Friday, January 29, 2010

Flowerdale Community House Services

The Flowerdale Community House services will resume next Tuesday 2nd Feb at the Flowerdale Hall.

* Chaplaincy Australia - All day morning Teas (10am - 2pm)

* Chiropractic Services - RMIT Practictioners (11am - 3.30pm)

* Hands on Health Australia - Massage, Acupunture etc

* Women's Support Group - (9.45am)

Everyone Welcome
For more information please call Odette on 57802664 or 0429012129.

Expressions of interest are needed for a free dental service to commence in Flowerdale.
It is anticipated that a weekly service will commence in March on Saturdays if the demand is there.
Please call the Community House on 57802664 to register your interest.

Interim Flowerdale Community Update

Interim Flowerdale Community Update

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Australia Day - Another Great Community Event

Australia Day 2010 was a great success with an estimated 400 people attending. Official proceedings kicked off at around midday with speeches from Sally Abbott Smith, local councillor, and Michael Rowland, an Australia Day Ambassador.

Ben Hardman, State MP, explained that this year there was no Citizen of the year Award as so many people in the community had done extraordinary things on Black Saturday and in the time since Black Saturday. Instead all those that attended were presented with a Community of the Year commerorative badge. It was very well received by those attending.

Sally said Flowerdale has become known during the bushfire recovery for putting on great events and today was no exception.

Our Community Development Officer, Sarah, and some local musicians sang the national anthem. Rumours about Sarah's singing ability were more than confirmed with a brilliant rendition. The Flowerdale Children's Choir sang the Australian Classics, "True Blue" and "I am Australian". They have come a long way with plenty of public performances over the last twelve months and were great.

A special moment was the raising of the Flowerdale flag for the first time and the crowd responded with loud applause.

The day then turned to the events which started with the Egg and Spoon Race. Plenty of contestants lined up with two heats and a final.

The Egg Throwing followed where teams of two had to throw a raw egg back and forth in a last man standing affair. There was plenty of egg on people's faces, hair and clothes by the end.

Gum Boot Throwing was next to kick off with a kids and adult division.

Alan Schultz, local horseman, set up the Horseshoe Toss and people young and old threw four horseshoes at a post. Five people managed to get the shoe to wrap around the post to make it into the final. It was very competitive.

The Sack Race had a good field, mainly made up of youngsters, and it was a competitive race although many competitors bit the dust on the way to the finish line.

The highlight of the day was the Flowerdale Gift, the traditional three legged race. There was a massive field and this year the technological innovation of Gaffer Tape was introduced as in previous years ties had become untied during the race. The handicappers taped and lined up the field according to their handicaps. The crowd lined up along the track and they were off. It was a well contested race with more falls than a Grand National and there were great celebrations from the winners at the end.

Afterglow provided the music and were fantastic. They sang a wide range of classic covers and had the crowd up and dancing.

There was plenty of food and drink, horse and cart rides and a raffle of the flag.

It was a brilliant day and made me feel very proud to be an Australian and to have the opportunity to mix in a community as wonderful as Flowerdale. I had never attended an Australia Day celebration of any kind before but I dont think I would find any event that represents what Australia is about better than Australia Day 2010 in Flowerdale.

A massive thanks to the Australia Day committee for organising the event. There are plenty of photos on the photo site and feel free to pass on any you wish to share to Julie Bateman. I will get the official results for the events and hopefully get video footage of the events.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Prince William & Cricketers Pics on Flickr

We have now got a few photos up on our Flickr Photostream site of Prince William & the Cricketers who came to Flowerdale on 21st January.
Follow the link:

If you do have photos or video footage of the day could you please email either Pete Williams or Julie Bateman or contact me on 0418589072 to arrange to collect pictures/video.

We would like to have as many as possible for our Flowerdale Internet Sites and for later to put in the history of Flowerdale for future generations.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Community Hall Renovation on the move

Things are now moving on the Community Hall Renovation project funded in the Statewide Recovery Plan. In addition to the renovation to the existing building DHS are looking to extend the hall so they can remove the portable buildings and operate from the extension. This will provide the community with additional facilities when the relief services finish some time in the future.

The Department of Human Services and the Office of Housing have appointed an architect/project manager and the project kick off meeting was held on 20th January.

The renovation to the existing hall includes:

  • Air Conditioning
  • New Blinds and Curtains
  • New Toilets
  • Interior and Exterior painting
  • Children's Playground
  • Undercover BBQ Area
  • Landscaping
  • Sound System, Lighting and Data projector
  • New Tables and Chairs
  • Fence
  • Signage
  • Upgrade the driveway and turning lane
  • General repairs to the stage and interior

Designs for the extension will be drawn up in the next few weeks and we will provide more details about the proposed design and timing as they come to hand.

Once finished it will be a vastly improved community facility. It is great to see another recovery project getting traction.

Prince William given a Flowerdale T Shirt

With the Flowerdale T Shirts becoming fairly popular around town they are now an international fashion item, with one being given to Prince William by the Flowerdale Recovery Committee when he came to visit. I just got the photo below from Ric Stubbings

The TShirts are available at the Hazeldene Store and all proceeds go to the Flowerdale Relief Fund to fund community projects.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Prince William visit a massive boost to Flowerdale Community

Prince William visited Flowerdale today for a community barbeque where about 400 residents turned out to welcome him. It is hard to describe what was an amazing day, there were smiles everywhere as Prince William mixed with locals, cooked the barbeque, played cricket with the kids (as well as Matthew Hayden, Brett Lee and Brad Hodge) and planted a commemorative tree.

Prince William is greeted by Recovery Committee Chair John Burgess as he arrives in Flowerdale

The Prince won everyone over with his humility, genuine interest in the people and willingness to participate and mix with us all. He was more than happy to meet the hundreds of requests for photos and seemed almost embarrassed when people thanked him for coming, saying it was his privilege to be invited.

Prince William gets the local kids together for a photo

Everyone who met him commented on his down to earth manner, his friendly smile and in typical Aussie fashion they said he was a great bloke. There have been many dignitaries and celebrities visit Flowerdale since Black Saturday but none have matched the inspiration provided by Prince William. I suppose the best way to describe it is that he brought joy to the people of Flowerdale.

The day started with the broadcast of the Sunrise breakfast show from the Flowerdale Primary School. As the visit was supposed to be "secret" the show just said they were broadcasting from the bushfire areas although a resident who will go unnamed and was interviewed let it slip that it was happening in Flowerdale. There will also be extensive coverage on Channel 9 Today Show, tomorrow morning.

After Sunrise there was a cricket clinic at the Rec Reserve where Cricket Victoria had organised for Matthew Hayden, Brett Lee, Brad Hodge and Callum Ferguson to play with the local kids. The cricketers also mixed with the locals and spent a lot of time learning about what happened on Black Saturday and how things are rebuilding.

Prince William and Brett Lee talk bowling tactics

A huge international media pack came into town in buses and they also mixed with locals listening to the stories of Black Saturday. Articles have already appeared in The Guardian, Daily Telegraph, New York Times talking about the Royal visit. Many of the media commented on the positive attitude and community spirit they encountered when talking to people.

Bill Shorten, who has been a tireless supporter of bushfire affected communities and a very regular visitor to Flowerdale, was also on hand early and as always was talking to community members about where things were at. He also donned an apron and cooked the barbeque. A special thanks goes to Bill for his support and willingness to help make things happen.

Prince William and Bill Shorten have a chat while cooking the barbie

Christine Nixon, Ben Hubbard and many VBRRA staff also attended, the fact that they now know so many locals is a testament to the work they have been doing.

When Prince William arrived he had a briefing from the Flowerdale Recovery Committee and was presented with a Flowerdale TShirt. John Burgess was asked to show Prince William around and he recounted the details of how the recovery and rebuilding was taking place.

Prince William planted a gum tree with Erin and Skylah from the Primary School, and there is a memorial plaque to commerorate the tree planting and visit.

It was a real honour and privilege to have Prince William visit and for all who attended it was an unforgettable day. Many people took photos and videos so if you have some you would like to share please send them to me and I will put them on the blog and the photo site.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Flowerdale Australia Day Event

Flowerdale is holding its Annual Australia Event at Recreation Reserve on 26th January 2010.
Everyone Welcome there will be lots to entertain both Adults & Children come & Join in the Fun.

Flowerdale Australia Event Jan 26th 2010

Sunrise in Flowerdale and Cricket Clinic

The Sunrise morning show on Channel 7 tomorrow fron 6.00am to 9.00am will be doing live crosses to Flowerdale during the morning Thursday 21st January, 2010.

After that there will be a kid's cricket clinic with some well known Australian cricketer's from 11.00am complete with a sausage sizzle for lunch. If you can make it it would be well worth the effort.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Flowerdale T - Shirts on Sale at the store

You may recall some time ago that we ran a logo design for Flowerdale and we selected the design below from the submitted entries.

The design was used for the embroidered badge at the Community Commeroration day and to date 55 people have had the image tattooed on various parts of their anatomy.

We now have printed TShirts with the design and sold about 50 at Carols by Candlelight and we have them available at the general store for $20 each. The only colour we have at this stage is black. Proceeds will go to the Flowerdale Relief Fund.

Local bush poet, CFA volunteer and TShirt model Peter Auty with his Flowerdale TShirt

if you are not in town but would like a TShirt please email me and we will arrange to send one to you.

How the bush recovers - the Grampians four years on

Over the Christmas break I spent some time in the Grampians which had a major bushfire in 2006. The interesting thing is that most of the tourists there didn't seem to notice that the bush was still in recovery mode. It was obvious if you looked that there had been a major bushfire in the past but overall it looked like it had largely recovered and was "normal".

The bush around Flowerdale is nearly one year into recovery and the "epicormic" growth, that is the buds and leaves that are growing up the whole tree, is in full swing.

According to Wikipedia "Epicormic buds lie dormant beneath the bark, their growth suppressed by hormones from active shoots higher up the plant." I also borrowed the following explanation from Cain Doherty's blog "If a fire is intense enough to remove all the leaves, the hormonal influence disappears triggering the epicormic buds to sprout thereby covering the entire tree in a new gown of leaves and branches. In a severe fire, the crown may be detroyed and even the epicormic buds on the smaller branches may be killed so the plant can only recover from the epicormic buds present on the main trunk."

It is interesting to compare the shots above with the ones below that I took in the Grampians to get a feel for how things will look in a few years.

As you can see there is still a lot of growth on the lower parts of the trees but as they recover at the top of the tree the epicormic growth begins to subside and the bush gets back to normal.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Flowerdale gets new Ultralight Tanker for CFA

Flowerdale CFA are now the very happy owners of a new Ultralight tanker. The tanker will provide additional firefighting capability for Flowerdale and help make Flowerdale safer. Following Black Saturday safety is a major priority of the overall recovery process.

CFA members commenced training today on the use of the tanker and will receive formal accreditiation from the CFA.

The funding for the tanker was generously provided by Darley and the Paul Newman Foundation who both provided $60,000. On behalf of the community we extend our thanks to both organisations.

The tanker will be on show at the Australia Day Celebrations that will take place on 26th January at the Recreation Reserve.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Murrindindi Shire approves use of Jarara for the new Community House

Some more good news to kick off the year is that the Murrindindi Shire Council has approved the use of the land at Jarara as the location for the new community house. For non locals Jarara was the former location of the Community Centre and Kindergarten that burnt to the ground on Black Saturday.

The Community House Committee in conjunction with the Flowerdale Recovery Committee submitted a grant application to the Federal Government Jobs Fund in May 2009 and in October, the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations approved a grant of $1.67m to build a new Community facility.

With the Kindergarten and Early Child Services facilities now being amalgamated with the School the Jarara land was available and after a number of Council meetings the land was made available.

The important thing is that given that Flowerdale is a very long town, about 11kms between the two "Welcome to Flowerdale" signs, there was effectively no community facilities at the Southern end of the town where most of the community lives. (By the way it is my personal mission to put up a new "Welcome to Flowerdale" sign at the southern end of the town in the near future, the old one which was badly damaged on Black Saturday still hasn't been replaced.)

This multi-purpose facility will provide the opportunity for a wide range of activities and services to be provided to the community. The confirmation of the land being available also means we can get the project moving.

Thanks to all involved to date.

Monday, January 11, 2010

VBAF confirms funding for Flowerdale projects

We have received written confirmation from VBAF (Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund) for a range of projects and events in the first round of of funding released to Communities.

The funding is as follows:

Community Hall upgrade $118,000
Community Garden/ Arts Precinct $20,000
Community Events $39,500
Summer Events $12,500
Memorial Events $25,000

The funding will be administered by Regional Development Victoria and we will provide more details as they come to hand. It will be good to see some new projects get moving.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Toodyay, WA recovery Flowerdale locals go to help

Saturday Breakfast is live from Toodyay, where the community is rallying to recover from the bushfires on December 29.

Almost 40 homes were lost in the fire, and many more gardens were destroyed or damaged, Sabrina Hahn was on hand to help locals get their gardens back on track.

Also offering a helping hand was Flowerdale resident Trudi Goudge, she was so touched by the support from Toodyay and WA when the Victorian Bushfires swept through her home town, that she has made the trip to Toodyay.

See link to website to listen to audio file with Trudi talking to Radio Host.