Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Free Kitchen Gadgets.


I have to give away: small but in good working order; mini grinder/chopper/whisker from Breville. I can throw in a Braun stick mixer: blades are bit blunt; but it makes a good smooth soup still! 
Pick up at 56 Livingstone street.
My phone number  is 0438175764.

Monday, 24 December 2012


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to All Newlands Folks!
Below is the link to a really beautiful book that has recently been written by our neighbours and friends.

Welcome to Kaleidoscope: Stories about Autism through the eyes of Mothers
Dear Readers.

In Spectrum is a support group for parents of children with Autism who have been meeting in Melbourne’s inner north since 2009. Last year we were awarded a grant from Moreland City Council to assist us with our aim of writing our stories and bringing them to you. This site has been created so that you can view our book and listen to the beautiful music recorded by one of our members.
We hope that by reading these stories the community will have a better understanding of our struggles, and that other parents with children on the spectrum will feel less alone. These stories are simply a reflection of our experiences, feelings and thoughts and we hope you enjoy them.
Unfortunately In Spectrum is now a closed group and we are not able to answer questions about your children’s behaviours or condition. Instead we have provided a list of helpful sites at the end of our book Kaleidoscope.
In Spectrum

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Bike Trailer For Sale.


Great Double Bike Trailer for SALE $50~

Only used a few times, still in good condition.

Powder blue colour, with wind and rain protector, back pocket for storage.

Easily attaches onto parents bike.

North Coburg Location.

Text Lucille 0421 000 281

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Bike For Sale.


Excellent girls bike for sale.

Our tall 8 yr old has out grown her By-K bike.
Sold as for 5-8yo. 
Has rear hub pedal brakes and Shimano caliper brakes but is missing front caliper.
Excellent bike with semi-slick tires.
Contact Ben or Cate on 93543053 if interested.

Swimming Lessons at Coburg Outdoor Olympic Pool!


Hi all!
Swimming lessons running in the holidays for kids!!!
These were great the last time that they ran!!!! Ring up and leave your details to get a place!!

Coburg Olympic Swimming Pool
AquaSafe School Holiday Program

School Holiday Fun and Safety in the Water

The AquaSafe School Holiday Program is a great way for your child to enjoy
The water safely over the school holidays in a fun and educational environment.

The program caters for Pre-Schoolers and School Aged Children
with classes tailored according to the age and experience of participants.

Program 1:  Monday January 7th 2013 to Friday January 11th 2013
Program 2:  Monday January 14th 2013 to Friday January 18th 2013
Program 3:  Monday January 21st 2013 to Friday January 25th 2013

For further information and bookings, please contact Reception at the
Coburg Olympic Swimming Pool on 9354 2096

Free Bike!


Hi all, 

My nephew has outgrown his bike and is getting a new one for Christmas. We have his old bike (suitable for a 4-6 year old) to give to a good home, it's in great condition and would make an awesome Christmas present. 

I'm on Elizabeth street near Jacka. Send me an email if your interested


Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Old Fence Palings

My neighbour has replaced a part of her fence (not my side!) and hasn't had it taken away.
I'm snaffling the red gum posts - sorry, but the panels of palings and railings are ready to be fire wood or maybe masses of rustic picture frames or other such crafty projects.
I'm on Spring St, Newlands if you are interested.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

House Mate Needed.


I’m seeking a person or parent/child to share a house with me and my 2 sons

I am currently looking at houses to rent as I need to vacate mine by end Jan.

There are a few nice big houses to rent in Preston area I am interested in and would need to house share to make it affordable.

Be great to connect with someone via this community network.

If you are interested or know someone, please call me and we can share info and see if we are compatible!!

Kat 0412 992 513

Female GP?


Hello everyone, 
Can anyone recommend a female GP interested in womens health? Preferably local, or localish, at least not as far as Montmorency where my previous GP just moved!
Thanks, Zoe 

Bush Camping Tip!

It's that time of year, & all around the 'hood I can tell people are counting tent pegs and organising friends to water their veggies. 
I recently remembered something I learnt when I was doing my Camper's Badge in the Girl Guides sometime in the early (19)70's...

Disposing of Dishwater in the Bush
Take a large tin like the instant coffee ones from work and punch holes in the bottom, but a 20cmish plant pot should work too, but it doesn't have a lid and the flies would love that.
At your campsite, fill the receptacle with leaves and twigs, leaving enough space that you can tip your dishwater in reasonably quickly, but there is sufficient fill to filter out fats and solids. Put it somwhere a little away from the campsite and prop it up on some stones so it will drain. If you are going for your Camper's Badge it would probably be better if you lash together some sticks to make a frame to stand it on. Maybe rough the ground up underneath to aid absortion.
When its truly gunky with fats, oils and food particles the leaves can be burnt if you are having a fire, or bagged to take home for the chooks.
Back then it was just an everyday bush tip to reduce flies I suppose, and now it's and environmentally responsible strategy!

Have lovely camping over the summer all you luckies, and don't forget to try toothpaste on those persistently itchy insect bites.

PS: Lashing you say? You bet. Girl Guides liked a bit of neat lashing. Given a long enough camp we'd have tripods for wash basins, shelves for stuff, & hey we practically put together couches!

Summer joy to all, xxxMez

Great Plumber!


We have just found a really good plumber who fixed our ancient instant hot water heater.
He was able to explain the problem and seems to charge reasonable rates.
Boyd Bros Plumbing
Dean 0408 392 474 
Karen and Ben

Thursday, 13 December 2012

There's No Humanity in Technology


“There’s no humanity in technology”

by MALCOLM GUNN on 12/12/2012

Ismail Gul is a Technology Researcher at Enabled Gaming and a long-time, avid consumer of recreational and communication technology. Ismail (Izzy) is a neighbour and he shared his thoughts on computer accessibility with me over a Turkish coffee one recent afternoon.

Izzy is an optimistic, passionate proponent of the computer’s potential to connect and make people’s lives better. It’s a testament to his character that he remains a ‘technology optimist’ – especially since the makers of computers, operating systems, applications, games, mobile devices and music players treat him so badly, so often.
Izzy has Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA external link icon). “When the brain sends the signal for the muscle to move, the nerves don’t receive it. Over time, the muscles weaken from disuse,” he explains. Bottom-lip joysticks control his motorised wheelchair, and the mouse pointer on his desktop computer and smartphone.
For Izzy the best applications and websites use onscreen keyboards, selecting keys with a mouse pointer. Mouse control is better for games, though this is rare. He’s also had some luck with voice control (more later).

Accessibility is getting worse

I ask Izzy about his experiences accessing websites, applications and, his main love, games. He reckons, “accessibility is getting worse,” rather than better.
Izzy easily reels off several frustrating examples. He cites a recent update to the Facebook chat interface. He says prior to the change,
It was easier when I could open the chat interface in a separate window because I could position it wherever I want. Since the update, a chat window just pops up at the bottom and stays there. You cannot move it. When chatting with multiple people it’s even worse because then you have heaps of little chat windows popping up at the bottom.
“It’s the most used website in the world and with an upgrade that’s meant to make it better,” Izzy laments, chat has become harder.
Another example is a trick that’s become a trend: moused-over images expand and ‘come forward’. Looks really cool… except when your mouse pointer strays over an image sitting (usually) above the keyboard – the image sits over and in front of the keyboard preventing mouse cursor clicks on the keys it is masking.
These issues aren’t trivial or limited to outside Australia. According to ABS data there are 4 million Australians with a reported disability external link iconand just over half access the internet mostly for general browsing, email and chat external link icon.

The ideal user interface

Why don’t companies check before making these changes? “Money… it’s expensive and the cost is jacked up when you use the term disability,” Izzy says without rancour. “Ignorance of muscular disability issues as well,” he adds.
I ask Izzy what he does when he encounters these problems. He replies wryly, “I put up with it and find workarounds… sometimes people respond when I email them, usually they don’t.”
The best example of an accessible game is Guild Wars part I (he hasn’t played part II yet). Unlike most online games, Guild Wars I can be controlled with a mouse (apart from naming characters) and allows you to minimise, maximise or close all of its windows.
The few good experiences aside, Izzy says there are worrying trends driving resources and innovation away from accessible technology: more touch screen-based devices and a lack of open source solutions (“Linux is like a desert”) For Izzy. these trends are exacerbated by “everything moving to the web and streaming”.
One promising advance is voice-controlled software. Izzy’s tried Game Commander, Tazti and Voice Attack. Each has its pros and cons and are still works in progress.
To Izzy’s mind, there’s no single solution, “the ideal user interface is a combination of voice, mouse, onscreen keyboard and eye tracking.” After a pause he adds, “but this is expensive.”

An amazing world opened up

A mobile smartphone is a recent accessibility success story. Izzy researched smartphones for a year before settling on Google’s Nexus. I’d have loved to have been at the Broadmeadows phone shop when he arrived to test it and found himself instructing shop assistants on the finer points of its use.
The Google Nexus’ main advantage is that it doesn’t have hardware buttons like other Android phones. This means it connects to his wheelchair and can be mouse-controlled. Being able to keep up with family and friends while he’s out of the house has improved his quality of life. As Izzy puts it: “an amazing world opened up to me.”
This leads us to the topic of embedding accessibility into the design of software and online services. Izzy’s advice for designers is “Keep it Simple, Sweetheart”:
Designers need to have empathy for… be mindful of people in my situation… Take every scenario into account and test, test, test. Software development companies should include people with disabilities as part of their development teams when testing software.

Content chaos

Web content doesn’t escape Izzy’s laser-sharp analysis, either. If early websites looked crappy, at least they were simple. “I visit websites and there’s links everywhere,” Izzy rues, ”I go to a news website and it’s just chaos,” he says.
I agree. Not for a return to the early days of the web, but as a reminder always to create simple usable sites for everyone. As someone said, “I’m not interested in the simplicity on this side of complexity. I’m only interested in simplicity on the other side of complexity.”

Sit down and just ask

How will making the web more accessible also make it usable for everyone? Developers and designers should start by asking questions. Izzy says,
Some developers might be afraid to ask questions… they should be afraid NOT to ask questions.
When Izzy says, “there’s no humanity in technology,” it’s not trite or abstract. It’s a commonsense reminder to design for inclusion.
I feel proud and a little despondent to report that after we spoke, Izzy emailed me: “I’ve never really had anyone sit down and just ask me what my problems with technology are :) ”

**Thanks Izzy for your generosity both in answering my questions and reading over this post. Find out more about Izzy on SBS Insight episode: Breaking Point Tuesday, 4 Sep 12 external link icon (start at 26’30″).

Indigenous Plants!


Hi Folks.
There are still quite a few indigenous plants for sale.
We will be returning the rest to VINC next Wednesday so please come and buy some if you are so inclined.
They are holding up well in the hot weather.....
29 Peterson Ave North Coburg (money can be left under front screen door or letterbox if no one is home).
3 for $10.00 or $4.00 each.
Cheers Mel.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Moving Frames


Plague Soldier Beetles


Not sure if anyone else is infested with these critters but I did a bit of research and they are are called Plague Soldier Beetles.  These beetles are harmless (although distasteful to predators) and congregate in large numbers for mating purposes.  The larvae of this species live in the soil and feed on soft bodied invertebrates, while the adults feed on pollen and nectar. They do not eat the plants but sometimes the weight of them can break branches.  The air is full of them darting around at our place but apparently they move  on in a few days (we've had they for a week so hopefully soon!)

More info here:



I bought a ticket to see FIRST AID KIT Wednesday 2 Jan 2013 at the Forum for Ruby as an xmas gift, but its an over 18's gig and Forum won't let Ruby in (even if I'm with her)
So I have a ticket if anyone wants to buy it off me!

I did consider using a line from one of their songs to the venue:

And yes I might have lied to you
You wouldn't benefit from knowing of the truth
but I thought better of it - hope someone can use it.
cheers pass on to your contacts
Justine Sless
m 0405 329 633

Friday, 7 December 2012

Baker's Lost Contacts


Hi all. 
I rely a lot on my customer mobile numbers for orders and this and thats. I lost all my contacts when my phone broke down. Please when you are one of my bread contacts, could you send me your mobile number with your name? 
Thanks heaps.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Free bike

Free bike. The back wheel's a bit dodgy, maybe one for the tinkerer. Good bike, good tyres.

Contact Gerard on 0412345830 or at

Short survey : Towards a Coburg High in 2015

In July 2012 Victorian Education Minister Martin Dixon announced that in 2015 Coburg Senior High School will be expanded to a year 7-12 secondary school. High School for Coburg group welcome this decision and thank the community for their wonderful support.

We are pleased there has been such a positive reaction from the community and now seek to gather your early thoughts and ideas.

Please take a moment to fill in this short survey - there are only four questions.
These include an opened ended question about how you would like a 7-12 Coburg High School to be and we ask if and when any of you children may attend the school. To access survey, click on link below.

High School for Coburg group will offer your feedback to any formal consultation process.

We plan to keep the survey open through December but may extend this to first term 2013 depending on feedback level and circumstances.

Thank you for taking an interest.
High School for Coburg working group


Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Burglar Alert!


Hi – Just thought it’s worth letting people know that we had a break in at 50 Ballard Ave yesterday. Not a lot stolen, just a flat screen TV, Playstation and some games but it’s all very disturbing of course – and I figure people should at least be aware of it both so you can take your own preventative measures and just in case anyone did see anything in the 24 hours from 7.30pm 3/12. Bummer because we’ve only been in the neighbourhood a couple of months…

David Vroland

Nightwear Market

Hi all

It is this time of year, again! So come along and buy from our Sangkem nighwear range on sale in Fairfield on 8th December, 12.30-4pm (details below). Shop ethically this Christmas!

For more information about the work of HOPE and the nightwear please find us on Facebook or

Please circulate this flier among your friends.

Beautiful House in North Coburg For Sale.

Detached red brick three bedroom house for sale.
Lovely aspect, with views to the city, overlooking parks in a quiet location.
400m2 with plenty of private space.
Well established gardens with mix of natives and productive trees.
Three bedrooms.
Updated kitchen with Bosch dishwasher, St George Oven.
1kw solar power (basically eliminates power bills if you are sensible) - with a 1.7kw inverter (so upgradable later).
3,000l bladder tank under deck.
Ducted air conditioning.
Gas heating.
Large carport, undercover area, outdoor storage and workbenches for bikes and tools etc.
Lost of Roof storage.

If anyone is interested please call Ashley on 0435370350.

Price $500,000.00

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Xmas Eve in the Park!


Hello Lovely Locals.
Just a little reminder that we have a special Christmas Eve evening in the park.
It is very much like our Friday night BBQ event and not particularly Christmassy.
Bring along kids/foods/drinks and enjoy the company of other locals.
Sometimes someone brings a guitar and we sing a few songs........
Monday December 24 from 6ish Cox Reserve.
Cheers Mel.



Loquats are still in season now, around October – November. There are probably different varieties; the trees in the neighbourhood are not in synch and some have a more yellow flesh and a skin that’s hard to peel.

I am grateful for a local fruit when no much else produces fruits (yet).

If not eaten straight away, I try to keep a stalk attached.

The best way I found to eat them: peel back, then munch your way around, leaving the pips together. See photos.

A ripe loquat is deep orange all around; the taste of a ripe loquat is really worth it.

The pips (plenty of that!) are better placed in a ground worm farm where they’ll germinate then die rather than a compost – where they’ll germinate after you spread the compost in your garden.

Generally speaking they can be used anywhere you’d use apple, pear, apricots or plum – even sauces.

If still yellow, at least on one side, it is tarter, hence perfect to make jelly because full of pectin and acid. Keep the peel (maybe not the pips) before cooking with just enough water to cover, reduce by about a 1/3, squeeze and strain, add ¾ to 1 cup of sugar per cup of liquid collected, cook still thickens, bottle.

I am experimenting with making sorbet with them which seems to work. I am only using a bamix type stick for this but you could use an ice cream maker. With only 2 Tsp. sugar per 500g of loquat pieces it is not as sugary as a jam or jelly.

Here the recipe:

500g of loquat pieces (peeled) partially frozen so it does not go brown

2 lemons juice and zest

2 Tsp. of sugar

The recipe said to add 1 tsp of mint leaves but I went for tips of Lemon Balm and Cedronella who both gain greatly from being tip pruned regularly

Blend, partially freeze the lot, blend at intervals in order to get small ice crystal for a smooth mouthfeel. Leave overnight.

The result is quite pleasing in colour and taste. I might try to reduce the lemony things in it to get more of the loquat taste, I will try with other fruits this summer and maybe also with yoghurt. Should be fun!

What I do not know yet are the results of an incredibly too simple recipe for Brandied Loquats. I won’t tell you as there may be children reading this or even worse my teenagers! But if it works there may be some ready just in time for the Newlands’ Christmas in the Park time. You can ask me about it at the food swap too.

So whatever which idea ticks your box; from free local fruit, less food waste, low food miles, less fruit littering the footpaths, no packaging, less unsuitable organic matter ending in our creeks, low cost, less supermarket trips, yummy fresh healthy food (mmm, maybe not the brandied stuff!), enjoy your loquats!

Remember to look around your garden and neighbourhood for snails for the swap on Sunday. With this weather and if you want to protect your Basil, go and get them. Collected 2.5 kg last week in one short neighbourhood walk! Unreal!

Love Pascale.

Food Swap Coming Up.


2 Sundays before school holidays
2-3 pm
Hutchison Place

December 9th 2012
March 17th 2013
June 16th 2013
September 8th 2013
December 8th 2013

Entry by snail donation - On our way to a snail based economy!!

Home Phone?

Greetings locals,

We are looking to borrow an old/spare home phone - any style will do.

Along with our remote control, our cordless home phone has been deposited in an unknown location by our darling 3 year old. We are confident it will show up ( although it has been 4 weeks since the remote vanished), so are hesitant to buy a new one. Please let me know if we could borrow your spare if you have one.

Cheers & thanks
Robin Parker
0422 308 954

Monday, 3 December 2012

Indigenous Tubestock For Sale!

Hi Everyone.
After a wonderful afternoon of music, food and shopping at Newlands Primary School Musical Market we still have a few plants for sale.
All of the plants are indigenous tubes from VINC.
We are selling them for $3.00 each or 4 for $10.00.
They are on my front porch and will be available for the next week or so.....
Please leave money under door or in letterbox if no one is home: 29 Peterson Ave North Coburg.
There is quite a selection and the plant descriptions are with the plants also.
Save yourself a trip to Fairfield and shop local!!!!
All the proceeds from the plant sales go towards our continuing indigenous revegetation of the school.
Cheers Mel.

Plant descriptions

Bracyscome multifida var. multifida

Cut Leaf Daisy
Spreading perennial daisy to 30cm x 40cm.   Lilac to deep purple & yellow flowers most of year, particularly spring.  Grows well in most soils. Full sun.  Very hardy. Appreciates summer watering. Butterfly attracting. 

Calocephalus citreus

Lemon Beauty Heads
Tufted perennial 20 -30cm x 30-60cm. Soft silver-grey foliage and bright yellow flower heads from Oct-Feb. Requires well drained soil and tolerates dryness once established. Suitable for mass planting in the garden or as a container plant. Flowers dry well. 

Chrysocephalum semipapposum

Clustered Everlasting
Clump forming perennial 50x50cm. Golden flowers Sep-Jan.  Prefers dry soil, full sun.  Very hardy & drought tolerant. Prune hard after flowering. Butterfly attracting.

Indigofera australis
Austral Indigo
Delicate, open shrub, to 1.5m x 1.2m.  Mauve-pink flowers Aug-Sept.  Prefers dry soil, semi-shade.  Grows well under trees. Drought tolerant and butterfly attracting.

Kennedia prostrata

Running Postman
Prostrate groundcover to 1.5m wide.  Scarlet-red pea flowers with yellow centres Sep-Dec.  Prefers dry soil once established in full sun to semi-shade. Butterfly attracting. 

Poa labillardieri (Blue Form)

Common Tussock Grass
Large tussock grass, 80cm x 80cm.  Green-purplish flower heads Oct-Mar.  Grows well in most  soils but  appreciates a little summer watering if extremely dry. Full sun. Drought tolerant once established. Butterfly attracting.

Themeda triandra

Kangaroo Grass
Dense, tussock forming grass to 50 x 50cm.  Spectactular, large nodding flower-heads, Sep-Mar.  Grows well in most soils. Foliage becomes reddish-purple in cooler months. Prefers full sun to part shade. Drought tolerant when established. Butterfly attracting. 

Xerochrysum viscosum

Sticky Everlasting
Spectacular biennial/perennial 40cm x 40cm.  Large papery golden-yellow flowers Aug-Apr.  Well drained soil, full sun.  Usually dies back in summer but reshoots in autumn. Prune heavily after flowering. Extremely drought tolerant. Butterfly attracting.