name that you feel really makes sense for your dog or cat from a personality perspective. Make sure their name won’t get confused with the simple commands you plan on teaching them. Nothing is worse than calling for your dog “Mitt” and having them sit every time they hear you. Only consider names that you’ll feel comfortable calling out when your pet is outside or at the park. Top pet names 2021 Dogs 1. Buddy 2. Luna 3. Charlie 4. Harry 5. Daisy Cats 1. Charlie 2. Luna 3. Milo 4. Lily 5. Simba 10 STAR JOURNAL


A new grassroots anti-racism project will look differently at how racism can be combated in Casey and Greater Dandenong. Led by Dr Mario Peucker, senior research fellow at Victoria University, researchers want to know why people do or do not report their experiences of racism and what supports or services would help empower them to make that report. Following the success of a similar project in Wyndham, the researchers aim to create an anti-racism network in the south east that will provide culturally sensitive, community-led services and supports for people who experience racism. “We think if these services are in place … and promoted in the community, then people would report [their experiences of racism] more,” Dr Peucker said. In Wyndham, more than 12 service providers reflecting various multicultural com-

munities have now come together to build a network that encourages and allows people to report any racism they experience. The researchers have also provided staff at these organisations with training on how to respond to reports of racism. Currently, in Greater Dandenong and Casey, the research team is working with grassroots community organisations and public service providers to ask what services they would like to see in the area and how they would like to be involved in developing those. They are also seeking input from multicultural community members to allow them to have their say on how the network should be built and how service providers should be involved. A community forum was held online on Monday 6 December for anyone interested in sharing their ideas. As the community comes together to design and build the network, the researchers

“retreat” to allow them space to shape the network in a way that will work best for locals, Dr Peucker explained. “It’s in their hands; it’s owned by communities,” he said. In Wyndham, the Wyndham Community Education Centre now coordinates the network. Dr Peucker said real change has been achieved; a local police station now trains new staff specifically in racism. “It’s quite nice to see how it has evolved for us,” Dr Peucker said. “This is where empowerment and change really happens.” He hopes the “community empowerment project” will ultimately reach every municipality in Victoria – dispelling the disempowering and frustrating processes that currently cloud reporting on racism. “It’s really amazing to see how it has resonated with the community,” he said.

‘Not insubstantial’: First-time trafficker jailed By Cam Lucadou-Wells A Dandenong-raised plasterer has been jailed for trafficking a commercial quantity of cocaine. Granit Sylejmani, now 31, was charged after Australian Federal Police officers raided his Bentleigh East home and found 4.5 kilograms of cocaine on 19 February 2020. The haul was equivalent to 2.5 kilos plus of pure cocaine. Its value was “not insubstantial”, sentencing Victorian County Court judge Richard Maidment said on 23 November. Sylejmani also pled guilty to possessing 308 grams of cannabis found throughout the home, as well as a fake NSW drivers’ licence. Police seized nearly 3 kilos of plastic shrinkwrapped cocaine in a shoe box in the laundry, as well as nearly a kilo of loose cocaine in a frying pan and a pot in a kitchen cupboard. Three bags were also allegedly seized from the bedroom of Sylejmani’s housemate – who Sylejmani claimed knew nothing about drugs in the house. “I threw it in there,” Sylejmani told police.

Judge Maidment didn’t accept Sulejmani’s denial of selling cocaine from his home. Nor his explanation that an unnamed male “drug friend” had asked him to store the blocks of cocaine found in the laundry in exchange for 50 grams of cocaine for personal use. Sulejmani’s role was likely more substantial and motivated by “significant profit”, Judge Maidment stated. This was suggested by the “totality and condition” of the cocaine, as well as the array of seized paraphernalia such as a hydraulic press, vacuum sealing machine, deal bags, scales and cocaine purity testing kit.

Sylejmani still suffered “reasonably severe” post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of growing up in the horrors of war-struck Kosovo in the late 1990’s. His family escaped and settled in Dandenong as refugees. Unable to speak English, Sylejmani suffered vilification and harassment and fell in with a “bad crowd” at school. He found cocaine particularly “compelling”, as a means of masking his PTSD symptoms. But this did not reduce his moral culpability for trafficking drugs – given he didn’t seek drug treatment until he was imprisoned. Judge Maidment noted Sylejmani was a first offender, remorseful and motivated to rehabilitate. During custody, he’d been drug-free. Sylejmani was jailed for up to seven years. He’ll be eligible for parole after serving fourand-a-half years. His term included 644 days in pre-sentence remand. The housemate Arianit Hajzeri was recently convicted and jailed for 77 days for possessing cocaine.

Crashed truck into cop car: Mandatory jail By Cam Lucadou-Wells An ice-fueled driver of a stolen tow-truck who rammed and crushed an occupied police vehicle in Cranbourne has been jailed. Kieran Hilder, 25, pleaded guilty at the Victorian County Court to the aggravated intentional exposure of a police officer to risk – a mandatory jail offence. He had stolen the truck - with its keys inside – from a Cranbourne service station about 9.30am on 17 April. Fifteen minutes later, a police officer intercepted Hilder in Cranbourne West and parked five metres behind the truck. With the officer still inside, Hilder reversed the truck, crushed the front of the police vehicle and shattered its windscreen. The police vehicle was pushed backwards and sustained “major damage”, sentencing judge Michael Bourke stated on 26 November. The police member was uninjured. Hilder’s act was “drug-fuelled, haphazard and dangerous” – though with an aim to escape rather than to harm, Judge Bourke said. Hilder fled in the truck without rendering assistance at the collision scene. He dumped the truck at a nearby construction site, stealing a closed-circuit camera, keys, phone and wallet from the truck’s cabin. Three days later, he was charged and bailed. However, on the same night, he was inter-

Tuesday, 7 December, 2021

A police car which was rammed by Kieran Hilder in a stolen tow-truck in Cranbourne on 17 April. 234556 Picture: PHILIP TYME cepted driving a stolen BMW, and capsicumsprayed while resisting arrest. Hilder was charged with absconding from a County Court-imposed community corrections order for a long list of “dishonesty” offences. He was also charged with car theft, driving disqualified, trespass on the construction site and offending while on bail. Drug abuse was a “major feature” of Hilder’s offending, Judge Bourke said. But his daily ice use at the time was no mitigation. His criminal history was mainly dishonesty, bail and driving offences, with further similar offences to be heard at Dandenong Magistrates’ Court in December.

Judge Bourke noted Hilder’s childhood trauma including the destruction of his family’s Marysville home and “precarious” escape during the 2009 Black Saturday fires. He suffered other close-family tragedy as a child. Hilder’s early guilty plea, relative youth and the impact of Covid on his time in custody was also noted. However, Judge Bourke said jail was the only appropriate sentence. Hilder was jailed for up to three years and four months – including being re-sentenced for his CCO. He’ll be eligible for parole after serving 20 months. His term includes 221 days in pre-sentence detention. dandenong.starcommunity.com.au


Skills for life At The Bridge they transform lives through empowerment, choice, support, advocacy and connections to home, work and community. One example is Nabil, who graduated from high school last year and joined us at The Bridge straight away. He loves to spend time with his friends, go bowling, and use the computers. Nabil has gained confidence and practiced important life skills such as cooking and money handling. He has recently commenced supported employment at The Bridge Employment. For more good news stories please visit our www.thebridgeinc.org.au or follow us on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. In 2020, The Bridge celebrated 50 years and is an NDIS, TAC and DHHS registered service provider supporting people with disabilities and disadvantage to develop life skills or find employment. The Bridge offers a wide range of services across Dandenong, Casey, Cardinia Bayside, Mornington Peninsula including: Day services (group community and centrebased activities based on the choice and interests of participants). Individual support in-home or in the community. Getaways and community recreation including Friday night social groups, weeknight and weekend day outings and overnight short-stay holidays. School Leaver Employment Support and transition to employment services. Supported Employment in assembly, picking and packaging. NDIS Support Coordination (assisting people to find the right providers and coordinate a range of supports). Disability Employment Services (providing placement, training and support in the open labour market for young people and adults

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Building back better Outlook celebrates people with disabilities every day. The work they do is driven by their vision of creating and supporting inclusive communities where people with disability can live, work, play and participate fully in community life. This year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities theme is Building Back Better: toward a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post Covid-19 World, and that is exactly what they have been doing at Outlook. General manager community services

Gabriella Browne, said, “During lockdown, the disability services team re-designed our centre-based and community-based programs and now, more than ever, Outlook has a range of programs and activities to suit all abilities. Of course, we’ve kept the favourite activities Outlook customers have always enjoyed. Outlook invites the community to get in touch and speak to their knowledgeable and friendly team to work out a path that is the perfect fit for a rewarding and inclusive community experience.

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Watchful eyes for dumpers By Gabriella Payne Illegal rubbish dumping has long been an issue that has plagued the south-eastern suburbs - but an unusual yet ingenious new solution could help curb the problem for good. With Christmas and the holiday season just around the corner, Australia’s largest clothing and household item recycling company, SCR Group, has been bracing itself for a busy few months ahead. Running over 1600 collection hubs around the country, SCR Group spends almost $1 million every year cleaning up illegal dumping and they knew there needed to be a more permanent solution to the problem. SCR Group key executive Alexis Todorovski said that the spike in illegal dumping over the festive season happened “for a number of reasons” but after hearing about some interesting new research from Oxford University, the company decided to try a new prevention strategy. The research, which showed that images of large watching eyes could reduce the occurrence of crime and anti-social behaviour, gave the company the idea for their new, specially designed signage - a life-size, big-eyed, cardboard security guard named Alfonzo. “Alfonzo is based off international research from Oxford University called ’the watching eye effect’, which was tested to see if images of large watching eyes would reduce the occurrence of crime and anti-social behaviour,” Ms Todorovski said. “The findings of that study showed their effectiveness being greater than CCTV cameras. “SCR Group expanded on this research to include an educational element with the key message “illegal dumping is a crime” [in the new signage] because not many people know that leaving items next to clothing hubs, even with good intent, is a punishable offence, often through hefty fines,” she said. The company trialled Alfonzo for a fourweek period at their worst offending illegal dumping hotspot in Melbourne’s northern suburbs and witnessed some incredible results. “Our number one hotspot saw dumping decrease by 75 per cent and dropped from the number one spot to number 10 in just a fourweek period,” Ms Todorovski explained. “The results from our trial are in line with

What do you think of the new ‘Alfonzo’ signage idea being trialled by SCR Group - could it curb illegal dumping in your area? Oxford’s research and we believe this concept should be part of public policy, especially when it comes to illegal dumping that costs ratepayers tens of millions of dollars each year to clean up (an average of approximately $2-3 million per council).” Ms Todorovski said that SCR Group planned to roll out the scheme to their south-east locations in the near future and hoped to record

similar results, but signage wasn’t the only way to stop the problem once and for all. “We’re currently rolling out Alfonzo signage in the City of Hume, City of Casey and more in the City of Whittlesea,” Ms Todorovski said. “Although the signs are very successful, they are only one part to a multi-pronged strategy to significantly reduce or eliminate the problem altogether.


“In conjunction with the signage and in collaboration with councils, SCR Group believes that education programs and awareness campaigns along with the sufficient provision of services such as free home pickups and recycling drop off days should be a permanent part to local government’s service and would address the cause behind illegal dumping.”

Innovative enterprise walking the path to sustainability By Marcus Uhe Keysborough civil construction company Wara Paring Civil has been recognised as a Social and Economic Justice Industry Leader in the 2021 Victorian Sustainability Awards in a virtual awards ceremony held last month. The awards, now in their 19th year, recognise Victorians across the state who demonstrated leadership and innovation in sustainable practices. Wara Paring worked in collaboration with Melbourne Water and Aqua Metro Services and provided an 18-month training program for young indigenous people to join the civil construction industry, with a goal to create a 100 per cent Indigenous-owned civil construction business. In April 2021 the project came to fruition with the establishment of Wara Paring Civil Construction Pty Ltd. Wara Paring director Leon Egan said the award was one step on a much longer path for the organisation. “We’ve got an amazing opportunity in collaboration with Melbourne Water and Aqua Metro Services right now,” Egan said. “We’re looking at purchasing a second truck, then a third, fourth truck, who knows by the end of next year, and increasing our footprint, hopefully, in the water industry and staying in the water industry. That’s a service provider industry and an industry that’s going to be around forever, and there’s a need for this type of machinery in that industry on a daily basis.” “We have one casual employee at the moment and whole idea is, as we grow and de14 STAR JOURNAL


David George, Leon Egan and Dan Charles from Wara Paring Civil. 260267 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS velop we will be able to offer opportunities for young Indigenous people to work in the civil construction industry.” Wara Paring is a Wemba Wemba word meaning ‘come walk the path together’, and in this instance Egan is walking with former Doveton Football Club teammates Daniel Charles and David George. Doveton has been considered a club of choice for Aboriginal players in the region for a long time because of the “cultural safety” it provided. Charles worked as a plumber after completing his apprenticeship and spent some time as a borer before joining Wara Paring,

Tuesday, 7 December, 2021

while George worked in the fields of horticulture, landscaping and construction. Charles said that he could not have envisaged this opportunity arising when the trio were representing the Doves. “To think that we’ve got a business together now and creating an opportunity for others is fantastic,” he said. Egan has worked with a number of organisations over the years including Victoria Police and the AFL Players Association which provided him the opportunity to work with young Aboriginal people. Through Wara Paring, he wanted to address a gap in the market where there was a

void of Indigenous engineers. “Aboriginal people are extremely underrepresented in civil construction industry,” he said. “There’s no role-modelling. They visibly can’t see Aboriginal people working as engineers and they can’t be what they can’t see.” “Through Wara Paring, Aboriginal young people become operators of non-destructive digging equipment and if they want to further careers in industry there’s pathways to do so.” Non-destructive digging involves the use of high-powered water pressure equipment to break apart dirt and soil and expose utilities and assets underground. It’s a safer practice than “blindly digging”, according to Egan, and the raw materials washed-away in the process are placed into a truck and taken to a recycling plant to create top soil, packing sand and rock, among other products. Their trucks have the capacity to store 8000 litres of dirt and soil broken apart by the pressured water, and 4000 litres of water to facilitate the digging. Non-destructive digging is also more respectful to the land compared to excavating, something significant to Indigenous culture. “Being 100 per cent Aboriginal owned, one important thing was to maintain significant responsibility to care for the land which was passed down by family members,” Egan said. “I don’t know any different. It was drilled in from my Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles to protect the land.” dandenong.starcommunity.com.au




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• Noble Park Harrisfield Milkbar 519 Princes Highway • Noble Park North Halton Road Milk Bar 65 Coolavin Road • Noble Park North Jan Wilson Community Centre Halton Road (Barry J Powell Reserve) • Noble Park North Jacksons Road Service Station 139 Jacksons Road • Springvale Century 21 Real Estate Shop 5-6/64 Buckingham Avenue • Springvale Springvale Shopping Centre 46-58 Buckingham Avenue • Springvale KFL Supermarket 46-58 Buckingham Avenue (Springvale Shopping Centre) • Springvale Waltzing Matilda Hotel 856 Heatherton Road • Springvale Springvale Learning & Activities Centre 1 Osborne Avenue • Springvale Springvale RSL 23 Osborne Avenue • Springvale Caltex Woolworths Springvale 102 Police Road • Springvale Aobao Milk Bar 106 Police Road • Springvale Savemore Supermarket 774 Princes Highway • Springvale Coles Supermarket 825 Princes Highway • Springvale Sundowner Caravan & Cabin Park 870 Princes Highway • Springvale Springvale Neighbourhood House 46-50 Queens Avenue • Springvale Biggin Scott Real Estate 363 Springvale Road • Springvale Raine and Horne Real Estate 236 Springvale Road • Springvale Woolworths Supermarket 302 Springvale Road • Springvale Springvale Newsagency 321 Springvale Road • Springvale Springvale Library 411 Springvale Road • Springvale City of Greater Dandenong Customer Service Centre 397-405 Springvale Road • Springvale South Southvale Newsagency 565 Springvale Road • Springvale South Koh’s Marketplace 162-170 Athol Road (Athol Road Shopping Centre) • Springvale South BP Service Station Springvale Road & Clarke Road • Springvale South Springvale Plaza Pharmacy and Tattslotto 3/800 Heatherton Road (Springvale Plaza) • Springvale South BP Springvale 974 Heatherton Road • Wheelers Hill Mulgrave Country Club Wellington Road & Jells Road

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Tuesday, 7 December, 2021




Bears make a statement By Tyler Lewis A Matt Chasemore fuelled Berwick outfit sent a statement on Saturday afternoon, dismantling North Dandenong at Arch Brown Reserve in DDCA Turf 1 action. Chasemore – and his Bears – were smothering with the ball, restricting the visiting side to just 101. The medium pacer finished with the sensational figures of seven overs, five maidens, 3/5, while tearaway quick Andrew Perrin was also relentless with the ball, claiming 4/19. The Bears made light work of the run chase, storming home with ten wickets in hand in just 15.3 overs. Gloveman Jordan Cleland pushed around 49 off 48 balls, while Lachlan Brown scorched 53 from 46. After suffering a defeat to Hallam Kalora Park in the grand final rematch last week, the win comes as the Bears first of the season. Springvale South, meanwhile, also sent a shiver down the spine of its opponents, after dealing with reigning premiers Hallam Kalora Park. Blade Baxter was instrumental for the Bloods, ripping through the Hawks batting line-up. The quick collected 5/24 from his 12 overs as his side kept the Hawks to 10/98 from its 38 overs. And despite losing Jayde Herrick early, the

Bloods cruised to victory with nine wickets in the pavilion and plenty of overs to spare. Ryan Quirk (58 not out from 91 balls) and Mitch Forsyth (34 not out from 59 balls) got some valuable time in the middle, as the pair put on 84 together to guide their side to victory. A complete performance at Park Oval against Narre South saw Buckley Ridges go 2-0. The Bucks – led by Michael Davies – were outstanding with the ball, keeping the visiting side to 166. Davies was the pick of the bowlers, notching 4/36 from his 11 overs. Narre South skipper Kyle Hardy was a shining light for the Lions, compiling 63 from 102 balls. But it was the other end that troubled the Lions all day, as Hardy himself had six partners. Bucks skipper Ben Wright couldn’t have asked for a better start, as his side scooted to 0/62 in its run chase. 0/62 eventuated to 3/138, then to 4/169 as the Bucks cruised home in the 37th over. Josh Holden got away with a blistering 56 from 47 balls, while Michael Davies added to his performance with the ball by boosting his average with a run a ball 18 not out. St Mary’s, meanwhile, secured a fantastic win, edging out Narre Warren by 49 runs. The visiting side posted an extremely competitive total of 9/192 in the opening innings;

Bat v ball. Symons sends one down to Forsyth.

Josh Holden on the attack for Buckley Ridges. 260749 Kusun Niranjana collected 70 from 102 at the top, while Ashan Anthony also raised his bat for his 58 from 68 balls. Josh Dinger was the pick of the bowlers for the home unit, claiming 2/37 off 11. While the Pies got off to a steady start with the bat, it was Niranjana once again who took


Picture: ROB CAREW

the game away from the Narre Warren unit. Niranjan added to his 70 with a sensational 5/42 from his 11 overs. In next week’s matches: Narre South host Springvale South, Narre Warren travel to North Dandenong, St Mary’s take on Berwick and Buckley Ridges will play Hallam Kalora Park.

Josh Slater was crucial for the Panthers with 80.

Panthers are on the board after overcoming the Heat By Tyler Lewis It was some of the new and some of the old who stood up for Dandenong on Saturday in its first win of the summer. The Panthers – with its new look side – had been troubled in its first two outings, but appeared unphased at J Coburn Oval in their clash with Frankston Peninsula. The Panthers, sent in by old friend James Nanopoulos at the toss, looked far more threatening with the bat than previous weeks, posting 5/235. Champion opener Tom Donnell set the 18 STAR JOURNAL


tone early for the Panthers, lacing 66 from 93 deliveries, where he didn’t look like getting out until the loose stroke that brought upon his dismissal. Josh Slater was also a key contributor for the visiting side, playing all the strokes on his way to 80. The right-hander struggled to increase his strike rate in the middle stages of his innings, but it seemed when he was joined by gloveman Sam Newell (29 from 25), he started to get going. In fact, the Panthers faced just seven dot balls in the final six overs.

Tuesday, 7 December, 2021

In reply, the key wicket of dasher Vish Bansal was the key to the match after his scintillating display last week. Seamer Sam Wetering snared the all-important scalp, on his way to career best figures to date of 4/42 in just his second game. The man who took the catch off the blade of Bansal – Matt Wilson – was also terrific with dazzling figures: 9.1 overs, one maiden, 5/34. Among those five, Wilson was able to snare Heat batters Akshay Kodoth and Brodie Symons in successive balls. As for the hat-trick ball, it was to none

other than James Nanopoulos, which the lefty saw off, avoiding one almighty headline in his first match against his old side. With Wilson and Wetering combining for 9/76 from 19.1 overs, the Panthers were able to restrict the Heat to 10/216 – 20 runs shy of its required target. The win comes at the perfect time for the Dandenong outfit, avoiding falling to 0-3 for the first time since 2012/13. In next week’s fixture, the Panthers host another south eastern rival, this time CaseySouth Melbourne at Shepley Oval. dandenong.starcommunity.com.au


‘Do It’ getting it done By Jason Adams High class sprinter Do It continued his career of consistency with a dominant win at Sandown Park on Thursday night. Despite not being known as a swift beginner he speared to the lead and from there was going to be awfully difficult to beat. He won comfortably and set a strong overall time of 29.27. “I think a run of inside draws has helped him begin more consistently and gain confidence. He’s always in high quality races and dropping back in grade helped.” said partowner Jarrod Sharp. Plans are now in place for Do It, or ‘Simon’ as he’s known, to travel to Tasmania this Sunday for next Thursday’s heats of the state’s flagship event the G1 Hobart Thousand. He’s aiming for his second Group 1 triumph after he won the Adelaide Cup in October. Sharp co-owns Do It with close friend and colleague Glen Mollison, who caught ‘Simon’

after last night’s win and was front and centre in the post-race photo with family. “It’s the first greyhound he’s owned and he’s loving it. He said it was the best feeling walking down the straight with Simon after he’d won. It was easier to get up this morning.” Sharp gives huge credit to trainers Jeff Britton and Angela Langton who he’s had a long standing friendship with on and off the track. “They’re amazing. Angela bought the litter of pups, I told her I wanted to get a bloke at work involved in the sport and she was more than happy to help. Glen picked one out and the rest is history.” Do It has won 14 of his 48 starts with $237,360 in prize money. He’s competed in just four Grade 5 races which highlights his longevity against the sport’s elite. In the race prior Paddy Wants Pats was superb in the night’s Free-For-All. He set very similar splits to Do It though slightly sharper with a best-of-night time of 29.26.

Do It continued his career of consistency with a dominant win.

Locals shine on the MCG By Nick Creely

Ashley Chandrasinghe raised the bat twice across the four days.


There was a local flavour to the recent Victorian Second XI match, with Dandenong District Cricket Association champion Ruwantha Kellepotha and rising youngster Ashley Chandrasinghe making their debuts on the MCG. Kellepotha - who clinched the DDCA’s highest individual honour, the Alan Wookey Medal last season with Berwick but has had incredible stints with Springvale South, Keysborough and St Mary’s - broke through to higher honours after just one game at Premier Cricket level with the Swans. He is one of the association’s finest players of the last decade. The 30-year-old played 20 First Class matches in Sri Lanka, averaging 38.56 with the bat and 29.41 with the ball, before moving to Australia where he settled in as one of the biggest stars of the south-east suburbs. In the four-day game against ACT/NSW Country, the pair - both playing their Premier Cricket at Casey-South Melbourne - were extremely impressive as they pushed for potential state selection this season and beyond. Kellepotha’s experience proved vital with

the bat in the first innings, scoring a handy 26 not out, including two sixes. But it was his leggies that impressed most, sending down 26 overs for the return of 2/71, bouncing back brilliantly from a shaky start. However, it was 19-year-old Ashley Chandrasinghe - a Buckley Ridges junior - that shone on the wide expanses of the ‘G. The talented young left-handed opening batter top-scored in both innings for the Victorian side, scoring a patient 56 off 151 balls in the first dig, hitting five boundaries before he was eventually bowled. In the second innings, with the wickets tumbling, Chandrasinghe stood tall and helped salvage the Victorians into a winning position, scoring a gutsy 68 from 178 balls, with his side just mustering up 162. He spent a total of almost eight hours at the crease, showcasing his impenetrable technique and patience. Victoria and ACT/NSW Country eventually drew the game with rain intervening late in the fourth day, with Fergus O’Neill (3/43), skipper Xavier Crone (51) and opener Jack Rudd (50) other Victorians to impress across the four day match.

Topsy-turvy weekend as local teams mix up their form By Nick Creely It was a double-dose of action in the Victorian Sub-District Cricket Association on the weekend, with the competition hosting its regular Saturday action and then re-scheduled round one fixtures on Sunday. On Saturday, Noble Park banked a gritty win away against Bayswater, chasing down the home side’s target with five balls to spare. The Parkers bowled first, with Janaka Liyanabadalge (3/22) the most damaging bowler of the lot as the home side mustered up a more than competitive 8/171 from their 45 overs. A steady 45 from Parkers opener Josh Crozier ensured the visitors could get off to a solid 52-run opening stand, but a steady flow of wickets - sparked by Zach Hayes (4/27) - saw the side fall to 7/107 and in dire straits. But Archie Rajapakse (44 not out) and Kolitha Weerasekera (23 not out) guided the visitors to victory with a match-winning 66-run stand, showing tremendous composure. But Noble was unable to replicate its impressive Saturday showing, going down to Box Hill at home on Sunday. Set 163 for victory, the Parkers were held to 143 in reply, with Max Heffernan top-scoring with 32 at the top of the order. Endeavour Hills, meanwhile, also had a mixed weekend of results on the field. The Eagles were outclassed on Saturday, with Plenty Valley doing the job at Sydney Pargeter Reserve. The Bats set the Eagles an imposing 222 for victory after a half-century from star Cal Nandandenong.starcommunity.com.au

Richard Saniga’s Endeavour Hills had a mixed weekend. 229041 kervis (69), but were restricted to just 166 with the home side’s Test duo, Tillakaratne Dilshan (40) and Lahiru Thirimanne (38) amongst the runs. But Dilshan fired the Eagles to victory on Sunday with a vintage display with bat and ball

against St Bernard’s OC at home. The former Sri Lankan legend spanked 61 with the bat in the opening innings, helping set his side a competitive 161. But it was his clever offies that proved the real difference between a win and a loss, snar-

ing 5/18 as the visitors were bundled out for just 99. Dilshan ran through the visitors in his 8.4 over golden spell, while club legend Richie Saniga also bowled tidy to pick up 1/7 from seven overs.

Tuesday, 7 December, 2021




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Feel reassured knowing that we follow strict COVID-19 safety protocols.

Did you know you can access 63 days of government subsidised care in a financial year.* *A needs assessment is required to determine funding eligibility.

We’ve been caring for people for over 35 years, it’s what we do best. For more information or to book a respite stay, give us a call

NELLIE MELBA RETIREMENT VILLAGE 2 Collegium Avenue, Wheelers Hill, 03 8513 1900

WEARY DUNLOP RETIREMENT VILLAGE 242 Jells Road, Wheelers Hill, 03 8545 1400 rymanhealthcare.com.au




Tuesday, 7 December, 2021