Storm Recovery in the Dandenongs

Rotary Storm Recovery Festival 

The massive storm in June 2021 that wrecked many parts of the Dandenong Ranges caused physical, financial and mental damage to thousands of residents, organisations and businesses. Rotary quickly set up an Emergency Relief Appeal Fund for Rotary Clubs to help the local organisations who immediately assisted those people affected by the storm, and who continue to help them as necessary. 

Over $100,000 was raised by our appeal and Rotary was able to present  $94,000 of the total at the Festival on the Sunday (with one project still pending). The members of the District 9810 Rotary Storm Recovery Project Fund went about their  task of ensuring that the funds were directed to the deserving organisations. This process involved many meetings and encounters with various Rotary clubs, local government authorities and recipient organisations. 

The cheques were handed over at an event held on Sunday 27 February at Monbulk. This event was a huge success, attended by hundreds of members of the public and local MPs. At least 25 of our District’s 44 Rotary and Rotaract Clubs assisted or attended the event.  It is believed that there has never been an event that has marshalled such support from right across our Rotary District.  

The Club Presidents and their club members of Monbulk & District, Emerald & District and Belgrave clubs worked tirelessly to ensure that the event was a huge success. They not only secured all the various food and entertainment suppliers and stall holders, but even tidied up the event space at the Saint George Anglican Church paddock in  Monbulk on the prior weekend!

Cheques were presented by the District Governor to the following organisations:

  • Emerald SES – additional  equipment and training of 14 volunteers $16,775
  • Rescue Logs Book – for primary school students $3,971
  • Mt Dandenong Pre-School – event equipment (roaster and loo hire) $1,850
  • Grab Bags – (not approved yet, but working on costs)
  • Habitat for Humanity – clearing the mess and land $27,000
  • Treasure our Trees – clearing the fallen trees $37,747
  • Monbulk Emergency Group – additional satellite communications equipment $5,399

Remember that recovery processes will continue for many more months and possibly for years. Rotary’s efforts are addressing some of the support needed. We believe we have applied the funds gathered in a way that will address many of those needs. 

 If you want to give something back to the community, give one of our Co-Presidents, Christine Anderson 0458 366 543 or Graeme Aspinall 0425 432 290 a call. We want to hear from you if you would like to have the companionship of a great bunch of people while helping out others in your community and in other communities around the world. See you sometime!

Works to repair the 1000 Steps

Fans of the Kokoda Memorial Track, otherwise known as the Thousand Steps, will have to wait a few more months before it reopens, according to Parks Victoria.

The steps were closed after severe storm damage in June last year and Parks Victoria says they are likely to remain shut until at least spring.

So far, they have cleared the debris from the storm, reopened the picnic area, carpark, and onsite cafe, as well as the visitor area at One Tree Hill. But further repairs need to be made to the stone steps and handrails before the Kokoda Memorial Track can be reopened.

Victoria Purdue, District Manager with Parks Victoria said repairing the damaged facilities along the Kokoda Memorial Track was a complex process that would take time to complete.

‘We are working through insurance processes, safety works, cultural heritage assessments, and planning and building permits,’ she said. ‘We thank our visitors who have been patient and respectful of the closures that were put in place for their safety. In the meantime, we’re encouraging visitors to enjoy the picnic area and explore other walks in the area, including a walk up the Lyrebird Track, which follows a similar alignment to the Kokoda Memorial Track.’

Kathryn Loader

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