2018 YEAR IN REVIEW
‘MISTER HISTORY’ HONOURED
MYRTLEFORD’S John Taylor says it “took a while to come back in from the letterbox” on October 13, last year.
He’d found in the day’s postal delivery an envelope marked ‘Private and confidential’ and printed with an insignia showing a crown above a sprig of wattle.
In it was a letter from the Australian Honours Secretariat at Canberra’s ‘Yarralumla’ – the official residence of the Governor-General – advising Mr Taylor that he was “being considered for the award of the Order of Australia Medal” for his service to the Myrtleford community. It sought his acceptance.
The award – the means by which the nation recognises “outstanding and meritorious service” – was announced in Friday’s Australia Day honours for the longstanding and extraordinary contribution which the man who is considered to be ‘Mister History’ has made to his town, community and Alpine Shire.
Mr Taylor has been Myrtleford and District Historical Society president since 2005, Myrtleford Cemetery Trust chairman since 2008, Friends of Reform Hill president since 2001 and, in 2010, a founding member of the Alpine Shire Heritage Network.
EXPO EXCEEDS ESTIMATES
THE highly anticipated Wild Deer Hunting, Guiding and Fishing expo has gone above and beyond expectations with organisers saying up to 12,500 people attended the event across the weekend.
It was the first time the expo had been held in Myrtleford and the move to the Ovens Valley appears to have paid off with visitors and locals heavily supporting the two-day event.
Expo coordination assistant Adam Minchington was thrilled with the way the event unfolded.
“The crowds were constant all day and I haven’t spoken to anyone who wasn’t just blown away by the crowd we got,” he said.
“We hoped for 10,000 or 11,000 but with a new venue we didn’t really know what to expect. “We had great support from the local community. “The Lions Club was absolutely unbelievable; we probably couldn’t have done it without them.”
More than 500 exhibitors packed into 250 available sites at the former tobacco co-op building displaying everything from fishing and camping gear to taxidermy.
CAR CRASH CONCERN
ALPINE Shire Council will look into what it can do to erase parking issues in Porepunkah after four car accidents in the space of seven weeks.
Porepunkah’s main street and the nearby riverside parkland underwent a $1.7 million makeover last year, a project that left differing opinions from local residents and business owners.
The service lane on Nicholson Street was removed and the road changed to two lanes while the total number of parks has increased but has resulted in no spaces for long vehicles.
Alpine Shire Council director assets Will Jeremey said residents had in recent weeks raised concerns in regard to four car accidents, the first just before Christmas.
Three of the four accidents have seen cars back out into oncoming traffic with at least one vehicle written off while the other incident saw two vehicles sideswipe each other.
“From our side we’re aware there has been four traffic accidents in Porepunkah but as far as we know there’s been no serious injuries,” Mr Jeremy said.
RELAY FOR LIFE CANCELLED
THE Alpine Shire Relay for Life has been cancelled for 2018 after failing to attract enough participants by June 20.
At the start of June, organisers put a call out for more people to get involved in the Cancer Council fundraiser after just four teams had registered.
But it proved unsuccessful as only three more teams signed up by the cut off and organisers deemed that there weren’t enough participants to go ahead with the event.
What would have been the Alpine Shire’s eighth relay was scheduled to take place at Bright on October 13.
Bright resident and veteran Relay for Life participant Michelle Chalwell said it was a shame the event had to be cancelled.
“It’s really disappointing, it’s such a great event that is well-worth supporting so it’s unfortunate that we didn’t get the numbers,” she said.
Ms Chalwell said some people that had registered for the Alpine Shire event will form a team to participate at Wangaratta’s Relay for Life on October 20.
TAXI RUN TO RETURN
BRIGHT is regaining a taxi service.
The new cab service will be up and running in a week’s time with Melbourne couple Jack Hodge and Vicki McCrohan relocating their Frankston taxi fleet to the Ovens Valley.
Bright hasn’t had its own taxi since the Wilson family stopped operating in December 2016 because of rising operational costs and increases in volunteer-driven and courtesy transport.
“We’re going to be feeling our way a little bit, but we know there is a demand for a taxi,” Mr Hodge said.
“Everyone we’ve spoken to has said Bright needs it, so we’ll be bringing up what we were using in the Frankston cab area which is two vehicles and two buses.”
One of Mr Hodge’s Frankston drivers will join him in Bright while long-time local taxi driver Alan Muller has also been employed.
“We know there’s going to be busy times and quiet times, but we plan on being available 24/7,” Mr Hodge said.
U3A PROVES POPULAR
UNIVERSITY of the Third Age (U3A) is proving an overwhelming success with locals flocking to the wide variety of classes on offer.
Italian and German lessons, cooking, memoir writing, Shakespeare and gardening classes as well as bush walking, Lifeball (stationery netball) and board game afternoons are just some of the activities being enjoyed.
Secretary Jan Mock said the response U3A had received was beyond expectations.
“We started February 7 and I was hoping we would have 100 members within two years, we had that in five weeks and have about 130 now,” she said.
Ms Mock said socialising and making friends was the most important aspect with sharing knowledge and learning new skills a distant second.
“One lady sent us an email saying she’s been living here for 30 years but through U3A is now making some new and interesting friends,” Ms Mock said.
“I used to be a teacher here and I’ve lived here since I was a kid so I know a fair few around town but there’s people joining that I’ve never seen before.
FIX FOR BLACK SPOTS
ALPINE Council and the community have welcomed the news that two of the Alpine Shire’s most isolated areas will get improved mobile phone coverage.
Kancoona and the Buckland Valley have been included in round three of the Victorian Mobile Black Spot Project.
The two communities are among 28 locations across the state that will benefit from much needed mobile phone towers.
Kancoona’s long awaited tower will be provided by Optus while the Buckland Valley tower will be delivered by Telstra.
Alpine Shire Council chief executive officer Charlie Bird said the recent announcement was great news for both communities.
“We’ve been working with Cathy McGowan and also the state government to get these towers for a long time,” he said.
“Both have been among our top priority towers since the black spot funding program began so it’s really pleasing to see these towers committed to.
“When you think about public safety and from an emergency management perspective to be able to effectively communicate is really important.
EXCITING NEW APPROACH
THE 2019 Myrtleford Festival will take an exciting new approach, with main festival events and the annual parade to be held at the Myrtleford Showgrounds.
The scenic driveway and treescape will make a stunning setting for a new fireworks display in the evening and a new helicopter Duck Drop will give entrants the chance to win up to $1000 cash.
Alpine Shire had made plans to ensure that the iconic festival and the much needed Myrtleford Alpine Better Places roadworks could coincide with each other but following a recent committee meeting with the festival’s organisers, it was decided the reinvigorating change would be for the best.
New festival president, Helen McDougall, said it was important the decision was made early to give organisers as much time as possible to deliver another improved event.
“We are hoping to use this opportunity to bring as many events into the one location for ease of access, and will be holding discussions with all stakeholders in the coming weeks,” she said.
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JULY 18, 2018