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Edition 16 - September October 2013


Community news from Upper Ferntree Gully, Upwey & Tecoma The Foothills is distributed in Tecoma, Upwey and Upper Ferntree Gully. Total distribution of 6,000.

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Coming out of the mental closet

By Anonymous

Today was the day I decided to go crazy… I woke up, stretched and contemplated my day – sleepily flicking through my mind’s to-do list; breakfast, get dressed, organise kids, sweep floor, have a breakdown, defrost meat for dinner (no herbivores in our household – thanks), call Optometrist, create Pinterest Board on “Guinea Pig Hutch Makeovers/Upcycling Style using Vintage, Thrifted, Found Objects” call my Mum and change all the kid’s bedding as it looks like a good

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washing day and all done by 12 as I also have a coffee date with my Mum friends. Getting dressed, I reviewed my wardrobe, black, black, beige, grey, black, floral print, not-normal dress, comfy jeans, Undercover skirt with Postie top and Intimo matching bra and knickers or black. I pulled out my not-normal dress, a mottled mess of colours, patterns and fabrics and slipped it on. Once my outfit was complete – my day could begin. I cried. Then I cried.

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Cried some more and then pulled myself together. I felt empty and heavy, like all my muscles ached but I wasn’t sick – no fever, no stuffy nose, no hacking cough, no sore eyes but I moved like I was wearing deep diving gear – weighted to stop me from floating to the surface. My hands shook while making toast and I cried as I spread the butter on the kids’ toast– vegemite will mask the salt of my tears. Continued on page 4

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The Foothills, September October 2013

The Foothills Editor’s Letter Coonara Community House 22 Willow Rd Upper Ferntree Gully VIC 3156 Phone: (03) 9758 7081 Editor Marina Cook Sub Editor Sally Dusting-Laird Designers Sophie FitzGerald Emily FitzGerald Jessica Hardy Photographer Darren Clarke Illustrator Britt Westaway Contributors Anonymous Bernadette Dimitrov Andrew Fullagar Amanda Freeman Karen George Genevieve Globke Lisa Hoskins-Faul David Jewell Coral Kennedy Kumara Kulathunga George Neo Cr Karin Orpen Casey Runco Jess Steele Kirsten Stollery Athene Thompson Vanessa Thomson Sandi Wallace Julie Welsh Printer Newsprinters Pty Ltd. Views and comments expressed in this paper are not necessarily those of any member of The Foothills newspaper or Coonara Community House unless acknowledged as such. Products and services listed or advertised in the newspaper should not be considered as endorsments. While every effort is made to ensure accuracy or editorial content, The Foothills newspaper takes no responsibility for errors.

I am so proud of the people who opened up to share their personal stories about mental health. Even with the large amount of services out in the community to help with mental illness, some people still feel they are alone. Speaking with some of the contributors, their stories were frightening, insightful as well as hopeful. Mental health covers all aspects, from feeling a little ‘off’ to severe depression and chemical imbalances. About nine years ago, I had suffered from post-natal depression. It was a terrifying experience. All I wanted to do was run away and leave everything behind. I loved my son, but felt useless in taking care of him (or myself). I felt I was not a worthy mother, and any decision making process felt overwhelming and life was generally fuzzy. I was not in a good place. I lasted in this fuzzy state for about five months… which, hearing other stories, I was quite lucky. Usually, one facet of mental health can evolve into another ugly facet, if it is not taken care of. We do have some great services and support groups in the community. If you ever feel overwhelmed or feeling ‘off beat’, please visit one of the services featured in The Foothills. Following Editions: The Foothills has lovingly been an identity within the community for over two years, coming to your letterbox or local café, once every two months. As much as we love receiving wonderful emails from our readers, there is much

work and effort that is placed in every edition. If it wasn’t for the wonderful tribe of volunteers, this publication would not occur. However, after much discussion with various volunteers, The Foothills will drop back to publishing four seasons in a year. This allows our volunteers to breathe – as it has been pretty much non-stop for the past two years. Therefore, our next edition will be the December-February edition, where we will celebrate summer, warmth and holiday reading. We will be using Facebook much more to communicate to our audience and using our webpage, to post stories in-between editions. We want to hear from everyone regarding local stories, local people and local events. Please email

GRASSROOTS MARKET 2013 Saturday, 21 September 9:00am - 3:00pm Kings Park Upper Ferntree Gully Saturday, 23 November Twilight 3:00pm - 8:00pm Upwey 2014 Saturday, 29 March 9:00am - 2:00pm Upwey


(Per edition & incl. GST) Full $330 175 x 237mm Half $165 175 x 118mm Quarter $110 175 x 60mm Eighth $77 85 x 60mm Deadline for next edition 30 October 2013

The Foothills, September October 2013

Travelling down the rabbit hole and what to do! By Bernadette Dimitrov aka Mrs Claus Mental illness definition: ”Any of various disorders in which a person’s thoughts, emotions, or behaviour are so abnormal as to cause suffering to himself, herself, or other people.” (in an outlined box) It’s staggering that one out of six of us will experience depression at some stage. It’s unfathomable yet true that mental illness is now the leading cause of disability in children. Fact: one in four 12-25 year olds suffer depression as we speak. There is no discrimination when it comes to who is effected by mental illness; young, old, abilities, disabilities, status, wealth or poverty, intelligence or lack of it, it makes no difference. I like many of you have been devastated by this illness. Two of the great loves of my life both tragically lost their lives to mental illness. The first was a young dashing solicitor who lost his life through a fatal drug overdose. The other, a once brilliant lawyer, sadly this year suicided after many long and intense years suffering from depression. A debilitating illness that consumed him into a black hole of despair. I was never able to reach him. He pushed me away, we got divorced and he travelled even deeper down the rabbit hole. I always secretly thought he would one day get better and we would live happily ever after. I cannot tell you the amount of tears that fell from my heart as I cleared out his home while the noose that he hung himself from stared at me painfully from every angle of his bedroom. Some of you reading this will share my heart ache having experienced similar. While many of you will know family members or close friends experiencing depression and some of you will be experiencing it for yourself.

It may surprise you that 65% of people with a mental illness don’t access treatment. Partly due to inaccurate detection and diagnosis. My ex husband hid his illness from family, friends, doctors and marriage counsellors in the early years hence they couldn’t diagnosis it. I knew something was terribly wrong. It’s a tough disease on everyone in its vicinity. You cannot get through it alone. You need help. So what can you do? If you are feeling suicidal contact Lifeline’s 24 hour crisis support service on 13 11 14 or seek immediate help from a GP, psychiatrist or a psychologist. If you are not that far down the spectrum, yet experience some feelings of anxiety, stress or feeling overwhelmed, there are things you can do to start shedding these stresses so they don’t culminate. You need to

start de-stressing so you don’t become exposed to ‘prolonged stresses’ that can lead to more serious mental as well as physical health issues/ illnesses. If you won’t de-stress for you, do it for your loved ones. Here are my top 7 tips to shed stress so you can have the best chance of presenting at your best and living your best life: 1. Get outside and get some exercise each day. Brisk walking is excellent. An added bonus is that you sleep better when you exercise your body. 2. Express your feelings in your relationships so you can resolve inner conflicts so it won’t weigh you down with resentment and anger. Learn to express youself in a healthy and respectful way. Get professional advice from a health professional, counsellor, psychologist or life coach. Continued on page 6



The Foothills, September October 2013

Coming out of the mental closet Continued from page 1 I couldn’t breathe as I called my Mum which took me 4 hours as picking up the telephone felt too difficult, too hard, too much and made me cry more. Managed not to cry when talking to her but found myself unable to remember why I was calling and what we even talked about. Cried when the call finished. Looked at the kitchen mess and I couldn’t work out where to start – it was too overwhelming after the Kids’ Big Ben (Note: Australia’s only active volcano located on Heard Island near Perth) erupted over my counters and floor, spewing forth crumbs, plates, crusts, milk rings, corn flakes, every teaspoon, sugar, coffee grinds and other miscellaneous kitchen and food items. I went blank instead, put the cornflakes in the fridge, dropped my sugar all over my floor and cried at the crystallised pattern it formed. It was just after 9am as I had also managed to scream, yell, abuse, beg, plead, repeat –repeat-repeat instructions like a stuck record to get the kids’ ready and off to school. I still hadn’t had my breakfast or coffee. THINK THINK THINK… think, think… please think… but my brain, logic, common sense and equilibrium all choose to call in sick. I couldn’t form thoughts, remember words, recall where things were or understand why I was so overwrought and confused. I found myself just standing – transfixed by the individual sugar crystals. Who knew this mindless task could consume 20 minutes, a new form of interactive art – the viewer can weep, go blank, swear, laugh, walk away, drop to their knees, go back in time and not drop the sugar or my option: lay down on the sugar and give up.

I managed (let’s not to go into tedious details) to resemble a Human and sally for to the Café, hopefully to indulge in a latte, cake, another latte and maybe a biscuit with my Mum friends. I cried as I drove there. I cried when I parked. Hiccupped, cried and clutched my stomach (soundlessly) before getting out and waltzed in beaming like the Sun – basking my Mum friends in my warmth, my joy and my nothing-iswrong-with-me-no-I-didn’t-try-anddrive-into-a-tree-before-I-got-here smile. Yep, I’ll have, hang on, I’m not sure, just give me a moment, can’t think, BUGGER it, just a cup of earl grey even though I don’t like it but everyone’s is mocking me and one well-coiffed Mum friend remarks how hard can it be to order coffee and about being my usual forgetful self and did I know that my cardigan is on inside out, did I forget my “meds” today – wink wink – laugh. So amidst the bustle, the drone of grinding coffee, the kid’s running around our table eating our biscuits though they had their own, playing he has cooties and screaming (these are our kid’s not random children at the Café) my Mum friends nattering on about that woman who’s kid wore shorts on a day when it should have been pants and why couldn’t that woman brush her hair at least (as I touch my own cornflaked mop) and booking in innumerable party plan parties, park dates, Factory Outlet shopping dates etc. I found myself just trying to breathe and not looked like a hunted animal. “Ummm, I am thinking I might give a couple of the party plans a miss – you know, perhaps the Basket Weaving Party and the Accessorize Me Party since I’m not good with my hands and I don’t wear belts or costume jewellery – ha ha” I venture. “It’s just that I’m feeling a little stressed and am finding a little hard to get stuff done – you know”

“Oh!”… awkward silence. Clearing throat. “Umm okay… of course if that’s what you feel, I guess we’d be disappointed that you aren’t there and well, I thought we’d have pink mimosa’s and listen to the Grease soundtrack while our Hubbys’ go paintballing and to the Pub for dinner. I’d hate for you to miss out” “Oh, are we having the kid’s while we make baskets?” I reply weakly “Of course, and while we buy sock boots, they can all play, watch a DVD and we’ll buy them hot chips. It’s just easier that way” “Why don’t we do it the other way round and we go paintballing and to the pub and the blokes have the kids and do party plan!” I pretend to joke but ‘pray’ that they’ll all agree. “You’re such a crack up – don’t be silly, this will be more fun than getting dirty… don’t forget to bring some scones when you come please and make sure the kids’ are in their jammies. You don’t mind if your eldest minds the Littlies while we do the party – do you?” “No, I guess that should be fine” I respond wearily and shove the rest of my dry cake into my mouth. (Why you ask, do I keep calling these women my “Mum” friends – well, I answer, “Mum” friends are women you get to know through your kids, school activities etc. and you form friendship cliques based on the fact you drive the same car, judge the same people, are around the same age as you or your kid likes to hang out with their kid – “Mum” friends is an embittered definition) When my partner arrives home that evening and the house is clean,

The Foothills, September October 2013 the kids’ are reading, the dogs are napping on the heater, we have dinner and the sheets are all dry and clean and asks me what I got up too today… I find myself sighing tiredly, and responding “Not much” as I can’t image telling the riotous “I-banged-my-head-against-the-walluntil-it-started-to-go-fuzzy story, which occurred when I got home from having coffee with the ‘mum’ friends and the five more crying spells that occurred before he got home” story. I find myself exhausted and my eyes drooping so I strip off my not-normal dress, forego-ed my shower as I couldn’t face exfoliating and got into my please-no-one-see-me pyjamas and went to bed. I’m sure tomorrow will be better as I scroll through my todays mistakes, problems, issues, my poor performance, things I missed, jobs I forgot to do, people I should have called, cake I meant to bake list and found myself tiredly facing 4:56am as I couldn’t sleep no matter how much I tried as I kept replaying the lustre of the sugar crystals in the morning light. Please make this end… I begin to cry… but softly as not to wake my partner.

NOTE: This may appear a fiction piece but it’s not. This is Depression. This is what it is like for me and this was the beginning (sometimes, middle, sometimes end, the command performance, the encore, best overly-dramatic lead actress and the long running season of the journey and battle(s) of my illness) Everyone’s experience and manifestation of Depression can be different, though there are symptoms that everyone has: http://www.beyondblue. signs-and-symptoms

Lend a hand to the Angliss

The Angliss Hospital in Upper Ferntree Gully By Julie Welsh The Angliss Hospital has always been there for me. For the birth of my two children, for split chins, minor operations, a family wide bout of food poisoning and most recently, a self-stabbing. Yes, that’s right, I accidentally stabbed myself through the hand with a steak knife, through the palm and out the other side. Yes it was foolish. Yes I know that knives should never be used as tools. And no, I won’t do it again. What I will do again, is donate to the Angliss Hospital. Because just like the day that I smuggled my newborn out like stolen goods, I feel guilty for receiving such incredible care at no cost. Of course I mean no direct cost. I realize that I pay taxes for the privilege of public hospitals, but my taxes have to cover a lot. Like national broadband networks and studies on the mating habits of zebrafish. There’s a lot to get done on our pollies list and I’m not sure how much of my money actually makes it to the hospitals. Take for instance, the fiasco of the $170 million fund cut from Victoria’s hospitals late last year. It was done on account of the

2011 population fall of 11,111. Wait. Population fall? No one could believe that! Our government did. They mixed up the numbers. We actually had a population rise of over 75,000. But never mind that, they plan to pay it all back in instalments. Now I’m not saying that I don’t trust our government, I know that they always have the common man’s interest at heart. But until they can pay back all the money and the hospitals can catch up on the 3000 surgeries that had to be forestalled, I think a little extra coin to my local heroes wouldn’t go astray. And when I’m better, I may even volunteer to help in the emergency waiting room. Right now I’m going to donate a whole bunch of stuff to the Angliss Op-Shop in Ferntree Gully. Among other things, I have a steak knife that I no longer need. To donate or volunteer at The Angliss Hospital, or find out more information you can call 9895 4608 or visit And don’t forget to shop at and donate goods to The Angliss Op-Shop on 101 Station St, Ferntree Gully.



The Foothills, September October 2013

Travelling down the rabbit hole and what to do!

Continued from page 3 3. Over committed? Start saying no. Quit the long hours, the extra responsibilities. Start today by choosing one thing out of your week and quit doing it. 4. Create a time out ritual each day. Take a long bath with a cup of epsom salts. Meditate for 20-30 minutes – there are plenty of free guided meditations on youtube. Get your hands into the good earth and do some gardening for 30 minutes or just switch off, lie down and listen to some soothing music for an hour. Personally I meditate each day as my number one stress controller and I do variations of all of the above throughout my week. Tip: diarize one thing each day. It’s a way to prioritize your well-being and ensure you get to de-stress each day. 5. Scatter some short-term coping strategies into you day. For example, each time you go to the bathroom throughout the day, take 3 deep belly breaths (releases toxins and destresses the body). Each time you sit down, tense all the muscles in your body for

a few seconds then release them – do this three times. Tensing and releasing muscles deeply relaxes and releases stress. 6. Ditch the take-away and make a healthy meal. Simply steam some vegis and squeeze a lemon over it with a little black pepper. Get back to eating as close to nature as you can. Avoid the cans, bottles and sauces; they often are full of additives that add to stressing the body. What you choose to eat will effect your mood and your overall well-being. So start with one meal a week that you substitute for simple, fresh and healthy and build on increasing it each week. Soon you’ll shed the fast food and unhealthy cravings and be feeling so much better. 7. Create a new ritual where you set aside a specific time each day where you dump out all your worries onto a piece of paper and then brain storm solutions to move you forward. Even one step forward is good. Don’t go about mulling over worries all day in your head. Get them out, address them

and then let them go. It would be good to do this on the way home from work if commuting on public transport. Get yourself a ‘Brain Dump’ exercise book. You’ll then arrive home feeling less stressed and will be more fully present for the ones you love and more ready and able to enjoy your life. Stress comes in all sizes and doses and it comes as part of the human condition. However, unmanaged stress is a serious issue. Help protect your mental and physical well-being by creating wellness rituals that loosen and help melt away your stresses. Even one new ritual can make the world of difference! Wishing you more love, more health & more happiness Mrs Claus xx International Best Selling Author Laughter Meditation Instructor & Happiness Ambassador

The Foothills, September October 2013

Find out the Secret! Come and discover for yourself the legend and rumour that surrounds these Mysterious stone carvings and ceremonial objects from New Britain, Papua New Guinea. These rare Ingiets will be on display in a world premiere exhibition at Burrinja Gallery, Upwey, Victoria, from 24 August - 1 December 2013. Myths of sorcery and ‘black magic’ surround these remarkable carvings. Despite being outlawed by the German colonial administration before WWI the Ingiet, a secret men’s cult of the Tolai society, was believed to exist in secrecy for decades after. To this day finds of Ingiet sculptures create fear among the Tolai. The power of the mysterious Ingiets appears unbroken. With 90 Ingiet works Yarra Ranges McLeod Gift Collection curated by Burrinja is the third largest public collection of Ingiets in the world. This survey exhibition presents the collection for the first time to the public in its entirety. Never before in the world have these intriguing and extremely rare secret Ingiets been shown in an exhibition of this scale, Never before has the mystery of the Ingiets, and the myths that surround them, been unveiled to the Australian public. The exhibition will shed light on the workings of this outlawed secret cult and its role with in Tolai culture and will ultimately spark a conversation

on the intrigue surrounding these objects: what were these carvings used for? And why are they so feared? Also on display are other significant ceremonial items of Tolai culture from the private collections of Neil McLeod, Melbourne and Harold Gallasch, Adelaide, which are the most comprehensive in the country, along with extremely rare recordings of the songs and stories that typified this mysterious cult. These recordings were made in the remote PNG highlands last year for the first time, with one of the very few old men who still remember the songs and their significance, and retains the secret Ingiet knowledge. Official Opening of the exhibition is on Saturday, 7 September at 4.30 pm. A Pacific Arts and Culture Symposium will proceed the opening. The opening will be attended by Emmanuel Mulai, a master carver from Ratongaor Village, East New Britain, and one of the remaining keepers of knowledge about the original Ingiet society. For more information visit WHAT: Secret Ingiets - Mysterious stone carvings and ceremonial objects from Gazelle Peninsula, PNG WHEN: 24 August - December 1 WHERE: Burrinja Gallery, cnr Glenfern Road & Matson Drive, Upwey

HIGHLIGHTS SEPTEMBEROCTOBER South of the River Choir Local 35 voice a’cappella and percussion choir Sunday 15 September @ 2pm The Haunting of Daniel Gartrell Max Gillies, Samuel Johnson and Michala Banas star in this gothic drama about isolation, history and identity Friday 27 September @ 8pm Burrinja Circus Festival A week-long celebration of circus with shows and workshops for the whole family September 24 - 29 The Book Club Australia’s leading stage actress, Amanda Muggleton, stars in a brilliantly scripted role giving you a hysterical peek behind the closed doors of suburbia. Sunday 13 October @ 7pm Secret Ingiets Mysterious stone carvings and ceremonial objects of the Tolai, Papua New Guinea 24 August – 1 December More info Ph - (03) 9754 8723 E - A- Cnr Glenfern Road and Matson Dr Upwey



The Foothills, September October 2013

The Foothills, September October 2013

Don’t let life get you down - reach out to combat stress, family therapy and interpersonal therapy. Ms McPeake said counselling is offered to children, youth and adults at both Inspiro sites in Belgrave and Lilydale. “Our counsellors also run group therapy programs targeting different mental health conditions and age groups,” she said. Group therapy programs in Belgrave include ‘Finding Me, Being Free’ and ‘Feeling Good About Yourself’, which are women only groups for those affected by family violence and selfesteem issues. By Genevieve Globke Enjoying good mental health means having a good sense of wellbeing, being able to function during everyday life and feeling confident to rise to a challenge when the opportunity arises. But sometimes life circumstances cause us to feel overwhelmed by anxiety, sadness or distress. At these times counselling or therapeutic group activities can be helpful. Inspiro CEO Karyn McPeake said clients present with a range of life issues such as depression, panic or grief and loss.

“These conditions may strike at any time, or may be linked to life events including family violence, trauma, disability or chronic health issues.” Inspiro’s counsellors are professionally trained and have extensive experience in providing a safe, supportive and confidential space to help clients explore strategies and deal with life issues. Counsellors may use different therapy approaches depending on individual needs, for example, cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), play therapy for children, art therapy for those who are not able to express themselves with words, relaxation techniques

If you feel life getting you down or simply feel overwhelmed, don’t wait. Reach out now. You can see your GP first, or you can refer yourself to a counsellor at Inspiro by calling 9738 8801 during business hours. A problem shared, is a problem halved. If you need urgent help, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 (24hrs a day). 1624 Burwood Highway (next door to the Cameo)



The Foothills, September October 2013

Book Review

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion who although brilliant academically, has problems dealing with personal interaction in both his private and professional world. After forming a friendship with an elderly neighbour, he comes to the conclusion that a wife would be a benefit to his life. He then sets about finding her in the only way he knows how- as a scientific project.

The Rosie Project was written by Melbourne author Graeme Simsion. This is his first novel and was released this year. Before it was even released, it won the 2012 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript. This delightful book tells the story of Don, a scientist and university lecturer

This is when the wife project is born. With both the encouragement and interference of his best friend Gene, who is a fellow academic, and Genes wife Claudia, Don recognizes that he needs to make his behaviours less rigid to fully function in the world he inhabits. The story follows Dons progress in pursuing his goal of finding a suitable wife. In the process of his quest he is

confronted with evidence that many things are not what he thought they were and leads him to question some of his long held ideas including what type of partner would make him happy. While this book is an easy to read and highly entertaining story, it explores the way in which those who may not fit the mould of the “normal” social behaviour (which most people take for granted), deal with a world into which they never quite feel that they belong. It also gives those who do not suffer from Aspergers Syndrome an insight into the challenges faced by those who do. This story is all at once funny, engaging and able to impart its message without the reader feeling like they have been taught a lesson. The web site for the book has a couple of fun quizzes so check out which character you are, or if you would be compatible with Don. Enjoy!






T 9758 3042


The Foothills, September October 2013

Bless My Heart By Amanda Freeman

Everybody kept telling me what I could and couldn’t do how I should and shouldn’t feel. What I would and would not achieve.

Bless my heart, bless my soul. Didn’t think I’d make it to 22 years old There must be someone up above sayin’ Soon after my diagnosis, a friend Come on girl, you gotta get back up. suggested that I try Reiki – I’d never You got to hold on… heard of it before but at this stage I Hey, you got to hold on…” was willing to try anything. It was during my first Reiki session that I – Britany Howard -Alabama Shakes felt for the first time in a long time – a I recently heard this song by a band sense of hope. I can’t explain what called the Alabama Shakes and I it was but it was as if a light went on nearly fell off my chair. It took me inside of me and I felt that perhaps straight back to my own adolescence. all was not lost. I had no idea how I I remember waking up on the morning was going to make my way out of the of my 21st birthday thinking – black hole – but somehow I just knew wow – I made it. I had always been that it was possible. From here I began convinced that somehow, whether a long journey of self-empowerment. by an act of fate or by some other Healing from the inside out and means I would never make it that realising that I could make my life far. I had been diagnosed with severe worth living, I could manage my depression at 20 (although the disease pain, be happy, and live a full life. itself had been present for many Counselling, medication, Reiki and years before this diagnosis). I spent reaching out all became part of my most of my later teen years feeling journey to recovery. completely and totally disempowered in my life. While friends around me I began to experiment with exercise, were partying and having fun, I was and with health practitioners who struggling to get out of bed each would give me strategies and who day and contemplating how I could would support me in finding what I possibly live a life that was so full of could do rather than what I couldn’t. pain and sadness. I realised that while I needed the help and support of others to get better, I suffered a back injury in the at the end of the day it was up to schoolyard at the age of 11 which me to say what was right for me in left me suffering from medically the process. I began to see the link unexplained chronic pain. This event between my pain and my depression set me on a path in life that involved and how when one was altered or being unable to do the things most improved, the other would also began kids took for granted like running and to shift. And as I did this, my life jumping and exploring. This social began to change. I began to imagine isolation and an inability to articulate a life of happiness and found that the to the world around me what this felt more I believed in myself – the more like, eventually led to depression. opportunities came my way which Anyone who looked at me saw me enabled me to feel good. as a perfectly healthy young kid from the outside, but on the inside, I first met my (now) husband in 2002 I felt broken. I remember going to and I was sure when I suffered a major appointment after appointment with depressive episode – that that would my mother, and then later on my own be it. Another person would see ‘the – desperate to find that one person real me’ and disappear. That once who could ‘fix me’ of my pain and my again I had failed – even after all my sadness. But this person never came. hard work depression would again

take away my happiness. But luckily for me, he saw through it. “It’s not you – it’s just the depression” he used to say – “you’re still in there and you will find your way out”. As simple as that! And three months later I did, and he was still there. I began to think that maybe he was right. Maybe it was time to separate myself from the illness and see if we could live without each other! I began to really embrace the possibility of a life not crippled by the cycle of chronic pain and depression. As I write this now, 22 years after the accident and I guess I have achieved that dream. Depression is a distant memory and chronic pain is now more a ‘niggle’ than an endless life sentence. I know what triggers me to feel sad and how pain affects my mood. I know that life is a journey and that everyone gets sad. That feeling sad does not necessarily mean descending into a pit of darkness. I know that there is a world of tools and support out there to continue my journey of empowerment, and that my instincts will always tell me what is right for me. Most of all I know that my journey and experiences weren’t a waste as I now find myself helping others who feel lost but are bravely following their own spark of hope to reach their happiness. I know that if I can do it anyone can. But you don’t have to do it alone. You simply have to trust and believe in yourself, find resources that fire that spark within YOU and begin the journey back to happiness. In the words of Brittany Howard, you can ‘get back up’. Amanda Freeman is a Reiki Master/ Teacher who specialises in helping people to regain their sense of empowerment in their lives. For Amanda’s details - please visit page 27.



The Foothills, September October 2013

The Danger of Snoring By Kumara Kulathunga Almost everyone knows someone who snores at night. Maybe it’s a partner that “shakes the walls” when asleep. Or maybe it’s you, and your family claims your snoring can “wake the dead” and as a result, your partner has moved out of the bedroom. However you describe snoring, it never sounds good. But is snoring dangerous or just a lot of noise? Snoring is so common we often think of it as normal. In fact, roughly 40% of the population reports snoring. Unknowingly, snoring can be more than just loud noise. It can actually be a symptom of a much more serious condition. Snoring results from the vibration of tissue in a person’s airway. The obstructing tissue moves with the airflow and creates noise, but it can also actually obstruct breathing.

When breathing is obstructed, the resulting condition is known as Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA). When the amount of fresh air entering the body is restricted, the oxygen level in the bloodstream falls and the body starts to panic. The brain arouses or wakes the person. Though these events can happen hundreds of times a night, these awakenings or arousals are so brief, the person usually isn’t aware of the problem. The consequences of having OSA can be significant. The lack of oxygen stresses the heart, leading to a much higher risk of heart attack, stroke and high blood pressure. Other symptoms include migraines, impotence, memory loss, depression and excessive daytime sleepiness. What can I do about it? The first step is to speak to your

family doctor, who can review your symptoms and determine whether sleep specialist intervention and a sleep test is required. This can be conducted at Mount Medical Clinic in Tecoma – where they have a Sleep Study Clinic for this purpose. Treatment options vary depending on severity. These include: 1. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) devices: remain the gold standard in the treatment of OSA and remain the commonest treatment for moderate-to-severe OSA. 2. Oral devices: are custom-made mouthpieces that help position the lower jaw and tongue during sleep. Useful for milder cases of OSA. 3. Surgery: various procedures exist, however there is limited evidence for their effectiveness.

The Foothills, September October 2013

Social and Emotional Learning in Children By Lisa Hoskins-Faul Children come to school with an invisible backpack. This backpack has all their prior knowledge and experiences, both academic and social. Some children have resilience and the ability to cope with what life throws at them in their backpack, others don’t. At school, prominence is placed on academic learning: literacy and numeracy, and rightly so. However, each child’s social and emotional learning is equally important. Social and emotional learning is about developing the ability to care for others, make responsible decisions, establish positive relationships and handle challenging situations (Collaborative for Academic Social and Emotional Learning, 2003). By being a KidsMatter school, here at Tecoma, we aim to develop a whole school approach to student’s mental health and wellbeing. KidsMatter Primary has determined there are 5 skill areas essential for positive mental health: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision-making. Students take part in interactive regular class sessions, which focus on addressing these 5 skills. By taking part in activities such as circle time, collaborative games, role-playing, restorative practices and social literacy, children are learning how to control themselves in social situations. KidsMatter works in conjunction with other welfare based school programs, such as Tribes, Bounce Back, Play is the Way (to name a few popular ones), and is seen as an icing on the cake of living a mentally healthy life. Circle Time is an excellent way to promote social and emotional learning in the classroom. Once a week a class sits down together and address issues important to them.

Circle Time is used to promote positive behavior, addresses bullying, defines values and expectations, fosters belonging, promotes inclusion, deals with conflict resolution, promotes trust and acceptance and encourages celebrations and positive communication. Collaborative Games have proven to encourage teamwork and emphasise participation, rather than competition. They encourage the students to work together and many games are classic, such as Duck, Duck, Goose, Chinese Whispers and Rock, Paper, Scissors. Role Playing is a very powerful way to translate the “right” and the “wrong” ways to deal with conflict or appropriate ways to treat people. Students act out a scenario in a positive and negative way, and discuss the two scenarios and why it is better to react positively and what the likely outcomes will be. At Tecoma Primary School we use Restorative Practices when there has been a problem that needs resolving. It allows discussion in a way that allows everyone to contribute and be valued. Restorative Practice sees misconduct not necessarily as rule breaking, but as violation against people and relationships. These practices focus on modifying behaviours that undermine positive relationships. Restorative Practices use a specific language or script to deal with problems. These questions are: • • • • •

What were you thinking? How did you feel? Who do you think was affected? How do you think they were affected? How can you repair the harm?

Through the use of Restorative Practices, all who participate have

a sense of fairness and justice. The student gains a greater insight into the impact of their behaviour on others. It allows for healing of the hurt and a repairing of damaged relationships. The student remains a member of the school community, which continues to offer support and a sense of belonging and a sense of community is heightened when students, teachers and parents are equally valued as participants. Social Literacy involves sharing a story with the class. The book may address positive behavior, such as Carol McCloud’s “Have You Filled A Bucket Today?” or conflict resolution as in Julia Cook’s “I Just Don’t Like The Sound Of No!” to more recent social problems, such as cyber bullying, as addressed in “Dear Jo, The Story Of Losing Leah And Searching For Hope” by Cristina Kilbourne, an excellent book for senior primary and middle school secondary students. As you can see, through these many avenues, local primary schools are addressing the needs of our children’s mental health and wellbeing. In conjunction with families and the community we are creating a safe place for children to develop these all-important social skills, side by side with cognitive and academic skills to cultivate well rounded and happy individuals able to cope with life. Lisa Hoskins-Faul is a classroom teacher & KidsMatter Coordinator at Tecoma Primary School.



The Foothills, September October 2013

Tecoma Talents

Donald Wiley McKenzie McKenzie established the DW McKenzie Timberyard on the site that is nowadays occupied by the library and the prep learning centre of Tecoma Primary school. Tecoma looked quite different in those days. Between the church and the school there was a grocer and the timber yard. Tecoma was home to a green grocer, a butcher, two milk bars (accommodating a post office and bank), a haberdashery, a chemist, a fruit shop, cinema, dairy and a private hospital!

Born in 1892 to Scottish parents Donald McKenzie was an active and influential community member in the early to mid 20th century in Tecoma. Donald McKenzie married Gladys Simmons, the granddaughter of Isaac Simmons, who first settled The Patch as a wood splitter. (Timber harvesting had created “a patch� which consequently became the name of the settlement) They had three children: Beryl, Cliff and Ian. The family originally lived in Sandells Rd and later on moved to Walter Street where Donald bought a big block of land which accommodated not only a dam, a menagerie of animals and fruit trees but also the family homes of his children later on. His daughter-in-law Alice and his granddaughter Dianne still live in his house to this day. In the early 20th century Donald

The early days in the Dandenongs were very hard. Transport was a big issue with many tracks being impassable during wet weather or in winter. The population was fairly transient and scattered. The depression in the 1890s brought a big influx of new residents, with land being made available to unemployed families of Melbourne. In 1897 Tecoma residents tried unsuccessfully to get a school established. The number of children was deemed too low and it was thought that they could attend other schools. Given the road conditions and the distance of just over 3 miles to the closest school (at One Tree Hill) this was clearly not possible. The parents persisted and got a part time school approved in 1900. Even though Tecoma was an established little township, the school was actually first called Upper Ferntree Gully State

School before becoming Belgrave State School and finally Tecoma State School. Tecoma Primary School itself consisted of the original school building and shelter shed where the kids could spend recess and lunch. A row of oak trees formed the border to McNicol Road. Apparently during the war an air raid shelter was built at the back of the school as well. In its early days, Tecoma Primary School struggled with funding. The school building was too small to accommodate the children, the accommodation for headmaster and teachers was hard to find and often inadequate. Funding for teaching materials, repairs and furniture was often refused. Luckily the community supported the school and many parents were heavily involved. Donald McKenzie often donated material and labour to the school for different projects. Another important supporter of the school was the Mothers Club. Probably its most famous fundraiser was the yearly floral carpet. It was created for Cup Day Weekend to coincide with the Rhododendron Festival in Ferny Creek. The whole floor of the Year 4 classroom was covered with a carpet of flowers. The pattern was created by timber slates and sitting on a bed of sand. The main flowers used where Rhododendrons and Azaleas. It took the women all night to put it together and resulted in many painful backs. Mr McKenzie also donated the school

The Foothills, September October 2013 bell, which was not only used as such but also to warn residents of fires. The bell is currently waiting to be reinstalled in the, hopefully soon to be restored, original school building. A plaque on the bell board dedicates the bell to Donald McKenzie, who served on the school committee from 1929 until 1954 – a life sentence! Donald McKenzie became a close friend of O. H. Lightbody, who was principal at the school from 1950 – 1953. Donald’s granddaughters still remember vividly how the two men set out on their fishing trips down to Tooradin, singing frog songs all the way (Mr. Lightbody’s favourites). They couldn’t tell us if they were successful in catching fish…. Donald McKenzie built a bigger timber yard in Avonsleigh later on, where his sons and son-in-law also worked. He subsequently sold the timber yard in Tecoma to Peter Brown, who ran the mill on the Tecoma site for several years to come. Mr. McKenzie was a member of the Ferntree Gully Shire Council from 1932-1936 and a member of the CFA. His granddaughters still lovingly remember their grandfather, who was a bit of a trickster (“stealing honey” for them from their grandmother by the spoonfuls) and loved to whittle little animals and walking sticks sitting on the back step of the veranda. He died early, suffering from Dementia and Alzheimer’s. He was only 68 years old. He is survived by 14 great grandchildren and 26 great great grandchildren, with many of them still living in the hills. Our thanks goes to his granddaughters Dawn, Heather and Cheryl who spent a lovely morning with us reminiscing of their childhood amongst bees, goats, chooks, plum and mulberry trees, including silk worms, at their beloved home in Walter Street, Tecoma.


Tecoma Charcoal Chicken made on site from original ingredients using fresh and free range produce. Proprietor Paul even makes his own garlic sauce, available amongst a range of other dipping sauces.

Upwey Charcoal Chicken Some readers may have a false impression of the Tecoma Charcoal Chicken shop as a result of an article in the previous edition of The Foothills. It appears that the Foothills’ Roving Reporter didn’t rove far enough to actually visit the Tecoma Charcoal Chicken shop, for if s/he had then s/he would have noticed the wide range of fresh food catering for vegetarians amongst their mainstays. Although correct that peas are offered as a side dish, so too are Coleslaw, Tabouli, Greek Salad, Mushroom Salad, Rice Salad and Pasta Salad, all suitable for vegetarian customers. Also provided are the traditional salads of Chicken & Avacado, Caesar, Chicken Pasta, Seafood Cocktail and an Egg Salad. All of these salads are

Customers can choose from a range of set meals or buy a whole slow roasted free range chicken and add some hot side dishes such as baked potato, baked pumpkin, potato cakes or even the much reported ‘peas & gravy’. A number of wraps and burgers are offered and all made from high quality ingredients. The burgers are made from free range chicken fillets prepared on-site without any chemicals and processing as done by those famous ‘Convenience Restaurants’. Catering packs are also available for functions and parties. Owner Paul Brown has been operating Tecoma Charcoal Chicken for over 4 years and during this time has sponsored many local sporting clubs and supported local schools and charities with their fundraising activities. He intends being in Tecoma for many many years to come and is open to feedback from his community. It is important that small local businesspeople like Paul are supported by their community if we are to continue to have quality hot take home food available here. Hours: 11:00am to 8:00pm Everyday.

1533 Burwood Hwy Update At the time this is being written, a piece of Tecoma’s history is being destroyed. Hazelvale Dairy and its associated cottage, more recently known as Hippie Haven and Saffron Cottage are no more. The large multinational corporation that is well known for marketing its unhealthy ‘food’ to children has also

become infamous for ignoring our community. At the same time this company is destroying our buildings, our community is becoming more cohesive against a common foe. Although property can bought bought and sold, the spirit of the Hills communities can not. Fight on !


The Foothills, September October 2013

Upwey Update Local News

rehabilitation after years of persistent work. Shortly, we will advance ideas for the quarry site, including the erection of two new tables constructed by the Monbulk Men’s Shed. It is amazing how this area is being tamed and beautified, and converted into a wonderful asset. The front entrance has also been transformed over the past twelve months. A low rock wall featuring the Bushlands’ name has just been completed, which provides an attractive and impactful welcome. We thank Yarra Ranges Council for funding assistance.

Glenfern toadstool Upwey Township Have you ever considered what a great little town Upwey is? We have so much to be grateful for – beautiful surroundings, great variety of traders, huge selection of interest groups and clubs, plus an amazing diversity of local people. As the saying goes, we enjoy country living with city convenience. Volunteers at Upwey Township Group (UTG) feel that these assets are all worth preserving and promoting. If you’d like to have your say, please contact us. Recently UTG ran a series of evening workshops at the Township Hall. Upwey Townies provides a space for the community to meet itself. With topics varying from Tool Sharpening to Food Forests, there was something for everyone. We’re grateful to all the volunteers, who donated their time and expertise. We’re delighted that the Grassroots

Market will return to Upwey for a twilight market at the end of November. After a yearlong break, we’re looking forward to the buzz of activity this event brings to the Upwey Community. Check their web-site for details. The skate-park will undergo some improvements shortly. Firstly, the bowl will be painted out to resemble an ocean scene – much more attractive than the current dull grey. Secondly, some long-awaited tables, seats and shelter will make the space more comfortable and welcoming for our young people. Glenfern Valley Bushlands Enthusiastic activity from the Friends Group continues to bring improvements to our local Reserve. Recent working bees have concentrated on removing remnant and fresh weeds from prime areas. It’s highly gratifying to see such strong

Another major milestone was achieved when the last of the Pittosporum jungle below Wallaby Walk was chipped. Although unsightly at present, the area will rapidly regenerate. A variety of indigenous seedlings has also been planted to help accelerate natural habitat regrowth. We thank Melbourne Water for their ongoing commitment and financial support. Proof of progress is exemplified by the sighting of two Eastern Grey Kangaroos in the Reserve. Can we therefore stress the importance of keeping dogs on leashes please? Upwey Tecoma Community, Recreational and Sporting Hub (UT CRASH) Unfortunately, little progress has been made over the past couple of months. Council Staff have been busy conducting a major projects audit, which has limited their time. Positively, there is now a united push to site the new building on the wing (the much preferred position), despite difficulties with the location of easements. Meanwhile, the Steering Committee has been active making presentations to Federal candidates in pursuit of funding. UT CRASH consists of 25 local clubs and groups, and as such represents over 3000 local individuals.

The Foothills, September October 2013


Pop up learning successes

Literally hundreds of Knox and Yarra Ranges residents have been participating in Pop Up Learning activities lead by Coonara Community House. Large numbers have participated in first aid events in the workplace and at a maternal and child health centre, others have enjoyed learning how to braid hair at the Yarra Heights Dance Academy and still more have been delighted with a cake decorating class at Specialty Treats by Carolyn in Knoxfield.


Coming up in the next few months are lessons on how to make a fascinator and Christmas crafts.

National recycling week

Come to Coonara and learn how to create a work of art for your garden or house with recycled items. Tuesday 1.00pm – 3.00pm 12th November

Bee Keeping Club Meetings are held monthly on the second Wednesday of the month 7.30pm – 9.30pm. Annual membership $35 per person or $50 per family. 11th September Swarm collection 9th October Working your hive 13th November Honey extracting 11th December Hive discussions

Another award to Coonara Adding to the excitement of the win as Community Based Adult Education Provider of the year for Australia in 2012, Coonara has recently been named “Learn Local Legend” for the North East region of Victoria. The Coonara team was presented with their award by Minister Peter Hall at the Learn Local (Adult Learners Week) awards presentation dinner on August 29th. Factors that have contributed to Coonara’s success have included; a

range of adult education opportunities that include both pre accredited and accredited training, E learning, project-based learning such as the Foothills community newspaper. The production of a weekly television show for Channel 31 highlighting adult education across the state is also an achievement that was recognized. Coonara was also commended for its leadership role in the adult education sector.

RTO 3733 ABN 65554350180 22 Willow Rd (P.O. Box 7041) Upper Ferntree Gully VIC 3156 T 03 9758 7081 F 03 9758 5402 E W



The Foothills, September October 2013 Computer skills

Computers for the timid

13INTCOM1234 This is a beginner’s class for those who are scared of the computer and may require a supportive environment to develop confidence. Learn to type simple documents, save them safely and insert pictures. Mondays 9.30am - 12.00pm 14th October - 9th December (no class 5th November-Cup Day) $30 tuition & $20 amenities ($10 concession) $5 materials

Next Step in Computers

13COMSTE0234 This class is for those who have done ‘Computers for the Timid” or who have basic knowledge of the computer but would like to build on their skills and confidence. This class will still be at a basic level, but the next step on from what you have managed with plenty of support. Wednesdays 9.30am - 12.00pm 16th October - 11th December $30 tuition & $20 amenities ($10 concession) $5 materials

Beyond the Next Step

13BEYNS0034 This course will introduce you to more advanced file management techniques as well as Excel, Word and Publisher software. Thursdays 9.30am - 12.00pm 17th October – 12th December $30 tuition & $20 amenities ($10 concession) $5 materials

Social Media and Digital Literacy

13DIGLIT1234 This course investigates different types of social media and gadgets you would like to explore and ways to improve your knowledge of new technologies. This course includes Facebook, Twitter, iPads /Tablets, Pinterest, Blogging, LinkedIn and participant’s choice. Wednesdays 6.30pm – 9.00pm 16th October – 11th December $30 tuition & $20 amenities ($10 concession)

Computers for Blokes (with Craig)

13INTCOM1234 This course is only for the fellas… sorry ladies. This is your opportunity to get a tune up on your computer skills to make use of that new computer you have been given or have purchased. Get a basic practical understanding of how to make use of what your computer offers in the company of other men in the same situation. Mondays 6.00pm – 8.00pm 14th October – 9th December (no class 5th November - Cup Day) $30 tuition & $20 amenities ($10 concession)

The Foothills, September October 2013 Pathways courses These have been developed to provide pathways into employment or further training.

Talking about work - I can do that! 13TALWOR0200 This short course will prepare you for re-entry to the workforce and address the latest job-seeking skills. Thursdays 9.30am - 12.30pm 17th October - 21st November $20 tuition & $20 amenities ($10 concession)

Counseling and Communication skills

13COUNCO0034 This course is for those working in, or considering working in fields that require higher level interpersonal skills such as the community services industry or educators. It will provide an overall approach to dealing with clients or colleagues who may require support or guidance in dealing with stresses, stressors of work and life. Thursdays 9.30am – 12.00pm 17th October – 12th December $20 tuition & $20 amenities ($10 concession)

Career planning for life –

13PLAFUT0204 Coonara’s Careers counselor, Debbie Whitehead,, will lead you in identifying potential career options including training and skill building to achieve your career objectives. Prepare a personal career action plan including a resume, applications for training entry or RPL. Thursdays 12.30pm - 3.00pm 17th October - 12th December $20 tuition & $20 amenities ($10 concession) Learn Local funding for courses with the symbol is available to all those with Australian citizenship or permanent residency. Higher fees apply to those not in these categories. Hobby & Recreation courses

Energy Healing Workshop

This workshop is for anyone who wishes to learn how to be free from mental and emotional turmoil and stress. Did you know that within our own energy field there are keys to bring about excellent physical, emotional and mental health, as well as the power to create happiness and success in all areas of lives? Come and learn how with an experienced Facilitator. Saturday 12.30pm - 3.30pm October 19th Cost $30

Pete the Permie workshops

Pete the Permie classes

These classes are held at Pete’s Monbulk property - Telopea Mountain Permaculture & Nursery. Check out his website

Cheese making at home Level 1

Feta, Mascarpone & Greek Style Yogurt Take home your own 3 products with you and make and eat Ricotta on the day as well. This will be a full day course and cheese can be made using Cow, Goat or Sheep’s milk if you wish to bring your own, this will need to be pasteurized on the day. Otherwise all ingredients are all supplied. Please bring lunch to share. Call Coonara for a list of containers to store and transport your products. Thursday 9.00am - 4.00pm 12th September Cost $100

Cheese making at home Level 2

Camembert, Gourmet Feta, Sour Cream & Ricotta Take home your own 3 products with you. Make and eat Ricotta on the day as well. This will be a full day course and cheese can be made using Cow, Goat or Sheep’s milk if you wish to bring your own, this will need to be pasteurized on the day. Otherwise all ingredients are all supplied. Please bring lunch to share. Call Coonara for a list of containers to store and transport your products. Thursday 9.00am - 4.00pm 17th October Cost $100



The Foothills, September October 2013 Hobby & Recreation courses

Back to Basics

Soy Candle Making for Christmas

First Aid

Saturday 9.30am - 4.00pm 16th November Cost $160

CPR Update

Saturday 9.30am - 12.00pm 16th November Cost $70

Prana Meditation

Prana (a Sanskrit word) means life force or life energy. This gentle guided meditation helps to clear stagnant energy and stress .You benefit by improved mental activity, vitality, energy, relaxation and sense of peace. This meditation technique provides tools to help manage physical pain and illness and cope better with stress. It is suitable for beginners. All you need is a willingness to experience deep relaxation and wellbeing. It is not recommended if you are pregnant or under 16 yrs. 8 weeks 6.30pm - 7.30pm 15th October - 10th December (excluding Cup Day 5th November) Cost $80 Members $90 Non Members

Morning tea with your librarian

Meet with your local librarian to chat about books, reading and all the wonderful services at your local library. Free with morning tea provided. 10.30am - 11.30am Wednesday 18th September Free

Masterchef for Kids (including Christmas cooking)

If you are 8-12 years old and have always wanted to learn to cook, this class is for you. Create yummy simple meals, slices and snacks that you can eat or take home on the day and learn the skills to be able to cook independently. The last 4 weeks will involve preparing Christmas snacks and meals. 8 weeks 4.30pm - 6.00pm 17th October – 12th December Cost $130 including ingredients Back to Basics

Supported by the Bendigo Bank FTG & Rowville Community Bank Soap Making for Christmas

Our experienced Tutor will guide you through the soap making method and will share her knowledge of possible variations, essential oils and strategies for a beautiful result. Thursday 10.00am - 12.00pm 7th November $5 Materials cost to be paid on enrolment for the class.

Many commercially made candles burn toxic smoke harmful to breathing, especially in small spaces. Burning chemical free, safe, natural soy candles can add ambiance in a healthy way to your Christmas and beyond. This practical class will teach you the methods to be able to make your own at home using safe materials that are also beautiful and smell gorgeous. They make fantastic personal Christmas gifts too! Thursday 10.00am - 12.00pm 5th December $5 Materials cost to be paid on enrolment for the class.

Making Christmas Dinner on a Budget

Create a fantastic, delicious Christmas Dinner menu on a budget that will leave you feeling inspired. These courses will provide demonstrations and a chance to taste what is cooked. You will be given information about ways you can save money when Christmas cooking without losing out on taste or portion sizes. Saturday 10.00am - 12.00pm 9th November $5 Materials cost to be paid on enrolment for the class. Coonara Community House Winner of the Australian Community Based Adult Learning Organisation of the year, 2012.

The Foothills, September October 2013


The Ticking Clock that there is a problem. If you visit your local GP, and ask for a referral to see a councilor or psychologist, they are more than happy to oblige, after you fill out a small questionnaire so they can gauge the severity of your symptoms. Throughout my sessions at counselling I learned a lot. Breathing, it’s something we all do without even thinking, but to control your breathing is something different all together. Closing your eyes and concentrating on each inhale and exhale is empowering. I call it “going to my happy place”. One technique won’t work for everyone, but it’s about finding out what works for you. Some days nothing may work, but confiding in someone, whether it be a stranger or otherwise can make all the difference. By Casey Runco Mental Health is invisible to the naked eye, and for those who don’t struggle with the ever-fluctuating serotonin levels, it can be difficult to take words like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or Depression seriously. What these people don’t realize is that serotonin controls the regulation of mood, appetite and sleep. An imbalance of serotonin can change who you are completely.

OCD is sort of like having a constant ticking clock in your brain, it’s such an annoying sound, but you can’t get rid of it without taking out the batteries. Unfortunately you can’t take the batteries out of your brain, so the persistent thoughts continue to penetrate until they override everything else. It’s not something you can cure, you simply develop coping strategies, but first you have to admit or recognize

For the readers who are struggling with mental illness there is help. I was able to find two councilors in the hills: WillungaTherapy in Tecoma, and Upwey Psychology in Upwey. I hope that other anxiety, OCD, depression sufferers can relate to this, and perhaps if they haven’t already, take action against their illness, and make a positive change in their life.


The Foothills, September October 2013

Mental Attitude If you think you can or if you think you can’t, either way you are right.” Our mental attitude to defending ourselves sets up the body for a successful outcome in a confrontation. Often we think that being compliant with an aggressor’s wishes will result in the best outcome for us, but why should we believe the word of someone undertaking a criminal act? We need to make our own decision based upon our circumstances and experience. Often we don’t consider the whole picture as the impact of crime is far more reaching than what happens to ourselves. We need to consider our families and the impact of any violence upon us will have upon them, especially if you are a parent or bread winner. Of course it is easy to quote an adage like above, and most people are unable to simply switch into a mode of self defence, but many say that this is what is required. Protecting ourselves does not necessarily mean physically. It can also mean protecting ourselves mentally from ridicule or criticism in the workplace or school yard. Practice is what helps us create this ‘switch’, practice that creates self confidence, self awareness and appropriate physical responses and positive experiences. Through regular physical and mental training, mostly through the study and practice of a martial art, self confidence grows, physical health improves and our ability to mentally cope with life becomes enjoyable. The connection between physical exercise and good mental health has long been known, it is up to us to use it. Pre-thought, pre-planned, prepared Upwey Tae Kwon Do & Self Defence 9754 2252

Coral’s Garden

Recycling in the garden A collection of pretty plates look great hung on a wall or fence, even down a post. These can be of a theme, e.g. all blue or old english roses etc. They are greatly enhanced if they are framed with a wooden picture frame. these can be painted to match the plates or left natural. Another rustic idea is to stand a piece of old fence post or sleeper in the back of a pot drill a hole near the top and insert an old tap. surround this with a collection of colourful annuals.

Coral’s garden There are lots of quirky unusual items that can be made cheaply to decorate your garden. I recently saw old kitchen appliances such as toasters, kettles, deep fryers, milk shake makers and juicers stripped down painted with bright colours and planted with succulents and orchids. there several small water wise plants that need very little soil to survive. Colanders, strainers, flour sifters, steamers can all be adapted as hanging baskets. Teapots are great objects, and can have mozaics added if they are plain. I fill up to the base of the spout with broken pieces of polystyrene, cover this with a piece of weed mat before adding soil, excess water will drain down to the bottom of the pot and can be poured out the spout. I save all polystyrene packaging and break up into the bottom of large pots to add drainage without adding extra weight to the pot. When I need a large pot, I buy a plastic tub with handles at both sides of top for easier handling. Very easy to drill holes in the bottom with a cordless drill.

A dull fence can also be brightened with a collection of old garden tools such as hand trowels etc. add some mosaics or glass cabachons to the blade. You are only limited by your imagination for these ideas, just have fun. Op shops and Garage sales are good places to source you materials, but Knox Transfer Station is a wonderland. I recently drilled holes in two lengths of poly pipe which I stood on end, over star pickets hammered into the ground. I filled these with good potting mix and compost and planted a strawberry runner in each hole. I hope this will make it very difficult for the birds to steal my strawberries, and also stop slug and snails from climbing up by smearing Vicks or Vaseline around the base. I would love to see some of your more unusual creations. Send some pictures of your creations to Happy gardening Coral

The Foothills, September October 2013

The dangers of WiFi on our children By George Neo

Recently, a school science project investigated the affect of wireless radiation on cell plant growth. The results were astounding, although not surprising in a world addicted to WiFi, mobile, and cordless telephones. And in Victoria we are being subjected to a Smart Meter rollout, and many have reported devastating symptoms in their own homes. Cress seeds planted away from wireless radiation thrived, whereas those planted near a WiFi router had not grown, and many of them were completely dead. The experiment earned the young ladies top honors in a regional science competition and caught the interest of scientists around the world. Despite thousands of studies around the world indicating the dangers of low-level wireless radiation, these results are largely ignored and often viciously suppressed by corporations, authorities, and governments, for the sake of a psychopathic agenda of obscene financial gain, surveillance and control of home energy patterns, and tracking of mobile phone users. Paradoxically, it’s the children themselves leading the way with an experiment so simple, it’s a shameful wonder that our esteemed scientific community hasn’t shown this before.

With the Information Technology revolution reaching new heights, Victoria stands on the threshold of whether to continue implementing WiFi technology in schools, interestingly, already many countries in Europe have banned this practice. In a classroom with 20-30 students, for example, there may be 21-31 sources of WiFi in a single room, like being surrounded by scores of mobile phones all transmitting at the same time!

The rationale in Australia is that low-level radiation does not have any appreciable heating affect on soft tissues, but this atrociously outdated “standard” does not account for the disruption of our body’s biolectric system that affects the immune system and penetrates the blood-brain barrier. This is, of course, all the more important in children with their smaller skulls and less than mature tissue development. If you are a concerned parent, or resident, by all means do your own research on this diabolical agenda, here’s two places to begin: Magpie House can also supply technical information. There’s a fabulous video to watch at the first link, the second under “WiFi Action Kit” has another link to

“Wi-Fi Non-Consent Form for Use in Schools”. We do implore you to take this action, and encourage others to do this also. Please do form Task Forces and Action Groups to visit your local schools and awaken and encourage them to seek alternatives, which are very simple to implement! Target Parent-Teacher nights, organise school screenings, Magpie House is very happy to supply highly informative videos on this issue. Wiring up internet in a home, or classroom, is so simple, even a child could do it! There is no need to employ specialist technicians for a task that is so easy, and we, the adults, could learn from their example. This is a tremendous opportunity to raise awareness of this and related issues before they get out of control, please do not ignore! A child, nor adult, should never place a mobile telephone near their head. But nearly all bookings to Yogaplex Yoga School now do not feature a land line, nearly 100% of the population have been addicted to the technology. Please do send an email to so that we can track progress or we can supply Non-Consent forms, and bring more information for your enlightenment and enjoyment. See for Yoga School, Alternative Cinema, Workshops and a range of quality therapists seeking to empower us to heal ourselves.



The Foothills, September October 2013

Tui Te Kiri

A reading to remember grandfather, exactly as my mother had to me; His shrunken features, his stubborn and proud Scottish nature, the smell of beer on his breath as he spoke. Then Tui paused, listened, and asked him if what he said was true, that he had suffered a “smoking disease.” Finally, Tui said that he was being dishonest, she was going to move on.

Tui Te Kiri By Julie Welsh I was pleasantly surprised when the door opened to a fresh faced, ageless young woman. This was Tui Te Kiri, psychic medium and spiritual healer. She welcomed me like an old friend, so warm and genuine that I would have blurted my life story had she not announced with a big grin and shining eyes, “Don’t tell me anything!” The Reading We sat across from each other in soft leather armchairs. Tui settled in, tucking crossed legs underneath her. Then she gave me an encouraging smile, “Ready?” She spoke to the room, inviting any spirits with a connection to me to come forward to help. A moment later, she told me that my paternal grandfather was to my left and my maternal grandmother to my right. More relatives stood behind each of them. She would speak to my grandfather first and relay what he told her. She said he showed her two children, an older girl and a younger boy. Then the numbers 7 and 4 (my daughter is 7, my son, 4). She spoke of my father and early childhood with startling accuracy and then described my

Next she would speak with my maternal grandmother. Tui described her waiting patiently for her turn to speak, hands folded in front of her, just like she used to do. She was patient by nature, my Grandma, though she was very impatient with ever having to repeat herself. So I couldn’t help but laugh and cry when Tui asked a question that had already been covered. She had stopped, and then chuckled with surprise. Apparently she’d received a feisty response. More messages were relayed, my mind felt crammed full of unbelievably accurate information. I pushed it aside to be processed later; Tui was asking if I had any questions. I didn’t want to know my future, instead I asked for help to find relatives. A name was given and a place marked on a map of Germany. I couldn’t believe it, how exciting! It’s true that the clues may amount to nothing, but imagine if they led to something! When Tui asked if there was anything else I wanted help with, I said no. This was the perfect end. I had relived my past and contemplated my present. Now I couldn’t wait to hunt down my future. Tui Te Kiri Tui was born a psychic medium. She describes her experience with spirits as being “As real as you sitting there in front of me.” She explained that she can see them, hear and smell them. Sense emotion and receive images and

information from past, present and future. Growing up, her interaction with the spiritual world was just a normal part of her life. It wasn’t until she saw how much her abilities helped others, that she truly felt gifted. “I feel so blessed,” says Tui, “I’m so grateful to people for trusting me enough to share that part of their lives. I want to help as much as I can.” It’s this deep respect for her clients and driving passion to help which has projected Tui ahead in her field. So many people have discovered peace and healing from her incredible insights and they’re all busy spreading the word. Today she is internationally renowned for her abilities in mediumship and spiritual healing and is a professional member of The Australian Psychic Association. She works worldwide through internet and Skype as well as locally from Abitza Café in Upwey. She is also currently studying under one of the worlds most highly recognized and respected psychics. But of all that, the thing that impressed me most about Tui was her empathy, the sense of old-soul wisdom and her passion to connect with people. She is determined to heal the world and prepared to do it one person at a time. The Grand Finale A note regarding Tui’s insight about a “smoking disease”… During the months leading up to my paternal grandfather’s suicide, he faked emphysema so convincingly that he had even used an oxygen tank. It wasn’t until after his death that an autopsy revealed he was healthy. He had indeed been lying. If you would like to experience a reading with Tui Te Kiri or learn more about what she does, go to or call Abitza on 9754 6850.

The Foothills, September October 2013

A flicker of hope in shadowland

It is cold here, hazy the air is thick with gloom I feel heavy and bitterness fills the hole that is my heart Unsmiling faces stare at nothing lost in their own misery Let me out of this eternal nightmare Who can help me now? Who would care? I want out of this existence NOW But what is that The likes of which I have not noticed in this place before A light By Athene Thompson From “Crossroads of Love” Book orders

The Foothills quiz

1. What is the oldest building in Upper Ferntree Gully? 2. The 1000 steps are commemorated to which famous Papua New Guinean trail? 3. Which famous cricketer was born at the Angliss Hospital in 1969? 4. Before it was named Upwey, what was the area originally known as? 5. What was the first known industry in the foothills area? Answers 1. 2. 3.

Coonara House Kokoda track Shane Warne

Reader Question sent in by Shane Godbehere - What is the name included in the “--is 40!” graffiti displayed on the train bridge above Burwood Hwy near the thousand stairs? Have you got a foothills quiz question? Email it to

4. Mast Gully 5. Timber/Sawmill Reader question answer: Peg.

“Abitza” is my dream and a perfect example of belief in self and that anything you desire is possible. - Sue Williams Cafe Chiron Healing Angelic Kinesiology Dr. Detox Footbath

56-58 Main Street, Upwey

Massage Life Coaching Psychic Development and Reiki Clairvoyant Readings

Giftware Development Circles Magnified Healing Reflexology

9754 6850



The Foothills, September October 2013

Exercising for fitness or fat loss? By Kirsten Stollery The type of exercise you should be performing depends on your goal. Is your goal to lose body fat, or to get fit? Either is fine, but it is very difficult to get both. Exercise targeted at fitness will have you doing the same things to get good at them - to be efficient. That’s what fitness is - having your body run efficiently so you can go faster, stronger, higher. Unfortunately, efficiency is the enemy of fat loss. For fat loss, you need to do exercise that is INEFFICIENT. You need to make your body work hard. This may be doing things that you’re not so good at, such as swimming, the 1000 steps, or bike riding along the foothills bike paths. It also means you need to rotate your exercise so you don’t become good at them. Once you’re good at something, your body has adapted and it is no longer burning fat - but it is getting fitter. So what is best for fat loss? 1. Lift weights Building lean muscle mass is the best way to burn fat. Lean muscle mass uses energy. The more muscle you have, the more energy you use - even when you’re sitting still. Get

some instruction in correct technique and systematically increase your weights. More muscle equals more fat burning and a more toned and shapely physique. 2. High intensity activity for short amounts of time. This means going hard for 20-30 minutes - hard enough to make you puff and pant. Make sure you change the type of exercise and the intervals. Here are some to try: Running up a short hill, walking down and running up again for 20 minutes Selecting 10 body weight exercises and doing them for 15 seconds on, 15 seconds off in rotation, then 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off, then 25 seconds on 5 seconds off. Swimming a lap of the pool hard, resting until the start of the next minute and repeating for 20 minutes. Finding a 50m straight area, such as a sports field (Kings Park, the local footy ground), and doing 50m shuttles – forwards, backwards, left side skips, right side skips, frog jumps, broad jumps. Repeat as many times as you can in 20 minutes. 3. Eat the right foods at the right time to boost your metabolism. Exercise is only part of the equation. You also need to eat the right foods at the right time. Remember, you can’t out-train a bad diet. Meals

To advertise here contact The Foothills at or call Coonara Community House on 9758 7081

should consist of a first class protein, fresh fruit and vegetables and a source of omega 3, such as fishoil or flaxseed. Cutting back on processed carbohydrates is a good first step to fat loss. Losing weight doesn’t mean spending hours on the treadmill, or jogging for an hour each night. If you’re training to run in a funrun or marathon, then yes, you have to run. If you want to lose weight, then you need to regularly change what you are doing, build lean muscle and most importantly, eat the right kinds of foods to boost your metabolism. So when you’re looking for an exercise program, first work out what you goal is and have your program tailored to you to help you reach that goal. Kirsten Stollery is a Personal Trainer, and an certified Metabolic Nutritionist and Body Transformation Specialist. She runs Being You Personal Training in Belgrave South.

The Foothills, September October 2013

Cooking on a Budget Warm chicken salad

4 Chicken Tenderloins Salt & Pepper Olive oil Rocket leaves Capsicum (roasted and peeled)* 6-8 walnuts 1 Bosc Pear ¼ cup French dressing ¼ teaspoon seeded mustard Season tenderloins with salt & pepper. Heat oil in a small frypan. Brown chicken and cook until just done. Wrap in foil to rest. Place washed rocket leaves in large bowl. Slice one piece of capsicum into strips. Chop walnuts into smaller pieces. Slice off two cheeks of the pear and thinly slice. Add capsicum, walnuts & pear to leaves. Whisk together dressing & mustard and poor over salad. Toss to coat leaves and ingredients in dressing. Slice warm chicken and add to salad. Serve immediately.

Warm chicken salad By Karen George The Knox Neighbourhood houses recently hosted a Pink Ribbon event to raise money for this very special cause. It was a Bake Off held at The Basin Community Hall. After paying $10 per entry, we were treated to pot luck dinner, with an array of crock pots filled with delicious heart warming food. These were provided by some fantastic members of our Neighbourhood house community. The “Bake Off” consisted of three cooks

representing The Basin Community House, Rowville Neighbourhood Learning Centre and Coonara Community House. Each cook had to use the theme ingredient, pear, and prepare a dish in 15 minutes. Each of the cooks prepared a savoury dish and I was Coonara’s representative. I am very pleased to say I won! Below is the recipe I cooked. Warm chicken salad Serves 2

*Capsicum can be placed in oven until it turns almost black or over naked flame on stove (turning frequently). Place in a freezer bag while still hot to sweat. When cool enough to handle, rub the capsicum while still in bag to remove most of the skin. Remove from bag and scrape with a knife to remove excess and seeds from inside. Cut into 3-4 pieces. Preserve in olive oil in air tight container. Add garlic or herbs if you wish.



The Foothills, September October 2013

Volunteer Work By Jess Steele There are many positive’s to being a volunteer, it’s a way to find a kind of fulfilment and to give new meaning to your life, to learn new skills or to build on those you already have; to make new friends, having an enjoyable, sociable experience. Once you decide to volunteer you then need to decide where you want to volunteer and what you have to offer. Ring and email places of interest, explain your intention, telling them your background, what your skills are and let them get back to you. Don’t be afraid to inquire. There are some volunteer positions that may require some skills, so ask plenty of questions and do your research. The amount of time you put into your volunteer work can be as little as once a month or a few hours a week. It’s up to you and the time you feel you want to put in. If you’re at all nervous about taking on any volunteer work you can ask if you can have a trial period of a couple of weeks to see if it works out for you. There are many places in which a person can volunteer places in our local area always looking for volunteers are:

Parks Victoria (1000 steps) They need help with: • Seed collection and plant propagation • Litter collection • Research and survey work • Guided walks • Garden bed maintenance • GPS monitoring and data collection

organisation always in need of volunteers. Just by ringing up and letting them know that you are interested and what skills you have allows them to see where they can use you and get back to you.

Just to name a few….

The nearest ones in this area are Coonara Community House in Upper Ferntree Gully (ph: 9758 7081) or Mountain District Learning Centre (ph: 9758 0903).

Parks Victoria runs a number of volunteer programs that you can get involved in. For more information phone: 13 19 63.

You can also ring places like you local opportunity shops and churches let them know that you are interested in volunteering.

Upper Ferntree Gully or Upwey Fire Brigade For the more committed volunteer with a strong sense of duty the Upper Ferntree Gully or Upwey Fire Brigade is always looking for new members. The whole of Upper Ferntree Gully is protected by the volunteer Fire Brigade. They rely on the support of volunteers to keep the brigade working effectively; all of the members are drawn from the local community.

Volunteering can also be as simple as walking dogs or going for a walk with the elderly or even sitting having a coffee with them, listening to them talk merely providing them with a little social outlet . as with some elderly they have little social outlet and just being able to sit and have coffee with someone is a great social outlet also the elderly have some great stories to tell if you have the time to listen.

If you are at all interested in joining please contact the CFA 1800 232 636.

Don’t be restricted by the stereotypes of volunteering, volunteers are everywhere, doing all sorts of things. Until you start getting out there and start volunteering you won’t know if it’s right for you.

Local Community Houses Another place to volunteer is at your local community house which is a non-profit community based

The Foothills, September October 2013

Coping with life’s raw deals courtesy vehicle. Next came denial; I was in pain but would ‘get over it with a bit of physio’. My physiotherapist recommended I do as much of my normal life as possible, so I went on with work and our holiday. Meanwhile pain ramped up to extreme.

By Sandi Wallace I write each ‘Health News’ column with the same objective - to help at least one person. This story is no exception. On the morning of 25 March, my class at the gym was a ripper and I was excited about a lovely block of writing time once I got home. After one more working day, I’d take off with my husband, Mum and Dad on an Easter getaway. Life was awesome. About three minutes from home, that changed. With a bang! I rounded a corner as a car exited a side street. The driver had failed to give way. Impact was unavoidable. Fortunately for the other driver and myself, neither required hospitalisation but in hindsight, my body (and probably the other driver’s) suffered a great trauma and I’ve experienced something akin to the five stages of grief since. Initially, adrenaline and shock allowed me to ‘get through’ what I had to: call tow truck and insurer, make police report, select car repairer and collect

After our holiday, I returned to work. My job is physical, so I tried to be careful, yet continued to be optimistic about a short-term recovery. But once my physiotherapist recommended commencing a TAC claim, it became much more real and scary. Because the other driver had merely made a terrible mistake - drugs, alcohol or excessive speed weren’t involved - anger wasn’t an emotion I had to deal with, although there were ‘why me?’ and ‘it isn’t fair’ times. Undoubtedly, though, I felt anxiety and the blues, yet not actual depression - rather than a pervasive feeling of sadness I enjoyed some light moments and was coping. Weeks/months went by. My injuries weren’t improving. I realised I felt ‘defined’ by constant pain and exhaustion and the stress of financial repercussions of the accident, if/when I would recover and my perceived impact upon my work performance. That’s when bargaining and acceptance kicked into play or awareness and control if that makes better sense. I took the advice I’ve often given my clients: ‘You can’t look after others until you look after yourself.’ I stopped worrying about letting my clients and bosses down, took leave to rest my body and completely focus on my recovery with help from my support network of husband, TAC case

officers, physiotherapist and general practitioner. If I wasn’t improving mentally, I would’ve availed myself to the counselling offered by the TAC, too. Another crucial part of taking control of a situation that had originally controlled me was my ‘physio homework’ regime. I decided I was responsible for making myself better, with the help of my health professionals. Except for when pain prohibited it, I’d complete my stretches and strengthening exercises, so my physiotherapist could focus more upon releasing the pain. This approach has definitely aided progress and while I’m still a long way from full recovery, over four months after my accident I’ll finally return to my full work schedule, albeit in a limited capacity. I hope you take from this story that we have a range of normal emotional reactions to stressful events. A ‘team’ of people will aide our recovery, including family, friends and health professionals, but most crucially ourselves, as we need to recover a sense of control and optimism and take small steps forward. Recognising what we feel, and talking about it, helps. Sometimes we need professional treatment to heal mentally. If we identify the signs of ongoing blues, anxiety or depression (or the people close to us suggest we may be suffering from these) we must seek help. One of the best aspects of being a personal trainer and writer is that I can turn the ‘raw deals’ I experience into positives. My rough times make me a better trainer and person. I learn from them and share what I’ve learned to help others. I hope this story helps someone.



The Foothills, September October 2013

Ferntree Gully and Rowville Community BankÂŽ Branches

Back to Basics

Cleaning with white vinegar of white distilled vinegar inside the empty machine and running it through a whole cycle. Do monthly. For cloudy glassware, soak paper towels or a cloth in full-strength white distilled vinegar and wrap around the inside and outside of the glass. Let sit awhile before rinsing clean.

White distilled vinegar is a popular household cleanser, effective for killing most mold, bacteria, and germs, due to its level of acidity. Cleaning with white distilled vinegar is a smart way to avoid using harsh chemicals. You’ll also be glad to know that it is environmentally friendly and very economical. To shine chrome sink fixtures that have a lime buildup, use a paste made of 2 tablespoons salt and 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar. Make your own scouring cleanser by combining 1/4 cup baking soda with 1 tablespoon liquid detergent. Add just enough white distilled vinegar to give it a thick but creamy texture. Clean counter tops and make them smell sweet again with a cloth soaked in undiluted white distilled vinegar. Clean and deodorize a drain by pouring in 1 cup baking soda, then one cup hot white distilled vinegar.

Let this sit for 5 minutes or so, then run hot water down the drain. Clean the microwave by mixing 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar and 1/2 cup water in a microwave-safe bowl. Bring it to a rolling boil inside the microwave. Baked-on food will be loosened, and odors will disappear. Wipe clean. Clean the shelves and walls of the refrigerator with a half-and-half solution of water and white distilled vinegar. Cut the grime on the top of the refrigerator with a paper towel or cloth and full-strength white distilled vinegar. To clean a grease splattered oven door window, saturate it with fullstrength white distilled vinegar. Keep the door open for 10 to 15 minutes before wiping with a sponge. Remove soap buildup and odors from the dishwasher by pouring a cup

Get rid of lime deposits in a tea kettle by adding 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar to the water and letting it sit overnight. If more drastic action is needed, boil full-strength white distilled vinegar in the kettle a few minutes, let cool and rinse with plain water. Remove stains from coffee and teacups by scrubbing them gently with equal parts of salt (or baking soda) and white distilled vinegar. Rinse clean. For stained and smelly plastic food containers, wipe them with a cloth dampened with white distilled vinegar. Remove odors from a lunch box by placing inside a slice of bread that has been soaked in white distilled vinegar. Leave overnight. Remove dark stains on an aluminum pot by boiling a mixture of 1 cup white distilled vinegar and 1 cup hot water. Discourage ants by spraying undiluted white distilled vinegar outside doorways and windowsills, around appliances and wherever you find the pests coming in.

The Foothills, September October 2013


Upper Ferntree Gully —a great place to live By Cr Karin Orpen (Knox Mayor) Many readers of Foothills will know me from when I was a Councillor previously. First elected to Knox Council in 1990, I’m now into my 7th term, and enjoying the challenges as Mayor again for the third time. And I’ve got to say—I’ve never felt better about being a local representative than right now. The four years I had away from Council—2008 to 2012—gave me two great opportunities. Firstly, I got the chance to fulfil our dream of moving to Upper Ferntree Gully. We love it here in the beautiful foothills of our glorious Dandenong Ranges. We were amazed recently to see four deer grazing across the road and continue to marvel at our glorious native birds, particularly the kookaburras who serenade us nightly. The other thing I got to do was get a different perspective. Listening to Council meetings from the public gallery, and keeping in touch with what was happening was a great experience that’s fuelled me to get us

all moving ahead like never before. What’s coming up? We’ve got a few exciting activities coming up for Upper Gully and Ferntree Gully residents, thanks to the passing of our Budget in the last couple of months. We will be initiating a Place Program in Upper Ferntree Gully which will include a range of initiatives for this wonderful part of our city, including: The Upper Ferntree Gully Neighbourhood Activity Centre Streetscape Masterplan will see us make improvements that give a lift to the area, and a boost for both traders and shoppers.

Plan there. Currently, the Village does not have a Structure Plan but has some interim controls in place that help us manage development and change in the local area. Having a Structure Plan will give us a much clearer direction. There’s more information about this project right here on our website: We’ve started looking at how to refurbish the iconic sign that welcomes everyone to Ferntree Gully and the ‘Blue Dandenongs’ too but need to first talk with VicRoads about what’s allowed in that space. I know a lot of people will share my keenness to see that sign refreshed. Stay in touch.

A structure plan for Upper Ferntree Gully has won funding, so early in the new year we will start talking with you about what’s best for the area and what’s not. It’s a planning document to guide future development in Upper Gully, but definitely something that you will have a say in.

Most importantly, I want to stay in touch with you about these activities, and especially what matters to you most. Stay in touch and stay tuned for more news about Dobson Ward. You can also contact me by going to this page on our website:

And in Ferntree Gully Village, we’re about to release the Draft Structure

Cr Karin Orpen Knox Mayor

Building Education Revolution Four challenging years on from the Government’s Building Education Revolution to provide new and refurbished infrastructure; Upper Ferntree Gully Primary School officially opened their completed building works on August 1st 2013 with the help of Federal Member for Latrobe Laura Smyth. As School Council President, Gary Moule noted in his speech, “ We had a bumpy process with many obstacles, and it seemed at times that it all might fall through, but the promises were kept and we are very thankful to have a wonderful building, probably better than we might have had otherwise.”

For Tate in Grade 5, the new Grade 5/6 learning centre is already having a positive impact, “It’s really light, the middle space is good for the grades when they work together and it’s by itself so there is no noise or disruptions” According to the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, the Australian Government has spent $16.2 billion to help improve school facilities across Australia. Around 23,600 different projects have been funded for around 9,500 schools. Principal Peta Evans summed up that it had been “…a long journey and

at times very challenging and with the assistance and past leadership of Mrs Carolyn Macaulay, Mr Mark Smith and Mrs Tammy Young in their respective roles of Assistant Principal and School Council Presidents, as well Mrs Judy Drew Assistant Principal last year who along with School Council this year to help create a building and learning space reflecting our vision” As always it is the School, the children and teachers who will benefit from this new learning centre. Aidan in Grade 5 summed up the new building best, “It’s good, as it has lots of space with 4 different rooms so we can do more games and activities”


The Foothills, September October 2013

The foothills september october edition hr  

The Foothills, published through Coonara Community House in Upper Ferntree Gully, provides information on environmental projects, local pers...