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We had a great Christmas in July at Ballara Homestead. This year the three Probus Clubs that meet at the Baptist Church in Donvale joined in the Christmas celebrations together - Donvale Central (41), Donvale Tunstall (17) and Donvale Hill (30).


              'FUN, FRIENDSHIP AND FELLOWSHIP' was enjoyed by the members of the three clubs.

Following the success of the three clubs joining together we may combine for future excursions.

The menu included a two course meal consisting of a roast with 3 meats and vegetables. This was followed by Christmas pudding or apple strudel.

A big thank you to our Outings Committee for their organisation of this event and to the staff at Ballara who made us so welcome.


                                 Probus Spring Barbecue



We had 11 walkers plus 1 "Cafe for coffee" attendee join in for the Gardiners Creek walk in Burwood.  Once again chilly but fine with a little bit of mud along the trail, but a very pretty walk.  We headed for "Bells & Whistles Cafe" halfway in Highbury Road, where we were warmly welcomed. Jack, who was not walking dropped Lucy off at the starting point and was going to meet us for coffee.  He asked "Cafe in Highbury Road?".  I said yes and Lucy said "Bells & Whistles", we arrived at the Cafe - "Where are you Jack??"  He didn't have a phone so Lucy couldn't contact him.  There is another cafe along the way called "Aya" so assumed he's gone there by mistake and we'd see him on the way back.  No - Jack had gone to a cafe in Highbury Road, just not the same one we were at.  Sorry Jack.

Also, along the track we pass the site where the first Burwood Drive-In Cinema was, and Dennis, one of our new members mentioned that he and Noeline had their first date there going to see "Born Free" which Dennis remembered.   He said "I bet Noeline won't remember". Asking Noeline what they saw she said "something about lions".  She did remember.


Adding to our story of our creeks : "Gardiners Creek was originally known as Kooyongkoot Creek from the Woiwurrung language and translates to "haunt of the waterfowl".  It runs for 30 kms in the eastern suburbs and is part of the Yarra catchment.  The creek's current name was given in honour of early Melbourne land speculator and banker, John Gardiner who settled near the junction of Kooyongkoot Creek and the Yarra River in 1836.  One of the photos is an 1885 painting by John Roberts "Water morning after the rain", Gardiner's Creek".

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"Water morning after rain" - Tom Roberts



The weather report for our walk on the 26th July was "12 degrees, wind, rain and the chance of hail".  I was in doubt that we would get the walk in.  But, 8 brave members gave it a shot and all we had to cope with was the cold. This walk was from Napier Park (always hard to find) to Jells Park and, sorry guys, I understand the distance for this walk, seems it was closer to 7.5 km.  Poor Jack had to contend with blisters on his heel, not fun, but nurse Lyn came to the rescue with a bandaid which helped a bit.  We had our 'cuppa' half way at Madeline's Cafe.  The inside Cafe closed Mondays and Tuesdays but the Kiosk with outside seating was available with pretty good service.  This is a very pretty area with lots of bird life and a few bulls and cows grazing happily in the paddocks along the way.  I noticed the wattle trees coming out which is a good sign of Spring - yah!!

Our next walk is on Thursday, 11th August following part of Blind Creek Trail, Wantirna South.  This walk has options to shorten if we like.  I look forward to seeing you join in.  Here's hoping the weather stays fine.


A short history of Jells Park & Lake.  It is a beautiful man-made lake with variable water levels that flow from the Dandenong Creek. No boating or canoeing allowed, but you can fish from two of the jetties for redfin or short-finned eels and yabbies (with a valid fishing licence).  Jells Park was named after one of the first pioneer settlers in the area, Joseph Jell, with the area being used for grazing, a piggery and even a storage area for the American Army during World War 2.  Prior to the European settlement, Aborigines from the Woiworung and Bunurong tribes lived on the land for over 30,000 years.  The Park was offically opened in April 1976 and now caters for over 900,000 visitors a year with over 9 km of paths and trails, and 127 hectares of wide open space and picnic areas.





On Wednesday August 3rd about 27 Donvale Central Probians joined members from Donvale Hill and Donvale Tunstall to form a busload bound for the Port of Melbourne.  Prior to arrival there we stopped at the nearby suburb of Garden City to have the obligatory cuppa on the delightful, if windy,waterfront.  This part of Melbourne was to many of us an unknown hidden gem.


Our Port tour began with a comprehensive presentation with video and slides covering a vast amount of information which we have all retained - well at least the fact that 44.7% of imports came from CHINA.


We then were back on the bus to drive through much of the vast (about 500 hectares) Port area, which at the Footscray Rd. end gave us a view of the under construction port rail terminus.

         Yering Meadows

Then onto our lunch at The Elgin in Hawthorn.


I'm sure many will follow the suggestion to take the Port Boat Tour when it resumes later this year.

Thanks to Lyn and Chas for their efforts.

It was a great day.



We are missing our Amblers!! The weather was fine, the venue, Finns Reserve, was great and two amblers, Ros and myself had a lovely morning.  As, like the song, there was only "The Two of us', we extended what was to be an amble into more of a walk, having our "cuppa" at a coffee shop along the way.  We also had a wander around Wombat Bend playground - see the photo of one of those "funny" mirrors.  It made us look very slim!!  We know a few of you are away or on the sick list, but do think about joining in for what is always a relaxed and pleasant morning.

Our next Amble is Friday, 2nd September at Ringwood Lake and we hope to see you there.


Here is a story about Finn's Reserve:  "James Finn, part of one of the original Irish pioneering families, came from Ireland penniless in 1860 and took up work as a Coachman with the Catholic Church in Heidleberg.  In 1866 he started up a beer shop on this site which he called "The Happy Home".  In 1871 he added six extra rooms onto the original dwelling and was granted a licence in 1872.  He called the establishment Finn's Upper Yarra Hotel.  Finn's Hotel and a later challenger, The Templestowe Hotel, which still operates, also acted as community centres, at which public meetings were held and marriages celebrated.  Despite the battle for business between the two hotels, James Finn married the Templestowe Hotel's Hannah Sheahan, which did nothing to improve the harmony between the two families.  Their first son Jim (father of Ned Finn the last owner) was born in 1869.

This information was taken from a plaque at Finn Reserve.



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We had 9 keen walkers joining for the Blind Creek Trail in Wantirna on the 12th August.  It was meant to rain, but that atayed away until we were on our way home.  Lucky!!  The wind was very gusty and cold though.  Not to worry, we were rugged up and prepared.  We had our "cuppa" at Coffee on Sherwood"and a good chat near the end.  (check the photos where we did get to walk over "very large" stepping stones) Great spot for a photo shoot and,nobody fell in!!!


Along the way we passed Knox Lake (affectionally named by the many locals) who value this large deep-water body. This information came from the website trying to save the lake. 


"Acting for the State Government, "Development Victoria" intends to fill in Lake Knox for a new bland canvas on which to meet stormwater requirements so that they can build medium density housing developments on the site.  The Development Victoria proposal would disturb and destroy the home of some endangered species, one being the Blue Billed Duck, for the mighty dollar once again."

I reckon the people that would buy from the new proposed estate would love to have a very beautiful lake in their back yard. (sounds like I should be running for Parliament, doesn't it).

Also, the Blind Creek Trail is 11.5 kms long (we didn't walk that far) and runs from the Dandenong Creek Trail in Wantirna South to the Ringwood-Belgrave Rail Trail in Boronia.  Blind Creek was reportedly named as it was so over-arched with vegetation that it could not be seen from high vantage points, such as One Tree Hill.


Our next walk is Tuesday 23rd August at Eltham and I look forward to seeing you there.



I would like to thank Ros for leading our walkers up the "garden path" for the Eltham Park walk on 23rd August. Four walkers joined in, with many missing, including your "illustrious leader" for various reasons.  I hope we can all be back on deck for our next walk on the 8th September starting at Heathmont, heading to Bayswater, coffee halfway.  I hope to see you there.

There were no photos to add to this walk, but with Father's Day coming up on the 4th September, here are a few sayings from the little book "DON'TS FOR HUSBANDS" from 1913.

"DON"T stoop, even if your work is desk-work.  Your wife wants to see you straight and broad-chested."  

"DON'T slouch. No one who cares for a man likes to see him acquire a slouching habit."

"DON'T be too grave and solemn.  Raise a bit of fun in the home now and then."

"DON"T keep all your best jokes for your men friends.  Let your wife share them."

And finally - "DON'T look at things solely from a man's point of view.  Pur yourself in your wife's place and see how you would like some of the things she has to put up with".

Aren't you fellows happy you were born in the 1940's!! Wishing all our Dad's a very happy Fathers Day.


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Once again, like the song 'The Two of Us' " We'll go it alone, There's just the two of us, and we'll always be travelling on".

So, once again, Ros and I turned the Amble into a bit of a walk, and did have a lovely morning wandering around Ringwood Lake with a bit of a venture out into the streets of Ringwood before heading back and having our "cuppa" not in the Park but at a lovely coffee shop. (Our walkers will have the opportunity to do this walk in November, I used today as a practice run.)

The weather was a bit chilly to start, but soon jackets came off and we warmed up, then umbrellas came out and it rained for a wee bit.  Then the sun came out -'Spring is here"

Our next Amble is Belmore Rd Wetlands area, 4th October.  Ros maybe away then, but Sue will be there, and hoping to see a few more Amblers join in.




On a mild early Spring morning, nineteen members of Donvale Central along with eleven members of two other Donvale Probus Clubs boarded the Melbourne Tramboat for a four-hour trip down the Yarra and then up the Maribyrnong River to Essendon and return.  Along the way, we were well cared for by husband/wife team of Anthony and Lisa, with Anthony providing commentary as well as steering the boat, and Lisa looking after refreshments.


We passed Coode Island, Flemington Racecourse, some magnificent riverside homes and apartments along Fisher Parade, and the intriguing Chinese Heavenly Queen Temple before arriving at the Anglers Tavern in Essendon for an enjoyable lunch.


Then we boarded the tramboat once again, passing numerous rowing sheds, fishermen and walking tracks along the edge of the river as we headed back to the city. A very interesting day in an area with which few of us were familiar.





We had 7 members in for the Dandenong Creek Trail, Heathmont to Bayswater walk.  This is a pretty walk, the weather was good, so a lovely morning was had by all.  We had our "cuppa" halfway at "Cafe on the Park" which is attached to Glen Park Community Centre.  Service was a bit slow, but very eager and easy to please


The above photo of the group was around the monument is one of Hubert "Oppy" Opperman, famous Aussie cyclist in 1920/30's whose cycling feats earned him international fame"

Our next walk is on the 27th Sept (School Hols) walking along part of the Koonung Creek area in Doncaster and I look forward to seeing you join in.


Following on my stories of the Creeks, Here's a bit about the Dandenong Creek. 

"The Dandenong Creek (Aboriginal Bunwurrung: Yarra Narrowong or Dandinnong) is an urban Creek of the Port Phillip catchment located in the eastern and south eastern Greater Melbourne region.  The creek descends approximately 1,800 feet (whatever that means) over its course of 53 Kms before joining the Eumemmerring Creek to form the Patterson River and eventually draining into the Beaumaris Bay.  The first European to see the creek near its source was in 1839 and is believed to be Daniel Bunch, a botanist. The name is derived from an Aboriginal word meaning "lofty mountains".  The creek provided water and food for the Boon Warring People of the Kulin nation, and its Eucalypt trees were used to make tools, weapons and canoes, as well as bags and nets.  Gum was often applied to ease toothache.  The man made Patterson River was constructed in 1878 to provide drainage for swamplands."




We had 9 members and 1 visitor (my hubby) join in the Koonung Creek Trail, Doincaster East, having our "cuppa" near the end at "Open Dialogue" cafe. I was expecting that we were heading straight to the Cafe, going by the weather report, but it was a perfect morning.  In fact, some of us broke out in a bit of sweat.  True story!

We have done this walk  a few times, one of my regulars, and I'm intending to make this one a "Breakfast Walk" early next year.  This cafe is set in an industrial area, and they have been hanging in all through Lockdowns, so I thought we should support them with a bit of extra custom.

Our next walk is on the 13th October, and I'm hoping we are going to see the Cherry Blossoms still out in bloom.  I look forward to seeing you join in.

I have done the story of Koonung Creek earlier this year, so will go back to my coffee, Tea and Cake quotes!

"Today's morning is sponsored by Coffee!" and, for our tea lovers "A cup of tea makes everything better".  And of course,

"Life is too short to say no to cake".


Ambler's Report - Sue


Now; this is becoming a very exclusive little Group.  On the 7th October, you guessed it!  We had tywo members come along for the amble - Lyn and Sue (Ros is still away).  We met at Banksia Park hoping the Cherry Blossoms would still be in flower.  But, sadly, the weather was against us.  When Lyn and I arrived it was raining quite steadily, so we went straight to the Cafe Vue, where we enjoyed a nice coffee and a chat, while waiting for the weather to improve.  IT DIDN'T!! So we then went into the Heidi Gallery for a wander for about 1/2 hour, while waiting fpr the  weather to improve. IT DIDN"T !! The artwork really is an acquired taste, but interesting what people present as Art.  They do have a very lovely giftware shop and very friendly staff.  I took some photos of the park outside the gallery from inside.  We thought the view was much nicer than the artwork inside.  I did do a "selfie" in front of some artwork - not good! (the selfie I mean).

By now, the rain was getting heavier, we still hadn't been able to make it to see the blossoms, but the decision  was made to head for home.  Of course, by the time we arrived home, the rain had stopped.  Our walkers are going to be at Banksia Park, Thursday 13th October, so here's hoping we get to see something.

P.S.  I did get to see some Cherry Blossoms at my son's house in Rosebud a couple of weeks ago - see attached photos.

Our next amble is Friday, 4th November at Belmore Rd Wetlands Area - please join in.

"We need, above all things, to slow down, and get ourselves to Amble through life instead of rush through it".



So, the weather bureau said "floods and torrential rain and stay at home if you can for the 13th October" - our Banksia park "Cherry Blossom" walk.  The day before was very wet so I made an "Executive Decision" to contact our walkers and cancel this walk.  The rain did hold off during the morning, so we may have got the walk in but it would have been very wet underfoot and not so enjoyable.  Banksia Park is one of our "regular" and always lovely walks, but it was only a few years ago that I learnt about the cherry blossoms.  This has since gecome a doomed outing, as we missed two years ago with Lockdown and now the weather has been against us.  Our amble last week had the same fate - too wet to see the blossoms.  Never fear,, I will try again next year!

I was a bit cheeky though and Tuesday 11th October was a beautiful morning so I headed off to see if the blossoms were still "blossomming" as I had been told they came out early and maybe finished.  (this was before I knew I was going to cancel it.)  Some trees had finished but a lot were still in bloom and there is an area where new trees have been planted, so we will try again next year.


Victorian Parks and Gardens

Our next walk on Tuesday, 25th October, starting and finishing at Beasley's Nursery, our ":cuppa" at the end.  At least this way, we can head straight to the Cafe if bad weather.  I look forward to seeing you there.

I may have told the story of the Japanese Cherry Grove of Banksia Park before, but here is a bit of refresher.  

"In February 1980, the Japanese Government donated 100 flowering  cherry trees to the people of Victoria to mark the visit of the then Prime Minister, Mr.M. Ohria.  The trees were originally in Jells Park, but were relocated to Banksia Park in 1988.  The trees are now thriving and continually nurtured by Parks Victoria and the Cherry Friends volunteer group.  Throughout October, visitors flock to the Banksia Park Cherry Grove to participate in Hanami or "flower viewing".  Hanami is the Japanese traditional custom of enjoying the transient beauty of the Sakura or cherry blossoms.  Modern day Hanami mostly consists of having picnics beneath the trees with family and friends.  The cherry blossoms however, are short lived, flowering for only a few weeks throughout Spring."

When I was there on the 11th there were many Japanese families, dressed up in their Sunday best, organising picnics under the trees and taking lots of photos.



Happy hour with our Probus friends.  What a great way to spend an evening!! 

During the cooler months when we were unable to gather in the Park for a barbecue Probus members opened their homes to the group to meet for wine and nibbles.  This was a great success and I am sure will continue in 2023.


Many thanks to Lyn, John, Fred and Helen who opened their homes and hosted the 'HAPPY HOURS'.

Donvale Central Probus Club


Forward to Gallery 4

Fun, Friendship and Fellowship
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