Sarsfield Community Association

20 December 2021

Sarsfield Community Snippets ~ Number 9

The weather was perfect for the very successful East Gippsland Bushfire Resilience and Adaption EXPO hosted by Sarsfield. A great crowd, plenty of interesting exhibitors, background music that was easy listening, the aromas from the food trucks and the Lucknow Cricket Club BBQ, and a wonderful family vibe added to the amazing event. Roving entertainment for kids, experts speaking on a range of relevant topics and several agency marquees topped off the day.

X-Fire Australia demonstrations Image: SRR Community Facebook

There were plenty of volunteers but special mention to the amazing voluntary work of Cath McLellan, Simon Hof and Phil Schneider who
co-ordinated and drove the concept for many months and rolled their sleeves up on the day. 450 people participated on the day- another proud day for Sarsfield.

Black Snake Productions demonstrations. Image: SRR Community Facebook

Sarsfield continues to be a hive of activity over the Christmas/ New Year period although many of the regular events will break for the holidays. There was an amazing response to the Sarsfield Community Associations online survey relating to near misses, close shaves and safety concerns with the Great Alpine Road through Sarsfield. The anecdotes that residents shared were alarming and collectively confirmed that there is an urgent need to address the critical safety concerns raised regarding the GAR . The information taken from the survey is currently being collated and analysed. This will add weight to the communities ongoing concerns regarding road safety and hopefully lead to some immediate action.


There is a family friendly New Year’s event at the Recreation Reserve on the 31st of December with live music played by Gibbs and Taylor between 6pm and 10pm to rock the evening away. People are invited to bring their own picnic food, drinks and camp chairs. The Pizza Truck will be on site selling pizzas to add to this very relaxed family night.

Gibbs & Taylor Image: Cathy McLellan

Another exciting event is planned for tomorrow, Tuesday the 21st of December. The Steamlab will be at Sarsfield Hall . This Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths interactive session is free to Sarsfield’s young people and their parents and will run from 4pm until 7pm with free pizzas delivered at 6pm. Use of Virtual Reality headsets and operating and coding with Spheros is part of a great hands-on opportunity for our young people to be challenged and inspired.

Please RSVP to Cathy on 0488 051 936 if you are interested.

STEAM LAB flyer Image: SRR Community Facebook

This weeks Snippets reports on the amazing Sarsfield Snaps project and their Exhibition at the Melbourne Zoo. We also flag the East Gippsland Community Foundation Scholarships and celebrate the announcement of our successful funding applications through the East Gippsland Community Foundation. We also look at one of the quirkier side “benefits” of the post bushfire period- visits from senior politicians, sports stars, members of the arts community, celebrities and the media.

Good News – East Gippsland Foundation funding announcement.

There was plenty of excitement last week as the announcement was made that Sarsfield Community Association had been successful in two of their funding applications to the East Gippsland Community Foundation. We received two grants each of $75000 to fund two very important priorities. The first is for the toilet block upgrade which involves refurbishing the existing infrastructure, and the second grant is a sporting and activities-based wellbeing package. This includes transforming the existing tennis court to a multi-purpose court with a basketball ring, volleyball and futsal (mini soccer) , new tennis nets and markings, purchase of sports equipment, upgrade of the existing cricket nets and a feasibility assessment exploring walking trails through the reserve.

Multi-purpose court concept Image: Grassports Australia

The East Gippsland Community Foundation is a philanthropic community foundation formed earlier this year with the purpose of funding and supporting East Gippsland Communities in their long-term recovery from the 2019/2020 Victorian bushfires. The Sarsfield community thanks the EGCF for their wonderful support.

East Gippsland Community Foundation Scholarships

This wonderful philanthropic foundation is offering scholarships to support students who were /are living in the East Gippsland Shire and are from communities that were impacted directly by the 2019/2020 bushfires. The scholarships are to financially support school leavers in attending TAFE or University next year. The scholarships of up to $7000 may be used to subsidise accommodation costs, course fees, text books, tutoring or any other study related expense and is open to students who have completed their Secondary schooling over the past two years.

Applications must be submitted by February 18th, 2022, and is done through the East Gippsland Community Foundation website. We encourage any of our Sarsfield Secondary school leavers who are planning to pursue further higher education studies to consider this great opportunity.

Sarsfield Snaps

Throughout the past two years there have been many heightened emotional responses. The Sarsfield Snaps project certainly stands out as an extremely positive, and consistent “high” in the journey to recovery. Snaps brings a smile to all who experience them. It brings a strong sense of pride for those directly involved - the parents,
co-ordinators and especially the young photographers themselves.

This project is co-ordinated by some hard working and visionary local volunteers and aims at supporting our Sarsfield young people who potentially could have been forgotten in the initial turmoil and urgency after the fires.

With the support of FujiFilm Australia, Camera House, Bushfire Recovery Victoria, Gippsland Primary Health Network, iEARN Australia , Brave Arts EG, Connect Well, Uniting Australia, Victorian Bushfire Appeal and under the auspice of the Sarsfield Community Association a group of Sarsfield families have continued to co-ordinate this amazing project.

Snaps helped bring the junior community together, and provided training and equipment to develop their creative skills. It gave Sarsfield’s young people a vehicle to express themselves in a safe, non-judgemental environment. They were able to capture their community recovery and changes to nature and ecology through their own artistic perspective. Around 60 young photographers have taken thousands of photos of “their world” since February 2020 and many of these have been shared in forums since.

The Streetscape in School Road Sarsfield has exhibited a regularly updated selection of enlarged photos which has created enormous interest from locals and visitors alike.

Burnt trees in Sarsfield Image: Harry

The Sarsfield Snaps 2021/ 22 Calendar occupied many Christmas Stockings and adorns homes Australia wide. An exhibition at the Forge Theatre and Arts Hub was a wonderful “snapshot of the snaps” opening their creations up to the wider Bairnsdale community. Several good news stories aired on TV and positive articles in local newspapers further celebrated and raised awareness of the amazing project. Radio and television interviews which often featured the voices and views of the young photographers further highlighted the positive outcomes.

Sarsfield Snaps setting up School Rd exhibition pre an ABC radio feature Image: SRR Community Facebook

A more recent highlight has been the Sarsfield Snaps Melbourne Zoo Exhibition where our young superstar photographers were able to be part of the Sarsfield Snaps launch at the zoo. The Snaps exhibition takes pride of place in the Grand Entrance foyer at the Melbourne Zoo and will be on show every day of the school holidays. Everyone is encouraged to spend a day at the zoo and support this exhibition.

Sarsfield Snaps has been a winner!

Sarsfield Snaps crew at the Melbourne Zoo Image: SRR Community Facebook

Sarsfield on the map

One of the more challenging creative thinking and logic tasks often presented to Gifted and Talented students involves listing a viable reason as to why the Prime Minister, an AFL Premiership coach or a Rock Star might visit your home. This task became much less challenging during 2020 as politicians, senior bureaucrats, celebrities, sports stars and the media made regular visits to Sarsfield after the horrific fires.

In some cases they were here to lift spirits, some were here as part of their work, some out of obligation and others were trying to gain an understanding of what was needed to help Sarsfield and other affected communities.

The Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his entourage made personal visits to several households that had lost their homes. Billionaire Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest made a “flying” (in his massive chopper) visit to speak with affected residents, the Melbourne Storm Rugby League and the Hawthorn AFL team helped out with cleaning up of property debris and fencing, and members of the Australian Cricket Foundation including Merv Hughes and Greg “Mo” Matthews toured Sarsfield and ran a clinic before the Sandhill Ashes. Other AFL stars, Aussie Women’s Test Cricketers, television celebrities and musicians raised the spirits of those lucky enough to meet them. The television news and radio media were regularly on-site chasing sensationalist stories whilst occasionally they sniffed out some positive “good news”.

Sarsfield resident John Kinniburgh with Tim Bull MP, the Hon Darren Chester MP and Prime Minister Scott Morrison at Bullock Hill Rd 3/1/21 Image: Office of Tim Bull MP.

Volunteers from all over the state helped property owners with the “Tradie” contingent, the Blaze Aid volunteers, the various Church, Ethnic and Charitable groups and the array of delicious food providers all adding to the initial recovery response. Senior bureaucrats from Victorian and Federal Public Service including senior Police, Bushfire Recovery CEO’s, Directors of Emergency Services, the State Premier , Opposition Leader and Government Ministers all “popped” in .

During this period Sarsfield had many brushes with “fame”, but despite the high-profile good will and well-intentioned efforts, our local Sarsfieldians and East Gippslanders have been the ones that made the significant difference. Their support has been ongoing, unconditional and always timely. From the initial emergency response at the hall for a cuppa, chat and a shopping bag full of essential supplies, to the Friday Night feeds, community events and informal checking in on neighbours, our Sarsfield Community have been the heroes!

A huge THANK YOU and wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a positive 2022 for Sarsfield.

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Sarsfield Community Association · 10 School Road · Sarsfield, Vic 3875 · Australia

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