Thursday, November 26, 2009

Rebuilding gathers momentum

The question i am most often asked by people in the city is "How is the rebuilding going?". On the weekend i drove around and took some photos of the rebuilding in Flowerdale.

There are over 30 houses on the go that I counted and they are at various stages from a builders sign on the block, signalling a project ready to start, stumps in the ground, partially built houses and those that are pretty well complete. There are also dozens of sheds that people are using for temporary accommodation while they rebuild. I also know there are many other people getting ready to start which is great news.

if you need help or advice go to the Integrated Planning Office and catch up with Marcus Worrall, the office also has computers with web access if you need to look up things on the web and there is also the website that is a fairly comprehensive guide to all things about rebuilding after a bushfire.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Johnny Meets the Blue Dog - Peter Auty's latest poem

A big problem facing people in the Bushfire Affected regions has been dealing with the upcoming fire season. People are edgy and concerned particularly with the recent spate of hot and dry weather. Peter Auty Flowerdale's local poet and CFA Volunteer experienced an anxiety attack driving to work a couple of weeks ago and has turned it into a poem.

Please share the poem around as we hope it helps surface the issues that many people in the Bushfire Affected areas are facing.

This is the third poem of the series, the other two No More a poem written shortly after the fires and read out and the national memorial service, and Johnny and the Weasels written about the frustrations of the recovery process.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Flowerdale CFA Dinner Dance raises $15K

Flowerdale CFA Fundraiser Dinner Dance was held on Saturday 31 October at Metropolis House at 314 Sydney Road, Brunswick, Melbourne.

The dance was organised by Maria Handley who owns Basics, a Whittlesea beauty and sports injury clinic. When she heard that the brigade needed a new Ultra Light Tanker she swung into action. “When I heard they are struggling to raise the money I decided to help,” she says.

“We just want to raise some money to help purchase an Ultra Light Fire Truck and are delighted by the people who have offered to assist us,” says brigade secretary Trudie Goudge.

The community extends their thanks for the organisaion of a great night that raised $15K for the tanker.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Flowerdale vs Flouros raises more than $20K for Community Groups

THE Fluoros vs Flowerdale Cricket Match and Family Fun Day raised a massive $20,900 for the Flowerdale community.

The match on Sunday November 8 at the picturesque Hume & Hovell Cricket Ground at Strath Creek involved workers who have spent some months in Flowerdale clearing roadsides after the bushfires in a social cricket match against locals.

The game was a relaxed one with the “Fluoros” – named for the shirts they wear – going down to the local side 88 to 105.

Unofficial awards went to Fluoro Matty who took the catch of the day – a one hander with a beer in the other; FlowerdaleTim for two juggling catches and Flowerdale’s Yak for the highest score of the day with 23.

The day included an auction of some impressive items such as a cricket bat signed by the Australian team, raffles, Luke’s animal nursery, reptiles and other animals from The Haven Wildlife shelter, and a stilt walker.

Proceeds of the day will be shared between the Flowerdale Kindergarten, Flowerdale Tennis Club, Flowerdale Cricket Club, Flowerdale Tool Shed and Flowerdale and Strath Creek CFA brigades.

Flowerdale Kindergarten spokeswoman Chrissy Grant said the day was enjoyed by all, with great support and rapport between the community and the workers who had assisted the Flowerdale community over the past few months and their friends and families.

“I can’t stress enough how much we appreciate their assistance and the support they’ve given us,” Chrissy said.

Flowerdale cricketers team spokesman, Chris Emmins, thanked the organisers, Flowerdale Hotel publican Steve Phelan and Chris Hooben for the day.

“It was a great day and we all enjoyed and appreciate the huge support the roadies and their friends and families have given us,” Chris said.

Flowerdale Tennis Club president Jeannette Kamar thanked the organisers and the sponsors.

“They’ve been very generous and supportive of the Flowerdale community and this was really appreciated by all who attended.

Bunnings Thomastown store organised a team to provide a barbecue for the crowd which was estimated at 250. Local Glen Spalding donated the super barbecue for the day.

Kookaburra provided cricket gloves for the children and provided fluoro cricket balls for the day.

Other generous sponsors were Roadside Care & Maintenance, Anglopac Construction Group, A& L Traffic, Arborco, Bartletts Work Management, Flowerdale Hotel, Australian Hotels Association, HostPlus, Sunbury Bus Lines, Coates Hire, LKR Constructions, Nu Trans Transport, S & B Automotive, Auslec & Ross Fawkner.

FRC goes to Government House

The Flowerdale Recovery Committee attended a reception at Government House that was held both to recognise the work of the Recovery Committees but also to give the communities a chance to meet and get to know each other.

The FRC was picked up by a bus at 10.00am and did the milk run to Glenburn, Toolangi, Kinglake and Kinglake West.

The Governor opened proceedings thanking the Committee Members for their work and then John Brumby, Bill Shorten and Christine Nixon said a few words. The theme of all the speeches was that the government wanted to ensure communities had input into the recovery and the process should be community led. I think it is fair to say it was a bit slow to start but the process has been very community focused.

Christine Nixon's speech really showed how much she had got across to all the communities and it was obvious with the number of people she knew from across the 78 affected communities that she has been out at the coalface.

We spoke to many of the other communities and it was a very valuable exercise.

The biggest surprise of the day was to see all of the FRC dressed up especially Peter Auty in a suit.

We also got to have a great chat with Bill Shorten who has been a real supporter of Flowerdale and the whole recovery process. Bill suggested that Burgo and Peter Auty could feature in a "Men of the Bushfire" calendar but thankfully the rest of the FRC put a stop to those thoughts.


A big thank you to the Governor and the VBRRA staff who organised the event.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

BBC World Service covers Flowerdale Fire Preparations

The BBC World Service has done a report on the preparations for the upcoming fire season in Flowerdale featuring Ric Stubbings, Steve Phelan and Joanna Stubbings. It is definitely worth listening to as it covers fire preparation and what the FRC is doing around safety plans. It also has a great summary of the communication issues that we need to solve. It is also good that we are still getting international interest and that we have such good speakers representing Flowerdale.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Flowerdale and Circus Oz - a great combination

Cirucs Oz performed in the Big Top at Flowerdale Recreation Reserve on 6 November to a full house. The cast normally numbers 12 but with performances by the Kinder Kids, the School kids and the workers from the relief hub there were plenty of locals on stage.

Circus Oz spent a week in the Community staying at the Rec Reserve and running workshops with the school and kinder as well as up the hub. The excitment before the show was fantastic with all the kids geared up to perform.

The show was fantastic with acrobatics, juggling, music, comedy and theatrics. The feedback after the show was that not only were the Circus acts great but the threatrics of the performers took it to the next level of entertainment. The performances of the locals all went really well and everyone was surprised at how quickly everyone had learn't new skills.

A big thanks to Circus Oz for coming to town and for the supporters who made it all happen.

Flowerdale knocks over Flouros

Last Sunday a 20/20 Cricket Game was held betwen the Flowerdale locals and the roadside workers who have been clearing up the fallen trees in the area for a number of months, resplendent in their flourescent jackets. The match was billed as the "Flowerdale vs Flouros" and was held at the Hume and Hovell Cricket Ground in Strath Creek, probablably Australia's most picturesque cricket ground.

At the end of the day Flowerdale won scoring 105 to the Flouros 88. The game was played in great spirit and a great day was had by all.

The day finished off with a match race between two of Flowerdale's finest athletes from days gone by, Crash and Ash. The race across the ground was 150 metres and Crash prevailed despite slowing down over the last 50 metres.

Anyone with photos of the day send them to me at

Saturday, November 7, 2009

V8 Supercar rolls into town

On Thursday, V8 Supercar driver Alex Davison and the Irwin Industrial Tools came to town to mix with locals at the Flowerdale Hotel. In addition Irwin Industrial Tools also donated $5000 of tools for the Tools Library at the hub.

Davison is an avid trail bike rider and had often ridden around the Flowerdale area, stopping off at the pub for a Parma at lunchtime.

"The visit is a simple way to say to the people of Flowerdale that we are still thinking of them some eight months after the Black Saturday disaster. It is always fantastic to see people who support our sport, but I got the strong indication that we might have grown our fan base thanks to the IRWIN Racing team’s visit to Flowerdale. I do know this area very well and have always enjoyed one of the Flowerdale Hotel’s famous parmigianas when I dropped-in for lunch during our trail bike rides. So for me it does have a special significance to make a visit with the IRWIN Racing car. I’m pleased to announce a $5000 donation of products from IRWIN Industrial Tools. IRWIN has an extensive range which I have no doubt will be of great assistance in the continued re-building process. I’d like to call on more businesses to support this great scheme here in Flowerdale. Also we have donated some ex-race panels which I’m sure will prove popular in ongoing fundraising auctions and the like. Plus one for the pub wall which looks great! The big message is for people to continue to support not only Flowerdale but all the communities that were affected in the bushfires. Donations or simply coming to these regions and energising business is going to go a long way to getting things back to where they were."

A big thanks to Alex and Irwin Industrial Tools for their time and donation, it is very much appreciated.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Communications - Your input is needed

The Communications work engine is continuing to work on a wide range of Communications issues with a strong focus on safety. Fiona Henson is leading the charge on this area.

The work engine is looking for individuals to let them know what communications problems you experience. This includes things like mobile phone, radio, TV and internet access.

VBRRA has commissioned a report by a Communications expert which should come through soon but we would like some more granular information direct from residents to provide input into the solution.

You can either leave comments on the blog or email at we would like to know where you are located and any specific issues you face.

Flowerdale wins international award for use of Technology

On 28th October, the Flowerdale Community was awarded a Groundswell award by Forrester Research for "Best use of Social Media for Social Impact"

The Groundswell awards focus on how organisations or Communities are using things like blogs, wikis, YouTube, Flickr, Scribd, Twitter etc to make a difference.

They covered how this blog has been a key tool for dissemination of news and information, raising funds and goods from donors and philanthropists, the use of the wiki in coordinating the building of the village and the website.

Flowerdale waa represented by a Deloitte colleague of mine in Chicago, Valli Perera. Valli said firstly he was honoured to represent Flowerdale and that the award to Flowerdale received the most applause on the night.

A lot of people have contributed to the award through the contribution of photos, stories, videos and pulling the information together to be published. A special mention should also go to Julie Bateman of the FRC who has worked tirelessly on the communications front.

To see the background to the award see it at the Groundswell awards site.