Sarsfield Community Association

1 October 2021

Sarsfield Community Snippets ~ Number 4

Welcome to the fourth edition of Sarsfield Snippets. The Snippets are one way of keeping our community informed on some of the great things happening in Sarsfield. Last week most of Sarsfield felt the tremors of the 5.8 scale earthquake centred around Aberfeldie/ Mansfield. There were many stories of windows shaking, birds squawking, jars bouncing off shelves and water splashing out of ponds and basins – certainly a talking point in our community.

A further reminder to look after yourself and others as we navigate our way through Covid restrictions, absence of “Melbourne” family, the upcoming ABC drama series on the Black Summer Bushfires and our own personal situations- check in on friends and neighbours, offer a smile in the supermarket and utilize expert supports if necessary.

The Pizza Truck is coming to Sarsfield Rec Reserve next Wednesday, we can have a Takeaway treat!

You can order your Pizza via this link to avoid long wait times.

Order Wood-Fired Pizza

When you come to pick up your Pizza take a stroll along the Hall Verandah, we will have some big Posters showing the plans the S.C.A has developed from YOUR ideas for the ways we all would like Sarsfield to grow. Continue your stroll around to the Tennis court and look at the great Photos taken by our kids in Sarsfield Snaps.

If you think your kids might like to participate in Snaps call Tiana Felmingham 0408 079 208.

This fortnights’ snippets will look at some of our Sarsfield Rebuild data, a plan for making Sarsfield roads safer and a little history of the Sarsfield Cricket Club.

Sheds, Houses, Bricks and Mortar.

Over the past 21 months we have all taken more than a passing interest in the bricks and mortar rebuilds or otherwise in our community. From January until July 2020 we watched Grocon and private contractors complete clean ups of rubble, destroyed homes and sheds. Since that time, we see some land for sale, short term modular homes popping up and a number of beautiful new homes either complete or under construction. Other properties sit in waiting whilst owners plan their futures- either relocate or rebuild?

Richard Teychenne is the Bushfire Recovery Co-Ordinator of Building and Infrastructure and has been very involved in supporting impacted families in their rebuilds or relocation. Richard was himself directly impacted in the 2009 Dellburn Fires, losing his home in Boolarra. He has first hand lived experience of the emotions, challenges and the complex process of a rebuild.

Richard has been collecting data which helps clarify the current situation in Sarsfield. This data is everchanging due to the fluid nature of rebuilds and the personal decisions of property owners but gives a good indication of the state of play within Sarsfield.

Census data shows 625 people resided in Sarsfield (181 families). There were 276 dwellings of which 77 were lost in the Black Summer Bushfires. 204 sheds were also lost, and many other homes and sheds were damaged but “repairable”. The building losses in Sarsfield were approximately 25% of the buildings lost across East Gippsland.

Bushfire Recovery Victoria (Grocon) completed 134 Sarsfield Clean Ups (some others done through Insurance Companies), 33 Home and Shed Planning Permits have been granted by Council, 45 Shed and Home Building Permits approved and 8 Certificates of Occupancy for completed home rebuilds. Sixteen Short Term Modular Homes have been provided in Sarsfield enabling residents to live on their property whilst awaiting their rebuild.

BRV Short Term Modular Housing concept. Image: BRV

New Home Under Construction. Image: John Kinniburgh

There has certainly been a lot of activity in Sarsfield. Richard highlights some of the challenges faced in the rebuild process.

* A global shortage of timber and other materials and competition for those materials has placed a strain on the building industry.

* The Federal Building Support grants placed a high demand on Registered Builders. Bushfire rebuilds were a casualty of the shortage of builders.

* COVID restrictions and lockdowns placed additional pressure on Councils issuing planning permits, transport and supply of materials and face to face consultations.

* Rebuilds were sometimes more expensive or more complex as a result of BAL ratings in Bushfire prone areas.

Richard’s advice is to take time with your rebuild, utilize the many supports available through Bushfire Recovery Victoria and other agencies and share your journey with others.

On 5th December the Sarsfield Community Association are planning a Bushfire Resilience Expo at the Sarsfield Recreation Hall. The themes will be Rebuild or Retrofit, Landscape and Replant, and Learning to Live with Fire in a Rural Landscape.

Traffic Safety in Sarsfield.

One of the strong themes coming from the many surveys and consultations over the past 19 months has highlighted concerns around the Great Alpine Road. Significant loss of roadside vegetation has impacted on residents’ privacy. Traffic noise (particularly trucks) is significantly louder. There were many responses expressing the need to improve Highway and Road safety for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles. Suggestions included reducing speed limits on the highway, safe pedestrian and cycling paths, designated turning lanes in key locations, clear signage and warnings at locations where school buses drop off students.

Members of the Sarsfield Community Association have been actively pursuing these suggestions, advocating with VicRoads staff, Federal and State politicians, and the Shire. The draft Sarsfield Community plan recommends developing a Sarsfield Safety Action Plan to address this concern. Please contact Jo Petersen at if you have any further input or seek clarification .

Traffic along highway in Sarsfield Images: John Kinnigburgh

Cricket at the SCG.

Over coming months there will be another historical event taking place in Sarsfield when cricket resumes at the Sarsfield Recreation Reserve. We will provide more information about this in future Snippets but thought it would be timely to reminisce on the Sarsfield Cricket Club that was!

The Cricket Club is claimed to be the longest serving sporting club in the district with both a cricket and football team prior to World War 1. Records are available since the club reformed after the Second World War. Sarsfield Cricket Club at times had teams in C, B, A reserve and occasionally in A grade of the Bairnsdale Cricket Association and had Junior teams for many years.

High scores were commonplace at the Sarsfield reserve where the hard wicket, slightly smaller ground and lightning fast and bare outfield made it a “batsman’s paradise”. Honour boards holding pride of place in the Recreation Hall highlight the life members of Ian Haggar, Clem Rooks, Peter McNamara, Terry McKenzie, Dot Rooks, Dennis Drew, Steve Forrest and Graham Blackley. All legends who contributed significantly to the club on and off the field!

Sarsfield Cricket Team 1981/2 B Grade Premiers Image: From the book ‘Sarsfield - a rural Community’ p.67

The club supplemented its team with players drawn from surrounding areas lured by the fellowship , extravagant afternoon teas and social life. Many schoolteachers and local police added to the Sarsfield teams over the years.

Whilst there were many outstanding performances over the time consistent local stars included Clem Rooks ( dec) , Bruce Coster, Ian Haggar, Peter McNamara and Daryl Rooks. Many other younger Sarsfield players moved on to other Senior clubs with great success. These included Mark Hutchins, Paul McNamara , Daniel and Peter Drew , Daryl Rooks and Darren Lang all who achieved great success at a higher level.

Sarsfield Cricket Club went into recess in 2000 but the spirit lived on in the Sandhill Ashes one run victory against Clifton Creek in March this year.

Sandhill Ashes Urn, Sarsfield vs Clifton Creek 2021 Image: Sarsfield Recreation Reserve and Community

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

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