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January/February 2018 e-news

It’s time to call the housing crisis what it really is:

the largest transfer of wealth in living memory.”

Laurie Macfarlane

This e-news includes information about:

  • our next community conversation– political economy of housing and real estate;
  • a talk on radical mycology with internationally renowned Peter McCoy in Daylesford;
  • an upcoming conversation on democracy, March 21st;
  • a film clip on community participation in transition to Zero-net energy across Europe, Scandinavia and the UK
  • Castlemaine Rites of Passage for boys and men
  • Sustainable Living Festival throughout February
  • Democracy4Dinner
  • Castlemaine Repair Cafe
  • Mount Alexander Ecohousing Group meeting

Our next community conversation:

Political economy of housing and real estate

Our next community conversation is the first in a series focused on affordable, ecological and socially-just housing. Warwick Smith will lead a discussion about the political economy of housing and real estate in Australia and discuss the main factors driving up prices. This will include a discussion of the distributional impacts of government policy. He will finish by briefly outlining some things we can do to improve housing affordability and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of current approaches (such as first home buyers grants and concession).

When: 5.00pm, Sunday February 4th, 2018

Where: Ray Bradfield Room, b/w IGA carpark and Victory Park, Castlemaine

Local Castlemaine resident, Warwick Smith, is Senior Economist at progressive public policy think tank Per Capita and an honorary fellow at the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne. He is the author of mainstream press articles on housing policy and economics in Australia, including at The Conversation, The Guardian, and the ABC.

Come along and join in the conversation. Share a simple meal afterwards and continue the conversation in an informal way.

Some more reading related to this topic by Laurie Macfarlane

Radical Mycology with Peter McCoy

Hepburn Relocalisation Network is hosting this event at 7.00pm on Thursday February 1st, 2018 at Daylesford Town Hall. Peter’s talk will be followed by a shared supper -bring a plate of local food . All HRN events are waste free so no plastic please.

Upcoming conversation on democracy

When: 7.30, Wednesday March 21st

Where: Phee Broadway, Mechanics Lane, Castlemaine, adjacent to library 

Localising Leanganook, in collaboration with Democracy4Dinner, are hosting a conversation on democracy. The conversation will focus around two key questions:

  • What does a successful democracy look like?
  • And how do we get there?

In conversation will be:

Richard Walsh, author of Reboot: A democracy makeover to empower Australia’s voters;  

Cam Walker, local Castlemaine resident and Campaigns co-ordinator with Friends of the Earth; and

Genevieve (Gen) Barlow,  communications and engagement director with Renewable Newstead, a group working on a commercially viable model for switching Newstead’s stationary energy supply to grid-connected, locally generated, renewable energy.

Put the date aside and our March e-news will have more information.

Film clip- community transition to zero net energy with Taryn Lane

Our November 2017 community conversation with Taryn Lane was filmed.

If you missed the session, check out the Conversation with Taryn

Taryn inspired us with stories, from her Churchill Fellowship research, of ‘lighthouse’ communities like Samso Island in Denmark, 100%  renewable in 2008, and the village community of Saerbeck in Germany, now 350% renewable.

Biomass projects have been significant in the transition, generating  heat and electricity and this has been an opportunity missed in Australia. Taryn outlined two major drivers towards zero net energy-  the road map (including mapping potentials, developing strategies, concrete actions, having political and community support) and leadership, including political leadership willing to set and adhere to ambitious targets.


In a snapshot of learnings, Taryn emphasised the following:

  • The role of setting targets and having a localised community blueprint;
  • The role of lighthouse communities as well as regional approaches;
  • The role that biomass and bioenergy plays in the European energy transition;
  • Communities can take back the power and transition older commercial generators into community assets;
  • How technology is changing the game in regards to community grids and local load consumption;
  • The social risk of high renewable penetration if community benefits aren’t fundamental to each project;
  • Community groups or councils can lead, but the fastest transitions occur when there is a complimentary partnership.
  • Read Taryn’s full report about Zero-Net Energy Villages


Castlemaine Rites of Passage for boys and men

This is a local group committed to running a community based Rite of Passage here in Castlemaine. We believe it is important to mark the transition of our children’s journey from boyhood into manhood.

We are planning a camp in April this year. If you want to find out more, please come to our information night.
Men, women and teenage boys welcome. Supper provided.

When: 7.00pm, Wednesday 28th February, 2018

Where: TBA

Contact: Stewart Carter: 5473 4105 or John Terry: 0432 593 514


The next Democracy4Dinner event will focus on: Digital inclusion – understanding, measuring, and closing the digital divide

Cafe re-PUBLIC (back room), 26 Templeton St Castlemaine
When: Wednesday, 14 February 2018 from 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm

About: Join Chris Wilson and Adam Meehan for our first event of 2018, exploring digital inclusion, what it means for our local community, and implications for our democracy now and into the future.

Sustainable Living Festival

Check out the month long program from 1st to 28th February 2018. A huge array of workshops, films, markets, demonstrations and talks including Daylesford’s David Holmgren who will speak on Transforming the Suburbs and launch his new book (Sunday February 11th, 3.00pm at Birrarung Marr, alongside the Yarra river in Melbourne) and Castlemaine’s Repair Cafe (see below). Many events are free of charge or low cost.

For more info and program go to http://slf.org.au/

CastlemaineRepair cafe

February’s repair cafe is part of Melbourne’s Sustainable Living Festival

When: Sunday 10.30am to 4.00pm, Sunday February 25th, 2018

Where: Ray Bradfield Room, Castlemaine

Bring along broken household goods and learn to repair them. Electrical repairs are observed for safety reasons but with other types of repairs we encourage people to have a go. Sewing, darning, electrical, mechanical, bicycle.

Have a cuppa while you wait or after the repair.

Boomerang bags will continue from 1.00pm to 4.00pm. Anyone wanting to help sew bags is welcome.
There’ll be a one year anniversary celebration at the April cafe.

Mount Alexander Ecohousing Group meeting

The next Mount Alexander Ecohousing Group meeting will be at 7.30pm Monday 12 February at the Ray Bradfield Room. We now have a solid cohousing group of some 12 people who will report back on their recent development and we need to establish a committee for activities during 2018.
Contact: Anitra Nelson anitra.nelson@rmit.edu.au
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