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MOTORISTS on the Monash Freeway battled multiple lane closures this morning as the road was thrown into traffic chaos.
From 5am, all outbound lanes of the freeway were closed near the South Gippsland Highway due to an incident requiring police attendance.
It remained shut until 8.15am, forcing motorists off the main road during the morning peak.
A multi-vehicle crash outbound near Heatherton Road blocked two left lanes from 7am.
A crash, believed to be a nose-to-tail incident, forced the closure of the two right lanes of Power Road about 7am this morning.
Ironically, the traffic chaos came the same day the Gazette revealed La Trobe MP Jason Wood’s plans to duplicate the busy freeway.
BREAKOUT QUOTE: “I wish people knew a bit more about it, it was pretty savage.”
IT’S often called the forgotten war, and for veteran Charles Boase it is sometimes difficult to recall he was part of it himself.
With Thursday having marked 65 years since the Korean War, the government has reminded the public to remember the 18,000 Australians who served in this conflict. Albury resident Mr Boase is just one of them.
“I didn’t get there until fairly late, it was just about finished,” he said.
The country Riverina man had signed up with the Royal Australian Air Force in 1950 after deciding that farming life wasn’t for him. Working from Sale, Wagga Wagga, Richmond, and Point Cook, he was finally called to the war in Korea in 1953.
He was posted to Japan, and after a short three days, headed to Kimpo in Korea as part of the 77th Squadron.
Mr Boase was only there for four months before a tragic explosion left him a casualty of war, but he still remembers the experience.
The freezing Korean climate is one element that particularly sticks out in his mind.
“It was cold in Kimpo and a lot of the places were just thatched, and a lot were made out of scrap oil drums – just humpies really.
“They thought that since Korea was as far north as Melbourne was south, what they wear in Melbourne should be suitable.
“We had to de-ice the aeroplanes and keep the heaters running to keep them warm at night.
“All the clothes us Australians had were scrounged from the Yankees, it wasn’t until very much later they realised how cold we were.”
The bold and loud Americans were also everywhere – and so was their technology.
It was years before Mr Boase saw an automatic car like the ones the Yanks had in Korea driven on Australian shores.
It was the day Mr Boase was helping his squadron move south, however, that would be his last spent in Korea.
While moving plane parts onto a tank, jet fuel sparked an explosion. Mr Boase was unfortunately right in the thick of the moment. He suffered serious burns to his face and hands.
While he doesn’t remember the accident, he knows he was picked up by American soldiers and taken by helicopter to an American navy hospital based on a ship near Japan.
For many on the ship, Mr Boase was the first Australian they had ever met. A model of the ship that no doubt saved his life still sits in his living room today.
Mr Boase, who was still in early twenties at the time, says he has spent around seven years in hospital recovering from his injuries.
Despite the many great sacrifices made by Australians like Mr Boase, the conflict has become a faded part of Australia’s military history.
In April, no-one in Albury marched under a banner for the Korean War.
For veterans like Mr Boase who sacrificed a great deal, he would like to see more understanding in Australia of the conflict.
“There is never much mention of it – no-one made a fuss over Vietnam vets, either,” he said.
“I wish people knew a bit more about it, it was pretty savage.
“I think with Korea it was so soon after World War II and I think people had had enough of that.”
“I lost a couple of good friends there.”
And many of Mr Boase’s friends who did survive the war have since passed on.
Only a small handful of Korean veterans like Mr Boase, who is now in his mid-eighties, remain on the Border to share their story of a war already so unfamiliar with many Australians.
But despite the scars that Mr Boase still carries from his time in Korea, he is not one to ask for sympathy or dwell on the past, and is always quick for a joke and a laugh.
And after all these years away from the brutal Korean climate, he still has had his fill of the cold.
“People pay good money to go up to the snow, I don’t know what’s wrong with him!” he joked.
ANOTHER successful Mount Evelyn Community market was held again over the weekend.
Local craftspeople, artisans, cooks and traders set up stalls while the Mount Evelyn RSL put on a classic Devonshire tea for everyone in attendance.
Held at the RSL Hall on Birmingham Road, the community market featured handmade local goods and fresh local produce.
There was a huge variety of handmade crafts from jewellery, to baby clothes and underwear as well as local business offering everything from travel advice to cosmetics.
There was also fund-raising for the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation and wonderful original artworks for sale.
The community market is held on the fourth Saturday of each month from 9am to 1pm.
WARBURTON Caravan Park looks set for a major transformation.
Simon Edwards and his father Ray Edwards detailed their plans to Yarra Ranges Council on 23 June in a special meeting that provided an opportunity for anyone who made a submission on the proposed sale of the park to put forward their view.
Yarra Ranges Council identified Ray Edwards and sons, Simon and Adrian, and David Pratt, as the preferred tenderers back in March.
Simon Edwards told council he and his business partner Mr Pratt were in the process of selling the Bright Caravan Park they were presently operating with the intention of operating the Warburton Caravan Park.
“We are very much hands-on operators,” he said.
Both have young families and Simon Edwards said one of the significant drivers was their desire to move closer to their families in Melbourne.
Ray Edwards has been a caravan park operator for more than 20 years, and currently owns the Big4 park at Inverloch.
He said there was a significant amount of infrastructure work that needed to be done to bring the park up to the level expected by families who were the main focus of their businesses.
Included in their plans is a redevelopment of the reception and office area, boom gates to control traffic and improve safety, a jumping pillow, games room and communal kitchen, a dump site for caravaners and more two and three bedroom cabins further down the track.
Providing modern shower and toilet facilities was a high priority according to Ray Edwards who has owned and run parks for more than 20 years.
On the issue of continuing community access to the park, Simon Edwards said, “We do want to control vehicle access, but would have no plans to restrict any sort of pedestrian access”.
On the issue of existing residents and their tenure, he said they were governed by the Residential Tenancies Act and council had requested a minimum of two years surety for residents.
“We have no plans to get rid of permanent residents or site holders,” he said.
Ray Edwards said they respectively run our own individual businesses and would be pulling together for the capital spend that Warburton requires.
“What we have committed to is to pour a lot of money into not only the caravan park, but into the district,“ he said.
“We would be increasing staff over time.“
Simon Edwards said a long-term combination of lifestyle and investment in the community was what he and David Pratt were very excited about.
“We think we are in a fantastic position, ideally situated as catchment for tourists within two hours of a major metropolitan area.”
Warburton Valley CEDA (Community, Economic Development Association) president, Peta Godenzi, told the Mail she trusted that the reassurances over residents and annual site holders would be honoured.
“Our main criteria was that they weren’t compromised by the sale,” she said.
“A lot of money will need to be spent, and we trust they are going to do very good job if the tender is successful.”
The matter will go back to council on 14 July.
SEABL – ROUND 11
ONCE again, as has happened many times before, Dandenong and Albury-Wodonga took their SEABL encounter down to the wire.
The Rangers’ deja vu of last-second defeats against the Bandits was dragged back to the surface after the Bandits’ had a late-game possession only one score down.
Albury-Wodonga’s Deba George had the chance to tie the match with 19 seconds left and his last-second lay-up bobbled and fell … into the hands of Andrew Harms.
The Rangers’ guard clamped down on the rebound and sunk the ensuing free throws from a foul to guarantee Dandenong would take the hard-fought 80-76 win.
It was a match that had it all – power-packed offences going blow for blow and just as oppressive defensive efforts as neither side could really take the game by the scruff of the neck.
Despite pushing the gap out to 10 in the first half, Dandenong couldn’t keep Albury-Wodonga at arm’s length for long as the Bandits’ charged back time and time again.
The first tipping point happened half way through the third when the Rangers’ Dwayne Campbell was sent sliding across the court by Bandits’ star Cory Dixon (15 points, six rebounds). The Northwestern State alumnus was forced from the game with five fouls, taking away one of the visitors’ major offensive weapons.
Fouls would dog the Bandits throughout the clash as George (16 points, eight rebounds) and Donte Nicholas (23 points) precariously fought in the final quarter as the penalties amassed.
The third quarter belonged to Rangers’ forward Lucas Walker (21 points, 13 rebounds) who tested the Bandits at both ends with a spree of score involvements giving Dandenong the edge headed into the last term.
But despite the Dandenong forward pushing ahead and the loss of Dixon, the Bandits levelled the scores 61-apiece through George and Nicholas heading into the last.
Daequon Montreal (19 points, nine rebounds) – from only 7/21 from the field – stood up in the fourth as he smashed down a long-range three in the first eight seconds before rattling off a couple of crucial free throws.
Both sides squandered the chance to finish it from outside the arc in the dying minutes and Montreal missed two free throws to give the ball back with the scores at 78-76.
From there George held the Bandits’ fate, but couldn’t connect on the shot when it mattered most.
“We have lots of times (been in close games against Albury-Wodonga) – it always comes down to it and all those situations remind you of other situations,” Dandenong coach Darren Perry said. “We were in that situation against them up there and they made the plays and we didn’t … so it was nice to turn those tables.”
Perry praised Walker’s mixed offence – staying back to hit his jump shots or attacking the ring – and thinks it’s part of Dandenong’s strong, varied attack.
“He’s hard to handle when he gets a little bit of space going to the basket,” Perry said.
“We’re trying to keep avenues to the basket open and trying to play inside and out – when we do it well it looks good, then we have patches where we go to the perimeter a bit.
“There were lots of things to like about today (Sunday) – as coaches we always focus on things we need to do better, but I thought the guys shared the ball a lot and contributions from the bench again helped us out and it’s great when we get that.”
Dandenong heads to Mt Gambier on Friday night to face the SEABL South Conference’s top-ranked side so taking the win over high-ranking Bandits was worth its weight in gold.
“There are four sides within half a game of each other with a couple of sides still trying to get in there – so it’s great to get these wins,” Perry said. “We’re going to Mt Gambier this week – that’s going to be tough – but a good chance for us to get that win.”
SWAPPING her notebook for the Australian playbook, Dandenong rising star guard Aimie Clydesdale is flying abroad to take on her next basketball assignment.
Clydesdale, 21, from Endeavour Hills, is one of a quartet of Dandenong Rangers set to represent Australia at this year’s World University Games, starting this week in South Korea.
Splitting her time between training and playing in SEABL and WNBL as well as studying a double-degree at Monash University is a hectic schedule, but Clydesdale wouldn’t trade it as her basketball opportunities have flourished including another chance to play for Australia.
“I finished exams on Friday, so this week has been a bit better as I prepare to leave,” Clydesdale said.
“I’m really excited about it – from what I’ve heard it’s a massive event and I’m really happy to put on the green and gold again, so it should be good.”
In her latest international basketball experience – after playing for the Gems at the world under-19s championships in Chile – Clydesdale is ready to put some of her world-game knowledge to the test and believes the side has what it takes to ace its way to the top of the world class.
“I think we’ll be really competitive – we haven’t trained as a team yet, but we’re going to South Korea a few days early to get into training and a lot of us have been involved with the Opals camps and we’ll gel pretty quick and do really well – or at least we hope to as that’s the goal,” Clydesdale said.
“Just bringing home a medal would be the major ambition.”
This year’s SEABL season is well under way – with Dandenong sitting first in the East Conference with an 11-3 record – and Clydesdale thinks all aspects of 2015 have been brilliant for her confidence on and off the court.
“SEABL has been a really good opportunity to improve my game – we’re doing really well and I’ve been invited to a few Opals camps during SEABL as well and that’s really helped my confidence and given me some experience,” Clydesdale said.
“Everything I’ve done this year has been a really good stepping stone towards a good WNBL season coming up, especially with Larissa (Anderson) being named coach – she’s my SEABL coach as well so I’m really able to start working with her now in preparation which is a real advantage to me.”
With Kathleen Macleod heading to Canberra, it leaves Clydesdale as the prime candidate to become the Rangers’ starting point guard in the 2015/16 WNBL season.
It’s a challenge Clydesdale is ready to take on as the next phase of her WNBL “apprenticeship” starts this October.
“I’ve done my apprenticeship – you could call it – in the last four or five seasons at Dandenong and I’ve managed to learn a lot from the people I’ve played with like Kath (Macleod), Cappie (Pondexter) and Leilani (Mitchell) – so I think I’m ready,” Clydesdale said.
“We’ve got a really young team so it’s going to be really exciting.”
The 2015 World University Games start later this week – running from 3-14 July in South Korea and information about the event can be found at www.gwangju2015.com
CHRISTMAS in December for visitors to the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges is likely to be seafood and salad, great wines, and luscious desserts.
But in winter … it’s all about traditional fare. Hot roasts and gravy with lots of vegetables. Ham off the bone, turkey, apple sauce, or cranberry and steaming plum pudding with brandy custard.
As the mercury plummets and the winter mists swirl around the tall trees or cloak the valleys, the atmosphere is set and appetites primed for the sort of Christmas fare that you really just can’t enjoy in December.
Winter in July has become increasingly popular over the years.
There are several restaurants throughout the region that put up the tinsel, dust off the Christmas CDs and prime the log fires to recreate the sort of Christmas of Northern Hemisphere Christmas cards and movies that aren’t really quite right in December.
Depending on the venue, there might be a visit from Santa for the kids, a Kris Kringle (or you can arrange your own).
If you are planning a winter weekend getaway, why not incorporate a traditional Christmas lunch or dinner … and who knows, you might even see a bit of snow on the hills while you’re digging into your plum pudding.
Local Tourist Information Centres will be able to provide details of restaurants that have Christmas in July menus.
Be sure to book early, particularly for groups, but don’t be afraid to be a bit spontaneous if you’re just travelling through.
Celebrating the festive season can be a great way to warm up to winter in the villages either side of the Great Dividing Range.
NEW philosophies and a stronger resolve to prepare and recover properly have gelled together Melbourne and Casey better than ever before.
Under first-year coach Justin Plapp, the Scorpions have turned around a lacklustre 2014 to already surprise a few naysayers throughout the VFL with impressive wins over Essendon, Collingwood and Coburg.
Plapp puts changes to recovery and training preparation as crucial to Casey’s improvement across the board – going from second last in 2014 to eighth so far this season.
“There’s no doubt that we’ve changed a lot in the way that we were doing things at the club,” Plapp said.
“We’re trying to maintain a high performance level of what we do – training preparation, and recovery protocols.
“The break has come at a really good time and gives us a chance to air our bodies and have a crack at the second half of the season.”
VFL-listed players Evan Panozza, Jack Hutchins and Mitch Gent have found their way consistently into the best and in tandem with some of Melbourne’s younger brigade – Alex Neal-Bullen, Mitch White, Billy Stretch and former Dandenong Stingrays/Devon Meadows midfielder James Harmes.
While last week’s loss to North Ballarat was a sour note heading into the bye, Plapp believes his side remains around the mark for finals contention and potentially cracking into second chance territory.
“It’s been a really solid start to the year, but the weekend really put a dampener on it as we could’ve been in the top four,” Plapp said.
“We’re only a game outside the top four and if we had taken that win before the bye it really sets your year up to have a crack at finals.
“But we’re still in the mix.”
Another promising facet of the Scorpions’ season has favoured the AFL alignment, with Demons-listed players making that necessary step up to the AFL.
Plapp highlighted Max Gawn, Stretch and Neal-Bullen as some of those using the VFL effectively as a springboard to the AFL – with the alignment seeing its greatest rewards in many years from Casey Fields.“The Melbourne players purchase into that (Casey’s work-ethic) – Stretch, Neal-Bullen, Gawn – it’s exciting and you get a bit of a kick out of the boys watch their careers start, Particularly Neal-Bullen and Stretch as first-year players,” Plapp said.
“That’s part of the job and that’s what you get a kick out of – seeing that the program we’re running at the moment is benefiting both us from a Casey point of view and also the alignment.”
“We’ve had plenty of kids who have gone through our program and gone on to play AFL footy so far, and we’ve blooded some new kids – three or four – so our depth is looking really strong too.”
Casey will host Geelong on 4 July after the mid-season bye this weekend.