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Localising Leanganook, established as a community initiative in 2016, emerged out of the Local Lives Global Matters conference held in Castlemaine in October 2015. Centred in Mt Alexander shire, Localising Leanganook brings community members together to further explore themes central to the conference: sustaining viable local economies; acting on social and ecological justice; reclaiming democracy; and revitalising spirituality.
Community conversations are held every six weeks. These include presentations which challenge existing paradigms, which showcase creative and sustainable local initiatives, and which incubate ideas and strategies to strengthen community connection and resilience.

October e-news

The inherent weakness and fragility in the current wasteland that is our food system

is the size of its ecological footprint, the resources needed to sustain it

and the exploitation it requires (Raj Patel- 1)


This October e-news includes:

  • the next community conversation- Food Sovereignty and La Via Campesina with Tammi Jonas, Sunday October 15th at 5.pm;
  • Mt Alexander eco-housing group, Monday October 2nd;
  • Democracy 4 Dinner, Wednesday October 11th;
  • Rockin’ for West Papua fundraiser, Saturday October 7th ;
  • Collaborative housing for seniors, Wednesday October 11th;
  • Plastic bag free Daylesford and Castlemaine- boomerang bags;
  • Michelle Maloney’s talk- Australian Earth Laws Alliance– a summary.

Food Sovereignty with Tammi Jonas and the global Via Campesina gathering

‘Globalising our struggles and localising our hope’

When and Where: Sunday October 15th, 5.00pm

Ray Bradfield Rm, Castlemaine (b/w IGA carpark and Victory Park)

As Australian farmers and eaters struggle with a highly centralised food system controlled primarily by two major retailers, loss of access to processing facilities for all kinds of farmers, unfair and scale-inappropriate regulations and planning, and an increase in food insecurity in spite of wasting up to 40% of all food produced, our issues are mirrored elsewhere on the globe.
President of the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (AFSA) and local small-scale pastured pig and cattle farmer and butcher Tammi Jonas is recently returned from the gathering in Bilbao, Spain of La Via Campesina, the global movement of peasant farmers and fisherfolk, indigenous people, women, youth, and the landless, where she heard of the negative impacts of so-called free trade on smallholders everywhere, and the shared experience of loss of land tenure and access to processing facilities as fewer and fewer multi-national corporations own more and more of our food and agriculture systems.
Tammi also attended meetings of the Food & Agriculture Organisation of the UN in Kuala Lumpur in early September on the use of biotechnologies in sustainable agriculture, where civil society expressed grave concerns at the abuse of power by corporate giants like Monsanto and CropLife that is destroying smallholders’ livelihoods globally.
On a more hopeful note, Tammi has much to share on the strength and coordination of the global food sovereignty movement, and the hundreds of millions of smallholders working to feed their local communities fairly in the face of the challenges of industrialised food and agriculture systems and its proponents.

Let us not forget that the cultivation of the earth is the most important labour of man

When tillage begins, other arts will follow

The farmers, therefore are the founders of civilisation  (Daniel Webster- 2)


Eco-collaborative housing

When: 7.30pm, Monday October 2nd, 2018

Mt Alexander’s  Eco-housing group will scope legal options, challenges and processes for eco-collaborative housing with local expert George Ryan. Discussion will focus on real life examples of people wanting to share their land and/or subdivide with the intention of neighbourly connection and mutual support.

Liz from Musk and Margaret from Castlemaine will describe their quite different land situations, visions and questions. George will discuss some of the practical and theoretical details that they might need to consider. There will be time to discuss ideas and examples raised by those attending.

RSVP to anitra.nelson@rmit.edu.au would be useful

Collaborative Housing for Seniors

Where: Ray Bradfield Room, Castlemaine
When: Wednesday, 11th  October
Time: 10:30 am – 12:30 pm
Cost: Free. Contact Anitra Nelson for more details on 0426 766 755

‘What housing would be ideal for you in ten years time?’
Mount Alexander Eco-Housing Group present a talk, facilitated workshop, and discussion with survey. “Collaborative Housing for seniors: Self-management and mutual support.”

For further information go to: Mount Alexander Ecohousing Group Blog


Rockin’ for West Papua

A night under the stars at beautiful Lot 19 with some of our finest local acts supporting our West Papuan friends, to raise awareness of the genocide and human rights abuses in West Papua, Australia’s closest neighbour.

Come and meet members of the West Papuan community who will be coming up from Melbourne to play music and share their stories and a couple of short films.

Listen to a collection of local performers as well as the West Papuan group from Melbourne featuring members of the Black Orchid Stringband.

Locals include The Gooses Bridle (harmony based, quirky, uke driven music from Guildford), The Chick Peas (seven havoc makers wielding anything from ukes to trombones), Brighton Whitely (the inventor of synthetic cabaret), Chris Scott (playing his song for West Papua), Kestral (harmonic singing & unique rhythmic guitar) and local DJ Wasabi will be joining MC Izzy (from Combat Wombat) for some edgy hiphop.

When and Where: Saturday October 7th at Lot 19, Langslow St, Castlemaine

Dinner served from 6pm

Cost: Tickets $20- All funds raised go to the Free West Papua Campaign 

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/342621106156522/

Contact:  Rose Turtle Ertler:  roseturtle@gmail.com


When and Where: 7.30pm, Wednesday October 11th at Cafe re-PUBLIC (back room), 26 Templeton St, Castlemaine.

This month’s focus will be: The Republic- an opportunity to do democracy better,  with Cathy Wheel and Michael Scott.

For more information and suggested readings email: lexi.lestrange@gmail.com

Plastic bag free Castlemaine and Daylesford- boomerang bags

Locals living in Daylesford and Castlemaine, along with many other communities around Australia, are sewing and distributing boomerang bags. Join others seeking a plastic bag free world by sewing boomerang bags after Castlemaine’s Repair Cafe, from 1.pm to 4.pm, on Sunday October 29th, at Ray Bradfield Rm in Castlemaine.

For those living in the Daylesford area, email Michelle: info@bedesigns.com.au

Australian Earth Laws Alliance in Castlemaine- Michelle Maloney

Localising Leanganook was delighted to welcome Dr Michelle Maloney to Castlemaine in August. Co-founder and National Convener of the Australian Earth Law Alliance (ALEA),  Michelle commenced her presentation by describing current challenges in the global context,  reminding us that humans are pushing the limits of numerous planetary boundaries, that designate a safe operating space for humanity within the living earth system. These boundaries include biodiversity integrity and global freshwater. Four out of nine boundaries have been crossed.  She drew on the example of climate change thresholds being breached, where in the summer of 2013 extraordinary heat levels required a new colour to be added to BOM maps.  She also reminded us that by 2030 we would need 4.8 planets to support the global population if everyone consumed at the rate of Australians.

How did we get into this situation?  She said the perfect storm started with the industrial revolution, with great acceleration taking off in the 1950’s driven by exploitation of ‘cheap’ fossil fuels.

The crisis we face is inspiring the emergence of new ideas to achieve harmony with nature, in science, art, politics and law and governance.  The emergence of Earth Jurisprudence is one bloom, now flowering on the tree of humanity at this time of crisis.  Jurisprudence is a theory of law.

The ‘father’ of the earth jurisprudence movement was Thomas Berry, who inspired thousands of people to find new relationships with earth, drawing on the deep wisdom on Indigenous cultures. He called for Rights for Nature.Berry pointed to ideas that lie beneath political, economic and social/cultural institutions –  the anthropocentrism and pro-growth hegemony that is embedded within current societies.  He called for Earth Jurisprudence,  shifting our governance systems from human-centred to earth-centred.  Governance must be a central focus as we move forward, both formally and informally, within families, organizations, governments.  In 2002 Cormac Cullinan developed the ‘Wild Law’ manifesto answering the call of Berry for the development of Rights of Nature.

While our current system of environmental law has made some progress, according to Michelle ‘it just mitigates around the edges of the problem’. Because it is based within the existing anthropocentric/pro-growth paradigm, the earth continues to deteriorate.  Meanwhile the Earth Law movement is burgeoning with a growing list of laws being implemented around the world. ALEA is leading the movement in Australia with five core areas of work: building community, creating alternatives (e.g. new economy network), transforming law (e.g. GreenPrints project, ecocide), reconnecting to what matters (e.g. science, ethics) and changing culture (e.g. education, earth arts).   Michelle shared stories of ALEA initiatives, including the recent Earth Law Tribunal in Brisbane this year.

Finally, Michelle introduced us to the Green Prints initiative, which is being designed for civil society and advocacy. Green Prints weaves together existing successful approaches including ecological footprint, new economy, transition towns etc., within an Earth systems science, earth law framework and using a bioregional/localisation approach to develop templates for living with harmony with nature. Those who attended came away inspired.


  1. Patel, Raj: Stuffed and Starved- markets, power and the hidden battle for the world food system, Black Ink, 2007, p.294

2. Webster, Daniel, cited Abelman, Michael: Fields of Plenty- A farmer’s journey in search of real food and the people who grow it, Chronicle books, 2005, p.9

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August e-news

As dreams are the healing songs

from the wilderness of our unconscious-

so wild animals, wild plants, wild landscapes 

are the healing dreams from the deep singing mind

of the earth (David Pendell) 1


Welcome to the Localising Leanganook’s August e-news. In this edition you can read about:

  • Our next community conversation with Dr Michelle Maloney, National Convener of the Australian Earth Laws Alliance;
  • Castlemaine’s burgeoning Repair Cafe;
  • Film screening in Daylesford: Our Power: Reconnecting Our Communities;
  • Liz Elliott’s publication- ‘A new way now‘- exploding the money myths that keep us stressed;
  • Central Victorian Climate Action’s challenge to COMMbank;
  • Castlemaine’s next Democracy 4 Dinner event;
  • John Terry’s Rites of Passage presentation held in early July;

Our next community conversation

Localising Leanganook has the pleasure of hosting an inspirational speaker from Queensland, Dr Michelle Maloney, National Convener of the Australian Earth Laws Alliance (AELA).  Michelle is co-founder of AELA and one of the driving forces behind this paradigm shifting initiative.  Michelle will introduce us to Earth jurisprudence, or ‘Earth laws’, which calls for us to shift the underpinning structures of industrial society to nurture, not destroy, the natural world.

When: 4.00pm, Saturday August 12th, 2017

Where: Ray Bradfield Room, Castlemaine (between IGA carpark and Victory Park)

For more information contact Mahesh on mobile- 0435 802 464 or via email mahesh.kandasamy.10@gmail.com

Note: this conversation is on Saturday, rather than our usual Sunday afternoon.

As we face a climate changed world and transition away from our destructive reliance of fossil fuels, human societies have an opportunity to create new ways of working together and nurturing the wider Earth community.

Michelle will discuss how Earth laws offer a grounding for new forms of social and ecological governance, economy and community. She will discuss a range of practical projects that enable communities to engage with Earth centred laws, governance and ethics, including: The Green Prints project, the New Economy Network Australia, the Australian Centre for the Rights of Nature, AELA Education, Earth Arts and other projects.

There will be an opportunity for questions and discussion after Michelle’s presentation.

About Michelle Maloney 

Dr. Michelle Maloney has a Bachelor of Arts and Law (Hons) from the Australian National University and a PhD in Law from Griffith University.  As Co-Founder and National Convener of the Australian Earth Laws Alliance, Michelle manages the strategic direction and governance of AELA, including the extensive partnerships and networks that AELA has with the legal, academic, indigenous and environmental advocacy communities.

Michelle also designs and manages AELA programs and events, including AELA’s Rights of Nature Tribunals, and coordinates the work of more than 25 multi-disciplinary professional and student volunteers around Australia.  Michelle has edited two books and written a dozen or so articles and chapters.

For more information about Michelle’s work visit her profile page.

What are Earth Laws & Earth Jurisprudence?

The Australian Earth Laws Alliance draws its inspiration from an emerging theory of law called Earth Jurisprudence – also known as ‘Earth Laws’ or ‘Wild Law’.  Earth jurisprudence is a new legal theory and growing social movement.  It proposes that we rethink our legal, political, economic and governance systems so that they support, rather than undermine, the integrity and health of the Earth.

Earth Jurisprudence stresses human interconnectedness and dependence with the natural world.Recognition of human interconnectedness with nature is a prerequisite for ecological sustainability and should be recognized as the foundation of our legal system. Historically, the environmental conditions of civilizations have been altered by geographical, cultural and socio-economic changes. However, contemporary industrial civilization has altered its environment to such a degree that its own existence has been placed in jeopardy.

What is the Earth Laws Alliance AELA

The Australian Earth Laws Alliance (AELA) is a national not-for-profit organisation whose mission is to increase the understanding and practical implementation of Earth centred law, governance and ethics (or ‘Earth jurisprudence’) in Australia.

AELA works to build long term systemic change, so that human societies can shift from human centred to Earth centred governance.  ALEA’s vision is to create human societies that live within their ecological limits, respect the rights of nature and enjoy productive, sustainable economies that nurture the health of the wider Earth community.

AELA website:  https://www.earthlaws.org.au/

Film screening: Our Power- Reconnecting Our Communities

When: 10.45am, Sunday August 13th, 2017

Where: Daylesford Cinema, the Rex Arcade, Vincent St, Daylesford

With panel guests- Latrobe Valley Community Leaders joined by Director and Producer.

A new publication: A New Way Now 

Dr Liz Elliott’s book combines ecology, community and finance and explodes the money myths that keep us stressed. Liz presented at the Local Lives Global Matters conference. She has donated a book to Localising Leanganook which is available for loan. Electronic as well as hard copies are available from Liz via email: cloud_catcher1@optusnet.com.au

Castlemaine’s Burgeoning Repair Cafe

Photo: Vee Kay, shared on Castlemaine Repair Cafe facebook page

A report from Chris Hooper:
What a great July cafe! Lots of people, fixers and those learning to fix and people eating soup or drinking tea/coffee. The next cafe on
August 27th will include a bicycle puncture repair workshop – please bring a repair kit, and sewing machine maintenance – bring oil if you can. You need to book for this due to space – facebook or ring Chris on 54705508. Puncture repair and knife sharpening from 11.00am. Sewing machine maintenance will be at 11.00am and sewing repairs from 12.15pm to 1.00pm. Darning and electricals as usual.
The Repair Cafe is from 10.00am to 1.00pm at the Ray Bradfield Room on the last Sunday of each month.

Castlemaine’s Democracy 4 Dinner

 The next D4D event will be Wednesday September 13th. To get an alert when tickets are released, make sure you are signed up to the D4D newsletter.

Central Victorian Climate Action’s challenge to COMMbank

On July 14th, a crowd ranging from young to old, gathered at Bendigo Commbank with tape measures. CommBank does not measure up to what Australians expect from a major bank.  We expect banks to be financially and morally responsible and to rule out financing destructive new fossil fuel projects like the Adani Mine that will destroy our chances or restoring a safe climate.  So, we’ve got your measurements now, and we know how many people we can cram in your doors at our next protest if your climate policies fail to measure up again in the coming weeks.

John Terry’s Rites of Passage presentation

At Localising Leanganook’s July community conversation John Terry, a member of the facilitating team for Castlemaine’s Rites of Passage, spoke about giving boys and men a different experience, an experience of connecting to something bigger. Rites of passage are intrinsic to many cultures around the world. Puberty is traditionally acknowledged as an important transition, one to be acknowledged rather than ignored. For the past seven years young men from around the Castlemaine area have welcomed the opportunity to spend three days and nights in the bush. This opportunity comes at a time in their life when there are changes in relationships, questioning and doubts, and the potential for young men to get into trouble.

John spoke of the young men being present and connecting to self, community and nature. The men face challenges to their physical body, to thoughts and to each person’s being. The young men are acknowledged, supported/mentored and celebrated for who they are. Being able to develop and maintain supportive relationships in the local community is a key strength.

The program is also evolving women in the process in response to the need from mothers and partners.


1 cited in Buhner,S.H: Plant Intelligence and the Imaginal Realm – Beyond the Doors of Perception into the Dreaming of the Earth, Bear and Company, 2014, p.373

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The third Localising Leanganook e-news- June 2017

Localising Leanganook

To see things in the seed, that is the genius


This June edition includes information about:

  • the next Localising Leanganook conversation focused on Castlemaine’s Rites of Passage;
  • Castlemaine’s Repair Cafe;
  • a summary of Renewable Newstead‘s  conversation starter with Genevieve Barlow;
  • A farewell to Rod May;
  • Central Vic Climate Action;
  • Democracy 4 Dinner.

Next community conversation: 

Castlemaine’s Rites of Passage for Boys & Men

When: Sunday July 2nd at 5.00pm

Where: Ray Bradfield room, between IGA carpark and Victory park, Castlemaine

This event is the next in a series organised by the Localising Leanganook network. The sessions commence with a brief talk, opening into a circle discussion on topics that re-localise our economy, social connections, our ecology and our public life.

John Terry will share with us some of the philosophy and experiences of Castlemaine’s Rites of Passage program with boys and men, which has been operating over the past seven years.

John attended the first rites of passage event seven years ago and has been part of the facilitating team since then. Rites of passage are intrinsic to many cultures around the world. In these traditional communities boys, on reaching puberty, are taken into rites of passage both to acknowledge significant transition they are moving through and to acknowledge each young person’s uniqueness.

There is ample evidence that young men could well find their own ways, often involving risk taking behaviour, if adults in their community don’t provide rites of passage experiences for them. Many boys do not relate to images of being a man commonly portrayed in media and on the internet, which can leave them feeling unseen and trying to play out roles that are not authentic to themselves.

Castlemaine Rites of Passage is a group of local men, all volunteers, who have seen the lack of rites of passage in our community and chosen to do something about this. In 2010 and 2011 men from a community group in South Australia were invited to Castlemaine to run rites of passage events for boys and men with the intention of seeding a local group. Since that time the local process has continued and evolved, focusing on acknowledgement, support and celebration of participants as guiding principles.

The program centres around a long weekend shared together out in bush in the Mt. Alexander area. Participants are challenged in different ways whilst spending time connecting with men, the natural environment and themselves. Participants are supported to be present to the challenges as well as joys of transitioning into manhood in our society. The program involves families and the broader community in support of the boys and men participating.

Join us on July 2nd for this conversation followed by a shared meal.

Castlemaine’s Repair Cafe

Don’t toss it away, bring it instead to the Repair Cafe- held on the last Sunday of each month.

The next repair cafe is this coming Sunday  June 25th from 10.00am until 1.00pm in the Ray Bradfield room. This cafe includes knife sharpening.

Renewable Newstead conversation

Genevieve Barlow stimulated our May conversation by sharing some of Newstead’s  journey to renewable energy since their 20/21 summit in 2008.  Acknowledging ‘those whose shoulders we stand on’ and committing to ‘do no harm’, Genevieve reflected on local people taking the initiative, allowing time to really form ideas, meeting only when necessary so energy levels can be maintained over what has been a ten year period. Renewable Newstead is committed to the creation of commercially viable, locally generated, renewable energy for the town, commercial viability being one of the trickiest aspects.

At the ten year mark, the project is in a critical phase and Genevieve emphasized the importance of deepening community engagement and of having a mix of people and skills in the group. Choosing not to go down the energy retailer path, partners have been sought. Community discussion ranges over a variety of issues including the creation a business case, energy audits for houses, the value of the grid in Newstead, how to make the energy price lower than now, bringing down peak use, battery options, education, buying and selling energy within the community and energy use. With significant public monies from the Victorian State government Genevieve acknowledged risks of this project from the government’s point of view and the potential  impact that Renewable Newstead’s experience may have on other communities, particularly where the network needs upgrading. ‘Whilst it makes so much sense to generate local energy’, Genevieve said, ‘there remain questions and complexities about the grid’s capacity’ to integrate significant quantities of local renewable energy.

In reflecting back, Genevieve’s summary words of wisdom were: always get social licence from the community; draw on local people; don’t over-meet, acknowledge initiatives such as these are a long haul; remember we stand on others shoulders; and go where the people are at.

Farewell to local farmer Rod May

Recently, Daylesford Town Hall filled to overflowing with people, from central Victoria and beyond, whose lives have been enriched by local organic farmer, greens politician and environmentalist Rod May. Many of us have been nourished in body and in spirit by Rod. Here are Rod’s hands and an excerpt of Steph Hodgins-May’s eulogy to her father, Rod.

Dad was a proud farmer who lived a modest life but was free and independent, with a presence that said he belonged in this place in the world. My first memories are of planting trees with him and my last memories are of selling organic veggies with him at the Creswick Farmers Market days before we said goodbye. We were a formidable team. Losing our dad, best friend and hero feels so unjust but I know he would have wise and comforting words for us. Probably a little something like this from the last book he recommended we read, The Shepherd’s Life:

‘There is no beginning, and there is no end. The sun rises, and falls, each day, and the seasons come and go. The days, months and years alternate through sunshine, rain, hail, wind, snow and frost. The leaves fall each Autumn and burst forth again each spring. The earth spins through the vastness of space. The grass comes and goes with the warmth of the sun. The farms and the flocks endure, bigger than the life of a single person. We are born, live our working lives and die, passing like the oak leaves that blow across our land in the winter. We are each a tiny part of something enduring, something that feels solid, real and true.’

Working bees are happening at Rod’s farm in Blampied. Contact Nikki if you are interested in helping out.

Democracy 4 Dinner- next event

Save the date – Wednesday July 19th 7.00pm

Democracy 4 Dinner will meet to discuss “Uluru Statement from The Heart”. Format and venue to be announced in the coming weeks.

Subscribe to the D4D newsletter to ensure you get this and future event updates – http://eepurl.com/b8jIDX

Central Vic Climate Action

An action is planned at the Bendigo Commbank on Friday July 14th at midday with people “measuring themselves up” inside  the bank in case the bank board meeting in August rules in more coal.  This action will include school aged children and occur during the school holidays.
CommBank board met on June 13th to discuss their proposed climate policy. The board required more work to be done on policy to be submitted in August 2017.

A new report compiled by international environment groups, and published recently in marketforces.org.au, graded 37 banks on four aspects of their fossil fuel lending policies: extreme oil (including tar sands, ultra deep water and arctic drilling); coal mining; coal power; and liquified natural gas (LNG). Commonwealth Bank has been given FAIL grades in all four categories of a new study into international banks’ fossil fuel lending policies. With no publicly disclosed policies to restrict coal mining, coal power, LNG exports or extreme oil, Commonwealth Bank found itself at the bottom of a pile of 37 international banks, receiving an F in all four categories.’

Keep up the pressure by placing ‘Out of order’ stickers on CommBanks ATMs across Victoria and sign the community letter to be presented to Federal MPs expressing community concerns regarding the proposed Adani mine and requesting MPs oppose funding this disastrous mine.

Plans are afoot for a Stop Adani Network Meeting hosted by Central Vic Climate Action- possibly July 29th in Castlemaine.
To get up-to-date information, add your name to Central Vic Climate Action’s email list and follow their facebook page.
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The second Localising Leanganook e-news- May 2017

How can we wrap our minds and hearts around something so vast as the destruction of the biosphere and, instead of going mad, grow alert and very interested?

(Susan Murphy- Minding the Earth, Mending the World, 2012)

This May edition includes information about:

  • the next Localising Leanganook conversation with Renewable Newstead;
  • Central Vic Climate Action;
  • Castlemaine’s Growing Abundance;
  • a summary of Ian McBurney’s conversation starter and reading list- the commons, the cooperative and the wardrobe;
  • Castlemaine’s new Repair Cafe;
  • Democracy 4 Dinner;
  • and a brief report on Deep Play for our Common Futures.

Next Localising Leanganook conversation- Renewable Newstead

When: Sunday May 21st, 5.00pm

Where: Ray Bradfield Room, Castlemaine (b/w IGA carpark and Victory park)

The speaker will be Genevieve Barlow, communications and engagement director with Renewable Newstead. Gen’s short talk will take us through some of Newstead’s journey towards grid-connected, locally-generated and renewable energy for the town. The town’s 2009 community summit nominated energy as a key focus for change and since then a group of locals has worked steadily on how to make the switch. In 2015 the Victorian government provided funds for Newstead to create a commercially viable model for running the town on locally generated, renewable energy. Work to date has focussed on community engagement and on overcoming constraints in the current grid system and in community-wide renewable energy. Newstead’s wider vision is to care for our community.

Renewable Newstead’s experience may inform further thinking and discussion about a Citizen’s Congress for Central Victoria.

Join us on Sunday May 21st at 5.00pm for another hearty conversation followed by a shared meal.

Central Vic Climate Action- Westpac result, further action and a film

A win for climate action and collective power thanks to community action. Westpac has effectively ruled out funding the Adani mine.  Releasing their new climate policy update Westpac says the bank will “limit lending to any new thermal coal mines or projects (including those of existing customers) to only existing coal producing basins” – meaning that they couldn’t invest in the Galilee Basin. Westpac has also committed to only financing new power projects that lower the emissions intensity of the grid which, for Australia, is a de facto exclusion of new coal power stations.

Dean delivering a thank you cake to Westpac Bendigo

The Central Vic Climate Action team encourage you to pop in to Westpac, or write to them, and thank them yourselves, or send a message via this link.

Also  to let Resources Minister, Matt Canavan (Minister.Canavan@industry.gov.au, www.facebook.com/SenatorCanavan), know that it’s not just ‘noisy activists from Sydney’ who were putting pressure on Westpac.  Australians from all walks of life are enormously opposed to the Adani mine.

Further actions and events during May include:

  • a Peaceful rally in Bendigo- Politicians for a Dead Reef, highlighting our federal politicians ongoing support for the Adani Coal Mine (Friday May 12th, 2.30pm) – meet at Senator Bridget McKenzie’s office, Hargraves Mall Bendigo, then moving onto Lisa Chester’s office;
  • Sign the group’s letter to Bendigo federal MP’s;
  • Film Screening and Greens fundraiser- Guarding the Galilee: a 30 minute documentary on the battle to stop the biggest coal mine in Australian history- Adani’s Carmichael project. Meet those engaged in the fight and find out exactly what mining billionaire Adani has planned for Australia. (Thursday 26th May 2017, 7.30pm at Senior Citizens Hall, Castlemaine. Includes a bite to eat and opportunity to meet others concerned about the Adani mine.$10 full, $8 concession).
    Film Trailer link here.

For more information email: centralvicclimateaction@gmail.com or join their facebook page.

Castlemaine’s Growing Abundance: Local Café fundraiser and upcoming events

Growing Abundance seek support for their newest project, The Local– a social enterprise café where all their work on promoting local food with no waste, (including Harvest & Garden Enterprise,  Hub Plot, Seed Library, Canteens, Workshops, and Catering) can coalesce.

Growing Abundance focuses on:

  • growing and eating delicious and healthy local food;
  • harvesting from orchards and backyard sharing and the produce we harvest with the community;
  • being intimate with where our food comes from;
  • growing the food economy through supporting our local growers;
  • feeding our children in local schools through the canteen;
  • sharing our skills and knowledge through workshops, and…
  • we really do love to cook good food (and of course, eat it).

Here’s a link to The Local’s campaign page.

Check out Growing Abundance for upcoming events during May including community apple press, apple harvesting, apple and cider vinegar making, biochar making, and winter pruning.

Ian McBurney’s conversation starter – a summary, reading list and notes

Ian generated another hearty Localising Leanganook conversation with his presentation on the commons, the cooperative and the wardrobe in April. Ian reminded us that the bottom line is not economic growth but breath and connection. We live in a connected biosphere, we are the earth and we are each other. ‘Conspire’ means to share breath together. He acknowledged Suzuki and Goodall inspirations and informed us that he brings questions rather than answers.

In ‘Entering the Wardrobe’ Ian discovered a whole other world, two parallel systems that cannot understand each other- the old neoliberal or the ‘Age of Me’ stories, which are broken but being trumpeted louder. These are characterised by central top down power and control, patriarchy, global wealth extraction, Jobson Growth, social and ecological limits leading to fear, nationalism, fundamentalism and collapse. In parallel are early draft new stories- the Commons or the ‘Age of We’, characterised by local, community, makers, markets, sustainability groups, fix it stores, community gardens, solar bulk buys, freewheeling fun, food hubs, stuff swapping and even local brewing, cheeses, restaurant menus and place making.

We need ‘the Age of We’ because it is who we are. Ian drew on Lisa Berkman’s research- that it better for our health to have strong community links than it is to give up smoking, alcohol and fat; and on Hugh McKay- that belonging can be created where we are and the Good Life is a life of connected service.

Ian took us on a journey from Hardin’s ‘tragedy of the commons’ to Ostrom’s Nobel prize winning research, which demonstrated that communities following her governing the commons rules are more successful than businesses or governments. He cited examples of Indigenous Australians management of the land as a commons; Denmark’s Samso Island which generates 100% renewable energy as a commons; and Bhive- Bendigo’s sharing economy cooperative, creating an ecosystem of local work, local enterprise, local spending, and based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity.

According to Ian the best thinking on the Commons is coming out of here: https://p2pfoundation.net

For Ian’s notes, suggested readings/podcasts, info on Bhive Coop, click here!

Castlemaine opens a Repair Café

Castlemaine’s first Repair Café kicked off on 30th April at the Community House. ‘It was great’ says organiser Chris Hooper, ‘just all fell into place- everyone just started fixing stuff, darning etc’.

Contributions and ideas are welcomed.

The next repair café will be on May 28th – the last Sunday in the month- from 10.00am til 2.00pm at the Ray Bradfield Room and will include a knife sharpening demo. Soup, tea and coffee available.  The café is weighing items repaired as a record of what’s not going to landfill.

For more information email Chris Hooper on: chrislhooper1050@gmail.com

Castlemaine Democracy 4 Dinner 

D4D events are held on the second Wednesday of each month in the back room (not band room) at Bridge Hotel.  The next event is June 14th. One or two attendees are invited to nominate a topic in advance, learn through teaching and share the burden of being informed, engaged citizens with fellow attendees. Events are held over dinner in a relaxed, conversational environment, and offer a way to engage with locals in your area.

Sign up to the monthly newsletter and find out about events in Castlemaine, including a suggested reading list and possible topics: http://eepurl.com/b8jIDX.

More info contact Lexi Randall-L’Estrange: lexi.lestrange@gmail.com or newsletter via: facebook.com/democracy4dinner (no FB account required)

Here’s a relevant link.

Deep Play for Our Common Futures- a brief report

In a Deep Play encounter at Maldon Victoria on April 8, a group of 16 people came together to play with, in and on behalf of the future. The day was hosted by Mahesh Kadasamy and Neil Bowker at their retreat The Elms. This beautiful place set the scene for the workshop run by Dr Jose Ramos and Dr Marcus Bussey. The aim of the day was to play deeply with our future assumptions and to unlock possible routes to futures beyond our current horizons. As Jose put it — this was about exploring our ‘aspirational futures’. Embodied play and the Cosmic Story were introduced by Marcus who uses InterPlay as a method for unlocking our creative selves as cultural workers.

photo- David Dalziel

In summarising the workshop approach Marcus Bussey draws on Dutch historian Johan Huizinga: ‘Play is older than culture, for culture, however inadequately defined, always presupposes 211human society, and animals have not waited for man to teach them their playing.’ This is so, continues Marcus, because play is an embodied process in which playfulness meets consciousness and, of course, we cannot claim that only humanity is conscious in a world filled with the evidence of animals at play.

For more reflections on the workshop click here.


Email through to Nikki any events, information or food for thought you would like included in the next e-news or on the Localising Leanganook website.
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The first e-news from Localising Leanganook

The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating. 

The paths to it are not found, but made;

and the activity of making them changes both the maker and the destination.

Peter Ellyard, Australian Physicist (1)


Welcome to the first e-news from Localising Leanganook

 This first edition includes information about:

  • Our next community conversation: The Commons, the Cooperative and the Wardrobe with Ian Mc Burnie, Sunday April 2nd , 5.00pm, Castlemaine;
  • Upcoming Central Victorian Climate Action non-violent protest, Friday April 7th, 12.30pm, Bendigo;
  • An experiential learning energiser- Deep Play for our Common Futures– Saturday April 8th, Maldon
  • Summary of Cam Walker’s conversation starter in February;
  • Democracy 4 Dinner event, Wednesday April 5th, Castlemaine;
  • Art of Facilitation workshop, March 29th to April 2nd , Melbourne.

See below for more information.

NEXT COMMUNITY CONVERSATION:  The Commons, the Cooperative and the Wardrobe

 When: 5.00pm, Sunday April 2nd, 2017

Where: Ray Bradfield Room, Castlemaine, between IGA carpark and Victory Park

This event is the next in a series organised by the Localising Leanganook (Dja Dja Warrung name for Mt Alexander) network as follow on from some of the hearty presentations and discussion generated by the Local Lives Global Matters conference, hosted by the Castlemaine community in October 2015.

The speaker will be Ian McBurney on “The Commons, the Cooperative and the Wardrobe”.

Ian’s short talk will set a framework for a hearty and challenging discussion about ownership, money, stuff, the future of work, the mythical Mr. Jobson Growth, relocalisation and respect for people and place.

“Its 2017, the planet is still being wrecked, wealth inequality is staggering and the economy is stagnating. No wonder politics is either inaction or fundamentalism. The stories we tell about who we are and how we work together are broken. What new stories can we create? Once upon a time Lucy stepped through the Wardrobe into a whole new world. Lets do the same with the Commons and the Cooperative.”

The talk and discussion will be followed by a meal (please bring a plate to share if you can) where we can continue our talking informally.

A gold coin donation is welcomed if possible.

Note: April 2nd is the first day after the end of daylight saving!



Visit our new website which has become live this week. Click here to visit!

Send through notifications of upcoming events, other groups and links. Also, suggestions for readings, video clips and talks to be included in our ‘food for thought’ tab.

Spread the word about our e-news and invite others who might be interested to register so they can be in the loop.

We’re looking for good quality photos of local people to add to the home page slider.



When: Saturday April 8th, 9.00am to 5.00pm

Where: ELMS Retreat, Maldon


For more information- http://actionforesight.net/deep-play-for-our-common-futures/

For bookings- Eventbrite – https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/deep-play-for-common-futures-tickets-32718513956



A non-violent protest

When: Friday April 7th, 12.30pm

Where: Westpac Bank, 49 Mitchell St Bendigo

Public transport: from Castlemaine join the group on the 11.34am train to Bendigo

 A new group, but with many faces familiar to the re-localising network, “Central Victoria Climate Action”, is staging a nonviolent protest on Friday April 7th at the Westpac Bank, 49 Mitchell St, Bendigo.  We hope you can join us there at 12.30 pm in our campaign to stop Westpac from funding the Adani mega coal mine and associated Barrier Reef ports, rail lines etc.

This carbon time bomb, described as “game over for the climate” would be the biggest coal mine in the Southern Hemisphere and make viable a huge complex of coal mines throughout central Qld. Requiring one of the ‘big 4’ banks (who even post Paris have invested $billions in fossil fuels !) to fund it, Westpac is the only one to have remained completely silent on ruling out funding.  The fact that it is supported by the Federal Coalition and Queensland Labor Government, means that early 2017 is a defining historical moment for a people’s uprising to stop this before funding for Adani is signed off on.

Banks are extremely vulnerable to public pressure and reputational risk and we’ve already pushed the Commonwealth Bank away from Adani once in 2015.

To receive action updates, email us at centralvicclimateaction@gmail.com

Also search #stopadani or Galillee Blockade, or https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jan/14/adani-coalmine-activists-gear-up-to-fight-this-will-dwarf-the-franklin-blockade


Democracy from the ground up

Thanks to Cam Walker, who kick-started Localising Leanganook’s conversations off in February this year. A local Castlemanian, as well as Campaign Coordinator with Friends of the Earth, Cam reflected on his recent trip to post-Trump-election USA; on the importance of how we frame issues and the narratives we use; on learnings from the anti-fracking campaign; on the credibility of the local community and the importance of identifying common ground, moving our focus away from divisions of us and them.


Generating lively conversation Cam’s presentation inspired thinking and discussion around the notion of a ‘citizen’s congress’ or a ‘community council’ for the shire or the region; also learning from Newstead’s community planning journey and  the renewable Newstead project.

These will be topics for future Localising Leanganook conversations.  Watch this space.



Sharing the burden of democracy

Democracy4Dinner is an event series where 1 or 2 attendees nominate a topic in advance and learn through teaching, and share the burden of being informed, engaged citizens with fellow attendees.

Events are held over dinner in a relaxed, conversational environment, and offer a way to engage with locals in your area.

Sign up to newsletters and to find out about D4D events in Castlemaine, other interesting events in central Victoria, and a monthly reading list here: http://eepurl.com/b8jIDX.

Join us on Facebook: facebook.com/democracy4dinner

And if you would like to run events in your own town / city, please contact Lexi: lexi.lestrange@gmail.com.

Here is the link to D4D’s most recent newsletter: http://eepurl.com/cGigjH.



What: Workshop-Whole people cooperating in a sustainable world

When: Wednesday March 29th to Sunday April 2nd, 2017

Where: The Campion Centre, 99 Studley Park Rd, Melbourne

For more information go to:  www.zenergyglobal.com

Note: the workshop is expensive but there are scholarships available as well as discounts.


Hope to see you on Sunday April 2nd at 5.00pm in the Ray Bradfield Room for conversation with Ian McBurney

from the Localising Leanaganook team: John, Emma, Mahesh, Ian, Carolyn, Richard and Nikki.

1.(Peter Ellyard, cited in Bollier, D and Helfrich, S: The Wealth of the Commons, Levellers press, 2012, p.340)

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The Commons, the Cooperative and the Wardrobe

What: The Commons, the Cooperative and the Wardrobe

When: Sunday April 2nd 2017, 5.00pm

Where: Ray Bradfield Room Castlemaine (between IGA car park and Victory Park)

This event is the next in a series organised by Localising Leanganook (Dja Dja Warrung name for Mt Alexander) as follow on from some of the hearty presentations and discussion generated by the Local Lives Global Matters conference, hosted by the Castlemaine community in October 2015.

The speaker will be Ian McBurney on “The Commons, the Cooperative and the Wardrobe”.

Ian’s short talk will set a framework for a hearty and challenging discussion about ownership, money, stuff, the future of work, the mythical Mr. Jobson Growth, relocalisation and respect for people and place.

“It’s 2017, the planet is still being wrecked, wealth inequality is staggering and the economy is stagnating. No wonder politics is either inaction or fundamentalism. The stories we tell about who we are and how we work together are broken. What new stories can we create? Once upon a time Lucy stepped through the Wardrobe into a whole new world. Let’s do the same with the Commons and the Cooperative.”

The talk and discussion will be followed by a meal (please bring a plate to share if you can) where we can continue our talking informally.

A Gold coin donation will be welcomed if you can.

Note: April 2 is the first day after the end of daylight saving!

About Ian McBurney:

Ian is an ecological sustainability practitioner who has inspired and enabled tens of thousands in business, manufacturing, government, schools and communities to move towards a better future. He believes passionately that at this time in history when every natural system is in decline, it is people and therefore culture change that will gift us a sustainable society. That society will be better for us in nearly every way. We’ll be more local and connected, happier, healthier, more profitable and more proud of who we are.
How do we inspire others around us, Ian asks? Ian spent 5 years in the early 2000s at Vox Bandicoot in Melbourne, delivering the famous environmental theatre program to ten thousand students, workplace culture change training to six thousand staff in local government and manufacturing. He was responsible for the expansion and delivery of the Sustainability Street Approach to over 40 local governments around Australia. Ian helped to establish the Bendigo Sustainability Group in 2007, Bendigo a Thinking City in 2012 and the Synergize CoWorking Hub in 2013. He published Talking ecoLogical in 2014. He has worked with over 60 local governments in four states and two countries. You can find him on twitter, facebook, Linkedin, or at www.ianmcburney.com. He is currently working on www.bhive.coop, a collaborative economy platform for Bendigo.

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