The 42nd Ringwood Highland Games

The Ringwood Highland Games held at the Russell Lucas Oval in Jubilee Park, is Maroondah’s largest cultural event, attracting attendees locally, nationally and even internationally.

The event included a range of activities and events, including pipe bands, caber tossing, highland dancing and stalls providing information on the Scottish Clans. The perfect weather and the diverse range of events helped contribute to an extremely successful day catering for a large number of attendees.

The Ringwood Highlands Games is held annually with the 2009 event to be held on Sunday the 4th of April. For further information please visit

2008 Ringwood Spiders Jumper Presentation Evening

The Ringwood Spiders, based at Jubilee Park, is a football club for people with disabilities and is part of a 14 team league organised through the Football Integration Development Association (FIDA).

Tonight’s function provided an opportunity to meet both current and new football players who will be representing Ringwood throughout the season. Players have been busy training to prepare themselves for matches against clubs such as Moonee Valley Magpies, North Ballarat Knights and Maribyrnong Bulldogs.

As a community based club the Ringwood Spiders is seeking assistance from the local community. While Council does provide some support, the club is exploring innovative ways and increasing their resources while also strengthening connections with the local community.

The club has recently launch the ability to sponsor a player allowing businesses and individuals to support the club for just $150 per annum.

The Ringwood Spiders are playing four home games this season with all games commencing at 11am.

The enthusiasm, excitement and comradely from the team has never been stronger and I am certain that the Ringwood Spiders will do extremely well this season!

2008 Football Season – Home Games for the Ringwood Spiders

The Ringwood Spiders, based at Jubilee Park, is a football club for people with disabilities and is part of a 14 team league organised through the Football Integration Development Association (FIDA).

With a total of ten rounds, the Ringwood Spiders are playing four games this season at their home ground of Jubilee Park in Greenwood Avenue, Ringwood. All games commence at 11am.

Media Release: Pet registrations due

Did you know that April is the most important month of the year for pet owners?

Councillor Alex Makin said Thursday 10 April is the date by which every responsible pet owner must register their dogs and cats over the age of three months.

“By registering your pets you are ensuring they can be returned safely if they happen to get lost or become injured,” said Cr Makin.

“Registration is an annual payment which falls on 10 April. Identification tags are issued to pet owners with each registration form. The tags should be immediately attached to your pet’s collar once payment is finalised,” said Cr Makin.

The maximum registration fee is $79 for dogs and $72 for cats, with discounts for animals that are desexed, over 10 years old, microchipped, registered by a domestic animal business as breeding animals, or that are registered with an approved animal organisation. Pensioner and healthcare card holders also receive significant discounts.

For all pets under 12 months old and microchipped the first registration is free. Registration papers for pets already registered have been sent out during March.

All newly registered dogs and cats, regardless of age, must be microchipped. This includes new residents who move with their pets into Maroondah.

As advised on animal registration notices, pet owners have a number of options for paying their registration. As well as conventional methods of payment, electronic banking is available.
is available.

Pet registration payments may be made:

In person: at any Australia Post Office, or at any Council Service Centre.
By phone: from a pre-registered bank account, or credit card.
BPay: payments directly from a bank account.
By mail: using the re-useable envelope attached to the rate notice.
By Internet: at

“A fine of $215 will be issued to all owners of a dog or cat over the age of three months that isn’t registered so it’s very important to register your pets promptly,” said Cr Makin.

“If your pet dies or you relocate outside of Maroondah, owners should notify Council as soon as possible,” said Cr Makin.

For further information contact Council’s Neighbourhood Services on 9294 5653 or visit Council’s website at

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Ringwood Historical Society March meeting

This evening’s Ringwood Historical Society meeting included two guest speakers. Firstly, Neville O’Connor, a local Ringwood East resident spoke about his interest in theatre organs and the current locations of the surviving organs within Australia.

The second presenter was the President of the Ringwood City Soccer Club, who discussed the unique history of the club. Ringwood City Soccer Club, based at the soccer field in Jubilee Park, Ringwood. The club was founded in 1953 as Wilhelmina Soccer Club by John van Hoboken who desired to create a professional soccer club for Dutch players who migrated to Australia.

Wilhelmina Soccer Club was based in various suburbs including North Balwyn and Hawthorn before it was relocated to Ringwood’s Jubilee Park in 1962 and renamed Ringwood City Wilhelmina Soccer Club. The club had tremendous success in the early years fuelled by the quality of players that were being recruited into the club.

While the Dutch connection remained strong throughout the first two decades, this waned in latter years due to the establishment of a professional soccer league in the Netherlands, which hampered efforts to recruit new Dutch players. As a result the club’s standing and revenue began to fall causing a re-evaluation in its direction.

Today, as an amateur soccer club, the focus is on the Ringwood and Maroondah community catering to the needs of local residents. The Ringwood City Soccer Club has definitely had a unique and interesting history.

Lastly, there was discussion around a new website for the Ringwood Historical Society. I have volunteered to design a new site, which will provide the ability to add new content and photos quickly and easily. The website, which is currently being finalised, has been developed using WordPress, the same software I use to power my own site.

As I was showing a demonstration of the new site someone asked about the costs associated with WordPress. WordPress is freely available for download and I personally have a preference for free software. My main operating system is OpenSUSE Linux, which I use due to its reliability and additional features that are not found on other software. The next version of Ubuntu 8.04 is expected on the 24th of April.

For more details on the Ringwood Historical Society please visit

Enjoying Planned Retirement March Bocce

Enjoying Planned Retirement (EPR) holds fortnightly bocce sessions between December and April and is one of the many activities undertaken by the group. Today’s bocce included the unveiling of EPR’s new barbecue which was kindly donated by Rinnai Australia to replace the previous barbecue that was stolen in February.

The generosity of Rinnai and its sales manager Clinton Smith, a local Croydon resident, was outstanding. It is wonderful to see businesses and our local residents being so willing to assist our community groups. Both myself and EPR are truly grateful for this donation and I would like to thank Rinnai for this gracious contribution to the Maroondah community.

North Ringwood Community House 2008 AGM

The North Ringwood Community House, located at 120 Oban Road in North Ringwood, provides a range of courses in a friendly and nurturing environment.

The Community House is a community owned and managed centre, which is overseen by a voluntary committee of management. Today’s AGM included the election of committee members for the twelve months and I am pleased to have been re-nominated for the committee of management. Community houses provide a valuable educational experience, outside of the traditional concepts of education, and it is great to have further opportunities to provide input into the future direction for the facility.

The AGM’s guest speaker was Cath Connelly, a Celtic Harpist who spoke about her experiences with community houses – as a student, employee and trainer. Cath’s involvement led her to learning the harp which she teaches, as well as performs on a professional basis.

North Ringwood Community House has undertaken a number of innovative projects, including providing TAFE accredited courses and investigating the feasibility of an environmental hub in the eastern suburbs. Its success has meant it is fast outgrowing its current premises and planning must begin to investigate how the house can grow into the future. The current location, which is part of the Holy Spirit Primary School rather than being on council land, has meant that the house is unable to expand and cannot apply for council’s third/third/third grants which are provided for infrastructure works.

Discussions have begun with council to explore a new location for the house, that is located on council land within Ringwood North. I am committed to ensuring that North Ringwood Community House is able to grow into the future by finding a new site for the facility.

Delegates' Report: Supporting community calls for accessibility and sustainability

On the 28th of February I attended the launch of the Coloured Emotions Art Display, facilitated by the Parent Support Network – Eastern Region. The group provides support for carers, parents and families that have children with a disability, through support groups, advocacy and other activities.

Coloured Emotions is an art therapy program facilitated by the Parent Support Network and is one of the activities provided by the group. The program allowed these carers to express their emotions through art within a supportive environment.

The raw emotion that was on display demonstrated the stress and challenges that carers face, including the need for peer support. Groups like the Parent Support Network and the people involved in them need to be congratulated for the peer support they provide. It is often difficult for most people, due to time constraints, to become involved in a voluntary capacity within community groups, but for parents who are carers for children with disabilities it must be even more difficult to manage caring, careers and being involved in the community.

It is imperative that we continue to improve the accessibility of our municipality to ensure that all people have access to the community, lifestyle and opportunity that Maroondah provides.

On the 6th of March I attended the Croydon Conservation Society’s AGM, where Phil Turner, our Director of Major Projects and Planning, was the guest speaker to discuss the Ringwood Transit City and the plans for Ringwood. The Croydon Conservation Society is Maroondah’s oldest environmental association and topics discussed included strengthening provisions for water and energy efficiency, as well as the continued advocacy for sustainable transport.

The Croydon Conservation Society welcomed this opportunity and it was great to see our community groups being included in the discussions for the plans for Ringwood.

On the 13th of March I attended the Eastern Transport Coalition meeting. This month’s meeting discussed the bus service reviews that are currently being undertaken within some of the member council areas, as well as furthering the call for the necessary public transport improvements. One of these improvements is the Ringwood to Frankston SmartBus and and will begin operating next Monday on the 24th. The SmartBus will provide a bus service operating through to midnight six days a week, with services every 15 minutes during weekdays and half hourly during evenings and weekends. The SmartBus marks the first really substantial upgrade to bus services within Maroondah and indeed the outer east and will provide transport choice for parts of Maroondah that previously had little option but to drive.

While it is unfortunate that this upgrade took almost four years, it is certainly an encouraging improvement and hopefully a sign of more to follow.

The role of urban transport is critical to reducing Australia’s greenhouse emissions and yesterday on the 16th of March I attended a meeting with the Maroondah Climate Change Action Group. Transport is Australia’s fastest growing sector of greenhouse emissions and contributes up to 50% of household emissions. There has been much discussion around potential greenhouse reduction targets for 2020 and any serious targets are going to be established they must include a reduction in car dependence and thus also assist with providing transport choice and mitigating worsening traffic congestion.

Maroondah Climate Change Action Group – discussing climate change

This evening I was invited to speak with the Maroondah Climate Change Action Group to discuss climate change and the need for ongoing action at a local level to reduce greenhouse emissions.

The continued growth of the Maroondah Climate Change Action Group demonstrates that the community is increasingly concerned about greenhouse emissions and the need for action. Priorities for the group include the need to set goals to achieve carbon neutrality so as to reduce greenhouse emissions within both council and the wider community.

I also discussed the need for improvements in public transport to provide transport choice for residents and thus reduce emissions caused by transport, which contribute up to half of a household’s emissions. The transport sector is the fastest growing sector of greenhouse emissions nationwide and Federal leadership is required in regard to urban transport if there is any hope of achieving serious greenhouse reduction targets by 2020.

Issues like climate change require ongoing Federal, State and Local initiatives and it is imperative that all levels of government commit to improving our urban sustainability.

Eastern Transport Coalition meeting – calling for State and Federal investment in public transport

Tonight’s meeting of the Eastern Transport Coalition included a presentation from John Stone, project officer at GAMUT, the Australian Centre for the Governance and Management of Urban Transport.

John spoke about the case for Federal funding of public transport and the need for the Commonwealth to provide such funding in return for operational reforms at a State level. In Victoria such reforms should include the creation of a holistic statutory authority that is responsible for both roads and public transport. This would end the imbalance that exists between VicRoads and the Public Transport Division in the Department of Infrastructure (DOI) by ensuring that all transport projects are assessed equally. Furthermore reforms should include operational measures such as ensuring that buses connect with rail services, so as to provide an integrated transport system that functions as one network.

Requiring such reforms in return for federal funding would ensure that the Commonwealth would receive maximum return for its investment and would prevent waste at a state level. The fact that states such as Western Australia and Queensland have been able to invest in new rail lines after undertaking departmental reform demonstrates that rail extensions can be provided efficiently and economically.

Issues such as congestion and greenhouse emissions, are a national issue and it therefore requires a nationwide response through federal investment in urban public transport infrastructure. Federal involvement would not shift blame from State to Federal Governments but would instead provide accountability and ensure that State Governments would honour their commitments.

The Eastern Transport Coalition will be preparing a discussion paper to advance the campaign for federal involvement in urban public transport.