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April/May 2022 Newsletter

We (humans) are a lot like other parts of nature in a lot of ways. But we’re also different in really critical ways that we have to understand, because if we don’t take an obligation associated with that difference, we will self terminate….I was talking with an Aboriginal friend Tyson Yunkaporta . He was saying that one of the oldest stories his people told was that when the stone tool was invented, the animal spirits came to the people and said: “we’re turning stewardship of the biosphere over to you now because you’ve developed this kind of capacity. If you continue to use it not as stewards, you’d ruin everything”. So with that capacity comes a stewardship and the people understood…stone tools turn into bronze age tools and iron age tools and then nuclear tools…with that power came responsibility

(Daniel Schmachtenberger, interviewed in Dumbo Feather Magazine, no. 69, March 2022, p.50)

Welcome to the April/May Localising Leanganook e-newsletter. In this edition you’ll find information about:

  1. Music at Yandoit Cultural– Ken Buddha Trio performs the Calamity of War
  2. Clunes Booktown Festival
  3. Castlemaine Free University– Poet and anarchist Pi O
  4. Connecting to this Country– 8 week course
  5. ‘Rethink the Rex’ in Daylesford
  6. Kavisha Mazzella Trio concert in Castlemaine
  7. Creek name change- Larni Barramul Yaluk
  8. Size Matters– No large supermarket in Castlemaine
  9. Northern Arts Hotel
  10. Heather Mutimer Women’s Honour roll
  11. A local currency for Castlemaine?
  12. Election season events including Meet the Candidates
  13. Hepburn Food Hub Plans
  14. Doughnut Economics– free webinar
  15. Growing Abundance- harvesting and fruit fly
  16. Walking together towards Makarrata
  17. Sustainable Hepburn strategy
  18. Castlemaine Seed library and Hepburn Seed Savers
  19. Bendigo Writers Festival
  20. Central Vic Climate Action
  21. Western Victoria Transmission Network Project
  22. Bird of the month– April: Crested Shrike-tit
  23. Sydney Writers Festival live-streamed in Castlemaine
  24. Gold mining and Lock the Gate signs
  25. Repair Cafes – Castlemaine and Daylesford
  26. Olive season and curing
  27. Castlemaine Documentary Film Festival
  28. Mt Alexander Shire Budget– your feedback
  29. Maldon Bank Corner comes alive with music
  30. Self-Reflection Conversations
  31. MaLets
  32. Greater Bendigo towards net zero emissions
  33. Hepburn Shire hits 42% renewables
  34. Limits to Growth- A Conversation-Holmgren and Heinberg
  35. Food for Thought– Community operations in disasters; Net Zero by 2050 is not enough; The spirit of water.

1. Music at Yandoit Cultural– Ken Buddha Trio performs the Calamity of War

What: Concert- Ken Buddha Trio with violinist Adam Menegazzo- performing works influenced by Vietnamese artist and poet- Le Van Tai

When: Saturday April 30th, 8pm

Where: Yandoit Cultural– Uniting Church, Yandoit

Entry by donation

From early childhood Le Van Tai knew the calamity of living with war. Chaos reigned as his family home was burnt to the ground. Born in Quang Tri province in central Vietnam, by the age of eight he and his family were living in a refugee camp set up by the French. His escape from this terror became a love affair with art, inspired by his goldsmith father. By the age of twenty-two, he entered the National Art School of Hue. Continuing as a lecturer, his reputation grew as an important painter and poet throughout Vietnam. With the American occupation, his art became popular with American’s, but after the northern forces took over the south, this connection drew suspicion by the authorities and he was arrested, spending 10 years in a jungle ‘re-education’ camp. Escape was his only choice if he wanted to practice his art. In 1981 he became a boat refugee, finally ending up in Australia, where his art practice and reputation flourished. He describes this practice as ‘romantic dreaming’:

sometimes when I work in the garden, or talk to friends, I begin to feel the connection, the relationship; how we are together, with nature and other human beings. It’s like how we feel about the moon

Ken Buddha Trio: Collaborative composition, with a palette of electronic and acoustic instrumentation. Physical and spiritual elements fuse to create aural environments and atmospheres driven by musical investigation.

The performance will be introduced by artist Petrus Spronk.

Yandoit Cultural: Yandoit Cultural is a new arts and culture space based in Yandoit’s historic Uniting Church and now run as a community venue. With excellent acoustics, Yandoit Cultural is a perfect setting for live music, story-telling, theatrical performances, talks, poetry readings, concerts and more personal events such as weddings. Yandoit Cultural is nestled in bush-land, in central Victoria close to Daylesford and Castlemaine, with a seating capacity for up to 120 people. For more information:  https://www.facebook.com/yandoitcultural or email ycfcpg@gmail.com

2. Clunes Booktown Festival

When: Saturday April 30th and Sunday May 1st

Where: Clunes

The 2022 Clunes Booktown program focuses on storytelling with an underlying theme of hope.
Authors featured include Jock Serong, JP Pomare, Eliza Hull, Don Watson, Sean O’Beirne, Chloe Hooper, Fiona Scott Norman, Arnold Zable, Jacinta Parsons and more!

Ticketed Talks are $15.00

For more information and program go to: https://www.clunesbooktown.com.au/

3. Castlemaine Free University- Poet and anarchist Pi O 

When: Monday May 2nd, 7-9pm
Where:  Northern Arts Hotel 359 Barker Street, Castlemaine
What: π.o.- Pi.O
Format: Talk, poetry reading and Q&A
FREE EVENT — And purchase drinks at bar, and publications that Pi.O. brings along to sell.
A short journey through the life and work of epic poet and anarchist Pi.O. whose working life was spent as a draughtsman in the Victorian land titles office. Known as ‘a legendary figure in the Australian poetry scene’, ‘the chronicler of Melbourne and its culture and migrations’, and ‘a pioneer of performance poetry in Australia’ (Giramondo), his Epic trilogy is 24 Hours (1996), Fitzroy: The Biography (2015), and Heide (2019) a 560-page poem comprised of 300 poems) which won the prestigious 2020 Judith Wright Calanthe Award.

Writer Pi.O. is editor of magazines such as Unusual Work, which features creative writing and graphic art, and a publisher, namely Collective Effort Press. Born in Greece, his life has been spent in and around Fitzroy. His prolific work includes Panash (1978), The Fitzroy Poems (1989) and Big Numbers: New and Selected Poems (2008).

For more information about Castlemaine Free University: https://anitranelson.info/cfu

 4. Connecting to this Country- 8 week course  

A practical one day a week (Tuesdays) course that enables participants to develop more meaningful connection to the Victorian Central Goldfields on Dja Dja Wurrung Country. Participants will learn indigenous world views and nature connection, along with applied skills in land management, ecological restoration, plant weed and animal identification, regenerative living, carbon reduction, resilience and food systems. Presented in collaboration by five local organisations including: Castlemaine Commons, Connecting Country, Nalderun Education Aboriginal Corporation, Castlemaine Institute and the Maldon Neighbourhood Centre.

The 8 weeks will cover a mix of visits to country, information, introductions and skills including:
· Introduction day at Leanganook
· Landcare – Connecting Country
· Climate and Resilience Friends of the Earth & Castlemaine Institute
· Reading local landscapes: the layers of geology, ecology and landuse – Castlemaine Institute
· Living Simply
· Local food systems
· Tour with Aboriginal Elder, Nalderun Aboriginal Education Organisation
· Bush walk overnight – morning bird chorus and closing

Tuesdays – Term 2 Starting 3rd May for 8 weeks
$750 Full / $550 Concession / $350 Subsistence.

For registration contact Maldon Neighbourhood Centre, info@maldonnc.org.au and 5475 2093 and
Enrolment form here: https://www.maldonnc.org.au/whats-on/life-long-learning
For more information contact Castlemaine Commons, Natalie Moxham natalie@leanganookyarn.com and 0448 372 466

5. ‘Rethink the Rex’ in Daylesford


Following Hepburn Shire Council’s decision to abandon the Rex project and sell the building, the “Rethink the Rex” community group held a public meeting on 5th April at Daylesford Town Hall. The aim of the meeting was to provide information to the community including the heritage value of the building, identified youth and community needs, alternatives to sale, potential private and public use of the building and site and financial perspectives. Innovative ideas were presented together with some inspirational initiatives from other regional areas. The thorny issue of ‘to sell or not to sell’ was also explored. Community members had the opportunity to express their views and ask questions. Recommendations from the well attended public meeting were put to Hepburn Shire Council and the community group is currently awaiting a response.

To keep informed or join Rethink the Rex community group: https://www.facebook.com/dayle…


6. Kavisha Mazzella Trio concert in Castlemaine

7. Creek name change- Larni Barramul Yaluk

Recently both Hepburn shire and Mt Alexander shire Councils resolved to rename the Jim Crow Creek-  Larni Barramal Yaluk . The name was proposed by the local traditional owners, the Dja Dja Wurrung. “Larni Barramul” means “home or habitat of the Emu” and “Yaluk” means “creek”. The proposed name recognises Aboriginal heritage and promotes the reinstatement of the Djaara language of the traditional owners into the landscape. The original name of the creek has been lost because of the decimation and removal of the local Indigenous population after European settlement. The decision recognises Aboriginal heritage, the importance of reinstating Dja Dja Wurrung language, and removes a name that many people agree is racist and derogatory. The name change request now goes to Geographic Names Victoria for further review and final decision.

The current name of the creek is considered offensive and derogatory.

For most of its length, the creek passes through Hepburn Shire but the last part of the creek before it empties into the Loddon River is in neighbouring Mount Alexander Shire. Hepburn Shire Council conducted a community consultation process in keeping with the requirements of Geographical Names Victoria. The consultation found that while  a range of views exists within the community, there was clear overall support for the proposed name change. Council contacted people in the immediate vicinity of the Creek and received 21 objections to the name change and 65 residents in support. From the wider community, Council received 83 submissions in support and 8 objections.

The final decision to accept or reject the recommendation will be made by the Registrar at the Office of Geographic Names (OGN).

The term ‘Jim Crow’ has its origins in racial segregation and racism. In the 1820’s ‘Jim Crow’ became a racist term to refer to ‘black people’ worldwide and became ‘Jim Crow Laws’ in the United States (1877 to 1965), which made discrimination and racial segregation legal and enforceable.  The name Jim Crow was likely first applied to the area of Lalgambook/Mt Franklin by Captain John Hepburn in the 1830’s. The term Jim Crow became the unfortunate catch-all term used by colonists to refer to the mountain, the Aboriginal Protectorate, the ‘Tribe’, individual Aboriginal people, the creek, the goldfields (diggings) and district.

8. Size Matters- No large supermarket in Castlemaine

A group of local people from Castlemaine – Size Matters– have banded together to object to the plan for a large Woolworths supermarket in Forest Street. Mt Alexander Shire Council has rejected the application for such a large supermarket . There are a significant number of concerns about the development especially relating to the impact it will have from a traffic management and urban planning perspective. The entrance to the township will be change irrevocably if the plan goes ahead.  The matter is currently with VCAT until early July.

A permit was granted by Council for a smaller supermarket on this site in April 2018. So, the argument is no longer whether Castlemaine will have a third supermarket or not, but what size supermarket can be located on the proposed site without destroying the integrity of Castlemaine’s character and uniqueness.

For further information:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/3681171501945174

No big supermarket for Castlemaine– A letter to the Castlemaine Mail by Trevor Scott, March 7th

Last month it was reported in this newspaper, that Mount Alexander Shire councillors  voted against a larger version of the supermarket than previously, on the Forest Street site at the entrance to Castlemaine. I believe, for a number of reasons, that this is a good outcome for the town. But for the developer, I’m sure this is not the end of the story. Unfortunately, this application is headed back to VCAT for reconsideration by the state authority. I think many of you aren’t aware that this is the second proposal to build a supermarket on this site. The one that the developer wants to build, is more than twice the size of the first. So all the problems associated with the first–large articulated trucks winding noisily through Chewton, increased traffic and danger to school children because of proximity to the South primary school, inappropriate structure at the gateway to our town with its heritage streetscapes, narrow roads, lack of parking etc; all will be doubled in intensity if this new proposal goes ahead. So I congratulate our council for its wisdom. I think there are lessons to be learnt from the Covid pandemic that we could be taking heed of right here. Our desire to travel further and more often, our need for more exotic foods and commodities etc. at the expense of our own community, all have contributed, not only to the spread of Covid, but also to Climate Change. There are so many reasons why we need to minimise globalisation and return to a simpler way of life. Consider the local Farmers’ Market in comparison to the large supermarket. Food grown locally is consumed locally, avoiding large food miles and double and triple packaging. Local people grow the food and this connects them to other locals. The extension of this is that we get a community where people look out for each other. So it’s a simple matter to conclude that if we must have another supermarket, the smaller version is what we should allow, and nothing more.

Trevor Scott, Castlemaine

Castlemaine Institute, Castlemaine Commons and The Coolroom at the Northern Arts Hotel present

Film screening & conversation with Scott Ludlam
SUNDAY, MAY 1, 2022 at 7 PM

Castlemaine Pride 2022 Events presented in conjunction with The Coolroom
Persecution to Celebration: LGBTIQ+ History Talk

Tuesday 3 May, 7.30pm | Info & Bookings
Film Screen – My First Summer
Wednesday 4 May, 7.30pm | Info & Bookings
Film Screening – Hating Peter Tatchell
Thursday 5 May, 7.30pm | Info & Bookings

10. Heather Mutimer Women’s Honour roll

Local honour roll inductee
Congratulations to Joanne Pegg, who Council named as the 2022 inductee of the Heather Mutimer Honour Roll, recognising her tireless work for social inclusion and inclusive learning in the Shire. Joanne was inducted to the honour roll at a special event in Daylesford on International Women’s Day attended by around 100 people.

The Heather Mutimer Honour Roll was established in 2005 to pay tribute to the women in Hepburn Shire whose contribution, courage and example have led to significant social change for women. Mayor, Cr Tim Drylie, said Joanne has changed the lives of many people, particularly in her role as Principal of Bullarto Primary School and her support for students who are on the fringes of mainstream learning.“Jo has also empowered parents of children with additional needs to have a voice, to be proud, and to advocate for their child”.

International Women’s Day Event attendees heard from Aunty Marilyne Nicholls, Chief Executive Officer of the Otis Foundation Claire Culley, Daylesford College students Alice Dennis, Lucy Muscat and a performance by Lily Austin.

11. A local currency for Castlemaine? 

What: Currency Project Launch- Money Money Money

When: Saturday May 7th, 2-5pm

Where: Lot 19, Langslow Street, Castlemaine,

This is the question posed by the Currency Project, an artist-led initiative that has fired $10,000 worth of clay ‘silver wattle’ coins and is releasing them into the local economy on 7 May. Come to the launch party “Money, Money, Money” at Lot19 at 2-5pm on Sat 7 May for your first chance to exchange dollars for wattles and join in the experiment. Full details available at www.carbonarts.org and the flyer with details on the associated exhibition and events can be downloaded here.
Here’s some associated exhibition events:
Saturday May 7, EXHIBITION OPENING PARTY– 2.00pm—5.00pm
Thursday May 12, PANEL DISCUSSION, Should we have a local currency for real? 6.30pm—9.00pm
For more information: https://fb.me/e/4xsCYJSlO

12. Election season events including Meet the Candidates

This Sunday 1st May 7pm at Northern Arts Hotel head along to Film screening & conversation with Scott Ludlam presented by Castlemaine Institute, Castlemaine Commons and The Coolroom at The Northern Arts Hotel. There will be a film screening followed by conversation with Scott in an intimate setting. Please RSVP on the Facebook page to help with preparation.

On Saturday May 7th 2pm at Lot19 – MONEY MONEY MONEY – Castlemaine Currency Project Launch Party & Exhibition Opening. The Castlemaine Currency Project is both a visual art and social experiment which seeks to advance a conversation around the concepts of money, economic exchange and seeks to build local resilience from a turbulent, uncertain global economic environment.

Last but not least, please save the date for our upcoming Meet The Candidates on Wednesday 11th May, 7pm at The Taproom! All candidates for the Bendigo Electorate have been invited. More details will be released next week but for now please pop it in your diary. If you have a topic or question you would like covered please email: info@democracy4dinner.org or daviesbryn@yahoo.com.au.

Website is: www.democracy4dinner.org or Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/DemocracyforDinner/

13. Hepburn Food Hub Plans

Plans are afoot to create a physical food hub in the Central Highlands which aims to offer producers much needed facilities for processing and distribution, and a collectively managed resource to improve locals’ access to local food. The social affordances of a space to meet, network, and form ongoing relationships that foster collaborations and mentoring opportunities for new entrants and emerging young farmers cannot be underestimated. A food hub would improve food security and food sovereignty for everyone in our region.

The Hepburn Food Hub could be housed in an existing building or a simple steel shed, and include: space for the Hepburn Wholefoods Collective; infrastructure for produce box aggregation, distribution, and dry and refrigerated storage; a commercial kitchen and licensed boning room for value adding; space for farmer and community meetings and collaborations; a community garden and food forest; and the Repair Café.

A steering committee has been formed to take the next steps. Objectives of the Steering Committee include: determining a site, developing governance structure and business model, liaising with local producers and other community members, and facilitating next operational steps to realise a physical food hub. 

Steering Committee will be representative of sectors of the community with a material, social, and/or cultural interest in a food hub, including but not limited to:

  • Small-scale farmers (ideally from across all produce: livestock, dairy, eggs, fruit, veg)
  • Small-scale food manufacturers
  • Hepburn Wholefoods Collective
  • Food relief organisations
  • Community meals organisations

Also desirable are members with experience in governance, circular economies, and community development.

Email Tammi Jonas (jonaifarms@gmail.com) or Mara Ripani (mara@villagedreaming.com.au) with your suggestions.

14. Doughnut Economics- free webinar

What: Free on-line webinar

When: Monday 16 May @ 6pm to 7.30pm AEST

Hosted by Greenprints, and supported by NENA (New Economy Network of Australia )

Book your free ticket here!


15. Growing Abundance- harvesting and fruit fly

Growing Abundance is harvesting. There’s one more apple harvest coming up at the end of May, which will mark the end of the apple season in our region!

After apples finish, the main crop we will be focusing on is olives. There are plenty of olive trees in the Mt Alexander Shire that drop to the floor every year. Hopefully this year we can catch more of them before they fall and put them to good use! If you or anyone you know owns any olive trees and need help harvesting and distributing, or if you’d like to help with the harvesting, please get in touch at hello@growingabundance.org.au.

What about fruit fly?

Growing Abundance has spent a lot of time focusing on the prevention and extermination of fruit fly in the gardens and orchards that we work in. As the Queensland Fruit Fly is new to us in Central Victoria, it is natural that we are all feeling confused about what to do. There are simple things we can do to help stop the spread of this contaminating species: netting our fruit trees, early picking, and proper disposal of fallen or rotten fruit. Check out these links below from the Orchard Keepers website for more info. It is all of our responsibilities now!

16. Walking together towards Makarrata

Makarrata = ‘coming together after a struggle, facing the facts of wrongs and living again in peace.’

Dja Dja Wurrung and the Mindi (with thanks to Solway Nutting)

In the spiritual and religious belief system of the Dja Dja Wurrung people, two ancestral beings are the totems for the two moieties that determine the pattern for social relationships and marriage partners. The all-powerful Creator Spirit Bunjil takes the form of an eagle, and Waa the trickster that of a crow. Snake-like Mindi also figures in their Dreaming but is not like the Rainbow Serpent in some other Aboriginal nations. This law and lore enforcer, many miles long, punishes lore breakers, and hisses poisonous dust on people bringing plagues like smallpox, and death.

In January 1840, men of two Dja Dja Wurrung clans were preparing for an important ceremony, probably involving the stone arrangement which represented Mindi. The charismatic clan leader of Liarga balug, Munangabum was highly respected for his effort in shaping his people’s response to European settlement. A squatter Henry Monro, hoping to extend his Campaspe Plains run near present-day Heathcote, had sent some assigned convicts with a flock of sheep to two remote huts near Mount Alexander. These men felt menaced by the Dja Dja Wurrung warriors setting up for the ceremony, and returned to Monro with a concocted story of stolen sheep. Monro vowed retribution, and set off next morning with a posse to hunt down the ‘sheep stealers’. Assistant Protector Edward Stone Parker was staying at the station, and fearing slaughter was about to happen, pursued the armed men. When they opened fire on the Dja Dja Wurrung, Parker jumped down from his horse and intervened to save the leading man’s life. One young man was killed, and at least one more as Monro’s rampage moved further afield.

The man Parker saved was Munangabum, who was then taken into custody in Melbourne charged with sheep stealing. The Dja Dja Wurrung leaders pleaded for his release. They feared he had the power to move Bunjil the Creator Spirit to release Mindi the snake to bring about a plague on Blacks and Whites alike. Assistant Protector Parker persisted on their behalf until he managed to have Munangabum released from gaol. A year later, Parker established the Loddon Aboriginal Protectorate Station at Franklinford, north of Lalgambook (Mt Franklin), to oversee the welfare of the people living in the area. Buildings including a school were constructed; some Dja Dja Wurrung worked on the farm but few became literate – or Christian. When the station was closed at the end of 1848, Parker continued to provide a safe home for the Dja Dja Wurrung, operating it as a pastoral run.

Today, descendants of the families that lived on the Franklinford protectorate live and work in Castlemaine and Bendigo districts.

Nalderun Education Aboriginal Corporation is a service that supports the Aboriginal Community, led by Aboriginal people. Many people and organisations in the Mount Alexander Shire contribute to Nalderun; the name is a Dja Dja Wurrung word meaning “all together”. More information can be found at www.nalderun.net.au

17. Sustainable Hepburn strategy

During the Hepburn Together process in 2020/21, Council heard loud and clear from our local community that environmental sustainability is the number one priority, closely followed by liveability. We love where we live and we wish to protect what we love, both now and for future generations.

Sustainable Hepburn, developed with a committed Community Reference Group, will be Council’s updated commitment to further reduce our corporate greenhouse gas emissions, protect and enhance our local biodiversity, transition to a low waste Shire and become more resilient to the impacts of climate change. The draft Sustainable Hepburn strategy will be circulated to the community for comment in early May and presented to Councillors for endorsement at the July 2022 Ordinary meeting.

18. Castlemaine Seed library and Hepburn Seed Savers

Castlemaine Seed Library has been awarded a Mount Alexander Shire community grant to add some native seeds to those we offer on the seed board. This project has been initiated and will be led by volunteer member Jo Matthews, with local advisors and collaborators. Growing native seeds will create healthy habitats within our gardens, and draw awareness to local plant species, with the aim to connect people to their local environment. Growing plants from the local area will future-proof gardens that will feel the effects of more weather extremes as a consequence of climate change.

Castlemaine Seed library meet on the first Thursday of every month and welcome new volunteers! The next working bee is on Thursday May 5th, at 11am at Library . All are welcome, come and join our friendly group!

Hepburn Seed Savers meets at Glenlyon Hall on the third Sunday of the month in the afternoon .

19. Bendigo Writers Festival


What: An annual weekend festival for readers and writers

When: May 12 to 15

Where: Assorted venues around Bendigo

For more information and program: https://www.bendigowritersfestival.com.au/


20. Central Vic Climate Action

A banner is hung over the Calder Freeway around Kyneton by Central Vic Climate Action.

According to the Castlemaine Mail a contingent of about 100 Castlemaine students were amongst the estimated 2000 that participated in the March school strike for climate in Melbourne with the movement keen to put climate front and centre in the lead up to the federal election.  Castlemaine’s Niamh O’connor Smith says : “We want a just transition to renewables and we want community-led solutions”.

Castlemaine climate activist Trevor Scott was a marshall at the school strike rally: “Students and adult supporters left school and work to continue to demand our government take climate action seriously! From small towns to big cities, across 32 strikes, both online and offline, thousands of people across Australia gathered on the streets, in parks and amongst flood wreckage. Whilst the Prime Minister responded to our strikes saying that his Government had ‘taken the challenge of climate change seriously’ and urged us to ‘go back to school….where the learning gets done’1, we sent him another clear message. If you were taking climate change seriously, you would be stopping investment in all fossil fuels, fulfilling- not denying- your duty of care, funding First Nations led solutions and investing in a just transition plan. So, until you do this Prime Minister, we will continue to strike for our futures.”

21. Western Victoria Transmission Network Project

Here is a map of the proposed route for the transmission network project.

Hepburn and other affected councils have been advised that there’s an extension of time for the Environmental Effects Statement.

AusNet has advised that the expected release date of its Environmental Effects Statement (EES) would be pushed out from mid-2022 to late-2022 in this statement.

Hepburn Shire Council is strongly opposed to the proposed route and 24ha terminal station in the Shire, which is planned to be located on some of the highest value agriculture land in the country.

“The good news for our community overall is that gives people more time to work out how they will respond to the EES once it is released for community feedback, however the uncertainty of the project and route will now be extended” said Hepburn’s Mayor, Cr Tim Drylie. “We are extremely disappointed at the historical lack of transparency and poor community consultation with this project. We hope an extension of time for the release of an EES means AusNet will use this time to listen to the community, consult properly with affected landholders and make significant changes to this project, including changing the route or placing the transmission lines underground.”

“While Council is highly supportive of renewable energy, we are strongly opposed to the above ground transmission lines and the route proposed. As it stands, the project will have a significant impact on valuable agricultural land, significant landscapes and tourism, and we are already seeing the toll it is taking on the health and wellbeing of local residents,” Cr Drylie said.

Hepburn Shire has resources on their website to help people to write a submission in response to the EES once it is released. Visit Participate Hepburn to learn more.

22. Bird of the month- April: Crested Shrike-tit

Bird of the month is a partnership between Connecting Country and BirdLife Castlemaine District. Each month we’re taking a close look at one special local bird species. We’re excited to join forces to deliver you a different bird each month, seasonally adjusted, and welcome suggestions from the community. 

Crested Shrike-tit (Falcunculus frontatus)

This month’s bird might be small in size, but packs a punch in character and arguably wins the prize for craziest hair do. The Crested Shrike-tit is boldly coloured, with a bright yellow chest and striking black and white head … and as it’s name suggests, a black mohawk-like crest. Often it’s heard before seen because of the ripping noise as it tears bark off trees using its powerful bill, searching for invertebrates, favouring spiders and beetles. Interestingly they will also eat fruit and other vegetable matter on occasion. They have even been recorded using a stick to procure hard-to-get-at insects, which is notable as using tools is normally associated with intelligence. For a pleasant change, it’s also a bird that’s easy enough to see as they can be bold and quite curious, and of course strikingly-coloured. Also welcome to the bird watcher is their distinctive high-pitched whistle, another solid identification indicator. However, like so many Australian birds, they are excellent mimics.

Damian observes Crested Shrike-tits love a bathe in puddles, and I often see them at the birdbath in my garden. Typical of my place, they can be found in eucalyptus forests with a preference for gullies, and in dryer forests, along water courses. Their distribution covers eastern and southern Australia, as well as south-west Western Australia, but rarely into tropical forests.

Usually Crested Shrike-tits are found either singularly or in pairs, though on occasion I’ve observed what I think is a family group in mid-summer. They build a deep cone-shaped nest, often high up in a vertical tree fork. Made of dry grass, moss, lichen and bark, the nest is held together with spiders web, and will hold 2-3 eggs. (Poor spiders get eaten by Crested-Shrike-tits, then their webs are torn down by them too!) Both parents brood and feed the chicks, but in some instances there will be a one or more helpers at the nest who feed young. The home range of the Crested Shrike-tit is quite large, but mobility is generally restricted to autumn, and otherwise they are quite sedentary.

Damian Kelly, who is a master at lurking quietly and unobtrusively in the bush, writes of his wonderful observations of this stunning bird: ‘They are an intriguing bird, as they can be quite inquisitive and will often come up close and personal. One time at Railway Dam I returned from a walk to find a bird clinging to the radio antenna of my car. It didn’t fly off but just observed me as I took some nice photos. A few days later at the same spot I was sitting in the car with the door wide open when a shrike-tit alighted on the edge of the door, again observing me closely. I cannot be sure if this was the same bird. I could hear another individual calling in the trees nearby but that one never came close.’

I have to admit to getting a thrill every time I see a Crested Shrike-tit, as they cock their head vigorously, showing off their crazy crest to full advantage.

Words by Jane Rusden and images by Damian Kelly.

With thanks to Connecting Country‘s posts and website: https://connectingcountry.org.au/

23.  Sydney Writers Festival live-streamed in Castlemaine via Goldfields library

These are free events at the Phee Broadway , next to the library in Castlemaine. Booking is required.

The Sydney Writers Festival will be live streamed in Castlemaine hosted by Goldfields library in May 2022. Some of the world’s most celebrated and revered authors, writers and thinkers will be live streamed on the stage in the Phee Broadway Theatre – and you’re invited! This is an amazing opportunity to listen to and participate in some truly fantastic events, without having to leave town – and of course, it’s all for free.

Below is some of what’s on offer. For more information on all of these writers, speakers and events:  https://goldfieldslibraries.com/castlemaine-events/

Art Spiegelman – in conversation with Morris Gleitzman-  Friday 20 May, 10-11am


Michelle de Kretser and Christos Tsiolkas- Friday 20 May, 12-1pm


Steve Toltz: Here Goes Nothing- Friday 20 May, 2-3pm


But Not Forgotten: Iconic writers remembered – with Sarah Krasnostein, Jackie Huggins, Melissa Lucashenko and Susan Wyndham- 

Friday 20 May, 4-5pm


Barrie Cassidy and Friends: Election 2022 – with Fran Kelly, Niki Savva and Amy Remeikis- Saturday 21 May, 10-11am


Derecka Purnell: Becoming Abolishionists – in conversation with Melissa Lucashenko- Saturday 21 May, 12-1pm


Maxine Beneba Clarke and Omar Musa in conversation with Evelyn Araluen- Saturday 21 May, 2-3pm


24. Gold mining and Lock the Gate signs

The Alliance for Responsible Mining Regulation- ARMR –  is a group of individuals communities around Victoria concerned to stop gold mining and to protect and rehabilitate our local environments. Given how much mining has and continues to occur in our region, as well as the number of exploration licenses, ARMR has good number of people living in central Victoria.  The group is supported by Cam Walker, Campaigns Coordinator at Friends of the Earth. If you are interested in joining this group email John Lewis: johnlewis@arcimedia.com.au 

Lock the Gate signs are in the process of being printed and are available to locals who wish to keep big mining companies out. Contact Nikki via the Localising Leanganook contact email  if you wish to purchase a sign to put on your gate, or John Lewis- email above. Signs will cost somewhere between $5 to $6.

25. Repair Cafes – Castlemaine and Daylesford

The next Castlemaine Repair Cafe will be Sunday May 29th, 10am to 1pm at Castlemaine Community House, 30 Lyttleton St

For further info contact Chris on 54705508 or: https://www.facebook.com/groups/castlemainerepaircafe

The next Daylesford Repair Cafe will be on Sunday May 15th, 1-4pm at Victoria Park Pavillion, Ballan Rd.

For more information go to the facebook page https://www.facebook.com/daylesfordrepaircafe/ or contact Nikki on 0432 232 073 or email nikki.marshall@mmnet.com.au

Here’s an article about Austria and repair-  https://reasonstobecheerful.world/in-austria-the-government-pays-to-repair-your-stuff/

26. Olive season and curing

It’s olive picking and curing season. Here’s a method for curing olives in brine from Milkwood.

27. Castlemaine Documentary Film Festival

The 2022 Castlemaine Documentary Festival will curate and present a collection of creative, authentic, and local digital story-telling shorts in the form of LOCALS a family friendly and jovial event. LOCALS will take place on the opening night of our 2022 festival program at the Theatre Royal, Friday 1st of July from 6pm.

Local legend, musician, and auteur Lifon Henderson will present and screen his early lockdown self-referential digital creations, while leading the call-out for others to contribute their digital recordings in the same way. Once collected we will curate the submissions into an evening of local voices, emotions and visions that have surged through our community as we’ve experienced the permeating impact of COVID-19.


This is our chance to see your creation on the big screen at the iconic Theatre Royal. We are calling for the residents of Castlemaine and surrounds to boldly (or meekly) submit their creations. Submissions close Wednesday 8th June.

The aim of this initiative is to elevate local voices, and to inspire future documentary filmmakers to pursue their ideas with the knowledge that their local doco festival, and partners, will support them in their endeavours. You can email him via locals@cdocff.com.au with any questions.


Our 2022 program will be launched Friday 13th May at Boomtown, Castlemaine with Ilissos Greek. BBQ, music, and bottles available.
Book your table with Tim via 0417 237 155. boomtownwine.com.au

Our pre-program announcement early bird BLIND COURAGE tix are available now, until Friday 13th of May: www.cdocff.com.au

28. Mt Alexander Shire Budget- your feedback

Proposed budget 2022/2023

Each year Mt Alexander shire Council prepares a budget and gives the community the opportunity to review the proposed budget and make a submission. Key dates:

  • 6.30pm, Tuesday 19 April: Ordinary Meeting of Council to consider proposed budget
  • 12.00pm, Wednesday 20 April: Proposed budget goes on public exhibition
  • 5.00pm, Wednesday 11 May: Closing date for public submissions
  • 5.30pm, Wednesday 24 May: Special Meeting of Council to hear budget submissions
  • 6.30pm, Tuesday 21 June: Adopt 2022/2023 Budget at an Ordinary Meeting of Council.

Look out for the proposed budget at www.shape.mountalexander.vic.gov.au

29. Maldon Bank Corner comes alive with music

Mt Alexander Shire is partnering with the Maldon Folk Festival to present a series of free gigs on Sundays from 12.00pm to 2.00pm at Maldon’s Old Bank Corner. Maldon’s Old Bank Corner was transformed into a public park last year as part of Making Space – a Council project to revitalise outdoor spaces in the midst of COVID-19 restrictions.

Sarah and Silas: Sunday 1 May, 12pm – 2pm

Sarah and Silas play Country/Folk music with a dash of world flavour, sprinkled with a sweet romantic tone. Their love, skill and connection shine through exciting duelling fiddles and sweet vocal harmonies which dance to the strum of a uke and the beat of a drum. Their catchy original songs & tunes will warm the hearts of all. 2020 has been a big year, but this duo decided to keep the spirits of Australians high by writing catchy, uplifting songs defining the times. As seen in The Bushwackers, The Royal High Jinx and Alanna and Alicia.

Hobo Playhouse Presents: Street Theatre in Maldon, Sunday 1 May 2022,  4PM and 5PM

Hobo Playhouse presents Prince Charming, Rat Fink by Graham Pitts and The Fairy Trial by Robert Scott. Two short plays featuring three fairy tale divas, a two-timing Prince Charming and a Wee Willie Winkie who has been caught with his pants down.

Suitable for adults and children aged 6+.

Rich Davies & The Low Road: Sunday 15th May, 12pm – 2pm

Rich Davies & The Low Road are garnering a reputation as one of Australia’s most formidable live acts, showcasing ‘a foot stomping, contemporary folk attack’ (Mick Thomas). With a poet’s heart and a rocker’s soul, Davies’ compositions pay loving tribute to the great folk forms of old. Drawing from the Appalachian mountains to his Celtic heartland, traditional narrative driven song-craft is seamlessly interwoven with the modern, into a rousing symphony of ‘glorious, visceral folk rock’. Golden Guitar Nominee Davies’ fist pumping anthems and rousing ballads invoke ‘The Pogues meets Springsteen’, with 5-part gang-vocals, joined by his band of veteran Melbourne musicians including Stirling Gill-Chamber on fiddle (The Bon Scotts), Kat Ogilvie on accordion (The Goodship), Craig Kelly on double bass (Tracy McNeil & the Goodlife), and Bek Chapman on washboard & found percussion (The Nymphs, Damien Cowell’s Disco Machine). The Low Road released their debut album ‘Ghosts’ to critical acclaim, converting audiences show by show into dedicated fans. The band traversed the Australian highways on the back of the success of Ghosts, entertaining audiences as ‘a guaranteed festival favourite with an enormous range’ (James Rigby, Newstead Live Music Festival). Rich Davies & The Low Road are currently working on their sophomore album with producer Myles Mumford (Kim Salmon, XANI) due for release in 2021.

30. Self-Reflection Conversations

about white privilege, structural racism, decolonising and being an effective ally

To become good allies in the #BlackLivesMatter movement, to be a part of making real change in this space, the first thing white people need to do is look hard at ourselves and our culture. Listening to and learning from First Nations peoples and people of color is important, but our culture is the one that needs to change. To do this we need to start with reflecting on our understanding and attitude surrounding significant events impacting on Aboriginal people and our own beliefs and values – white privilege, structural racism and cultural bias. It is only when we have some knowledge and critique of our own culture and its systemic racism, and our own ingrained and often unacknowledged white privilege that we can go with open hearts and minds to find ways to work with and support Indigenous people and other people of color.

(Photo from:  https://newsroom.unsw.edu.au/– Teela Reid, activist, lawyer, and proud Wiradjuri and Wailwan woman from Gilgandra)

The Castlemaine SRC Community of Practice is offering another series of Self-Reflective Conversations for people to start/continue this difficult work. 

The next series will start on April 20 from 5.30 to 8pm then continue for a further three weeks – April 27 and May 4 and 11. The group can hold up to 15 participants.

The cost for participation is on a self-selecting sliding scale. Facilitators will be paid, then any other income will be used to Pay the Rent (25%), and the balance set aside to provide learning and training opportunities in anti-racism work and/or for First Nations people, as they become available or are requested. The highest price points also allow subsidisation for the lowest. The price points are A$550 – B$350 – C$150 – D$50

For more information email reflectionconversations@gmail.com

31. MaLets

Mt Alexander LETS  has decided not to pursue a commercial stall @ the Castlemaine Farmers Market, but to continue with the alternative established trading weekly on Saturdays only @ Duke Street,  Castlemaine, from 8:30am to 12:30pm. We have free range produce, hand grown seasonal fruit & vegetables, eggs, organic & biodynamic grown dry goods, jams, marmalade, pickles, sauces, relish, cordial, home baked goodies, handcrafts, soaps, cleaning products, plant, seeds & most of all a supportive, community minded group of members.

Maldon Community Market: 9am to 1:30pm @ Bill Woodfull Reserve, Francis Street, Maldon.
This market can carry home grown produce, preserves, soaps & plants only, as per Maldon Community Market Committee.

32. Greater Bendigo towards net zero emissions

The City of Greater Bendigo is working with all sectors of our community to achieve zero net emissions by 2030. Join us for a year of climate action and education to:

  • Help businesses, homes and schools to act on climate, plan for zero emissions and get involved in community projects.
  • Run six community climate forums that bring us together to understand the zero emissions challenge and support and create city scale projects.
  • Pull together regional stakeholders to identify and implement the top ten zero emissions projects for the region.

Three questions for everyone to ask:

  • What can I do?
  • What can we do together?
  • What can we advocate for together?

Get in touch to register interest, discuss a climate project and to find out more:

Ian McBurney – Coordinator, Greater Bendigo Climate Collaboration. Email i.mcburney@bendigo.vic.gov.au or mobile 0408 512 234

33. Hepburn Shire hits 42% renewables

A recent energy audit confirmed that 42% of electricity used in Hepburn Shire is from renewable power sources, outperforming Victoria’s state average of 29%. This news comes from Hepburn Z-NET, a collaborative partnership of which Council is a member. Z-NET has the goal for the Shire to move towards zero-net energy by 2025 and zero-net emissions by 2030.

“Our community has taken real leadership when it comes to energy and emissions and these latest figures demonstrate how local action and ambition can have a big impact.” said  Z-NET  roundtable member Barbara Curzon-Siggers.


34. Limits to Growth- A Conversation- Holgrem and Heinberg

What and Who: Join Daylesford’s permaculture co-originator, David Holmgren, in conversation with Richard Heinberg, Senior Fellow at the Post Carbon Institute.

Presented by:  Transition US.

When: Wednesday May 11th, 9am to 10am, AEST

A free event- Register: www.holmgren.com.au/events

Only rarely does a book truly change the world. In the nineteenth century, such a book was Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. For the twentieth century, it was The Limits to Growth. Not only did this best-selling 1972 publication help spur the environmental movement, but it showed that the underlying dynamics of the modern industrial world are unsustainable on the timescale of a couple of human lifetimes.

50 years on, is the Limits to Growth report still relevant? Listen to the conversation between two dynamic environmental thinkers, Richard Heinberg and David Holmgren. The event will be moderated by Jess Alvarez Parfrey, Executive Director of Transition US, who is presenting the event.

35. Food for Thought

34.1 An interview with Jean Renouf, Founder of Resilient Byron about community operations in disasters.

35.2 NET ZERO BY 2050 IS NOT ENOUGH – a letter to the Castlemaine Mail from Trevor Scott

Christiana Figueres, a leading climate diplomat and advisor to the UN on climate, said recently “While the rest of the world stood up at COP26, Australia stood back. As a result, Australia has increasingly been pushed to the margins and is seen as a blocker, a country willing to expand polluting industries at the expense of the planet”. It makes me feel ashamed that this country is seen as a pariah, when it comes to climate action. In an effort to address this, an ad in last week’s Castlemaine Mail, states that one of the major parties in this federal election, will invest in improving the energy grid, boost renewables, cut taxes on electric vehicles and connect 100,000 homes to community solar batteries. The party says it has a plan to get to net zero (carbon) emissions by 2050; but in all honesty folks,  this is nowhere near enough. We need to get to net zero by 2030. What I want to know is where is the plan to move the subsidy on fossil fuels to renewables, where is the plan for a just transition from fossil fuels to renewables and, more simply, where is the plan to stop the burning of coal, oil and gas, because we are in a climate emergency, and we absolutely need to do this by the end of this decade.

Trevor Scott,  Castlemaine

35.3. The Spirit of Water by Vicki Edwards

Vicki Edwards of Castlemaine, Victoria, is passionate about the natural world, its awe and  beauty. She has written a series of articles exploring the true nature of what we share with Earth Our Mother. The first article was an ode to  to Tree and Nature entitled I’d like to speak of the tree.

The second article is a reflection on the spirit of water. Read more here

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