FOCUS On Burnside - the news hub

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This is our media hub of all things Burnside.

A hub for local news about people, businesses and happenings in our community.

You will see some beautiful photos of Wyfield Reserve, one of Burnside's biodiversity sites, at the top right of this page.


This is our media hub of all things Burnside.

A hub for local news about people, businesses and happenings in our community.

You will see some beautiful photos of Wyfield Reserve, one of Burnside's biodiversity sites, at the top right of this page.

  • Maintaining Social Connections

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    Community members who were attending the City of Burnside’s 3Rs group (a weekly social group for isolated people over 65 years of age) have been able to maintain some social connections during the Coronavirus restrictions thanks to Meagan and our wonderful team members. Casual staff have been phoning residents for a chat each week, hand writing them letters, and delivering them activity packs (including games, puzzles, crafts and things to read) and frozen meals to keep them entertained (and smiling their beautiful smiles).

    “I have been quite lonely during the COVID-19 restrictions,” says Maria, a 3Rs client. “I am really missing my regular 3Rs/community groups/programs, and can’t wait to get back to socialising as normal.”

    Despite tough times, and missing her social interactions, Maria still wears a big cheeky grin, and loves to tell a joke or two. She also showed off her little furry friend, and proudly boasted about her rose garden. A phone call/visit/letter from the team really does make her day.

    Meagan also said that she loves interacting with members of our Community who utilise services such as 3Rs, and how charismatic and full of life they all are (particularly Maria).

    “It is great to add a bit of extra joy to someone’s day, especially those who live alone.”

    If you would like to find out more about the 3Rs program and other social activities that will recommence once restrictions have been eased, please phone the Home Support Team on 8366 4144.

  • Volunteer Profile

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    Pam Dean is following her father’s tradition of volunteering. Her father Bill was a volunteer for 25 years and set up and ran the Community Bus Service. The Bill Dean Lounge in the Civic Centre is named after him.

    Pam’s introduction to volunteering is a bit different. After she was made redundant in 2015 it took a while to find things in the community to do. “I learned that the Burnside Council offered table tennis on a Saturday afternoon, and I used to play as a child with my family, and more competitively while at university,” Pam says. “Although I had a gammy knee at the time, I decided to give it a go.”

    Pam, 65, visited the Community Centre on a Saturday afternoon and enjoyed it and was made welcome, so continued to go. “I enjoyed the activity, the company and the diversity of the group,” says Pam. “There were young people (youngest 23), old people (oldest member at the time was 93), and people of many different cultural backgrounds and abilities.” The group played for the enjoyment of just playing and were inclusive rather than competitive. Two volunteers ran the group, one who communicated with the council, collected the money and discussed things with the group when required, the other who set up the tables and did some coaching if required.

    When one of the volunteers resigned the group was looking to fill the position and decided to share the responsibilities among a few people. Pam put her hand up and was given the job of facilitator, the person who communicated with the council and therefore had to become an ‘official’ volunteer.

    “I was thrown in the deep end to some extent,” Pam says. “Soon after I took on the role, the group was confronted by the effects of the Fringe on our activity.”

    After negotiating a solution the group decided to meet at different times if they could still play together, which resulted in playing on Wednesday afternoons (which has continued and become permanent) as well as Saturdays.

    “The group has continued to grow,” says Pam. “It retains its norm of being inclusive and supportive to its members. It is a very special group and I am very proud to be part of it.”

    Now that the Covid 19 virus has forced closure of the group, Pam, of Tusmore, is attempting to continue to retain links with the group by weekly email communication, just so people know they have not been forgotten.

    Pam found she still had a bit too much time on her hands and always having been a keen gardener, when she saw the call for a volunteer facilitator for the new community garden at Conyngham Street she put her hand up for that as well. “I have training and skills in group work, communication and facilitation, so this type of role seems a good fit,” says Pam. “I have done a bit of research on how the ‘usual’ community garden is run, and already identify that this one will probably not be able to run in the same manner, due to the very limited number of garden plots available.” Pam will consult with the people who have expressed an interest in the community garden, and in her usual democratic, consultative leadership style will work out what suits the group best under the circumstances. “It will evolve into hopefully something productive and constructive,” says Pam.

    Bill would be proud of his daughter.

  • Online Courses

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    The Civic Centre is closed but we still have online classes. Sheriden is running her popular Pilates class three times a week online. Alice has been a regular client for 12 months and is taking classes in her garden at Toorak Gardens. "I am so grateful to have the opportunity to do these classes online,” she says. “It is invaluable to me as it is part of my recovery from breast cancer surgery.” Sheriden says many of her clients have taken up the online classes and says some new clients feel more comfortable exercising from home. The classes cater for all levels of experience, age and fitness – and they are free!

    Check out all our online courses at

  • Murder on L'Estrange Street

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    Burnside's Historical and Cultural Officer, Michelle, received a history enquiry about a property on L'Estrange Street. Research uncovered the story of the "Knoxville Tragedy".

    In 1931 eyes across Australia turned to the suburb of Knoxville (now Glenunga) as the tale of a missing woman unfolded into something more.

    On 23 July 1931, the body of Mary Katherine Edson was found underneath the cement floor of a shed at a house on L’Estrange Street in Knoxville. She was only twenty-two years old.

    On the same day her body was found, her twenty-eight year old husband Lawrence Vincent Charles Edson committed suicide.

    Read more about the Knoxville Tragedy in our most recent blog post in the History Corner.

  • 2019 Annual Community Survey results are out

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    The Annual Community Survey (ACS) is Council’s only fully representative survey conducted in the City, and the results of this survey are a genuine reflection of our community’s opinion.

    The survey has been undertaken for seven consecutive years, providing strong trend data used to continuously improve our services for the community.

    In 2017 Council resolved (C11072, 14/3/17) to undertake the trend data surveys on a biennial basis; taking advantage of the alternate year surveys to explore community opinion on planning, policy and projects through - a 'strategic' survey.

    The 2019 ACS (Strategic) surveyed the community to gather data on strategic projects such as the Civic Centre Masterplan, the Environment Strategy, Wheel Park consultation, the Regal Theatre, corporate image and finance.

    In accordance with Council resolution C11072, the 2019 Annual Community Survey (Strategic) included questions from Elected Members:

    • Support for the development of a wheel park.
    • Suitability of 40km/h speed zones for residential roads.
    • Additional bike lane infrastructure in the City of Burnside.

    Support for the development of a wheel park

    The response to the support for a wheel park was consistent with data gathered from the 2019 Representative Survey and the results of the 2019 community engagement. 55 per cent support the development of a wheel park and of these 75 per cent would still support it if it was in their own street or the nearest reserve. Of the 55 per cent, 74 per cent still support it even when advised of estimated costs.

    23 per cent somewhat, or strongly, oppose the development of a wheel park and 23 per cent were neutral.

    40 km/h speed zones for residential roads

    The community were asked: Would you like to see 40km/h speed zones for any residential roads in City of Burnside? In which suburbs would you like to see 40km/h speed limits?

    2 in 3 residents (69 per cent) did not want to have limits of 40km/h in residential roads around the City of Burnside. Desire for 40km/h roads generally increased with age, with higher interest from those 75 years and above.

    Of the 1 in 3 (31 percent) who did support a 40 km/h limit, 34 per cent mentioned that all suburbs should have a 40 km/h speed limit and there was a relatively even spread for support across each Ward (20 – 29 per cent).

    Additional bike lane infrastructure

    1 in 2 residents (52 per cent) desire additional bike lane infrastructure. Residents of Burnside as well as Rose Park & Toorak Gardens were the most interested in additional infrastructure, with Beaumont and Kensington Gardens & Magill residents least interested.

    Of the 52 per cent that desire more bike infrastructure, 47 per cent asked for more bike lanes with support for bike lanes separated by median strip/island, the second most popular suggestion at 26 per cent.

    Other results

    Safety of the area is by far the most important aspect of the City to residents rated by 84 per cent of the community. This was followed by the friendliness of the community and visual aspects such as maintained streetscapes, open spaces and lots of trees and animals. The lowest rated item of importance was the cultural diversity of the population, followed by character and heritage of the area.

    On priorities for service delivery by Council, 83 per cent of our community feel that initiatives for reducing waste to landfill are important. This was the highest ranked item of importance as a priority, followed by tree planting programs and investment in recreation programs and facilities.

    61 per cent said stronger support for local business should be a priority for improvement in the Council area. The 39 per cent who did not select support for business said that business is already strong in the area and 1 in 3 did not feel this should be a Council priority.

    Support for economic development and business appears to be relatively high amongst the community, with at least 6 in 10 feeling it should be a priority and more than 7 in 10 happy for some level of support to be provided by Council. Opposition only arises when funding is occurring from rates. When asked if they would support funding business development initiatives through rates 38 per cent of the community said they would support this however 35 per cent were opposed (21 per cent strongly opposed). If positioned appropriately, or if costs are minimal, there is likely to be higher community support for funding economic development activities through rates.

    Looking at future trends of strategic importance, waste management was considered the most important issue followed by supporting the ageing population, young persons and families. Residents appear to be generally interested in ways that Council can support residents, more so than larger community issues such as housing density, climate change and population growth. Residents were least concerned over share businesses. Younger residents were more concerned about climate change and share businesses, as well as improved services for young people. Support for the aging population was generally highest from older age cohorts, while those in family years were more likely to feel that services for families, housing density and population growth were important considerations.

    Residents did not place as high importance on smart city involvement as the social support items above. However, they had generally good endorsement, with 2 in 3 rating it as important and very important.

    As part of research collection for the future sports and recreation strategy, a question was included in this survey on active living. 58 per cent of residents had no suggestions for ways in which Council could assist with their activity levels. Most commonly mentioned suggestions were for footpath improvements that would reduce tripping hazards and make the paths more suitable for small wheeled items. Residents who had requests were also interested to see additional amenities and improvements to parks as well as community exercise programs that would be inclusive of different age groups (particularly older residents).

    To raise awareness of the Planning and Development Code changes, the community were asked if they were aware of the proposed changes; what were their sentiments about the changes; and would they participate in consultation. 22 per cent residents were aware of the changes to the code going through State Government; 2 in 5 residents surveyed reported that they were neutral regarding the proposed changes to the planning and development plans; only 4 per cent of residents surveyed had taken part in the consultation process with an additional 7 per cent planning to and 18 per cent intending. 7 in 10 residents were not interested in taking part in government consultation.

    Read the full report

  • ‘Shopping for’ Service

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    Our ‘shopping for’ service is extended to ALL residents over 65 years.

    We want to ensure our older residents stay safe and supported. ‘Shopping for’ is a service where Council will undertake a weekly shop for residents, delivering goods to their doors.

    Tony and Jill Bransberry are the first to take advantage of this service. The Glenunga couple are both in their 80s. “I am having trouble with my mobility,” says Tony. “I’m worried about everything that is going on out there (coronavirus).” His wife agrees saying, “Our daughter told us to stay at home so this service is excellent.” Council worker Sam, a swimming pool casual, picked up their shopping list and bags and did their shopping at Burnside Village then hand delivered to their door. Sam was redeployed when the pool season was cut short so she still receives her wage. “It is good to get out and about,” says Sam. “The only thing I couldn’t get for them was toilet paper."

    For help with your shopping call 8366 4200.

  • Books for Burnside Delivers

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    The Greene family of Beulah Park has been practising social distancing for over three weeks with no school and no outings. “We felt it was our social responsibility,” says Mum, Viv. Taking advantage of the Books to Burnside program the family received a home delivery of books. Viv wrote to us to express her thanks.

    “We wanted to write and thank you for delivering our books today and for the fantastic choice of books you made for us. We had a lovely call today saying our item that we had put on hold had arrived and would we like it delivered. The lovely lady who called also offered to choose some books for my kids. They were so delighted with the delivery and the choices. We wanted to thank the staff for this amazing service and all you do for our community. Alexa has already finished one book and we have begun the fantastic book you sent us on Charles Todd. Amazing book choices. I am sure your service will be invaluable to those living alone and to older Burnside residents who really should not be going out.”

    Pictured (L – R): William, 11, Allegra, 9 and Alexa, 5

    If you want Library items home delivered call us on 8366 4280 or go online at

  • Get your toys at home

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    Are you missing the Burnside Toy Library? Great news is that the new Books to Burnside service includes items from the Toy Library.

    You will need to be a member of the Toy Library to borrow the toys. If you are not a member we can help you to become a new member over the phone on 8366 4280. The cost for membership is $41 for 12 months, and you can use your membership in the Toy Library when the Burnside Library reopens! Toys can also be requested online at

  • New 'Books to Burnside' home delivery service

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    You may have seen that Council recently had to make the unfortunate decision to cease the ‘Call and Collect’ library service due to the closure of the Public Library Service. The Public Library Service, through which the library One Card system operates for all public libraries, suspended all services with the exception of access to digital collections. For Burnside residents, this means that library items cannot be sourced or delivered from other libraries, or returned to Burnside Library.

    The library is an important, and in some cases vital, service for our community.

    So Council has developed a new service that will use all of the resources we have already stored in the Burnside Library.

    ‘Books to Burnside’ is our new home library delivery service, which is available to ALL residents. The Home Delivery service will also continue for our Commonwealth Home Support Program clients.

    Library books are either chosen or collected from ‘holds’, collated, marked as borrowed and then delivered to a resident’s front door. Residents are able to request a home delivery service either by phone (8366 4280) or online at

    The Burnside Library is still not accepting any returned items, the loan period on all items will be renewed and fines will not be incurred. Please keep your library items at home until further notice.

    Errol Zweck is an avid reader but has only recently joined the Burnside Library at the age of 89. “I used to borrow from friends and sometimes buy cheap books,” he says. His daughter, who used to work at Mitcham Library, would often borrow books for him. “Then I thought I better use some common sense and I joined at Burnside,” Errol says. After being a member for just a few weeks and borrowing twice, the Library was closed due to coronavirus. But his enterprising daughter Kathy called Council and soon had a librarian delivering several books to her Dad at his Glenunga home. “My favourite authors are probably Lee Childs, Bryce Courtenay and John Grisham.” The father of four, Errol instils a love of reading into his nine grandchildren. Errol is looking forward to getting back to the library once it reopens.

    Once things are back to ‘normal’ you might want to consider signing up for the Home Library Service. Clients list their choice of genre, author or topic and items that meet their preferences are delivered to their home once a month. Call the Library on 8366 4280 for more information.

    Want more digital content?

    Live Chats, including Book Discussion Groups, Story Time and Baby Chat programs, will be delivered via our Facebook page online. eResources for reading books and magazines are also available.

    These electronic collections can be downloaded anytime, and are returned automatically with no late fees.

    Other digital collections include:

  • Casual staff helping out

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    Council has many casual staff, particularly working at the George Bolton Swimming Centre Burnside on a seasonal basis.

    With the early closure of the Centre on 17 March due to COVID-19, 35 casual staff had their season cut short by six weeks. They have been assured of pay for their average hours until the end of the swim season (26 April). To keep them engaged Council has offered to relocate them to other parts of the business to help with workload.

    Emma Scheer, 22 and Thomas Jaeschke, 25, were seasonal casuals averaging 15 – 25 hours each week as lifeguards. Emma also worked on reception at the Centre. They are both working in the Library today helping to fold and collate community engagement letters for an upcoming consultation. Emma says she is happy to help “wherever I can be useful”.

    “We have been told we may be needed to help deliver meals to older people,” Emma says. Thomas is grateful for the work. “It is good to be doing something,” he says.

    Both have been socially impacted by the coronavirus. “I haven’t seen my boyfriend for a few weeks,” Emma says. “He had a cold so I stayed away.” Thomas describes himself as “very social” but now has to do have a lot of his contact on line but it’s hard to keep in touch with loved ones who are not always computer savvy. “I can’t visit my grandma every week, any more,” he says.

    They also agree the Swimming Centre is a great place to work. The supervisors are brilliant,” Thomas says. “They are caring and supportive – you know they’ve got your back.”

    Active Members (Multi-Visit Pass and 12 Month Memberships)

    To all our active members (multi visit passes and 12 month) these passes under normal operation are valid for 12 months from the date of purchase. The Centre was due to close for the season on Sun 26 April 2020, but with the closure date being brought forward to Wed 18 March 2020, the season was reduced by approximately 6 weeks. Taking this into account and given the unprecedented circumstances, we will be extending all active memberships by another 2 months (8 weeks) as a result of this early closure. This extension on membership is an internal process, so as an active member there is no need for any action on your behalf. When we reopen and you come in for a swim please ask our front desk staff what your new expiry is. Unless notified otherwise, season 2020/21 is due to commence on Sat 19 Sept 2020, and we really hope everyone will be back swimming from then.

Page last updated: 15 October 2021, 09:00