EHD Star Journal - 21st May 2024

Page 1

Rainbow nations

LGBTIQA+ asylum seekers and refugees in the South East may be set for more support as part of a funding announcement in Dandenong on Friday 17 May.

Equality Minister Harriet Shing announced recipients from the new funding program LGBTIQA+ Sector Strengthening during a rainbow flag-raising at Harmony Square on Friday 17 May.

It was Greater Dandenong’s fifth year of raising the rainbow flag as part of the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia andTransphobia (IDAHOBIT).

And part of the council’s ongoing efforts to lift flagging support in the region for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender diverse, intersex, queer and asexual (LGBTIQA+) equality.

Many Coloured Sky (MCS) will use the grant to expand its support for asylum seekers and refugees in outer suburbia and

Winter Special on Plantation


Greater Dandenong, Casey and Cardinia were among the front-runners for the expanded service’s three new regions, chief executive Ian Seal said.

Other options were Melbourne’s North, Melbourne’sWest, Greater Shepparton and Greater Mildura.

“The core of our work is to have safe, social spaces for members to come together where theycanmakefriends,raiseconcernsandshare

their dreams,” Seal said.

“Sadly the majority of our members have become cut off from their own families and broader cultural communities.

“They may not have the means or feel safe to access mainstream LBGTIQA+ services. They’re stuck in a hard place.”

Activities include peer-mentoring sessions and fortnightly drop-in dinners, as well as casework support.

Continued page 6

40¢ Inc. GST ENDEAVOUR HILLS HALLAM DOVETON /DandenongJournal @StarJournal_SE 12690766-AP21-24
Shutters PVC Fusion $269 sqm plus installation from 1st June 2024 Free installation on S-Fold Sheer Curtains Receive 1 free remote 5 channel on all Motorisation 217 PRINCES HWY, DANDENONG | Ph: 9794 9205 Tuesday, 21 May, 2024
PAGE 6 PAGE 5 PAGE 4 Stud Rd funding hitch Calls to honour legend Pavilion stench lingers PAGE 18
sons return
Equality Minister Harriet Shing and Greater Dandenong resident Aminui hoist the rainbow colours on IDAHOBIT Day in Harmony Square,Dandenong. 407401 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

Funds welcomed

Greater Dandenong Council is set to provide $350,000 in annual operational funding for seven neighbourhood houses and community centres.

The Neighbourhood Houses and Community Centres (NHCC) project brief was passed at a council meeting on Monday 13 May.

Under the agreement $50,000 is allocated to each of the seven NHCCs to help them continue their community connection and participation services throughout Greater Dandenong.

Salma Ahmadi, project coordinator, says the news is an acknowledgment of the special role that neighbourhood houses play in individuals’ lives, just within a walking distance from residents.

“Since Covid, a lot of residents that live in Dandenong North area were very isolated and lonely, we have a very diverse community here.

“We have a lot of public housing residents that live around here, who mainly live alone with no family or friends to keep in touch with, so the house is like a family to them.”

According to the report, the agreement commences initially for two years from 2024’25followedbyareviewandathree-yearagreement depending on the review outcomes.

The change to operational funding rather than project funding will add financial security at the houses.

A second home to many from all ages, backgrounds, abilities, and interests, all gather under one roof through a range of activities and programs.

Melanie Virtue manager of the Springvale Neighbourhood House, said she’s very happy at the news given the importance of social and service accessibility classes for residents in the area.

“North Dandenong is an area that’s got high social and economic needs in the population.

“Some people live by themselves, and the house is a reason for them to leave the house, for some it could be the only place they hear someone say their name during the week.”

The 2022-23 annual report depict 168 visits

every week and 6720 people using the services annually with weekly jam-packed classes from sewing classes to multiple social classes and exercise classes.

Residents can access the classes and much more all within a fee as low as $50 for the entire year to ensure efficient support are provided to newcomers and the program remains accessible for low-income residents.

One of the newest neighbourhood houses, the North Dandenong house will pay a peppercorn rent to the council - which aligns with the rental arrangements for the other four neighbourhood houses in Greater Dandenong.

MsVirue said the peppercorn arrangement, being a very low or nominal rent, will help filter more funds to other projects.

“Prior to this we received the community higher rate of rent $29 an hour. Out of the fund we got from the council we paid half of it back in rent.

“So not having to pay that money to council now means we have more money to run programs and be open for longer.”

In a two-week data collection report from November-December 2023, the North Dandenong house shows 74 per cent of supported participants were female, majority being Afghan, Anglo-Australian and Chinese.

According to the data, in the two-week span, the Arabic Seniors Social Group had the highest attendance of 32 followed by Women’s Friendship Cafe 29 and Afghan Seniors Social Group 28 along with a Foodbank service.

The NDNH is focused to attain the lead tenancy of the entire Deakin Hall building, a council owned facility, for a whole year but don’t quite have their “foot in the door yet” Ms Ahmadi said.

If successful, it will unlock a computer room, massive hall and reception area which will increase their capacity for increased social classes.

Calvary Hallam to cease operations

Residential aged care home Calvary Hallam will cease operations by October 2024 as Calvary assesses the future use of the site to deliver modern connected care across its services.

Calvary considered modernising the existing building design but determined such extensive work was not practical for the staff and residents, who would have had to relocate throughout the process.

Calvary Hallam is an older residential aged care home, and while maintenance works have been undertaken to address immediate issues, the infrastructure style is believed to be unable to support contemporary aged care services into the future without a major renovation.

“These decisions are not made lightly, but we believe the closure offers better long-term

outcomes for our residents and a stable work environment for staff compared with any temporary relocation,” Calvary regional chief executiveVictoria Dr Angela Littleford said.

“To be able to grow, and provide care for an increasing number of people, Calvary must ensure our existing services are operating well, and enhance our service delivery with access to pathways that help to connect care services.”

Calvary will support the transition of all 39 residents to homes with better amenities across the Calvary network, or to another aged care provider if residents choose.

Calvary Hallam staff will be offered redeployment opportunities where suitable across Calvary’s otherVictorian homes.

Calvary is providing pastoral care support to all our residents and staff during this period.


Chisholm Institute has received almost $2m as part of the Federal Government’s TAFE Technology Fund.

The $1.95 million grant will be used to replace and upgrade existing equipment to include computerised numerical control (CNC) and coordinated measuring machine (CMM) technology.

The tech will be used by Certificate IV Engineering students to learn advanced production and operation skills, and industry 4.0 readiness.

Skills and Training Minister Brendan O’Connor said the skilling and reskilling of workers was “critical” for “secure and rewarding careers” and a Future Made in Australia.

“Upgrading TAFEs with world-class resources is essential to ensuring they’re equipped to deliver training to the standards that industry and students expect.”

Victorian Skills and TAFE Minister Gayle Tierney said the upgrade was “equipping students with cutting-edge skills for the industries of tomorrow”.

“Together with the Federal Government, we’re removing financial barriers, preparing workers to meet the demands of our evolving economy, and ensuring every Victorian has the opportunity to get the skills they need for the job they want.”

Bruce MP Julian Hill said Chisholm would “remain at the forefront of skills training, bolstering job-readiness for young people and workers retraining for future jobs”.

“A decade of Liberal cuts and neglect of TAFE and higher education, locked Australians out of jobs and created a major skills crisis in our economy.

“Labor’s $50 million TAFE Technology Fund, alongside Fee-Free TAFE, is reinvigorating training, upskilling Australia’s workforce and boosting productivity.”

The fund, including $8 million in Victoria, is being used to upgrade TAFE laboratories, workshops, new equipment, and simulated learning environments.

The Federal Government is also providing $502.9 million for an additional 320,000 Fee-Free TAFE and VET places over the next three years.

2 STAR JOURNAL | Tuesday, 21 May, 2024 Order now on CONTACT US Phone: 5945 0666 ADVERTISING Visit Email Phone 5945 0666 EDITORIAL Email Published by Star News Group Pty Ltd ACN 005 848 108. Publisher/Managing Director, Paul Thomas. All material is copyright to Star News Group Pty Ltd. All significant errors will be corrected as soon as possible. Distribution numbers, areas and coverage are estimates only. For our terms and conditions please visit AUSTRALIAN OWNED & INDEPENDENT REAL ESTATE Email Visit Email Phone 5945 0600 12651767-RR48-23 Focus on what truly mattersyour business and family Let us handle the bookkeeping and secure your peace of mind ARE YOU OVERWHELMED BY PAPERWORK AND THE ATO REGULATIONS AND DEADLINES? Contact Sharron on Ph: 0409 426 516 Celebrating 21 years in business 12686627-HC20-24 GOLD PARTNER CERTIFIED ADVISOR CALL NOW BAS Agent / Bookkeeper
Chisholm new tech
Calvary Hallam. Picture: SUPPLIED Golsum Ramezani, Melanie Virtue and teacher Bibi Mosavi at North Dandenong Neighbourhood House. 407998 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

Abduction horror for mum

A mother is afraid to leave her home after she and her baby were abducted from a shopping centre by a man armed with a knife.

The victim, known as Kieren, says she was terrified the offender would hurt her sixmonth-old daughter during the ordeal.

She was getting out of her silver Suzuki at Stud Park Shopping Centre car park in Rowville on May 10 when the man approached her with a knife.

He forced her into the driver’s seat before getting into the back seat next to the baby.

The man then forced the mother to drive to three different electrical stores and go inside to buy Apple MacBooks while he waited with the child.

Eventually, he took over driving and pulled up at Robert Booth Reserve where he got out and left with the laptops.

The mother sought help from a nearby kebab shop.

Mother and child were not physically harmed, but Kieren says she was terrified he would drive off with the baby while she was inside the stores.

“I was just so worried in a panic that he would drive away with her inside and he didn’t, I was thankful for that,” she told reporters through tears on Friday.

Kieren tried to de-escalate the situation by being nice to her abductor but felt so sick at one point she had to pull over to vomit.

“All I can remember hearing was my daughter crying, he was trying to get her to calm down and I was trying to get him to calm down, we were both crying,” she said.

Kieren’s husband was able to track her location by her phone and caught up with the car at the second store where he unsuccessfully tried to stop the abduction.

“I just remember yelling at my husband

that he has a knife and that I just didn’t want him to get hurt,” she said.

“Then my husband tried to save my daughter, but couldn’t.”

Police are looking for this man after a mother and baby were abducted at a shopping centre. (Victoria Police)

She said the man told her he was a nurse and would not hurt her daughter as she was the same age as his niece.

“I had to believe he wasn’t going to hurt us in the end,” she said.

The mother has only left her house once since the abduction, and is fearful the man knows information about her as he had her wallet in the car.

“I have to tell myself that it’s very unlikely to ever, ever happen again to me and I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone else, it’s really hard to feel safe,” she said.

Detective Senior Constable Jonathan Minehan said the abduction was unusual and appears to have been an isolated incident.

He said the mother behaved in an admirable and impressive way that kept her and the baby safe.

“To put a young family through a protracted and traumatic experience purely for financial gain, it baffles me,” he said.

Anyone who may be able to identify the man, or who has dashcam footage from the Stud Park area between 5.30pm and 6.30pm on May 10, has been asked to contact investigators.

Detectives have described the offender as being of Asian appearance aged between 20 and 35.

He was wearing a grey hoodie, green fluorescent vest, a dark face covering, black pants and dark shoes.

Police are performing extra patrols in the area and have set up an information caravan.

Drug driver spared jail

An unlicensed, ice-addled driver who crashed into a power pole in Springvale South and critically injured himself and his passenger has been narrowly spared jail.

Slade Musgrove, 25, pleaded guilty after accepting a sentence indication at the Victorian County Court for dangerous driving causing serious injury.

Shortly before the crash, Musgrove and his girlfriend had been using meth when they were told to immediately leave their temporary abode in Cranbourne late at night on 2 December 2021.

Due to the Covid lockdown, Musgrove was stranded from family in Queensland and without work and accommodation. The couple were regularly sleeping in the car.

“Regrettably you considered you had little choice but to drive away,” sentencing judge Gerard Mullaly said.

Early the next morning, due to Musgrove’s “possible momentary inattention”, the car veered off a straight, dry section of Springvale Road, Springvale South. Musgrove belatedly corrected but the car spun across a nature strip into a power pole.

Emergency services were at the scene for 15 minutes until they discovered the severely-injured passenger under the car. Not wearing a seatbelt, she was ejected during the crash through a hole ripped in the footwell.

She required resuscitation and emergency surgery at Monash Medical Centre to save her life. Her list of injuries included a brain haemorrage, severe fractures to her face and femur as well as ribs, lower leg and arm.

Musgrove was freed from the car by firefighters, and also taken to hospital in a critical state.

The car was estimated to be travelling between 76-90 km/h when it struck the pole in the 80 km/h zone.

Several drugs, including high levels of methamphetamine, were found in Musgrove’s blood sample.

However CCTV vision of Musgrove buying petrol minutes before the crash showed his movements and demeanour were apparently “normal”.

There was little to no evidence of why Musgrove veered off the road, Judge Mulally said. Though he shouldn’t have been driving at all without a licence and with drugs in his system, he added.

The judge took into account Musgrove’s mild brain injury due to the crash as well as PTSD and early drug use stemming from childhood deprivation.

Without ever having a Victorian licence, he had been accumulating driving offences in Queensland andVictoria.

He had served 50 days’ jail for failing to appear in court but wasn’t a regular criminal offender, the judge stated.

With a stable relationship and home, Musgrove was now in a better position to reform than in the past - when he had been“too often in a drug-addled state”.

Prosecutors had sought a jail sentence.

Judge Mullaly, after deliberating “anxiously” on the case and the victim’s injuries, opted “by a bare margin” on 15 May for a four-year community corrections order.

The order includes supervision and 250 hours of unpaid work and treatment for drug use and mental health.

Have Your Say

Greater Dandenong City Council's Plans for 2024-25

Following community consultation in October 2023 Council has drafted its key documents for 2024-25. We are now seeking final comments on the following documents:

• Proposed Budget 2024-25

• Long Term Financial Plan 2025-34

• Council Plan 2021-25 (Revised 2024)

• Draft Annual Plan 2024-25

To get involved go to or call 8571 1000 for more information.

Ideas can be submitted until 5pm, Wednesday 12 June 2024. Tuesday, 21 May, 2024 | STAR JOURNAL 3
A man last seen with four computers on the Dandeong Creek Trail, Dandenong is wanted by police for questioning.

NEWS Park for a Doveton legend

Doveton community leaders are calling for the untitled Autumn Place park to be named after a humble, huge-hearted local legend.

For decades, the late Agnes O’Brien was widely admired for embodying the spirit of Doveton.

Many kids called her ‘Nanna’, some ‘Aggie’ and others ‘Saint Agnes’.

The single mother-of-four was credited for putting countless kids on the right path, bringing them off the streets and into her home and sport clubs.

Some say she saved numerous lives.

The idea to re-name Doveton’s central park came from Doveton Boxing Club’s Ryan Wilson – one of many inspired by her to help the young.

Growing up in the 1980s, he remembers her picking up litter and visiting the schools urging the students to play footy.

She ran the region’s first Vic Kick Australian Rules juniors program, volunteering tirelessly at Doveton’s football clubs.

“She was always around and helping people – she was one of those people who didn’t want the recognition but she impacted a lot of people’s lives.”

Wilson regards it as a travesty that Agnes hasn’t yet been recognised. And the Autumn Place park and playground is a “good fit”, being a place where Agnes would often reach out to a distressed kid.

The recognition would also right a historical wrong – in that none of Doveton’s parks and reserves are named after Doveton residents.

And just as starkly, none are named after women.

“Doveton has a strong sense of community – my parents have lived here since the 1950’s but a lot of that community spirit is dying,” Wilson says.

“Her story might help inspire people to help others.”

Without a car, Agnes famously used to walk everywhere. Often when she ventured into Dandenong, she would get a lift home from police.

Such was their respect for her, she’d ride in the front of the divvy van, and one of the officers would hunch in the back.

Her son Stephen says the police respected her good work helping kids and families in the Autumn Place park – right opposite the former police station.

“That park was a special place for her. It’s where she’d take kids. And if she saw troubled souls she’d spend a lot of time with them.

“She saved a lot of lives in that park.”

While on a single mum’s pension, she would often look after up to six other kids while their parents worked.

“It was always busy at home. Obviously times were also very tough. What we had was not a lot, but there was a lot of emotional support and love,” Stephen says.

“Right up until her passing, some of those kids still called her ‘Nanna’.”

During the footy season, she’d ask her son to pick a friend who was struggling. And she’d take the two of them to aVFL game.

Agnes was a big believer in sport to keep kids out of trouble. Any kids up to no good would be encouraged to play.

At the footy club, she did it all and often gave up her weekends. Team manager, canteen worker,Vic Kick organizer, vice-president.

“Everything that needed to be done, she

would say yes.”

Stephen has followed in her footsteps, coaching and mentoring young charges at Cranbourne Football Club.

“She’s my inspiration. I remember when she passed, someone posted on social media that for a lady who had nothing, she gave her all.

“My sister replied she had more than most.

“She might not have had a car and nice house. She just had the biggest heart, just an ability to help others.”

Born in Portafairy just outside Belfast in Ireland, Agnes was one of 11 children. In her teens, she already showed her immense care for people and trained as a nurse.

At 18, she and her sister took a boat out to Australia for a new life.

After an arduous three-month journey, her sister decided to return home as soon as they reached Sydney’s docks.

But Agnes stayed, married, later left her husband with her four kids and settled in a commission house in Doveton in 1976.

“Doveton was an incredibly hard, tough place and mum loved it,” her son says.

“She loved the people as they were who they were, nothing fake, called it as it was, but were loyal, she thrived and took pride in being a battler.”

When the idea of renaming the park was raised, Stephen said it was“mind blowing” and “humbling”.

“It would be a great way to honour her legacy

“Ryan (Wilson) and the boxing club are getting kids off the streets to see a way out and see a future for themselves.

“It means the world to me – the people who came up with the idea are the ones who are

continuing her legacy.”

The proposal has been enthusiastically backed by Agnes’s children, a past police officer at Doveton as well as the Doveton Eumemmerring Township Association (DETA) and Bruce MP Julian Hill.

DETA chair Stefan Koomen said it was disappointing that Casey Council hadn’t responded more than a year after Wilson made his submission.

“The main thing is we want to have our local history recognised.

“Women like Agnes need to be recognised or their contributions will be lost.”

It’s crucial to not only celebrate Agnes’s name, but also to depict her story on a plaque, Koomen says.

“The change is definitely warranted. The playground is literally just called Autumn Place Playground.”

Senior Sergeant Andrew O’Brien, not related to Agnes, also wrote a glowing tribute in support of renaming the park after the “true, selfless local hero”.

“No job was too big or small and they were always done with a smile, a kind word and a real hustle which was a unique characteristic of Agnes.

“From my perspective it is sad she isn’t here to see it as for too long it was just accepted and acknowledged only by those who knew her.

“It is never too late to acknowledge great people who made a real and important difference.”

The senior police officer grew up playing football with the Doveton Junior Football Club. There was no more important or harder-working volunteer than Agnes, he said.

“I was one of many young people who without the support of volunteers at the club may

have gone either way with our life choices.

“Working or absent fathers were a regular issue and in some cases these clubs were our most important support system, teaching us team values, respect, discipline and where needed genuine emotional support.”

Bruce MP Julian Hill said Agnes dedicated her life to “uplifting the Doveton community”.

“A truly selfless individual, it is only right that Agnes’ legacy is commemorated in the place that meant so much to her.

“I hope the Casey City Council decide to support this proposal and recognise the outstanding impact of the late Agnes O’Brien on our community.

“It would also be one worthy small step to addressing the dearth of public places named after women in our community.”

Casey Council growth and investment acting manager Nick Felstead said the naming proposal must undergo a review to ensure it complies with State Government guidelines as well as the rules of Geographic NamesVictoria (GNV).

“The proposal to name the park at 29 Autumn Place, Doveton after Agnes O’Brien, along with letters of recommendation and a letter of consent is currently under review and we will endeavour to provide an outcome for the submitter once finalised.

“To better support gender equity in our commemorative and place names across Casey, Council has implemented a program and endorsed guidelines in accordance with GNV for the naming of new recreation reserves and community facilities.

“This is part of Council’s commitment to increase gender equity in the naming process to recognise the many people who have left their mark on Casey.”

Unfair for childcare to pay for public car parks: VCAT

The state tribunal ruled that a childcare centre in Endeavour Hills would not be required to pay Casey Council to use the six spaces within its adjacent public car park.

Inspire and Play Early Learning Centre sought approval at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to delete a permit condition that required the owner

to enter into a lease agreement with Casey Council to use six spaces within the public car park directly east of the childcare.

The lease fee was an annual sum of $7500 plus GST and would increase by 5 per cent annually. Casey Council offered to reduce the figure to $900 per annum.

The tribunal examined the previous lease agreement and noted that despite a fee paid to Casey Council to use six spaces, those

spaces were labelled as “non-exclusive use”.

The tribunal ruled that it was not fair to pay for a “non-exclusive use” of six public car spaces.

The traffic impact assessment report revealed a maximum occupancy of 23 out of 32 spaces within the public car parks east and north of the childcare centre and a maximum occupancy of 25 out of 42 kerbside spaces with non-residential frontages.

As the tribunal supported the concept of relying on six spaces within the public car park nearby instead of kerbside parking for safety concerns, it was satisfied that there were sufficient vacant spaces in proximity to the childcare centre to support the waiver of six spaces.

It also suggested appropriate signage to encourage, but not mandate, the use of the six spaces by the childcare centre.

4 STAR JOURNAL | Tuesday, 21 May, 2024
Front from left, Stefan Koomen and daughter Frankie, Frank and Jackie Horvath (Agnes’ daughter), Lisa and Steve O’Brien (Agnes’ son) and Ryan Wilson, with back row left to right Mia Wilson, Didi Wilson, Justin Le, John Turner and Clint Wilson in the currently unnamed park in Autumn Place, Doveton. 406623

From cheers to jeers...

The details behind the State Government’s announced Stud Road safety improvements have “disappointed” Greater Dandenong Council mayor, Lana Formoso.

At a 13 May council meeting, Cr Formoso voiced her discontent after finding the muchneeded $16.5 million funding for the trafficlight-controlled pedestrian crossing at Stud Road, Dandenong North was in fact shared across several metro roads projects.

Also, the funds will be spread across a threeyear timeline, falling short on the community’s sense of urgency to fix the six-lane blackspot, according to the mayor.

The funding was announced at the State Budget last week on Tuesday 7 May, initially embraced by a joyful mayor.

“This is a first time we had a commitment to the funding and delivering of the project from the state government, so this is a huge step forward,” Cr Formoso said on 13 May.

“I was pleased the Minister for Roads, and our local Greater Dandenong MP Gabrielle Williams visited us to discuss the matter.

“They heeded the calls from our community, but the State Government’s sense of urgency is sadly still missing.

“We’re disappointed that the funding is phased over three years.We also note the funding commitment is across three metropolitan road projects and seems to fall well short of the amount required.

“We understand that the funding in Year One is to finalise the design, our officers are most willing to work with the department to finalise the project and we’re very close to having it shovel-ready ourselves.”

The funding will help secure and improved signalisation and add a pedestrian crossing at the notorious intersection of Stud and McFees roads.

The mayor reinstated her strong stance on the major safety issue saying she will personally advocate “very strongly to see” the project delivered by 2024-25 “as a matter of urgency” and “in hope that future tragedies may be averted.”

As reported previously by Star Journal, Ms Formoso has spent more than a decade advocating for signalised pedestrian crossing at the notorious Stud Rd where residents including children dash to the other side to access bus stop into Central Dandenong, Dandenong

Basketball stadium, playground, and floodplains parkland.

“It is harrowing to watch people with prams, small children, mobility scooters and cyclists trying to cross along the 800m stretch of road with no traffic lights or pedestrian facilities,” Ms Formoso said.

The Dandenong community and beyond were devastated at the shocking death of a two-year-old on the same road, in an attempt to cross the road with his father.

A SES volunteer, Ms Formoso was one of the first to be at the scene, saw the grief of the family first-hand and was left traumatised by what she had experienced.

In April, the 80km/h Stud Road speed limit was reduced by the State Government to 60km/h as an interim step.

In 2018,VicRoads had pledged to install pedestrian lights and review the speed limit after a pedestrian in her 50s was fatally struck while crossing to a nearby bus stop. Tuesday, 21 May, 2024 | STAR JOURNAL 5 12687454-HC22-24 NEWS
December 2023 saw the second life lost on Stud Rd. 380241 Pictures: GARY SISSONS An initially happy mayor with her sons Hugo and Luka along with a Dandenong resident Sasha after the State Budget funding announcement. 406149

Reserve’s foul smell lingers

A sewerage stink continues to bedevil sports clubs at the recently-opened $11.26 million Ross Reserve Pavilion in Noble Park.

During the weekend of 12-13 May, Keysborough Soccer Club reported a “sewerage smell” in the changerooms with none of the pavilion’s toilets having water to flush.

The council’s city futures executive director Sanjay Manivasagasivam says there was no water supply due to an “issue with the water mains” between 8-13 May.

“This lack of water supply would have resulted in a re-occurrence of the odour issue.”

That problem has since been resolved, he says.

The council has recently hired “external specialists” to investigate a persistent stench, which has lingered at the pavilion since at least February.

“(Council) is now in the process of making some minor plumbing rectifications which are expected to resolve the issue,” Mr Manivasagasivam said.

At a March council meeting, Cr Tim Dark recently described the building as“borderline unusable”.

“It’s basically encompassing the whole pavilion – the changeroom smells, the kitchen smells, the main area stinks of raw sewerage.”

Cr Dark said last week that council officers had so far “not been forthcoming” about the source. And the smell continued to be “overwhelming” and “unbearable” for players and spectators inside and outside the building.

“For a brand new pavilion, it’s concerning that they can’t find the issue.

“It’s extremely expensive. Given we’ve paid so much for it, the pavilion has a long-term functionality issue just months after opening it.”

In October, the long-awaited $11.26 million pavilion and lighting upgrade was unveilled. The new pavilion features six femalefriendly change rooms, first aid rooms, three

all-gender umpires’ rooms, accessible toilets, meeting rooms, a canteen and storage spaces.

The facility caters for 300 players from Springvale City Soccer Club, Noble Park Ju-

New funding program to support the vulnerable

From page 1

MCS also liaises with health and housing services which may not fully understand their members’ challenges.

“The kinds of short-term and emergency accommodation are highly gendered. There’s a set of apartments for refugee women, another for refugee men, another for families.

“But many of our members may not be safe or welcome in these highly gendered spaces.

“For new arrivals who are placed with people of the same cultural backgrounds, that means they’re placed with people of the same cultural beliefs that were persecuting them in their own country.”

There have been signs that Greater Dandenong residents are slow to support LGBTIQA+ equality.

By the council’s own report in late 2019, many of its LGBTIQA+ residents felt excluded and isolated, with increasing rates of victimisation.

In 2018, parts of Greater Dandenong bucked Australia’s overwhelming support for legalising same-sex marriage.

During the 2020 elections, about a third of councillor candidates fully or partially supported the Victorian Pride Lobby’s ‘Rainbow Pledge’.

Seal said Greater Dandenong was possibly “late” to recognise its LGBTIQA+ residents but “certainly not the last”.

“I want to congratulate City of Greater Dandenong for doing this (rainbow flag-raising), for creating a public event and creating publicity around this issue.

“By inviting us to be part of the event today, they’re recognizing that this intersectional community has needs and that queer people from newly-arrived backgrounds need to feel safe and welcome here.”

Queer asylum-seeker ‘Kye’ – not his real name – says the support from MCS was vital. He originally lived at Mt Hotham then moved to Melbourne to “start over”, meet and connect with queer people.

However, Kye felt isolated from his Indonesian diaspora in Australia. And doubly isolated from mainstream LGBTIQA+ services due to his cultural background.

The peer support group at MCS instead became his new “family”, he says.

Kye has since joined the group’s advisory committee and taken up a humanitarian scholarship at Monash University.

“Everyone needs family, peers and company. It’s an organization I can go to and be safe.

“Two years later my life is much better. Friends accept me as I am and I never had

that in the past.”

The 29-year-old sought asylum after realising during a working holiday in Australia that gay people were safe here.

“I’d never accepted that part of myself. I was conflicted in my beliefs from growing up in a religious boarding house.

“It was the hardest thing throwing away my life in Indonesia and I couldn’t go back. It’s cost me my older life - the people, the places and the culture that I grew up in.

“But otherwise I couldn’t live with the whole of me.

“The people I grew up with – if they found

out, they wouldn’t accept it.”

Twelve groups shared $800,000 in grants as part of the new LGBTIQA+ Sector Strengthening program.

“We have always supported LGBTIQA+ communities in Victoria and these new grants are designed to support the growth, vitality and sustainability of the LGBTIQA+ sector for years to come,” Shing said.

“Now more than ever, it’s important we are supporting Victorian LGBTIQA+ groups and organisations to connect and thrive as we continue our work to ensure that inVictoria, equality is not negotiable.”

6 STAR JOURNAL | Tuesday, 21 May, 2024 NEWS
nior Football Club, Sandown Lions Football Club and EMC Sports Club, as well as Parkfield and Noble Park cricket clubs and RecLink. Dandenong MP Gabrielle Williams, Greater Dandenong youth development officer Venushi Dewundege, deputy mayor Richard Lim, Equality Minister Harriet Shing, Greater Dandenong resident Aminui and Many Coloured Sky chief executive Ian Seal. 407401 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS The visually-attractive pavilion at Ross Reserve continues to cause a stink. 390628 Picture: GARY SISSONS Tuesday, 21 May, 2024 | STAR JOURNAL 7 Try Direct to boot today Now open at Woolworths Dandenong Junction. Entry via Gladstone Rd or Gateway Blvd. Off * $10 Order online today and get $10 off your Direct to boot shop at Dandenong Junction when you spend $150 and use code BOOT10 *Offer valid from 22/5/24 until 23:59 (local time) 4/6/24 and can only be redeemed once on Direct to boot at Woolworths Dandenong Junction (1-3 Gladstone Road, Dandenong VIC 3175). Minimum spend of $150 in a single transaction applies. Discount will be activated when voucher code BOOT10 is applied at checkout and all other criteria is met. Available only at Woolworths Online (excluding Everyday Market from Woolworths orders) to new Woolworths online customer on their first shop or existing Woolworths online customers on their next shop. Subject to available windows, order cut-off times and dates. Reusable bag fees and exclusions apply. Visit for full T&Cs. CP200524V3DSJ 12678285-SM21-24

Residents feeling financial squeeze

Councillors say the staggering housing crisis and cost of living pressures is putting Greater Dandenong’s most vulnerable in a chokehold.

At a council meeting on Monday 13 May, Crs Tim Dark and Rhonda Garad rose to speak on the “real issue” questioning Council’s strategy on the urgent matter.

“Dandenong is ranking the highest or near the highest in every indicator for financial and social distress,” Cr Garad said at the meeting.

“In my 30 years in Dandenong I’ve never witnessed so much distress even in people who are earning a wage who cannot live in a house because they cannot afford the unaffordable rents or the massive increase in mortgages.”

Council’s Quarterly Performance Report, detailing performance against targets outlined in previous budgets, depicted projects around homelessness and increased social housing availability marked as “externally impacted.”

“I’ve had correspondence from a single mum with four kids unable to get accommodation,” Cr Dark said at the meeting.

“This is not just a council issue but has significant responsibility on State and Federal government.”

The issue was raised ahead of the Federal Budget announcement on Tuesday 14 May, where Councillor Garad questioned whether Council would collate a report to summarise “data points and gives a true and current picture of what’s going on.”

“The people of Dandenong are suffering at this time that is unprecedented and its unacceptable that our council does not have a collated current report that reflects the true depth of impacts in our community.”

Strategic Growth and Advocacy executive manager Dr Marjan Hijjari says Greater Dandenong Housing Strategy 2014-2024 is currently being updated to align with the State’s Housing statement made in September 2023.

“The Strategy proposes a range of initiatives to achieve the housing vision, from changing the Greater Dandenong Planning Scheme to other non-statutory actions involving all of Council.

“The housing crisis is a complex matter and is impacted by multiple factors including labour and material shortages, the cost and availability of rental properties, warehousing of planning permits and land banking by developers, tax regulations and infrastructure delivery,” she said.

The success of the Bring Your Bills Day event by the South East Community Links (SECL) was also noted where 300 attended.

Ms Hajjari said council will host the next Bring Your Bills Day in August in Dandenong and advocate for further funding to expand the program.

“At the same time the council Anti-Poverty consortium of 18 agencies continue to meet monthly and support collaborated effort to identify and address ongoing needs in the community,” she said at the meeting.

“All agencies report an increase in demand in their services and council has supplied various organisation with letters of support calling for additional funding.”

A $300 energy rebate for every home, 10 per cent increase to rental assistant, freeze in medicine prices, $1billion in funding for the Housing Support Program are some reliefs an-

nounced in last week’s Federal Budget.

Bruce MP Julian Hill calls it an “economically responsible budget” for all.

“Australia’s housing crisis has grown for over a decade and this budget tackles it head on, delivering billions more dollars to build homes across the country.

“More social and affordable housing, more infrastructure and the removal of red tape, more transport for cities and suburbs, while cutting migration to reduce demand pressure.”

As reported previously by Star Journal, Dandenong topped the state for levels of homelessness last year in March, up by 22 per cent, it’s also in the state’s top 5 for growing numbers of working homeless.

Shari McPhail, general manager at South East homelessness service Wayss, said the budget is not going to relieve entrenched poverty in the region.

”The Australian Federal Government Budget broadly supports Wayss’s vital work in helping individuals facing homelessness and family violence, and we are grateful to be able to continue offering people support.

“However, the lack of increased welfare payments amid a cost-of-living crisis is deeply concerning. This can only exacerbate the situation.”

Urgent welfare funding and comprehensive reform were essential for sustainable progress, Ms McPhail said.

“While we welcome continued funding for the Leaving Violence Program and significant investment in crisis and transitional housing, the budget overlooks critical funding for crisis accommodation operations and frontline services.

“We also see a big missed opportunity to focus on perpetrators of violence with targeted, evidence-based interventions to prevent further incidences.”

Wellsprings for Women has welcomed the measures intended to alleviate cost of living pressures but counts the lack of funding for grassroots level pf primary prevention of violence against women, as a “downside.”

It’s chief executive officer Dalal Smiley emphasises on the importance of the having primary prevention programs in place to tackle the issue at grassroots level.

“The prevention work’s objective is to reduce and eventually eliminate all forms of violence against women before they start.

“It’s about a whole of society cultural change, it’s long term and can only be achieved with persistent programs of education and capacity building.”

South East Community Links welcomed the budget initiatives but noted there was “more work to be done” on cost-of-living, the housing crisis, and gendered violence.

“Utility bills are a top issue for our local community members, and the $300 energy rebate is a much-needed relief,” chief executive Peter McNamara said.

“However, extending it to everyone regardless of their income is puzzling.“

He described the Commonwealth Rent Assistance rise of $9.40 a week for a single person at the maximum as “modest” and still leaving many in “deep housing stress”.

“Renters on JobSeeker or Youth Allowance will continue to spend half their income on rent alone,” he said.

The Leaving Violence Program’s $5,000 grant for family violence survivors was “helpful but does not address the long-term financial challenges women face especially those on JobSeeker“.

“Increasing the JobSeeker rate is essential for women’s economic security, as living in poverty makes it even harder to leave family violence situations.“

Budget ‘critical’ ahead of Federal election

Voters will be asking themselves whether the Federal Government has “done enough” to help them in a “critical” 2024-‘25 Budget, says Monash University politics expert Dr Zareh Ghazarian.

With the next election up to 12 months away, voters will be gauging how effectively the government relieves cost-of-living, energy

prices and housing stresses in the Budget.

In the budget, most Australians were targeted with $300 energy rebates, with the government announcing cost-of-living as its “No.1 priority”.

“In this budget, voters will be asking themselves if the government has done enough,” Dr Ghazarian said.

“The government is not riding high in the

Future made here: GSEM

Advocacy group Greater South East Melbourne (GSEM) urged for the region to feature heavily in the $22.7 billion Future Made in Australia package.

“South East Melbourne is a diverse region that is well placed to play a major role in Future Made in Australia, with world leading universities, innovation centres and manufacturers all together in one place,” GSEM chair Simon McKeon said.

“GSEM already effectively brings the public, private and education sectors together in partnership.

“We want to work with the federal government to make the Future Made in Australia vision a success.”

McKeon also welcomed the Government’s cost of living relief, help for renters and increased housing support and investment.

Other highlights were $437.3 million for suburban road upgrades in Melbourne’s South East and North, as well as skills and training in priority industries and to support women’s participation.

“Jobs and skills remain priority issues for our region.”

According to the Federal Government, the Future Made in Australia initiative will drive new industries and technologies towards a clean, net-zero economy.

It includes a $1.7 billion Future Made in Australia Innovation Fund for “innovative technologies“ and priority industries, including green metals and low carbon liquid fuels.

South East Melbourne Manufacturers Alliance warned that the Future Made in Australia package could be “dragged under” by “unjustified, crippling” state land tax rises and Workcover premium increases.

“SEMMA believes that there is little in the Federal and State Budgets for SMEs.

“While no new taxes for business in Victoria is welcome, businesses are still seeking respite from recent land tax, payroll andWorkCover premiums rises.

“Federally, the Future Made in Australia Fund offers little for SMEs.

“Grass-roots manufacturers are seeking real financial assistance for the transition to net zero.

“SEMMA is concerned Federal Labor has predicted deficits from next year onwards and that this is a pre-election budget that attempts to give something to everyone, some less deserving than others.“

polls so it will be a critical budget to get the support of the voters. Otherwise they will struggle to win the next election.”

Under economic stress, voters will look to the candidates and parties that offer solutions, Dr Ghazarian said.

“There’s the risk for Labor that the voters aren’t shy about voting against the two major parties.”

8 STAR JOURNAL | Tuesday, 21 May, 2024 NEWS
Shari McPhail, Wayss homelessness and housing general manager, says the Federal Budget’s failure to lift welfare payments was concerning.
SEMMA chief executive Honi Walker, pictured right. 403587 GSEM chair Simon McKeon at a recent jobs and skills forum at Bunjil Place. 403587

FOCUS ON … MEDICALLY SPEAKING Greenspace reduces risk

Living in areas with shorter distances to greenspace and lower crime rates are associated with having fewer modifiable dementia risk factors, Monash University-led research has found.

Published in Preventive Medicine Reports, the Australian study investigated neighbourhood characteristics associated with dementia risk and cognition.

It found a doubling of distance to greenspace was equal to being about 2.5 years older, in terms of dementia risk factors. Each twofold increase in crime was approximately equal to a reduction in memory score attributable to a three-year increase in age.

This relationship was particularly evident in those living in areas of lower socioeconomic status (SES).

The greenspace aspect included people across Australia, while the crime aspect only looked at Victoria where that data was readily available.

Senior author Associate Professor Matthew Pase, of the Monash University School of Psychological Sciences and the Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health, said earlier research had already shown that dementia disproportionately affected the disadvantaged.

“In 2022 we observed that individuals residing in lower SES areas had more dementia risk factors and worse memory performance,” Associate Professor Pase said. “Such findings motivated us to explore the specific neighbourhood characteristics associated with dementia risk and cognition.”

Associate Professor Pase said the new research encompassed some of the strongest modifiable dementia risk factors including high blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol, and physical inactivity.

“Living close to greenspace may encourage or permit people to exercise more (e.g. walk or run) and also socialise (e.g., talk with locals in a park),” he said. “It may also limit environmental stressors such as air pollution and noise.

“In our latest study, proximity to greenspace was more important than the absolute amount of greenspace in an area. In other words, having lots of little parks that are closer to more people might potentially be better than having one big park that is further away.”

Associate Professor Pase said higher crime rates could possibly drive behaviours linked to dementia.

“People living in an area with a high crime rate might exercise, go out and socialise in public places less as a result,” he said. “More crime could also make it difficult to sleep and spark potentially harmful coping behaviours like smoking.

“Even a perception of crime might cause psychological stress, which we previously found can be associated with dementia risk. Another possibility is that those who are more educated, which protects against dementia, are able to live in areas with low crime rates, although we adjusted for these factors in our analyses.”

The project was driven by Dr Marina Cavuoto, now a senior research fellow and clinical neuropsychologist at the National Ageing Research Institute in Melbourne, and an adjunct senior research fellow at theTurner Institute for Brain and Mental Health.

Researchers calculated the percentage of greenspace in each postcode and the average distance to the nearest one for people living there. On average, people lived about 260 metres from the closest greenspace. Crime data were obtained from the Crime Statistics Agency based on data provided by the ABS.

Dr Cavuoto said governments could help improve the situation.

“Policy interventions by different levels of government could address social determinants of health at the neighbourhood level,” she said. “Collaboration between health and non-health sectors such as environment, infrastructure and housing is required to scale equitable and sustainable health promotion and dementia prevention.

“Programs that seek to improve modifiable dementia risk factors should consider the influence of neighbourhood characteristics. If governments moved to improve access to parkland and safety at a local level it could encourage healthier lifestyles that may reduce dementia risk factors.”

Associate Professor Pase said the results related to population averages and not individual people, so more research was required to understand these relationships more thoroughly.

Dr Ivan Delgado Capacho

Dr Ravi Wijesekara

Dr Priyanthi Gunawardana

Open hours: Mon - Fri 8:30am - 7pm | Sat 8:30am - 1:30pm Sat/Public Holidays 8.30am-1.30pm

“Wherever people live, healthy behaviours like managing blood pressure, maintaining a healthy weight, correcting any hearing impairment, avoiding smoking, regular physical activity, nurturing mental health, avoiding or treating diabetes, sleeping well, and social activity may all help,” he said.

“Individuals can make a start on those factors that are more easily addressable and within their control. Individuals can also work with family, friends and health professionals to overcome some of the barriers such as exercising in groups to help overcome safety concerns.” Tuesday, 21 May, 2024 | STAR JOURNAL 9 12683052-MP16-24 HAVE YOU HAD YOUR SKIN CHECK YET? OPEN 6 DAYS Anyone with changing spots, or spots that look quite different to others on their body, should have them assessed by an accredited skin cancer doctor as soon as possible. To make an appointment book online at HotDoc/ PLEASE CALL OR BOOK ONLINE FOR AN APPOINTMENT
80 Power Road Doveton 3177 | 03 9792 4060 for online bookings. BULK
Living close to greenspace may encourage or permit people to exercise more and also socialise, Associate Professor Matthew Pase said. Picture: JAVIER TAVARA ON UNSPLASH

An eye for detail

Whether in the wilds or in the city,Terry Blades always has an eye out for a possible photo of a lifetime.

At 76, the “hobby” photographer makes his debut exhibition Everywhere with a snapshot of his life’s travels at Noble Park Community Centre’s new art space.

Blades has always taken an SLR camera overseas, always kept one in the car - just in case an opportunity pops up.

He says he doesn’t get too technical or creative but just has a love of taking pictures.

“I always think that the next picture is going to be the perfect picture.

“You never know what you’re going to see.”

The more unusual include a multi-truck crash on the Tullamarine Freeway, and a small Mercedes parked in a tight gap in NewYork.

“It looked like you would have to lift the car out. I saw that and thought that’s a great photo.

“It might not mean much to anyone but you’re thinking – how did the bloke drive in there in the first place?”

Among his 26,000 images on his computer, there are landscapes, buildings, tall trees and animals from a grand array of locations – a

New Zealand glacier, Ballarat’s Gold-Rush history, New Orleans and the Grand Canyon.

The difficult task was selecting the shots that made the cut for his exhibition.

“I wanted to show the public I wasn’t onedimensional. It gives you an idea of what I can do.”

He’d always been keen on cameras, starting with film as a teenager.

Before he and wife Roz migrated from

England to Australia at the age of 21, he photographed their picturesque trip through the lakes and highlands of Scotland and England.

“I never had the money to buy a decent camera at that stage. I made do with an average camera.”

But the advent of digital photography opened up something “magical” for him. “You can do more with it at home, it’s less expensive and you can take shot after shot after shot.

“I envy young people now taking five times as many photos of their kids. Before, it was much more hit and miss.”

Blades is the first to grace the walls of the NPCC’s new exhibition space, which showcases artists free of charge.

“They asked me to lead the way. I’d never put things on display on before, so I thought let’s give it a go.

Curator Sam Kariotis praised Blades’s “remarkable ability to capture the beauty of the world”.

“His keen eye for composition, lighting, and sense of motion imbues his sweeping landscape photography with a captivating allure.”

Terry Blades’ exhibition Everywhere runs until 28 June at Noble Park Community Centre, Memorial Drive, Noble Park.

Care-leaver died in ‘unsafe’ house

A state coroner has called for greater focus on “safe and stable” transitional housing for youth leaving the care of the State after the “incredibly sad and distressing” story of a teen who died in Dandenong.

The“resourceful and engaging” 18-year-old woman was found dead in a house in February 2022.

She had been found to have unintentionally died from an overdose of illicit and prescription drugs.

However her demise could also be traced back to significant childhood trauma. At 5, Child Protection had moved her out of her parents’ home due to their family violence and drug-taking.

“(Her) story is incredibly sad and distressing,” state Coroner David Ryan stated on 14 May.

“She was a complex and engaging young woman who struggled to cope with the trauma she had experienced, and she presented challenges to her case workers who were invested in supporting her.”

She had died while staying at her sister’s boyfriend’s house as an interim measure, while services struggled to find her accommodation after she’d turned 18 and was no longer in the care of the state.

Airbnb or motel shot-term accommodation was ruled out as “too risky”.

However, the Dandenong house - filled

with drug paraphenalia - proved to be a “very unsafe environment”, Coroner Ryan stated.

“The prospect of a child or young woman spending time in such an environment while in a vulnerable state is disturbing.

“Despite the complexity of (her) case, her lack of engagement and challenging behaviour, her death at such a vulnerable and critical time following her recent departure from State care is not something that this community can accept.”

Coroner Ryan recommended more flexibility and a focus on “safe and stable” accommodation when assessing short-term accommodation options for care leavers.

Stable housing meant care leavers were more likely to successfully transition with better job and education outcomes, secure relationships and social connections.

He noted the Commission for Children and Young People’s 2020 report Keep Caring, which found a“dire shortage” of post-care accommodation inVictoria.

Since the report, the State Government had invested in post-care housing options.

Had it been available, the deceased teen may have been eligible for a Housing First program, which is currently being implemented by the Government.

It provides secure housing, assertive outreach, personalized case work and other support for young people leaving residential care.

The Keep Caring report recommended an enforceable right for care-leavers to receive

Cranbourne’s own meteor

A very own historical account that explores a hidden layer of Cranbourne is finally in town.

Author and Berwick resident Sean Murphy’s The Cranbourne Meteorite tells the long-forgotten tug-of-war between local colonial scientists and the British government for the ownership of Cranbourne No.1 fragment in the 1860s.

Cranbourne meteorite has 13 fragments that are strewn across a 20-kilometre corridor from Pakenham in the northeast to Langwarrin in the southwest.

The first big sample was found near Cranbourne and that’s how the name of the meteorite came across.

The 3.5-tonne solid piece of iron, named Cranbourne No.1, is now perching in the Natural History Museum in London, highlighting the doomed finale of the mini-culture war, while a smaller No.2 is being retained here in the Melbourne Museum.

The loss of the large meteorite to the British Museum was complicated, as the book would reveal.

“The book is telling the story of what happened before Cranbourne No.1 was eventually put on a ship and taken to London in 1865. It’s a local event with astronomical fireworks and strong personalities,” Mr Murphy said.

“The leaders of these institutions were deeply invested in attempts to retain or remove Cranbourne No. 1. This arm-wrestle is largely conducted via letters, a very many letters, and in the chambers of learned societies such as the Royal Society ofVictoria.

“Part of the book also talks about the fact that it [Cranbourne No.1] was taken over there [London] at the wishes of the owner of the meteorite at the time. It was a relatively legal thing to do.”

Though Mr Murphy believes the main fragment should be returned to Australia, he’s not holding his breath.

“In the book, I tried to find an Aboriginal angle to the meteorite, whether it was revered as a sacred totem. To a certain degree, it was, but only from very limited historical references do we know that.

support as they transition to independence until at least age 21.

Coroner Ryan noted there had been a coordinated process to transition the teen into independent living – including a “reasonable plan” for residential drug rehab before moving to a private rental.

Unfortunately she was discharged early from rehab programs for not engaging.

“She had just turned 18 years old and was no longer in the care of the State, but she remained in a particularly vulnerable position given her complex history and lowered tolerance to illicit drugs after a period of abstinence.”

She had lived with her grandmother for much of her childhood under a child protection order.

However due to the girl’s challenging behaviours, the grandmother told Child Protection in 2019 she could no longer look after the child.

She was moved to various care homes, lock-up accommodations and a therapeutic care property as well as offered support by the Youth Support and Advocacy Service (YSAS).

Her living placements broke down due to her abscondment, disengagement and drug use.

In the two years leading up to her death, she presented to hospital about 20 times to treat drug abuse. She was reported missing on 231 occasions with 142 Childrens Court warrants.

“And I couldn’t find anything that meant this was a sacred object for the Aboriginal people around the east side of Melbourne, so it doesn’t have that kind of cache to it that makes it a celebrity that we could bring back.

“It’s something of a scientific odyssey more than anything else.”

A Casey resident for more than two decades, Mr Murphy was always looking for a local topic to explore. In 2018, when he stumbled across a podcast episode about a“Cranbourne Meteorite”, he instantly knew that was it. He did some digging around in the State Library and online history databases and formed this neat little story.

“There are a lot of meteorite-related books and things out there. But on this specific topic, I wouldn’t call it a gap in the market, but I was curious that there had no one had ever really written a book for popular consumption,” he said.

“Cranbourne meteorite is known to a lot of people in this area because many years ago, council put up a display on the South Gippsland Highway in Cranbourne, hanging some fragments.

“Cranbourne has, for a time, the largest iron meteorite in the world.”

The Cranbourne Meteorite also explores the stories around other fragments, meteorites in Australia, and fun geology and biology knowledge.

To purchase the book, visit: scholarly. info/book/the-cranbourne-meteorite

10 STAR JOURNAL | Tuesday, 21 May, 2024
Noble Park Community Centre manager Grissel Walmaggia, Mulgrave MP Eden Foster with Terry and Roz Blades at the Everywhere exhibition launch. 404974 Pictures: STEWART CHAMBERS Terry Blades with his shot of a New Zealand landscape. 404974

Monash Health handed $160k fine

Monash Health has escaped conviction after admitting it failed to ensure one of its most vulnerable patients was not exposed to risk of harm.

Rebecca Victoria Poke died by suicide at Casey Hospital in Berwick in September 2015 after being voluntarily admitted to the hospital’s mental health inpatient unit.

The hospital audited the suicide risk to patients in the unit in April 2015 and flagged a visitor’s bathroom as a potential concern but did not eliminate the risk.

Nurses found Ms Poke unresponsive in that bathroom on August 31 and she died in hospital two days later.

In sentencing Monash Health to a $160,000 fine, Victorian County Court Judge Gerard Mullaly said while the hospital failed in its duty of care, it did not have glaring disregard

for patient safety.

The hospital attended to the general risk of self-harm and made appropriate changes to bathrooms that were more readily accessible to patients, Judge Mullaly said.

The bathroom in question was usually locked and could only be accessed by a supervisor’s key but it was inexplicably open for Ms Poke, the judge said.

He said the circumstances were tragic but the failure on Monash Health’s part was at the lower end.

The judge also pointed to the health service’s guilty plea and its otherwise good corporate character as it had no prior convictions.

“That is a matter of considerable weight given the history of this large organisation,” Judge Mulally said.

The judge also noted the victim impact statements made by Ms Poke’s family, who remembered her as a much-loved woman who

was dearly missed.

Judge Mulally said the $160,000 fine without conviction was not a reflection of Ms Poke’s life.

“Her life was quite simply invaluable to her and her family,” he said.

After the sentence was handed down,WorkSafe executive director Narelle Beer said the tragic incident could have been avoided.

“Ways to control the risk of deaths by suicide in mental health units have been well understood in the healthcare industry for many years,” Dr Beer said.

“WorkSafe will not hesitate to take strong enforcement action when duty holders are not doing everything they can to protect those in their care, including from intentional selfharm.”

· Lifeline 13 11 14

· beyondblue 1300 22 4636

Plans for a more attactive Springvale

SpringvaleissettotransformthroughaSpringvale Revitalisation Action Plan endorsed by Greater Dandenong Council.

The final draft of the SRAP passed at a council meeting on 13 May is designed to attract investments and development to the Activity Centre.

The action plan is set to be implemented in three stages, short-term (1-5 years), medium (6-10 years) and long-term (more than 10 years).

Deputy mayor Councillor Richard Lim had always envisioned Springvale as a bustling tourism spot with much investment potential.

“I am a passionate advocate for the Springvale Activity Centre. This is a wonderful area reflecting the best of multiculturalism in Victoria.

“It not only offers amazing food from many cuisines, but also reflects the entrepreneurial spirit of the people who’ve made their homes here.”

The initiatives within SRAP both “tangible an operational” relate to culture, economy and the public realm including night-time economy initiatives, smart city technologies, improved streetscape, pedestrian zones and urban greening initiatives.

“We locals know it’s a wonderful area. We’re pursuing ongoing investment to keep it bright and attractive to people from all aroundVictoria and the world,” Cr Lim said.

The plan will build on some of the key strengths and attractions of the area that has already attracted many through the annual Lunar Year festivals and the unique Asian food on offer.

New outdoor eating paired with an upgraded restaurant directory and visitor maps will be seen to help support the already lively and full restaurants.

To elevate diverse events and increase participation, dedicated performance spaces and festival spaces will be delivered “ensuring a lively and connected atmospheres for all” under the plan details.

In 2020, the Springvale Lunar Year organised annually by Springvale Asian Business Association (SABA) together with Council saw a crowd of 60,000 to celebrate the all-day festival.

Amongst many other things, Springvale’s art and culture has weighed significance importance within almost every aspect of the design details.

As such, laneway art installations, place naming, culturally significant street decorations and programs to promote local artists will be part of the upcoming plans.

According to the Council, its short-term plans are already in inception stage with no delays expected while medium to long-term projects are “dependent on future funding ap-

provals and Government grant opportunities.”

According to the report, Council has allocated $350,000 via its Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) program to commence implementation and scoping of priority actions in the 2024-25 financial year.

Probe into funding

Local government funding and service delivery is set to be scrutinised by the Legislative Council Economy and Infrastructure Committee.

The Parliamentary Inquiry into Local Government funding and services has commenced, with local governments and members of the community urged to participate.

The inquiry will include evaluating cost-shifting from State and Federal governments onto local councils, assessing local governments’ ability to fulfill core service delivery objectives, reviewing the revenue structure of local governments to determine its sustainability and appropriateness, and exploring alternative funding models.

Shadow Minister for Local Government Peter Walsh highlighted potential issues of cost-shifting, ranging from waste collection to the maintenance of road networks.

“The commencement of this inquiry marks an essential step in ensuring transparency and accountability in local government funding and services,” he said.

“It is imperative that residents and local councils actively participate, as their input is invaluable in addressing potential cost-shifting issues.

“Together, we can work towards more effective and sustainable solutions for our communities.”

The inquiry has been initiated by the Liberals and Nationals and was prompted by concerns from numerous councillors and community members.

“We are dedicated to ensuring that ratepayers and communities receive value for money and equitable access to local services and amenities.

“It’s a significant step towards ensuring fair and efficient resource allocation, and I encourage all stakeholders to actively participate and contribute to this important process.“

A Greater Dandenong Council spokesperson said the council would have input into Municipal Association of Victoria’s submission to the enquiry.

“Council is still considering whether to also make our own supplementary submission.”

The council is set to borrow a projected $75 million to build three major facilities in the next four years, according to its draft 2024-’25 budget.

It represents nearly half of $153 million spent in that period on the aquatic facility Dandenong Wellbeing Centre (DWC), Keysborough South Community Hub (KSCH) and Dandenong Community Hub (DCH).

“We will need other levels of government to contribute funding for some elements of the Plan.

“We will keep advocating for their investments, to make sure our vibrant local economy can flourish, and our local community can thrive.”

The council’s borrowings – to peak at $105 million in three years – and the $60 million cost to service the debts over 10 years have been nominated by the council as among its ongoing financial challenges.

Its indebtedness to rates ratio would remain within “prudential limits”, the council stated in a long-term financial report.

Submissions are due by 28 June. Tuesday, 21 May, 2024 | STAR JOURNAL 11
Picture: AAP IMAGE/ LUIS ENRIQUE ASCUI Springvale’s Lunar New Year festival attracts up to 60,000 visitors. 315598 Pictures: GARY SISSONS
Deputy mayor Richard Lim talks up Springvale’s untapped tourism potential. 301035

Caroline’s running to 50

A Greater Dandenong running enthusiast has gifted herself two of Australia’s most rewarding running experiences.

The 49-year-old life coach Caroline Overbeek will be celebrating her 50th birthday in her own style with Run Larapinta, a 4 day trail running race outside Alice Springs, and Surf Coast Century, a 100km trail running race, in and around Anglesea.

In 2021, she participated at the Great Vic Bike Ride for the first time and since then discovered her love for trail running.

“It’s running not typically on roads but out in the nature and one of the reasons I like it is because hiking is part of it.

“It’s a beautiful blend of running when you can and walking when it’s harder.”

She participated in winter trail running programs and “never looked back,” finding the social aspect of trail running as rewarding as covering the distance.

“I found the Dandenong trail runners club and so they run primarily in Dandenong with beautiful lush and green surroundings with lots of hills.”

Currently, she is training hard four times a week to prepare for Run Larapinta coming up first in August consisting of 200 selected runners.

“I am fortunate to be chosen, it’s iconic it’s epic.

“One of the main things I am working on is back to back runs so my body is used to doing four days of running in a row at the event,” Ms Overbeek said.


100 years ago

22 May 1924

Another Shock

The astounding low prices which are quoted for prime cuts of beef at H. Law’s shop are causing a great amount of surprise and satisfaction. What strikes the thrifty housewife most is in the following items, quoted as cash over the counter bargains: For a family joint, 12lbs, back rib roast 5/-; stewing steak, 6d. per pound; frying steak 9d; sugar corned beef 9d; shins of beef 3d; boiling beef 5d. We invite all to receive a “shock” in the way of a free ticket to purchasers on Friday or Saturday, of 10/- value of beef for cash, which will entitle the holder to see “The Shock” next Saturday at the Town Hall.

50 years ago

21 May 1974

Moves to curb floods

The Dandenong Valley Authority has forwarded a consultant’s report to Berwick City Council on the treatment of flooding in Heatherton Road. Contained within the report were three alternative development schemes to curb flooding by Dandenong Creek. The first

“Getting my distance up so I can manage the 100km run, so I slowly have to build my distance up.

“There’s heck lot of training but, everybody was Green at one point.”

Although moving her body was part of her life, she only consistently started in her late 40’s.

As a small business owner of Yin Yoga and life coach she helps private clients as well as the wider community to move and relax their body.

“I’ve been amazed how strong and capable my body is, starting running late in life and discovering what my body can do has been an

absolute joy and eye opening.”

She has found her passion and love for trail running and has come a long way to be able to participate in a range of programs, starting off with the Dandenong Parkrun, a 5km run through Dandenong Park every Saturday morning.

“I remember those days, not long ago, that doing that 5km parkrun was hard but I kept turning up and was encouraged by the people there which led onto slowly enjoying the run and moving on from there.

Looking back at where she started off, Ms Overbeek emphasises it’s never too late to start.

scheme suggests increasing the flood immunity without improvements to Heatherton Rd. This could be done by constructing an open earth drain about 8oo feet north of Heatherton Rd and other constructions. Scheme two would aim at raising the level of the existing floodway at Heatherton Rd. They say lifting would be between 12 inches and 18 inches and would result in immunity except once in 5 years. Scheme three suggests the type of work necessary if Heatherton Road is lifted above flood level. Commenting on the report,

the City Engineer, Mr Max Pawsey said the authority should proceed with stage one of the first scheme and then carry out further model tests to ascertain a staged program of future works.

20 years ago

17 May 2004

Aldi goes to market

Supermarket chain Aldi is set to operate from a council-built store on the Dandenong Market site amid threats of a stall holders’ boy-

“The consistency came when the joy came.

“For me going out on a run, not being by myself being around others and chatting has made all the difference.

“It’s never too late to start and it’s about moving your body, not exercising. Find likeminded individuals to do it with, which for me I found in Dandenong trail runners,” she said.

“The fact that I’m doing big runs shouldn’t put off someone who is even vaguely interested in starting running or moving.”

After wrapping up the running programs a week of recovery in Thailand is the cherry on top to mark off a memorable 50 birthday celebrations.

cott. The supermarket is a key component of plans for a $15 million market redevelopment. It is estimated to cost $1.86 million and would be rented to Aldi on a 15-year lease at $390,000 per year. The store would open in September 2005. One trader said “we’re not happy and there are a lot of issues. We’ve asked what real benefit a supermarket will bring and they can’t answer.” City Services Group Manager, Carl Wulff said it was understandable that traders were apprehensive about change, but the “end product” would make the market more viable.

5 years ago

20 May 2019

Battlers ignored Labor MPs in the Greater Dandenong area were emphatically returned, while their party crushingly lost the “unlosable” 18 May federal election. ALP incumbents MPs Julian Hill (in the seat of Bruce), Clare O’Neil (Hotham) and Mark Dreyfus (Isaacs) were re-elected with greater margins than 2016. Mr Hill, while “delighted” and “humbled” by the local result, said constituents were “devastated” that Labor didn’t ascend to power.

Compiled by Dandenong & District Historical Society

12 STAR JOURNAL | Tuesday, 21 May, 2024 NEWS
Caroline Overbeek will celebrate her 50th birthday with trail running programs. 407576
By Roz
of Jewish faith Water is a constant Rivers are calm when they ebb and flow Waterfalls, streams, oceans spread over the earth Touching the banks Creating forests Growing the trees and undergrowth that feeds Wildlife so that conservation continues Water finds a way through from the baby grass to the parent trees Nourishing the gem of knowledge Flowing into stagnant water through nature’s laws and evolution Water will find a way through difficult terrain Continuously flowing on unheeded and unended The flow of the river is an endless ride Providing hope with clean water to many eons away Creating waterfalls and the great glades of the world There is no journey’s end As part of the life of the river as it flows into the great oceans Brimming with life Linking us with places of the world
life like a jeweled light It is feeling the life and seeing the sun
as water flows and finds a way –It makes us remember that we are all PART OF ONE and that as we flow together
as so much as the water does The generosity of spirit and humanity also needs to find a way. Roz Blades AM · Enquiries regarding the Interfaith Network, City of Greater Dandenong · or 8774 7662. · Visit - MESSAGE OF HOPE INTERFAITH The flow of humanity and how it connects us all Roz
Pictures: GARY SISSONS Trail runner Caroline Overbeek. 407576
Blades in the room named in recognition of
significant community
Compiled by Dandenong and District Historical Society
Pre-poll volunteers handing out how-to-vote brochures in Springvale South, ahead of the federal election in May 2019. 193589 Picture: GARY SISSONS

Support after tragic crash

A bereaved family has launched a fundraising to cover the funeral and legal expenses following the death of a single mother in the fatal collision in Hampton Park last week.

Daughter, sister, mother, cousin, and niece, 35-year-old Zamira of Narre Warren South died at the scene after her sedan was involved in a head-on collision with a utility on Glasscocks Road at about 7.15am on Tuesday 7 May.

The driver and sole occupant of the utility, a 20-year-old Narre Warren South man was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries.

The exact circumstances surrounding the collision are yet to be established and investigations remain ongoing.

Sister Zainab Hussainpoor said on the GoFundMe page that Zamira had been the sole provider for her son for the past 11 years since he was only two years old.

“As a single mother, she was the sole breadwinner and nurturer for young Husnain, tirelessly working night shifts to support him financially, and missing sleep throughout the day to spend what little time she could with him,” she said.

“As a refugee she faced significant hardship, overcoming numerous obstacles and making many sacrifices to offer the best upbringing she could for Husnain.

“Unfortunately, her life was cut short as she was returning home to pick up her son after a night shift at her job.

“She was killed by a young man who was allegedly speeding, dying on the spot, just minutes away from picking up her son for school.”

Ms Hussainpoor is calling for the community to support Zamira’s son so he can move forward.

“By supporting us financially, you will be helping us cover any immediate funeral expenses and legal expenses related to the death of Zamira. All other funds will go towards supporting Husnain’s upbringing under the custodianship of his grandmother,” she said.

“As his grandmother is a pensioner, any donations made will go a long way towards ensuring Husnain has a promising future ahead, easing the financial burden of these

tragic circumstances.

“We hope you can consider the difficulty of the situation our family is facing.


Connected Libraries transition to charity

Connected Libraries will transition to a charity under the Local Government Act 2020, a council report notes.

The Local Government Act 2020 stipulates that all existing regional library corporations in Victoria must become a “beneficial enterprise”, a not-for-profit entity, and the current library corporation must be dissolved by July 2030.

Casey Cardinia Library Corporation, trading in the name of Connected Libraries,

currently operates as a library corporation with Casey Council as the sole partner.

Council officers proposed a new structure of “company limited by guarantee” that had members instead of shareholders and Casey Council would be the sole member with the possibility that other councils could become members at a later date.

A constitution will be developed for the new corporate entity to outline the membership and governance structure.

Further key transition steps will include

registration of the new corporate entity as a company with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and a charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC).

City of Casey chair of administrators Noelene Duff PSM said the transition would be “an administrative shift” and the community would not be affected with operations and services continuing alongside the ongoing use of the Connected Libraries trading name.

Simplyregistertodayand Tuesday, 21 May, 2024 | STAR JOURNAL 13 Keeping up to date with your local news has never been so easy...
getourlatest news articlesandDigital EditionsinyourinboxforFREE SenttoyourinboxeveryTuesday 12665970-AA09-24
To help, visit:
Husnain as you would like others to support your own children in such a situation.” Zamira with her son Husnain. Picture: GOFUNDME

NEWS Locals fear closure of post

The scheduled closure of the post office branch at Fountain Gate shopping centre on 21 June has sparked major concern from the local community.

A Narre Warren local for over 40 years, Elaine Bradford had made going to the Australia Post shopfront part of her weekly shopping run, where its shared nook with the nearby banks made a perfect starting point to pay her bills and send any mail.

However, it’s not just herself that she’s concerned about, but her daughter Emma - who has a disability - whom Ms Bradford provides care for on a round-the-clock basis.

“It just doesn’t make any sense why they’re closing a vital service.

“It’s going to make [my] life very difficult, we’d have to go into Webb Street, which, obviously with winter coming, there’s no cover at the car park.

“At least we can park undercover at the shopping centre, I can get her (Emma) out with a wheelchair and other bits and pieces and then just do everything that we need to do,” Ms Bradford said.

Emma, now 31-and-a-half years old, was diagnosed with Angelman’s Syndrome, which, generally, causes delayed development, speech and balance problems and mental disability.

In addition to a number of other medical conditions, Emma also has scoliosis and epilepsy, which for her and Ms Bradford, make moving from one place to another all the more difficult.

Sarb Mangat, Emma’s carer for roughly two years, echoes a similar sentiment, with the family relying on the ease of access the shopping centre gives them from parking to banking and groceries.

“It’s very hard, it’s a long distance from the shopping centre in Webb Street, they can’t walk during this winter you know?” she said.

An Australia Post spokesperson said that they have made the“difficult decision” to close the branch following “a 29 per cent drop in customer visits over the past four years”.

“The surrounding area is well-serviced, with six post offices within a five-kilometre radius, including the Narre Warren Post Office around a kilometre away,” they said.

Despite being a government business enterprise, Australia Post is self-funded with the Federal Government serving as its sole shareholder, meaning the business does not receive taxpayer funds and has paid dividends of more than $2.5 billion over the past 10 years.

In the recently released Federal Budget paper on overall strategy and outlook, AusPost

reported a full financial year pre-tax loss of $200 million, which is its first annual loss since 2014-15, as quoted from the budget documents.

It was announced on 6 December 2023 that the Australian Government was to provide a package of reforms in order to boost productivity, increase its focus on parcel delivery services and improve financial stability.

However, “given the uncertainty surrounding Australia Post’s financial position, there is a risk that the [government] will need to consid-

er providing financial assistance to [AusPost] in the future,” the budget papers stated.

However, while these alternatives may not hinder other shoppers, the same cannot be said for Ms Bradford and her daughter, where it’s not just an inconvenience in terms of transport, but also a severance of connection for Emma.

“We are time-poor, [our carer] comes in and she’s only allocated a certain amount of hours a day to support us.

“We have to get back in time to give Emma

her lunch, do personal care and do other things in the afternoon before the carer leaves.

“There’s no time to run from here, there and everywhere to pay and do the things that I need to do,” Ms Bradford said.

Over the years, Emma has since built a foundation of friendship with many of the shopkeepers at the shopping centre, from the post office, to the concierge desk and to Myer.

“Emma has got to know a lot of the clientele up at the shops.

“She’s quite familiar with a lady in Myer that we’ve known for seven and a half years, she knows everyone in JBHiFi and you know, she likes to interact with them and it’s a pleasurable time for her to get out into the community.

“And you know, if I can’t do the things I need to do with her, with us, it’s going to force us to go elsewhere and that’s devastating because Emma won’t have that connection with the people that she’s known at the stores,” Ms Bradford said.

It’s understood the closure is related to the fact that fewer people utilise their services in person, opting to utilise online services instead.

The situation is a little different, not just for Ms Bradford, but other more traditional residents who frequent the shopping centre.

A routine set in stone for decades is about to be disrupted, with Ms Bradford saying that “it’s going to make things really challenging”.

“I’m there quite often, I can go to the bank, get the money out because I’m still old school and pay all my bits and pieces.

“With the extra charges they have to just swipe your cars and such, I’m not doing that either because every cent counts to me, I’m not having anyone take my money because I can’t afford to,” she said.

The surrounding suburbs of Berwick, Narre Warren, NarreWarren North and South, as well as Harkaway and Hallam, have a population where an average of 26 per cent are 55-plus, according to Casey’s Living and Ageing Well Action Plan 2023-25.

An elderly resident who also frequents the Fountain Gate branch said that “it would be a shame to see this one close down”.

“I’ve got a walker so going someplace else is going to be difficult,” he said.

The AusPost spokesperson said that leading to its closure “Fountain Gate Post shop team members will be offered new roles at surrounding outlets or closer to home”.

The Fountain Gate Post branch has multiple notices posted on its premises, informing of other available and nearby options as well as the date of closing.

Warehouse in need of help as demand keeps soaring

The Bakhtar Community Warehouse is calling for support through financial aid and material donations, as the demand has risen significantly in the past few months.

Since its establishment in late 2021, the Noble Park warehouse of Bakhtar Community Organisation has impacted the lives of over 6000 newly arrived refugees in South East Melbourne, providing essential household items, clothing, and food vouchers to support their journey in establishing a new home, amounting to an estimated $3 million worth of aid.

In 2023, the warehouse extended its support to individuals at high risk of homelessness, victims of family and domestic violence, and youth.

Chief executive officer Bassir Qadiri said the demand for their services had risen significantly.

“We used to support up to five to 10 families a week. Now that has gone to 25 to 30 families,” he said.

“That’s why we are struggling with deliveries because most of the new arrivals don’t have cars. They don’t have any way of getting their items to their home.

“Our volunteers deliver the items to their

homes. But sometimes it costs us if we hire someone else to help us.

“It’s not only the Afghan community that we support. We’re supporting the multicultural community. Recently, we have received

some referrals for some Palestinians who have arrived from Gaza.”

Mr Qadiri said though they had always been very grateful for the partnership with more than 30 organisations and charities,

particularly the Rotary Club of Balwyn, they were still having financial difficulty at the moment.

“We have never received any funding support from the government,” he said.

Thecharityorganisationwouldalsospend quite a lot of time and energy relocating to its new warehouse in Dandenong, according to Mr Qadiri.

“Dandenong Council is going to knock down the building of our Noble Park warehouse to turn it into a park sometime this year or next year,” he said.

“We are very hopeful that Development Victoria is going to provide us a piece of land opposite Dandenong Station where we could have a warehouse or a one-stop for the community where we could run some courses and as well as job experience opportunities for the job seekers as well as for the new arrivals.

“That space will be something that we’re looking into opening next year probably. It depends on how quickly things move.”

If you would like to help The Bakhtar Community Warehouse, you could reach out to Mr Qadiri on 0435 945 591. Any form of support would be greatly appreciated, whether it’s material aid, food vouchers, or a tax-deductible donation.

14 STAR JOURNAL | Tuesday, 21 May, 2024
Basir Shirzad and Bassir Qadiri in the warehouse. 406963 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS From left to right; Emma and Elaine Bradford had made going to the Fountain Gate Post Office a part of their daily routine for decades, with its closure sure to drive a wedge into their everyday lives. Picture: SUPPLIED


Reconciliation Week Nature Play

Come along to Alex Wilkie Nature Reserve for a special Reconciliation Week themed Nature Play session. Includes a Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony, playgroup craft, facepainting and a BBQ.

· Tuesday 21 May, 10am-11am at Alex Wilkie Nature Reserve, MacKay Street, Springvale South. Registrations essential: or 8571 1000. Cultural significance of trees

Join us for an afternoon tea featuring two presentations. The first presentation will recognise the significance of trees in the Bunurong Culture in the City of Greater Dandenong. Les McLean, Executive Officer of the Natural Resources Conservation League, will conclude with the League’s recent regeneration and ongoing work. Includes delicious afternoon tea.

· Wednesday 22 May, 1.30pm-4pm at Benga, Heritage Hill Museum and Historic Gardens, 66 McCrae Street, Dandenong. Free event, bookings required at Reuse and Recycle Drop Off Day

The event gives you the opportunity to get rid of any larger unwanted household goods suitable for donating or electronic and household goods suitable for recycling. To avoid missing out, it is highly recommended for resident to attend as early as possible.

· Saturday 25 May 8am-1pm at Greaves Reserve, 20 Bennet Street, Dandenong. Free event. Details: 8571 1000 or Pet bereavement

Join us for a compassionate and insightful workshop on pet bereavement, facilitated by experienced Grief Counsellor, Candice Mace. Eelve into the intricate layers of grief associated with losing a beloved pet, providing participants with valuable insights, coping strategies and avenues of healing.

· Saturday 25 May, 11am-12pm at Springvale Botanical Cemetery, The Centre for Care and Wellbeing (Third Drive), 600 Princes Highway, Springvale. Free event, registrations required. Details:

Perform in Our Street NPK

Enjoy a weekly series of music and dance at Frank Street Open Space in May and June. Bindaas Bollywood Dance Company and Kavita Kalyan present the art of modern Indian song, dance and performance ranging from semi-classical to folk and everything in between. You will be encouraged to jump up and learn a couple of Bollywood routines. Get a real feel for Bollywood dance with dress-ups and props provided.

· Saturday 25 May, 3.30pm-5.30pm at Frank Street Open Space, Noble Park. Free event. Scottish Heritage Day

Dandenong Agricultural and Pastoral Society Inc. present the 21st Annual Scottish Heritage Day with Clydesdale horses, Shetland, Highland and Australian mini ponies and the APSB Victoria Foal Show. A barbecue, soft drinks and Devonshire teas are available for purchase.

· Sunday 26 May 10am-3pm at Greaves Reserve; free entry and car parking. Details: Claire Bird, 0413 272 583 or

National Reconciliation

Week flag raising

Join us for a Welcome to Country and Traditional Smoking ceremony with the Bunurong Land Council. Also participate in a Reconciliation artwork.

· Monday 27 May, 10.30am-11.30am at Harmony Square, 225 Lonsdale Street, Dande-

Tai Chi

Tai Chi is a Chinese system of physical exercise aiding health and relaxation. Join us for a 20 minute session following the Shibashi DVD’s. Mondays (during school term) 2pm–2.20pm at The Open Door, 110 Ann St, Dandenong; suggested donation: gold coin. Details: 9791 8664 or


Neighbourhood Watch public forum

All residents are welcome to Greater Dandenong Neighbourhood Watch’s public forum and safety information Q&A. Guest speakers include Police Commissioned Officers who look after prisoners in police stations.

We have our anti-theft car number plate screws available for $3, personal alarms $14 and we can loan you an engraver to mark your valuables. Light supper provided.

· Wednesday 29 May, 7.30pm (doors open at 7pm) at Paddy O’Donoghue Centre, 18-34 Buckley Street, Noble Park. Free event.

Rock & Roll for charity

Join us for a night of live music, dancing and fun with band Route 66 playing 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, R&R, country rock and blues. All proceeds are being donated to Canteen to support young people impacted by cancer. BYO drinks and nibbles, free tea and coffee available.

· Saturday 1 June, 7.30pm–11pm (doors open 7pm) at Scout Hall, 24 Mons Parade Noble Park (opposite Noble Park Station car park and ample parking); $20 (cash only at the door). Table bookings: Rob, 0431 511 203 or

Photo exhibition

The Noble Park Community Centre (NPCC) proudly announces the grand opening of its new Exhibition Space with the inaugural showcase of

emerging photographer Terry Blades in an exhibition, titled ‘Everywhere’.

· runs until 28 June at NPCC, Memorial Drive, Noble Park.

Busk Stop

Busk Stop will bring a series of outdoor street performances to central Dandenong in late April and May. Concerts at Harmony Square on Thursdays in May, 11.30am-1.30pm. Also concerts at The Checkerboard, corner Langhorne and Lonsdale streets on Saturday 1 June, 10am-12pm. Also at Palm Plaza on Fridays in May, 11.30am1.30pm.

· Free event.

Conversational English

Practice your English in a casual setting over a cup of tea while you meet new people in these FREE weekly sessions.

· Wednesdays 9.30am -11.30am and Thursdays 10:30am-12:30pm at Noble Park Community Centre, Memorial Drive, Noble Park. Details: or 9547 5801.

All Abilities Art & Craft

Discover your creative style and make meaningful social connections at our All Abilities Art & Craft classes.

· Fridays 10am-12pm at Noble Park Community Centre, Memorial Drive, Noble Park. Details: or 9547 5801.


Whether you’re eager to learn how to crochet or an avid crocheter willing to share your experience, join our little group for people who love all things crochet.

· Mondays 11am-1pm at Noble Park Community Centre, Memorial Drive, Noble Park; $20 per term. Details: programs@nobleparkcc. or 9547 5801.


Join us for social sessions for players of all abilities. Ages 15+.

- Mondays 7:30pm-10pm; $5 per session at Noble Park Community Centre, Memorial Drive, Noble Park. Details: programs@nobleparkcc. or 9547 5801.


Naturally containing fibre, potassium, vitamin K, magnesium, Boron and Sorbitol

Helps promote gut health and improved digestion Tuesday, 21 May, 2024 | STAR JOURNAL 15 Sunraysia Prune Extract is a food and not a medicine *Fornaturalconstipationrelief. Save25%offervalidona12-month subscription.Subjecttoterms&conditions. SayG’daytoSunraysiaPruneExtract! From 99c perday* NeedNature’sSuperGutHealthBooster?
is a powerful concentrated extract with around 70 premiumquality
each 340g glass jar. That’s why we call Sunraysia Prune Extract
daily wellness tonic.
All-natural Sunraysia Prune Extract
Californian prunes in
natural, nutritious
and delicious
Gluten-Free, Vegan, Non-GMO, no additives or preservatives Packed in a recyclable glass jar Enjoy a teaspoon daily, or mix with any food, salad, tea, yogurt or use in cooking 1800 778 637 ScannowtoSAVE25%*plusget$5offyourfirstorder 12685228-MS19-24
16 STAR JOURNAL | Tuesday, 21 May, 2024 CALL 1300 666 808 ADVERTISE with us and get better results ECONOMY TILING All Bathroom Renovations and Plumbing • Bathrooms • Toilets • Kitchens • Decks • Water proofing • Walls and Floors Free Quotes Call 0432 550 066 or 8707 5522 12680899-KG14-24 Lic. no 20982 J.L. Hutt Electrical 24 HOUR SERVICE ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ Jason 1300 644 698 12438941-CG04-20 V Tiling • Interior & Exterior • Domestic & Commercial Over 30 years experience • Honest and reasonable prices Call Frank on 0411 370 252 12535782-JC07-22 AA & F&D UNITED PAINTING SERVICES ALL TYPES OF GATES & FENCES • Automatic & Sliding • Ballustrading • Pool & Garden Fencing FREE QUOTES • 9791 9877 • 0411 636 400 12481388-NG07-21 SUPER SERVICE BIN HIRE 2 CUBIC METRE BINS FROM $180 BIN SIZES 2-3-4-5 AND 6 CUBIC METRES UNWANTED CARS REMOVED FREE FAST FRIENDLY AND EFFICIENT SERVICE 9793 9970 - 0419 514 977 12386255-DJ19-18 V Fencing & Gates V Rubbish Removal CALL OUT FEE* $0 REC26011 *$0 call out fee on all paid and completed jobs, same day service when available. SeniorsDiscount Upfront Pricing Same day service Call Joey 0480 014 823 DANDENONG ELECTRICIAN On time, Local, Family owned 12669428-AV08-24 Interior/ext High quality Free quote Commercial/Domestic Decking/pergola/driveways ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ 12367795-LB41-17 M: 0430353080 Ben V Electricians section of Network Classifieds. Trades & Services V Painters/Decorators QUALITY HOME CONCRETING No job too big or too small Free quote • Compare our prices! 9795 4247 0407 324 768 G5790601AA-dc18Feb All Types of Domestic & Commercial Work ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ★ ฀ ฀ ★ Call Chris: 0416 079 689 - 5940 7264 L&L ELECTRICS ฀ 1198421-ACM37-15 RETAINING WALLS Treated Pine Sleepers or Concrete Sleepers Link Wall Blocks and General Landscaping • FREE QUOTES Phone Bruce at BRK Landscaping 0409 554 459 Email: 12683625-AP16-24 ‘It’s All In The Name’ 12 - Year Warranty Open 24/7Free Inspections 9702 4952 12681352-MS15-24 •Roof Repairs & Replacement •Gutter Repairs & Replacement •Fascia & Eave Repair & Replacement •Tile Roof Restoration • All Metal Roofing •Architectural Cladding • Senior Discounts • Family Business V Landscaping A & F CONCRETING • SPECIALISING IN ALL TYPES OF CONCRETING/ CONCRETE PATTERN, SLABS • FOUNDATIONS ETC. • ALL DOMESTIC & INDUSTRIAL NO JOB TOO BIG OR SMALL FREE QUOTE ANY TIME RING 9700 4378 C63804-BG25-8 ROOF RESTORATION Reg No 082 1317E ★ Replace Broken Tiles ★ Cleaning Roofs/Gutters/Downpipes ★ Re-Bedding & Pointing ★ Roof Spraying (3 coats acrylic paint) ★ 10 Year Guarantee ★ Free Quote For a free quote phone Carlos Ph: 9700 7098 Mob: 0414 393 700 10% discount G6032580AA-dc24Jun 12475470-JW51-20 Chris: 0410 584 435 • Carlos: 0414 393 700 ★ Replace Broken Tiles ★ Re-Bedding & Pointing ★ 10 Year Guarantee ★ Cleaning Roofs/Gutters/Downpipes ★ Roof Spraying (3 coats acrylic paint) ★ Free Quote V Roofing SAXON FENCING Palings, Pickets, Colorbond Fences & Gates Prompt and Reliable Service Phone 0419 775 259 or 8751 4016 C1101420-JO46-13 DANDENONG ELECTRICIAN Local, Honest and Reliable •Senior Discounts •Upfront Pricing •All Electrical Work CALL JACKSON 0480 022 406 Rec: 34611 $55 OFF 12622963-JB30-23 V Fencing & Gates V Electricians Andrew Craven Phone Andrew on 0408 585 508, 5998 1127 Support your local tradesman for ALL your concreting needs! C1085227-JO32-13 section of Network Classifieds. Celebrations V Concrete Products & Services General Classifieds section of Network Classifieds. 1 HOUR EMERGENCY PLUMBING ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ESTABLISHED 30 YEARS STANDARD RATES ON WEEKENDS ฀ ฀ ฀฀฀ ฀ ฀ SEWER BLOCKAGES –MACHINE CLEANED ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ 7 DAYS 0419 136 181 - 0419 136 151 1158529-PB42-14 SAME DAY TV ANTENNA SERVICE • 40 Years Family Owned & Operated • 25 Year Warranty • Senior/Pensioner Discount 0488 816 557 FAST FRIENDLY EFFICIENT #1 in DANDENONG Phone 7am-8pm| FREE QUOTES 12619662-RR29-23 V Antennas Call Now 0417 128 536 10% discount on hot water service installations if you mention this ad. AFFORDABLE PLUMBING ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ ฀ Lic 47089 12355821-ACM25-17 LIC111639 *$0 call out fee on all paid and completed jobs, same day service when available. CALL OUT FEE* $0 DANDENONG PLUMBER On time, Local, Family owned SeniorsDiscount Upfront Pricing Same day service 12669323-AP08-24 Call Kieren 0488 822 284 Placing your classified advert is so easy... Online: (24/7) Phone: 1300 666 808 (Open 8.30-5pm Mon-Fri) Email: (include your name, address and phone number) We accept payment by: VISA/MASTERCARD/EFTPOS (1.5% credit card processing fee applies. Cheques and money orders can be posted in or hand delivered to our local office) Ask about our discounted ongoing advertising rates and how choosing more newspapers gives your advertising more impact and saves you money... Deadline for all classifications is 3:30pm Friday. 12435758-CG03-20 Call 1300 666 808 From plumbers to pest control, carpet cleaning to building services, dry cleaning to computer repairs, lawn mowing and more, Network Classifieds has been connecting local businesses with the local community with our Trades and Services each week. Speak to our classified team and find out how easy it is to advertise. Start building your brand today and be seen every week in Network Classifieds Trades and Services. Grow your business with TRADES & SERVICES J.L. Hutt Electrical 24 HOUR SERVICE • Entensions/Refurbishments • Switchboard Upgrades/Safety Switches • House Rewires • Phone/Data/TV & CCTV • Oven & Hot Plate Repairs • Hot Water Service Repairs • Security Alarms • AC Installations Specialising in all Electrical Installations FREE QUOTES No Job too big or small Jason 1300 644 698 Rec: 17824 1152285-PB36-14 “Since advertising in the local Dandenong Journal our enquiries have increased immensely and we continue to get great results” 12463529-LB40-20 0451 771 837Lic. no 122277 LOCAL PLUMBER Leaking taps Burst pipes Hot water Blocked drains Gas heating Leak detection CCTV inspection Pipe relining Storm water Sewerage 24/7 SERVICE 12670933-SM09-24 V Plumbing V Trades Business Profile V Deadline Trades & Services

Long-lost mouse returns

Cranbourne’s botanic garden reintroduced the endangered New Holland Mouse, a species also known as Pookila.

On Wednesday 8 May, 28 Pookila were released at Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne.

Native to south-eastern Australia, the small, burrowing rodent inhabits open heathland and coastal areas, mostly feeding on native plant seeds, leaves, and fungi.

Shy and nocturnal, Pookila can be distinguished from the house mouse by their bicolored tail, large eyes, soft, thick fur, and a lack of ‘mousey’ odour.

Pookila has been in decline in population since its discovery in Victoria in 1970. They are considered extinct at seven of 12 known locations throughout Victoria, due to fire, drought, and predation by feral cats and foxes.They were last seen at Cranbourne Gardens in 1976.

The 28 Pookila have been specially bred at Melbourne Zoo and Moonlit Sanctuary as part of the Victorian Pookila Conservation Breeding and Reintroduction Program. The program was established in 2022, when founding Pookila were sourced from the five remaining locations inVictoria. Following careful matchmaking, the Pookila born for release are more genetically healthy and diverse than those left in the wild.

Zoos Victoria native rodent biologist Dr Phoebe Burns said Zoos Victoria was proud to be leading this reintroduction program as part of wider efforts to recover the species in the state.

“This is the culmination of decades of work by dedicated conservation scientists. It’s so exciting to be at the point where we get to return the Pookila to the Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne after nearly 50 years of absence,” she said.

The Pookila were released into a small fenced-off area, to prepare them for a full release into Cranbourne Gardens in the next six to eight weeks.They will be carefully monitored and fed as they get used to their new home.

“The soft-release process will allow Pookila to adjust to their new home, get used to the weather, dig burrows, and experience Cranbourne Gardens while remaining safe and wellfed,” Dr Burns said.

“Once they’re ready, we’ll let them look after themselves, but continue to keep a close eye on them.”

Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne manager environmental systems Ricardo Simao said the Gardens were thrilled to re-introduce Pookila into Cranbourne Gardens.

“We are thrilled to re-introduce Pookila to Cranbourne Gardens, and are grateful to Zoos Victoria, Moonlit Sanctuary and partners for making this possible,” he said.

“RoyalBotanicGardensCranbourneishome to over 450 native plant species in its bushland, with native grasses and landscapes which will

provide many safe hiding spots for this little creature.

“Wealsohavepredator-prooffencingtoprotect them from cats and foxes.”

Mammal Coordinator Kiandra Debus from Moonlight Sanctuary said Moonlit Sanctuary was excited to play a crucial role in this historic moment of reintroducing Pookila to their former habitat in our region.

“Through careful planning, cooperation, and animal husbandry we are able to help give this incredible species a chance to thrive in the wild,” she said.

“This project highlights the significance of collaborative conservation efforts in preserving our precious biodiversity.”

The name Pookila is derived from a Ngarigo word for “mouse” – bugila – and was adopted

Proposed Sandown Racecourse Redevelopment Consultation

Melbourne Racing Club is proposing changes to the Greater Dandenong Planning Scheme to enable the redevelopment of the Sandown Racecourse located at 591-659 Princes Highway, Springvale.

An amendment to the Greater Dandenong Planning Scheme is proposed to enable the redevelopment of the land for predominantly residential use including approximately 7,500 homes, supported by community facilities, open space and commercial and retail uses.

To inform the future decision by the Minister for Planning about whether to approve the amendment, the Minister has appointed the Sandown Racecourse Advisory Committee to consider submissions and assess the planning merits of the proposal.

You can make a submission to the Advisory Committee about the proposed planning scheme changes.

To find more about the proposed planning scheme changes and how to make a submission see

Documents can also be viewed at Greater Dandenong Council offices:

•Dandenong Customer Service Centre, 225 Lonsdale Street, Dandenong

•Parkmore Customer Service Centre, Parkmore Shopping Centre, Shop A7, Cheltenham Road, Keysborough

•Springvale Community Hub Customer Service Centre, 5 Hillcrest Grove, Springvale

Submissions close at 11.59pm, Monday, 24 June 2024.

Phone 136 186.


by the Federal Government in 1995 as an Indigenous name for the species formerly known as the New Holland Mouse.

The five remaining Victorian sites, believed to contain fewer than 3000 Pookila, are in Gippsland, including at Wilsons Promontory and Loch Sport.

The Victorian Pookila Conservation Breeding and Reintroduction Program is a joint project between the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action, Gippsland Water, Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park, Parks Victoria, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, Zoos Victoria, and partners in Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation and Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation.

For further information, visit news-and-stories/pookila-reintroduction Tuesday, 21 May, 2024 | STAR JOURNAL 17 Sales Consultant Part time/casual required for Cameo Memorials Dandenong South branch. The ideal candidate will possess confidence, excellent communication skills and the ability to interface with people. Email: Contact Leanne on 9782 1555 V Positions Vacant Employment ROOMS AVAILABLE, Single rooms. Gents only. 48 Hammond Road/45 Hemmings Street, Dandenong. PhDaniel0417336906. Find local work in the Employment section of Network Classifieds. Call or visit us online! Professional Services V Accommodation Real Estate PATIENT HOIST Advanced, portable. Aspire A150F Includes patient mobile lifter. With sling and battery. In good condition. In Springvale. $4,195 ono. Ph 0451 885 686 / 95460251 V For Sale Pruning & Removal of Trees & Shrubs Stump Removal Hedges Mulching & Mulch Sales Full Insurance Cover 0409 14 15 19 HIGH TREE TREE SERVICE ABN 20 410 687 524 Autumn Special THIS MONTH ONLY OFF 25% Rick Kruyt FREE QUOTE 124 8 4 888S N1 0 -21 Find us on Facebook ADVERTISERS PLEASE NOTE Anyone advertising a puppy, dog, kitten or cat in Victoria for sale or re-homing will need a source number from the Pet Exchange Register and a microchip identification number. It is now an offence to advertise unless the source number and microchip identification number is included in the advertisement or notice. For further information, call 136 186 or visit 12423634-SN31-19 V Pets & Services MY SPACE - FULL BODY CAREFull body relaxation massagebyyoungandmature asian female therapist. Showerfacility.VanityCrt, Room33,249LonsdaleSt, Dandenong. Katie 0402 420 986. 0431 156 192. Open7days. 12690823-MP21-24 QUALITY WORK AT DISCOUNT PRICES DAWSONS TREE SERVICES $20 MILLION INSURANCE • No Fuss • No Mess • No Stress 9720 5111 ADVERTISERS, in this section are qualified practitioners and offer nonsexualservices. V Massage Therapists
Customer Service:
F40952 12690699-JC22-24 Rainbow Club 48 Davies Avenue, Sunshine North 0468 693 833 SWA6566B $110/ 30mins Open 7 days 12652832-AI48-23 Redgum Firewood QualityGippslandRedgum: $550m3, Stringy Bark: $450m3, Mixed: $500m3 Delivered. 0403 124 605 Oakfern Tree Care P/L Fully Insured Phone Geoff 0418 340 825 C316291-KK18-5 Pruning Removal Stump Grinding V Public Notices and Event V Firewood V Adult Services V Tree Lopping/Surgery General Notices General Classifieds Trades & Services NEWS
Pookila at Melbourne Zoo. Pictures: SUPPLIED Pookila at Melbourne Zoo. Pookila.

SPORT Noble lets one slip

The return to the football field for beloved Noble Park midfielder Kyle Martin was overshadowed by a shock two-point loss to a previously winless Norwood on Saturday afternoon.

Martin, wearing the Bulls colours for the first time since the 2022 Eastern Football Netball League grand final triumph that made him a premiership captain. made his muchawaited comeback to the game after missing the entire 2023 season through injury, having ruptured his Anterior Cruciate Ligament on the eve of the season last year.

But his presence wasn’t enough to lift the Bulls to a positive result, having trailed at every break in a 10.12 72 to 11.8 74 loss at Norwood’s Mullum Mullum Reserve.

The margin grew as wide as four goals early in the afternoon before the Bulls mounted a comeback in the second half to make the contest close.

Trailing by 11 at the final break, Noble Park made the perfect start to the final term with a goal from the first centre clearance, courtesy of Bailey Lambert’s eighth - shockingly the Bulls’ only goal kicker to that point in the contest.

The Bulls dominated possession in the early stages of the quarter, not allowing Norwood an inside 50 for nearly six minutes and rebounding the ball immediately when the defences were breached, but failed to capitilise on time in possession on the scoreboard, with a hattrick of misses from goal scoring opportunities.

Norwood’s first shot on goal became a certainty after a 25-metre penalty advanced ruck, Joseph Fisscher, to point-blank range after Levi Young infringed in a ruck contest, restoring an eight-point buffer.

The goal kicked Norwood into gear, finding a second wave of energy as they looked to ekeout a much-needed win, and pressed home for a larger advantage in the following minutes.

But Ben Marson found brother Jordan on his own inside the forward 50, who converted from a tough angle to cut the lead to just two points in the 20th minute, and snap Norwood’s momentum.

Martin and Chris Horton-Milne then combined at the next centre bounce to find Matthew Nelson on the lead, whose shot on goal

from the 40-metre arc dropped into the hands of his brother,Tom, who took a contested mark on the goalline, and put the Bulls in front after 22 minutes, for the first time all afternoon.

Norwood won the next centre clearance, however, and goaled through key forward James Menzies, to restore a two-point lead in favour of the home side.

Martin won the final centre clearance of the contest but the Bulls failed to score on his entry as the home side flooded numbers in the Noble Park forward line in an effort to kill the contest.

They were able to rebound from defensive 50, with the final siren sounding at a stoppage on the wing.

Lambert finished with eight majors while Martin successfully ran out the contest in the midfield alongside long-time teammates Jackson Sketcher and Lachlan McDonnell.

The Bulls return home to Pat Wright Senior Oval next week to face Blackburn in what will be Martin’s first home game since 20 August 2022 as his side looks to snap a three-match losing streak.

Desperate Thunder pinch impressive draw

Dandenong Thunder coach Adam Piddick is hoping that his side’s embarrassing loss to bottom-placed Moreland last week will act as a wake up call as they embark on the second half of the National Premier League (NPL) Victoria campaign.

Thunder conceded twice in the opening four minutes of play on the way to a 4-0 loss against a side that was winless before the fixture, giving them the worst goal difference in the competition after round 13.

Piddick took the role under indifferent circumstances in January and has been forced to juggle a host of injuries to senior players while implementing his style of football that has brought him individual success at previous clubs.

Defender, Gavin De Niese is one of three players that will miss the remainder of the season with a torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament, while striker Deri Corfe and defender Daniel Alessi’s nagging injuries have provided challenges for the squad in building all-important continuity, and forced Piddick to call on young, inexperienced players prematurely for NPL football.

He says he cannot fault the team’s effort, but now is the time for results.

“If the players aren’t embarrassed by that result (against Moreland), then we’ve got big problems,” Piddick said.

“We had a good chat during the week about expectations, accountability and all that type of stuff, and at the end of the day, they’re just words, but we hope to see the actions on the pitch.

“I think we’ve been decent at (defending

across the pitch), it’s a lot of defending in and around the 18 yard box, concentration, that mentality of throwing your body in front of a ball that someone’s had a shot at or proper clearances, marking tighter, organisation (that needs to improve).

“That’s the big thing that I’m trying to change, the players’ mentality.

“That’s easier said than done and takes a bit of time to work on it.

“Hopefully the boys can turn the corner.”

Piddick sees improvement in adapting to the game style from the beginning of the campaign, despite sitting just outside the drop zone as the season turns for the run home.

But the reliance on inexperienced players and the absence of some senior heads is creating problems in critical areas on the pitch, and leading to unwanted mistakes.

“In terms of our style, we’ve become better in possession with the ball, but we’ve become easy to score against,” Piddick said.

“There’s lapses of concentration in key areas, the big moments where, if we have to defend our box, or we get a chance, we’re not taking.

“Our football between each 18-yard box has improved from the first game that we played, but our football in each 18-yard box has to improve, if we’re going to get results for the rest of the year.

“We’re getting there, we just need a little bit more quality and a little bit more harder and stronger mentality in the group.”

Thunder made a positive start to the second half of the season by holding fifth-placed and former Thunder coach David Chick’s Hume City to a scoreless draw in Meadow Heights on

Famous faces back to Shepley

Dandenong Cricket Club will welcome back a pair of favourite sons to Shepley Oval next season with the return of former premiership players James Nanopolous and Darren Pattinson to the fold.

Nanopolous will return as a player, while Pattinson will serve as the club’s bowling coach.

A Life Member at Dandenong, Nanopolous left the club at the conclusion of the 2020/21 season to play for fellowVictorian Premier Cricket club, Frankston Peninsula.

His bowling exploits at Shepley Oval have enshrined him as one of the best to don the Panthers uniform, holding the record for most wickets taken at the club (366), and most wickets in a season (46), tied with Roger Gill and Pattinson.

Saturday night.

The home side did more of the attacking on Saturday night but failed to find the decisive blow, despite taking 16 shots to Dandenong’s 12, and having 10 corner’s to Dandenong’s four.

Wade Dekker nearly opened the scoring in the fifth minute, after Hume City goal keeper Jackson Riley failed to successfully grasp a Thunder free kick, but Dekker could not find a way past the gloveman, who had made himself big on the goalline to deny the striker.

Pierce Clark was kept busy at the other end of the pitch as Hume City made much of the early attacking, but he and the Thunder defensive group kept their cool on a number of occasions, with Daniel Alessi making a welcome return to the back four.

Thunder used the space out wide to make a number of attacking runs that threatened the Hume City goal, but lacked a quality ball into the area to create goal scoring opportunities.

A corner from Mersim Memeti landed centimetres from the goal line in the 35th minute but was cleared by the Hume City defence, in what was Thunder’s best chance at breaking the deadlock in the first 45 minutes.

Clark made a brilliant diving save early in the second half to keep the home side at bay, while Ben Djiba was substituted shortly after, having suffered an injury in a desperate act of defending.

Thunder was forced to defend right to the very end and Hume pressed for a winner deep into additional time, and managed to successfully do so to take a point back to George Andrews Reserve.

Thunder will host Manningham next Saturday night.

Last season it was his batting that thwarted Dandenong from a third-consecutive win in the early stages of the season, hitting a defiant 75 not out as his Heat chased 220.

He took 18 wickets at 24.3 last season and his experience will provide a sounding board for Brett Forsyth, having spent most of last season guiding a very young squad lacking experience on the field.

Pattinson, meanwhile, played in multiple premierships for the Panthers and has vast professional experience under his belt, having infamously been plucked from obscurity to play a Test Match for England back in 2008, to go with nearly a decade of domestic cricket.

Young quick Noah Hurley has committed to the club for next season, having taken 25 wickets in his debut season in Victorian Premier Cricket and earning selection in Victorian Second XI squads as a result, while all-rounder Javed Khan will also don the Panthers’ uniform, after a stellar season in the Dandenong District Cricket Association (DDCA) for North Dandenong.

Returning to the Maroons after a season ruined by injury in 2022/23, Khan finished second in the Alan Wookey Medal vote count behind Springvale South superstar Jordan Wyatt as the best player in the DDCA’s Turf 1 competition after a brilliant season with bat and ball.

Khan hit 538 runs at 53.8 and was the only batter to hit three hundreds in the campaign, and took 21 wickets at 20.6 for the Maroons, earning selection in the Turf 1 Team of the Year.

Khan is no stranger to Premier Cricket, having played nearly 70 games at Kingston Hawthorn Cricket Club.

18 STAR JOURNAL | Tuesday, 21 May, 2024
James Nanopoulos will return to Dandenong Cricket Club next season. 229796 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS Kyle Martin’s return to action was a welcome sight for Noble Park. 277789 Picture: ROB CAREW

Clarke leads way for Doves

recruit Matt Clarke has wasted no time in making an impact at his new club, kicking three goals in a best-on-ground performance against St Kilda City on Saturday.

The last of Doveton’s notable inclusions for the 2024 season to debut, Clarke was a class above as Doveton proved it could win ugly in a deceptively tight 17.18 120 to 8.7 55 victory at the Peanut Farm.

Clarke started on the wing, the Doves looking to use his class with the ball to connect them going forward, while his aerial presence made him essentially an extra marking target when he worked inside 50.

The Doves kicked the first two goals of the game before the Saints had a possession, Clarke assisting the first one to Max Sheppard’s advantage, setting the scene for his day.

The hosts responded with the next four, however, as they slingshotted the ball with intent from the back half, before Doveton were able to stabilise late in the quarter, going into the first break with a two point lead.

The visitors’ ability to win centre clearance was a theme throughout a well-fought game, with Hayden Speirings’ power and Dylan Chapman’s ruck-work both clear contributors.

Clarke kicked his first goal for the club in the second quarter as the visitors worked hard for each other, in a tightening contest.

Neither team gave each other the control or

easy looks that both had at stages of the first quarter, but late goals to Will Smith and Cam Williamson gave Doveton a handy 20-point buffer at halftime.

The lead stretched to 29 by three-quartertime, before the game opened up in a seven goal to two final quarter.

Clarke rotated forward in the second half and took a series of marks inside 50 as his class shone through.

The former Noble Park player may have shone brightest, but he was far from the only 2024 list addition to carry the torch.

James Canty was influential, Ben O’Loughlin played an important role against a tall St Kilda City attack, and Speirings and Lochie Conboy each added dynamism when they were in the middle.

Williamson’s speed and winger Ricky Johnson’s fitness were also important parts of the rugged win.

Meanwhile, Hampton Park continued their unlikely winning streak with a 19.8 122 to 12.10 82 victory over Highett; Endeavour Hills fell six points short of a stirring comeback at Caulfield; and Cranbourne came from behind in a 13.5 83 apiece draw with East Brighton.

Narre South and Lyndhurst were both beaten in Division 3; while in Division 4, Isaac Braaksma led Dandenong to an 11-point win over Hallam;Tom Bradley kicked eight for Lyndale against South Yarra; and Doveton Eagles were beaten by Moorabbin.

Culture the key at Lyndale United FC

Lyndale United Football Club has its own special and unique formula for measuring its deeds and accomplishments as a sporting club.

Like most clubs it enjoys a smattering of on-field success across its 13 teams in junior and senior competitions; but what sets this club apart is what 2024 looks like compared to seasons gone by.

For the first time - since its establishment in 1977 - the North Dandenong-based club has a senior female football team, while its junior program has swelled from 63 in numbers to just short of 100.

Its success is built on the hard-work of a fresh and vibrant committee; which has a major focus on culture, and the well-being of every single member at the club.

The past is certainly present, with groundsman Charlie Napolitano a founding member and current committee member; but the introduction of the senior women’s program has added a whole new dimension.

“You hear about the positivity of women being involved in sport, but until you see it with your own eyes you don’t fully appreciate it.” said Junior Coordinator Sophie Ghougassian.

“The team is having success, sitting number one on the ladder, but what the club and players have done for each other - in such a short space of time - just reiterates the work we’ve been doing behind the scenes.

“For our junior boys and senior men to see women training at the club; it’s breaking down barriers and that’s a special thing for us all to be a part of.

“The girls are already passionate, they already love Lyndale; and once you’re in, you’re in, it’s one of those clubs that gets in your blood and stays there.

“The women’s team has been a huge win for the club, and I attribute that to the hardwork of the new committee members and their coach Josh Micallef.”

Led by President Scott Fox, the club’s committee of Jack Martino (Vice President), Luca Santucci (Treasurer), James Lasanc (Secretary), Sarah McGlone (Events), Dalibor Saula (Social Media/Sponsorship), Jai Martino (Bar

Manager), Ghougassian (Junior Coordinator) and Napolitano (Grounds) have focused on making the club a happy, respectful and affordable place to be around.

The club has worked hard to gain sponsorship; but needs more like-minded backers to jump on board to keep fees and expenses to a minimum.

Lyndale United FC already boasts fees much cheaper than other clubs around the region, but is always seeking to do more.

“The way the world is at the moment, we need to make sure these kids have a place where they can come along and just be happy,” Ghougassian said.

“We also understand that there are challenges for parents in making that happen; so, getting additional sponsors on board will make it easier for us to help in that regard.”

In addition to the four senior teams at Lyndale United FC - three men’s and one women’s – the club also has junior teams in Under 13, Under 11, Under 10 Boys, Under 10 Girls, Under 9, Under 8 and three Under 7 teams.

To help handle the impressive growth, the club also has a dedicated Junior Committee

for the first time, consisting of Ghougassian as Junior Coordinator, an assistant Junior Coordinator, a ChildWell-Being Officer, a Social Media and Marketing Manager, a Game Day and Fixtures Manager, and an Events Coordinator.

“Personally, I dedicate most of my week to working with our families and committee to ensure all our kids are getting the best experience,” Ghougassian said.

“We have a Child Well-Being Policy and Code of Conduct that is the basis of our club culture

“Culture and passion work hand-in-hand at a sporting club; and it’s a key focus of our passionate committee members to make sure we have a culture that everyone can be proud of.”

Lyndale United FC is also very respectful of its history, with its annual Past Players Day to be run in conjunction with the game against Brighton SC on Saturday 1 June.

Ghougassian expects the club’s home ground at the Lyndale Secondary College to be rocking.

“One day each year we dedicate to celebrating our players and members, past and

present,” she explained.

“Players such as Steve King, who, for the entire 42 years of his life, was a member of Lyndale United FC.

“His dad was the president when he was little so Steve and his family spent their entire lives in and around Lyndale.

“We honour players like Steve - who have left us - by playing in their honour and upholding their legacy by celebrating our club and its history.

“People like Charlie (Napolitano) are the heart and soul of this club; and it’s a nice reminder every time we see him around the club of what this place means to people.

“His boys Daniel and Michael are also players in the senior teams and active members of our club and we respect Charlie’s contribution beyond words.”

The club’s focus on culture will also be front and centre when it hosts a charity event for My Room in September this year.

The charity is close to the heart of Lyndale United FC as one of its youngest members, Luka Formoso, has been supported by My Room as he battles Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia. Tuesday, 21 May, 2024 | STAR JOURNAL 19
The Under-11 team is part of exciting times at Lyndale United FC, back, left to right, Sophie Ghougassian, Niki Maragos, Josh Billing, Matthew Luckfiel, Jordan Savrimoutoo, Lachlan Hanson and Giunio Perfetto. Front row, Tyler Whitehead, Arsh Merchant, Oliver Adams, Danilo Vrankovic and Amir Ali Shafahi. 407851 Pictures: GARY SISSONS
Junior Coordinator Sophie Ghougassian with Lyndale United FC legend Charlie Napolitano. 407851 Doveton Former Officer player Matt Clarke performed well in his new colours on Saturday. 152908 Picture: ROB CAREW
20 STAR JOURNAL | Tuesday, 21 May, 2024 SCHOOL TOUR MON 3RD JUNE 9.15AM 2025 Enrolments are still open. Please register for our waiting list. 2026 Applications close 16 August. Visit Manning Drive, Noble Park North, VIC 3174 03 9795 8100 12690819-ET21-24

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.