Meander Valley Gazette

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Meander

Meander dairy is a clear winner in the 2019 Tasmanian Dairy awards

RuralJoanne Eisemann
Tim and Fiona Salter from Clear Springs Dairy at Meander, named as 2019 Tasmanian Dairy Business of the Year.  Photo supplied

Tim and Fiona Salter from Clear Springs Dairy at Meander, named as 2019 Tasmanian Dairy Business of the Year.

Photo supplied

TWO LOCAL dairy proper - ties won awards at the recent Tasmanian Dairy Awards. Clear Springs Dairy at Meander, operated by Tim and Fiona Salter and converted from a beef farm, was named as the 2019 Tasmanian Dairy Business of the Year. Rushy Lagoon farmers Damien and Brooke Cock - er took out the Share Dairy Farmers of the Year category, having increased production on two farms by 40 per cent. Minister for Primary Industries and Water, Guy Barnett said Tasmania’s dairy industry rebounded strongly from difficulties in 2016 to set a new production record of over 910 million litres in 2017–18.

Big gig in Meander’s small hall

Arts and ReviewsJoanne Eisemann

February 2019 | Elizabeth Douglass

A BEAUTIFUL summer evening in Meander was the perfect place to enjoy the lively music of band Fru Skagerrak and soloist Liam Gerner.

One of the many wonderful Small Halls concerts, featuring one Australian and one international artist, the Meander Memorial Hall was packed out with an audience of all ages.

Sitting, hand-clapping, foot-stamping or dancing with children, the audience were all moved and delight ed by the traditional and not-so- music.

Adelaide boy Liam, now Melbourne-based and travelling the world, displayed his original songwriting and strong performing talents with just enough of a country twang to counterbalance the intricate and quirky music of Fru Skagerrak.

The latter, Anna Lindblad (Sweden), Elise Wessel Hildrum (Norway) and Maja Kjær Jacobsen (Denmark), play fiddles (violins), recorder and sing their way through lullabies, drinking songs and lively dances, a journey through the traditional music of Scandinavia with music and laughter a common language.

With food and drink catered for by the Meander Hall Committee and Arts Deloraine, the concert embodied the Festival of Small Halls spirit - ‘bringing big music to small places’, celebrating wonderful music and the hospitality of small communities.

Liam Gerner entertained the crowd with original songwriting.   Photo | Elizabeth Douglass

Liam Gerner entertained the crowd with original songwriting.

Photo | Elizabeth Douglass

Saving St Saviours

NewsJoanne Eisemann
Meander residents are joining together to save St Saviours.

Meander residents are joining together to save St Saviours.

October 2018

IT’S NEVER a dull moment in Meander!  Six community groups have joined forces to prepare a submission to the Anglican Diocese, asking for heritage-listed St Saviours Church, Sunday school and Cemetery to be removed from the list of 76 churches to be sold to fund the National Redress Scheme for victims of child sexual abuse.  

The groups agree that the redress scheme is necessary,  but question why only 25% of funds from property sales go to the victims.  They also question the sale of land, buildings and furnishings that community members gifted to the Church in the first place.  The memory of the closure of Meander Primary School in 2014 continues to affect the community and made them aware that the loss of St Saviours will take with it priceless links to past heritage and can only be detrimental to community well-being. 

They are adamant that the church be retained. The submission to the Diocese includes letters of support from the Deloraine Anglican Parish and the Meander Valley Council and a petition with over 200 signatures. On Sunday the 28th  of October there will be an open day commencing with a church service at 11.30.

Following the service and lunch, there will be musical items, historical displays and cemetery walks. Meander invites the public to bring a plate to share and join their community in opposition to this valuable asset being lost. For more information contact Christine Chilcott on 0419 575 193.

Photo | Mike Moores

Tying up flys for fun

Events, NewsJoanne EisemannComment
fly-tying-1.jpg

AUGUST 2018

QUAMBY FLY Fishers Club has regular practical fly tying sessions to guide, encourage and share ideas.

The second fly tying workshop this year was held at Westbury Community Health Centre on Saturday 21st July, preparing members for the trout fishing season opening for most waters on 4th August.

In a relaxed, easy-going atmosphere, experienced members with invaluable information and expertise showed new tyers how to extend their basic knowledge.

The club’s experienced tyers were also polishing their skills in readiness for this year’s Deloraine Craft Fair.

‘Women in Waders’ is a new initiative by Club President, Eve Berne. This women-only event is being held to encourage more women to take up fly fishing and takes place on Saturday 25th August at Huntsman Lake, Meander.

Quamby members will coach the basics of casting, individually or in small groups.

The session will be two and a half hours, followed by a sausage sizzle and an opportunity to ask questions, socialise and network. Equipment will be provided for use by participants on the day.

Photo | Mike Moores

Meander Falls short of consensus

RuralJoanne EisemannComment

March 2018 | Sharon Webb

MEANDER VALLEY Council has allocated $125,000 for a feasibility study for a tourist road to Meander Falls in the face of some residents saying the project is doomed to failure.

Cllr Michael Kelly put the motion to the February council meeting, saying the State Government had spent $500,000 on new bridges in the area and a road would attract tourists to the falls in winter when there are high water flows.

His motion included writing to Tasmanian political parties seeking a financial contribution to match council’s commitment.

Local residents Kevin Knowles and Helen Hutchinson asked why the council would spend so much money when the land involved was World Heritage classified and therefore out of council’s control.

“The project is doomed to failure,” Meander resident Mr Knowles said.

“We should be working together as a community to develop small trails in the area to benefit us all.”

Ms Hutchinson from Western Creek said, as World Heritage the land is a nominated refuge for plants and animals.

“Are we prepared to dislodge plants, animals and rocks for people to be able to travel in a car?

“The World Heritage conditions won’t allow gravel to be brought from outside for a new road.

“Think about what you’re planning to do. Would we bulldoze St Paul’s Cathedral for a carpark?”

But Meander residents Wayne Johnston and James Boxhall spoke at the meeting to support the proposal, saying Meander Falls potentially could attract 30,000 visitors a year, like Liffey Falls.

“Meander Falls now has between 450 and 750 visitors a year because people just can’t get there,” Mr Johnston told councillors.

Mr Boxall asked why locals wouldn’t want 30,000 more visitors to the Meander area: “A road would create more opportunities for businesses and accommodation.”

Cllr Ian Mackenzie said road supporters wanted “to put Meander on the map and get some economic dollars into the area.”

Cllr Rodney Synfield went further, saying the road should be part of a larger project developing the whole Huntsman area – but eventually was the only councillor who abstained from voting on the motion.

But Cllr White questioned why the council would spend $125,000 when preliminary World Heritage consultation could render the whole project impossible.

She asked why wording of background to the motion suggested the proposal was “a done deal”: “And why has this been allowed to get to this stage without consulting the whole Meander community? It seems only those in favour of the project have been consulted.”

Saying the project had merit, Cllr Bob Richardson put a motion to write first to the World Heritage authority for its reaction to a tourist grade road but it was defeated.

Split Rock

FeatureJoanne EisemannComment
1_Split_Rock_Feb_18.jpg

FEBRUARY 2018 | Tara Ulbrich

THE VIEW of the Meander River from the swing bridge is commanding and the waters seem much wilder than when they pass through the townships downstream.

This is the beginning of the two hour return walk to Split Rock located beyond the village of Meander, in the skirts of Kooparoona Niara.

Crossing the river there is an immediate sense that the walker has lost any authority over the setting. You’re now looking up from a humbled position on the rainforest floor and the destination sits directly above, out of sight but looming.

Grit and frequent pauses are going to get you there. Make use of stops to survey the root steps you’ve climbed and the beckoning trunks of myrtle and sassafras above. They are the sentinels of this kingdom.

My walking companion reminisces of a Meander Primary School excursion, perhaps a decade ago.

Joined by our famous local thespian in his eighties, a stalwart principal and the student community aged five and up, the memory stands as testimony that, for the determined, a challenging ascent is possible.

Stay with the track markers as you climb. It is surprisingly easy to stray. The Split Rock, however, reigns unmistakeably. Moss, ferns and lichens attempt to soften the enormity of the overhang, wedged unquestioningly into the earth. I’m left thinking - if this formation could make noise it would be deafening.

Red triangles indicate up through the crevice namesake marking the route to Meander Falls, a seven-hour return, and also across the hill-face to Split Rock Falls, which adds thirty minutes to this walk. The descent seems so easy. Shortly you’ll be sitting at the café in the Meander General Store wondering what all the fuss was about.

Photo | Jade Hallam

Rebecca says, “let them eat Beccalicious cake”

BusinessJoanne EisemannComment

Beccalicious Cake maker Rebecca from Meander

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JUNE 2016 | Chere Kenyon

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CHOCOLATE, VANILLA and caramel – just uttering these words can make your mouth water.

Turn these into a work of art and you have a visual feast for the eyes as well.

Rebecca Boxhall of Meander is doing just that by turning her cake decorating hobby into an artistic business.

Beccalicious Cakes provides stunning cake creations.

What kind of cakes can be created? The most common requests received are Disney- inspired Minions and Frozen characters.

However, cake decorating is often only limited by the imagination.

“I can do every colour of the rainbow,” stated Rebecca. “And I will have a go at anything.”

“My most challenging was a 3D chicken cake that took seven hours just to do the feathers and put them on,” laughed Rebecca.

And she does “not often get a lot of sleep” as she spends her nights creating cakes after the kids have gone to bed.

What is the worst thing about decorating cakes?

“I do not like to watch when someone cuts a cake,” joked Rebecca. “But as long as the customer is happy.”

She has always loved cooking but discovered her enjoyment of cake decorating after she wanted to make her girls special cakes for their milestones.

“My first proper covered fondue cake was for my daughter’s naming day,” recalled Rebecca. Her inspiration also came from her mother who was always making cakes.

She is self-taught; watching online instructional videos, getting tips from cake decorating friends and just putting in lots and lots of practice.

She has been making cakes for about three years, with a large following on Facebook, 5,000 plus likes and climbing.

Rebecca follows a lot of cake pages online and does a lot of page shares as well as run competitions for cakes in exchange for likes.

Thus making word-of -mouth sharing her secret to Facebook success.

If you are a regular visitor to Deloraine markets, you may already know Beccalicious Cakes.

Though Rebecca is a new stallholder, she is already becoming well known there for her beautiful and delicious cupcakes.

Rebecca is off to a cake show in Sydney in early June to view the demonstrations, products and courses available to help her fine-tune her art.

“I would like to learn more about 3D cake design,” she added.

Contact Rebecca via Facebook or on her mobile on 0409 332 812.

[udesign_icon_font name="fa fa-camera" color="#000000"] Mike Moores

ANZAC Kokoda trekkers

Events, NewsJoanne EisemannComment

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June 2016 | Lorraine Clarke

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ON ANZAC Day this year, Meander resident Martin Webster attended a Dawn Service with a difference.

With numerous other stout-hearted Aussies, Martin trekked through the mountains of Papua New Guinea for 7 days to reach one of the most remote Anzac service venues. Ioribaiwa Ridge is the most southern location reached by the Japanese on the Kokoda Track in 1942.

“I first did the Kokoda trek in 2010 as a paying customer, to get fit, to learn more about our Diggers. I discovered my Uncle Mick had fought there, so I had to go back. I was approached by the owner of the company about leading treks across. I’ve now led 7 treks so far.”

The Kokoda Track day begins at 6:30 a.m. with 6 hours’ walking through dense rainforest, up and down steep muddy tracks, crossing rivers on precarious-looking single- file foot bridges. Native porters carry much of the gear and food. “The porters are considered as ‘rock stars’ by other villagers, as they earn 50 kina ($25) per day, where the average income is almost nothing.”

Accommodation along the track is in native villages. “The locals go out of their way to make us feel welcome. They sing to us. They provide us with local fruits in season, and we bring noodles, rice, cheese, Spam, Saladas.” The sun sets before 7.00pm, so it’s an early night in tents to rest for the next strenuous day.

“There are lots of unexploded shells and grenades and some plane wreckages in the jungle. Rusted Bren guns, helmets, shoes, along the track. We don’t touch any of them. We see the occasional snake, hear lots of birds, but hardly see any wildlife because the jungle is so dense.”

When Martin leads his next trek in July, fiancée Alison Bailey will accompany him for her first Kokoda experience. They train by bushwalking in the Western Tiers with their dogs.

“It is a fantastic journey to make with loved ones. It makes you appreciate what you have, and there is such a sense of accomplishment when you walk through the Arches at the end,” said Martin.

To trek with Martin visit www.trekkokoda.com.au.

 

What will Council decide?

NewsJoanne EisemannComment

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April 2016 | Marguerite McNeill

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MEANDER FOUND itself on the world stage last month when the global organisation Teen Challenge staged its bid to take over the old school site to establish a Rehabilitation Centre for Women and Children.

The crowd overflowed out of the Meander Hall when the Meander Valley Council hosted a community meeting to discuss a number of proposed options for the future use of the old Meander School site.

Two other proposals under consideration were Butterfly House Rehabilitation and Recovery Centre and a bid by the Economic Renewal Action Group to establish a Centre for Digital Entertainment, Media Training and Production.

Around 200 people (including 80 Meander residents) poured into the meeting that attracted so many unknown faces that even the locals were scouting around to find someone they knew.

Teen Challenge arrived with a group of supporters and presenters that included Tasmanian executive director Tanya Cavanagh, a couple of star graduates and a tearful father whose statement was largely incomprehensible.

The presentation was polished and efficient and left no room for doubt about the group’s desire to move into Meander where it began garnering acceptance many months ago.

Ms Cavanagh praised the welcoming community for its support for Teen Challenge and wishes to help.

Well prepared, she fielded questions with skill of an A grade goalie and only stumbled slightly when a couple of wing shots caught her unawares.

The meeting was advised that Teen Challenge had substantial financial backing but the source was not divulged.

Nor were names put to the several affiliated religious groups that form the global organisation Teen Challenge.

Also obscure was how the Meander community would benefit from the proposed centre.

Unfortunately, the bonus crowd hailing from Launceston to Devonport overshadowed the easy camaraderie generally present at meetings in the small community hall and a wary silence followed the first presentation by Robert Crews on behalf of the Economic Renewal Action Group.

Although the presentation was rather slap dash, it did include the promise of long term economic benefits for the whole of the Meander Valley municipality, as well as greater social interaction locally and for the wider community. However, the proposal drew just a few pertinent questions.

The response to the proposal by Deloraine woman Jennie Wilson to establish the Butterfly House Rehabilitation and Recovery Centre at Meander attracted a larger but less enthusiastic reaction.

Although admiring of Ms Wilson’s personal commitment to the cause it was not a crowd favourite.

Although empathetic to the proposal, Meander resident Christine Chilcott believes that Butterfly House was not a suitable option for the site.

“It (Butterfly House) needs to be in a more secure location,” she said.

“Somewhere like Ashley (Youth Detention Centre).”

Mrs Chilcott disputed the suggestion that the meeting was “stacked” with people who lived away from the Meander district.”

“It was a public meeting,” she said. “Anyone could go. People are interested in what is happening.”

She had no reservations about the Teen Challenge proposal, saying that the movement was endorsed by many high ranked persons including former Prime Ministers.

“It is an ideal opportunity to have something unique in the Meander district,” she said.

On the other hand, Bodhi McSweeney, who also lives in Meander, saw the meeting as a wasted opportunity for people to hear the proposals in a really balanced way.

“It was a shame that it was stacked,” she said. “There was not enough time for questions and people were intimidated by all the cheering from the Teen Challenge supporters. “I would have been pleased to have a more rigorous look (at all the proposals).”

Council will consider feedback from the community at a workshop prior to its 12th April meeting.

At the meeting, Council will formally confirm the process it will take to determine who will be offered use of the site and advise what additional information is required from each proponent to help to make a decision on the future of the Meander School site.

Fire devastates wilderness around Lake Mackenzie

RuralJoanne EisemannComment

Stefan Kadareanu and James Darbyshire both of Hornsby Brigade NSW

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February 2016

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WHILE THE recent downpour received in Meander Valley was welcomed after an extended dry period, the ongoing threat of fire to communities close to the Western Tiers has not yet subsided.

Having burnt an estimated 25,266 hectares at the time this paper went to print, the damage to world heritage areas is substantial and in some cases irreparable while many communities remain on a ‘watch and act’ alert.

The fire was first reported in the early afternoon of 19th January.

Residents from Bracknell, Liffey, Jackey’s Marsh, Golden Valley, Meander, Dairy Plains, Caveside, Western Creek, Chudleigh, Mole Creek and Liena were given a ‘Watch and Act’ warning. For some, this was later upgraded to an emergency warning and many residents found alternative accommodation for themselves and their animals that night.

Meander Valley Council quickly responded by establishing an Emergency Evacuation Centre at the Deloraine Community Complex to provide information, registration and service support to affected residents.

The Evac Centre operated in partnership with Emergency Services, Red Cross and the Tasmania Health Service.

With more than 80 fires burning around the state Tas Fire Service resources were stretched to the limit.

Volunteer fire fighters from near and afar continue to put in many long hours to keep people and properties safe.

Smoke from the fires covered much of the north of Tasmania for almost a week, sending people wih breathing conditions scurrying indoors and bringing an eerie feeling of impending doom to the Meander Valley area.

Much of the fire was burning in areas difficult to access. Remote area teams and other crews from the mainland were brought in to assist.

Caveside resident and president of Friends of Great Western Tiers, Kooparoona Niara (aboriginal name of the Tiers), Deborah Hunter says that some of the areas that are burning will not regenerate after the fire, particularly those growing on peat soils.

“Peat soils consist entirely of accumulated organic matter.

They can take thousands of years to form and were not routinely burnt by the first Tasmanians, otherwise they would not be there,” comments Deborah and adds “Factors that coincided to cause these large fires include a record dry spring and early summer conditions followed by high frequency of forked lightning attack.

Deborah says our local water systems may be affected as a result of the fire.

“Extensive areas of peat exist on the Central Plateau, acting like a sponge, release water gradually to our streams and hydro storages. This is known as an ecosystem service. Should substantial areas of peat be burnt, the hydrology will be adversely effected.”

She also sees an impact on tourism not just locally but statewide.

“Ecosystems that are important to tourism branding will have been lost and the tourism asset degraded, making Tasmania less attractive.”

With these implications in mind, Deborah would like to see a more coordinated strategy in the approach to fires in wilderness areas saying “Experts from the various emergency services and Tasmanian fire ecology experts should meet to develop preventative, emergency response and remedial strategies that take into account the predicted increasing frequency and severity of extreme climatic events.”

 

[udesign_icon_font name="fa fa-camera" color="#000000"] Mike Moores

Meander to a Cup lunch

FeatureJoanne EisemannComment

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HIGH TEA will be the feature of a Melbourne Cup Luncheon at Meander this year.

The event is aimed at revitalising social contact in the district since the school closure, and was instigated by Ange Geard and Amy Johnson who have rounded up a small band of local women to help organise the day.

The day will feature novelty games, prizes for the best hat, best dressed male and best dressed female, a silent auction and a raffle.

Gourmet delights plus beer and wine will be available.

Children are welcome and all proceeds will be donated to the LGH Children’s Ward. Meander Hall, Main Road, Meander on Tuesday 3rd November 2015 commencing at 12.30pm.

Early tickets (until 27th October) can be purchased for $10.00 from the Meander Store or at Good Sports in Deloraine. Door sales $15.00.

 

Meander School awaits new challenge

Events, NewsJoanne EisemannComment

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WHILE THE former Meander Primary School site remains empty it has captured the attention of a number of groups with a varied range of proposals for its future use.

In recent weeks the issue gained momentum and the Meander Valley Council requested Government to stop the sale process while it called a special meeting to learn more about a unique proposal from a group called Teen Challenge.

A global organisation, Teen Challenge has the aim of setting up a “Home of Hope” at Meander as a special centre for women and children whose lives have been disrupted by family violence and/or other issues.

The aim is to provide a central base where those in need can undergo rehabilitation programmes to get their lives back into order and eventually settle back into society.

The proposal was orchestrated by the Western Australian branch of the organisation, where such a centre is already in existence.

Teen Challenge is affiliated with the Anglican Church and, if successful in its bid to acquire the old school, the Meander-based programme would be under the guidance of respected members Peter and Tanya Ferrall who would live on site.

The couple said that the Meander site would be perfect as a base for Teen Challenge that would bring the programme to Tasmania in its entirety.

“We are keen to speak to people on the ground, Mr Ferrall said.

Mrs Ferrall was also very enthusiastic saying that the rural aspect of the site was perfect for their needs.

“We don’t want to change the outside image, only the inside.”

Other proposed uses for the Meander site include a rural education centre and a drug rehabilitation centre.

Meander Valley General Manager, Greg Preece, said Council would consider all proposals on merit and economic benefit to community.