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July 2022

Kintsugi serves as a powerful and dramatic metaphor of acceptance, resilience and renewal in a time of environmental, political and civil upheaval. Having kintsugi in our lives  encourages us to remember that we can get through more than we may feel we are able to, in what sometimes feels like a world of overwhelming sorrow and desperation. In the very ordinary act of repair we are offered the opportunity to experience an extraordinary sense of hope & beauty (p. 26)

( Kemske, Bonnie:  Kintsugi- the Poetic Mend,  Herbert Press, 2021)

The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places. (Ernest Hemingway p.9, Kintsugi)

Kintsugi‘s greatest strength: an intimate metaphoric narrative of loss and recovery, breakage and restoration, tragedy and the ability to overcome it (p.12, Kintsugi)

Welcome to the July edition of Localising Leanganook e-news. In this edition you will find information about:

  1. Home Energy Savings Workshop
  2. National Tree Day
  3. Gibbo– Local Talent Brings Suspenseful Play to life
  4. Repair Cafes including pulling things apart workshop
  5. Yandoit Cultural – winter stories and music at the old church in the bush
  6. Castlemaine Free University- Landcare and Wildlife Conservation
  7. Words in Winter– Daylesford, Hepburn and Yandoit
  8. Hepburn Matters and The Rex
  9. Northern Arts Hotel- Castlemaine
  10. Participating in Council meetings- Have your say
  11. Bird of the month: Blue-billed Duck
  12. Newstead Arts Hub- Exhibitions and Workshops
  13. Rehabilitation of Mining Land- Have Your Say
  14. Newstead Men’s Shed
  15. Concerns re commercial billboard outside Castlemaine pistol club
  16. Upcoming Textile Workshops- on line, Newstead and Castlemaine
  17. Look at Me podcast: Ants keeping an endangered butterfly alive
  18. Screening Planet Local – A Quiet Revolution
  19. Victoria’s Renewable Energy Zones- Public Consultation
  20. Wararack Initiatives- Networking Event
  21. Wombat Forest
  22. Towards Zero and Community Grant recipients  in Hepburn Shire
  23. Storm Recovery – Photography Competition
  24. Farming Program- Regenerative Agricultural Training
  25. Hepburn Wholefoods Collective
  26. Digging Deeper for Soil Health Project
  27. Tree Project- Growing Indigenous Seedlings
  28. Victorian Landcare Grants
  29. Hepburn Energy- Community Retail Offer
  30. Food for Thought- Stories of Resilience from the Northern Rivers ; Imagining a world Beyond Money- YENOMON

1. Home Energy Savings Workshop


When: Sunday July 31st, 2pm

Where: West End Hall, Morrissey Reserve, Corner of View and Woodman Streets, Castlemaine.

FREE 2-HOUR WORKSHOP presented by the West End Resilience Energy Group and guests.

PART I : Understanding your Energy Bill
• Where does my energy come from? Why does it matter?
• How to understand your bill and your consumption data.
• Choosing a retailer. What should I consider? Including the Victorian Government’s Power Saving Bonus Program.

PART II : Basic Intro to Home Energy Efficiency for Everybody
• Energy Efficiency and Energy Basics – Why would we want an efficient home?
• Appliances and Efficiency – Heating, cooling, hot water systems, and lighting.
• Building Shell Efficiency – Draughts, insulation, windows – practical tips and demonstrations.
We encourage participants to bring a recent power bill to practice interpreting.
There will be physical examples of draught proofing materials, insulation, external blinds, etc., and information about rebates for energy efficient appliances and upgrades.

Any questions / Further info: Email ilkajanewhite@gmail.com


2. National Tree Day

When: Sunday July 31st

Established in 1996 by Planet Ark, National Tree Day has grown into Australia’s largest community tree-planting and nature care event. The program is a call to action to get our hands dirty. ​​​Trees are natural carbon sequesters absorbing and capturing carbon from our atmosphere. The timber they produce is also an important, environmentally friendly building material because it stores carbon and is a renewable resource.

Local area forestry and tube stock is available from Frances Cincotta at Newstead Natives ( 5476 2691) and from Verna Baker at Basalt Rock Nursery (0401 159 506).


3. Gibbo– Local Talent Brings Suspenseful Play to life


When: Starting Friday July 29th and finishing Saturday August 20th.

Where: Casltrmaine, Bendigo, Kynetona and Melbourne- see details in poster

What: A powerful stage drama “Gibbo”, based on a true event and set in a farmhouse in rural Victoria, is now in rehearsal at Castlemaine’s Phee Broadway Theatre, and due to open there on July 29th, touring Bendigo’s Engine Room and Kyneton’s Bluestone Theatre over four weekends until 20th  August.

Based on a true event, Gibbo tackles the challenging subject of drug rape, and revolves around a likeable farming couple, whose world is tipped upside down when a woman walks into their home twenty four years after the crime, with only one demand to make of the man she believes is the offender.

Well known actors Kate Stones, Rebecca Barnett, and Stephen Mitchell are performing in this suspenseful 90 minute drama, written by award winning local playwright Sandy Fairthorne.

Bendigo’s CASA (Centre Against Sexual Assault) is supporting the play, and will be on hand for anyone needing advice or counselling post show.

For further enquiries or to book, visit https://www.suckerpunchtheatre.com/

Rated MA15+


4. Repair Cafes including pulling things apart workshop

Next Castlemaine Repair Cafe:  Sunday July 31st. 10am to 1pm at 30 Templeton St, Castlemaine.

Next Daylesford Repair Cafe: Sunday August 21st, 1-4pm at Victoria Park Pavillion, Ballan Road, Daylesford, including: Workshop on pulling things apart and putting them back together, with thanks to ‘Mr Fixit’- Julian Alaba

Next Ballarat Repair Cafe: Saturday July 30th, 1-4pm , at Barkly Square, 25 Barkly St, Ballarat east. The Ballarat Repair Cafe is also connected to the Ballarat Tool library.


5. Yandoit Cultural – Winter stories and music at the old church in the bush

Yandoit’s historical Uniting Church is now in community hands and is being run as a community arts and culture space, called Yandoit Cultural. The church was built by locals in 1875, using bricks from clay dug from the neighbouring dairy farm, which were then fired in a hand-made kiln. This church, nestled in the bush, is filled with history. It has excellent acoustics, perfect for musical concerts and spoken word. The raked floor makes for easy viewing and listening, and the stain-glass windows beautifully frame the surrounding eucalypts.

The Yandoit Clydesdale and Franklinford Community Planning Group have negotiated a lease arrangement with Castlemaine Uniting Church parish to keep this beautiful, historical building in community hands. This is an alternative, for the time being, to private sale, which has been the fate of so many historical churches in our local area.

What: Winter Solstice – Musings on a Common Theme from Uncommon Places

When: Sunday August 28 from 2pm – 4.30pm

Where:  Yandoit Cultural, Uniting Church Road (off High Street) Yandoit 3461

Entry by donation (cash only) with Tea/Coffee/Wine and Afternoon Tea provided

Join us for an afternoon of spoken word, song, history, performance, storytelling and visual art. Three groups. Many voices. Unexpected perspectives.

Presented by:

Yandoit Cultural – the old Uniting Church in the bush, run by the community as an arts and culture space;

Lab Kelpie – a new writing theatre company now based in Daylesford.; and

Roomers – a creative collective living and making in the City of Port Phillip, Melbourne

For more information: nikki.marshall@mmnet.com.au or https://www.facebook.com/yandoitcultural

What: Django Fretts Concert- Gypsy Jazz Quartet

When: Saturday  August 27th, 7pm

Where: Yandoit Cultural, Uniting Church Road (off High Street) Yandoit 3461

Entry by donation

The Django Fretts are a gypsy jazz quartet from Castlemaine. Formed in 2015, the Fretts have an extensive repertoire of tunes taken from the Django Reinhardt songbook as well as a few American jazz favourites. They have played extensively around the goldfields region, honing their up-tempo sound at markets, gigs, and festivals. A set from the Django Fretts will evoke the mood of 30s Paris with authentic gypsy jazz melodies and acoustic improvisations.

For more information: nikki.marshall@mmnet.com.au or https://www.facebook.com/yandoitcultural

6. Castlemaine Free University- Landcare and Wildlife Conservation

WHEN? 7pm–9pm, Monday 1 August 2022


Friends of the Box–Ironbark Forests (Mt Alexander Region) is a community organisation advocating sound ecological and Indigenous management practices to conserve vegetation and associated wildlife on private and public land. See their prolific publications — www.fobif.org.au/

Likewise Connecting Country is a community organisation educating, monitoring and actively restoring landscapes and habitat for local plants and animals across Mt Alexander, including through Landcare. Over 200 landholders and community groups have been restoring more than 10,000 hectares in the past 15 years — www.connectingcountry.org.au/

WHO?Newstead resident and ecologist Asha Bannon is a FoBIF committee member, was a Landcare Facilitator and is a volunteer with Connecting Country. She is particularly interested in wildlife conservation and community engagement. 

Guildford resident Hadley Cole recently joined Connecting Country as Landcare Facilitator for the Mt Alexander region having worked in various environmental management and conservation roles with government and non-government organisations. Inaugural member of Golden Point Landcare, Marie Jones has spent years on the Natural Resource Management Committee of the North Central Catchment Management Authority, and on both Connecting Country’s Management Committee and the FoBIF Committee since their inception.

WHERE? Northern Arts Hotel, 359 Barker Street, Castlemaine, 3450

FREE with drinks at bar and publications for purchase

7. Words in Winter– Daylesford, Hepburn and Yandoit

After a few challenging years with Covid lockdowns, the Words in Winter festival is back again for 2022, from Friday August 26th to Sunday August 29th. The program will be available soon via the WiW website: https://wordsinwinter.com/

This year Radius Gallery in Main street Hepburn Springs will host a number of events. There will also be events in Yandoit, Daylesford, Trentham, Newstead , Creswick and Maryborough.

Information about the Venie Holmgren Environmental Poetry Prize can be found at https://holmgren.com.au/ 

8. Hepburn Matters and The Rex

(Extracts from the Wombat Post 22/7/22 – https://thewombatpost.com.au/)

To a chorus of interjections from observers, Hepburn Shire Councillors voted this week to sell the Rex building in Vincent Street. As they were in November, Councillors were once again divided. Crs Henderson, Hewitt, Hood and Simpson supported the motion to sell and Crs Bray, Drylie and Halliday opposed the motion.

The Rex has been a long running sore for the Council and the community. Originally built as a theatre in the 1920s, the building has had a varied history in private ownership. Following a failed attempt to turn the building into a shopping arcade, Council bought the Rex in 2016 as the venue for a community hub to include a new library, customer service centre, public toilets and staff accommodation. Following lobbying from the local Daylesford Cinema, Council agreed to include a small auditorium in the community hub to give the cinema a home. The Cinema had, for a few years, rented space from the private owners of the Rex for a volunteer run cinema in the concrete extension under the carpark at the back of the Rex.

The Council bought the building and adjacent property for $6.3 million. Council then agreed to a highly unusual development plan budgeting less than a $1 million for a complex and difficult 2000+ square metre renovation, effectively acting as an owner builder to avoid requirements for a planning permit. Renovation costs for heritage buildings are typically two or more times the cost per square metre for a new building and not surprisingly, the budget soon blew out. It is unclear how the planning process and the budget were developed.

Aaron Van Egmond, then Council Chief Executive Officer, left Council under a cloud and acting CEO, Bruce Lucas, instituted an internal review and later an external review of the project by Crowe Horwath. A litany of mistakes and miscalculations uncovered by those reviews prompted the new CEO, Evan King, to contact the Local Government Inspectorate.It is still not clear how such a costly decision was made with so little planning. The results of the internal audit and the Crowe Horwath report have not been released pending the outcome of the Inspectorate report. After more than three years waiting for the Inspectorate report, Chief Inspector, Michael Stefanovic, still refuses to release it. The Inspectorate has serious questions to answer about its competence. In this case, it has utterly failed its responsibility to ensure transparency and accountability of local government.

Despite the rocky start, Council forged ahead with the project. Completion of the renovation was subsequently tendered out to Hutchinson Builders for an estimated renovation cost of $7.1 million. However, Hutchinsons and the Council parted ways in July 2021 without work commencing following a protracted dispute about costs and site conditions. Following the withdrawal of Hutchinsons, an updated cost estimate of $8.8 million was presented to Council which included rectification of the issues which formed the basis of the dispute with the contractor. The work was retendered in 2021 and the selected tender was  higher still at $9.7 million because of increasing labour and materials costs. The costs did not include costs to change the heating from gas to electricity or to repair the facade of the building. In addition to renovations, fit-out costs (floor coverings, new furniture and equipment) and the initial $6.3 million purchase cost led to an overall project cost in excess of $18 million.

In November last year, faced with massive cost blow outs and rapidly deteriorating Council finances partly resulting from storm events and COVID, Council determined, in a split vote, not to award a contract and to instruct the CEO to initiate a community consultation about selling the building and an alternate plan to provide the planned facilities. Following an agreement with the State Government, Council reallocated library grant funds of about $500,000 to a new library in Trentham instead. This retained the benefit of this grant without excluding future funding for a Daylesford Library.

The decision in November and the confirmation of that decision this week has divided the community. The Rethink the Rex Group (now Hepburn Matters) organised public meetings and voiced their opposition in local media. There were calls for the Minister for Local Government to sack the Council.Submissions to the Community Engagement ran about 2 to 1 against selling the Rex. Those who supported the sale recognised the need to develop a library, auditorium, activity spaces, staff accommodation and customer service facilities but saw the Rex as a costly and inappropriate building for these purposes.

This week’s Council meeting saw a number of passionate community presentations in favour of keeping the Rex in Council ownership arguing the need for arts spaces, the library, a community cinema and activities for young people. There is no doubt that there is strong community support for these facilities to be developed even amongst those who think the Rex is the wrong place to do so.

Hepburn Matters proposed that Council delay its decision and enter into a community co-design process to develop the Rex. A motion from Cr Bray along those lines was defeated at the Council meeting on Tuesday. Three Councillors, Crs Bray, Drylie and Halliday supported the motion to delay the sale and run a codesign process with the community. However, they provided little detail on what that would involve, whether it would lead to a different outcome or what it would cost.

In the end, concerns about the parlous state of Council finances, the unknown risks of renovating, further potential cost blow outs, Council inability to manage the project and the importance of maintaining basic services and assets, saw the majority of Councillors vote to continue with the sale of the Rex. Despite nearly a decade of poor planning, mismanagement and waste, no one has been held accountable for the Rex fiasco. There is no new library, auditorium, arts spaces, customer service centre or youth opportunities. There is no staffing plan and no plan to accommodate those staff. Many in the community have lost confidence in Council management and there is no apparent plan for moving forward.

9. Northern Arts Hotel- Castlemaine

Where: 359 Barkers St, CASTLEMAINE

Here’s some of what’s coming  up in the next month or so:

Secret Matinee Film | Sun 24 July
Open Mic at the Coolroom | 20 July
Northern Music Session | 21 July
Guildford Folk Club | 21 July
Wolf and Willie Postponed | 23 July
Celebrating Women In Music from July-September.
The Martini Set | 13 August
Elements 19-21 August
Poetry Launch: A Beginner’s Guide Mark Tren | 30 July
Castlemaine Free University | 1 August

OPEN MIC – Castlemaine Live Streamed from the Coolroom

Mount Alexander’s Community live-to-air music show.
Watch local live music from the warmth & comfort of your home.
Live Streamed from The Coolroom at The Northern Arts Hotel
You  can find us on the OPEN MIC – Castlemaine Facebook page or on your smartTV by going to Facebook streaming. Link to the show on Facebook – here

A cavalcade of talent.
SATURDAY 30 JULY  7.30PM  $15
FRIDAY 26 AUGUST 7.30PM  $15
Women in Music Collection: BOOKINGS |

10. Participating in Council meetings- Have your say

Council meetings provide a limited opportunity for community members to voice their concerns and suggestions to council in a public forum. There are strict rules around this meeting format called Governance Rules. Hepburn shire Council is reviewing these rules and will discuss at the August meeting.

Are there any changes you would like to make to the way council meetings are run or the way community are allowed to participate? Do you want to be able to read out your own question or have the Mayor read them out? Should objectors to planning matters be able to present to councillors prior to the council meeting to give more time for consideration? Should Electronic Petitions be permitted as a valid petition to council?

Complete the survey at the link below by 5pm 27 July.


11. Bird of the month: Blue-billed Duck

Posted on 20 July, 2022 by Connecting Country with thanks to Damian Kelly and Jane Rusden for words and images

Blue-billed Duck (Oxyura australis)

The handsome male is distinctive and easy to identify with its blue bill, glossy jet black head and chestnut body. The female is overall grey with pale barring, a bit like a Freckled Duck or lighter coloured Musk Dusk, and harder to identify for this reason. Blue-billed Ducks are smaller than Musk Ducks, but the two species are closely related genetically.

Due to their shyer nature, these ducks are usually seen at a distance. In the water, Blue-billed and Musk Ducks can appear similar as both swim with a low posture, although the Blue-billed Duck sits slightly lower in the water. Like the Musk Duck, Blue-bills feed mostly by diving to the bottom of the water to collect a variety of vegetation as well as insects, larvae, molluscs and crustaceans. They have been observed diving to depths up to three metres and they can remain submerged for up to 30 seconds. They also swim alongside banks where plants overhang, stripping seeds and other parts.

As they are specialised diving birds, they cannot walk very well on land, with legs set back on the body. They are rarely seen perching on logs, preferring open water and secluded bays. They are also known as stiff tails, because like the Musk Duck, they have a rigid tail to assist in diving. Preferred habitats are inland swamps with dense vegetation and they have a preference for Cumbungi  swamps. They range across eastern and southern Australia as well as the south-west of Western Australia.  During the breeding season they tend to remain hidden in dense vegetation, so are often hard to see. Open water is a favourite habit and they can congregate in groups, especially after the breeding season. Large groups have been recorded at times, the largest being about 8,000 birds, but generally smaller groups are most common.

Nesting is in dense vegetation. A domed nest is built with Typha leaves (Bull Rushes) and a cup of roughly woven structure of dead vegetation. Clutch size is generally 5-8 eggs. Unusually, they have a propensity for dump-nesting, where they will lay in the nests of other species, particularly the related Musk Duck. Ducklings are then raised by the other species. Yes, you read that correctly: Blue-billed Ducks are a brood parasitic duck! Young birds are precocial and able to feed themselves almost immediately after hatching. They have been recorded on their second day diving for up to ten seconds in search of food.

To find out more about Blue-billed Ducks – click here

12. Newstead Arts Hub- Exhibitions and Workshops

Here’s some upcoming exhibitions and workshops at the Newstead Arts Hub, 8A Tivey St, Newstead VIC 3462

Opening Hours – Gallery: Sat and Sun 10am-4pm. Note: Opening times vary depending on the program.

Check the What’s On page.

12.1 Plein air painting-  Bringing the outside in

Experience plein air painting through the works of  five artists- Mark Dober, Jenny Merkus,
Petra Kleinherne, Ulrike Radichevich and Julie Goodwin. The artists met during March at locations around Newstead – gum trees on the road out of town to the cemetery, at Picnic Point with its views of Cairn Curran, and at the Loddon River – to experience plein air painting in oils.

Reflecting on the experience, Mark Dober said: ‘Plein-air painting is, of course, not an easy thing to do. It takes time and a lot of practice to do well, and all the time, the artist is striving to find their own individual expression.’  

Join the artists to celebrate the results: opening event Sat 30 July, 10am-12pm.

 12.2 Relax into drawing workshop

When: Sunday 31 July, 2022, 10am-4.00pm

Cost: Workshop $110 (plus $20 materials fee paid at the workshop)

Start drawing at this hands-on workshop with Selina Wilson: a relaxed introduction to drawing for beginners. Designed for the absolute beginner who has always wanted to draw but does not know how to begin. Learn the basics in mark making, explore drawing mediums and practice hand-eye connection. You will leave with a finished drawing. All materials supplied.

Selina believes everyone can draw. ‘We have been making marks in the dirt and on cave walls for millennia, as a way to teach, spread knowledge and better understand our surroundings. The ability to draw is not unique to a few individuals but something we share, something that is collectively primal, and that is innate in each of us’.

12.3 Beautiful braiding workshop with Ilka White, Sun 14 August, 2022, 10am-4.00pm

Workshop $110 ($5 for notes & extra materials – paid at the workshop)

10 workshop places (max.)

COVID Safe plan in place: full refund if govt COVID requirements result in cancellation.

A great way to recycle old clothes and fabric! Learn to make fantastic rag rugs using an off-loom, spiral-woven braiding technique. We will share an inspiring range of colour and design possibilities in this workshop, as well as covering cloth and fibre types. Beautiful and unique floor coverings are possible using contrasting colours, or you can blend patterned rags for a ‘carpet of flowers’. This braiding technique works in a circular fashion, weaving in as we go so there is no stitching up required afterwards.

Most people’s work by the end of the class is about the size of a bread & butter plate. The completed size is up to you, and could range from a small mat to a room-sized rug. This workshop covers all the skills you need to finish off your rug at home.

Bring your own material to recycle and find out just what riches can come from rags!

Book here

12.4 Film Screening: Zorba

When: Sat 13 August 2022, 7.30pm
Enjoy a movie INSIDE the Hub on our new movie screen!
Warm up with a set of Irish fiddle tunes from multi-talented Sean Kenan.

Then it’s Zorba the Greek, a 1964 comedy-drama film written, produced, edited, and directed by Greek Cypriot filmmaker Michael Cacoyannis. It stars Anthony Quinn as the titular character, an earthy and boisterous peasant in Crete, and Alan Bates as the buttoned-up young intellectual he befriends.

It’s a feel-good favourite. A chance to share the joy with local friends and neighbours. Book now: adults $15, kids free.

13. Rehabilitation of Mining Land- Have Your Say

So much of central Victoria has been dug over for the mining of gold since the 1850’s and much of the region continues to be subject to exploration  licences as well as mining activities.

The Victorian Government is seeking our feedback around the approach to rehabilitation of land where our biggest mines operate.

Here’s the link: Draft Declared Mine Regulations 2022 and RIS for public consultation

The consultation closes on August 17th, 2022.

14. Newstead Men’s Shed

Did you know that there is a thriving Men’s Shed close by in Newstead? The Newstead Men’s Shed was established in 2010 to provide fellowship and health support to members, and the wider Men’s rural community. The Shed provides a place where men can meet to discuss health and allied matters in a social surrounding.

There are men in our community from all walks of life who benefit from the opportunity to have fellowship and the opportunity to share experiences with others who may need help with personal problems. Also, the opportunity for widowed and single men to share with others is very significant. Being a member of a Men’s Shed like the one in Newstead offers a chance for men who have very little social contact, to take an active part in the community and addresses the reduction of social isolation in men while being able to participate in projects that assist the wider community.

We also offer a place for men to work together to make timber & metal products for sale by the Shed, to raise funds as well as provide a service to our community. Our Facilities include not only a fully equipped workshop but also a Club Room where we can meet and have social occasions, a kitchen and a pool table.

Membership of the Shed is only $50 pa with a small amenities fee when you visit the Shed. We have a lot of fun when we hang out including Burger Monday lunches and a Sausage Sizzle once a month for members. Our main days are Monday and Tuesday as well as Friday and Sunday mornings. Why not drop in for a chat with the blokes or contact us via our Facebook Page.

Secretary – Graeme Lees 0418 723 196;  Committee Member – James Grant 0413 895 591

15. Concerns re commercial billboard outside Castlemaine pistol club

There is a proposal for a commercial Billboard to be erected outside the pistol club, on the east gateway to Castlemaine (Chewton side).  It will be visible from the top of the Wesley Hill Market, and for close to 1 kilometre of road (from the Shell servo to the top of Wesley Hill)
Residents concerned that this area’s beauty will be disturbed by an advertising sign are taking community group photos, on Saturday July 23rd,  to be used in a VCAT submission against the billboardIf you are concerned about this issue and, given this e-news edition is published a day or two after the group photos will be taken, contact Joel Meadows for more information:  joel@greenhand.net.au

16. Upcoming Textile Workshops- on line, Newstead and Castlemaine

Braided Rag Rugs- (on line or in person)

A great way to recycle old clothes and fabric!
ONLINE workshop, Sat/Sun mornings, July 23/24
Bookings : https://ilka-white.corsizio.com/c/62b15a90b4863ffa071efe0d

IN PERSON one day workshop at NEWSTEAD ARTS HUB
Sunday, August 14, 10AM – 4 PM
Bookings : https://events.humanitix.com/create-a-braided-rag-rug

Introduction to Handloom Weaving

Learn to weave your own fabric from scratch! No weaving experience required.
Saturdays, September 10 to October 8, 10 AM – 4 PM
Castlemaine Community House
Bookings : https://ilka-white.corsizio.com/c/626f430c135b31b5e8ac7698
For more information – ilkawhite.com.au

17. Look at Me podcast: Ants keeping an endangered butterfly alive

Look at Me‘ is a much-loved podcast series featuring weird and wonderful tales of Australian wildlife. It’s hosted by award-winning science journalist Rae Johnston and ecologist Chris McCormack, and is produced in conjunction with Remember the Wild.

We’re not talking about the usual koalas and kangaroos. This podcast delves into the more bizarre but fascinating creatures that most Australians probably haven’t even heard of! This includes a very special local animal close to our hearts: the Eltham Copper Butterfly. As our regular readers know, the largest remaining population of this threatened species lives in Kalimna Park, right next door to Castlemaine in central Victoria. The podcast features interviews with local ecologist Elaine Bayes, who has worked tirelessly to document, monitor and protect our local Eltham Copper Butterfly population.

Look at Me: The ants keeping an endangered butterfly alive

Imagine outsourcing childcare to a nest of ants? This may not be the best idea for humans but a certain insect is making it work. Now the Eltham copper butterfly’s amazing use of surrogate ant parents has attracted human fans who are using a song to try to save it from extinction.

To listen to the Eltham Copper Butterfly podcast – click here

For other Look at Me podcasts – click here

Photo: Eltham Copper Butterfly on flowering Sweet Bursaria by Elaine Bayes
Posted by Connecting Country, 14 July, 2022: https://connectingcountry.org.au/

18. Screening Planet Local – A Quiet Revolution

What: Film Screening followed by discussion.

When: Monday September 5th, 7pm

Where: New Northern Hotel, 359 Barkers St, Castlemaine

A joint initiative between Localising Leanganook and Castlemaine Free University, supported by Northern Arts Hotel. 

Film and discussion introduced by: Carolyn Neilson, Ilka White, John Terry, Anitra Nelson and Nikki Marshall

Local Futures released their latest film- Planet Local – A quiet Revolution– on World Localisation Day in June, 2022. The 50-minute film features grassroots activists from every continent alongside internationally known figures like Noam Chomsky, Vandana Shiva, Naomi Klein, Jane Goodall, Gabor Maté, Helena Norberg-Hodge and Russell Brand – all of them bringing inspiration and clarity to a world full of dark news. The film is a timely and compelling call to action, giving voice to dozens of people building a more just, equitable and beautiful world. From restoring topsoil, to sharing traditional knowledge, to opposing free trade treaties and innovating new ways of supporting local businesses, their actions are forging a new path forward for humanity.

Background: In 2015 Castlemaine’s Local Lives Global Matters- A Conference for Future’s Sake brought together local, national and international thinkers and activists to strengthen local economies, to act on social and ecological justice, to reclaim democracy and to revitalise spirit. The Conference facilitated the sharing of ideas and stories as active sites of resistance, countering corporate interests over people and nature; the sharing of stories which both imagine and renew relationships between humanity and nature here in rural central Victoria; local stories which connected with activism and stories from other parts of the world. Local Lives Global Matters was a collaboration between local activists in and around Castlemaine, Local Futures (the Economics of Happiness) and Borderlands Cooperative. Localising Leanganook was created to continue the work of the conference.

Local Futures challenges the crude ‘bigger is better’ narrative that has dominated economic thinking for centuries. Countless initiatives are already underway to protect and restore human-scale local economies, communities and the natural world, demonstrating that human beings need not be the problem – we can be the solution. For more than 40 years, Local Futures has raised awareness about the power of going local to restore ecological and human well-being. Local Futures calls on us to Rethink-  to dive deeper into the key elements of globalization and its many costs for people and planet;  Renew- to rebuild local economies and communities, and restore cultural and biological diversity; and Resist- to work towards building a better world and learn how to be part of systems-level change.

19. Victoria’s Renewable Energy Zones- Public Consultation

The Victorian Government is seeking community feedback on the proposed approach to developing Victoria’s Renewable Energy Zones. Public consultation is open until 15 August 2022.

Regional online public information sessions are being held to hear about proposed approach for how best to plan and develop Victoria’s electricity grid and Renewable Energy Zones (REZs). Click on the links below to register for an online community information session.

The Victorian Government is looking to invest in large-scale renewable energy generation and storage with the aim of providing reliable and affordable electricity at the scale needed to power Victorian homes and businesses. This will involve upgrading and  modernising Victoria’s transmission network.

This plan has significant implications for locations across Central Victoria, especially a corridor of land between Ballarat and Bendigo. A new framework is being considered for how transmission infrastructure is currently planned and developed. This proposal is set out in the Victorian Transmission Investment Framework (VTIF) Preliminary Design Consultation Paper. The proposed Framework would introduce a strategic and proactive process to ensure timely co-ordination of investment in transmission, generation and storage infrastructure across Victoria’s REZs, tailored to Victoria’s energy needs. It also seeks to better integrate land use considerations, environmental impacts and community views into the planning process. This includes opportunities for earlier and deeper engagement with local communities to help better manage impacts and to make the most of regional development opportunities for host communities.

There are three consultation documents on the proposed VTIF, all of which can be found at the bottom of the overview page: https://engage.vic.gov.au/victorian-transmission-investment-framework 

1.     Victorian Transmission Investment Framework: Preliminary Design Consultation Paper

2.     Victorian Transmission Investment Framework: Preliminary Design Consultation Paper (Summary for Communities)

3.     Options Paper: Access for Victorian REZs

After the consultation period has closed, VicGrid will analyse the feedback received throughout the consultation and consider how the feedback can be incorporated into the final design of the proposed Victorian Transmission Investment Framework. A report will outline results of the consultation and feedback received and be published on the Engage Vic page in late 2022.

Contact erin.baxter@delwp.vic.gov.au with any feedback or queries.

20. Wararack Initiatives- Networking Event

When: Thursday 28 July, 5.30pm for a 6pm start – 8pm finish

Where: The Taproom – The Mill, 9 Walker Street, Castlemaine

The Wararack (silver wattle) is the spirit of our climate emergency response. The sap of this plant is the glue that connects community and Jaara Country.Our plan is to collectively build resilience, equity and care for Country into our systems and culture while transitioning our shire to zero net emissions.

We know that to succeed we all need to be involved. This event will help to progress our movement and ‘keep the ball rolling’. We plan to:

  • bring a snapshot of progress to date lifting the curtain on the work that has been happening behind the scenes
  • showcase a couple of initiatives to stimulate our thinking and conversation
  • provide time for networking and building alliances with others who can strengthen action already happening in the shire

For planning purposes please confirm your attendance by emailing connect@wararack.org.

21. Wombat Forest

After years of campaigning, the Wombat Forest was acknowledged to be worthy of park status and in June 2021 the State Government promised to create a new Wombat- Lerderderg National Park. It was also in June 2021 when we experienced the intense wind event that left swathes of fallen trees through sections of the Wombat Forest, blocking many roads and tracks.

Members of the Wombat Forest Care group were caught completely by surprise to find that, in early April this year, and without any notice, VicForests had commenced an industrial scale salvage harvesting operation at Babbington Hill. It is obvious that ecologically sensitive management of fallen timber in some areas, particularly road and tracksides is necessary. However, at Babbington Hill it is questionable whether there was a need to intervene, to any great extent, other than track and trackside clearing. It was distressing to see that about two acres of standing forest had been harvested to create a large machinery depot and an area to store and load logs. New tracks, 4–6 metres wide had been made, the ground disturbed and large heaps of branches and bark left on the ground. As the works progressed, the damage intensified. The salvage machinery, that weighs between 20 and 30 tonnes has compacted and rutted the wet soil and destroyed understory vegetation. Some of the habitat trees that survived the storm now have tracks alongside, damaging the roots and making them vulnerable to falling in the future. All the medium and large logs on the ground have been salvaged by the VicForests’ contractor and, in the main, trucked to a sawmill in Gippsland or sent for pulp at the Maryvale paper mill. A second contractor commenced works on Wombat Creek Road and now a third area is being harvested on Osborne Road, Bullarto. At both these sites forest has been cleared for machinery and logs, and gravel laid.

The government position is that this salvage operation will reduce fire risk, however, the logs that are being removed do not present a major fire risk as it is fine fuels, generally less than 6mm in diameter, that are recognized by many fire scientists as a driver of forest fires. The large logs lying on the ground would have become important habitat for mosses, lichens and fungi as well as insects and small mammals and lizards and are an important contributor to the food chain
that supports life in the forest.

So many of us consider ourselves fortunate to be able to experience a natural environment close to where we live. Babbington Hill, an extinct volcano, was one of many favourite places for walkers, particularly in the fungi season, where a large range of species could be found in a multitude of forms and colours.
Endangered Spotted Hyacinth-orchids Dipodium pardalinum grow along the roadside among the tall gums. Wedge-tailed Eagles Aquila audax nest on the east side of the hill and Southern Greater Gliders Petauroides volans inhabit the forest. There is also a record of the endangered Fuzzy New Holland Daisy Vittadinia cuneata var. morrisii. Babbington Hill has not been extensively surveyed for flora, and now it is impossible to know if species have been lost from the site.

The natural world is complex. By scraping and mounding the topsoil and litter, there is a massive disruption to the tiny insects, bacteria and fungi that help the litter decompose, recycle nutrients and provide fertile soils. This destructive salvage operation has caused great distress to those who love the Wombat Forest and has shown that laws to protect biodiversity completely fail to do so. The Code of Practice for Timber Production provides little protection for environmental values. Habitat trees that survived the storm have been damaged by machinery at Babbington Hill, but there is nothing in the code to say that this should not occur.
(Published in Wombat Forestcare Newsletter – Issue 60)

22. Towards Zero and Community Grant recipients  in Hepburn Shire

Hepburn Shire Council provides $65,000 through the Community Grants program each year.  For Guidelines and applications go to:  our website

Towards Zero Community Grants totalled $44,969 and were awarded to:

Daylesford Museum Reserve Committee of Management – Daylesford Museum Goes Solar – 10.53kW of solar PV – $11,189

Doxa Youth Foundation – Doxa Strives Towards Zero-net – 11.7kW solar PV system + off-grid hardware/software – $23,890

Daylesford RSL – Daylesford RSL Towards Zero Emissions – 7.8kW of solar PV – $9,890.

Round 4 Community Grants, worth a total of $27,710, went to:

The 5000 Club Inc – The 5000 Club Weekly Community Luncheons – $2000

Victoria State Emergency Service – Hepburn Shire Unit – SES Community Open Day – $2,125

Daylesford Girl Guides – Ovens – $1,360

Creswick Bowling Club – Replacement computer system – $1,316.65

Daylesford Men’s Shed – Drum sanding -$1,637.95

Hepburn Community Radio – FM broadcasting equipment – $2,033.63

Friends of Creswick Park Lake Botanical Reserve Association – Christmas in July Community Bonfire $1,871.33 (subject to event safety management plan).

23. Storm Recovery – Photography Competition

Hepburn Shire Council invites people impacted by the June 2021 storm to take part in a photography competition. Photos can be from the actual event, the aftermath, the intervening period or an emotion that has arisen from it. Tell your stories with a photo and anything up to 200 words describing it. Open to all storm-affected residents of Hepburn Shire. Find out more on Participate Hepburn.

Stories are not only written, they can be told through images. This is one of the most successful ways of passing knowledge or information down through the generations. Because stories are important, we hope this photography competition will encourage storm affected residents to submit two images that tell a story; it can be about the actual event, the aftermath, the intervening period or an emotion that has arisen from it. Some examples are the change in landscape, routine, relationships, momentos, emotions, attitudes.

Competition closes 31 July 2022Click here for the Terms and Conditions

Prizes: First prize overall $500 voucher for Ted’s Camera Store + 90 minutes photography tutorial with a professional photographer. There will also be section prizes and runner up prizes.

24. Farming Program- Regenerative Agricultural Training

A local program that supports farmers and rural land managers with regenerative agricultural training and advice has been extended until 2024.

The Healthy Landscapes Practical Regenerative Agricultural Communities program is a collaboration between several local councils and agencies. It aims to help rural landowners to improve sustainable land management practices and regenerative grazing techniques, improve soil and waterway health, enhance biodiversity, reduce exposure to climate risks and reduce emissions.

The Practical Regenerative Agricultural Communities – Healthy Landscapes – program is being delivered as a partnership between Hepburn Shire Council, Macedon Ranges Shire Council, the City of Greater Bendigo, A Healthy Coliban Catchment project (North Central Catchment Management Authority and Coliban Water), Melbourne Water and the Upper Campaspe Landcare Network.

Over the next two years, the program will continue to offer free individual on-farm advice, a holistic grazing management course, small property grazing management course, webinars, field days and discussion groups. Find out more

25. Hepburn Wholefoods Collective

Troubled conditions around Australia (and to some extent overseas) are affecting some of our suppliers.

  • Buckwheat from mainland Australia has been affected by drought (NSW) and flood (QLD), so we’re looking into alternatives from Tasmania (and avoiding purchasing from Asia)
  • Sunflower seeds are affected by floods in Queensland as well as premium global prices, due to Ukraine’s harvest being stuck on their wharves.
  • Quinoa, millet, corn and polenta have also been affected.
  • Seeds and grains are ok, thanks in large part to Burrum Biodynamics, Mt Zero and Powlett Hill.

Locally grown veg can be particularly hard to come by at this time of year, as many of our farmers take a well earned winter break. Sandor’s Harvest has just delivered a big batch of winter veg.  Sandor grows cool climate vegetables in Dean, and he also sources other produce for us, from further afield in Victoria. We also have a couple of new products in the shop –  toothpaste, and palm oil free castile liquid soap.

The re-useable crates we bought earlier in the year, have proved to be a great success. Polystyrene boxes are now now longer in use at wholefoods (and we don’t have the task of taking them to landfill either). And Josh from Tumpinyeri Growers has begun taking our cardboard boxes to his farm, where they will be shredded and used as compost!

Wholefoods is happy to accept donations of jars and re-usable plastic containers for use in our shop. However, we do ask that all items are clean, have properly fitted lids and, preferably, labels removed.

Recipe Submissions: If you have a recipe idea brewing, we’d love you to put some time aside to write it down, and send it through, to be immortalised in our upcoming cookbook.  Cookbook Recipes can be submitted via the link on our website

26. Digging Deeper for Soil Health Project

hand holding fertile soil for plant to growing in nature concept.

This is an opportunity for landholders or farmer groups. The North Central CMA, in collaboration with Agriculture Victoria, has a new project called Digging Deeper for Soil Health. Spring is the perfect time to dig a little deeper and investigate what’s really happening under your growing crops, pastures, vines and plants. The project can work with you and your networks to deliver activities to help build your understanding of the current soil condition, the value of soil data, and how to use this data for future decision making to improve soil health and productivity.

Half-day workshops are open to all farmers and land managers in the North Central CMA region. Host a workshop with a soil pit or host an in-paddock demonstration on your property. In-paddock demonstrations could be a fertiliser comparison or a soil amendment assessment. Let us know which you would like to try.

If you would like to know more about the workshops or project contact Mandy Coulson at the North Central CMA:  mandy.coulson@nccma.vic.gov.au

Here’s the link to submit an expression of interest (EOI): https://survey.alchemer.com/s3/6838955/DiggingDeeper-into-Soil-Health-Workshop-Registration

27. Tree Project- Growing Indigenous Seedlings

The Tree Project gets urban and rural communities working together to put trees back on the land. A network of trained volunteers grows local indigenous seedlings for rural landholders and Landcare groups who need our help with revegetation. This year volunteers grew more than 140,000 indigenous seedlings.

For landholders, being able to access at-cost seedlings ($220 for 500 native seedlings) from Tree Project, can be the critical start to restoring degraded areas.
North Central Catchment Management Authority and the Tree Project have been working with a number of Landcare groups (Deep Creek, Malmsbury, Upper Maribyrnong, Arawata groups order seedlings annually). These Landcare groups determine which species they want to plant, then collect or order local seed, coordinate an order of 500, and then distribute the seedlings to members when they are ready for planting. If seedlings can’t be picked up we’ll use volunteers to minimise the cost of delivery.

Orders need to be in by 30 September 2022. You can find out more or order seedling via: https://treeproject.org.au/landholders/order-seedlings-introduction/

28. Victorian Landcare Grants

In 2022, a total of $3.35 million is available through the Victorian Landcare Grants for Project Grants and Support Grants across Victoria.

These include:-
Project Grants: up to $20,000 are available for on ground works, capacity building activities, community education and engagement that protects or improves our natural environment such as native vegetation, native fauna, waterways, wetlands, and soils.
Support Grants: up to $500 are to assist with costs such as insurance, incorporation and operational needs, or meetings and events or newsletters, websites and other communication.
Eligibility: Grants are open to all Victorian Landcare and environmental volunteering groups and networks that have a focus on on-ground land and natural environment improvement work. This includes Landcare groups and networks, Friends groups, Conservation Management Networks, Committees of Management, Coastcare groups and Aboriginal groups and organisations working on Country.

Applications close 5pm Tuesday 26 July 2022. For more information: https://www.environment.vic.gov.au/grants/vlg

Victorian Junior Landcare and Biodiversity Grants: Up to $5,000 are available for projects that involve and educate young Victorians in valuing and caring for Victoria’s native plants, animals and natural environment. Funding is on offer for hands-on projects and/or learning activities with a biodiversity focus.
The $450,000 of grants are open to all schools, kindergartens, childcare centers, Scouts, Girl Guides, Junior Landcare groups and youth groups in Victoria.
The grants are funded through DELWP’s Victorian Landcare Program and administered by Landcare Australia as part of its national Junior Landcare Grants
Applications close 3pm Tuesday 9 August 2022.
For more information, visit https://juniorlandcare.org.au/

29. Hepburn Energy- Community Retail Offer

Hepburn Energy members and Hepburn Shire locals are invited to register for our community retail offer with Flow Power kicking off in 2022.


For more information : https://www.hepburnenergy.coop/energy-expression-of-interest/

30. Food for Thought

30.1 Stories of Resilience from the Northern Rivers – catch up on NENA’s YouTube channel here!


 What might a world without money look and feel like? Here, in images from communities all round the world — some of which you might well recognise — is a vision of a possible future where people live in balance with nature. Hand-crafted in Castlemaine by a small team, namely Leonie Van Eyk (editor, animator), Bronwyn Silver (images) and the late Bruce Rogers (soundtrack, music).
 See embedded on this page — https://anitranelson.info/beyond-money/
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