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July 2024 Newsletter

Degrowth aims to reframe economies away from socially and ecologically destructive growth. Sustainability means that everyone’s needs and Earth’s ecological needs must be met, neither more nor less. This means transforming everyday practices and cultures to restore and preserve the regenerative capacities of Earth and of our collective selves.

(from Degrowth Central Victoria  –  a collective supporting degrowth aims and practices in our local area) 

Welcome to the July edition of Localising Leanganook’s e-newsletter.  In this month’s newsletter our feature article is Anitra Nelson’s opening remarks at the  Degrowth Central Victoria launch held in May this year.  The newsletter also includes regular updates on upcoming local events for the month of July plus activities that contribute towards localisation.  We hope you enjoy it.

Cheers, Nikki, Keppel, and Laurel

Note to Contributors and Readers

As you can see, Localisising Leanganook’s e-news continues to grow from strength to strength reaching more than 700 subscribers. The monthly newsletter  includes an ever expanding range of localising events, programs and creative initiatives  in  our central Victorian region.  If you’ve got items for inclusion in future editions, let our editing team know – (nikki.marshall@mmnet.com.au). To help our editing team please email through information you’d like included in the following format:

  • program/project/event name plus date, time and location if relevant
  • summary of event/issue/program, in word format,
  • accompanying photo as a jpeg or png

July’s edition includes:

  1. Special Feature: Degrowth Central Victoria Launch
  2. Arts and Culture
  3. Food Growing, Farming and Food Security
  4. Ecology and Environment
  5. First Nations
  6. Sustainable Living Resources
  7. Building Community
  8. Local Government News
  9. Workshops and Courses
  10. Letters
  11. Food for Thought

1. Special Feature: Degrowth Central Victoria Launch- Opening Remarks by Anitra Nelson 

Degrowth Central Victoria was launched as a Castlemaine Free University Event on May 13th this year. Here’s an edited extract of Anitra Nelson’s opening remarks:

“Welcome everyone to this Degrowth Central Victoria launch session of Castlemaine Free University (CFU). Tonight we have four speakers on degrowth and degrowth activities here in Central Victoria. I am wearing two hats tonight, one as the CFU convenor and the other as an active participant in Degrowth Central Victoria. We’ll each speak for 5–10 minutes. Then we’d love to hear your thoughts, suggestions and questions about degrowth.

Free universities foster free and open access to knowledge and skill sharing. Free universities are based on social and ecological values and creativity, principles guiding our Castlemaine program. We can make these sessions free because speakers donate their time free and Northern Arts Hotel offers this venue and their support staff free. Even though CFU has been operating for a few years, it has been accepted as an activity of Degrowth Central Victoria because CFU has strong social and ecological values and encourages open discussion, creative responses and is guided by degrowth participatory approaches.

First, we acknowledge that Australia is founded on the genocide and dispossession of First Nations people. We pay our respects to Elders past and present of the Dja Dja Wurrung peoples of Djaara Country. Sovereignty has never been ceded. It always was, and always will be, Aboriginal land. This acknowledgement of Country, its custodians and caretakers is very relevant to degrowth. When this continent now known as Australia was invaded by peoples from the other side of the world, the very localised, interconnected, culturally rich and sophisticated ecologically sustainable practices of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders were disrupted and largely destroyed. There were around 500 distinctive nations, 250 languages and 600 dialects in the late 18th century, when the singular English language and standardised capitalist practices of private property and production for trade, money and profits was inflicted on peoples whose descendants now only make up around three per cent of Australia’s population. Today they identify with around 250 ‘mobs’ with distinctive connections with Country and cultures.

Meanwhile, life in mainstream Australia and much of the planet, is typified by late capitalism with the flagship of economic growth – growing gross domestic product (GDP), growing productivity, growing profits. In contrast, degrowth is a movement which addresses the two great challenges of capitalism today – growing economic and socio-political inequities, and growing ecological unsustainabilities. One example is inequities and unsustainabilities in housing, the scarcity of affordable, secure and ecologically sustainable housing.

Degrowth aims to reframe and recreate economies that respect Earth’s regenerative limits so as to achieve socio-political equity and ecological sustainability. This means improving disadvantaged people’s access to basic needs while reducing excess production and consumption by privileged others. Degrowth is about everyone getting enough. And, ‘enough is enough’. Degrowth encourages what we call ‘frugal abundance’ instead of over-consumption. While growth imaginaries focus on quantity, degrowth is about quality and conviviality. Degrowth is about living one-planet footprints in more attractive ways than we do today, with the average Australian living a four-planet footprint. The degrowth movement actively works for much greater political participation, diversity in ecological systems and landscapes, and a flourishing of creativity, care and commoning – all using renewable energy and materials.

The international degrowth movement has risen to prominence over the last two decades. I’ve been active in it since May 2012 when I participated in the first international degrowth conference of the America in Montreal. I’ve collaborated on writing a degrowth book – Exploring Degrowth: A Critical Guide – and co-edited two collections, Housing for Degrowth and Food for Degrowth.

Although Australian academics have integrated degrowth thinking into their approaches to more sustainable and equitable futures, the activist Degrowth Network Australia was not launched until early last year at the 2023 National Sustainability Festival. Now it’s quite active. Indeed ten campers from Degrowth Network Melbourne spent several days at Butts Reserve at the base of Mt Tarrengower recently, engaging with Degrowth Central Victoria folk, doing practical work such as planting, discussing and doing exercises around some ‘essentials’ research.

We’re exploring ‘essentials’ for everyday life here in our local community, identifying what are essentials; how we can concentrate on essential work; and assessing how many essential goods and services are produced locally. We’re starting to run a series of workshops and to ask people to keep diaries for a short period of time on identifying all our household’s different essentials. Our first workshop is at Northern Arts Hotel in Castlemaine on Monday 3 June at 6pm as a CFU session of 90 mins. Anyone interested in being involved can request more details by emailing degrowthcentralvic@proton.me

I just want to finish this introductory talk by pointing out the obvious – that there have been many degrowth activities here in Central Victoria that predate our recent formation as an active degrowth group. There are activities such as the Castlemaine Repair café, YIMBY composting and Friends of Box Ironbark Forests (FoBIF). We could go on pointing to programs and practices that exist and express degrowth values and aims. Still we felt that a dedicated Degrowth Central Victoria group would help impress the importance of minimising our use of nature and treasuring our social relationships. This is especially the case as green appliances and technologies, such as electric cars, are seeing us continue to exploit nature when we should, instead, be minimising our impacts. Degrowth encourages using our legs and bikes. And, given that many of us in this rural region rely on cars, we would love to see efforts put into sharing electric cars and electric public transport.

On Friday 28 June again at 6pm here at Northern Arts Hotel we have Marisa Holmes, the Brooklyn NY based filmmaker, activist and author of Organizing Occupy Wall Street: This is Just Practice in conversation with the Friends of the Earth campaigns Coordinator Cam Walker. Hope to see you there then.”

2. Arts and Culture

Newstead Arts Hub

Winter Festival @ the Hub  

  • Workshop: Charcoal Painting, Stories from the Fire, Sat 29 June 10am-3.30pm Book now!
  • Concert: Jo Huf – Electro pop to Bossa Nova, Fri 5 July 7pm Book now!
  • Exhibition: Pleinair… Belinda Prest…Saul Roche, 6-21 July Sat & Sun 10am-4pm
  • 150th Celebration of the Newstead Railway! Sun 7 July, 2.30pm
  • Movie Night – Spears from All Sides: Sat 13 July, 7pm
  • Movie Night + Directors Q&A, Stephen Amis – Defend Conserve Protect: Sat 20 July, 7pm
  • Concert: Medieval to Modern, Buninyong Players: Sun 21 July, 2.30pm
  • Writers Talk: ‘Never bore an audience’: Fri 26 July, 6.30pm
  • De-Stash Market: Sat 27 July 10am-3pm. Book a stall!

For more details and how to book or head to our website to read more! To become a member of the Hub and receive discounts on ALL these fabulous events go HERE 

Bliss Bombs Burlesque

The Bliss Bombs are back with more tantalising comedy burlesque at the Maldon in Winter Festival this July.
Bliss Bombs Burlesque presents In the Spotlight!
Maldon in Winter Festival
Tongue-in-cheeky Comedy Cabaret from the Queens of Tease.
A sumptuous and hilarious night out!
Friday 5th July & Saturday 6th July
7:00pm Doors open for drinks at bar
7:30pm Show starts

Performing sultry cabaret, dance and tease with lashings of vintage costume and cheeky comedy. The Bliss Bombs have been wowing audiences for years with sell-out shows at the Castlemaine State Festival, Castlemaine Fringe, Chill Out, regional tours and The Grande – Hepburn Springs.

To make the night a real occasion, dress to impress in your vintage glamour and book a table with friends.
Drinks available at the bar, and patrons may bring their own grazing platter.

According to Weekend Notes the Bliss Bombs are:
“Tantalising …. these women are comic geniuses…. there wasn’t a man or woman in the audience who wasn’t totally blown away by their performance.”

Bookings essential on: https://www.trybooking.com/CSKRO
18 yrs+
LOCATION: Maldon Progress Hall, Community Centre
6 Francis Street, Maldon Victoria

Venie Holmgren Environmental Poetry Prize Open

Entries for the Venie Holmgren Environmental Poetry Prize are open until Sunday August 4th. The winner will be announced at Daylesford’s Words in Winter Festival.  The judges for the 2024 Prize are Tim Loveday and Jodi Vial. You can read the details and enter your poem here:  https://holmgren.com.au/news/launched-the-2024-venie-holmgren-environmental-poetry-prize/ 

Club CDoc

Club CDoc membership is for our vibrant network of makers and lovers of every shape of documentary.
It’s a way of supporting the Festival that comes with lots of perks, including:

  • Access: a free six-month subscription to documentary streaming service DocPlay. Only applies to the first 100 to sign up.
  • Discounts: Enjoy reduced prices on tickets and events.
  • Early Bird Access: Get your tickets before they’re available to the general public.
  • Special Events: Gain exclusive entry to member-only screenings, networking events and discussions.
  • Members-Only Newsletter: Stay informed with updates and stories curated just for you.

Annual subscription $45/ $35  Membership is free for First Nations people. To apply, email hello@cdocff.com.au

Club CDoc continues our deep dives into documentaries and connects you to an uplifting community that guides creators, shapes ideas and inspires conversations.

Ceramics Collection at Daylesford Museum



A new collection prepared by local ceramicists is now on show at the Daylesford Museum. Launched in May, the exhibition is staged as a mock dinner party, the table replete with ceramics and the guest of honour is local ceramicist, Petrus Spronk, who helped bring this collection together with museum curator Gary Lawrence.

Open on SATURDAY’s 11.00 AM – 3.00 PM,  OR BY APPOINTMENT

100 Vincent St, Daylesford VIC 3460- (3 doors down from the Post Office)
ENTRY FEE Adults $5, Children free

Radius Gallery- Hepburn Springs- Exhibitions, Pop up Cinema, Local makers Art Store

Thur / Fri / Sat 10am – 4pm- 76 Main Rd,  Hepburn Springs

We showcase and promote local artists through curated exhibitions, events and an online store. We foster creative learning with workshops, classes and the exchange of skills and expertise. We encourage the curious mind within us all.

We understand that art is subjective and not all art is beautiful. Art may challenge us, confound us and make us think. We are inspired by the artists, ideas and creative possibilities that flourish in our amazing community.


This years fundraiser is for the beloved Swiss Italian Festa is a screening of the touching film Loves Brother.  Filmed on location in Daylesford & Hepburn, join us for a cosy night in the gallery. Tickets will be for sale online soon.  Limited seats.  Register your interest below.

28th July – Doors Open 6pm


For more information: https://www.radiusart.com.au/

Northern Arts Hotel

THE COOLROOM DIARY [Click on links for event details]
MUSIC GIGS  [Usually at 7.30pm, Sunday 5.30pm]

Saturday 29 June | Peter & the Wolves: Hibernation Hootenanny
Friday 19 July 7.30pm | Aether + Vassallo Album Launch – Unbroken
Saturday 20 July 7.30pm | Blue Tango Live at The Coolroom
Saturday 27 July 7.30pm | Maggie Jackson NY Jazz Trio | Lush Jazz…always
Saturday 3 August 7.30pm | Kavisha Mazzella Trio | Italian Songs
Sunday 30 June 2.30pm | Sunday Secret Movie Matinee
Saturday 6 July 7.30pm | Film Freedom is Beautiful | RAR Castlemaine
Sunday 21 July 3.25pm | Cinema Nova Carlton | To Thank The Room
Friday 28 June 6pm | CFU: Organising Occupy Wall Street
Thursday 18 July 4pm | Maine-ly Ukes
Thursday 18 July 7.30pm | Guildford Folk Club at The Coolroom
Monday 22 July | 16 weeks | Permaculture Design Course Starts
Ongoing | Ethiopia, Hudad Plateau: A Self Portrait Series
Every Tuesday | Potluck Dinner from 7pm

3. Food Growing, Farming and Food Security

Harcourt Organic Farming Co-op – Sharing the Research on Small Farm Viability

The Orchard keepers team, Hugh, Katie, Fruit Crew & Friday Crew vollies at Harcourt Organic Farming Co-op have been really industrious with recent webinars and short films celebrating the relaunch of the Co-op early June including the screening of a new short film about their journey and achievements.  They’d been working with Mitch at MDP Photography & Video and were excited to share the results!   As well they shared their new collaborative farming resources with tools and guides to support sustainable farming practices. You can also download thr Small-Farm Viability Casestudy Report.  Read more here.

They gained some valuable insights into what they have been working on, opportunities and ‘what’s next’ for the Co-op.  ‘They shared one of their final grant puzzle pieces this week, developed through our Innovate to Regenerate grant from WWF Australia.  You can also read about Sellar Dairy hitting their target of ten milkers here  and the Orchard Keepers Season Update: A Year of Fruit and Community (and cake) here

Two Fold Bakehouse- Local Bread for the Local Community

Why join our bread family?

By ordering Thursday bread you are joining our bread family of farmers, millers and bakers who work to regenerate the land and value small scale, local food systems. Your support means we can bake to order, with no bread going to waste.

Where can you buy our bread?

THURSDAY BREAD, WEEKLY; ordered online weekly as a one off, or monthly as a subscription with pick up each Thursday from Daylesford, Yandoit or Kyneton hubs.

DATES 2024

June 30th, July 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th

Fresh bread every Thursday from 3:30pm


4. Ecology and Environment

Rose Robins in Winter


In Natural Newstead’s blog Geoff Park writes : ‘What a delight to spend some time today with some Rose Robins.  One of our most spectacular winter migrants it has been a couple of years since I’ve had the pleasure of recording one. The Australian Bird Guide the definitive field guide to Australian birds, notes the following about the Rose Robin … Breeds in tall wet sclerophyll forest and rainforest with a dense mid-storey, especially gullies with large acacias such as Silver Wattle …

Read on

Biolinks Re-wilding Seminar

Join us for our Rewilding Central Victoria Webinar with special guest presenter, Annette Rypalski, Biodiversity Director at Odonata Foundation. Annette will provide insights into what it takes to ‘rewild’ Central Victoria and move towards a nature-positive future for our region.  Don’t miss this webinar exploring what ‘rewilding’ means in Central Victoria.
Date: Thursday 27 June 2024
Time: 6-6.45pm (AEST)
Location: Online via Zoom Register here (spaces are limited)

Photo credit: © Dave Watts 

Read more 

EV day at Newstead Enviroshop – July 6

Seeing EVs in the showroom is one thing, but talking to the owners of the vehicles is better. EV Insights sessions will feature a particular EV at Newstead Enviroshop and a discussion with their owner about all aspects of their EV experience. Sessions will be held once a month on Saturday mornings throughout 2024. To provide an opportunity for a close encounter with the vehicle and the owner (minus any showroom sales pitch) a maximum of 25 guests per session can be accommodated. Please click here to register for the July 6 session with Martin Hurley and his BYD Atto 3.


Wombat Forest Care


June Newsletter: https://www.wombatforestcare.org.au/newsletters/WombatForestcareNewsletter68_Jun_24.pdf



Bird of the Month

A partnership between Connecting Country and BirdLife Castlemaine District

Australasian Grebe (Tachybaptus novaehollandiae)

Australasian Grebes hold a special place in my heart, simply because they have such cute fluffy bums and can often be seen on dams. They are seemingly half fish, spending their lives on or under water. They nest on rafts and can spend long periods under the water foraging. On land they are quite ungainly and walk very awkwardly. And then there’s the chicks, the cutest striped balls of fluff riding on a parent’s back, tucked safely away in a bed of living feathers.

Appearance can vary quite a bit. In the breeding season, both males and females have a glossy-black head with a chestnut stripe on the face extending from behind the eye through to the base of the neck and a distinctive yellow patch below the eye. In contrast, the non-breeding plumage of both sexes is dark grey-brown above with silver-grey below and lacks the distinctive yellow patch. Juveniles are quite different again, with camouflage-type black stripes on grey plumage.

Juveniles are quite different again, with camouflage-type black stripes on grey plumage. Photo: Damian Kelly

They are adaptable and can be found in varying habitats from small farm dams to larger bodies of water. Food includes fish, snails and aquatic arthropods usually collected by diving. Grebes are also known to eat their downy feathers and feed feathers to their young. Various reasons have been suggested for this behaviour ranging from aiding digestion to assisting the formation of pellets to help eject fish bones, but definitive reasons are yet to be determined.

Grebes are known to be quite mobile and will fly to new areas as water levels change. Flight is generally undertaken at night. They have also colonized New Zealand in recent times.

The Australasian grebe is common on freshwater lakes and rivers in greater Australia, New Zealand and on nearby Pacific islands. Photo: Damian Kelly

Nests are a floating mound of vegetation that is usually attached to a submerged branch or other fixed object. Over a season, two or three clutches of 3-5 eggs are laid. At times two females may lay in the same nest.  Young can swim from birth and are fed by both parents. However, if a second clutch is laid the young of the previous brood are driven away. To hear the call of the Australasian Grebe, please click here

5. First Nations

Supporting First Nations solidarity -Liyanganyuk Banyul

Image of the Boorp-Boorp-Boondyil permanent exhibition, Market Building Castlemaine.

A local network has recently formed connecting Mount Alexander community members with a shared commitment to First Nations justice, self-determination, anti-racism, and ongoing learning and action in solidarity with First Nations people.

The network aspires to keep up to date and to connect with struggles for self-determination and justice across the continent. The network has the support of Senior Djaara Elder Uncle Rick Nelson (who also approved the name) and other local First Nations people.

There are three ways people can engage with the network:

  • Join the WhatsApp Community – a space to share resources and ideas and to make announcements across the network
  • Quarterly in-person gatherings – will be organised using an ‘open space’ model where you can bring issues or themes for discussion or action planning
  • Occasional newsletter – you can sign up to a mailing list here

The group has developed proposed principles to guide the network, including meetings and online interactions. The network will grow and develop responsively to strengthen accountability to First Peoples and the needs and possibilities that arise.

For more information contact: solidarity.liyanganyuk@gmail.com

6. Sustainable Living Resources

Repair Cafes

Daylesford: Sunday July 21st, 1-4pm at Victoria park Pavillion. The July cafe includes a chain-saw sharpening workshop.

Castlemaine:  Sunday July 28th, 10am -1.00pm at Castlemaine community House

Creswick: Sunday July 21st, 1-4pm at Creswick Neighbourhood House

International Repair Cafe Webinar

Date: Mon, Jun 24, 2024 at 8:05 PM
Subject: Repair Cafe webinar on Friday, July 12 (4-6 PM CET)

This two-hour online event will cover various topics. For example, we will hear more about the Repair Cafe movement in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. We will also focus on data collection at Repair Cafes: why is this important, and how are the data being used? Speakers from several countries will share their views.  Read more and register: The webinar is in English. More information about the programme can be found on our website. There you can also register for the webinar.

Goldfields Libraries Newsletter



Grounded- AirBnB- From a Housing Problem to a Solution

Grounded’s first report has been released, Airbnb: From a housing problem to solution. It highlights the concerns raised by rampant Airbnb growth. No wonder there’s nowhere to rent, the equivalent of 74% of new housing supply has gone towards short term rentals over the last decade. Why has this happened? The net profits in Airbnb properties are 81% higher than traditional rentals.

This is world first research, with a cap ‘n trade system proposed to cap Airbnbs, reduce their number, auction off operational licences and channel the funding towards CLTs – of course. A lot of thinking has gone into it, as you can see in the Cap ‘n Trade Explainer. Alan Kohler references it here. Thankfully he has retweeted it. We need lots of that so please read the report and share with your networks.

See where your favourite holiday destination ranked


For more information: https://grounded.org.au/

Renewable Newstead and Flow Home Electricity

Renewable energy at competitive prices. You can help speed up Australia’s adoption of cleaner, cheaper energy by joining the Flow Home electricity plan, you’ll join a 100% GreenPower certified plan that’s linked to the Newstead Energy Project.

That means the Newstead Energy Project will send a kilowatt of green energy back into the grid for every kilowatt of energy you use, effectively offsetting your electricity’s carbon footprint. We’ll link your energy use to the Newstead Energy Project – the local, renewable generator championed by your community. Our solar farm with back-up battery will be connected to the grid for supply security and will offer electricity at competitive rates from our partner, Flow Power. Generating as much clean electricity as is consumed each year, the first stage of the two-stage solar farm will reduce Newstead’s annual CO2-equivalent emissions by about 5750 tonnes/year.

Want to learn more? If you’d like to learn more about the offer or its terms and conditions, https://flowpower.com.au/our-service/

7. Building Community

Castlemaine Free University

Maldon Heritage Network – Why does it Matter?


When: Saturday 6 July 2024 at 1.30 pm

Where: Maldon Community Centre, 6 Francis Street, Maldon

Maldon Heritage Network is hosting a free public presentation titled ‘Maldon’s Heritage: Why Does it Matter?’ on  at the Maldon Community Centre.


Degrowth Central Victoria- Essential workshop

Our follow-up workshop which is especially for those who took away diaries – another 90-minute workshop at 6 pm on Monday 1 July at Northern Arts Hotel in Castlemaine.
Please don’t feel bad if you have found it difficult or impossible to do your diary entries – we love you all the same and you are invited to the follow-up workshop which has more to it than the opportunity to report on that experience. We will propose plans for moving ahead with this Essentials Research project.

We will have some short talks on ‘voluntary simplicity to collective sufficiency’ (Peter Yates) and ‘barriers to action’ (Lucy Young). And discuss topics for public talks and working groups, which will be announced in future DCV e-news and open to all.

Actions for future DCV working groups include developing a set of tool libraries (such as for farming, gardening, kitchen, and so on), which we’d like further ideas on. Also let’s brainstorm details for the DCV site Directory page listing each by name with a URL link to detail and/or a contact. If you want to send ideas ahead of of the workshop – some of you mentioned ideas – please send details to degrowthcentralvic@proton.me
Finally we are talking with other locals on a partnered activity to map sustainable futures locally — more on that too!

Castlemaine Community Cooperative

Castlemaine Community Coop is now 150 MEMBERS strong and has raised $10,000 for Hub due diligence checks, meaning we reached our fundraising goal!!  Our focus remains on increasing our member base, so please keep helping us spread the word (only 2 more weeks to become a founding member!).

It’s full steam ahead now with the due diligence activities for the Hub.

  • We have a new donations page on the website https://castlemaine.coop/donations/
  • We have a new bookkeeper (local Stu!)
  • We will hold another Working Bee on launch activities for the Hub offer – details in the next update
  • We are exploring an institutional membership, so we can attract investment from other funders.

Yandoit Sacred

Around 30 locals gathered at Yandoit’s old Uniting Church in the bush on Saturday June 22nd to learn about the remarkable 16th century Spanish mystic,  Teresa of Avila, who created the silent order of Carmelites.

All are welcome to our next gathering in early August- date to be confirmed.

Email : nikki.marshall@mmnet.com.au if you are interested.


Future Ready Libraries


8. Local Government News

Really Local

Really Local is mobilising community in Mt Alexander shire ahead of the October local government elections. We are a small group of Mount Alexander locals, interested in connecting community and government in our Shire. We’re calling ourselves Really Local, at least for now (we have grown out of a similar group, Democracy for Dinner, which formed in Castlemaine in 2010 to build grassroots democracy).

Our focus for 2024 is to increase understanding of council, amplify community voices and to encourage people to run for council in the October elections. We have no funding, no political alignment or policies we want to push.  (We are exploring with the Mount Alexander Shire Council on whether they can partner with us on some of this, so if they can, we will let you know!)

We think Mount Alexander is a pretty awesome community, with some of the most diversity in any regional area. We believe that diversity makes us stronger and old and new together makes us better. We believe we need to meet everyone’s needs, not just the loudest. (More about us here)

Really local is holding a series of events focused around: What matters locally? Who is responsible for what? What does your council do anyway? What is it like inside a Council meeting? These events will be fun, interactive and include current and past councillors, and people who just want to find out more, and kick off future conversations. The first event was held on June 25th at the Taproom in Castlemaine.

Starting in July, they’ll cover topics like:

  • What do people love about Mount Alexander Shire?
  • What (if anything) they want to change?
  • What people want in their local Council representatives?

We’re starting in Maldon in July, and are also planning conversations in Wesley Hill and elsewhere in Castlemaine. Get in touch  if you’d like to help host local conversations

View our website


Shire News-  Mt Alexander Shire:


Hepburn Matters

Hepburn Matters believes a strong, pro-active, transparent Hepburn Council is in the best interests of the community. The outcome the Council election in November this year is critical to what happens  in our community over the next 4 years.

We are endeavouring to identify candidates who can lead our community, who have a clear vision for Daylesford and Hepburn with goals about what they wish to achieve over their four years as a councillor.

As a group we will advocate for our long-stated objective for community assets that deliver long term, intergenerational benefits for a connected and thriving local community within the Hepburn Shire.

We need councillors: – who can provide an authoritative public voice in addition to the Council Officers and speak for our community in a thoughtful way; who will take a balanced and needs based approach in relation to community assets for Hepburn Shire, considering ageing infrastructure, community interests/needs, particularly in areas of the shire where community assets/infrastructure have not been upgraded for a long time; who will ensure that community members are consulted in an appropriate, systematic and regular manner;-who support the attainment of Community Spaces that foster community cohesion, including opportunities for performances, film and meetings for all citizens and in particular for young people;-who work to facilitate the provision of information, research, discussion, and Community action to maintain and preserve the Heritage of the Shire; who provide a sounding board and facilitate alternative pathways for community projects, In particular, A revamped and modern library for Daylesford and Hepburn, Public Toilets in Vincent Street Daylesford, Promotion of Local Products & Local Businesses & Local Art in Hepburn Shire.

Hepburn Matters is meeting regularly. The Next meeting Sunday 30 June, Daylesford Bowling Club Upstairs 4-5.30pm. Please RSVP if possible. 

For further information or to express interest email: hello@hepburnmatters.com

Community Satisfaction Survey results for Hepburn Shire Council

State-wide Community Satisfaction Survey results released earlier this week show that resident perceptions of services provided by Hepburn Shire results have improved in a number of areas but are still well below par compared with averages for Victoria and for small rural councils in the state. On seven of the 17 measures evaluated, Council performance was rated on par with state-wide and small rural group averages. On most other areas however, Council performance was rated significantly lower than both group averages.

Performance perceptions on most service areas evaluated remained stable or improved significantly compared to 2023 results. However, in the two service areas which rated lowest of the 17 areas assessed, planning and building permits and sealed local roads, perceptions declined significantly.

Council’s overall performance (49) rated statistically significantly lower than both the Small Rural group of Victorian councils (53) and the State-wide average of all councils (54). Council’s top performing areas were waste management, tourism development, appearance of public areas and recreational facilities although the latter two rated significantly lower than average ratings for small rural shires.

Council’s lowest performing areas were sealed local roads, planning and building permits and slashing and weed control. All of these were significantly below the small rural council average.

One in five residents (21%) rated the value for money they receive from Council in infrastructure and services as ‘very good’ or ‘good’. Almost twice as many rated Council as ‘very poor’ or ‘poor’ (39%). A further 35% rate Council as ‘average’ in providing value for money.

(Image and story from the Wombat Post, 28/6/24)

9. Workshops and Courses

Personal Growth Workshop: Explore Family Dynamics

SUN JULY 7TH – 9.30 – 4.30pm

This workshop explores the dynamics within yourself and your family system. Counsellor and Art Therapist Amy Jones lives locally and has been a part of the constellations community since 2019.

Cost by suggested donation $35 full, $25 concession

Radius Art. 76 Main Rd. Hepburn Springs

To join please contact Amy Jones Roberts amyjonesroberts@yahoo.com.au 0418 801 714

More information



10. Letters

No letters for this month. Your letters are always welcomed.

11. Food for Thought


Cost of Living Maphttps://www.getup.org.au/campaigns/democracy/cost-of-living-map


First edition of the Global State of Direct Democracy Report! This report spotlights the events and trends of direct democracy in 2023, exploring legal provisions, recent referendums, reforms, and key academic publications in English related to the topic Read report here

World Localisation day films:

Closer to Home features leading localization voices from across the world, including Bayo Akomolafe, Rupert Read, Rutendo Ngara, Iain McGilchrist, Vandana Shiva and many more- Watch now

Showcasing 30+ community groups and businesses, organizations and networks on five continents working towards healthy and fair local economies, communities and food systems, The Power of Local is eclectic, hands-on, and super inspiring- Watch now




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