Toy Stories exhibition opens at Unley Museum


The Unley Museum’s newest exhibition has something for everyone. From the young in age to young at heart there are toys, toys and more toys. Over one hundred games, toys, animals, dolls and miniature items are on display.

Toys can evoke imagination or imitation while drawing on the real world. Many teach physical coordination or important life skills like counting or rhythm. Some toys reflect the social and economic influences of the child’s contemporary world. Toys with all of these themes will be on display until Wednesday 18 December 2013. 
Unley Museum curator, Elizabeth Hartnell, designed the exhibition into categories that describe each toys’ primary purpose. “I did not want to just have boys’ and girls’ toys because so many have been enjoyed by both genders. So I grouped this collection according to what the toys taught, not just who played with them.”
There is a visual display of the top Christmas gifts for the last hundred years as well as an original 1930s Monopoly game. Come and find out what decade was dominated by the Etch-a-Sketch, the origins of dolls and when balls first appeared as a child’s toy.
Why not try out some of the toys yourself? Indulge your inner child by pulling along a wooden replica that ‘bobbles’, or build a towering structure with our blocks and dominoes. Challenge your friends to a quick game of quoits. You also can fold a paper airplane that will soar in the sky or strike a beat with the maracas and tambourine. 
Toy Stories will be on display at the Unley Museum until Wednesday 18 December 2013. Unley Museum, located at 80 Edmund Avenue, is open Monday to Wednesday from 10.00am until 4.00pm and Sunday afternoon from 1.30pm to 4.30pm. It is closed on public holidays.  Admission is free.  For more information call (08) 8372 5117 or go to


Two popular King William Road restaurants have won awards at the 2013 South Australian Restaurant and Catering Awards.

Giwa Modern Korean took out the top gong in the category of Best Asian Restaurant while Assaggio Ristorante was awarded best Italian Restaurant.
City of Unley CEO Peter Tsokas said the awards were great recognition for the flourishing restaurant and café culture in the City of Unley.
“The hospitality sector is vitally important to our City and the main street traders not only create incredible vibrancy but are also key economic drivers. Restaurants and cafes not only provide food and dining opportunities for local residents but also attract visitors to our wonderful area.” Mr Tsokas said.
City of Unley Business and Economic Development Manager, Matt Grant attributes much of the increased awareness of City of Unley restaurants and cafes to the Find Your Everything website.
“Initiatives such as ‘Find Your Everything’ have really assisted in telling the good news stories of our main street businesses using social media and digital technologies. It is a great way to promote destination businesses in the City of Unley.” Mr Grant said
The City of Unley was also a finalist in the ‘Best Service Provider” category.

Grab yourself a coffee with Mayor of Unley Lachlan Clyne and raise your …

City of Unley Mayor Lachlan Clyne is inviting residents to join him for a coffee starting tomorrow week, Wednesday 14th August.

Mayor Lachlan would love for people to grab themselves a coffee and raise ideas and issues that they feel are important to Unley. Starting next Wednesday the 14th of August and occurring weekly every Wed from 8-10am at Pellegrini’s Cafe on Unley Rd. 

Trees Suffer in Goodwood South Ward

Two significant council trees (one in Clarence Park, one on Millswood) are coming down overnight and this morning.

I came into two pieces of communication from Council staff late yesterday informing me that two trees are set to come down.

The first of these was in Frederick Street Clarence Park, a victim it would seem from yesterday’s storms. The tree was leaning across the road held up by the power lines above.

After waiting for SA Power Networks to turn the power off the tree was brought down before it could do harm to person or property. Sad to see such a significant contributor to our community having to come down.

The other tree, in Arundel Avenue Millswood I was advised is also leaning and unsafe but not a victim of mother nature. This one was a victim of the adjacent rail works. This tree is coming down, probably as I write this blog post.

Residents adjacent were letter boxed last night by DPTI explaining the circumstances. From that letter we read    “Accidental excavation within the rail corridor has encroached within the Structural Root Zone of this tree and many medium to large diameter roots have been severed, compromising the integrity of the tree, making it unsafe. Removal of this tree is scheduled to take place on”.

Two independent arborists, one employed by the principal contractor York-Thiess Joint Venture and one subsequently commissioned by Council both concluded that “the tree poses a significant risk to public safety having a high potential for total failure.”

This is another chapter in the relationships between the locals in this area and DPTI during the rail revitalisation works and I dare say locals will not be amused. The letter goes to great lengths to justify what is happening but no mention of “Sorry” for the lack of effort to protect the tree, which was a condition of development approval.

Unley Community Profile

The recent Sensis has revealed some interesting facts about Unley that many residents may not be aware of.

For instance if you said that the third most prominent citizen behind Australian born and English born were Greeks, the guess again. Those born in China are third, totaling 786 compared to 655 from Greece. Those from India total 488, ahead of those born in Italy @ 464.
This might account for the numbers of Chinese people attending the Mandarin Service at St Augustine’s Anglican Church which is located next to the Civic Centre.
Of you thought Unley was an ageing city, well it is only marginally more than the rest of Adelaide. At 29.1% of the population for those over 55, it compares favourably with 27.4% for the rest of Adelaide. Interestingly children under 14 represent 16.1% compared to 17.7%.

An interesting fact is that Unley, which is earmarked with other inner rim councils as needing more consolidation, as 38.5% as medium density (semi-detached, row or terrace house, flat, unit or apartment) compared to the state @ 21.8%.

And just to bring things into perspective, the western suburbs of Unley have a slightly higher proportion of 0-4 year olds, 20-24 year olds and 25-34 year olds and a smaller percentage of 65 years +. Seems the west is well represented with younger people. Although not representative yet it would be reasonable to conclude that in the near future the Western suburbs of Unley could see a spurt in the births, given the figures of the sensus.


Yesterday I was asked via voice mail by John Stokes of the Eastern Courier for my take as an elected member on the hike in fee increases approved by Council last week at our last Council meeting. I returned his call but had to leave a voice mail too.

When I arrived home I found his article that managed to be front page of this weeks Courier.

For John and for anyone else that is interested, here is my take on the Unley Councils Homer Help Hike.

A short while ago Council determined that they had trouble keeping up with requests for home assistance. So popular is our home assist service that we reached the point where we could not keep up with the demand.

What ever we collect by way of fees contribute out of our budget a massive $ 366,317 to home and community care (HACC). Catch this. This is more than Holdfast Bay, Prospect, Campbelltown and Burnside Council all put together.

So put in perspective Unley clearly is a leader in the pack. As good as those other councils programs may be Unley’s is a stand out. And don’t forget we are one of the smallest councils, so we are (as a I put it when we won the award earlier this year) punching well above our weight.

Perhaps that is why Unley became the first council in South Australia to be awarded by the United Nations World Health Organisation as an Age Friendly City.

Council actually consulted with those already using the program about the changes and we received no adverse reaction. These people have been well aware that the fees are not what they necessarily pay but are the base from which we calculate an individuals contribution. In other words the fee for service is discounted based on the individuals ability to pay.

In other words they (the users had no problem). As a result we are now able to allow others to use the service, on an ability to pay basis. And let us not forget that whatever fee is being charged it is well under what it is costing us directly, let alone the overhead costs associated with it that

For services that other Councils might duplicate it is my understanding that we are in the mid range of fees, and that where we charge more per hour than another council we have a cap on the total whereas the other councils don’t.

Having said that, if I was a betting  man (I am not by the way), I would bet the group of elected members that is the current council would review the fees again if we felt that we were disadvantaging our residents.


Learning for Earning

If you are looking soon for ways to enter the job market or you have kids in this position the City of Unley may be able to help you, with our new Learning for Earning program.

The program is the result of listening to young people and their frustrations of getting a job in Unley. A number of Unley businesses have put their hand up and well…

Check out the video above to find out

Customer Service is at the core of Business Success

As a small business owner I know only too well that the key to profitability is the level of customer service I provide. A business lives and dies on their customer service. All levels of Government invariably have bad reputations when it comes to customer service however.

This is one of the first things I noted when I became an elected member of the City of Unley.

As a result of my not having confidence requests I had put in where being addressed I had discussions with management and some changes were made which improved things significantly. It was still far from a system that we could hold up as an industry benchmark however.

Our new management team have likewise recognised the limitations of our system. After many months of hard work the new Customer Request System they have pout together went live last Thursday,.

This system is a core element of our customer service focus and will enable us to recognise, refine and improve our service delivery across the whole of the organisation.
Over the coming weeks and months we will be monitoring the adoption and progress of this system.  We are expecting that there will be some teething issues and challenges as we deal with the service visibility this system will give us.  
So that we can track all issues and challenges, please and I will pass it on to those who have developed the system.  This is absolutely the right time to tell us if we are getting it wrong.

Thanking you all in anticipation.

Find Your Everything Celebrates Six-Months of Success

Below is a copy of Unley’s latest media release promoting the success of our Find Your Everything campaign.

I encourage you to take advantage of this great concept to find “your” everything in Unley. 

City of Unley’s ‘Find Your Everything’ website has celebrated its six month anniversary in style with more than 949subscribers and 2,629 Facebook fans.

The site, designed to support the direct success of City of Unley traders across its five main streets, has achieved incredible success since implementation and is being lauded as a crucial element of City of Unley’s main street digital economy strategy.
City of Unley Business and Economic Development Manager, Matt Grant said he was thrilled with the uptake of participants on the Find Your Everything site.
This project has exceeded all of our expectations. To have so many businesses signed up to promote their services and consumers using the site to find out what’s happening across our five main streets is very pleasing,” Mr Grant said.
Since its inception the site has attracted more than 5000 unique visitors. 114 Facebook posts have been viewed more than 600,000 times with an impressive 22,000 direct clicks through to local City of Unley businesses.
Unley Road trader Karen Smith, owner of Just Tickled Pink is among a growing list of City of Unley traders that have signed up to Find Your Everything and has experienced a distinct uptake in interest in its products and services.
We feel online marketing such as this as a crucial element of our marketing mix. We tried Find Your Everything out which created some great interest and conversations and will continue to utilise it moving forward,” Ms Smith said.
It is very pleasing that City of Unley is running initiatives such as this for its traders and it makes the area even more attractive in which to do business.”
City of Unley businesses will continue to be encouraged to use the free service through targeted communication with more initiatives attached to the project likely to be announced in the second half of 2013.
“To put it simply this sort of online marketing is a no brainer for our main street traders and anything we can do to promote the local area, businesses and make it easier for our residents is an absolute priority for the council.” Mr Grant said.
For more information please visit or Like our Facebook page

Budget Time and your rates

The Budget, which has been out for public consultation will now be finalized and presented in June to Council for approval.

Our rate revenue will probably have to increase 4.5% to fund the programs we have on our books and to retire some debt. Your individual rate may or may not increase by this amount. It will depend on the valuation of your property (as assessed by the Valuer General).

History shows the Valuer General does not always get it right, so when you get your rates notice. Ring on 1300 653 345  or email them at [email protected] 


Goodwood South is due to benefit again, most particularly with Master plans to be prepared for Goodwood Oval and Millswood Park. This will see the culmination of what began as a Strategic Building Review some 4 years ago and developed into a Community Assets review in my time on Council.

At my request our works depot has acknowledged that street line marking has fallen behind. All wards will benefit from an increase in line marking. Goodwood South may not see too much until all this rain revitalization activity is complete, even though some of our lines have actually disappeared altogether.

We have an allocation for implementation of the recommendation that come out of the Black Forest LATM. In conjunction with this will be the replanting of trees in Canterbury Black Forest and Parker Terrace Clarence Park. Likewise we will be involved with the landscaping along the Greenways bike path.

Outside Goodwood South but important to us is an LATM for Forestville is proposed. This will address traffic movement in this suburb and which will look into the speed cushions recently instated in Leah Street.

The pergola at page Park is due for replacement. We may also see gym equipment in Page Park as well, but watch this space.

A number of streets have been earmarked for road repairs, kerb and watertable repairs and/or footpath repairs.

New Committee Structure showing their value

I am again pleased to see and to report that the essence of the new committee structure is shaping up as a winner for Council.

The concept of committees with independent members contributing is ground breaking and challenging. It puts Unley out there in front and I know many councils are watching us to see how well we perform.

We will make mistakes and it is difficult to deal with the transition. We also will get great benefit from it.

And I saw again the value of independent expert input at the recent Development, Strategy & Policy Committee. The quality of the report this committee submits to next month’s council meeting is improved by their contribution.

This meeting included a report on, with a summary of, the responses we received from the public forum we conducted two months ago on DPA 3A. Members, both elected and independent, then contributed their thoughts.

The public responses and the observation form this meeting will be put to council for their final consideration. Council will therefore be well armed to make a responsible and qualified decision.

Teething Issues with new Committee Structure causes embararasment

City of Unley’s new Committee Structure, the ground breaking initiative of our CEO Peter Tsokas, has experienced its first teething problems.

All new systems will experience teething problems and our new committee structure is no exception. Public & Councillors alike were confused by recommendations put to Council by the re-badged UBED committee.
The Unley Business & Economic Development (UBED) comprises not only elected members and representatives of our various street trader associations but experts, selected to provide us valuable guidance in matters relevant to the committee.
This committee agreed at its last meeting that it felt it should provide input to council on two issues, including the local heritage DPA. It seems that their recommendations, which at the end of the day were in the form of no decision motions which were just requests to ensure certain factors were considered by council when deciding on the final DPA.
Council has delegated this function to one of its three major committees, the Development, Strategy & Policy Committee (DSP). This committee recently heard submissions from a number of residents, businesses and from FOCUS amongst others.
Cometh the problem!
UBED is a section 41 committee and can only report and make recommendations or suggestions to Council. That meant Council had to receive the motion (rather than UBED talk direct to DSP) and to pass this onto the DSP committee to include in their deliberations. Unwieldy perhaps but it could be, as far as I can make out, no other way.
So UBED pass a motion and Council had to receive it and form their own motion to pass it onto DSP.
In doing it this way councillors and FOCUS both felt that UBED was circumventing DSP and that in accepting the motion the Local Heritage DPA Council would be usurping the DSP and ignoring the submissions of those who represented to the DSP.
On behalf of Council and the UBED committee I apologise for this misunderstanding.
As a member of both Committees I can assure everyone that all UBED was doing was making sure economic issues it identified are considered. I can also assure that the DSP will take on all points raised before it.
And as member of Council I can assure everyone that Council has the final say. And when I mean final say I mean the final say of what goes to the Minister for Planning, John Rau.
PS    We will be looking at the Local Government Act to see if there is another way that this communication can occur in future without raising undue concerns for whomever.

Unley and the South Parklands

As the City of Unley grapples with the limited open and green space within it’s borders (the least by a mile of any local council area in the greater metropolitan area). As the City of Unley grapples with addressing the State Governments 30 year plan to increase the density of housing stock.

I have long pondered the relationship Unley has with the adjacent parklands to its north, the other side of Greenhill Road.

There has been much talk during public consultation of our DPA 3A that how are we going to find extra open space which will become more precious than it is now as our density inevitably increases.

Enter the South Parklands.

And enter this article by David Penberthy n Adelaide Now this morning. Yours to read and love to hear your thoughts on the observations he has raised and how Unley might better utilise the Parklands (in partnership of course with the City of Adelaide).

Independent Members of our Main Committees named

I can now confirm the names of the independant candidates that will join our three new committees. 

The successfull candidates have now all been informed so I can now name them on this blog site.

There are as follows:

Infrastructure & Capital Projects Committee

Nicole Edwards, Gavin Brennan and Paul Dilulio

Development Strategy & Policy Committee

Theo Maras, Tim Horton and Roger Freeman

Community & Culture Committee

Dr Lyn Arnold, Greg Mackie and Peter Croft.

Contragtulation sto all the successful candidates. I look forward to working with you, particulalrly those on the Developmnet Strategy & Policy group

Goodwood South closer to becoming Clarence Park

As debate on Council’s preferred position on the Representation Review stalled at last night’s council meeting we did agree on proposing a name change of the one ward that does not have a name that is easily identifiable with the suburbs it covers.

As I noted in my last post we are legally bound to conduct a “representation review” every 8 years or so.

After a first round of public consultation resulting in one (yes one) response we sat done last night to prepare and decide on our preferred position before going back out for a second round of public consultation.

We agreed on the following:

1  That there be no change to the name of the city. Unley it was, Unley it is and Unley it is to stay. as far as we are concerned.

2   That the  Mayor still be elected by the people rather than appointed by the elected members.

3   The there be no area councillors in addition to the ward councillors.

4   That we will retain a 6 ward structure, rather than abolish wards altogether, and in lieu of changing to 3 wards as suggested by Parkside Councillor, John Koumi.

5   That we retain 12 elected members plus the Mayor.

What we could not agree on (actually we came close I believe) was where the ward boundaries should be in order to keep the rate payer to elected member ratio to within a 10% variance. We probably have the answer but we need to run the numbers on the suggestions made last night to confirm we are within the 10% or not, before endorsing it.

Once we do that, which will now be at next months Council meeting, we can go out to the public for your comments should you have any.

A Name Change for Goodwood South

On Tuesday night Council will decide what preferred options we wish to promote under the Representation Review we must conduct every 8 years or so.

Once we have done this (as I have previously reported) we will go out again to the public for their feedback on the preferred model.
Only two possible changes are to be debated and they are:
1                     A reduction of ward from 5 to 6 and therefore the reduction of elected members from 12 to 10, plus the Mayor. The debate on this one will be interesting.
2                     A name change for one ward, our ward … Goodwood South.
It is being proposed to change the name to “Clarence Park”, one of the suburbs of Goodwood South. All other wards currently reflect one of their suburbs, leaving Goodwood South the odd man out.
The other suburbs of Goodwood South are Black Forest, and part Millswood (west of Goodwood Road).
Jennie & I will be interested to know what you think of this proposal assuming it gets the green light on Tuesday.more »

What is the future of our advisory groups


At Council’s December meeting we adopted a new committee structure, but the future of advisory groups was not resolved. Our CEO Mr Peter Tsokas has flagged that he wishes this to be considered in the near future.

Advisory groups are there to provide a link/ input from the community with Council and hence they are extremely valuable if used correctly. We also know that they are not there to make decisions.
In recent discussions some members see it as their responsibility to run/ coordinate groups as a means of connecting with their community and I am one of them. Others think we should wind the groups up given the formation of the new committees.
To stimulate discussion our CEO has provided the following thoughts.
I think we should keep some groups going because we don’t want the “nuts and bolts” issues going to the new committees whereas some others may be disbanded unless members are passionate about them. The reference groups should be community driven (with guidance from Council) so as to give community reps a sense of participation. The groups could actually be chaired by a community rep and not an elected member- this will help develop members of the community and may encourage some to run for Council!

So here are my suggestions:

Road Safety

Establish a group that largely consists of community members to identify/ participate in community actions to improve road safety. A good example of this is the program of school audits re: road safety. This group should not be considering traffic management issues like the previous committee did.

Ageing and Disability Advisory Group

Disband the group. The new committee structure will pick up these issues. Note- it doesn’t mean that we (i.e admin) won’t engage with clients and residents we service. We will do that as part of our normal operations.

Community Grants

Combine the community, cultural, recreation and environmental grants program group with the Ron Young grant program group. So two advisory groups become one that consider grants under separate categories.

Community Sustainability Advisory Group

Retain this group but review its purpose
Goodwood Oval Advisory Group

Retain this group and review its purpose.

Library Community Advisory Group

Disband this group. The new Community and Culture Committee will address library issues in terms of actions towards the strategic plan.

Millswood Railway Station Advisory Group

Disband the group. it has not met for over two years.

Unley Oval Advisory Group

Retain this group but review its purpose
Where the community sees value in having such groups then I believe they should be retained.
Personally I am inclined to agree with him (Peter) except I would prefer to see the elected member driving it so as to ensure community representatives are contributing, rather than chairing. Having said that I see the groups as having a level of informality about them.
At the end of the day it is your community and I would love to hear what you believe, particularly if you have a vested interest.

Call for Independent Members of Council’s new committee structure.

Expressions of interest have been sought for independent members of the new committees.

The mayor, presiding members of each committee and our CEO will meet next week to view the list of applicants and to agree to a short list for interviews. The interviews will follow fairly soon afterwards with a view to a report being ready for Council’s meeting in January.
The new committees would then be ready to start from February.

Your chance to have a say.

UNLEY residents have the opportunity to sit on three council committees.

The Community and Culture committee, Development Strategy and Policy committee and Infrastructure and Capital Projects committee.
They will meet once every three months. Members are paid.
Applications close this Friday, December 21. Go to