Star Weekly - Sunbury Macedon Ranges - 2nd April 2024

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Locally built art on show

Fancy a day spent looking at arts and crafts?

The Phoenix Macedon Ranges Art and Craft Group exhibition and sale on April 6 and 7 might be just for you.

View the exquisite art and craft work and speak to the artists who created them, with all items handcrafted and made locally.

Group members work with a wide range of creative activities including painting, glass art, ceramics, jewellery, paper craft, woodwork, textile art and knitted crafts.

Original works are on display and for sale and entry is free.

The group is celebrating its 40th year this year after forming following the Ash Wednesday bushfires that decimated the Macedon Ranges and affected many local artists and craftspeople.

The group is always looking for new members.

The exhibition and sale is being held at the Old Gisborne Court House from 10am-4pm on the Saturday and 9am-3pm on the Sunday.

Details: Kay Beale, 9744 2646 or, or you can visit https://phoenixmrac. com/ or phoenixmrac/

Spoil extension frustration

Sunbury and Bulla will be the “number one dumping town in Victoria” if Hi-Quality is allowed to extend its licence to accept spoil according to a Sunbury councillor.

The minister for planning wrote to Hume council last month, seeking its views on making changes to the Hume Planning Scheme, to allow the Bulla Spoil Processing Facility to process and dispose of spoil from Big Build projects and other infrastructure projects.

Currently, only spoil from Big Build is accepted at the site and that is set to end on April 1.

Under the proposed changes Hi-Quality is seeking to remove the existing limitation that

spoil must come from the West Gate Tunnel project and extend the lifetime operations for a further 24 years until 2048.

Hume council in its response outlined a number of concerns with the proposed amendment.

It requested changes be made and are seeking Hi-Quality to make infrastructure contributions including a financial contribution towards the Bulla Bypass or any other project that would ease pressure on the Bulla Bridge, requests that Hi-Quality make a financial contribution towards a fund similar to the Sunbury and Bulla Neighbourhood Fund and seeks a commitment for the timing and delivery of the Bulla Bypass if the amendment is successful.

Jackson Creek ward councillors Jarrod

Bell and Trevor Dance said they were both speaking not only as councillors, but as Sunbury residents.

“We are not interested in a decision that does not listen, that does not take our concerns into account, or a decision that does not put the welfare or employment opportunities and quality of life of our residents [on the cards],” Cr Bell said.

‘We did our bit and despite our clear wish to not be the case, we took the soil from the West Gate tunnel.

“Now I declare that our job should be done. I saw that [time] restriction as a promise or a guarantee from the then minister and Hi-Quality that once this experience was over, there would be no further lifting asked of our community.”

Cr Bell said they wanted to ensure that both the state government and Hi-Quality listened to their concerns.

He said it wasn’t in the public’s best interest to fast track this process without providing the community the chance voice their views.

CrDancesaidthepromisestheyfoughthard for could now be broken.

“Now they want to (take spoil) from every big project around Melbourne… to expand this short term licence for another 24 years,” he said.

“What about the homeowners of Redstone, Kingsfield and Maplestone now thinking about a temporary spoil site, now extending to possibly 2048.

■ Continued: Page 3.

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Survey rule a ‘slap in the face’

Macedon Ranges residents have spoken out against a council requirement prohibiting most residents from completing a survey about the Romsey Hotel’s gaming machine application.

Romsey Football Netball Club Inc applied to the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission for approval of 50 gaming machines at the Romsey Hotel late last year.

On March 18, Macedon Ranges council invited Romsey residents and those living within five kilometres of the Romsey Hotel, to completeasurveyabouttheapplicationto“help inform council’s submission to the Victorian


and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC).”

The decision to exclude all other residents from completing the survey has been criticised by local advocacy group Keep Romsey Pokies Free.

In a statement the group said the social life of Romsey is not only dependent on those living withinafiveor10kilometreradiusofthetown.

“The five kilometre line is nonsensical in a country town and a slap in the face to our farmers who are still a backbone of Australia,” the group said. “Pokies addiction is destructive and highly likely to persuade an individual at risk to travel readily over five kilometres to

gamble away his/her savings.”

The group pointed to previous council feasibility studies which have taken larger areas of residents into account.

“The feasibility study for aquatic facilities invited all those who use the existing services in Romsey to have a say. This includes those living five kilometres or more away- it didn’t discriminate.

“Itisafactofregionalandrurallifethatthose in the outlying farming and lifestyle allotment areas utilise the nearest town or nearest town with relevant services as their hubs.

“Why should an impact survey not take the same approach to feasibility studies?

Significant milestone for local band

Achey Peace, an emerging band from Sunbury, launched its debut EP featuring five tracks on Spotify on March 1.

An EP is a musical recording that contains more tracks than a single but fewer than an album.

The EP, including tracks such as ’Imperfections’ and ’Cinematic Soul’, showcases a blend of alternative, grunge and progressive rock.

Vocalist Darby Davis, bassist Harris Watson and drummer Jordan Davis bonded over music during their school years.

In an interview with Star Weekly, Darby Davis said the group’s songwriting process starts with the rhythm, followed by lyrics.

When asked about his musical background, Darby credits his and Jordan’s musical path to their mother’s influence.

“Our mother was always playing music.. and we grew up around it. The music engraves into our brains, our hearts,” Darby said.

Similarly, Harry Watson’s musical background stems from his father, a band musician who surrounded him with music and instruments from a young age.

Although the band has just released its EP in March, the trio has been performing live for two years every fortnight, making the transition to recording seem effortless.

When asked what he likes most about performing live, Darby said.

“I used it to express my emotions. What was built up, I let out on the stage. Whether screaming at the top of my lungs or jumping up and down like a kid, I feel free up there on the stage. I can just let go, let loose,“ he added.

Darby also credits the influence of the growing Sunbury music scene.

“The Sunbury music scene is blooming with new bands from all ages–our ages, young ages–and it’s great to be a part of it,” Darby said.

Achey Peace’s entry into Spotify marks a significant milestone for the band, promising more engaging and soulful music for their growing audience.

New bus route to connect train stations

A new bus service will connect Sunbury and Diggers Rest train stations for the first time.

Public and Active Transport Minister GabrielleWilliamsvisitedSunburyannounced the new Route 475 service on March 26 that will provide much-needed public transport in residential areas that was previously not serviced by the bus network.

Services on the new route started last week.

The new bus route, 475 Sunbury station –Diggers Rest station will operate between the two stations, seven days a week. The services will run every 20 minutes during peak periods, and 40 minutes during the interpeak and on weekends.

Services start at 6am on weekdays, 7am on Saturdays and 8am on Sundays running through to 9pm every night.

Ms Williams said the state government was introducing new bus routes to service rapidly growing suburbs across the state and giving communities more reasons to leave the car at home.

Sunbury MP Josh Bull said this would make life a lot easier for many locals.

“Many locals commute between Diggers Rest and Sunbury for work and school, so we’re responding to local needs by introducing a new bus route to connect our growing communities,“ he said.

“We are helping people get where they need to go by building more connections between communities and with the local V/Line and Metro rail networks for onward travel.”

Service details are available on the PTV website. Details:

“If you are likely to access the services you are equally likely to be impacted by a proposal such as this… via the impact on the town residents and the businesses or organisations that service you.”

In response to these criticisms, Macedon Ranges council pointed to information on its dedicated ‘Your Say’ website, which states “for the purposes of this survey, council has received specialist advice that the VGCCC seeks direct feedback from those within the town/ five kilometre radius of the venue.”

Residentsoutsideofthefive-kilometresurvey area can share their opinion on the application through a submission directly to the VGCCC.

Spoil extension frustration

■ From page 1.

“If the minister does allow this it finally cements in my view, Sunbury, Bulla as the number one dumping town in Victoria.”

Councillor Joseph Haweil recommended and was supported by his fellow councillors, to remove the line from the council response, that it doesn’t object to the strategic intent of the proposed amendment, saying they need further information before making that decision.

Hi-Quality confirmed that they have put in an application.

“With Victoria’s significant construction pipeline underway, there is a need for safe and responsible processing of material being excavated from these projects. As such, Hi-Quality is proposing to extend its current permissions to enable the facility to accept material from any infrastructure or construction project until 2048.

“Hi-Quality has in the past advised that while current approvals are specific to one project, we would always assess opportunities to continue our operations if there was a need for the facility. Extending our approvals does not mean we would necessarily accept all waste from major projects. It simply means we are an option so the large volumes of soil being excavated can be handled safely and effectively.

“We are committed to engaging with the community throughout this process to understand and respond to their concerns.”

The state government was contacted.

Sunbury MP Josh Bull, Public and Active Transport Minister Gabrielle Williams and local bus driver Brent Purcell. (Supplied) The members of Achey Peace. (Supplied)

Sporting clubs’ quest for funds

Several Sunbury sporting associations are calling out for funding in the upcoming Hume council budget.

In last week’s Hume council meeting, the public had a chance to put forward its ideas to be included in the budget with 75 submissions made.

Sunbury United Soccer Club came to the council to ask for help building a safe and inclusive soccer environment for females.

United female coordinator Sara Nannery said they are pushing for assistance that will

benefitnotonlytheclub,butthewiderSunbury community. “We believe that 2024 is going to be a transformative year for our club, we have already had a 130 per cent increase in female participation… to be honest we are struggling to meet that demand,” she said.

“We want to ensure that we can not only cater for the current demands but also future demands and growth in soccer in Sunbury.”

Club secretary Jacqui Scott said funding is needed to increase capacity to meet the rapid growth of soccer in Sunbury with the club having about 300 juniors.


shesaid.“It’scomedowntoapointwherewe’ve hadtoturnplayersaway,andthat’snotwhatwe want as a community club.”

It is requesting an estimated $150,000 in funding for a portable shelter for its second pitch to ensure safety for female athletes, as well as a high fence behind the goals.

The Sunbury and District Table Tennis Club has put in a funding request for a purpose built stadium. In a letter to council, it explained that its current shared stadium at Clarke Oval isn’t big enough to meet an increasing demand and is making it difficult for the club to bring in new participants.

The Sunbury Basketball Association has requested allocated funding for the redevelopment of Eric Boardman Stadium and a design and concept for the South Sunbury indoor multi-purpose venue. The overall forecasted costs of their upgrades sit at more than $3.2 million, including an upgraded bar and canteen, a new entry concourse, upgraded amenities, and bigger offices and meeting rooms.

The East Sunbury Sporting Group has requested $900,000 of funding for an upgraded and expanded social rooms at John McMahon Reserve.

New name for Sunbury park

A reserve in Sunbury is set for a new name.

The reserve, which has unofficially been known as the Village Green Reserve, is set to be called Noogal Park, following Hume council consultation.

The council revealed that name at its council meeting on March 25 and will nowcommencecommunityconsultation toseekviewsontheproposaltonamethe reserve, Noogal Park.

ThereserveisboundedbyRupertswood and Berrydale roads, Rolling Meadows Drive and The Village Green.

ThewordNoogalmeans‘belong’inthe Woi Wurrang language.

Anamewiththemeaningbelongusing traditional owner language is viewed as representative of the park.

Council sought community feedback for names last year, with 49 suggestions from residents, including some that were received multiple times.

The name Rolling Meadows Reserve received the highest number of suggestions.

Empowering kindness in Kyneton

A community not-for-profit based association in Kyneton is seeking volunteers to help out in its op shop, food bank and soup kitchen.

TheKindnessCollectiveKynetonhasbeenin operation for about 10 years, and has recently seen a spike in people accessing its services, which also includes a drop-in space and crisis relief.

Business development manager Hugh Vardon said about 650 households have recently accessed the services.

“We’re seeing a large increase in our food bank and the whole demographic is changing, it’s not just your older residents or single

families,”hesaid.“Wehaveyoungprofessionals in mortgage stress, we have young families struggling with the cost of living.

“We want to be there for these people and support them… so we are now growing and trying to make this food bank a state of the art food bank.”

MrVardonsaidthefoodbankhasbeengoing through a transformation of its own, with a focus to include protein-rich fresh produce such as eggs, milk and chicken.

This was kick-started when Mr Vardon browsed the shelves to see what he could get to make his own children a healthy meal.

“We’re not the traditional food bank, you come in like a supermarket and shop [for what you want].

“Wearenotonlytryingtogive[people]food, but good food to empower them to eat healthy. We are there to give people things to fill their bellies, but fill their bellies with good stuff.”

Mr Vardon said anyone with six hours or more hours to spare can volunteer, or anyone who can help pick up food. Anyone interested can contact: or hugh.v@tkc.

There were also names suggested using the words ‘Rolling’, ‘Meadows’ or ‘Green’ in different combinations.

The name Rolling Meadows Reserve, or other suggestions using a variation of these words, have been assessed as non-compliant with the naming rules because they use an estate name

Suggested names that include the word ‘Village’ have been assessed as duplications which could potentially cause confusion with the existing Sunbury Village Green Council officers consulted with the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation on suggested names that use Traditional Owner language.

Have your say on the roads

RACV is asking Victorians, including those in the Macedon Ranges and Hume, to provide feedback about how safe they feel on roads in regional Victoria as part of its My Country Road survey.

The survey uses an online interactive map that shows high-speed roads with large concentrations of crashes causing death or serious injury in regional Victoria between 2018 and 2023.

Participants can provide feedback by clicking on one of the highlighted roads and filling out a survey or nominating another road.

RACV Automotive Services general manager Jackie Pedersen, explained how RACV is using the survey results to help make regional roads safer.

“We want to gather as much data as we can to encourage the state government and local councils to make commitments that deliver safer regional roads and help save lives,” she said. “RACV conducted the first My Country Road survey back in 2021 and 31 regional roadswerehighlightedashavingserioussafety issues. Of these, 16 have seen infrastructure upgrades commence or committed to by government.

“In 2023 there were 174 deaths on regional Victorian roads, that is an almost 30 per cent increase on the previous year. Given these tragic numbers, it is more important than ever that Victorians help us to make country roads safer by completing this year’s survey.”

The survey will run for six weeks.


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The Kindness Collective Kyneton runs an op shop, food bank, soup kitchen, drop in space and crisis relief. (Supplied)

Wheels turn on charity

Almost a decade ago Riddells Creek resident Tom O’Connell was cycling along the Maribyrnong River when he discovered a community bike shed.

While he was already involved in the world of cycling and considered himself a serious amuatur cyclist, the Brox-native was on the beginning of a path that would lead him to donating $60,000 to local and international charities.

Tom said members of the Community Bike Hub in Footscray invited him to see what they were doing, and shortly after he began volunteering with the group on Saturdays. “They were taking in donated bicycles and

then donating them to asylum seekers and refugees,” he said. “I was with them for four years and worked alongside bicycle engineers [to fix up the bikes].”

When COVID-19 struck and the world turned indoors, Tom said two bicycles appeared in his carport and he called his son to investigate the curious delivery.

“I called my son up and asked if it was his doing and he had told a few people I could repair bicycles. I wasn’t intending this because I don’t need the money so I thought okay I’ll donate it to charity.

“Most of the cash flow comes from servicing and repairs… I don’t donate bikes, I raise the money for charity. I’ll take in [donated] bicycles occasionally but they have to be in

near new condition.”

Tom said he has been involved with charities outside of Australia for a while now and through his extensive travel saw the need for smaller charities to receive support.

“I lived and travelled for 10 years and I visited 47 countries. During that time I spent time in third world countries, and I taught English in Cambodia.

“I became involved with someone setting up a school teaching young students and I was her first volunteer and so I started donating to her.”

Tom’s Bicycle Workshop also works closely with the Riddells Creek Neighbourhood House and can be found on Facebook.


Macedon want road funding changes

Macedon Ranges council is seeking that the number of animal deaths on roads be factored in when deciding road funding.

Councillor Jennifer Anderson raised the matter at Wednesday’s council meeting, highlighting the high number of animal fatalities on Macedon Ranges roads.

“We get funding for roads largely from the federal government and also state government,” she said.

“We were advised road fatalities on issues with wildlife are not factored into that, only human near misses to an extent, but human fatalities.

“We were advised in the Macedon Ranges that we do have one of the higher fatalities for wildlife this is documented through the networks.

“It might be an idea that road funding could be improved if you could also prove that there are issues for wildlife safety, which also affects human safety.

“We as a council have the opportunity to go to Canberra… put forward this motion and debate and see whether other councils around Australia feel similarly.”

Councillor Geoff Neil questioned whether adding this metric would result in less Black Spot Funding.

Cr Anderson there were already calls for more funding for the program and this would be an efficient use of funding as it would be aiming to solve two problems at the one time.

All councillors voted in favour of the motion.

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Recognising volunteers

Sunbury Ladies Badminton Club (SLBC) recently had the pleasure of adding two new community and award boards to the walls of Eric Boardman Stadium.

The new boards were developed to recognise the valued volunteer committee members who have contributed to the club’s success since its incorporation 24 years ago.

While the finalisation of the boards has taken five years of tireless work, club secretary Cathie Briggs said thankfully the local signage business was able to finalise and quickly install the boards.

“While the committee members board lists the names of volunteers who held key committee positions over the years, the input of many unofficial members has also been recognised,” Ms Briggs said. “We acknowledge and greatly value the support of our members and will continue to do so.”

The awards board includes award recipients of the Eleanor Dixon Award and the perpetual Rhonda Brennan award. Last year the club decided to name its bi-annual tournament the ‘Eleanor Dixon SLBC Tournament’ instead of the award.

Ms Briggs said the club is striving to recruit new members and hope to see the numbers increase in the coming months.

“Sunbury Ladies Badminton Club are so proud of our achievements to date and hope to be able to continue our successes both on and off the court.

“Wecontinuetobeoneofthemostaffordable sportingactivitiesavailable,providinglow-cost day time badminton for women of all ages and abilities. We also provide safe supervision of pre-school children.”


Feedback sought

Macedon Ranges council is inviting community feedback on the Stanley Park draft infrastructure masterplan in Mount Macedon. The six-hectare forest, grassland and passive recreation park has been used by residents and visitors for walking, picnicking and nature study for more than 100 years. Council’s planning and environment director Rebecca Stockfeld said the key aim of the draft plan was to balance the needs of the reserve’s users, while safeguarding its ecological values through considered infrastructure design. Key features of the draft plan include updated interpretive signs and provision to update or maintain existing infrastructure such as footbridges, stone steps, toilet facilities, the car park and fencing near waterfall vegetation. Feedback is open until April 19.

Mulching days

Hume council is holding free mulching days. Residents can bring up to four cubic metres of clean, freshly cut tree branches for mulching, while you can also put in a request for some free mulch when you drop yours off. The first mulch day is on April 7 at the council’s Sunbury depot between 10am-2.30pm, while the second is in Coolaroo on April 21.


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Reserve masterplan approved

The future of the Emu Bottom Wetlands in Sunbury is clearer with a masterplan for the wetlands approved.

Havingputthedraftplanoutforcommunity consultation in November, councillors approved the final plan at the March 25 council meeting.

The plan proposes to extend the car park, protect sensitive areas, develop a shared trail, and a new shelter with picnic settings, seats and tree planting while decreasing the dog off-leash area.

More than 700 people visited the council’s

consultation page during the consultation with 19 contributions made by 13 people. There were also 14 email submissions.

The reduction of the dog off-leash from 25 hectares proved to be the most controversial aspect.

Five of the submitters supported the reduction of the dog off-leash area from 25 hectares to six hectares, while 12 submitters suggested there should be no dog off-leash area at all on the site.

On the other side, three submitters said there should be an additional area for off-leash activity, while 15 submissions mentioned additional education and/or reinforcement

being needed by dog owners.

Members of the Friends of Emu Bottom Wetlands met with four councillors and put forward several suggestions, the most significant being to include a new pedestrian bridge over the billabong, which was also included in the 1997 masterplan.

This was knocked back by council officers due to a range of factors including the bridge needing a connecting path network, additional drainage and needing to have a culture heritage management plan.

The cost of building a bridge would be between nearly $600,00 and $1.2 million.

The masterplan is set to cost $1.9 and $2.5

Working to keep the gardens great

It is time to get your hands dirty and help maintain Hume’s stunning Alister Clark Memorial Rose Garden.

Hume council’s landscape planning leader Helen Curtain said anyone can help out, with a wide range of tasks that need completing.

“Regular tasks include weeding, watering, dividing perennials, planting, mulching, raking, fertilising, pruning and garden bed rejuvenation,” she said.

“We are presently focusing on rejuvenation of the garden beds to improve the soil, water infiltration and maximising growth and flowering of the roses.”

While the gardens are partially managed by council, they also rely heavily on the work of

dedicated volunteers to keep the attraction at its best.

Ms Curtain said volunteers from right across Victoria have helped in the past.

“Volunteers come from not only Hume, but as far away as Trentham, Tylden and Warrandyte,” she said.

“If you are thinking of volunteering, come along,wearclothesthattheydon’tmindgetting dirty, boots or solid shoes, sunscreen, gloves if they have them.

“But most important is a love of gardening or a willingness to learn, and to bring something to share for lunch while you get to know the other volunteers.” She said autumn is a perfect time to visit the

gardens despite being out of the peak season.

“The gardens are at their peak in spring between October and early December, although some of Alister’s roses are in flower from late July to early August,” she said.

“We have another flush in autumn, and this year it is looking like there will be a good show of blooms in April.

“The garden has a range of perennials that flower throughout the year, so there’s nearly always something to see.”

The working bees run on the first Saturday of every month, and this time around it is Saturday, April 6 from 10am to 2.30pm.


Councillor Trevor Dance welcomed the masterplan and said spending money on the Emu Bottom Wetlands was always welcome. He said it was disappointing that some of the views of the Friends of Emu Bottom Wetlands hadn’t been fully taken on.

Cr Dance said the officers had tried to get the balance right so it wasn’t turned into another city style park.

Dance said there had been an increase in numbers of people using the area but the minority hadn’t looked after it, while highlighting there had been an increase of rubbish, wets and rabbits in the area.

Water bills could increase

Water bills may raise slightly for tenants and decrease for some Sunbury and Macedon Ranges residents if an Essential Services Commission (ESC) draft decision on water services pricing is adopted.

The Essential Services Commission has released its draft decision on GWW’s proposed prices for water services for the four-year period starting on July 1.

This is GWW’s first price review, following the merger of the former City West Water and Western Water businesses in 2021.

GWW’s service area includes the Brimbank, Hobsons Bay, Wyndham, Brimbank, Whittlesea, Hume, Melton, MacedonRangesandMooraboolcouncil areas.

The ESC said GWW’s proposal will lead to a decrease in a typical annual customer bill for most customers, however, a data provided by the ESC shows a slight rise in prices for renters in the western region, which includes the Macedon Ranges, and the majority of Hume including Sunbury and Bulla.

The proposal projects that by the 2027-28 financial year, typical water and sewerage bills for houses in GWW’s western region with an average 150 kiloletre per annum consumption would raise from $348 to $374 for renters, while dropping from $1099 to $1052 for owner-occupiers.

The draft decision is open for feedback until May 7 and the commission will hold a public forum on May 2.

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Helen Curtain, Kevin O’Sullivan and Barry Roberts at the memorial gardens. (Damjan Janevski)

Covers over winter pool dream

The Sunbury outdoor pool will stay closed this winter, but a trial that would keep it open all year-round is on the way.

As reported by Star Weekly, a petition from Sunbury residents asking for the pool to stay open throughout the winter months amassed 1000 signatures.

At the March 25 Hume council meeting, councillor Trevor Dance raised a motion calling for a two year trial of the pool opening between 6-9am daily during winter months starting this year.

Council officers said this couldn’t occur due to works on an aqua play area, but said they supported a trial in the future.

CouncillorJarrodBellsuggestedanamended motion asking for the trial to start following the completion of the works.

That motion was eventually passed despite some confusion while discussing the matter and three councillors voting against the motion.

Cr Dance said the community had been dealing with a below par aquatic centre for a long time and there had been a number of closures of the pool.

He said the Sunbury community deserved a decent aquatic centre.

Councillor Joseph Haweil supported the amended motion and said after visiting the

Female football boost

Kyneton District Soccer Club has received a $5000granttocontributetoFootballAustralia’s goal of advancing gender equity and creating quality environments for women and girls.

Football Australia announced 121 clubs to receive a grant from the growing football fund community grants on March 13.

Kyneton District Soccer Club president Ron Cole said grants like these will make a massive improvement to the coaches, players and club as a whole.

“The money is going to be used to help our female coaches improve their knowledge and skills and put them through some coaching courses, which will then in turn go on to help our players,” he said. “[Grants like these are] massively important, we’re a not-for-profit club and to try to raise this money would take us a couple of years of dedicated funding at least.” MrColesaidhehasnoticedaspikeininterest

across the board since the World Cup last year, and hopes the momentum can carry through with the Olympics in July.

“We’re going to have an extra under 10s, and under 12s girls team this year, there’s been a massive increase in female participation,” he said. “We’re working hard to get a second adult women’s team this year, we’re quite on the cusp as well.

“The Matildas have had an effect on the male side of things as well. I think if the teams at the Olympics do well and are televised the interest will continue peaking.”

Two coaches from the club and 10 junior girls had their very own taste of international soccer, after being able to go on the pitch when the Matildas defeated Uzbekistan 10-nil in the Olympic qualifiers in Melbourne.

facility, he couldn’t understand why the pool couldn’t operate this winter while the works were going on.

Onepointofconfusionduringthediscussion was the completion date of aqua play area works.

The council agenda said October 2025, while in the council meeting the officers reinforced that before clarifying it is to be completed in October this year. Star Weekly has since confirmed works are set for completion in October 2024.

Councillor Carly Moore and councillor Karen Sherry said they couldn’t support it due to the trial being so far away, referring to the

October 2025 start date during their speeches.

Cr Moore said the Sunbury community is clearly asking for the council to do better and that hopefully there will be progress on the masterplancommitment.Confusioncontinued when councillors went to vote on the amended motion, with councillors unaware they were voting on the actual decision and a majority voted against it. A division was called and then it was clarified they were voting for the actual motion with all councillors but councillors Sherry, Moore and mayor Naim Kurt voting in support of the trial. Petition creator Brian Millett took to social media saying it was a fantastic result for the community.

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Kyneton District Soccer Club. (Supplied)

Salvos want survey responses

The Salvation Army is calling on residents from Sunbury and Macedon Ranges to share their experiences with the cost-of-living, amid increasing trends reported in the area.

The survey will act as an independent, nationwide pulse check on social justice issues and will aid the charity in directing services and advocate for positive change where it’s needed most.

Sunbury Corps officer Shaun Featherston said he has noticed the living crisis trends in Sunbury have been quite significant.

“Where we used to see more homeless,

pension and unemployed people come into our services, in the last 12 months that has flipped to have working families come in,” he said.

“Most would have a mortgage, so they come to see what food they can get and if they are able to get an EFT card that can be used… for food or fuel.

“[This is] to free up their money to keep up with payments to the banks.”

Mr Featherston encouraged local residents to fill out the survey as he said it would give them a better understanding of the living pressures, trends and social and economic trends happening in the community.

“We all hear statistics from places from a

broad stroke but we also are experiencing these issues right here in our community.

“This will enable us to better assess and see the needs in our community and define the allocation of Red Shield Appeal money to better service our community.

“All money raised every year in May at Red Shield Appeal stays in our community, to provide hope in our community and to meet the needs.”

The Salvation Army’s National Social Justice Stocktake was first released in 2022 and provided an overview of what mattered most to people across Australia.

It uncovered mental health and housing

Chance to release your inner child

Woodend residents are uniting to unleash their inner child and restart their love for acting with adult acting classes kicking off in April.

What started as a simple Facebook post by Mount Players teacher Mark Constable has grown to formal classes after almost 100 people expressed their interest in the classes.

Mr Constable, who has experience as a professional actor, director and teacher, said he only expected about 15 or 20 people to react to the post.

“I was a bit surprised at the reactions. The response was overwhelming, I had [more than] 90 people say they were interested,” he said.

“I run Mount Players Youth Theatre with my colleague and I thought ‘I want to run adult acting classes’… why should the kids have all the fun?

“I’ve got people in their 60s and 70s saying they want to give it a go. What it reveals to me is that people are craving connection.

“It’s about what fills your heart and soul and gives you purpose in life. You want to be curious, life is about being curious.

“I think we do lose touch with what passion really means. We do what’s expected of us.”

The classes are going to be held at the Uniting Church in Woodend from 7pm to 9pm on Thursday evenings, and Mr Constable said if the demand is there he’ll open up another class.

The classes will also follow the school schedule with 10 week terms. They will begin the week of April 15 and finish for the term the week ending June 30.

affordabilityasthetoptwoconcernsnationally, with alcohol and drug misuse, family violence and homelessness rounding out the top five.

If you are in need of assistance, Mr Featherston said there are several ways, including in person at the Salvos in Sunbury or you can call them on 03 9744 2095 for the doorway service.

Residents can call the phone assistance line to be assessed for an EFT voucher on 03 8873 5288. There are also case workers on site to help, and groups functioning and food services during the week.

Survey: socialjustice-survey

Free dinosaur experience

Victorian kids can go to the zoo for free over the school holidays and embark on an unforgettable journey back in time as zoos across the state become prehistoric playgrounds.

At Melbourne Zoo, visitors can venture along paths not normally open tovisitorstodiscover16hugedinosaurs, their nests, and newly hatched young. For budding palaeontologists, there’s the chance to uncover a fossil in the sandpits, watched over by the mighty Tyrannosaurus Rex.

In an Australian first, Dinos at the Zoo will also provide unprecedented access to the deaf and hard of hearing community, with Expression Australia creating a series of videos in Australian Sign Language (Auslan) to provide information on every exhibit, which is instantly accessible by scanning a QR code.

At Werribee Open Range Zoo, expect the unexpected as you encounter 14 awe-inspiring dinosaurs, smoking volcanoes, bubbling swamps, dino footprints, and unearth life-like dino fossils.

For an evening adventure like no other, Dinos After Dark will be available at Werribee for one week from 7 April, offering a unique nighttime experience with these ancient giants.

Entry for children under 16 years if free on weekends, school holidays, and public holidays. Dinos at the Zoo will be free with zoo admission and run from 29 March until the end of the winter school holidays.

Advocacy group continues pushing for a better Diggers Rest

Diggers Rest advocacy group Dream launched publicly 12 months ago, and member John Verdon said it’s been a “big year” for the group, but also has his eye keenly on future development for the area.

Dream officially began back in September 2022, but in March 2023 launched its public-facing Facebook group with the goal of engaging with the local community to meaningfullyexpresstoalllevelsofgovernment the needs of the growing community and to drive change to meet identified shortfalls.

Mr Verdon said he is proud of the group’s achievements so far, highlighting that the group had advocated for and influenced the allocation of a school crossing supervisor for Vineyard Road, the update of the town sign at the main entrance of Diggers Rest, the Flore Park upgrade, more bins and regular cleaning ofthecentralretailprecinct,areviewofpotable water and landscaping in the suburb, as well as

advocating for ongoing issues such as maternal and child health services, public transport and road safety.

“There has been a significant positive change in council’s responsiveness to Dream’s requests for support,” he said.

“Manyoftheitemslistedinourachievements abovecameaboutduetocouncilanddevelopers being very receptive to the local feedback and where possible taking action.

“The State government via [Sunbury MP] Josh Bull and others have also been very supportive.”

Mr Verdon said moving forward, the group’s advocacy focuses are for the full duplication and safety improvements for Vineyard Road, the delivery of the Diggers Rest Community Centre and encouraging Diggers Rest residents to consider running for council.

“The South Sunbury Precinct Structure Plan (PSP) has Vineyard Road planned as six lane arterial road for the Sunbury side and the Diggers Rest PSP has Vineyard Road planned as a four lane road. Unfortunately only small

portions of the road on the Diggers side have been duplicated,” he said.

“We absolutely must have council deliver our community centre for the suburb as soon as possible. We continue to be perplexed why the delivery of this asset has not been brought forward to meet the population demand…”

A Melton council spokesperson said the delivery of a community centre in Diggers Rest is earmarked for 2028, subject to future decision of council, and duplication of Vineyard Road is identified as part of future planning but is a declared VicRoads corridor and ultimately a decision for the Department of Transport and Planning.

Currently, Dream has 26 core members and almost 250 Facebook followers. Mr Verdon acknowledged the support the group has received from Diggers Rest residents.

Dream members Michael Gooding, Jade McTavish, Kathy Skinner, Laura Prendergast, Tanya Harding and John Verdon. (Damjan Janevski) 339349_01 Mark Constable prepares for the upcoming acting classes.
(Damjan Janevski) 396216_05

Hume calls for communal skips

Hume council is continuing to investigate ways to address a dumped rubbish epidemic throughout the municipality.

AttheMarch25councilmeeting,thecouncil discussed the prospect of communal skip bins being placed throughout the municipality to give residents an easy way to dispose of rubbish without illegally dumping.

Councillor Jim Overend raised the notice of motion to try and help address the huge problem of dumped rubbish.

Councillor Carly Moore said she is in full

support of offering communal skips as part of council’s hard waste collection commitments.

“The problem we are experiencing in our city is very significant, and I don’t think we can say anything is off the table,” she said. “I am worried about just how much rubbish it may attract, but certainly we need to consider all options because it is absolutely out of control.”

Councillor Jack Medcraft said it was time to think outside of the box to combat the influx of dumped rubbish.

“We haven’t got bins out there and it’s

Learning in harmony

Diggers Rest Primary School was a colourful spectacle on Friday March 22 as students paraded through the grounds wearing traditional attire from around the world.

The occasion was Harmony Day, an annual event celebrated across Australia, promoting inclusivity, respect and a sense of belonging for all cultural backgrounds.

Melissa Legudi, the Italian teacher at Diggers Rest Primary School, said she was honoured to be hosting this event again this year.

“It is such an important day in our school calendar. All staff, students and our families really support the day and it gives us all the opportunity to celebrate our cultures proudly,” Ms Legudi said.

The school’s basketball court was transformed into a vibrant showcase of diversity, with students proudly displaying their heritage through their traditional dress.

Principal Sheridan Thomas expressed her

delight at the enthusiasm shown by both students and staff.

“It’s wonderful to see our school come together to celebrate the beauty of cultural diversity. Events like these not only foster a sense of belonging but also promote understanding and respect for different traditions,” she remarked.

Students also participated in various cultural activities, immersing themselves in the customs and traditions of different cultures from traditional dances to creating artwork inspired by global motifs.

One of the highlights of the day was the celebration lunch, where students and staff came together to share a meal and exchange stories.

“We are proud to host such a wonderful celebration of diversity here at Diggers Rest Primary School,” said Ms Legudi.

“Events like Harmony Day remind us of the strength that comes from embracing our differences and standing together in unity.”

encouraging people to dump, and costing us $4.7 million per year,” he said. “If we get a 30 metre bin and we drop it in a dead spot where people are dumping illegally on a regular basis… it would have to be a complete idiot who would dump it on the ground next to the bin.”

Residents in Hume currently have access to a weekly kerbside bin collection service, two tip passes, two hard waste collections, regular mulching days, quarterly Hume clean up days and publicly accessible bins in parks, facilities

and shopping strips-centres.

However, rubbish being dumped illegally throughout the area and has causing headaches for Hume council, with a clean up cost of $4.7 million in the 2022-23 financial year.

A feasibility study will be considered by council officers and the findings will be bought to a future council meeting.

Councillors had already suggested a motion to send out information cards to residents, with officers to come back with a cost at a later council meeting.

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Italian teacher Melissa Legudi and students celebrate Harmony Day. (Supplied)


Drop in Wednesdays

Free holiday drop-in groups for adults, including music and singalong, guitar, cuppa and craft afternoon will be happening on April 3 and 10 at the Sunbury Neighbourhood House, 531 Elizabeth Drive Sunbury.


Neighbourhood Garden

Become part of Sunbury’s Neighbourhood Garden and grow edible and useful plants in a social group at Sunbury Neighbourhood House, 531 Elizabeth Drive Sunbury. All skill sets are welcome at working bees on the third Saturday of each month, 10am-12.30pm, February-November.

■ or 9740 6978.

House AGM

Members of Sunbury Neighbourhood House are invited to attend a special general meeting at 6pm on April 22, to be held via Teams video link. The only item of business to be decided will be the passing of a special resolution to adopt a new set of rules of association for SNH.


Carer connect chat

Connect with other carers in your local area, share a light lunch, have a chat at noon on the first Wednesday of the month. Head to Sunbury and Cobaw Community Health, 1 Caroline Chisholm Drive, Kyneton.

■ 0491 174 550, or

HarmoniX Vocal Company

All-male singing group happening on Thursday, 7-9.30pm in Sunbury, with a mixed choir, DynamiX Vocal Company, rehearsing Tuesday. 7-9.30pm. Rehearse at Dulap Wilim Hub, Leichardt Street, Sunbury. No auditions required.


Jacksons Creek Combined Probus

The club meets on the second Monday of each month at the Sunbury Bowling Club at 10am. This friendly group of men and women enjoy outings and meetings each month and twice yearly trips away staying in cabins and caravans. Visitors and new members are warmly welcomed

■ Doug 5428 3317, or Teresa, 0417 373 006

Craft and conversation

Head down to the Sunbury library on Mondays at noon for the craft and conversation group. The program is free and open to people aged 15 years and older.


Chill Out Sunbury

Chill Out Sunbury is a free event for 12 and 18 years old to participate in activities such as trivia, games, and more. Happening every Wednesday, 3.30-5.30pm at the Sunbury Youth Centre, 51-53 Evans Street.


Sunbury Ladies Badminton Club

Come along and be part of Sunbury Ladies Badminton Club and enjoy the benefits of physical activity. Social games are on Mondays, 9.30am- noon, and team competitions are on Thursdays, 9.30am-12.30pm at Eric Boardman Stadium, Wilsons Lane.


Come have a chat

Delve into deeper topics and enjoy intriguing conversations by joining the Table 8 Discussion Group. Chats every Tuesday from 10.30-11.30am at Macedon Lounge,

This week’s photographer’s choice picture is of Belle Hadiwidjaja ahead of a Maribyrnong skating event. (Damjan Janevski) 397118_01

40 Victoria Street, Macedon.

■ Carol, 0431 186 575

Family History and Heritage Society

If you’ve got a hankering to learn more about Sunbury and your own family history, come along to meetings at 1.30pm on the third Thursday of each month at the Sunbury Senior Citizens Centre, 8 O’Shanassy Street, Sunbury.


Rotary club

The Sunbury Rotary Club meets every Tuesday at the Ball Court Hotel, 60 Macedon Street, Sunbury from 7pm.


Ladies probus

The Woodlands Ladies Probus Club of Sunbury meets on the fourth Monday of each month at the Sunbury Bowling Club at 9.45am.

■ Leonie, 0401 764 182

Sunbury Ladies Probus Club

The Sunbury Ladies Probus Club meets at 9.30am on the fourth Wednesday of each month at the Sunbury Football Social Club rooms.

■ Pat, 0433 789 754, or Sylvia, 0417 170 142

Shuttles and pickleballs

Macedon Ranges Badminton Club is inviting residents to come and play badminton, or pickleball, or both at Macedon Community Centre. Badminton is played on Tuesdays from 7.30pm and Thursdays at 9.30am. Pickleball is played on Mondays at 6.30pm, Wednesdays at 10.15am and on Tuesday from 10am at the Romsey Recreation Centre.

■ David, 0419 589 425 or

Your Enchanted Garden

Drummond resident Phillipa Bellemore

will be holding a one day memoir writing workshop on Saturday, March 16, in Lauriston from 10-4pm. The day will be spent in a beautiful environment practising different writing genres.


Scottish Country Dancing

The Macedon Ranges Scottish Country Dancing Group meets every Thursday afternoon 1-3pm at Buffalo Stadium, Woodend. The dancing involves social country dancing, and no special clothes needed, just soft flat shoes.

■ Meg, 54271 100 or Linda, 0408 476 317

Community. Connect. Create.

If you are needing support or looking for a social group to join, you can visit Community. Connect. Create, which is an online resource listing support and community groups in the Macedon Ranges. If you would like your group listed or would like to work to help this project get in touch.


Amateur Radio Club

The Macedon Ranges Amateur Radio Club meets on the third Saturday of the month at the Woodend RSL Hall, 32 Anslow Street, Woodend at 10am. If you are interested in amateur radio or already have a call sign, this could be for you.


Breast cancer support group

On the first and third Tuesday of the month breast cancer survivors are invited to head along to the Gisborne Golf Club at 10.30am to take part in a breast cancer support group.

■ Lesley, 0484 691 226

Take off weight naturally Struggling to lose weight? Struggling to get motivated? Want to try and do it in a

friendly and less stressful atmosphere?

Come and join TOWN (Take Off Weight Naturally) every Thursday at 9am at the Sunbury Neighbourhood House, 531 Elizabeth Drive, Sunbury.

■ Rhonda, 0409 740 924

Kyneton Badminton Club

Kyneton Badminton Club is a welcoming, fun and social group that plays on Mondays, at 7pm at the Kyneton Toyota Sports and Aquatic Centre, Victoria Street. All skill levels welcome.


Sunbury Macedon Ranges Lodge

Meets monthly on the second Wednesday of the month at 7pm, 73 Main Street, Romsey. New members welcome.

■ Wayne, 0404 034 737, or Ian, 0438 240 402

Local camera club

The Macedon Ranges Photographic Society is your local camera club for friendship, photographic outings, workshops, guest presenters, competitions and more. Meetings on the first Tuesday of the month, followed by the next Monday. Doors open at 7pm, meeting starts at 7.30pm at Dromkeen, 1012 Kilmore Road, Riddells Creek.


Village connect

Enjoy free coffee and cake while connecting with fellow Macedon Ranges residents 55 years old and older. Happening on Tuesdays and Thursday at cafes across the municipality.

■, or 5422 0262

Arts and games night

Get creative at the Sunbury Youth Centre each Wednesday from 3.30-5.30pm. The free program is for people aged 12 to 18 years old, at 51-53 Evans Street, Sunbury.

WANT YOUR EVENT LISTED? Community Calendar is made available free of charge to not-for-profit organisations to keep the public informed of special events and activities. Send item details to Star Weekly Community Calendar, Corner Thomsons Road and Keilor Park Drive, Keilor Park, 3042, or email to by 9am Wednesday the week prior to publication



1 Creates (6)

4 Not wanted (8)

9 Traditional English sponge cake (7)

11 Mournful (7)

12 Knick-knacks and souvenirs (11)

13 Exclamation of surprise (3)

14 Arduous (8)

16 Union territory of the Republic of India (5)

19 Relating to a sovereign (5)

20 Influenza strain (5,3)

22 Phone program (abbr) (3)

24 Reciprocal (11)

26 Annoying (7)

27 Deviate (7)

29 Accurate shooters (7)

30 Stylish (6)


1 Cadge (3)

2 Something signed by a parent, – form (9)

3 Less wet (5)

5 Bug (coll) (6)

6 Girls’ name (9)

7 Fastening (5)

8 Senile decay (11)

10 Collections of songs or photos (6)

12 Prioritising material possessions (11)

15 Type of rocks containing silica (9)

17 Exaggerated self importance (9)

18 Climb (6)

21 In ancient architecture, a horizontal design (6)

23 Metal rod for stirring a fire (5)

25 Celestial being (5)

28 Utter (3)



Using the nine letters in the grid, how many words of four letters or more can you list? The centre letter must be included and each letter may only be used once. No colloquial or foreign words. No capitalised nouns, apostrophes or plural nouns ending in “s”.

Today’s Aim:

19 words: Good

28 words: Very good

38 words: Excellent


No. 179

1 What is the largest train station in the UK?

2 In relation to trees, what does deciduous mean?

3 Pedro Pascal (pictured) starred alongside Nicolas Cage in which 2022 film?

4 Which continent are capybaras native to?

5 What type of food is a chimichanga?

6 The book cataloguing website Goodreads was launched in which year?

7 Is Paraguay a landlocked or coastal country?

8 True or false: Otzi the Iceman, a natural mummy from 3105BC, had tattoos?

9 The world’s first electric tram line operated in which country?

10 Hazard signs are typically black symbols on what colour triangular background?

No. 179 No. 179 No. 179
To solve a Sudoku puzzle, every number from 1 to 9 must appear in: each of the nine vertical columns, each of the nine horizontal rows and each of the nine 3 x 3 boxes. Remember, no number can occur more than once in any row, column or box.
179 73 564 7 954 8 913 82 924 27 47 6 71 2 13 456 easy 23
538 6 48 84369 341 26 98 817 94652 medium 43 9 2195 12 6 57 85 2 564 1
612 56 4 75 hard
after, daft, deaf, deafer, defeat, defer, deft, defter, draftee, fade, fare, fared, fate, fated, father, fathered,
fret, haft, hafted, heft,
fear, feared,
feather, FEATHERED, federate, feed, feeder, feet, fete, feted, free, freed,
hefted, raft, rafted, reef, reefed
EGGED ERRED FEEDS GRADE HERDS INANE IRATE LET-UP LIONS LURCH NAMES NIECE OILED OMENS PACTS PAGES PIANO PSALM RELAX RENEW RIFLE SABRE SEXES SHEEN SHIES SLABS SOLAR SPATE SPEWS SPIED STEAM SWOON UNFIT USAGE USING WISPS 6 LETTERS ALARMS GOATEE READER WARBLE 7 LETTERS ASSAULT ATTIRED HAPPIER OATMEAL OFFSETS TAWNIER 8 LETTERS INITIATE PRACTISE RELIANCE RELOADED 12 345678910111213 1415 1617181920212223242526 W A H J S T M Y I V F X B Q U Z K N L C D G P E R O Insert the missing letters to make 10 words – five reading across the grid and five reading down. NOTE: more than one solution may be possible 05-04-24 Puzzles and pagination © Pagemasters | 612785493 971538246 467253819 784369152 523674981 259817364 395421678 846192735 138946527 easy medium hard 713526948 376954281 695143872 924831567 489612735 847265319 568479123 251387694 132798456 274835169 621478953 157324698 518697432 843951276 932586741 369142587 795263814 486719325 1 14 7 20 2 15 8 21 3 16 9 22 4 17 10 23 5 18 11 24 6 19 12 25 13 26 EO 1. Waterloo 2. Shedding (leaves) seasonally 3. MassiveofWeightUnbearableThe Talent 4. South America 5. A deep-fried burrito 6. 2006 7. Landlocked 8. True 9. Russia 10. Yellow ANSWERS:
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Summer season grand final joy

There’s been grand final fever across Melbourne’s north-west in recent weeks, as the summer sports finish up their seasons. There’s plenty of good stories from across all competitions and here are two of them.

The Macedon Ranges Tennis Association’s Saturday mixed open competition wrapped up with the ‘Battle of the Blues’

At the start of the season all eyes were on competition newcomers Macedon; however, it was Gisborne Blue captained by Angela O’Brien that quickly captured everyone’s attention.

They were the team to beat all season and finished on top of the ladder.

The two Kyneton teams finished in second and third, while Gisborne Black snuck into fourth spot.

The semi-finals were played in perfect conditions with Gisborne Black, playing its first final in several seasons, proving to be no match for Gisborne Blue which won 42-24

games (6-0 sets).

It was Kyneton Blue which secured a win over Kyneton Yellow 41-28 games (5-1 sets) to setupthebattleoftheBluesinthegrandfinal.

Kyneton Blue started the match strongly with Chloe Turner and Kerrie Sheawick winning their doubles 7-2, and Lachlan Hooppell and Ting-Yao Kao taking out their doubles 7-3.

Gisborne Blue’s Steve van Emmerick and Keira Simpson played superb tennis to secure a mixed set win in a tie break over Lachlan Hooppell and Kerrie Sheawick, but it was all Kyneton Blue from there, taking out the remained three mixed sets 7-5, 7-5 and 7-3, and winning the grand final 41-25 games (5-1 sets).

Sunbury United

Sunbury United managed to pull off a thrilling win in the Gisborne and District Cricket Association McIntyre Cup second XI competition.

While both of the clubs first XIs were in semi final action the same weekend, a lot of attention turned to the second competition.

United made 163 as it was bowled out in the 71st over. Skipper Adam Billinghurst top scored with 44.

Romsey, the reigning premiers, pushed the total all the way, but fell short, bowled out for 161.

James Hughes and Cooper Boyes took three wickets each for United.

Sunbury United’s second XI. (Pictures: Supplied) Kyneton Blue tennis.
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Macedon Ranges Tennis Association

Petrol power fights back

While the battle rages for the high ground of the top tech, and expensive, electrified territory of the automotive world, a rear-guard action from the internal combustion engine bargain basement is taking place.

Micro cars such as the MG 3, Suzuki Ignis, Fiat 500 and Mazda 2 are leading the charge to defend ICE(land). The latest call to arms comes from Kia with its upgraded Picanto. What are its chances?

Sadly, gone ta-taas is the popular GT, replaced by a pair of GT-Line legionnaires. Kia says it has called on the company’s footy-like ‘Opposites United’ (How do they think of ’em?) philosophy for the new range, leading to a modern, sporty design highlighted by a new headlamp set-up, ‘ripped’ radiator grille and reshaped front bumper.

Out back, the tail lamps and bumper have been tweaked.

The new Picanto comes in two trim levels –Sport and GT-Line – with prices coming in at $17,890, plus on-road costs, for the entry-level five-speed manual. The four-speed automatic sells for $19,490, while the flagship GT-Line auto tops out the range at $21,290. On test was the latter.

Priceisnottheonlysellingpoint,ForPicanto buyersit’swelcometoKia‘seventhheaven’with the maker’s class-leading seven-year warranty and capped price servicing at 12-month intervals, plus up to eight years roadside assist.


On GT-Line, further from above, a daytime running light strip extends across the leading edge of the bonnet, pushing out the headlamps with emphasis on the width.

Newly designed wheels – 14-inch alloys on the Sport and a 16-inch machine finished diamond cut quartet for the GT-Line.

Power folding side mirrors with integrated warning indicators are now standard across both trims, with GT-Line boasting heating too. Seven exterior paint finishes are on offer, with Adventurous Green being new to Kia.


Premium leatherette features as standard on steering wheel and gearshift knob across the range, with the latter also scoring a D-cut sports steering wheel. Leg room, especially in the back is at a premium, while head room is not so.

The driver’s side footwell is not welcoming to larger feet. Pedal space is cramped. Keyless entry is tainted by the need to use it the steering column lock to start the motor.

Boot space, with rear seat backs up is briefcase-like 255 litres; with the seat backs folded, a respectable 1010 mm.


Gone are the analogue gauges, replaced by a 4.2-inch digital instrument cluster, making the perfect match for the carry-over 8-inch touchscreen–withAppleCarPlayandAndroid

Auto – perched atop the central dashboard, beneath which are air-con (no climate) controls with easy-to-operate large knobs.

GT-Line rear occupants also benefit from the addition of USB-C charging ports.

Engines / transmissions

Nothing (new) to see here – the Picanto carries over the existing 1.2-litre MPI non-turbo engine, mated with either five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission, putting power to the ground through the front wheels.


With young drivers in mind, the Picanto GT-Line is equipped with a range of Kia’s Advanced Driver Assistance Systems as standardacrossbothtrims.Theseincludeblind spot collision avoidance Assist rear BCA, rear cross-traffic collision avoidance assist, and lane follow and lane keeping assist. difference in performance between the former 1-litre three-cylinder motor and the carry-over four-cylinder unit. Low on torque, the GT-Line auto is in no rush to get going, nor is it up There’s a reversing camera and rear parking sensors but nothing at the front, which is a pity because of the stubby nose.

Passive safety is in the hands of six airbags – dual front, front side and full-length curtain.


There appears to be little for smart overtaking while on the run. Tootling around town is more to its liking.

The maker puts the fuel consumption on the combined urban / highway cycle at 6 litres per hundred kilmetres. Over a week of average work the test vehicle recorded 7.1 k\litres per 100 kilometres.

The ride and handling were reasonably comfortable – some bumps and lumps along


Kia Picanto Sport manual $17,890

Kia Picanto Sport automatic $19,490

Kia Picanto GT-Line manual $19,690

Kia Picanto GT-Line automatic $21,290

Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Kia dealer for drive-away prices.

the way, considering the short wheelbase (2400 mm) and steering came up with good reaction to driver input.

Feedback was solid but the tyres could not avoid chiming in with annoying road noise on course surfaces. However, the Picanto gets a ‘gold medal’ for parking. Pick a spot – almost any spot – and the compact is quick to reward the driver in forward or reverse.


Kia lines up its Picanto to broaden the appeal of its mini hatchback, sacrificing its popular GT in the move.

Kia Picanto GT-Line. (Pictures: Supplied)

Cannons geared up for competition kick-off

The Calder Cannons are ready to take to the field in the Coates Talent League girls competition this weekend.

After a longer pre-season than usual, with the season starting later than it normally has, the Cannons have put plenty of work out on the track.

Coach Ross Smith said it had been a good pre-season.

“It’s been the longest we’ve ever had,” he said. “We did a bit less before Christmas as we knew it was going to be long.

“We have our last practice match this week [March 27] which will be a full dress rehearsal.”

Smith said the list was in good shape at the moment with not many injuries.

Maddison Albrecht will miss some football early after having a non-football related procedure.

“We’ve had a couple of girls come good at the right time,” he said.

“We’ll play all the 18s less Maddy, pending on fitness in the practice match. We’ve added some new 18-year-olds which is always nice.

“The girls have developed a little bit later on and been added to the list.”

Smith said all three would play early in the season.

Smith said the list breakdown was similar to last season.

He said they had two 19-year-olds on the list, not wanting to have too many on the list. He said they would push for both to play some Victorian Football League Women’s matches this season.

They have one more 18-year-old and one more 17-year-old on the list than 12 months ago.

Smith said they would also add nine players whohavebeenpartoftheirunder-16program.

“We have a final list of 41,” he said. “With the extra games we felt we needed it.

“WhenIstartedtheboysplayedfivepractice matches and it was an 18 round season which was a long season.

“The girls have never been as long and it all got cut back due to COVID in recent times. The boys will have one more than us.

Burras are ready to go

There’s been no sitting on past success for Diggers Rest in the Riddell District Football League.

Last season’s premiers have had a strong off-season and are ready to go again with their season kicking off on April 6.

Burras co-coach Jamie Lobb said they were ready to get things underway.

“There’s been good signs on the track,” he said. “We didn’t do contact training until after Australia Day.

“The guys went pretty hard by themselves before that and we have a Strava group and log runs.

“The guys are fitter than they’ve ever been. We’re in a good spot.”

Lobb said while it was good to fit at this stage it doesn’t always translate into playing some good football, but hopes they will again be up there.

Majority of the Burras premiership line up has returned. Jaycob and Lachlan Hickey have both returned to Melton, while Matthew Krul has signed with East Sunbury.

Mitch Jensen, who missed most of last season, will be a playing co-coach, which Lobb has previously said was a natural progression.

The Burras have added a few key signings to help fill the void of the departures.

Shaun Campbell, who has dominated for Parkside in the Western Region Football League, is the biggest name.

“He has been great,” Lobb said. “He has played some high level football before and his leadership will be amazing for us.

“He trained with a couple of the guys at a gym in Maribyrnong and they did a few sessions together.

“I think it wasn’t going to work out back at Parkside and we were able to accommodate his work. We’re happy to have him on board.”

LukeDelaheyreturnstotheclubhavingbeen playing in Western Australia and the Northern Territory more recently.

Lobb said he comes back as a one-point player which is handy.

The other main signing is Campbell Wearne, who crosses from Essendon District Football League premier division side Essendon Doutta Stars.

“It’s nice to have a 14 game season.”

The Cannons playing group has selected co-captains for this season in Ava Gerada and Grace Azzopardi.

Chloe Baker-West, Amelia Wright and Camryn Bux have been named joint vice-captains.

Smith said there were plenty of girls who were already putting their names up for higher honours.

“Kayla Forbes is in the Vic Metro program already,” he said. “A couple of the 18s like Jayla Rutley, Stephanie Mitchell, Grace Azzopardi and Michaela Chalhoub could be in the mix as well.

“Of the 17s, Chloe Baker-West and Jade McLay are in the squad and possibly Shauna McElligott could be another.”

The Cannons start their season on Saturday against the Northern Knights.

Anyone for a hit?

TheMacedonRangesTennisAssociation is trying to increase the number of teams that play in its Saturday mixed open competition.

The association has had a number of teams drop off in recent years, with eight teams from five clubs playing in the recently completed summer season.

The association has about a dozen clubs that are connected to the associationincludingfromSunburyand Bacchus Marsh, but not all have teams playing at the moment.

Coordinator Daniel Thompson said the Saturday mixed competition was once the premier competition in the MRTA with four sections.

COVID hit and the competition shrunktotwosectionsandnowjustone.

“There’s no real single identifiable cause,” she said.

“The MRTA has night competitions that have gained in popularity, but not everyone wants to play tennis late into thenightduringthecoldwintermonths.

Nicole Price, who has got involved with running the Saturday competition as well, said the Saturday afternoon was traditionally a family event and often the highlight of the week.

Lobb said Wearne would fill the void left in the midfield by the departure of Jaycob Hickey.

The most consistent side in the competition for a number of years, Lobb said not much will change.

“We’ve had two really good practice matches,”hesaid.“Thingshaveworkedwellfor us but we will need to tweak things a little to keep them guessing.”

One of the more exciting things for the Burras will finally be being able to play on their new ground after a number of years on the junior oval.

The new club rooms are also set to be open after Easter.

“We’ve been training on the ground since Easter,” he said. “It’s been a long time coming and a s**t couple of years with temporary portables.”

The Burras start their season on the road against Lancefield this Saturday.

Lobb said they were looking forward to it, “Lancefield aren’t the team they used to be,” he said. “They got Riddell last year and we expect them to be better again.”

“All the kids would hang out together and play at the courts while their parents competed. Then there would be afternoon tea. It was a fun, family-friendly way to spend Saturday afternoon. The kids would then want to take up tennis too.”

The competition runs on Saturday afternoons from 1.30pm and is open to adults and A and B-grade junior tennis players.

Price said they want to grow the competition back up to where it once was.

“We had more teams and more clubs in the competition last season than we have seen in several years, and we want to build on this momentum.

“We want more MRTA clubs representedinthecompetition.Sunbury TennisClubandMtCarmelTennisClub are both affiliated with the MRTA and we would love to see teams from both of those clubs participating in Saturday mixed open.”

People interested in playing can reach out to their local club or reach out to Price and Thompson.

Details: mrta.committee+open_

Calvaresi. (Ljubica Vrankovic) 360899_18
Calder Cannons girls leadership group. (Supplied) Marcus

Jets building a physical brand of basketball

An up tempo and physical brand of basketball is the focus for the Sunbury Jets this season in Big V state championship women’s division.

In her eighth year at the club and in her first as coach, Monique Caparello (nee Stevens) said she’s been inviting players from the men’s squad to train with her team to help them practice their physicality.

“I’ve gone for a different style of play [compared to last year], being a past player myself, I’ve taken a little from every coach I’ve played under,” she said.

“The effort and energy at training has been second to none.

“I was driving home from training recently just beaming from the quality of the scrimmage.”

The Jets will be hoping that hard work can translate to the season.

They just missed out on finals last season after finishing the season with seven wins and 14 losses, which included a four game win

streak to close things out.

But Caparello’s side will be without two of their marquee players from last season.

In 2023, Ida Maria Andersson was the Jets most productive scorer, averaging 14 points per game as well as three assists.

Anderson has left the Jets to pursue an opportunity with the Woodville Warriors in National Basketball League 1 competition.

Dimitri Gkizani, who averaged 13 points, nine rebounds and a block per game last year, has also left the club to play in Greece.

“It’s a very Sunbury-based team,” she said.

“We may not be the most talented, but I think we will surprise a lot of teams with our buy-in.”

Caparello said she’s been impressed by locals Chloe and Abby Hildberand, who have both stepped up in a leadership capacity over the pre-season.

She flagged also that the club would be announcing additional signings before the

season starts.

Caparello has had to put in a lot of hard work since being appointed coach in January, replacing Simon Nicholson. She was set to be an assistant coach this season.

The Jets will take on McKinnon in round one on April 6 at the Glen Eira Sports and Aquatic Centre in their season opener.

McKinnon finished just ahead of the Jets last season in fourth place.

The Jets men’s side also kicks off their season on the same night against McKinnon in the later game.

The Jets will be celebrating the 50 year anniversary of the club all season long.

Romsey’s winning Way

Romsey’s Ben Way has taken out the Sullivan Medal for the third time in the Gisborne and District Cricket Association.

The Sullivan Medal recognises the best and fairest player across the season in the GDCA’s top flight McIntyre Cup division.

Way had yet another stellar season as playing captain-coach, leading by example en route to the club’s third grand final in three seasons.

Way scored 915 runs on the season with an average of 91.5.

He previously took out the award in the 2015-16 and 2017-18 seasons.

He said although he doesn’t set out to win individual awards, he was humbled by the recognition.

“I play for enjoyment and getting better as a club and as a coach and trying to improve everyone around me,” he said.

“It’s something at the end of the day where it’s great to win, but it’s not something I’m striving for.

“I’m sure it’s something when I’ll look back on down the track.”

TheawardcapsapositiveseasonforWayand his Romsey teammates, who fell just short of the ultimate success.

Both Romsey and Gisbone went through the regular season undefeated with 12 wins a piece, setting the stage for a memorable grand final.

Romsey batted first and made 212 off 80 overs, which was comfortably chased down by Gisbornein60oversforthelossoffourwickets.

Way was the shining light in the defeat, top scoring for his team with 63 runs off 152 deliveries.

His teammate Chris Burkett also put up a fight making 47 off 105.

However both players were dismissed by Leigh Brennan whose five wickets was a major determining factor in the match.

Brennan was also responsible for the run out of opening batsmen Matthew Milne.

Now 37-years-old, Way said he and his teammates are determined to look forward.

“When it comes to that stuff as a club we’re pretty good at moving on,” he said.

“You go out and you give it your best over the weekend and it’s not always going to go your way, there are two teams who think they’re gonna win, but only one can.

“We’ve been in the past three [grand finals], hopefully we’re in the next three.

“We’ve got a group that all gets on really well, we enjoy our time together and try to get better every year.”

Waysaidhewasconfidentthemajority,ifnot all of his teammates would be returning next season.

Hewasalsonamedcaptainoftheteamofthe year alongside his teammates Matthew Milne

and Jamie Taylor. As an opening batsmen, Milne averaged 58 runs per game, the fourth best average in the competition.

Taylor received this season’s bowling award,

Sports shorts


The Riddell District Football Netball League season kicked off on Good Friday. Newcomers Kyneton hosted Woodend-Hesket in both the senior football and A-grade netball as it tried to get life in the RDFNL started on a positive note. There were plenty of off field activities as well. For the scores head to


Riddell is seeking a new senior men’s coach for the 2024-25 Gisborne and District Cricket Association season. The club has outlined it welcomes applications from playing and non-playing coaches. The position outline states that candidates should have a proven track of growing and developing players in an inclusive environment. Interviews for the position will commence in April.


Romsey has announced the re-signing of Emma Grech for the Riddell District Netball League season. Grech is the first signing for the 2024 season announced by the Redbacks. “Emma has formed part of the Redbacks A grade shooting line up for the past two years and has proven to be a huge asset with her long range shooting accuracy and can do attitude,” Romsey said in a social media post. “Her positivity and humour are loved by the netball group making her irreplaceable both on and off the court. We are excited to see what Emma produces this season alongside the quality A grade line up.” Romsey’s season starts on April 6.


Former Sunbury junior basketballer Sara Blicavs won’t be part of the Australian Opals squad for the Paris Olympics. Blicavs was the main omission from the Opals original 26 player after having undergone surgery last week. Blicavs was part of the Opals team for the last Olympics and is a key player of their rotation.



finishing with 28 wickets at an average of 13.1.

Gisborne’s Riley Vernon was the league’s top scorer finishing the year with 1129 for an average of 81. He finished runner up in the Sullivan Medal behind Way.

@starweeklynews Sunbury
Macedon Ranges Star Weekly
Chloe Hildebrand. (Ljubica Vrankovic) 339856_17 Ben Way has won the Sullivan Medal for the time. (Shawn Smits)

Cats ready to pounce in season ‘24

Macedon will be put to the test early in the Riddell Netball Football League season, with matchups against both of last year’s grand finalists in the first two rounds.

Both Riddell and Woodend-Hesket got the better of the Cats last season on the way to the grand final.

The Cats were bested by the Hawks in the qualifying final by one point before losing to Riddell 55-49 in the preliminary final.

The Bombers and the Hawks played out a nail-biting grand final, with the Hawks winning by one point overtime.

New Cats playing coach Katie Clarke said she was intrigued to see how the start of the season would pan out.

“We’ve got a really tough beginning, so we’re gonna see straight away where we sit this year,” she said.

“Weknowwe’vebeenabletomatchthemlast year,soit’llbeinterestingtoseehowitallgoes.”

“One of those games where we’ll get an indication of what our strengths and weaknesses are and what we need to learn.”

Caitlyn Alifraco has been named as captain of the A-grade side having just returned from having her first child.

Clarke said she was amazed at how quickly and efficiently Alifraco had returned to the squad.

“She’s setting extremely unrealistic expectations for lots of women,” she said.

“Caitlin returned from having her first baby and has stepped right back into things, she’s hardly lost any fitness.

“It was a pretty easy choice by the playing group.”

Janelle Birch and Chloe Williams have also been named in the leadership group.

Throughout the pre-season the Cats have been focusing on strength and conditioning in.

Clarke said in netball, much like in boxing,

speed and agility are important attributes.

“ThefootworkissomethingIseeasextremely important,” she said.

“Netball is such a fast paced game especially in A-grade and with so many quality players, you can get left behind quite quickly.

“These things don’t just come naturally, you have to work on it to be able to do it on court.”

Clarkesaidshehopesthisrigorouspre-season training will lead to a faster style of netball that allows them to play more in transition.

“It’s been a really big change for the girls this year,they’veallcomeinwithfantasticattitudes this year and wanting to be better than they were last year,” she said.

“They’ve made my transition into coaching really easy.”

The Cats will play Riddell in round one on Saturday at Tony Clarke Reserve.

Warriors slay Demons

The Western Warriors produced their best performance of the Victorian Netball League championship season to secure their second win.

After a couple of up and down rounds where inconsistency and turnovers proved costly, the Warriors showed a much improved performance against the Casey Demons on Wednesday night.

The Warriors led throughout most of the night, winning 68-58.

Warriors coach Kim Bailey said it was a really pleasing win.

“We didn’t play our best netball last week, but we went back to training and pulled it back tobasicsandtheintensitythatthegirlsbrought tonight was a real compliment to them,“ she said. “I’m really proud of their performance and it was all over the court. We had winners all over the court.

“We did our homework on this team and you know a couple of them we play for us and different teams so we had a bit of an idea of what we’re up against”

Bailey said they had to shut the ball down going into Emma Ryde, who provides a big target for the Demons under the ring.

She said the group was able to do a really good job of that.

“I thought Ellie Randall came on in that first quarter and did an outstanding job and then Jaz [ Fraser] just followed the game plan.

“We all needed to know what our roles were and we spoke about that before the game. I asked him on Monday night to go away, come back and tell me what your roles are and I did then and I stuck to it.”

Kim Borger shot 53 goals for the Warriors. Bailey said goal attack Julia Woolley and wing attack Simona Di Filippo both had their best games of the season.

She was also impressed with Vanessa Augustini.

“We’re starting to see the likes of Vanessa Augustini come to fruition because she’s, you know, six months out and having a baby hasn’t played netball for a long time and her work rate there tonight,“ Bailey said.

“Just adding her in every quarter, every second quarter to bring that experience and that calmness back to the game really helped.”

Natalie Tommasini who made her debut for the club to give more depth in defence, had a good game according to Bailey.

Bailey said she thought it was their most consistent performance and while she hadn’t looked at the stats, said they would have reduced their turnovers.

The Warriors under-23 team fell short against the Demons, 50-44.

Bailey said it was a good performance for the side which is understrength due to injuries.

The Warriors this week face the City West Falcons.

“We’ve got Falcons next week and running

Vic Open title for Kurzman

Club Sunbury’s Sophie Kurzman walked away with one Bowls Victoria Victorian Open title and fell just short of a second one last week.

Kurzman had a full day on Wednesday withtwosemifinalsandtwograndfinals at the Open which was being held at Moama.

First up on Wednesday was the final to the mixed pairs event with Moonee Valley’s Dylan Fisher.

The pair won their semi final to win through to the grand final against Richmond Union’s Tristania Doolan and MCC’s Michael Wilson.

It was a dominant performance by Kurzman and Fisher, winning 18-6. Kurzman didn’t have a lot of time to celebrate as she then faced off in the semi finals of the women’s pairs event with Samantha Atkinson.

The pair won through to the final against New Zealand’s Selina Goddard and Moama’s Cassandra Millerick.

Afteranevencontestthefirstfewends, Goddard and Millerick ran away with the win late, 12-8.

Club Sunbury pair Josh Leszczynski and Akasha Fortune won Victorian Open under-18 competition.

In other results, Romsey’s Glen Gascoyne made it through to finals round three before being knocked out.

It was a tough day for Gascoyne who lost to Koroit’s Scott Boschen, 21-5.

Club Sunbury’s Lee Wesley made it through to the round one of the finals beforebeingbeatenbyMoama’sMatthew Robertson, 21-19.

Lancefield’s Geoff Stewart was knocked out in the same round, losing to Ethan Fruend, 21-17.

In the men’s triples, Club Sunbury trio, Stephen Franke, Lee Wesley and Danny Fortune lost in the quarter finals.

Julia Woolley had her best game for the Warriors. (Supplied)

premiers and we know they’re just such an awesome team and have been together for a long time,“ she said. “So that’s gonna be a test but I think what shone’ out tonight is that we can combine different combinations and they all still work and it’s just putting confidence in girls.”

Oliver Lees Caitlyn Alifraco. (Damjan Janevski) 241261_03

Bellbrook Gardens Information Session

Bellbrook Gardens Country Club is excited to invite you to attend our next Information Session to be held at the Club House.

Light refreshments will be served.

This will be a great opportunity to visit our wonderful community facilities, view Villas for sale and learn more about retirement living.

Thursday April 18th at 10.30am

168 Underbank Boulevard Bacchus Marsh 3340

Please RSVP online to or FreeCall 1800 633 672

RSVP Essential – Places are limited

For any queries please contact Denise Sniegowski We look forward to catching up with you soon!


You’re Invited!
Your Retirement Haven BACCHUS MARSH Sole agents for Country Club Living FREECALL 1800 633 672 For Further Information Talk to Denise Sniegowski 0455 910 793 12679705-AI14-24
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