Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are in shock and are grieving the result(of the referendum). We feel acutely the repudiation of our peoples and the rejection of our efforts to pursue reconciliation in good faith. That people who came to our country in only the last 235 years would reject the recognition of this continent’s First Peoples – on our sacred land which we have cared for and nurtured for more than 65,000 years – is so appalling and mean-spirited as to be utterly unbelievable a week following. It will remain unbelievable and appalling for decades to come.
We thank the 5.51 million Australians who voted Yes to recognition. This represents approximately 39.2 per cent of Australian voters on 14 October 2023. At the 2022 Federal Election the Australian Labor Party received support from 32.58 per cent of voters, the Liberal Party 23.89 per cent, the National Party 3.6 per cent and One Nation 4.96 per cent. We thank those Australians who gave Yes more support at this Referendum than they did to any political party.
We acknowledge the resounding Yes vote in discrete and remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The high levels of support for Yes in our communities exposes the No Campaign’s lies, taken up by the media even in the last week of the campaign. The situation of these communities needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.
Australia is our country. We accept that the majority of non-Indigenous voting Australians have rejected recognition in the Australian Constitution. We do not for one moment accept that this country is not ours. Always was. Always will be. It is the legitimacy of the non-Indigenous occupation in this country that requires recognition, not the other way around. Our sovereignty has never been ceded.
Uluru Dialogue: Statement For Our People and Country, representing ‘the collective insights and views of a group of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders, community members and organisations who supported Yes.’ For the full statement, visit https://fpdn.org.au/open-letter-statement-for-our-people-and-country/
Welcome to the October/November 2023 edition of Localising Leanganook e-news. For many, this is a sombre time as we reflect on both the referendum loss and the resurgence of terror and war in the Middle East. We are also now officially in a time of El Niño. This is where the highest ocean temperatures are concentrated in the eastern Pacific ocean between the dateline and South America. This is after a La Niña pattern brought three years of cool temperatures and record-breaking rain. You can check out the six drivers that influence Victoria’s climate here. Look out for the fickle Climate dog ENZO. In November we will be entering the sixth season of Dja Dja Wurrung calendar Ballambar – early summer, the season of butterflies, hot dry summer and more stable weather.
We hope that this newsletter, and all of the beautiful array of community events and initiatives listed therein, will rekindle in readers an awareness that there is still much that is good and life-affirming that is being done in our corner of the world, and many seeds being planted that will bear fruit long into the future. We welcome suggestions and information for future editions – email firstname.lastname@example.org
Nikki, Samantha, Keppel and Laurel
Feature article – Development – Construction/Destruction
What’s happening in Central Victoria
- Arts and culture
- Building community
- Ecology and the environment
- First Nations
- Food growing, farming and food security
- Sustainable economic initiatives
- Sustainable living resources
- Workshops and courses
Food For Thought
Development – Construction/Destruction
By Petrus Spronk
Petrus Spronk is a local author and sculptor who contributes a regular column to The Wombat Post. This article was first published on September 1st, 2023
This is a story about gold digging. Gold digging, which is often considered as a somewhat romantic part of our history, but which isn’t. It continues today with the same ferocity and sense of greed as it has in the past. With the same disregard for the landscape, in the broadest sense of the word, and the people who live in it. More than this, however, this story is an appeal for the maintenance and respect of the rural character of our town.
I see the town in which we live, set in its wonderful rural landscape, slowly being covered in a city type architecture with its signature of two garages but without space for kids to play or the establishment of a veggie garden. This phenomena seems to be the result of just a few people who need to develop at any cost, and ultimately at the cost of many. Developers attracted by our tourist dollar, see opportunities which is fair enough. However, some seem to have little regard for the people who actually live here and have to deal with the consequences.
As in the corporate world, this town seems in danger of becoming a place of easy take-overs. Not always understanding the many local issues and considerations, investment seems on financial terms only. There is, in this attitude, little or no care for the health and well-being of our town. This means that there is no investment in the spirit of the town – no commitment to the inner health of the town, the total picture. There is something distressing about this. See it as an attack on your health, a slow-drain of your energy, or consider what it leaves for the children.
Many people seem to think that a healthy economy means dollars, development and growth, without considering the ‘basics’ upon which an economy exists. Without seemingly understanding what the concept of economy in its entirety actually means, the entirety of health, education, past, future, memories, the landscape, work, and other things. In short, every aspect of our lives, and the environment in which it occurs, is an integral part of our economy.
Daylesford is a rural town, set in a natural environment as expressed in the beautiful farmland-landscape and forest. It has an interesting and rich history, visually expressed in its architecture – the architecture which holds many of its stories. Additionally it has the mineral springs. There is much beauty and, as is the case with great beauty, it is fragile. These fragile elements need care to maintain their delicate balance. If we do not take this care, we are in great danger of destroying the self-same qualities which made our town so attractive in the first place. The self-same qualities which tourists arrive for by the busload. In the main, a rural, quiet place with a strong and interesting sense of history.
We all understand the power of money coupled with the argument for development and growth. But when this is accompanied by riding roughshod over issues which are important for the people who live here and whose lives are quite often adversely affected, when this is accompanied with insensitivity to the natural, social and architectural environment, it is time that we, the community, the council and the developers, occasionally stop and together review the situation.
Development is welcome. Daylesford enjoys progressive creative and successful people in any field. This makes for a vibrant community. Therefore we need development, but development which is sensitive to the overall health of the town. This is a difficult task but with due consideration and a creative approach, not impossible. We need development which also considers beyond the immediate financial gains. We all have a responsibility to the town. Developers in any field from within or out of the town, beyond bringing fistfuls of dollars and promises of wealth, also have a responsibility – they have a responsibility to maintain the natural and architectural integrity of the town, since both our collective memory and wealth are based on it. These aspects represent a richer source of wealth than any amount of financial investment. They have a responsibility to be more sensitive to local feelings. If they lack the sensitivity and creative insight to deal with these important issues, they may expect some healthy opposition from the people who do care for their town.
It will soon be hard enough to understand that you are entering a rural forest town. You would be forgiven for thinking you’d arrived at the edge of a city. Our visitors will soon be faced with the very aspects they come here to escape.
If we do not tread with some care, the attraction to the attraction will destroy the attraction.
What’s Happening in Central Victoria
1. The Arts and Culture
Hepburn Swiss Italian Festa
Where: Venues around Hepburn Springs and Daylesford
When: 27 – 29th October
Cost: See programme for individual event listings and costs
A vibrant celebration of Swiss Italian heritage culture and lifestyle. Join us for a feast of music, food, wine, art and sport which brings the local community and visitors from afar together. This year our theme is Viva La Festa 23! Download our sponsor package or email us at email@example.com.
Our Swiss Italian History, Music and Stories at Yandoit Cultural
Where: Yandoit Cultural, Uniting Church Road (off High Street), Yandoit
When: Sunday 29th October, 1.00pm
Cost: entry by donation
Yandoit and surrounding hamlets were home to many Swiss-Italian migrants who settled during the 1850’s. Some mined for gold, some created farms, some set up bakeries, some built houses from local stone, while others grew grapes for wine. A number of the original families have remained in the neighbourhood for generations. This special event, as part of the Swiss Italian Festa, will bring together decendants from some of the original Swiss Italian settlers, to share memories, tell stories and play music they brought to Australia. There might even be a bus tour to some of the stone houses in the area.
On the Couch with Beck Lister
When: Sunday 29th October, 4:00pm – 5:30pm
Where: Radius Art, 76 Main Rd, Hepburn
Cost: $25/$20 concession
October’s show features another great lineup of guests, including
Tony Kelly: Writer, lawyer and grandson of Italian opera singer Count Ercole Tonti Filippini
Christine Douglas: opera singers and teacher
Peter Tyndall: visual artist
Where Music, Art and Meditation Meet
Essays on Earth: Brodie Ellis, Paul Kane and John Wolseley
Where: Bendigo Art Gallery, 42 View St, Bendigo
When: 9th September 2023 – 14th January 2024, 10am – 5pm
Essays on Earth is a collaboration between multidisciplinary artist Brodie Ellis, painter and printmaker John Wolseley and poet Paul Kane, uniting the work of three leading artists of the Bendigo region. Across three gallery spaces, Ellis and Wolseley’s focused observations of the natural world, expressed through photography, sculpture, painting and moving image, are arranged in dialogue with the elemental themes and poetic reflections of Kane’s recent series of ‘verse essays’, titled Earth, Air, Water, Fire (2022).
Northern Arts Hotel – What’s On
Castlemaine’s Northern Arts Hotel has another rich and vibrant selection of live music and spoken word events on offer this month.
For details, please visit their website:
2. Building Community
Castlemaine Free University: Resident Led Housing Workshop
resident-led housing options (developing multi-residential housing for
their own occupation in partnership with other households) to a
workshop focussing on the collective resources required to deliver such projects.
Initiated by Jen Lynch (RMIT Architecture + Urban Design) and Dr
Andrea Sharam (RMIT Property, Construction, and Project Management)
presenting representatives of successful housing projects:
• Jasmine Palmer (Urban Coup Brunswick — 29 apartments)
• Tim Riley (Property Collectives) — 10 apartment/ townhouse projects
• Mary-Faeth Chenery and Anneke Deutsch — 30 apartment project, in progress
• Liam Wallis (Hip vs. Hype, Davison Collaborative) — townhouses.
This event is supported by Allie Hanley (Saltgrass Podcast) and the My Home
Network of Mount Alexander Shire.
receive further information, please complete this short survey —
Planet Local Summit
If you’d like to catch up on or revisit the Planet Local Summit, all plenary sessions from the Friday and Saturday are now available online.There were so many incredible talks. Listed below are some of those most remarked upon.
Food & Farming Revolutions
Patrick Holden, Chris Smaje, Jyoti Fernandes, Nelson Mudzingwa and Margarita Barcena Lujambio.
Recording timestamp: 2:23:44
Living Cultures, Old and New
Daniel Christian Wahl, Keibo Oiwa and Morag Gamble.
Recording timestamp: 3:27:15
In Search of Wisdom for a Broken World
Iain McGilchrist and Bayo Akomolafe
Recording timestamp: 5:18:00
Beyond Progress: The Economics of Life (part 2)
Michael Shuman, Jeremy Lent, Liz Hosken and Helena Norberg-Hodge (on Economies of Happiness)
Recording timestamp: 2:37:50
Inheriting a World in Crisis
Poppy Okotcha, Jack Harries, Ele Saltmarsh, Thais Mantovani, Chay Harwood and Henry Coleman
Recording timestamp: 4:56:00
Charles Eisenstein, Bayo Akomolafe, Manish Jain and Camila Moreno
Recording timestamp: 54:37
Mount Alexander Shire News
Nominate a community member for an Australia Day Award
Is there someone in your community who’s made a positive difference to the lives of others? Nominate them for an Australia Day Award.
Nominations are now open and close on Friday 1 December.
Castlemaine streetscape brightens Council offices
Artwork by local artist, Ned Middleton, is on display in our offices to celebrate Council’s first standalone Disability Inclusion Action Plan.
Ned has painted the Castlemaine streetscape using acrylic on canvas.
Tree pruning around powerlines begins soon in Castlemaine
More than 500 trees will be pruned in Castlemaine by qualified contractors during October.
The works will help to meet electricity safety standards, reducing the risk of fire, blackouts and power surges.
We’re here to help you do business
Stay up to date with local business news via our regular Business Enewsletter.
Apply for a Community Christmas Celebration Grant 🎄
We’re helping towns across the shire celebrate the festive season with Community Christmas Celebration Grants.
These can be used for decorations, music, community events and more.
Have your say with Shape Mount Alexander
We value community feedback and local knowledge, which we use to inform our projects and general decision-making.
We have two projects currently open:
Housing and Neighbourhood Character Strategy
Have your say on the future of housing in Castlemaine, Campbells Creek and Chewton.
Public Art Advisory Panel
Become one of six passionate community members to join our inaugural Public Art Advisory Panel.
Sign up to our online engagement platform, Shape Mount Alexander, where you’ll find information on plans and projects, surveys, community consultations, and more.
3. Ecology and the Environment
Unveiling the Feathered Five’s Fading Symphony
Posted on 3 October, 2023 by Connecting Country
Three of our region’s Feathered Five are now listed as threatened. We have partnered with Birdlife Castlemaine District to deliver a series of blog posts describing these species, why they are threatened, and what we can do to support the conservation of these species into the future.
Extinction is a modern issue
The word extinction may evoke thoughts of the Woolly Mammoth or the Dodo. But in Australia, extinction is very much a contemporary issue. Currently 39 Australian mammal, and 22 bird species, are extinct; a further 154 birds are threatened with extinction. There are very recent, examples of extinctions. The Christmas Island Pipistrelle, a native bat, was last recorded in 2009 and formally declared extinct in 2019. Australia has also recently experienced its first documented reptile extinction. The Christmas Island Forest Skink went from being abundant and common up until the late 1990s to officially declared extinct in 2017. The last one died in captivity in 2014 less than five months after Australian legislation finally listed the species as endangered. Climate change represents a real and serious threat; the Bramble Cay Melomys, a bright-eyed native rodent, was declared extinct in 2014, likely due to rising sea levels impacting its island habitat. To date, there have been 100 extinctions in Australia since European colonisation (click here).
Our Famous (Feathered) Five… but for how long?
Just a few months ago, three of our beloved Feathered Five: the Diamond Firetail, the Hooded Robin (south-eastern), and the Brown Treecreeper (south-eastern), were listed under the Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. This means that the birds are now protected under federal legislation, but the declines that lead to these listings raises concerns about the status of these species into the long term.
What can you do? Conservation action in the Mount Alexander area
When a species is listed as threatened under the EPBC Act, the Australian Government develops a conservation advice document. These are intended to guide recovery planning and identify actions required for conservation and recovery of the species. For detailed information, you can read the conservation advice on the Diamond Firetail (click here), Brown Treecreeper (click here), and Hooded Robin (click here).
We would be devastated if our beloved Feathered Five slipped away and are hopeful that the listing of these species prompts wider conservation action. The listing of these species has prompted our friends and project partners, Birdlife Castlemaine District, to hold a meeting and consider what local actions could be undertaken to preserve these species. Into the future, we will be working with Birdlife Castlemaine District to seek funding support for these species, and to continue to raise the profile of these important species and do our best to conserve them.
Birdlife Castlemaine District have proposed the following simple, practical actions that landholders can take to help protect these special birds:
- Plant and retain locally indigenous shrubs and native grasses, and – importantly – allow them to go to seed, to provide food for seed-eating birds. Many gardens in the area already have wallaby grass – rather than mowing them, let them go to seed. Indigenous seeds are available from the Castlemaine Seed Library for a select number of species.
- Insects are also an important food source for some of the Feathered Five species, so plant local, insect-attracting plants. Reduce spraying of garden pests such as aphids.
- Provide water for birds and consider using water sources that hang to reduce predation from cats at bird baths.
Keep cats inside – see the Safe Cat website for information on how to keep cats (and wildlife) safe.
Where: The Goods Shed, Kennedy St, Castlemaine
When:11th November at 6.30pm
Cost: $15 adults, $10 students
This exciting event will bring the Castlemaine climate and music communities together and raise funds to support important local climate initiatives. There will three bands performing – Fryer, an emerging band from Castlemaine Secondary College, along with Keaper and Muma Ganoush, which are more established bands from Naarm (Melbourne).
4. First Nations
Statement for our People and Our Country (abridged)
A statement published by the Uluru Dialogue.
22 October 2023: To the Prime Minister and every Member of the House of Representatives and the Senate of the Commonwealth Parliament
This is an open letter which will be circulated to the Australian public and media:
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have observed a week of silence across Australia since the outcome of the Referendum last Saturday 14 October 2023. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags have flown half-mast and we have refrained from media commentary, even as politicians, governments, media commentators and analysts have spent a week exonerating – and indeed, lauding – the nobility of the 60.8 per cent of Australians who voted to reject Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the First Peoples of Australia.
These are the collective insights and views of a group of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders, community members and organisations who supported Yes.
(Editors note: the full text under each heading can be found at: https://fpdn.org.au/open-letter-statement-for-our-people-and-country/)
1. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are in shock and are grieving the result.
2. We thank the 5.51 million Australians who voted Yes to recognition.
3. We acknowledge the resounding Yes vote in discrete and remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
4. Australia is our country.
5. The Constitution still belongs to those who the founding fathers originally intended it for and remains unchanged in our exclusion.
6. The support for the referendum collapsed from the moment Liberal and National Party leaders, Mr Dutton and Mr Littleproud, chose to oppose the Voice to Parliament proposal after more than a decade of bipartisan support.
7. Lies in political advertising and communication were a primary feature of this campaign.
8. There has always been racism against First Nations people in Australia.
9. Post-referendum commentaries that exculpate those who voted No were expected as the usual kind of post-election approbation of the electorate.
10. We will maintain the vision of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
11. We want to talk with our people and our supporters about establishing – independent of the Constitution or legislation – an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to take up the cause of justice for our people.
12. We will regather in due course and develop a plan for our future direction.
5. Food Growing, Farming and Food Security
Harcourt’s Orchard Keepers – team changes and survey
After two years at the helm, Yoann, Meg, Alex, Ingrid, Bri and Rachel have moved on to other adventures, and Katie and Hugh Finlay will be returning to hands-on management of the orchard. This year they will be opening for regular Pick-Your-Own days, reopening the farm shop, holding volunteer days and shortly reopening the CSA. They are also testing the idea of running an ‘Orchard Incubator’ course to train budding growers how to grow great organic fruit. Please take a moment to fill out their survey here, and share it with anyone in your networks who you think might be interested in a) doing the course, b) doing some volunteering this summer (possibly in exchange for fruit) or c) a job at the orchard or doing markets.
To stay in touch with all the news about Orchard Keepers, click here to join the Orchard Keepers mailing list.
Mt Franklin Organics – Update
Mt Franklin Organics are back at the Daylesford Sunday market again this week. If you want to grab some seedlings, please bring a tray or a box if possible.
However for those of you who can’t make it to the market, but still want seedlings or seeds this weekend, you can come to the farm between 1 and 3 pm on Saturday (180 church Rd, Mt Franklin, come down the driveway and park at shed)) please call or text me on 0412 517 013 to let me know before
There is a huge array of fresh produce available: Leeks large $2.80 , Rhubarb $4.50, Leeks bunch $6.00, Chives, garlic chives, thyme, sage $2.50/bunch, Dutch cream potatoes from wombat organics, which are also suitable for planting $4/kg
Seedlings: $3.50 or any 3 for $10.00: Chives, garlic Chives, balinese chives, sage, oregano, rosemary, tarragon, mint, Vietnamese mint, horseradish, comfrey, thyme, lemon thyme, parsley. Asparagus, snowpeas, black kale, broccoli, tropea onions, brown onions, spring onions, leeks, artichokes, spinach, cos lettuce, green oak lettuce, red oak lettuce, romain lettuce, purple pak choi, strawberries, nasturtiums, zucchini, marigolds, various pumpkins
Organic seeds, Tomato plants,Fig trees, red and black currents, Boysenberries, Kangaroo apples
6. Sustainable Economic Initiatives
Offers and Needs Market
Where: Woodend, Castlemaine
When: Woodend: 11th November, 12-4pm, Castlemaine 12th November, 12-4pm
Cost: gold coin donation
The Offers and Needs Market is a decentralised, community-based exchange for sharing skills, services and resources. Meet fellow community members and connect with people who can help you with what you want or need in your life. Exchange can be via barter, LETS, LCE or cash.
Bookings: visit trybooking.com/CLPFA or scan the QR code on the picture.
New Economy Network Australia (NENA) 2023 Conference
Where: Canberra – see conference webpage for details
When: 17 – 19th November 2023
Cost: $350 pay it forward/$250 full/$180 concession
Today, climate change, environmental decline and social justice challenges are forcing societies to rethink our economic systems and social governance. It’s been said that it’s easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism. Capitalism – the system that enables a small group of people to accumulate wealth by extracting and controlling resources, at the expense of the majority of people and our planet – hasn’t always been the dominant human governance system and will not be in place forever.
So what could life be like after capitalism? What might our society and economy look like?
These are the questions NENA is exploring in our 2023 Conference.
Register here: https://events.humanitix.com/nena-conference-2023
We have set conference ticket prices as low as possible, just enough to cover our venue hire and catering costs. Even so, we don’t want anyone to feel excluded, so if you need assistance with the ticket cost, please email us: firstname.lastname@example.org.
NENA Webinars from Economics for the Earth Week, Degrowth Week and Localisation Week now available
Recordings of NENA webinars on a fascinating series of topics relating to ecologically sustainable economics, degrowth and localisation are now available for free from the NENA website. Some examples of the webinar topics on offer include “Indigenous philosophy and relationist economics” with Mary Graham, “Degrowth in Australia – what’s possible?” with Anitra Nelson & Terry Leahy, and “The path to a sustainable civilisation: technological, socioeconomic and political change” with Mark Diesendorf & Rod Taylor.
The Degrowth Network Australia (DNA)
When: 11th October from 12pm – 2pm
We bring together people interested in degrowth from all around the country, discuss degrowth issues, share what we are up and plan!
Meetings are on the second Wednesday of every month, from 12-2pm (East Coast/AEST), 10am-12pm (WA), 11.30am-1.30pm (SA)
Please email email@example.com if you have any questions and to be added to the email list.
We hope you can join us!
7. Sustainable Living Resources
Home Audit Workshop 1: Prioritising Home Retrofit Tasks
When: 29th October 2pm – 5pm
Where: Castlemaine – address provided on registration
Cost: free but bookings required (limit of 20 participants)
In this workshop from West End Energy Group, Janet Barker, an accredited home energy efficiency assessor, will give a hands-on demonstration of a home energy audit and its recommendations. Afternoon tea provided.
To register, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Letter to the Editor – Castlemaine Mail
Makarrata, a process of settling disputes for our First Nation’s People, goes back hundreds of years. In 2017, a big step towards reconciliation was taken with the Uluru Statement from the Heart. Still the adoption of an Indigenous Voice into the Constitution is long overdue. Thankfully in March 2023, our PM to his credit, told us of the plan. Unfortunately since then, the process seems to have gone backwards. Anthony Albanese, anticipating that it would be a bipartisan issue, called it the “Yes” campaign. At the time there wasn’t a “No”, but not long after, Peter Dutton, Opposition leader said “If you don’t know, vote no”, unofficially launching a “No” campaign. But wait a minute Peter, you could just have easily said “If you don’t know, vote “Yes” out of respect for one of the oldest living cultures in the world”. Now that we have established “Yes” and “No” campaigns, it is most unfortunate that the “No” has been subjected to so much politicisation and obfuscation that people are feeling confused about which one to vote for. I hope that come polling day, you can make the right choice. Just to be clear, here’s some definitions:
Bipartisan: adj. consisting of or supported by two political parties.
Politicise: v. to make (campaign, issue or argument) a state or government issue.
Obfuscate: v. to make something unnecessarily difficult to understand.
Food for Thought
A video on snakes sent by Patrick Kavanagh from Newstead Landcare
As our beautiful snakes wake from their cold weather torpor, we are more likely to encounter thee exquisite reptiles. This TED video by
Tree Migration – Emergence Magazine- October 2023
The Impact of Tailings Dams On Farming – Cowra
Hamas, Israel and the Devil On My Shoulder
In the wake of the terror attacks by Hamas on Israeli civilians, and the Israeli government’s attacks on Gaza in response, many have become caught up in a mindset of sectarian hate that dehumanises and dismisses those on the ‘other side’, and claimed that justice demands retribution – a pattern that will only perpetuate the cycle of destruction and trauma. This article by Charles Eisenstein shows that it is possible to see and grieve for the humanity of all parties in this conflict, while acknowledging the grievances that must be addressed if peace is ever to be a possibility.
Two commentators who manage to speak eloquently for the tragedy that has befallen their people, while also showing empathy for the other side and regard for their needs and grievances, are Isaac Saul (Jewish) and Iyad el-Baghdadi (Palestinian). Below are links to their Twitter/X pages.