Thursday, December 31, 2009

Bendigo Bank at Templestowe Village now open for business

A couple of weeks ago I was strolling around the Templestowe Village shops and noticed the local Bendigo Bank branch was now open for business. I decided to introduce myself and spoke with the Branch Manager Ben Leigh, who I found to be very friendly and a local from nearby Eltham.

The Templestowe Village branch of the Bendigo Bank officially opened in December 14th 2009.

The hours of operation are:

Monday - Friday: 9am to 5pm
Saturday: 9am to 12pm

- Kelvin Eldridge

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Vanuatu vacation and exchanging money.

A member of the family is off on holidays to Vanuatu. The task of getting a couple of hundred dollars local currency was put in my hands. What I find interesting about currency exchange is the considerable variation between money changers. I decided to share today's experience.  The aim was to change $200 Australian into the local currency of Vanuatu, which is Vanuatu vatu. This was a straight cash exchange.

American Express Box Hill

Located in Box Hill at the back of the Westpac branch.
I went to this branch of American Express because some years ago they never charged American Express card holders for exchanging money. This has now gone and there was an $8 charge.

All they had was $10,000 Vanuatu vatu which was $127.57 Australian. The following is the amount of money that could have been received if they had the cash.

$200 Australian dollars would be 15,678.

The exchange rate was 78.39.

Doncaster Shopping Town

None of the money changers at Doncaster Shopping Town had cash to exchange. But I thought this would a good opportunity to make a comparison of the different rates on offer. If should be noted that I've found many years ago you had to shop around. Who may have the better rates this time, might not have the better rate next time.

Travelex Upstairs

$200 Australian becomes roughly 14,500 Vanuatu

$9 fee

Exchange rate (estimated) 72.5
Tavelex downstairs (part of Harvey World Travel)

$200 Australian becomes roughly 16,278 Vanuatu vatu

$7 fee

Exchange rate (estimated) 81.39

Flight Centre

$200 Australian becomes roughly 15,114 Vanuatu vatu

No fee

Exchange rate (estimated) 75.57

What I also decided to do was to use an online service to check today's currency rates. Using the exchange rate was 87.256.

The thing with currency exchange is it can get confusing because fees are separate from the actual money converted. That makes it harder to compare. Also as you exchange more money fees become a lower percentage of the cost. The easiest way to make a comparison is to turn things around. To say how much would it have cost to get a certain amount of Vanuatu vatu.

Let's use the example of how much would it cost to purchase 15,000 Vanuatu vatu.

American Express: $199.35
Travelex: $215.89
Travelex (Harvey World Travel): $191.29
Flight Centre: $198.49

We can see from this the best value was from Travel (Harvey World Travel). In fact if you had wanted 15,000 Vanuatu Vatu and picked the wrong Travelex office, you could end up paying $24.60 extra. It really does pay to take the escalator one floor down and do a price comparison.

For this has been a good opportunity to compare foreign exchange outlets. I no longer need to drive to Box Hill, because there is no real savings to be had for small amounts. Next time I'll be happy to check Travelex (Harvey World Travel) and Flight Centre.

I should also add many years ago I used to check the city based foreign exchange offices. It may still be possible there may be better value in the city. This is worth considering if you work in or near the city.

Finally, one thing I don't know is, is it better to exchange money in Australia, or wait until you get to Vanuatu. I asked the question of one business and their reply was for the pacific area it may be better to take cash and exchange it when you arrive. On the return however it may be better to exchange their currency back in Australia. I do however think this is better to confirm.

I hope my family member remembers to note the exchange rate when they change Australian dollars in Vanuatu. That would help make future decisions.

- Kelvin Eldridge

PS. For local businesses, or business that can deliver to the area, please check

TAGS: Vanuatu hotels, le lagon vanuatu, vanuatu vacations

Monday, November 16, 2009

Templestowe Scouts 50th Anniversary

Yesterday was a beautiful day and I dropped in on the Templestowe Scouts 50th celebration. I've never been a boy scout myself, so it was a good chance to check out their displays and learn something new.

To my surprise I met up with some of the locals, so it was good to see familiar faces. I won't name any names, but I did manage to get a few good stories on the day;-)

Checking out the scout badges (sorry if I'm using the wrong terms) and the activities available to scouts was really interesting. The knot display always interests me, as I know some of those knots can come in really handy, but I've never learnt them.

To the chefs I want you to know I enjoyed the excellently cooked snag, smothered in a generous serving of delicious onions.

It really was good to see so many young people having a great time on the day. Thanks for the opportunity to share in the day.

- Kelvin Eldridge

Tags: boy scouts, scout badges, boy scout, scout group, cub scout

Saturday, November 14, 2009

1st Templestowe Scouts 50th Birthday Celebrations

I've recently received a notice in my letterbox for the 1st Templestowe Scouts 50th Birthday Celebrations which is on Sunday 15th November, 10 am to 4pm, at Templestowe Reserve. The following is a copy of the brochure.

- Kelvin

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Changed road conditions at Templestowe Village roundabout (Cnr Anderson and James Streets)

Recently I was talking to a local resident and I mentioned how I thought the black bitumen next to the path at the Templestowe Village roundabout (on the corner of Anderson and James Street) was a bit of an eyesore. Their response alerted me to something I hadn't realised.

On the north-east side of the roundabout three new parking spaces have been created. The person said when they came around the corner (similar to the burgundy car in the picture) they were shocked to find a car pulling out (which had been parked where the white ute is parked).

I didn't realise this section of parking had changed and I'm glad my comment ending up informing me of the change. Do be careful with the changed road conditions at the roundabout. A small lapse in concentration could lead to a costly rear end bingle.

- Kelvin Eldridge

Friday, October 30, 2009

Virus alert: Manningham photo developers getting more than they pay for.

My wife and children regularly have their photos developed in the self service facilities of the major retailers. Recently however my wife came home with more than photos. She came home with a virus on the memory card.

On the 16th of October 2009 at 11:43am her memory card was infected by the photo developing machine. She used a different memory card on the following Monday and it was also infected. My daughter also used the retailers facilities on the 16th of October at 11:24am and her card was also infected.

As an IT consultant I have to admit I was very surprised this occurred. If you think about it, these machines are often nothing more than a computer which has been dedicated to operate as a photo kiosk. If you can infect your memory card using from a Desktop computer, then it makes sense it could also be infected from a photo kiosk.

If you’ve had photos developed using an in-store facility, I would recommend you check all your memory cards.

Now that I know this can happen, in the future I will be asking my wife to lock her card before installing it in a machine.

If you don’t have anti-virus software installed on your computer, I would recommend it be installed. You can read the result of my face-off of the free anti-virus products I recently completely. The article is on the main JustLocal blog (

I have advised the company management (via their customer service area) and also the company in charge of the photo labs, of the problem, as potentially hundreds of local residents may be affected.

The virus can infect your computer when the memory card is inserted into your computer. If you are not comfortable with computers have your memory cards checked by a professional.
- Kelvin Eldridge

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Thinking of buying anti-virus software?

There is a wide choice of anti-virus software both free and commercial, but the real question is how well do they perform. Read the reviews and basically you get the information provided by the vendors, with maybe a bit of the reviewers experience.

I decided to put some of the anti-virus software packages through their paces using real emails that I receive on a day-to-day basis. Not old viruses which every package can handle, but new viruses. The type of viruses you get that slip past anti-virus software.

The battle has begun. To read more visit the main JustLocal blog.

- Kelvin

Monday, October 5, 2009

Welcome to the new Templestowe blog by Kelvin Eldridge of JustLocal


My name is Kelvin Eldridge and I'm creator the JustLocal service. JustLocal is a unique service aimed at growing the local community. As a resident of Templestowe I felt it was now time to start a blog for the 3106 area and share my thoughts and local experiences with fellow residents and business. If something interests you please please feel free to make a comment or to contact me.

The JustLocal 3106 postcode page is a place to find businesses which can provides services to you in your local area. As more local businesses join the page, it will become an invaluable resource for the local community.

If you run a local business no matter how small, drop me a line and I'll include your web site address in the search engine. The search engine is free for local businesses.

JustLocal is different to any other service and the search engine is just one example of how we think and work differently. The search engine is limited to businesses in the local area (plus some businesses who are happy to share some of their profits back into the local community). This approach means your business doesn't compete against bigger businesses with deep pockets for advertising.

I am particularly interested in hearing from the over eight hundred locals who run businesses from home. We all know many of the local shops, but most of us know few if any of the home based businesses. Let others know you exist. Use the services of other local businesses. That way we end up with stronger local community and that is good for us and the environment.

Until next time.

- Kelvin Eldridge

PS. If you're local and have some information you would like to share with others in the area, you are welcome to contact me.