Ferntree Gully News turns 10!

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Photos by Barbara Oehring

Celebrating Ten Years of  Ferntree Gully News

The reception to celebrate the tenth year of publication for Ferntree Gully News, as well as the book launch of our anthology Ferntree Gully News: Scenes & Stories 2009-2017, was held on 10th of May at the Ferntree Gully Library.

The event was funded by a grant from Knox City Council’s Community Development Fund. Mountain District Learning Centre, the auspicing body of FTG News, thanks Knox City Council and all who took part.

Writer Teresa Cannon was there and records the following:

And now we are 10!

For the Pythagoreans, 10 was the perfect number. It linked the concepts of origin and unity (one) with multiplicity (all numbers).

What better symbolism could describe the Ferntree Gully News as it celebrates 10 years
since its beginning and 10 years of exciting and varied achievements.

There’s also another connection. The FTG News was the brainchild of the local traders.

It was 2009, the year of the horrific bushfires that devastated so many areas not far from the Gully. Such devastation left Gully people shocked and saddened, but also grateful to their local firefighters whose quick action prevented outbreaks here from developing into possible tragedy. In the ensuing inquiries, including the Royal Commission, it became clear that those communities with strong connections survived better after catastrophic events. Mindful of this, many Gully locals were keen to establish something that would consolidate community connection.

The FTG News was born in the hope that it would keep the community informed of happenings and strengthen community links and associations. The FTG News was immediately supported by the FTG Village Traders and the Bendigo Bank. The Mountain District Learning Centre (MDLC) agreed to auspice the paper and Anne Boyd, with a long experience at Cambridge University Press, became the Editor.

In its 10 years, the FTG News has told myriad stories of the community. There are stories of our history. And there are current stories, which will become our history. There have been stories of love and loss, of bravery here and at war, of kindness and generosity, of service to community.

There are stories of the descendants of the first peoples and of the later arrivals – the white settlers. Narratives of those who have escaped horrendous situations to find refuge in the Gully are particularly touching. Some arrived here, fleeing the scourges of WWII.

Others are from more recent conflicts. Included in the pages of the News are the local artists and the organisations that support and inspire them, such as the Ferntree Gully Arts Society. There are stories of learning in its many forms, of schools, sports, churches,
community dinners, the U3A and the men’s shed.

In telling these stories the FTG News has become the voice of the community. It tells us who we are. It tells us who our neighbours are. It brings us together.

Last year many of the stories were collected into an anthology, Ferntree Gully News, Scenes and Stories 2009 to 2017. This has created a more permanent record of the Gully and its many achievements.

With the decline and amalgamation of much of our media, community newspapers are increasing and becoming even more crucial in informing and linking communities. Such interest has resulted in a course on developing community newspapers being conducted
currently at the MDLC.

Like so many ventures, a newspaper cannot exist without financial support. It’s the generosity of the sponsors such as churches, politicians and community organisations that make it happen. And there are also the local traders who have been unceasing in their support with advertisements from the very start.

The FTG News has a team of people who work tirelessly to acquire and edit content and who undertake the very necessary tasks of administration, gathering advertisements, creating the design and layout, and organising delivery to 10,000 residences.

The Gully News’ 10 years of achievement was celebrated on 10 May. It was very much a community event. Janet Claringbold, Manager of the MDLC, welcomed guests and spoke of the history of the paper. Gully News’ participants were congratulated by Mayor Jake Keogh and MP Nick Wakeling.

Anne Boyd, Editor, spoke gratefully of all the support given by sponsors, traders and so many more community members. She was proud that Gully News is achieving what it set out to do – to consolidate warm community connection by keeping us informed of where we’ve come from, what we’re doing and where we’re going.

There was a sumptuous feast amiably prepared and delivered by Foothills Community Care.

Those ancients of numbers, the Pythagoreans, would no doubt have appreciated the symbolism and celebration of the tenth anniversary of the FTG News. They are testament to the significance of stories.

Now onwards to the next 10 years of the FTG News.

Teresa Cannon

Read more about our new anthology Ferntree Gully News: Scenes and Stories here – or celebrating our 50th Edition here.

 

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