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By 17 April 2024April 20th, 2024No Comments

Latest News

We are sure you will agree that waiting around to get the good stuff has got knobs on it.  This post will give you an early glimpse of some of the articles we will be including in the next two-monthly edition of the newspaper.

We will continually refresh this post as we receive new contributions.

If you have a burning issue that you want to tell the world about, please sit down and start writing now.  When we receive it, we will immediately consider it for publication here and also later in the newspaper.  If you have any comments on articles published here, please email us at

Top Image by Alexa from Pixabay

*Recent Posts Tuesday 20 April 2024

The Tragic Tale of Two Trees

Carmel McNaught and Franklin Rosenfeldt

Canopy trees are vital, now more than ever, for the physical, mental and economic health of our community. Melbourne’s tree canopy is decreasing, even in our leafy Eastern suburbs. In this article we present two cases that illustrate the inadequacy of existing processes, laws and penalties for demolition of significant trees in residential areas.

The first case is the removal of an old eucalypt without Council approval, illustrating the inadequacies of existing fines for such unauthorised activity. In the second case, the removal of a 175-year-old, heritage-listed native Bunya Pine, Council approval existed but the entire process was shrouded in secrecy, illustrating the need for greater transparency in approval for cutting trees.

An old eucalypt in Balwyn North

Case 1 involves a substantial eucalyptus tree in Balwyn North, with a base 1.2 metres in diameter. Boroondara Council had given permission for pruning but NOT demolition. Nevertheless, the tree was demolished during the Christmas break in late 2023, presumably in the hope that the fall of this giant would not be noticed! At the same time, several large gumtrees were cut down in the rear of the property, again without council approval.

Fines for unapproved tree removal are low. Boroondara Council’s maximum penalty is a few thousand dollars, a trivial item in the budget of a property developer. Several local residents have formed a group (Protect Our Boroondara Parks and Trees, POBPT) and liaised with Council about this unapproved tree demolition, and other similar instances in the past.

We are pleased that Council has decided to prosecute the owners and contractor involved in this case in the Magistrates Court. In addition, a process to update the Tree Protection Local Law is underway. These are positive indications of action but will take time and may not be stringent enough to deter property developers. We have also approached State Members of Parliament and received acknowledgement that this is an issue to be addressed. But the clock is ticking – climate change is increasing, and we cannot afford a leisurely debate and small incremental adjustments.

A heritage listed Bunya Pine in Kew

Case 2 centres on a 175-year-old, heritage-listed, healthy Bunya Pine tree that was a highly visible and impressive icon in Kew. Bunya Pines can live to 600 years of age and are important to indigenous Australian culture. They are also threatened in northern areas of Australia by dieback through phytophthora, a fungal-like mould in the soil. Demolishing a healthy specimen is especially obnoxious.

One aspect of this tragedy is that Boroondara Council gave approval for the demolition. However, there was no consultation with the local community, and no formal reason given for the demolition approval. When POBPT learned that the demolition was to proceed, a member appealed to the Council’s CEO to delay the demolition but to no avail. On the day of the demolition a group of 50 residents tried to intervene but were pushed back by police. The demolition proceeded and was reported on Channel Seven News that night. This episode’s secretive approval process is now to be reviewed by Council.

The message from this case is that it is time to have clear arboreal assessments of any request for cutting down a significant tree, with all documentation being made available for open community consultation. Only then can trust in local Council decisions be rebuilt. Our small band of POBPT members will continue investigating tree removals and campaigning for more appropriate processes and legal consequences for those who wish to remove significant trees in our community.

Bio notes

The authors are both retired professors who want to transfer the skills we learnt in our academic careers into campaigns that support the local community in which we live. We are POBPT members.

Letter to the editor:

A call to stop the destructive tree-removal practice of moonscaping

The City of Manningham, like all local Councils have policies and regulations covering the protection of trees on private land. In Victoria, permission in the form of permits is usually required for removing trees that have a trunk diameter of more than 50cm at breast height, or mature Australian native trees, or trees located within a heritage overlay, vegetation protection overlay, or significant landscape overlay.

However, such policies and regulations do little to discourage the practice of ‘moonscaping’ whereby developers of blocks will remove all vegetation prior to commencing construction. This has seen the removal of thousands of canopy trees at a time when the earth can least afford it and our climate needs more, not fewer trees.

Behind my back fence and just half a kilometre down the road from where I live, two combined blocks are being cleared as I write. Why, I ask, can the developer have permission to remove the many mature trees on the two blocks, especially those on the perimeter of the property even though they are unlikely to impede the plans for new homes?

Regulations need to be strengthened and properly administered to stop such wholesale removal of mature trees. More education is also needed to convince home builders of the amazing benefits, be they environmental, economic or aesthetic, that these trees will bring to their new homes and our environment.

Cynthia Pilli

*Recent Posts Thursday 18 April 2024

Vermont Reserve Redevelopment

The redeveloped and extended Vermont Reserve oval was officially opened on Monday 15 April, after seven months of work and an investment of $2.1m. Whitehorse Councillors and staff were in attendance at the opening, along with officials from Vermont Football Club, Vermont Eagles Junior Football Club, Vermont Cricket Club and Vermont Primary School. The ground renewal project included a $340,000 contribution from the State Government.

The ground redevelopment included:

  • An extension of the sporting field of 5 metres in length and adjustments to width, increasing the sports field area from 13,270m2 to 13,800m2.
  • Safety netting behind both goals to improve protection of the play space and cars from footballs and cricket balls.
  • A concrete perimeter footpath to allow for improved useability of the reserve, providing the option for perimeter walkers/runners to stay off the grass.
  • Perimeter synthetic grass around the western boundary line to maintain a viable surface in a high use area for the winter season.
  • Extended synthetic cricket wicket run ups to reduce ongoing maintenance costs.

The ground was last updated over 30 years ago. Since then, the surface had not been maintained to satisfactory conditions, due to increased usage. It was closed for training and matches for several weeks during last season. Vermont Reserve was the smallest and narrowest oval out of all of the premier sporting fields in Whitehorse prior to the redevelopment.

The renewal has now maximised the area working within the perimeters of carparks, pavilion, cricket nets, playground and boundaries and now compares favourably to other nearby sporting fields. It is home to over 700 senior and junior players from the Vermont Football Netball Club and over 300 players from the Vermont Cricket Club. The oval and open space is also used by the 765 students from Vermont Primary School, as well as many community members who casually use the ground.

Thank you to Steven Bolt from Evergreen Turf who delivered the oval upgrade project and to Justin Quinn, Sportsfields Coordinator from Whitehorse Council, who managed the project from start to finish. Thanks also to Whitehorse Councillor, Prue Cutts, for all her support pushing and promoting the redevelopment over the past 18 months.






Representatives from the City of Whitehorse with members of the Vermont Football Netball Club, Vermont Cricket Club and Vermont Primary School.

Make sure your voice is heard in the State Government’s ‘Plan for Victoria’

Eastern Region Group of Councils

Home is where the heart is – and there is nothing more important than making sure all levels of government plan carefully for our increasing population and where they will live.

In late 2023 the State Government announced a Housing Statement with far-ranging reforms to planning processes and local government roles and the development of a new Plan for Victoria. Engagement has commenced on the Plan and closes at the end of June.

Knox, Maroondah, Manningham, Whitehorse and Yarra Ranges are joining forces under the to make sure their communities voices are heard during these consultations. ERG Chair, Knox Mayor Councillor Jude Dwight said the State Government aims to deliver 800,000 new homes over a decade, mainly in existing urban areas. In the Eastern Region alone, our population may grow by half a million residents over 30 years.

‘Growth will put pressure on our transport infrastructure, open spaces, schools, and health and community services. We need to work with the State Government to keep pace with their planned rate of growth and make sure negative impacts are avoided‘.

Cr Dwight said, ‘The potential impacts of a Plan for Victoria on the region are significant. To strengthen our collective voice, the ERG engaged SGS Economics & Planning to provide advice and identify where we should prioritise our efforts to balance the impacts of growth with the things our communities value. This will form part of the ERG councils’ submissions to A Plan for Victoria’.

As a region, the ERG has identified four priorities it wants to see addressed in the State’s Plan for Victoria:

  • Community access and productivity: increase sustainable transport options and reduce car dependency through bus and train network improvements.
  • Infrastructure to support growth: fund and deliver drainage, recreation, social and community infrastructure to support sustainable growth and protect amenity and environmental values.
  • Our natural assets: maintain and improve quality open space and our urban tree canopy to build climate and community resilience.
  • Managing housing growth: leverage major projects and local council expertise to deliver diverse and affordable housing in areas with access to services that are not exposed to flood and climate risk.

‘Our region is very diverse, from the urban areas of Doncaster and Box Hill to the wineries and agricultural land in the Yarra Ranges. That diversity, combined with significant investment in major infrastructure projects, presents opportunities to leverage and improve the liveability for our current and future communities.  ‘We are asking for your partnership and support.

You have the opportunity to help shape the future of our region. Please add your voice so that the Plan for Victoria reflects the views and needs of our region and help to create the communities we all want to be a part of. A Plan for Victoria is now open for you to have your say here:

Line Dancing at Balwyn Evergreen Centre

Diane Falzon

Balwyn Evergreen Centre is a community centre dedicated to ensuring that older individuals stay active, healthy and socially connected. The Centre is launching a new line dancing class aimed at promoting fitness, community, and joy through dance.

Line dancing is a fantastic way for both men and women to stay active while enjoying the camaraderie of a group activity. Led by experienced instructor Joanne Campbell, the class will commence on 1 May and continue every fortnight thereafter. Each class will run for one hour from 11:30am to 12:30pm.

Joanne Campbell, the performing arts teacher behind the program, and also an Evergreen volunteer, says, ‘Line dancing is not just about moving your feet; it’s about connecting with others, enjoying great music, and improving overall wellbeing, coordination, balance, cognitive function and fitness. I can’t wait to share the joy of dance with everyone at Balwyn Evergreen Centre.’

Tina Hogarth-Clarke, CEO Balwyn Evergreen Centre, emphasised the importance of introducing activities like line dancing to the community. ‘We believe in providing opportunities for our clients to stay physically and mentally active, while fostering a sense of belonging. Line dancing perfectly aligns with our mission of promoting holistic wellbeing and social inclusion. It’s an opportunity to laugh, move, and connect with others in a way that lifts the spirit and for our clients to simply have fun.’

For new student, Audrey, 88, this will be her first lesson in line dancing, and she simply cannot wait. ‘I fondly recall my brief encounter with line dancing over 25 years ago, a moment that left me captivated and intrigued. I look forward to stretching my legs, enjoying some brain-boosting fun, and immersing myself in the diverse melodies that I adore. I love all sorts of music and the opportunity to meet new friendly faces along the way.’

The benefits of line dancing extend far beyond just exercise. It provides a platform for social interaction, reducing feelings of loneliness and isolation, especially in older adults. The rhythmic movements and uplifting music also contribute to stress reduction and overall mental wellbeing.

To encourage participation, Balwyn Evergreen Centre is offering the first class for free. Subsequent sessions are priced at $15 for those approved under the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) and $19 for non-assessed individuals. There are no up-front term fees; Evergreen runs on a simple pay-as-you-go system, ensuring accessibility for all interested participants.

Don’t miss this opportunity to pull on your cowboy boots, meet new friends, and reap the benefits of line dancing at Balwyn Evergreen Centre. Join us on 1 May to kick off this exciting new journey towards health and happiness.

For more information or to register, visit


From left to right: Audrey Eastgate, Joan Burnside and Fran Toussaint

*Recent Posts Tuesday 16 April 2024

North Box Hill Tennis Club: a club for all abilities and ages

Lynn Heath

North Box Hill Tennis Club is a friendly club catering for players of all levels for social or competition play. The club has six porous courts with four under lights.  We embrace diversity and welcome people from all backgrounds and cultures.

The club’s setting in the beautiful surrounds of Frank Sedgman Reserve is perfect, with no traffic noise to distract classes. Plenty of free parking, plus a comfortable clubhouse with a wide verandah, make it enjoyable for parents, too.

The clubhouse provides disabled access and facilities. A playground is nearby. There is even a convenient bus stop in Station Street that leads to a path that follows the freeway reserve to the club, just a very short walk.

The club offers social tennis at various times plus night and weekend competitions. The club’s coach, Ian Peter-Budge, encourages and nurtures his students of all abilities and ages.

North Box Hill Tennis Club’s juniors featured in the finals of the ESTA junior competition on 23 and 24 March. Five teams played overall, with four reaching finals. Open Rubbers Section 29 won their grand final in a nail-biting match, where a 7/5 win in the opening doubles and a tie-break in the final singles rubber decided the outcome.

Take the time to visit us at 24 Elizabeth Street, Box Hill North. It’s a lovely family friendly environment where everyone is welcome. Also, check us out at The club president, Dallas Newton can be contacted on 0401 990 013 and the secretary, Mark Langdon on 0419 560 506.

Lynn Heath is Past-President and Life Member North Box Hill Tennis Club

* Recent Posts Tuesday 11 April

Victoria’s Housing Crisis and ‘Future Homes’

David Berry

The current housing crisis is adversely affecting renters, prospective first home buyers and socially disadvantaged people with many causes identified.

A recent Victorian Government initiative, ‘Future Homes’, encourages developers to build more medium-density 3-storey apartments in Melbourne. The developers must utilize government-generated plans, fees are reduced, planning approvals are fast-tracked, councils lose planning controls and the community appeal process at VCAT is curtailed.

‘Future Homes’ applies across Victoria and permit applications can be made in a General Residential Zone (GRZ) if the site is within 800 metres of a passenger train station or an activity centre.

Heritage Overlay or Neighbourhood Character Overlay areas are ineligible. Development sites that require a permit under Environmental Significance, Significant Landscape, or Design and Development Overlays are eligible, but designs need to respond to the requirements of the overlay. For example, in the City of Whitehorse the eligible suburbs for ‘Future Homes’ development include large swathes of Mont Albert North, Box Hill North, Blackburn North, Nunawading, Mitcham, Blackburn South, Forest Hill, Burwood East and Bennettswood.

Design requirements

The 3-storey apartment designs including three requirements relevant to open space, trees/vegetation, and access to natural light:

  • Gardens: Generous landscaped areas and canopy trees and room for deep soil planting
  • Communal open space: Generous, accessible and a nice space for residents to foster a sense of community
  • Solar access to communal open space: communal open space that is not significantly overshadowed and receives sunlight

Please note the qualitative descriptors used in these requirements including ‘generous’, ‘accessible’, ‘nice’, ‘not significantly overshadowed’ and ‘receives sunlight’.

Tree canopy and deep soil requirements

In the Victorian Council Planning Schemes, Table 4 of Section 53.24-6.3 highlights the tree canopy cover and deep soil requirements for these apartments. For sites between 1,001 and 1,500 square metres, which is a standard two-lot consolidation, there must be 50 square metres of canopy cover plus 20% of the site area above 1,000 metres and include at least one tree that has a height of 8 plus metres at maturity and minimum canopy diameter at maturity of 8 metres. The site must contain deep soil for 7.5% of site area.

For example, a lot size of 1,200 square metres requires 90 square metres of canopy area and at least one medium 8-metre-high tree with a minimum canopy diameter of 8 metres. There must be provision for 90 square metres of deep soil on the 1,200 square metre site. The remaining 85 to 90+% of the site area is presumably built form and hard surfaces.

Who will benefit from these changes?

There is a housing crisis, but this initiative will only profit developers and do little to aid people currently excluded from home ownership. What will be achieved is the rapid deterioration of local liveability, sustainability, and neighbourhood character.

Community consultation and local government powers over planning matters will be emasculated and third-party rights to object at VCAT abolished. Also under threat are existing Council policies and strategies relating to liveability, and the natural landscape including Open Space policies, Urban Forest Strategies, and other local tree/vegetation controls.

In conclusion, a question for our State Parliamentarians: What strategies have been implemented to provide a matching increase in public open space to allow residents some respite from these proposed compromised living conditions?



David Berry is member of the Blackburn and District Tree Preservation Society Inc Committee.  To find out more about the Society and their work, please click here:

Putting the ‘Nature’ into Nature Strips

David Berry

Melbourne’s ‘liveability’ is under threat due to the recent ‘Future Homes’ state government legislation which fast-tracks higher density apartment development with dilution of local council planning controls.

Other factors threatening neighbourhood character include an accelerated loss of tree canopy in the suburbs, deficiencies in tree control regulation on private land and loss/occupation of open space due to major infrastructure projects including level crossing removals, North East Link and the Suburban Rail Loop.

Declining open space

These urban pressures will mean a decrease in viable and accessible open space per person in metropolitan Melbourne. Apart from our existing parks, what other open spaces could be planted out with trees and vegetation to produce habitat, plant diversity and biolinks (linkages between parks and open spaces) to help improve the natural character of our neighbourhoods?

The answer is the suburban nature strip and there are thousands of kilometres of nature strips in metropolitan Melbourne.

A nature strip is defined as an area of public land between a road and adjacent owned land but does not include the shoulder of the road or a bicycle path, footpath, or shared path. Nature strips are owned and regulated by local councils but maintained by adjacent landowners.

Most commonly, nature strips are planted out with grass that requires regular mowing. A single street tree may be the only ‘nod’ to biodiversity.

Planting your nature strip

Metropolitan councils manage the street tree programs and have guidelines and permit systems in place to facilitate nature strip plantings. Go to your local government website to find the permit application guidelines for your council.

There are many things a local government authority could do to encourage such plantings. These include creating a network of urban biolinks; establishing an education program coupled with revised planting permit requirements to make it easier for residents to opt into planting their nature strip; and initiating a ‘Nature Strips for Wildlife’ program.

Inducements for residents to plant out their nature strips could include free assessments, advice, and provision of plant vouchers; and annual nature strip sustainability awards for the ‘best established’ and ‘best newly planted’ nature strips. Councils could offer one-off rate reductions for residents who apply to have a street tree planted on their nature strip where no tree currently exists.  They could also offer ongoing rate reductions for nature strips that have been planted out  rate reductions for nature strips containing two or more suitable street trees.

Benefits of nature strip planting

Planting out Melbourne’s nature strips will promote a healthy urban ecology and deliver so many benefits including providing habitat, shade, decreasing ambient temperatures, producing oxygen, removing CO2, saving water, storing carbon, producing less run-off after heavy rain, reducing the ‘heat island’ effect and improving neighbourhood character.

And research clearly demonstrates that greening our streetscapes improves the physical, mental, and economic well-being of residents and passers-by. An added bonus is the traffic-calming effect it has on motorists.

David Berry is member of the Blackburn and District Tree Preservation Society Inc Committee. To find out more about the Society and their work, please click here:

The Blackburn and District Environment Protection Fund

The Blackburn and District Environment Protection Fund, created in 2008, has tax-deductibility status and is sponsored and managed by the Blackburn and District Tree Preservation Society Inc.

The environmental grants program is permanently open to provide financial support for eligible environmental projects within, and linked to, the City of Whitehorse.

The Fund recently approved a $500 small environmental grant to the newly formed Friends of Wurundjeri Walk as ‘start up’ funding to cover initial costs for the group to organise park activities including park clean-ups, weeding, mulching, and planting working-bees and environmental monitoring.

Recently the Fund committed a $750 donation supporting the ‘Save Lake Knox’ campaign at VCAT and is working with Melbourne Water to support indigenous plant purchases for properties abutting the ‘Pipe-Track’ link in Nunawading.

Earlier in 2023 the Fund acted as a conduit for tax-deductible donations from members and the community to help support VCAT campaigns for contentious residential development applications in Blackburn and Mitcham.

In October 2022 environmental grants totalling over $2,000 were awarded to five community organisations for planting and associated activities and all have been completed satisfactorily as of November 2023.

The Fund committee aims to allocate up to $3,000 annually for worthy environmental programs and campaigns within and beyond the City of Whitehorse.

For further details on the application process please contact David Berry via email:

Tree Society Members and Friends can directly support these worthy activities by donating directly to the Fund on-line via .

* Recent Posts Tuesday 9 April

Education CHANCES Scholarship Program

The Education CHANCES Scholarship Program provides financial assistance to students aged 12 to 25 who live or study in Boroondara and whose families are experiencing financial hardship.

The Need for Education CHANCES

In Boroondara, 4000 plus young people live below the poverty line. It is essential that these young people be given every opportunity to maximise their potential, achieve their educational goals and fulfil their ambitions.

Although Boroondara is one of the wealthiest municipalities in Victoria, it contains many neighbourhoods with pockets of poverty, in which a high proportion of young people aged 0 to 25 live in households whose income is below the poverty line.

If you are a financially disadvantaged young person attending school in Boroondara, the social divide is clearly visible. It is harder for young people from financially disadvantaged homes to achieve educationally, due to limited resources: inability to buy textbooks, computer supplies and meet the costs of camps and excursions. These situations can restrict the young person’s ability to participate in extracurricular, social, or cultural activities, which may lead to social isolation and adversely affect their educational achievements.

Scholarship Applications

Education CHANCES supports qualifying students year on year throughout their secondary and tertiary education, providing long term financial security towards completion of their studies and the pursuit of a meaningful career.

An Education CHANCES scholar receives financial support which can be used to provide school essentials; including textbooks, MYKI cards, computers, IT costs, uniform costs, participation in extracurricular school activities (school sport, outings, events, music lessons, excursions, camps and leadership activities).

Approximately 100 to 130 scholarships are awarded each year. For information about applying for a scholarship, go here.

Contribute to Education CHANCES

Members of the Boroondara community are invited to our inaugural, online, community engagement and fundraising event to be held on Tuesday 7 May. For any questions about Education CHANCES and our work, please contact Sue Felton, Philanthropy & Partnerships Manager at or call 0447 800 612 or go to their website at

Post Marshmead reflections

Ivy Sheen

In the March 2024 edition of Eastsider News, Year 9 student at Methodist Ladies College wrote about her feelings as she headed off to spend several weeks at Marshmead, the school’s regional campus bordering the Croajingolong National Park in far East Gippsland. Here, back in Melbourne, Ivy reflects on the experience.

Life in the suburbs was all I knew – not just a setting but a background to nearly all my significant childhood memories. But at Marshmead, my dreams of work in environmental policy were forged into something I now felt was attainable.

The sudden abundance of natural space and wildlife at Marshmead after years of suburban life felt like it was encroaching upon my carefully constructed set of rigid values – the pent-up stringency I’ve come to embrace as my ‘comfort zone’. In nature, the weather can’t be directed, only predicted. The environment cannot bend to my will – unable to provide the scaffolding that I was confident would allow me to step up into the idealized world of my aspirations. The roles were reversed – nature reigned. Marshmead was a river I had to cross, and I was at the mercy of factors outside of my control.

Upon return, the paradigms have shifted… as they say. Small things I’ve picked up during this time: crumbs of the books I’ve devoured, slivers of inspiration from the documentaries we’ve watched, insights of life I’ve gained enroute; things I’ve noticed with my eyes and ears, have all taught me invaluable lessons. Nature follows its own system; it forces you to let go of your shallow ego and pay attention to something much, much bigger than yourself.

I now know, for example, that love isn’t necessarily an innate concept – in order to fight for or protect anything, you must first learn to love it. Marshmead has done for me something immeasurably valuable. It has solidified my love for the natural world, shown me the devastating effects of our consumerist system on the planet, and compelled me to step up, not only for nature, but for humanity.

I’m truly thankful to all the dedicated Marshmead staff for this transformative experience. I’ve cherished the natural wonders, and plan to pursue these interests back at home.

Postscript: Ivy learned to ride a bike at Marshmead and has started a bike riding club with friends around the Kew area. The  ink drawing below was created by Ivy.

* Recent Posts Saturday 6 April

Australia’s Biggest Stair Climb: A Fundraiser to Support Autism

On Sunday 28 April, Melbourne’s iconic Australia 108 skyscraper will welcome hundreds of people set to climb 1700 stairs as part of the Australia 108 Stair Challenge. The climb is open to anyone aged 8 and above, including all fitness levels; run, walk, or crawl your way to the top! This is an awesome physical challenge, rewarded by incredible 360-degree views of Melbourne from the 96th floor. Even better, every step you take will help autistic children and adults.

By participating in the climb, you’ll be helping Giant Steps Melbourne provide crucial support to autistic individuals and their families. Giant Steps is a registered charity operating an F-12 school, adult program, mental health clinic and vacation care services. Giant Steps accepts autistic students and adult participants from across Melbourne and does not charge fees.

Whether you’re just starting out on your fitness journey, a seasoned athlete looking for a new challenge, in search of a great family friendly activity, or someone committed to making a difference in the community, this event is for you.

96 levels, 1700 stairs, 317 metres of vertical height – we dare you! Scale Australia’s tallest building this April.

Participants of all ages and fitness levels are welcome and can register as individuals or join as part of a team. By participating in this event, you are helping to create a more inclusive and understanding community for individuals on the autism spectrum.

Registration for the Australia 108 Stair Challenge is now open, please visit for more information and to sign up.

* Recent posts Wednesday 3 April

Kooyong Town Hall – Q+A with Senator David Pocock

At her next Kooyong Town Hall meeting on Wednesday 17 April at 6pm, the Federal Member for Kooyong, Monique Ryan will be joined by Senator David Pocock to discuss how to clean up politics in this country.  Go here to find out more.

To register for this free event, go here.

* Recent Posts Tuesday 2 April

Rotary Hawthorn’s first Service to Seniors Award winner – Margot Boyle

Dorothy Gilmour, Rotary Hawthorn

Rotary Hawthorn has created an Annual Award recognising the contribution of a person who has given outstanding service in a voluntary capacity to older members of our Boroondara community. Last month, we were thrilled to present Margot Boyle as the recipient of the inaugural Rotary Hawthorn Service to Senior’s Award.

In presenting the award, President Elect Dorothy Gilmour Dorothy thanked Margot for being so selfless and for making a tangible difference to so many lives in the 21 organisations she had volunteered. Dorothy said Margot was ‘… the epitome of excellence in volunteering. You have shown yourself to have the biggest heart of love and compassion for people.  You strive towards making a difference.  Your passion, energy and sense of humour is unparalleled. We respect your spirit of volunteerism immensely.’

Gerard Mansour, the former Commissioner for the Aged and President of Wintringham presented a trophy to Margot. She responded in her own inimitable way by involving the whole room in an unexpected but delightful sing-along before thanking the club for the recognition.

Margot’s fun sing-along was ‘Fish and Chips and Vinegar’, a fun camp song for kids with rounds. Also known by its silly lyrics ‘one bottle of pop’ and ‘don’t throw your junk in my backyard’, everyone joined in and had fun taking turns and singing and laughing with this round song.

Cr Lisa Hollingsworth, Mayor Boroondara was also a guest of the club and spoke of Boorondara’s ongoing work and respect for the aged in its community.

Photo from top left, President Elect Dorothy Gilmour; President Doug McLean; Mayor of Boroondara, Lisa Hollingsworth, and the recipient of the Service to Seniors award, Margot Boyle.

Book review: A Brief History of the Earth’s Climate- Everyone’s Guide to the Science of Climate Change

Barbara Fraser

Steven Earle’s climate book is a perfect beauty: A Brief History of the Earth’s Climate- Everyone’s Guide to the Science of Climate Change. Published in Canada in 2021, 189pp. Invitingly titled, it is truly one for everyone to read because it is science-based and easily understandable.

Earle’s rationale is crystal clear. ‘It is no exaggeration to call anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change the most serious problem that humans ever faced’, (p. xvi). Yes, the current climate crisis is affecting everything and everybody. So, we must all cooperate immediately to transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy and restore the devastated natural environment.

He suggests specific actions we should all take such as avoiding flying, using green-sourced electricity, not eating methane-causing beef, and ending most land-clearing. I would add discussion with others in one of your groups. For example, one of my discussion groups is the retirement village where I live.

It is important that we all to keep up to date about recent worrying climate aspects. One is the scandal of ineffective Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) in our Safeguard Mechanism scheme. And another is the massive energy waste in the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Stay tuned for the latest from experts on both.

* Recent Posts Monday 1 April

Happy 100th birthday, Mr Max Carland

On 31 March 2024, Mr Max Carland, a World War II Veteran and Kew resident, celebrated his 100th birthday. His family marked this magnificent achievement with a small party at his daughter, Lisa’s home. His son travelled from Western Australia to be with him on this special occasion

Max was born in Nhill and lived there until he and his wife Loris moved to Kew in 2022 to be closer to their family. From an early age, he had a fascination with and love of planes. He enjoyed spending time building and flying model gliders. He was involved in the local aerodrome and fondly recalls Sir Charles Kingsford Smith landing at Nhill in the 1930’s to refuel on route to somewhere else.

He enlisted with the Royal Australian Air Force at the age of 18, giving him the opportunity to serve his country and to further pursue his love of planes. He did basic training at Somers and learnt to fly Tiger Moths in Benalla. He then converted to Wirraways in Deniliquin and finally trained on Kittyhawks in Mildura. He achieved the rank of Flying Officer and was part of No. 76 Squadron, based on Noemfoor Island off the coast of New Guinea, as well as Borneo and the Philippines.

Immediately the war ended, Max joined the British Commonwealth Occupation Force in Japan. He converted to flying Mustangs, a ‘pure joy to fly’, and patrolled the west coast for illegal ships. After 3 years, Max returned to Australia and joined the family timber and hardware business.

Mr Carland now lives with Loris in an aged care facility. While deteriorating eyesight has affected his capacity to read, he keeps up to date by reading the newspaper every day. He enjoys going on the outings with the aged care facility and he especially enjoys lunch at the Box Hill RSL Club.

Thank you to the Newsroom at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs for telling us about this significant occasion and giving us the opportunity to honour this amazing life and member of our community.

Church architecture in Box Hill

Wesleyan Church Box Hill

Conrad Hamann / Box Hill Historical Society

There are common themes running through Box Hill’s many church buildings despite the range of design. Christ Church Mitcham retains its original rural style wooden church as a hall and is typical of the original church buildings of many of Box Hill’s churches. St Peter’s Nunawading, a brick building rebuilt in Box Hill in 1889 and its wooden successor built in 1910, was an elaborate Gothic style building with a tower and slate roof.

To read more of this article, please click here.

Songs From This Town – Mick Pealing and Nick Charles

Mike Daly

We were lucky enough to see guitar duo Mick Pealing and Nick Charles recently perform songs from this album in a live acoustic set at the Arcobar (that excellent Heatherton live music venue which, sadly, has no equivalent in the Boroondara/Whitehorse area).

To read the full article, click here.

Walking Box Hill

Box Hill Historical Society

Think you know Box Hill? Here’s a way to increase your knowledge. Thanks to a grant from the SRLA’s Community Projects Fund, the Box Hill Historical Society has devised three walking tour apps.  which can be enjoyed, either from the comfort of your lounge room, or by venturing along the routes detailed. Don’t forget to look at the many images available on the app during the walks.

The three walking tours focus on the social and cultural life of the area from its beginnings.  To access the app, click here.

The first walk, Early Box Hill, commences at Pioneer Park, on the corner of Station and Harrow Sts and will take an hour to complete (2kms on sealed paths).  The second walk, Civic Box Hill starts and ends at the Box Hill Town Hall in Whitehorse Road. It will take 1 hour (2.34 km on sealed footpath).  The third walk, Commercial Box Hill commences and concludes at Pioneer Park on the corner of Station and Harrow Streets.  All three walk apps have  commentary and images that describe the many aspects of the walk.

* Recent Posts  Sunday 31 March

Suburban deer in our midst

Graeme Daniels

It was only about a decade ago that seeing a Sambar deer in the middle or lower Birrarung (Yarra) Parklands was a novelty. Well, how things have changed! …

These deer have now become a serious threat to the environment and its native wildlife.

To read the complete version of this article in which Graeme discusses the significant environmental threat that these animals represent, please go here.

Boroondara’s new Road Materials policy

George Demetrios

Boroondara Council has recently released a Draft Road Materials Policy, found at, with residents having until the 12 April 2024 to provide submissions.

This new policy, if passed as is, has two points of concern for those residents passionate about wanting to preserve heritage in their local area.

To read more, click here.

A day trip to Kallista

Gill Bell

With thanks to Rob Youl and friends for advice on Victorian flora in the 1960s

It was a bright cool day in April 1961, and the green Zephyr stood ready in our Surrey Hills driveway. In the kitchen Mum was preparing a picnic, packing homemade biscuits and fruit cake.

We were about to set off to Kallista in the Dandenongs for our grandparents’ 45th wedding anniversary. They had recently moved into a little house nestled amongst the mountain ash. Grandma called their block ‘Tiptrees’.

To read more of this lovely reminiscence, please click here.

A cryptic warning – Cave Idus Maritae

Gill Bell

This Latin phrase, beautifully drawn in chalk on the pavement, appeared at the Canterbury Sports Ground in March this year. Most people, including me, rushing to catch a train or heading for the tennis courts, gave it a puzzled look but thought no more about it. It wasn’t until I glanced at the calendar that light dawned. It was 15 March, and the sign was warning us ‘Beware the Ides of March’.

The phrase comes from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, when a soothsayer warned Caesar to beware the fifteenth of Mech. He ignored the warning and was assassinated. This marked a turning point in the history of Rome.

I was charmed that this piece of historical trivia had found its way on to our suburban streets. It carried the whiff of intrigue, of dread and of fateful warnings fulfilled. I found it amazing that two millennia later this date still had an impact.

The present-day 15 March passed without incident, but I wonder what further warnings our local Banksy might have for us. Beware the Eve of Hallows, perhaps, when childish monsters roam our streets?

With memories of Shakespeare and Latin from schooldays.

Tidbits and snippets from the neighbourhood

Sometimes described as a small piece of interesting information, or a small dish of pleasant-tasting food, we at Eastsider News think that tidbits is a good description of those curious morsels of information that our readers send us from time to time.

We hope you enjoy them as much as we do.  We also invite you to share with us those fascinating bits and pieces you may come across in unexpected places.  Please email your fun facts, curious discoveries or other esoteric snippets of information to us at  And don’t forget, small is the operative word in a tidbit – preferably less than 250 words.

Snippets from Box Hill

Thank you to Box Hill Historical Society for letting us publish these bits and pieces that their archivist Helen Harris has found on her research adventures.  To learn more about the society, please click here.

From The Argus, 2 August 1938.

A recommendation from the public works committee that the council press for the erection of a new police station at Box Hill was adopted last night by the Box Hill Council. It was decided to point out to the Chief Secretary (Mr Bailey) that Box Hill residents as taxpayers contributed directly to Government revenue and should not be required to make any further contribution through the council. At a previous meeting the council received a letter from the Chief Secretary asking what amount it was prepared to contribute towards the cost of a new police station.

From The Argus, 31 August 1938.

Mrs Weber, MLA, informed the Box Hill Council at its last meeting that the Public Works Dept. would shortly repair and renovate the Box Hill police station. The department said that it appeared from correspondence that the Council was not prepared to contribute towards the cost of a new police station which the Council had suggested should be built. The town clerk (Mr. Cole) said that he understood that two additional rooms and a small lobby would be built in brick.

Source: Helen Harris, Archivist BHHS, Newsletter June 2016.

Scottish Terriers – a dog for all seasons

Manda Appleyard

I am a Scottish Terrier fan and have had Scotties in my life since 1969. Scotties have brought me so much joy in my life, I struggle to understand why the Scottish Terrier has been listed as an endangered species.

There has been a significant global decline in Scottish Terrier numbers. The Scottie was once very popular here in Australia. Everyone at least knew someone that had one of those funny little Scots with the big beard, big eyebrows and huge character.

To read the full article about these gorgeous dogs, please click here

Dynamics of Relationships

David Williamson

The hugely popular reality TV shows exploring the pairing of couples, such as FWAW, MAFS, Love Is Blind, Love Island, The Bachelor/Bachelorette inevitably raise the question as to why some couples experience so much conflict whereas others seem so carefree and easy-going

These shows reveal common human behaviours within intimate relationships, including the subtle (or not so subtle) ways we interact with our partner to get our emotional needs met.

To read more of this article by David Williamson, a Counsellor at Karinya Counselling, click here.