Greythorn Central Marketing Coordinator’s vision to see the history of Greythorn come to life through the stories of the people who worked and lived in the area has finally been realised.

Yolanda Torrisi was the Project Creator, Lead and Vision for the Faces of Greythorn statue project.

She is known as an entrepreneurial businesswoman having started, developed, and successfully delivered a number of business operations and creative endeavours. Yolanda has a passionate community spirit volunteering her expertise and services in helping raise funds and awareness for a number of charity organisations.

At the recent launch of the Faces of Greythorn statues, Yolanda, who was also MC for the event’s launch spoke of the creation of this project and the talented people who worked with her to make this vision come to life for generations of people to enjoy over the decades to come.

Yolanda’s launch day introductions and speech

Wominjeka yearmann koondee biik Wurundjeri balluk – Welcome to the land of the Wurundjeri people to whom we pay our respects to past, present and future generations.

Welcome to those gathered here today who have ties to Greythorn, live in Greythorn, shop at Greythorn or simply drove past and saw something or was going on and stopped or saw our promotions and came to Discover the Difference at Greythorn.

Introducing Yolanda Torrisi

I have always had a strong sense to create community spirit and wanted to provide a historical journey of the development of Greythorn which is neither a precinct, nor a suburb and does not have its own postcode but is distinctly iconic, in it’s 1 sqkm area it is nestled within North Balwyn.

The Greythorn Traders Association loved the idea and the seeds were planted to get the project underway.

It has been a three year journey (including all the way through COVID) to finally deliver it here today … and I am accompanied by:

The Greythorn Traders Association committee who funded 90% of this project with 10% provided by a City of Boroondara Community Strengthening grant

The curator Anne Carew who we engaged to research the history of Greythorn

The sculptor Shlomit Moria we chose to create these statues with her amazing chainsaw sculpting talents.

We welcome Boroondara Mayor Jane Addis

We welcome Maranoa Ward Councillor Cynthia Watson who has been invited to officially launch the statues today.

The story of Greythorn will be published into a book later this year. You can read some of that story on the Greythorn Central website and as you journey along the Greythorn Central Shopping strip after today’s launch and read the plaques on each statue.

Each of these statues will transport you through time. If you are part of the history of Greythorn it will rekindle fond memories, if you are visiting Greythorn, welcome, you are now part of the Greythorn story.

Who and what are the Faces of Greythorn Statues?

These six larger-than-life size statues dotted along the Greythorn Central shopping strip chronicle the history and development of Greythorn.

The Faces of Greythorn statues are:

Ferdinand Finger, a well-known orchardist of the early 1900s;

Donald Wood, a notable pharmacist at Greythorn;

Albert and Maddie, a father and daughter, representing the traditional people of the lands we work, play and live on;

Maria, an older lady who represents much of the post World War 2 migration and families making Greythorn home;

Lily, one of the young, hip and fashionable youth of Greythorn;

Evie, representing one of the many businesswomen who set up fashionable shops at Greythorn in the 1950s but was also Evie Kay who had a famous toy shop at Greythorn.

They now join the Greythorn Icons – The fireman, baker, lollipop lady, shopper and dog which have stood in front of the fire station at Greythorn since September 2000.

Greythorn’s history is as rich as it is diverse. From the 1900s when the area was a highly productive citrus orchard, to being home to a violet farm, a koala sanctuary and where in the 1950s the highly fashionable women of Greythorn made a name for themselves with their high fashion, couture and coiffures, Greythorn has grown into a thriving shopping and community hub. It has attracted families from all of the world wanting to live in this prized location in Melbourne’s inner eastern leafy suburbs.

Introducing the Greythorn Traders Association

The Greythorn Traders Association committee funded 90% of this project through the contributions of every business at Greythorn. A sum of $10,000 was provided by a City of Boroondara Community Strengthening grant. Welcome to Gabriele Crema who has been president of the Greythorn Traders Association for six (6) years.

Introducing Ann Carew the curator

Ann Carew, a local North Balwyn resident has worked in a variety of settings including universities, regional galleries and local government as an art curator, cultural heritage officer, and arts administrator.

Shlomit Moria

Shlomit Moria is a wood sculptor and a chainsaw carver from Warburton, Victoria.

A former graphic artist, Shlomit decided to follow her lifelong passion for the three-dimensional medium of wood sculpture. She established Bushwood Creations in mid-2015 and creates her works of art from reclaimed and salvaged timbers.

Introducing Cr Cynthia Watson

Cr Cynthia Watson is the ward councillor for Maranoa Ward in the City of Boroondara. While we are actually standing in Bellevue Ward (site of the Albert and Maddie statue), Greythorn straddles both Bellevue and Maranoa Ward with Doncaster Road dividing the two wards. Cr Jim Parke sends his apologies he could not join us today. Welcome Cynthia to launch the Faces of Greythorn statues.

In summary

We invite those attended here today to collect a brochure and take a walk on both sides of the shopping strip and meet The Faces of Greythorn who can’t wait to share their story with you. You can read it at the base of each statue. Shlomit the sculptor, Ann Carew, the curator and myself will be available along the Greythorn shopping strip at the various statue locations to answer any of your questions. You will also meet some of the Greythorn Traders Association committee members who are also business owners at Greythorn who also will be happy to answer your questions.

You will also be entertained along the way with musicians at various locations along the shopping strip with different genres of music from all over the world.

There are also face painters and a roving balloon twisting clown for the children as well as you meander along the shopping strip.

Please enjoy a morning tea pack. If you miss out there are free coffee vouchers up for grabs you can collect from me and exchange for a coffee at the nominated coffee shops at Greythorn listed on your voucher. There are plenty of coffee shops and restaurants to purchase a bite to eat.

Thank you for attending and we hope you will continue to Discover the Difference time and time again at Greythorn telling and bringing family friends here to enjoy the experience.