Sarsfield Community Association

18 January 2022

Sarsfield Community Snippets ~ Number 10

Wow! It’s 2022 and two years on from the Summer Bushfires of 2019/20. There has been plenty of action in Sarsfield over the Christmas/ New Year holiday period with homely Chrissie dinners, a family friendly event at the Recreation Reserve on a balmy New Year’s Eve and the Sarsfield Community Association gearing up for the year ahead. The online “near miss “survey is still open on the SCA Website. Contributions to date confirm the urgent need for speed limit reductions and other safety measures along the GAR.

Great Alpine Road (GAR) Safety flyer Image: SRR Community Facebook

There has been movement on the production line of the Sarsfield/ Clifton Creek nesting boxes- updates shortly.

The Play2Learn playgroup will be running again this term starting on Wednesday 2nd of February from 10am- 12pm. All welcome- see attached flyer.

Play 2 Learn flyer Term 1, 2022 Image: SRR Community Facebook

In the words of SCA president Simon Hof 2021 was a big year of consultation and planning. I am confident 2022 will be a year of ‘doing’.

The Sarsfield 2030 Community plan is complete and is supplemented by a short form “summary” document. This sets the broad direction, community priorities and steps out the “doing” which will take place in 2022 and beyond.

Late last year we celebrated the news that the East Gippsland Community Foundation had funded several of our short term priorities- refurbishing the old toilet block, creating a multi purpose sports court in the old dilapidated tennis court area, carrying out feasibility plans for walking tracks through the adjacent native bush Reserve and a Master plan for an amazing child friendly play area for families and their children.

The “doing” has begun with local Eric Sjerp from Ethos NRM engaged to begin the walking track process, local Tom Hardy planning the toilet “beautification” , Andrea Proctor will support the creation of our amazing playground area and several others have tendered for the multi sports development. ‘It is all happening ‘at the Sarsfield Recreation Reserve.

Snippets 10 will include a congratulatory report on some recent awardees, information regarding the upcoming Annual General Meeting of the Sarsfield Community Association , and a request for any interested Sarsfieldians to join Andrea Proctor as part of a team to help create the Sarsfield Playground area. The human interest segment looks at the journey of one family ravaged during the 2019/20 fires.

Sarsfield Awardees

Over the past two years there have been many amazing contributions from many organizations and individuals who have supported the regeneration of. our community towards Sarsfield 2030. All of these contributions are worthy of high praise and commendation but recently a couple of worthy recipients were identified and acknowledged through broader forums.

In March last year the Sarsfield and Clifton Creek communities joined together to “compete” for the Sandhill Ashes- a community cricket game played in great spirit at the Sarsfield oval which raised the morale of players , spectators and volunteers alike. With the external support of several Bairnsdale Cricket Association clubs, local businesses and sponsors, some coaching and the presence of members of the Australian Cricket association (including big Merv) , food trucks, a community BBQ , activities for kids, a great MC in Craig Bush and a big crowd of local supporters the day was a great success. A one run victory to Sarsfield was a fitting finish to a great community event.

Sandhill Ashes Urn Image: SCA Facebook

The Sarsfield Community Association recently received this good news notification-

The AUSTRALIA DAY COMMITTEE OF BAIRNSDALE received nominations for community Event of the year, and the committee decided that you should receive this award because of your dedication and commitment to East Gippsland, Clifton Creek and Sarsfield communities.

The President of the Bairnsdale Classic Car Club, Grover Hurle and the Mayor Mark Reeves will make the presentation to you on the 26th January, 2022 at the rotunda at 8 am.

Congratulations to all involved from both communities on receiving Bairnsdale Event of the Year. Great news- AND plans are well underway to conduct the second Sandhill Ashes event in early April this year.

Phil Schneider, Jen Smith, Simon Hof receiving an award for The Sandhill Ashes Image: Cathy McLellan

Our own amazing Cathy McLellan received a nomination for East Gippsland Citizen of the Year – she was acknowledged for her outstanding volunteer work for the Sarsfield Community. Cath organizes the monthly dinners, is involved in most of the large scale events such as the Bushfire Resilience Expo , the Sandhill Ashes , movie nights and is part of every breathing Sarsfield moment from music, to Snaps, to yoga to Pizza Trucks , to Cuppa and chats to Playgroups- Cath is all over everything! It is exhausting even trying to list Cathy’s level of commitment as a volunteer. Congratulations and thank you Cathy.

Phil Schneider, Cathy McLellan receiving award and Simon Hof Image: Supplied by Durelle Esnouf

These awardees are a small representation of some amazing contributions by Sarsfield people for the Sarsfield community. Thankyou.

Annual General Meeting (AGM)

The Sarsfield Community Association has been functioning officially since November 2020, formalized after the outstanding efforts of groups of Sarsfield residents who organized the initial bushfire recovery and emergency response.

The AGM of the SCA is scheduled for Friday 25th of February beginning at 5.30pm followed by a Friday night feed- a Roast dinner provided by Maffra Spit Roasts. Sarsfield people are urged to consider nominating for the committee or being part of one of the subgroups that operate within the committee- events, environment or infrastructure.

The next two years will be exciting ones for Sarsfield with upcoming grant announcements on top of the recent funding allocations enabling lots of projects to begin. If you are in any way interested in becoming involved please contact Simon (President) 0472 838 149 or any current committee member for background information. You will be welcomed with open arms.

Making a dream a reality?

As children and then later as parents we often dream of the perfect “ play environment” to keep us and our children active, challenged, shaded and healthy. We were extremely fortunate to secure the services of Andrea Proctor who is a highly experienced and regarded landscape architect and horticultural design expert to support us in this. Andrea will work with our community to help us develop a beautiful space for play, relaxation and socialization, utilising the natural qualities of our Sarsfield Recreation Reserve.

On Sunday morning, the 6th of February there will be a Family Friendly Fun Day where Andrea will chat and work with our community and young people to help create an “amazing play space”. There will be hands on activities from 10am with a sausage sizzle to finish up at 12pm. All Sarsfield families are most welcome to come along and share your ideas and dreams.

To regenerate, rebuild, move on or renew?

A huge decision facing residents after the Summer 2019/20 Bushfires was whether to repair, rebuild, move on or sell up. Most residents who suffered damage to sheds, fences, gardens and vegetation have spent much of the past two years cleaning up, refencing, replanting and reorganizing- certainly a slog! For the 77 who lost their homes the decision was a little more agonizing and in some cases they are still undecided as to their future. This is a perfectly normal process in recovery and all are encouraged to take the time that they need to prepare emotionally and physically. Over the next few Snippets we will profile several residents and their decisions after losing their homes.

In mid 2012 , Terry and Paddy moved to a small acreage and a classic mudbrick home in Crawford Court Sarsfield with their dogs, cats, chooks and goats. The peaceful lifestyle and beautiful outlook suited them and their menagerie of critters.

Terry and Paddy’s idyllic Sarsfield home. Image: Supplied by Terry

During the upcoming fire season, they cleaned up and prepared their property and on Monday 30th December 2019 they loaded up their vehicles with their dogs and cats and headed to the evacuation centre at the Bairnsdale Racecourse.

The dice rolled against them that night with their outbuildings intact, but their family home destroyed. The next days, weeks and months saw several moves to various emergency accommodation and according to Terry “life was a blur”! Terry suffered a number of unrelated but serious health issues and hospitalizations and their life was in limbo. Throughout this time they were overwhelmed by the support they received from locals, volunteers and agencies. After settling into a rental home in West Bairnsdale they took the opportunity to mark time. One morning Paddy checked out Real Estate sites on the Internet , found an established home in Eastwood which interested her and by 10am that morning they had made an offer which was accepted at 1pm.

Their beautiful Eastwood home had established gardens, outdoor living areas, plenty of storage and is surrounded by parks and walking tracks. Since moving in they have made the beautiful gardens their own, planted vegetables, created a Geelong Cats AFL “temple” in one of the large spare rooms, and utilized the walking tracks and serenity of their new location. They are close to shops, doctors, have air- conditioning and a double garage. They sold their Sarsfield acreage and focus on what they have now rather than all that they lost. Their life now is certainly different to their life before Summer 2019/20 but for this couple – it is a their “now” life!

Terry and Paddy’s Eastwood home. Image: Supplied by Terry

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

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