Dear resident, 

Right across our community, we have seen not-for-profit groups and local volunteers come together to deal with the aftermath of the storm and collaborate effectively with Council in important recovery efforts.

Rebuilding lives and assets has and will continue to be a long journey for those affected, but we know our communities are resilient and that with the right support we can continue to create stability and resilience by connecting people with support services, programs and resources as needed.

In this recovery newsletter we recognise some new programs and resources for our storm affected resident.

We are very pleased to announce that our Healing in our Gardens launch event for our storm impacted community will be held on Saturday 3rd September at Mist at Olinda in the beautiful Botanical Gardens at Olinda.

At this event you will be able to meet some of the wonderful community groups, nurseries, organisations and people helping us to bring Healing in our Gardens to you.

We held an insurance council forum in mid August, which proved helpful for many experiencing ongoing and new difficulties with their insurance claim or process.

A new Reimagining your Repair event is being offered to all residents, who were impacted by the June storm, with the sessions providing awareness on important matters related to your repair.

Being creative, whether through writing or art or music, is a great way to channel some of the trauma in our lives and turn it into something meaningful, which is exactly what a number of local artists have done at Burrinja Cultural Art Centre, where two excellent and unique exhibitions that focus on the shared experience of the community during and after the 2021 storms has just opened.

Spaces In Between by Bronwyn Ward and Kerri Hollingsworth and There Used To Be A Canopy Here by Olinda photographer Cathy Ronalds explores the loss of trees during the June 2021 storm and the collective grief of the gaps that have been left in our landscape.

Set some time aside to see these two unique exhibitions which encourage residents to contemplate what we have lost and how we can become a more resilient community in the future.

You are invited to the Healing in our Gardens launch 

In case you haven’t already heard, the Healing in our Gardens launch will be held on Saturday, 3 September, from 2pm to 4pm at Mist@Olinda. Bookings are essential!

At this launch event you will be able to learn more about this free program, meet some of the wonderful community garden and environmental groups, nurseries, organisations and people helping us to bring Healing in our Gardens to you.

You can also learn more about, or register for, the upcoming free events, activities and resources available, to help you and our other storm impacted residents, restore, reconnect with or rebuild your private gardens damaged or destroyed in the June 2021 storm or from subsequent clean-up works.

Our Healing in our Gardens program is free to storm impacted residents and will have three main focuses:

  • My Garden Sanctuary - where residents can come together and learn more about how to restore, reimagine and rebuild their own gardens.
  • Lending a Hand - where residents can connect with and support each other and their communities, by sharing their gardening knowledge, experience, or physical skills.
  • Beyond my Fence - where residents can come together, learn more and be involved in supporting and caring for their local environment, biodiversity, sustainability, and place.

If you haven’t already registered to come along to this free launch event, and want to learn more about Healing in our Gardens and how it can help you, please contact Deb Sargentson – Community Recovery Officer at 

Find our more and register for Healing in Our Gardens

Find out about the next Reimagining Your Repair event 

Reimagining your Repair is being offered exclusively and free to residents like yourself, who were severely impacted by the June storm, and are in the process of repairing their homes that were damaged.
The sessions will provide awareness on important matter to your rebuild and the environment you live and demystify the various processes which are required to be achieved on your journey.
At this event, you will be able to:
  • Reconnect with other residents in a supportive setting.
  • Learn about the Building Permit Application process and repair journey ahead – (whilst Council doesn’t issue Building Permits, we want to share some important tips and information to help you along the way).
  • Dr Rob Gordon will share his insights about what to expect in your recovery at this stage, your home repair journey, and the next steps. Rob is a clinical psychologist with over 38 years’ experience in disaster recovery. You may have already watched some of Rob’s videos we have been sharing with communities after the storm. 
  • We’ll have other technical experts here for you including, a geotechnical engineer (landslip), health (septic) officer, biodiversity officer, and some of our Community and Planning Recovery team.
You will also have time to share, rest, ask questions and digest your stories along the way.
The Reimagining your Repair event will be held on Saturday 10 September 2022.
Time: 10.15am to 4.15pm
Venue: Mist at Olinda Dandenong Ranges Botanical Gardens, The Georgian Rd, Olinda, 3788
Morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea will also be provided. 
Find our more about Reimaging your Repair

Find out more about the private property clean up 

Bushfire Recovery Victoria has provided $650,000 to be shared between Yarra Ranges Council and Cardinia Shire Council in order to continue community clean-up.

The grant is part of a $2 million community clean-up support fund, which is designed to support local councils and not-for-profit community groups to undertake works on private properties.

The funding will be used for the two councils to partner with and support volunteer clean-up groups, Habitat for Humanity Victoria and Treasuring Our Trees – two local organisations that specialise in recovery from large scale disasters through volunteers.

Cardinia Shire Council and Yarra Ranges Council is currently working through the process and plan with volunteer agencies, and further information will be provided soon regarding the private property- clean-up program.

For now if you require support with your property clean up, including heavier/larger debris to be removed from your property please contact Sue Jack, Recovery Centre & Outreach Coordinator on 0477 056 265.

Find out more on the Private Property Clean-up

Burrinja art exhibition explores shared storm experience

Two exhibitions exploring the shared experiences of the Dandenong Ranges community after the June 2021 storms have opened at Burrinja art gallery.

Supported by Council, the first exhibition, called Spaces In Between by Bronwyn Ward and Kerri Hollingsworth explores the loss of trees during the June 2021 storm and the collective grief of the enormous gaps that have been left in our landscape.

This exhibition features fibre sculptures that Kerri and Bronwyn painstakingly wove, latch hooked and wound into tactile sculptures to represent the trees lost and hold and protect their memory.

Aptly called ‘There Used To Be A Canopy Here’, the second exhibition at Burrinja by photographer and environmental scientist Cathy Ronalds explores the changing landscape of the region and features film and digital photography of the days and weeks after the storm.

This exhibition attempts to honour the devastation to the bush and the community - finding sorrowful beauty in the fallen trees and mourning the loss of these giants.

Both exhibitions can be viewed at Burrinja Art Gallery until 30 August.


Learn more about this exhibition

Monbulk Aquatic Centre reopening 1 September 

The opening of Monbulk Aquatic Centre pool remains on target for the start of September, coinciding with the start of Spring.

The roof of the aquatic centre was damaged during the June 2021 storm , resulting in some of the facilities being unusable and a temporary closure of the pool itself.

Yarra Ranges Chandler Ward Councillor, David Eastham, said he knows the closure has been a frustration for the Monbulk community, and is glad to hear of the expected opening date.

“We know the importance of this facility in the health and wellbeing of our residents so to have this reopening in time for Spring is great news,” Cr Eastham said.   

“It is of unfortunate that the pool had to closed for so long, but this work to repair the centre has also meant that we’ve reduced the risk of any additional future works being required, by addressing any underlying issues now.”

Repair work at the centre has included removing and repairing the roof, installing new air conditioning ducts and retiling the pool.

Before September, the pool will be refilled and reheated and the building will receive a fresh coat of paint.
Belgravia Area Manager Darren Allen said the team at Monbulk Aquatic Centre are looking forward to welcoming the public back next month. 

“We’re delighted that the pool, group fitness studio and creche can reopen with all the repair work completed,” Darren said.

“Behind the scenes work will continue with the plant room and mechanical services that will take some further time to complete. We do ask for the community to stay connected with us to stay informed of any changes to services while the works are completed.”

Rewilding for Mums in the Hills

This free Rewilding program provides a space for mothers in the Dandenong Ranges to connect, post pandemic and storms, through nature connection and earth activities. 

These activities include working with fibres and basket weaving, carving and whittling, working with clay, ecological literacy, contemplative and reflective processes in the natural world, nature-based art such as group mandela making, and sharing circles.   

When: Six sessions will be held all up: 

  • Session 1 on Monday 22 August from 10am – 12.30pm
  • Session 2 on Monday 5 Sept from 10am – 12.30pm
  • Session 3 on Monday 3 Octoberfrom 10am – 12.30pm
  • Session 4 on Monday 17 Octoberfrom 10am – 12.30pm
  • Session 5 on Monday 31 Octoberfrom 10am – 12.30pm
  • Session 6 on Monday 14 November (Final session)

Participants are requested to aim to attend all sessions.

Where: The program will be held at Ferny Creek Scout Hall, 21 Clarkmont Road, Ferny Creek.

Register for this Rewilding program

The Big Anxiety 

As part of The Big Anxiety Melbourne Naarm 2022, Yarra Ranges Council proudly presents a program of exhibitions, installations and events across the region. The program showcases how the arts can provide the means to connect – to develop rich and empowering ways to communicate and share complex experience.

Not just art about mental health, The Big Anxiety showcases projects that are a catalyst for change, by asking cultural, social and philosophical questions about what helps and hinders our collective mental health. 

Yarra Ranges has a long history as a place of health, wellbeing and healing. The COVID-19 pandemic combined with the catastrophic storms of June 2021 has impacted the mental health and wellbeing of the community within the Yarra Ranges like never before. 

One of those programs that focuses on the storm recovery is the Hard Place/ Good Place augmented reality (AR) project that will showcase AR stories developed by a diverse range of young people from the Yarra Ranges community who were impacted by the June 2021 storms. 

In these stories, we learn first-hand of people’s connection to and lived experiences of place—and the ongoing felt impacts of events such as storms, bushfire, drought and the Covid pandemic. 

All programs in the Big Anxiety are an opportunity to open and continue conversations around mental health and wellbeing during this critical period of recovery for our communities.

Find out more about the Big Anxiety
Find out more about the Hard Place/Good Place

Strengthening Relationships 

The past two years has held an incredible amount of challenges for couples.
Concerns about health, income, and other stressors brought on by the pandemic and 2021 June storm have impacted the ways we connect, relate and overcome challenges together.
That’s why we’re working with Relationships Australia to deliver a free online program of 4 Wednesday evening sessions in August and September looking at topics including communication and collaborative decision making.
Sessions can be booked individually

Book into a Strengthening Relationship session

Reefton CFA Captain Coordinating Local Recovery 

For Sue Jack – first female Captain of the Reefton Fire Brigade – helping the community is a value that she takes into every hour of every day.

Alongside her work at the fire brigade, spanning nearly 14 years, and volunteer roles in the community, Sue is Council’s Recovery Centre and Outreach Coordinator.

Having been elected to the position of captain by her peers, Sue said she hopes her captaincy would inspire more females to take up leadership positions

“CFA is a great way to meet people, see places, and be part of your community and to assist your community,” she said

“There’s connectedness and camaraderie, and you can always call on somebody if you’re in trouble.”

“To see women in any leadership roles in the Upper Yarra is really good and there’s now three female captains in that region. For us to stand up and be counted and have an acceptance that we’re in a leadership role is really good and is role-modelling for other women,” she said.

Drawing on her knowledge in emergency management, Sue has overseen Council’s outreach program, which saw the team connect with nearly 500 storm impacted residents.

Like her volunteer roles at CFA and Red Cross, Sue said a big part of the outreach was focused on finding out how Council can improve recovery response, particularly toward our most vulnerable community members

“The experience I’ve learnt from volunteering at CFA and Red Cross benefits my community and it also challenges me and gives me the chance to develop new skills which I can then use in my role at Council,” she said.

“This role at Council gives me the same opportunities to use those skills, as I’m tackling similar issues and continuing to help people.”

Mayor Jim Child acknowledged Sue’s accomplishment and said over 70 percent of council staff live in the Yarra Ranges.

“At Yarra Ranges Council we appreciate the dedication that our staff invest in their jobs to positively help the community, and it’s no surprise that many staff volunteer or contribute to their community in their personal lives too.”

“Often we don’t hear or share the personal triumphs of our staff as much as we really should, but this is a impressive achievement by Sue and is another great example of how so many of our staff are working for their community while being part of that community too.

Community Recovery Committee grants 

Does your community group need funding support?

Community Led funding Recovery Grants unique to each region are now available for community groups and residents to apply.

Each Community Recovery Committee will open a round of grants aimed at helping their community recover from the COVID19 pandemic and June 2021 storm.

Grant opening dates:
  • The Valley CRC Helping Communities Rebound grant is now open and applications can be made until 1 September. Apply for Valley CRC Grant
  • The Upper Yarra CRC Community Led Recovery Grant is now open and applications can be made until 22 August. Apply for Upper Yarra CRC Grant
  • The Urban CRC Community Led Recovery Grant round opens 25 July and applications can be made until 22 August. Community Information session on Tuesday 26 July at 7pm via Zoom
  •  The Hills CRC opens 1 August and applications can be made until 29 August. Community Information session on Thursday 28 July at 6pm via Zoom

These funding grants will support ready-to-go projects that meet an urgent need in the community and which support recovery from the effects of the COVID Pandemic or the June 9 storms of 2021 and priority will be given to projects which support social connection and collective wellbeing.

Find out more and apply for the Upper Yarra Grant
Find out more and apply for the Valley Grant
Find out more about the Hills CRC
Find out more and apply for the Urban Grant

Rates notices being sent out

Rates notices are being sent out shortly and residents who have experienced trauma, damage or loss as a result of the 2021 June storm are able to discuss their circumstances with Windermere on 0408 521 320 or EACH on 1300 003 224.

To access our financial recovery counselling service, call Inspiro on 9871 1817 or
There is also information on Council's website in relation to how rates are calculated and what to do if you're experiencing financial hardship.
Find out more about rates

Support is here for you 

The State Government funded Victorian Storm Recovery Support Program will continue to be available to residents during 2022, which will enable Windermere and Anglicare and to continue with their important support services for a few more months.
Residents who have experienced trauma, damage or loss as a result of the June storm are able to discuss their circumstances with Windermere on 0408 521 320.
There is also a wealth of information on Council's Recovery website at 

Helpful contact information

Yarra Ranges Council - Community Recovery Team

Appointments are now available through the Yarra Ranges Council Recovery Hub at Karwarra Gardens.

 The Community Recovery hub is located at Karwarra Garden, Kalorama and Councill staff are available to provide information and support for the community in the following areas:

  • Mental health and wellbeing support
  • Insurance support
  • Business support
  • Clean up advice and support

Please call Sue Jack, Recovery Centre And Outreach Coordinator on 0477 056 265 or 1300 368 333 to arrange appointments or to ask any questions you may have. For more information please contact or 1300 368 333.

This essential service is available to all members of the community.


EACH Financial Counselling and Storm Counselling Intake 
Financial and storm counselling is a free and confidential service available for anyone affected by an emergency.
  • Coping strategies
  • Social supports
  • Wellbeing support
  • Therapeutic counselling
  • Psychological interventions
  • Referrals
  • Service navigation
To access our free storm recovery service, call Inspiro on 9738 8801 or EACH on 1300 003 224
To access our free Financial recovery counselling service, call Inspiro on 9871 1817 or
Windamere Storm Recovery Support Program
Windemere Recovery Support people are residents of the region and will work with you and your
family to help navigate the various support services that may be available to you.

Support provided by case workers may include:
  • A discussion about your needs and what next steps might be appropriate.
  • Information and support to connect to local services for additional support.
  • Advocacy for priority access if required for your circumstances.
  • Assistance with completing applications and paperwork required for grant or financial claim processes with other organisations & government.
  • Outreach visits by our staff with other services if this is helpful to your situation.

To access this program or find out more:
Phone: 0408 521 320
Eastern Community Legal Centre (ECLC)
People living in the Yarra Ranges can seek free legal advice from ECLC.

1300 325 200
Material Aid
If you are experiencing hardship, information on where to access material aid and other services can be found on Council's website.
The Insurance Council of Australia is the general insurance industry body. Following disasters, we work closely with the community, government and insurers to help residents recover.

Please contact your insurer with any claims questions you may have. For general information, you can contact the Insurance Council of Australia on:

1300 728 228. 

National Debt Helpline
The National Debt Helpline is a telephone financial counselling service open from 9.30am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday.

The financial counsellors at the National Debt Helpline can put you in contact with your local face-to-face financial counselling service.

1800 007 007

Renters Assistance
Tenant advice line 9416 2577
Monday to Friday 10.00 am – 2.00 pm
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