Home' Phillip Island and San Remo Advertiser : November 18 2015 Contents PAGE 18 - THE ADVERTISER, WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2015
APOLOGIES for the wrong photo being used to
accompany the story about the picture painted
in the 1860’s by John Black Henderson, brother
of island pioneer Georgianna McHaffie, which
clearly shows two wallabies alongside the Rhyll
Swamp where the Cowes Rhyll Road is now.
Unfortunately, a modern day picture of a dead
wallaby was used in error.
There has been much conjecture locally as
numbers have dramatically increased over the
last decade, that wallabies are an imported spe-
cies to Phillip Island.
But local historians tell us that early set-
tlers noted their presence, and that they were
recognised as common through to the 1930s
Thereafter, numbers were severely reduced,
possibly due to hunting pressure, such that from
the 1940s to the 1980s, wallabies were infre-
quently seen across much of Phillip Island.
Through this time they remained numerous at
Cape Woolamai, however.
During the 1990s, it was recognised that wal-
labies were dispersing across Phillip Island and
increasing in numbers within several bushland
They have now reached almost plague propor-
The historic picture is from the State Library
of New South Wales and is on the Trove website.
Here is the right photo this week
Proud of our local students
In an era when State education is decried as
inferior and young people are criticised for being
self-centred and discourteous, I offer a counter
Students attending the San Remo Remem-
brance Day commemoration last week, did them-
selves, their schools, teachers, parents and their
They – and a group from a school in Doreen
who happened along – were attentive and respect-
Representatives of San Remo and Newhaven
primaries laid wreaths at the cenotaph which they
had made themselves.
I was standing beside MC John Methven when
two youngsters came up to him afterwards to po-
litely thank him for inviting the schools to take
part in the service.
In his poem Flanders Fields, Lt Col John Mc-
Crae tells succeeding generations that the soldiers
of World War I were throwing them the torch of
remembrance. In his poetic answer to that exhor-
tation, RW Lilliard noted those soldiers need not
fear they had died in vain because, “The torch you
threw to us we caught”.
Our local young people showed last week that
they too have risen to the challenge.
They are to be commended.
Jane Ross, San Remo.
Re planning application to the Bass Coast Shire
Council for 131–133 Silverleaves Avenue, Silver-
This is a copy of my letter to council:
I am an original objector to this application and
am writing to object to the short notice provided
of the Council Meeting on this scheduled for No-
vember 18 - and also the location of this meeting.
Since this relates to Silverleaves on Phillip Is-
land, why can’t the meeting be help at Council Of-
fices in Cowes?
In addition, it is extremely difficult for many
people to attend a meeting at this hour, at this
Many objectors are holiday home owners, Bass
Coast ratepayers - and reside in Melbourne dur-
ing the week.
For me personally, it means taking time off from
work and driving all the way down to Wonthaggi
from the north side of Melbourne, a journey of at
least 2.5 hours one way.
I just received the email about this giving me
only one week’s notice!
Yet at a VCAT hearing on Monday last week a
town planner hired by the permit applicant at an
adjacent Silverleaves property said in the hearing:
“Bass Coast Shire is about to rule on 131 – 133
Silverleaves Avenue Silverleaves”. (As you may be
aware, those hearings are recorded.)
I’d like to know why the town planner had
this apparently early information about Council
plans yet I and other objectors only received it at
3.30pm on Thursday, November 12?
I amongst other objectors pay rates for Silver-
leaves to Bass Coast Shire Council and yet we
don’t seem to be receiving fair governance.
In the governance world of corporate Australia,
there is a certain notice period required for meet-
ings relating to stakeholder interests enabling ar-
rangements to be made for stakeholders or their
delegates to attend.
Your notice period and conduct are simply un-
I thus object in the strongest terms to this and
wonder why this key matter - which has raised a
significant number of objections and about which
there is huge concern in Silverleaves given this is
the old Temby land and includes unique vegeta-
tion and wildlife habitat – is being dealt with in
Marjorie Johnston, President Silverleaves
Ignoring the majority
at Sunset Strip
Bass Coast Shire Council (BCSC) is still harass-
ing Sunset Strip property owners with more let-
ters pushing its mostly unwanted Special Charge
Scheme (SCS) for roads and drainage.
The latest letter from Cohen Van der Velde
(Manager Infrastructure Delivery) says: “Approxi-
mately 20 members from the community” assist-
ed in tweaking BCSC plans for the roads.
Meanwhile the 163 recent questionnaire re-
spondents who clearly stated they do not want to
pay for the roads have been totally ignored again.
It’s a worry when so few turn up to a meeting
that the head count is only an approximate.
No wonder the same people are telling us it’s
going to cost approximately $14,000 per prop-
erty when the BCSC website figures showed
$7,406,400 for 346 properties.
You do the math!
While there is an invitation for anybody to at-
tend the community meetings or fill in the on line
survey, it is really only the few in favour of BCSC
plans who are welcomed.
The meetings and survey are designed only to
endorse council plans with a minuscule tweaking
here and there.
There is no provision for objection or alterna-
tive ideas such as the Primer Seal spray on road
Ironically, this program has been recently used
on Marlin, Beachcomber and Smiths Beach
Roads in Smiths Beach.
We still have no reply from Paul Buckley (CEO)
to an earlier request for access to a mail out to
Sunset Strip property owners so alternative opin-
ions and ideas can be canvassed and presented to
balance the discussion in a democratic way.
We also sympathise with Stand Alone who are
still waiting for a reply on matters they raised with
Local Government Minister Natalie Hutchins.
We also had to wait four months on two occa-
sions for generic replies on matters important to
Clearly we are being governed on many levels
by people who have no interest in what the com-
munity really want.
Sunset Strip Road Watch Collective, Face-
book Sunset Strippers Ssrwc2014@gmail.com
People power wins the day
Three cheers and a big thank you to all the Is-
land lovers who bothered to formally object to
the unsuitable proposed Caravan Park at Forest
The applicant has now withdrawn the applica-
tion for a permit and Council has closed the file.
Just goes to show if enough people bother to
say ‘no thanks’, we can stop beautiful Phillip Is-
land from self-destructing.
Jennifer Grimwade, Cape Woolamai.
Why stop at wallabies?
On Page 14 of last week’s Advertiser, there was
an interesting article on “What to do about Wal-
labies” with one sub-heading being: “PINP plans
to manage wallabies”.
As I read about the wallaby problems, I thought
why stop at wallabies?
Wouldn’t it be worthwhile to also include rab-
bits, possums and Cape Barren geese in the re-
A management plan for rabbits would be espe-
cially welcome by many on the Island.
The PINP provides a great service in many ar-
eas and I hope Dr Sutherland (PINP’s Deputy Re-
search Manager) and his team, together with the
DELWP (the Department of Environment Land
and Water) and the BCSC can work together on
developing management options and actually car-
rying them out.
Lesley Feddersen, Cowes.
Why have nine councillors?
The Australian Electoral Commission recom-
mends that we increase the number of council-
lors from 7 to 9.
Why would we when current Cr Neil Rankine
was quoted in the Sentinel-Times on October 27
saying: “They were not allowed a role in staff re-
If they can have no say in such an important
matter, do we need to continue to pay $100,000
to $200,000 for councillors who are just window
Let’s find a better way to organise the manage-
ment of the shire.
I suggest that three areas outlined in the AEC
suggested new wards structure that each hold a
public meeting from this meeting and each area
select a representative.
Each representative from the three areas will be
the selection panel for all contracted officers who
work for the shire.
Each contracted position will be advertised ev-
ery three years (including CEO) and in the case of
the CEO the panel would be joined by a person
appointed by the Minister of Local Government.
The appointed CEO would be the fourth mem-
ber of the panel for other positions.
Local representatives would be paid a $1000
after each appointment.
I am sure this would be cheaper than nine
It would also take away the problem, CEO
Buckley claims is a “perception problem” re all
appointments of former staff that worked at
The CEO and contracted officers would have
to each month, have up to a three-hour meeting
where any ratepayer can ask questions and seek
information on the direction management was
It’s a new idea.
Let’s call it Democracy.
Bruce Procter, Newhaven.
Tell us your views with a ‘Letter to
the Editor’, emailed to
Letters to the Editor
AS AN apiarist, Phillip Island’s David Severino
is used to working with the challenges of nature,
but a recent trip to Africa has opened his eyes to
those that exist for beekeepers in the third world
country of Rwanda.
Rwanda has a population of 11 million people
who are mostly rural dwellers.
It is a small landlocked country bordered by the
Congo and Uganda in the eastern region of the
A two-week visit last February highlighted the
difficulties that face local beekeepers in their
quest to develop a sustainable honey producing
As with many other countries around the world,
honey is a sought-after commodity in Rwanda but
due to its poor production rate, it is in very short
David was invited to go to Rwanda on a consul-
As a commercial apiarist he was asked to deter-
mine the possibility and viability of establishing a
honey industry modelled on the style of beekeep-
ing that exists in Australia.
Although he is becoming a seasoned traveller
and ambassador for the honey industry, this was
the first time that he had visited Africa and it was
an experience that has left a lasting impression
“It was a great experience to see first-hand the
African way of beekeeping. One of the first things
I noticed was the number of gum trees that are
growing throughout the countryside. These were
first planted by Australian Aid over 20 years ago,”
Although this was one similarity with our in-
dustry, he soon found many other differences.
For a start, Rwanda experiences a subtropical
climate so there is no winter. This in turn means
that the bees do not have the need to store their
food (honey) for the cooler months.
“Therefore,” said David, “this keeps the supply
of honey down as the bees have to keep producing
honey all year round.”
The challenge he says is to try and breed a bee
strain that is suited to these specific conditions;
and to introduce a species that is different to the
aggressive African bee that is commonly called
In explaining how the honey industry works, in
Australia, David described how he operates his
He has worked commercially out of Phillip Is-
land for the past six years. At present he has over
300 hives with approximately 40,000 bees per
hive. Each hive has one queen bee and about 100
These are the male bees whose sole purpose is
to mate with a fertile queen bee. The rest of the
hive is made up of female workers who are re-
sponsible for the production of honey.
David is island based, but spends a great deal of
his time transporting his hives around the coun-
tryside in search of flowering plants and crops.
“In Australia we are called migratory beekeep-
ers because we take our bees to the crops. In
other countries, such as in Asia, the bees are sta-
tionary and are fed with a sugary type of syrup,”
“By moving the bees around we are able to go
to areas that produce certain types of honey, ac-
cording to the plants in flower. This is what gives
honey its specific flavour,” David said.
“The challenge in beekeeping is that it is heavily
reliant on the weather and what nature provides
“In a good year I can get up to ten good yields,
dependant on the vegetation type. This works out
to at least 200kgs (of honey) per hive,” he said.
Once it is collected and packaged, David sells
his honey in both local and overseas markets.
The down side for beekeepers is the Mediterra-
nean style climate that is experienced in southern
Australia. This sees a three month lull in the pro-
duction of honey in the cooler winter months be-
tween April and August. While it is offers a break
in the year it can also be a tough time for com-
In the past few years David Severino has turned
this down time to his advantage, and now uses
these leaner months to visit and consult with bee-
keepers in other countries.
It is an aspect of the industry that he is keen to
develop and to expand on a global basis.
“I enjoy this part of my work as I get to travel
overseas and to help third world countries.
“I want to see the honey industry expand in
these areas and to play a part in the re-establish-
ment of bees in areas that have become depleted
in hives, either through disease or chemical use,”
The one thing that keeps beekeepers like David
in the industry is the universal appeal and need
for this natural product.
Along with the nutritional benefit that honey of-
fers the body, is the important work of the worker
bees in the agricultural ecosystem.
“Bees are the essential agent or tool for the pol-
lination of crops,” said David.
In their work of collecting pollen from the flow-
ering plants, these bees are carrying out an essen-
tial task in the growth of our edible crops.
“Honey is still a much sought-after food source
throughout the world. We couldn’t live without
bees and hives,” he said.
Phillip Island beekeeper David Severino (right) with some of the locals in Rwanda who are
working in the country’s honey industry.
Beekeeping in Africa
These local beekeepers are tending to
the hives of native African bees commonly
called “Angry” due to their aggressive na-
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