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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




    Continue reading →
  • June 2024 newsletter

    What is clear is that the Earth is mandating that the human community assume a responsibility never assigned to any previous generation… Our task at this critical moment is to awaken the energies needed to create the new world and to evoke the universal communion of all parts of life.
    (Thomas Berry, priest and cultural historian)

    Earth Democracy connects people in circles of care, co-operation and compassion instead of dividing them through competition and conflict, fear and hatred.
    (Vandana Shiva, scientist, environmental activist and food sovereignty advocate)

    Welcome to the June edition of Localising Leanganook’s e-newsletter.  We recently decided that we would include interviews in this newsletter to spotlight some of the many local people who are doing exciting, inspiring things in our community and beyond. These will alternate with the articles from local writers that we have been featuring at the head of each edition. In this month’s newsletter, we are kicking this off with an interview with Dan and Nicola from Open Fields Co-Living Homestead in Muckleford, along with our regular update on upcoming local events and a selection of interesting articles we have come across over the past month. We hope you enjoy it.

    Cheers, Nikki, Keppel, and Laurel

    Note to Contributors and Readers

    As you can see, Localisising Leanganook’s e-news grows 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 the July or 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

    June’s edition includes:

    1. Special Feature: Open Fields Co-Living Interview
    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

    Special Feature: Open Fields Co-Living Interview

    Nicola and Dan are founding members of Open Fields Co-Living Homestead, an innovative new intentional community in Mount Alexander Shire. Situated on 10 acres in Muckleford, Open Fields is based on the model of a single, shared dwelling with communal kitchen, living room and garden. I spoke with them as they were putting the final finishing touches on the building in preparation for moving in with fellow residents in the coming weeks.

    Keppel: could you both tell me a bit about yourselves and what brought you to the point where you are now with creating this co-living homestead?

    Nicola: It’s been a dream that’s been percolating for a long time, but I think a good way to summarise it is that we both identify as activists, or we used to be activists, and we got pretty tired of fighting against things that we don’t want to see, and wanted to create what we do want to see, and this was a big part of that. It seemed to tick a whole lot of boxes. We just want to live in a way that is better for the planet, but we think that this way of living is better for people as well.  We wanted to create that and see if it was possible, and show other people that it’s possible.

    Dan: I was in a number of organisations, most recently Extinction Rebellion but also Earthworker and Food Sovereignty Alliance in the past, and I think often those organisations need support days and integration days if they’re planning a year, planning actions or coming together to rejuvenate, and so thinking about our property as not just housing or farming, but being there to support activists to come and camp and use the facilities, and be integrated into that broader network of people fighting for important causes.

    Keppel: Thinking about the housing model that you’ve created, what was it about that model (co-living under one roof) that appealed to you? Because there are more or less interconnected ways of doing community living. So I’m curious about what it was that made you decide that this was the right way for you?

    Dan: It’s a good question. I think it’s just from a pragmatic point of view as a starting point. If everybody is living under the same roof together it’s far more resource efficient, both initially and ongoing. The resources it takes to create a slightly larger kitchen and slightly larger bathroom space and things like that. It’s not that much harder to create a home for 10 people than it is for four people, but you can save a lot of money and a lot of embodied energy being under the one compact envelope. If everyone is in their own tiny house you have a greater area of building shell exposed to the elements, especially in somewhere like Castlemaine, so it’s about trying to moderate that energy use. My background is as a building designer. I studied architecture, but also have had a particular focus on passive solar design, high performance building, Passivhaus and that sort of thing. Having everyone nested together, it’s the same reason why you have everyone in those apartments in Europe, because it’s a very warm, tight typology.

    I lived in an eco-community called Wurrukan in Gippsland for 2 or 3 years in my 20’s. People had really little tiny houses, cob cabins and earth sheds, but they were all less than 10 square metres, and we all congregated in a retro-fitted shed for our living space, and that was very formative as an experience. All the meals were communally cooked and we lived quite close with each other. Sometimes it was hard, the conditions were pretty trying, but it was also really satisfying, nestling together as a team, all the shared meals, it was very beautiful. That was a homestead as well, where we grew a large amount of our own produce. It was a bit dank, but here we’re trying to do a lot of the things we did there, but in a nicer and more robust way I guess.

    Keppel: So how long have you been living there for now?

    Dan: We’ve been living onsite since February last year, and the house will be finished in about a week, so we’ll be moving into it very soon. The majority of the other occupants have been living offsite, so it’s mostly just been us here while we built the house. We’ve tried to do everything legally through the council, and you can get a permit to live legally on your property while you’re building.

    Keppel: So you’re at that stage where you’re about to enter into living together. Are you feeling excited?

    Nicola: We’re excited but in the same way like a marathon runner is excited when they’re getting near the finish line: exhausted and about to collapse and covered in sweat, but you’re sure that once it’s all over you’ll actually feel great (laughs).

    Keppel: And do you have all the people you need, or are you still recruiting, as it were?

    Nicola: Yeah, we’ve got all the rooms filled actually. Just last week we filled the last two, and it’s a full house now – just in the nick of time actually!

    Keppel: So how many people will be living there?

    Dan: There will be 11 adults and 4 kids, and one kid in utero.

    Keppel: So the general approach of your community is that you’ll be eating together and then doing other things on the property together: is that right?

    Nicola: Yeah that’s definitely the plan. We are thinking of food as the central theme: growing it and eating it as a point of connection. Having visited a lot of different communities and lived in various types of shared living for so very long, I’ve realised it needs to have a community glue; and without having a religious overtone – and we don’t, it’s kind of egalitarian and agnostic – you need to create a connecting theme. It’s about why are we living together, apart from having a roof over our heads?  If you look at cultures across the world, that’s when people come together, that’s what brings people together: food and sharing meals.

    Even the way the house is designed, with the garden out the front and the orchard out the back, the food comes into the house. It’s very zoned in a Permaculture way of food coming in and being literally at the heart of the house in the kitchen, like the kitchen is literally in the middle of the house.

    Keppel: So Permaculture has been another significant influence on the way you’ve developed this project?

    Nicola: Yeah for sure. I guess we see Permaculture as a type of systems thinking, and I think we’re really into systems thinking.  So we’re working with Permaculture principles in the stereotypical sense that people usually think of it, like gardens and orchards and land management, but also social Permaculture, how those systems function as well, and how different people use spaces. That’s probably been influenced by Dan’s architecture experience: how does place, structure and buildings shape people’s lives. And also with me as an allied health professional looking at more of a public health perspective: what influences people’s wellbeing psychologically, physically? What do people need to thrive? And we’ve kind of merged that together to create this project. This goes back to that idea that it’s better for planet and for people.

    Keppel: So the two things that often come up for people as concerns around community living are around personal space and around conflict resolution. How do you meet your own needs for balancing shared space and personal space? And then what strategies do you have for building collective cohesion and resolving conflicts?

    Dan: I probably trend introvert actually, I get most of my recharge from solo times. But as well as the (private) bedroom, trying to offer a whole buffet of spaces that you can head to. So if you’re feeling like you want something spicy, you can head for the main shared living space, where people are cooking and the kids are tearing everyone’s hair out; or there are a few other spaces in the main house, like the secondary lounge, which is more of a chill space for adults who are doing yoga, having a cup of tea or catching up with friends. Then there’s another space, a work from home study space during the day and more of a quiet space during the evening. Then we’re lucky enough to be on 10 acres, with a really lovely dam and the bush next door, so we’re creating lots of really nice outdoor nooks as well, several verandahs, some people will set up yurts, and long term maybe creating a tea house near the dam overlooking the forest.

    Nicola: I think it’s a fascinating question, anthropologically, to look back at other cultures in the past, and also other cultures across the world, and the idea of privacy and personal space is such a cultural one, a modern concept, and very British and European. My family are all from South Africa, and my grandmother was born and raised in Lesotho in a small tribal village, and you’d have 8 people living in a 15 square metre hut.  I think the concept of personal space is so different, and I think in contrast to have a whole 16 square metres all to yourself, and then also a kitchen and lounge and living and study space and deck… From that perspective, it seems really sufficient, but I know that for most people it’s not. It’s a bit of an unpopular opinion, but I think to adapt to climate change and use less resources, we actually need to start challenging some of those ideas a little bit.

    Dan:  I think this segues nicely into the question about conflict.  I think there are skill sets that you would have if you grew up living in community, like the way you use the space, how you interact with others, and norms that are created around that.

    Nicola: We’ve lost those skills as a culture, but we believe we can learn them again.

    Dan: We’re several generations deep in the nuclear family mode. I’d love to say I have a formula around conflict management, but to be honest I think it’s probably going to be a bit crap (laughter), as a lot of the residents have probably had some, but not super extensive years of share housing or whatever, and different levels of learning how to resolve tensions with others. There are lots of cool tools out there, like non-violent communication, we’re really supportive of that, the basic recipe of talking to what you’re feeling and what your needs are rather than making assertions about the wrongs of another. I think that’s a great starting point, and also having people who act as facilitators who keep people on track in the way we communicate with each other and bringing different voices into equality and things like that. I’ve shadowed some people who did the Commonground Glen Ochre approach to facilitation and group work, and I think that’s massive, and will be a key to holding people to account in the way they communicate and bringing out the best in each other.

    Keppel: And I think you mentioned on your Facebook the idea of a regular weekly meeting and sharing space to support community cohesion. Is that right?

    Nicola: Yeah, that’s a system we proposed, and a lot of the early residents who’ve been onboard for a while, they’ve also suggested. I lived in an 8 person share house before I moved to Castlemaine, and we did that. So the structure was a meeting every week, and one was more logistical and practical and making decisions, and the other one was what they called a ‘heart share’, talking about how you’re feeling and really getting to know each other, or doing some exercises that were about the emotional, relational side of being together. Some people might find that hard or offputting, but I actually found it so, so rich and rewarding and connecting, and from that process I felt like I knew these people so deeply in a way that I wouldn’t have otherwise.  When that emotional and personal stuff can be aired and cleared and heard – we have such a deep need to be heard and to belong! – once that need is met it seems like the challenges and little differences just melt away, they seem to be able to be resolved a lot more easily, because that foundation of trust and connection is there.

    Dan: I think that’s a big part of having dinners together most nights as well – it serves a similar function. Catching everyone’s stories at the end of the day and connecting. I think just having that time where you feel exposed and empathetic. A lot of eco-villages are designed where people are in their own houses, and maybe have some common facilities, but the vast majority of the time they’re just doing their own thing in their house of an evening, and I think in that situation you’d be missing a lot of the natural glue that would come from being together and around each other on a daily basis.  If you build that strong foundation of goodwill it should grease the wheels a bit.

    Keppel: What’s your vision for what Open Fields would be like in 10 years’ time? How would you like it to be?

    Dan: We’ll have a crop of kids who will be in that age range, and ideally we’ll have a crop of kids who are really practically minded and can milk the goats, etc. but also just running around in the forest and having that. Then having people who’ve been there for ages and feeling like really good friends, and having all the gardens and orchard really producing.

    Nicola: Trees growing, having the whole land filled with trees and shrubs.

    Dan: Maybe there are a few different rituals and rhythms, like having the passata day and the walnut harvest day.

    Nicola: And the smell of bread baking from the oven, mint tea from the garden, potato mash for dinner from your home grown potatoes, followed with an apple pie from your own apples… And of course in this world, everyone is completely harmonious and everyone is getting along wonderfully (laughs).

    Dan: No, no, I think that would boring.

    Nicola: It’d be too boring (laughs).

    Dan: I think healthy debate is a positive sign, it’s just that hopefully it’s done well, and we’re all arguing in a productive and connecting way, rather than a narky, destructive way (laughs).  That’s the dream, that we build those skills and those cultures.


    Arts and Culture

    Central Victorian Indigenous Film Festival- Yandoit, Castlemaine, Glenlyon, Bendigo

    When: 27th May – 3rd June; Where: Various locations across Bendigo and Central Victoria

    Cost: some events are free, others are ticketed

    More information and bookings: https://www.bendigo.vic.gov.au/sites/default/files/2024-05/CVIFF-2024-flyer.pdf

    Yandoit Cultural will be screening  a series of bush food short films set on Djaara Country, plus feature film:  ‘The Last Daughter’ –  Brenda’s first memories are of growing up in a loving white foster family, before she was suddenly taken away and returned to her Aboriginal family. A documentary about Brenda’s journey to unearth the truth about her past, and to reconcile the two sides of her family.

    The series of bush food short films, created by Auntie Julie McHale, feature local indigenous youth and teachers on Djaara country sharing knowledge and secrets of Australian bush foods. Created to accompany Auntie Julie’s tucker boxes and filmed in her private garden, these short films, produced by local film makers People Pictures, are warm intimate descriptions that reveal the quality and uses of these unique plants.

    When: Sunday June 2nd, 2024, 4.45pm for a 5.00pm start

    Where: Yandoit Cultural , Uniting Church Rd , off High St, Yandoit

    Castlemaine Documentary Film Festival

    The 2024 Castlemaine Documentary Festival Program is now live: https://cdocff.com.au/

    The Castlemaine Documentary Festival is a cinematic winter feast held at the iconic Theatre Royal Castlemaine. With a curated program of exceptional films from Australia and abroad, the festival offers an unforgettable immersive cinema experience. This year’s festival also includes a family friendly program screening in the YURT microcinema, filmmaker talks and a Saturday night post-screening party with The Afrobiotics. Get your festival pass early to be in the running for great prizes and to receive discounts on food and drink. Be there 14 to 16 June for this year’s 10th-anniversary edition. 

    This year’s Festival will be held on the weekend of 14-16 June in the heart of regional Victoria on Dja Dja Wurrung Country. Explore the programme and come together with fellow film-lovers to immerse yourself in this 2024 edition. We promise a stellar selection of films, each more fascinating than fiction.

    OPENING NIGHT starts at 5pm at Theatre Royal. Castlemaine-based ensemble Brazuzul will usher the Festival in with the joyous rhythms and sounds of forró – a vibrant music and dance form from north-eastern Brazil. Then our screenings begin with two short films celebrating regional culture and ingenuity: a beautiful moment, featuring Castlemaine’s own Corker Orchestra, Mainsong and Brazazul; and Ag Fab: From Paddock to Catwalk.

    Afterwards, stay on at Theatre Royal and step into the courtyard for warming, delicious sustenance at the Soup Bar, or head to Love Shack for a drink. Then find your seat for WINHANGANAHA, a brilliant new film – “a poem in five acts” examining archival records’ impact on First Nations people – by award-winning Wiradjuri poet and artist Jazz Money, whom we’re thrilled to welcome as a festival guest.

    LOCALS 2024: Fun for all, 5pm Saturday 15 June: LOCALS is our annual family-fun showcase, premiering fresh films by gifted creatives from Castlemaine and surrounds – from Bendigo to Ballarat and Gisborne to Maryborough. After the screening, show your support by voting for your favourite.This is a celebration of local stories told by the local voices who took a leap of faith with us. We commend them all!  Submissions have now closed; we’ll add details on the selected films to our programme page soon.

    Newstead Arts Hub- What’s On


    Just below the Surface- A reimagining of a creature and coral wonderland. Just below the surface is a reimagining of a creature and coral wonderland by artists Jody Galvin & Kylie Cuthbertson. Be immersed in their world of colour and delight.



    Traditional Straw Plaiting & ‘Corn Dollies’

    Workshop: Sun 16 June, 10am-3pm – with Elizabeth Woodroofe 

    Cost: $135 Hub members, $150 (full price) All materials included.

    Elizabeth is a member of the Guild of Straw Craftsmen. See more of her work on Instagram @corn_dollies


    Tripartite: Exhibition: Weekends, Sat 1 – Sun 23 June, 10am-4pm – Gallery 2&3 

    In ancient Egypt the word sculptor means  “…he who keeps alive.”

    Lawrence Winder’s Figurative Sculptures range from 1/3 life size to full size. Influenced by French 19th century artists Jules Dalou and Edgar Degas, by “Constructivist” sculptors of the “Dada” period and by Asian culture, particularly Kabuki dance and Japanese architectural space. Lawrence’s sculptures are from clay models and cast in resin then given a bronze or rusted iron patina. Lawrence has created a beautiful exhibition of sculpture in three parts.


     Fire Stories: Sat 22 June, 5pm-8pm. All welcome – Free

    Come along and warm yourself by the fire! Fire Stories marks the official opening of our wonderful Winter Program!!
    With a special reading by author Leni Shelton PLUS you can come along and tell a story of your own, or a favourite found elsewhere, around the fire. There will be mulled wine and soups with homemade bread rolls to buy.  All WELCOME – no tickets needed just come and enjoy the community spirit.

    Keep your eye out for our special edition Winter Program for more details.

    Charcoal Painting, Stories from the Fire

    Workshop: Sat 29 June, 10am-3.30pm – with Melissa O’Rourke
    Cost: $125 Hub members, $140 (full price) All materials included.

    Charcoal Painting, Stories from the Fire- A painting and drawing workshop. Facilitated by Melissa O’Rourke.

    Using charcoal we collect from the embers of our fire stories, work with artist Melissa O’Rourke to weave your own stories into free flowing charcoal drawings. Learn some of the process used to make her latest body of work The Company of Women. Suits all levels of experience from absolute beginner onwards. All materials are provided for you.

    Events at Radius Art Gallery- Hepburn Springs

    Evening of Soulful Sounds – A Night of Kirtan with Sarah and Nina


    Join us for sacred mantras and divine sounds in ‘call and response’ style. Raise your vibration and bring healing frequencies to your body and mind.
    Sarah and Nina will guide you on a magical journey of connection and free expression.

    Sat 15th June 6pm for chai | 6.15 Start



    Community Fundraiser – Sweet Sounds of Honey Tone

    Let the dulcet tones of our very own local town choir dance upon your ear drums.

    This annual fundraiser is bound to warm your heart and soul.  For more info contact Suzanne Hobson: 0448 564 362

    Monday 24th June @Radius
    7.00 pm – 8.30 pm


    Northern Arts Hotel

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

    Friday 24 May | Sally Ford and the Idiomatics
    Saturday 25 May | Kris Mizzi and Mandy Connell
    Fri 31 May | Enda Kenny: ‘After the Interval’ Album Launch Tour 
    Sat 8 & Sun 9 June | Castlemaine Jazz Festival
    Friday 14 June | Áine Tyrrell: People Like Me & You Tour
    Saturday 22 June | Ade Ishs Trio live at The Coolroom
    Sunday 23 June 5.30pm | Duos Concert Fundraiser for Castlemaine Graffiti Busters
    Saturday 29 June | Peter & the Wolves: Hibernation Hootenanny
    Sunday 26 May 2.30pm | Free Secret Movie Matinee
    Sunday 2 June 2.30pm | Film of the Concert in Support of Yes
    Monday 3 June 6pm | Workshop: Towards Collective Self Sufficiency
    Thursday 23 May 4pm | Maine-Ly Ukes
    Saturday 25 May 2.30pm | PoetiCas with Shari Kocher 
    Tuesday 28 May | Open Potluck Dinner at 7pm

    Food Growing, Farming and Food Security

    Community Apple Juicing Day

    When: Sunday 2nd June, 10am – 3pm

    Where: Harcourt Organic Food Cooperative, 69 Danns Rd, Harcourt

    We’re so thrilled to be hosting our annual and much-loved Apple Juicing Day this year at Harcourt Organic Farming Coop amongst the foothills of Leanganook. Bring along bottles for juice, a knife, chopping board, tea towels, and a cup for tea! Learn how to crush and press apples for juice to take home and drink fresh, or turn into cider vinegar.

    This will be a family-friendly event in partnership with Food Links Mount Alexander, and will be facilitated by Joel Meadows.


    • We will be using non-organic apples for this juicing day, and it is important that we respect the requirements of the Coop’s Organic certification. No pulp or juice is to be left on the property, and this will all be taken away on the day in food-grade tubs. If you’d like to take some home for your compost or animals, please bring a clean vessel.
    • Please carpool whereverpossible as parking is limited at the site. Send us a message if you have a spare car space or need some help finding a ride.


    Apple Harvest

    When: Thursday 30th May from 9.30am

    Where: Meet at Hub Plot Garden on Templeton St, Castlemaine

    Join us for the last apple harvest of the season TOMORROW in Harcourt. These apples will go towards our Community Apple Juicing day, but there will be plenty to take home, of course. Please bring a bag or box for your share.

    Meet at the Hub Plot Garden on Templeton Street at 9.30am and we’ll convoy from there. Send us a message on Facebook or via email for directions if you’re arriving a little later. We’ll be out picking until around 1pm on both days

    Tea and light snacks provided, please bring something to share if you’re able!

    Harcourt Organic Farming Coop

    Discover the Unique Charm of Hard-to-Find Multigraft Apple Trees

    If you’ve been following Carr’s Organic Fruit Tree Nursery for a while you’ll know we’re passionate about preserving and promoting heritage varieties. You’ve probably twigged to the fact that new things are happening around the farm, and the nursery is no exception.

    This year, we’re excited to introduce you to a truly innovative and versatile addition to your garden: multigraft apple trees.

    As members of the Harcourt Organic Farming Co-op (and the only certified organic nursery in Victoria), we focus on building healthy soil for our trees to give them the best possible start in life.We also specialise in hard-to-find varieties and multigrafts. However, it can be hard to persuade people to take a risk on a variety they’ve never heard of.

    In a light-bulb moment last spring, we came up with a solution! 

    Our brand-new range of multigrafts combines modern varieties like Gala, Fuji, and Pink Lady with the heritage varieties that desperately need to be preserved for the future.We’re hoping the security of planting a known variety will help people overcome the perceived risk of planting a variety they’ve never heard of. Plus, we had SO much fun creating this beautiful range of delicious multigrafts.

    Join Us for Two Special Events: Co-op Relaunch & Small Farm Enterprise Planning

    We are excited to invite you to two upcoming events designed to celebrate the relaunch of the Harcourt Organic Farming Co-op and to support aspiring and current small farmers. Whether you’re interested in joining our co-operative community, developing your own farm enterprise, or a keen eater who cares about your local food system, we hope these events will provide some valuable insight into what we’ve been working on, opportunities and ‘what’s next’ for the Co-op.

    All of these events are made possible thanks to our Innovate to Regenerate Grant from WWF-Australia.

    Event 1: Co-op Relaunch & Recruitment Webinar

    Date: Thursday, June 6th, Time: 7-8pm

    Join us for a celebration of the HOFC Co-op relaunch! This webinar will include:

    Screening of Our New Short Film: Get an inside look at our cooperative’s journey and achievements. We’ve been working with Mitch at MDP Photography & Video and are excited to share the results!

    Sharing of New Collaborative Farming Resources: Discover tools and guides to support sustainable farming practices. Interactive Q&A Session: Engage with our team and get your questions answered.

    This event is perfect for anyone interested in learning more about our cooperative and how you can get involved. Register here.

    Event 2: Small Farm Enterprise Planning Webinar & Ideas Jam

    Date: Tuesday 11th June, Time: 7-8pm

    For those seriously considering joining our Co-op or refining their farm enterprise plans, we are hosting a more focused session. This event will feature:

    Interactive Q&A: Ask detailed questions about the Co-op and membership benefits.

    Enterprise Proposal Shaping: Receive guidance on developing and refining your small-farm enterprise idea, and support with submitting an EOI to join the Co-op.

    Personalized Feedback: Get constructive critiques and suggestions from our crew.

    This session is ideal for those who want a deeper understanding of the Co-op and personalized support in shaping their farming ideas. Register your interest here. You can also read more about the opportunities to join the Co-op currently available here.

    Ecology and Environment

    Natural Newstead and Thornbills

    Find out more about the varieties of Thornbills in our area:  https://geoffpark.wordpress.com/2024/05/25/three-thornbills-2/

    Predictably the Brown Thornbills were foraging in the mid layer of shrubs, Buff-rumped Thornbills on the ground, with occasional forays into low shrubs, while the Striated Thornbills chased insects amongst the foliage of a sapling Red Box.

    When viewed close-up however the distinguishing features of the species in this group are evident. This blog post from 2021 provides a guide for sorting out our local thornbills.

    North Central Catchment Management

    June edition of the North Central Chat: https://www.nccma.vic.gov.au/resources/publications/north-central-chat-june-2024

    First Nations

    Reconciliation Week

    Murnong Mummas: Wurrumuk/Djurrung/Dhurra – Wirral/Burukil 2024 Update

    Murnong Mummas is an Indigenous-lead social enterprise involved in the native foods and botanicals sector.

    We’re pleased to share a little update on the progress at Murnong Mummas for the beginning of 2024. We’ve been busy on a number of fronts- focusing on soil health, cultural connection, plant diversity, and community engagement. We’ve been making use of foraged goods and getting excited about tasting some of the new things coming up in the Bushfoods plot.

    We’ve also been working on updating and expanding infrastructure in the garden, like our irrigation and fencing. With hungry chooks and an excited Jedda nearby, it’s become a little more pressing to add a barrier between pecking beaks and newly planted groundcover. Jedda isn’t as destructive, her morning greetings and mulch spreading has become an important part of our workday.

    We’ve also been going ham on the propagating and germinating front – germinating seeds from various fruits like Kangaroo Apple, Muntries and Ruby Saltbush, veggies like Murnong and Warrigal Greens, herbs like Old Man Saltbush and Native Lemongrass, weaving plants like Lomandra and Flax Lily, flowers to attract birds and insects like Native Broom and various Everlasting Paper Daisy varieties and even plants to grow seeds to flour – Kangaroo Grass and Bunya Trees. We’ve also been working hard to propagate 60 hardwood cuttings of Grevillea and Thryptamine – hoping to beef up our pollinator game after slowly reducing the number of non-indigenous plants still hanging around in the plot. As you can see, we have a lot on the go!

    We’re currently in the process of planning a range of workshops and tour updates that will delve deeper into our sustainable gardening practices, share valuable Indigenous knowledge with others, and introduce participants to the unique world of First Nations foods.

    Lots more information about the work of Murnong Mummas including nourishing the ground , celebrating women’s’ wisdom and indigenous knowledge , expanding plant palette, bunya bounty , kangaroo grass germination, and food sovereignty:  https://www.murnongmummas.com.au/

    Photo: Old Man Saltbush and River Mint in view of Leanganook

    New Sustainability and First Nations Knowledge Book Club Castlemaine

    The aim is to read books with a sustainability or First Nations knowledge focus. There are about 11 possible titles that have a set of 10 in the library’s current book club collection and we aim to alternate between those and other books that members recommend and share. Meetings will be Tuesday nights, monthly, at a venue (probably a pub) in Castlemaine and time to be agreed by the group.

    Contact if interested: Helen: Helenmathwin@yahoo.co.uk  or Kath: Kathw@ncgrl.vic.gov.au at Goldfields Library.


    Sustainable Living Resources

    YIMBY composter wins award!

    Grow It Local award-winner Mikaela Beckley (pictured) is one of 19 YIMBY composters in Mt Alexander shire.

    She collects and composts kitchen scraps from 20 of her neighbours each week, and has processed nearly 5,000 kilos of organics in her backyard using the unique YIMBY hot-composting method.YIMBY (Yes In My Back Yard) is a unique composting project based in Castlemaine, building community, diverting organics from landfill and improving our soil.

    Right now, there are 19 composters like Mikaela, collecting from over 250 households in the shire, and more are coming! To find out more, visit www.yimbycompost.com.

    Castlemaine Free University and Degrowth Central Victoria- Essentials Workshop



    When: Monday 3rd June at 6pm

    Where: Northern Arts Hotel, 359 Barker St, Castlemaine

    Following on from the Degrowth Central Victoria launch on May 13th the next CFU event will focus on essentials-  towards local collective sufficiency.

    For more information, visit Degrowth Central Victoria

    The image is a photo of a mural at the longstanding squat – social centre, residence, and community gardens – Can Masdeu, Collserola Park, Canyelles, Barcelona a project led by Beth Ferguson (photographer, Anitra Nelson).

    Castlemaine Free University- Occupy Wall Street




    When: Monday 3rd June at 6pm

    Where: Northern Arts Hotel, 359 Barker St, Castlemaine

    Come along to hear and chat with Marisa Holmes, occupier from day one of Occupy Wall Street, director of OWS film All day, All Week in conversation with Friends of the Earth Campaigns Co-ordinator Cam Walker. What lessons can we apply to climate action and social justice protests, blockades and social change today?

    Free event. Drinks can be purchased at the bar.

    Repair Cafes


    When and Where: Sunday June 16th, 1-4pm at Victoria Park Pavillion, Ballan Rd, Daylesford


    When and Where: Last  Sunday of each month, June 30th, 10am to 1.00pm  at Castlemaine Community House, 30 Templeton St.  For further information join our Facebook group, visit our website or call Chris on 5470 5508.

    Creswick Repair and Share

    When and Where: Third Sunday of each month at Creswick Community House and hall.

    Photo: Mara Ripani

    Renewable Newstead

    Are you interested in buying 100% green power from the Newstead Solar Farm? The retail offer from the company retailing the 100% green power from the Newstead Solar Farm, Flow Power, is now available.

    To sign up as a customer, download the Flow Power app from either Google Play or the App Store. For information about the offer, go to the Flow Power website https://flowpower.com.au/residential/ or read the attached information sheet.

    Here are three top reasons to sign up.

    • You’ll be buying 100% green power which is better for the planet
    • You’ll be supporting the Newstead Community Energy Project (solar farm and battery)
    • You’ll be eligible for a $100 bonus which you can choose to contribute to a Newstead club or organisation or you can keep it for yourself. More details about this Local Community Benefit offer are coming soon.

    While the Newstead Solar Farm is not yet generating electricity for commercial sale – construction is due for completion in June and commercial generation is expected to begin in July – here’s what happens in the meantime for households who sign up now as Flow Power customers. If you sign up now as a Flow Power customer and your electricity supply address is in or near Newstead, you will receive electricity via the grid that’s billed from one of Flow Power’s other renewable energy generation sites, at Karadoc near Ouyen, until such time as the Newstead Solar Farm comes online and begins to generate electricity. (Flow Power sources power from renewable energy sources – solar and wind – exclusively.)

    For Newstead Solar Farm news and project updates, subscribe to RN’s e-newsletter at https://renewablenewstead.com.au/news-resources/

    For further information: Email at info@renewablenewstead.com.au or call m: 0403 801 147

    Mt Alexander Sustainability Group

    7 Star Energy Rating Requirements for Builders

    When building a new home you must comply with the energy efficiency requirements of the National Construction Code Volume Two. These requirements aim to reduce the environmental impacts of buildings by reducing the amount of energy consumed. There are several options forcomplying with the energy efficiency requirements with the most common option being anassessment under the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS).

    From 1 May 2024, new homes will be required to achieve 7-stars and a whole-of-home rating not less than 60 under the NatHERS option. A higher star and whole-of-home rating means the building is more energy efficient. MASG’s Mick Lewin recently ran a workshop for members of the building industry in Mount Alexander Shire to explain what this means for home builders.

    To learn more, head to the Victorian Building Authority website and watch the Nathers explanation video

    Building Community

    Castlemaine Community Co-op

    At our FIRST EVER fundraising Working Bee members set a goal of raising $10,000 for due diligence on the Hub (for building inspections, valuation, legal checks, etc). We have since raised $5,240, but need your help to find the final $4,760.

    There are two things you can do to help!

    1. Ask a friend to join and become a founding member before June 30 (so we double our membership): If every current member recruits one more member, we will raise the money we need! Word of mouth has been proven to be the best way for the Co-op to grow. Membership is only $40/$20.To help you explain what we are about we have provided:
      – A 2-page information leaflet about the Co-op (PDF Link);
      – A script you can use when talking to people;
      – An example of a caption you can share on Facebook (give our page a ‘like’ while you’re there!). You can also share our last post or other content that you think your network might be interested in.
    2. Donate: If you have some spare money sitting somewhere that was waiting to be put to a good use, please contact us at info@castlemaine.coop.

    We are very close to being able to launch an offer to buy the Hub. Please help us get over the line – together we can put Castlemaine’s assets in the community’s hands.

    Castlemaine Johannine Community aka the Grail Community

    The Castlemaine Johannine Community practises ‘pagan Christianity’, a spirituality based in the mystical tradition of St John, Mary Magdalene and the Rosicrucians, and grounded in deep reverence for the sacredness of the Earth and the wisdom of the ancient Celtic, Aboriginal and Native American spiritual traditions. Through both inner and outer work, we seek to collaborate with the impulse of Christ and Sophia to create bring healing and renewal to our communities and the Earth. We meet monthly for Eucharist services and other special events shaped by the sacred calendar of the seasonal Christian and Celtic festivals.

    This month’s events include a St John’s Tide Eucharist on Sunday 23rd June from 11am followed by a shared lunch. St John’s Tide (or St John’s Day) celebrates the life of John the Apostle who, along with Mary Magdalene, was considered the disciple who most understood the esoteric wisdom of Christ Jesus’ teachings

    Where: the Grail Chapel, 75 McMillans Rd, Green Gully

    Cost: all events are free, donations are welcome. Enquiries: contact Ken Killeen on 0423 194 878 or email: johannine@hotmail.com

    Yandoit Faith Community

    A faith community is evolving at the old Uniting Church in Yandoit. A community where we can explore the sacred and the spirit in our lives. At our next gathering we will be reflecting on the inspiring life of  Theresa of Avila, a 16th century mystic in Spain , who created the silent order of Carmelites.

    Supported by Castlemaine Uniting Church Minister, Rev Sarah Tomilson, and Church Council, and Yandoit Cultural.  

    Our next gathering is Saturday June 22nd, 2pm at Yandoit Cultural- the old church in the bush, Uniting Church Rd, off High St Yandoit. All welcome.

    For more information: nikki.marshall@mmnet.com.au or mobile – 0432 232 073

    Goldfields Libraries


    World Localisation Day

    World Localization Day is an annual celebration convened by the international NGO Local Futures. On June 21 and throughout the month of June, Local Futures and an array of amazing Global Partners host in-person and online events to highlight localization as a strategy for change. And not least, to celebrate the many efforts and initiatives that foster ecological economies, thriving communities and healthy local food systems.

    Take part in World Localization Day as a group or individual and join the growing movement of people building a better world, from the ground up.

    Register your WLD event

    Watch the introductory video:


    Local Government News

    Future Hepburn- Rural Hepburn strategy- Community Feedback Required

    Hepburn Shire Council has released its Draft Rural Strategy for community feedback. There are some significant changes proposed to Farm Zones in this draft plan. Download the Rural Hepburn Strategy at the website link below.

    Rural Hepburn: Agricultural Land and Rural Settlement Strategy will provide a comprehensive planning and action framework to manage the use and development of private rural land (land outside our main towns).
    The closing date for feedback is June 12th
    For details on other Community Information Sessions on both the draft Township Structure Plans and Rural Hepburn, to view the draft documents and provide feedback, visit https://participate.hepburn.vic.gov.au/future-hepburn
    There are also draft Town Structure Plans for Daylesford/Hepburn, Glenlyon, Clunes, Creswick and Trentham for feedback.
    These changes will shape the next 30 years of development and growth in Hepburn Shire.


    Hepburn Life Newsletter



    Upcoming Council Elections – One-on-one information sessions for Councillor candidates

    Are you thinking about running for Council this year? Mt Alexander Shire is offering one-on-one information sessions with our CEO, Mayor and Deputy Mayor to learn what it means to be a Councillor.

    Sign up for a session

    Have your say with Shape Mount Alexander

    We’re lucky to have a knowledgeable and passionate community. We use your valuable feedback to inform our projects and general decision-making.

    Let’s keep talking
    Find out how to talk to us, or leave your ideas and feedback on any topic, and at any time!

    Customer First Strategy
    We want to make it easier for you to connect with and use our services, so we need your stories, feedback and suggestions to help us understand which areas to focus on.

    Visit Shape Mount Alexander for details

    Workshops and Courses

    Work That Reconnects Workshop

    Growing our connection with all that lives, From The Work That Reconnects

    Date Saturday June 8 Time 1pm-5pm
    Venue: Green Gully Victoria
    A Community Event
    The workshops provide a safe space for a deep connection with all life and the opportunity to share that with fellow travellers.
    Processes include Loving Kindness Meditation, a Mandala activity and The Milling- an experience of shifting from overload to simply being present.
    It is led by experienced WTR facilitators to serve a cultural shift towards reconnection with all beings and the planet.
    Inquiries Shana 0457 496 864 or Diane 0421 510 017

    Booking essential via Email: dianethompson61@gmail.com
    Cost: By Donation

    Systemic Family Constellations – EXPLORE YOUR INNER DYNAMICS


    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.  For more information: amyjonesroberts@yahoo.com.au

    SUN JUNE 2nd – 9.30 – 4.30pm @RADIUS Gallery, 76 Main Rd Hepburn Springs 

    For more information about Radius Gallery : www.radiusart.com.au

    Make a Change online workshops

    Expand Your Impact is a FREE online initiative that challenges you to think a little differently & grow your success, in any area of life!

    Delivered by Make A Change in collaboration with 4 regional partners, this program is for anyone who wants to do more, learn more, connect better, or generally be more effective.

    All residents, businesses & organisations in Loddon, Pyrenees, Yarriambiack & Northern Grampians Councils
    are invited to take part from March to June 2024.

    Register NOW for next workshop series starting 5th June
    Sign up now to stay up to date with the latest on this project


    Chi Gong and Tai Chi on Wednesdays at Radius Gallery

    Chi Gong and Meditation with Damien Smith

    6.30 and 7.30am

    SHARON WOULF 5.30 pm 6.30 pm



    Helping Caregivers of Autistic Loved Ones

    Help caregivers of Autistic loved ones to find meaning and purpose and overcome stressful or negative thinking patterns.

    Transform anxiety and overwhelm into clarity and empowerment through the transformative power of deep listening

    Join me online Monday 10 June 6-7.30pm

    Samantha Wittenberg  Boost your Wellbeing Through Empathic Listening



    Earlier this month the local group, Central Vic Climate Action held a “Funeral for Fossil Fuels” in Bendigo to get the message across to our MP, Lisa Chesters that all extraction of coal oil and gas must end if we are to avoid catastrophic global heating greater than 1.5 degrees C.  A coffin full of “smouldering coal” was delivered to her door by veiled pall bearers dressed in black, and there were some songs, chants and speeches. This is an extract from a speech given on the day by Trevor Scott during a short funeral procession through the city.

    “All the storms, floods and fires that we see all-to-often on national television – they’re getting more serious and more frequent every day, not only here in Australia but also around the world. A lot of the people who lived in the path of the cyclone, or were downwind of the bushfire, have already lost their loved ones, their homes, their pets and all the things they held dear. Some unlucky ones have even lost their lives, not to mention the forests and the millions of wild creatures that have already perished. We can’t “fix” the climate by ourselves but because it’s Humans who have caused the Earth to overheat, I believe and so do many others, that Humans can fix it, but only if we act straightaway. We should have started decades ago so we are running out of time. The way I see it, stopping the juggernaut of climate change is firstly in the hands of the giant fossil fuel companies, secondly in the banks who lend them the money, and thirdly in the hands of our federal government members. All of them have shown that they have no will to do so, and, unfortunately for us, there are new fossil fuel projects on the table today in Canberra.

    Yes, it’s true that they have the lion’s share of the power and we have very little; but the big question for us is, how do we shift that power? You’ve all heard of Greta Thunberg. She alone recognised that there was a climate crisis and started striking every day outside the Swedish parliament until others joined her. In a relatively short time she had set up a global movement that is ongoing and is still growing. Another famous woman called Margaret Read once said “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed individuals can change the world. In fact it’s the only thing that ever has”.  After the procession the mourners gathered once more in front of Lisa Chesters’ office in Myers Street. Trevor Scott spoke again and said:

    “Lisa Chesters, you recently said that the federal government was transitioning out of coal into renewable energy. “But we can’t put the cart before the horse” you said. “We have to make sure that we’re building the renewable energy grid, that we’re building those transmission lines to get more renewable energy into our system. It’s got to be a just transition and that’s what our government is working towards” you said. This is admirable, Lisa and I’m very happy to hear this news. But decades have gone by without any action at all. My question to you is how long will these transmission lines be carrying fossil fuel- generated electricity while this government continues to allow new coal mines to open, and fracking and gas pipeline projects to continue, and worst of all, continues to pay out huge sums of taxpayers money to fossil fuel corporations in the form of rebates? I would appreciate an answer to this question Lisa, even if its only an estimate.”The question was delivered to her office in the form of a letter.

    Trevor Scott, 23 May 2024

    Food for Thought

    The Pollinators of Slovenia – an interactive documentary


    Milkwood – Skills for Living like it Matters


    Practising Transition- Being Yourself in Action


    Rasmus Nørgaard on building a sustainable future The Wisdom & Action Podcast


    Simon Michaux: Industrial transformation away from fossil fuels will not go as planned


    Earthworker practice, vision and strategy-  “Weathering the Coming Storm”.

    A series of four in-person talks in June.  The Earthworker ecosystem –  Sunday June 2nd 3pm: A discussion with members of the various worker-owned cooperatives in the Earthworker network, including Earthworker Smart Energy Cooperative, Hope Cooperative, Earthworker Construction Cooperative and Earthworker Energy Manufacturing Cooperative

    Rocking the FoundationsSaturday June 8th 3pm: Discussion and film screening on the history of the BLF and green bans and how it informs Earthworker vision and strategy

    Reflections on RedgumSunday June 16th 3pm: A presentation by Redgum Cooperative co-founders about the successes and failures and lessons of Redgum Cleaning Cooperative (followed by a bushdance with the Earthworker Bushband)

    History and politics of EarthworkerSaturday June 22nd 3pm: An exploration of the economic and political analysis out of which Earthworker emerged

    All talks will be held in Naarm at Black Spark Cultural Centre on Gladstone Avenue in Northcote. If possible please RSVP using the Facebook links above.

    Continue reading →
  • May 2024 newsletter

    “Our consciousness , rising above the growing (but still much too limited) circles of family, country and race, shall finally discover that the only truly natural and real human unity is the spirit of the earth” (Teilhard de Chardin). All humans are born from the earth , are nurtured from it, and are destined to return to it. ( Fox, Matthew, Original Blessing, Tarcher/Putman, 2000, p.15/16)

    Feature Article: Earth as Koan, Earth as Self, Susan Murphy Roshi

    Susan Murphy Roshi in conversation,  with Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee from Emergebce magazine,  about her new book: A Fire Runs Through All things – Zen Koans for Facing the Climate Crisis. Susan’s new book was launched in Castlemaine in March this year, a joint Castlemaine Zen and Localising Leanganook initiative. 

    Many Australians vividly remember the scene described in the opening paragraph to  her new book described below.  There are few times I have felt so viscerally jolted recalling the images of Mallacoota beach in Southern Victoria on that fateful week . (Ed)

    “On December 31, 2019 – coincidentally, the day on which the World Health Organisation officially confirmed COVID-19 – a huge crowd of silent people stood packed on a beach in southeastern Australia facing the ocean as if waiting for deliverance. It was midday but they massed under a sky as stop three sides force them together in the possible. Some sat and stared dumbly at the sea.  Others hugged a child, a pet, or one another.  Most just stood where they could very narrow spit of possibility between flame and water, labouring to absorb the sheer impossibility of what was happening. Among them stood a large and beautiful patient horse, lending a potent heraldic presence to the apocalyptic scene.

    Though few among them here in comfortable Australia thought so at the time, the dishevelled people huddled under that deep umber midday sky had just joined the world’s early wave of climate refugees.”

    Murphy goes on to say that the urgency of this book was ignited by those monster fires.   Later the rains came that extinguished the fires and shattered all records and previous highest flood levels, and overwhelming tens of thousands of households. The water became hypoxic drowning the tree root systems and collapsing the mountains.

    “As long as our priorities fail to match the urgency (of the emergency) we debase its power and tactically enable a form of doublespeak in order to accommodate both subtle and flagrant  forms of denial and malignant neglect that fully intend to forestall incisive response.”

    What becomes possible when we open and orient our consciousness towards uncertainty, emptiness, and a sense of relationship with the world beyond the self? Australian writer and Zen teacher Susan Murphy Roshi immerses us in the tradition of Zen koan and the power of the not-knowing mind to open a treasury of resources for navigating the climate crisis.

    “The fundamental koan is the Earth, which is also inseparable from the fundamental human koan of what is this self? They are the same koan in a way. They heal each other, like medicine and sickness do.  Here is the link to the conversation in the Emergence interview:  



    1. Arts and Culture
    2. Food Growing, Farming and Food Security
    3. Ecology and Environment
    4. First Nations
    5. Sustainable Living Resources
    6. Building Community
    7. Local Government News
    8. Workshops and Courses

    Food for Thought

    Arts and Culture

    Jim Robert’s Sculpture in Stone and Wood – Exhibition at Newstead Arts Hub


    When: 4-25 May 2024; Each weekend 10am–4pm
    Opening celebration: Saturday 4 May 2pm- To be opened by Kynan Sutherland, artist
    Where: Newstead Arts Hub (Old Newstead Railway Station) 8A Tivey St, Newstead, about 16kms from Castlemaine)

    Yandoit resident Jim Robert’s sculptural work has a central Australian theme- forming, folding and shaping.


    Braided Rag Rug Workshop with Ilka White

    When: Sunday 5 May, 10am-4pm

    Where: Riddells Creek Neighbourhood House

    A great way to recycle old clothes and fabric. This braiding technique weaves in as we go so there is no stitching up required afterward. Bring your own material to recycle and find out what riches can come from rags…

    Info and Bookings:https://www.ilkawhite.com.au/allclasses/braided-rag-rugs-riddells

    Yandoit Cultural Open Mic


    Yandoit Cultural’s Open  Mic events are an excellent way for those living around central Victoria to share, and listen to locals as they share,  a story, a poem, a song or a tune.  Our May Open Mic has a theme of Autumn. Everyone can have their 5-10 minutes and the afternoon promises to be a joyful potluck, followed by country hospitality and a cuppa at the end.

    When: Saturday May 11th, 3-5pm

    Where: Uniting Church Rd, off High st, Yandoit

    Entry by donation. Contact Nikki or Katy if you’re interested-  0432 232 073/0430 530 868 or email:  ycfcpg@gmail.com

    Radius Arts Space Hepburn Springs

    Radius Gallery showcases and promotes 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.

    HOURS: Thursday – Saturday 10 – 4pm

    76 Main Road,  Hepburn Springs VIC Australia.  Ph: +61 3 5348 1199  email- radius@designscope.com.au

    Website: https://www.radiusart.com.au/

    The Bedridden Band Play at Yandoit

    When: Saturday May 25th, 7.30pm 

    Where: Yandoit Cultural -Uniting Church Rd, off High St, Yandoit

    The Bedridden were formed in Canberra in 1989. Five albums and several line-up changes later, they are now based in Central Victoria and are the undisputed kings and queens of acoustic psycho muppet punk.

    Listen via youtube  and spotify:



    Newstead Arts Hub- Writing and Clay Hand Building

    Hub Writers Group

    Come along to the Hub Writers Group and be part of our informal monthly ‘shut up and write’ sessions on the 4th Friday of every month at the Newstead Arts Hub. From March 2024 onwards, the group will hold an afternoon writing session from 1-5pm, and then an evening session from 6.30-8.30pm. Between the two sessions, there will be a chance to talk about writing (including sharing some of your own writing if you wish). Please bring along whatever food you’d like to eat: the Hub has a well-equipped kitchen. Next session is 24 May.

    No need to book: just turn up (at 1pm or whenever you can get there) with your writing gear – notebook, tablet, laptop – and get going. There are tables and chairs ready to go at the Hub plus coffee, tea and herbals available.

    Quirky Clay: Hand-building for beginners

    Create three quirky pots that will be glazed and fired, guided by ceramicist and teacher Gerry McDonald.

    In this workshop for beginners, Gerry will teach you the basics of pottery in a fun and inspiring way. He will expertly guide you, step by step, to make 3 quirky pieces over two weekends,  a pinch bowl with curly legs, a coil pot and a gorgeous little cylindrical birdhouse! As well as learning great new skills, you will get to take home three wonderful works of art made by you!

    Day 1 – Sat 18 May 10am-3pm -Working with clay, learning techniques and building your pieces.

    Day 2 – Sat 25 May 10am-12.30pm – Glaze your pots, learn & play with glazes and explore the wild and wonderful colours Gerry uses in his work.

    Join us for this wonderful clay workshop. No previous experience necessary!! All welcome

    Booking link here

    Northern Arts Hotel

    THE COOLROOM DIARY [Click on links for event details]
    MUSIC GIGS  [Usually at 7.30pm, Sunday 2.30pm]

    Friday 26 April | Kaiyah Mercedes + Candice Alisha
    Saturday 27 April | The Anticlinal Fold 
    Friday 10 May | Double Shot of Roots: Ben Jansz + Simon Phillips
    Saturday 18 May | Dave Graney & Clare Moore
    Friday 24 May | Sally Ford and the Idiomatics
    Saturday 25 May | Kris Mizzi and Mandy Connell
    Sat 8 & Sun 9 June | Castlemaine Jazz Festival
    Friday 14 June | Áine Tyrrell: People Like Me & You Tour
    Sunday 28 April 2.30pm | Free Secret Movie Matinee
    Tuesday 30 April 12.30pm | International Jazz Day: Virtual Tour of National Portrait Gallery
    Sunday 2 June 2.30pm | Film of the Concert in Support of Yes

    Castlemaine Johannine Community aka the Grail Community

    The Castlemaine Johannine Community practises ‘pagan Christianity’, a spirituality based in the mystical tradition of St John, Mary Magdalene and the Rosicrucians, and grounded in deep reverence for the sacredness of the Earth and the wisdom of the ancient Celtic, Aboriginal and Native American spiritual traditions. Through both inner and outer work, we seek to collaborate with the impulse of Christ and Sophia to create bring healing and renewal to our communities and the Earth. We meet monthly for Eucharist services and other special events shaped by the sacred calendar of the seasonal Christian and Celtic festivals.

    This month’s events include a Samhain bonfire and healing service on Saturday 4th May from 6pm, a Mother’s Day Eucharist on 12th May at 11am followed by a shared lunch, and a Pentacost Eucharist on 19th May from 11am followed by a shared lunch.

    Where: the Grail Chapel, 75 McMillans Rd, Green Gully

    Cost: all events are free, donations are welcome.  Enquiries: contact Ken Killeen on 0423 194 878 or email: johannine@hotmail.com

    Food Growing, Farming and Food Security

    Two Fold BakeHouse- Community Supported Bakery

    We bake naturally leavened, organic loaves, using organic stoneground flours, and work with the seasons; changing our loaves to suit what’s growing around us. We support regenerative agriculture and small family farms, who together form a part of a movement towards a local grain economy.

    Buy bread weekly on Thursday, ordered online weekly as a one off, or monthly as a subscription with pick up each Thursday from Daylesford, Yandoit or Kyneton hubs. Daylesford Sunday Railway market Fortnightly. Hepburn Wholefood Collective – Fresh every Thursday from 3pm

    Website: https://twofoldbakehouse.com/

    Ecology and Environment

    Bird of the Month- Laughing Kookaburra

    Welcome to Bird of the month, a partnership between Connecting Country and BirdLife Castlemaine District.

    Laughing Kookaburra, the blue on the wing and rufous on the tail and rump is clearly visible.

    Find more information on the Laughing Kookaburra, including their calls, click here.

    Photo by Damian Kelly

    Central Vic Climate Action- Rise Up Event


    When: Wednesday 8th May,12.30pm
    Where: Lisa Chester’s office, Bendigo

    To illustrate the need for an immediate end to fossil fuels, pall bearers dressed in black, along with our red rebels, will carry a coffin full of smouldering coal to Lisa Chesters door. Please join us for a seriously fun time.

    For more information and to express your interest, contact Trevor Scott- 0412 250 392

    Castlemaine Field Naturalists


    Castlemaine Field Naturalists Club (CFNC) hold a meeting with a guest speaker on the second Friday of the month, followed by a group excursion or field trip the following day.

    All are welcome to attend.

    For more information on CFNC, visit their website – click here


    2024 Landcare Link-up: Caring for Significant Old Trees.


    The 2024 Landcare Link-up will be on Sunday 19 May 2024, from 2pm-4.30pm at the Maldon Community Centre.

    Great opportunity for anyone not yet engaged in Landcare to learn more about what’s involved and hear about the amazing success stories in our region.

    Afternoon tea will be provided for free during the event.

    Bookings are essential for catering purposes. To book your place, please -click here Everyone is welcome!

    Victorian Landcare Forum in Bendigo : May 9-10th,

    for info & bookings: https://events.humanitix.com/2024-victorian-landcare-forum

    Sutton Grange Landcare Field Days

    Sutton Grange Landcare decided to run a series of field days to look at what people are doing on private properties. This was in response to discussion at our meetings around what members would like to do. So far, we have had three.

    The highlight of visiting these sites is not just the physical attributes and what works and what doesn’t but the discussion that takes place, the suggestions that are put forward and the knowledge that is exchanged. The groups have consisted of long term members and more recent members wanting to tap into local knowledge.  (by Marge Townrow), 

      Photo: Before and after direct seeding 

    First Nations

    Uncle Rick Launches his Waaman Cultural Tours

    When : Sunday April 28th, 3-6pm 

    Where: Theatre Royal Castlemaine

    Join Uncle Rick Nelson and the community this Sunday for a day of celebration and Cultural connection at the launch of his Waaman Cultural Tours.

    Welcome to Country and Smoking by the Waaman himself. Waaman Tours are led by Senior Djaara Elder Uncle Rick himself out on Country and offer an immersive experience into the rich history of Djaara Culture in the Castlemaine region. Participants will have the opportunity to visit sites such as scar trees, rock wells and grinding grooves, alongside receiving a traditional Welcome to Country.  Uncle Rick expressed his excitement, stating, “Taking people on tours out on Country has been a long-held dream of mine, inspired by the vision of my father, Uncle Brien Nelson.”

    Music lineup includes: D’Arcy Spiller, Peter and the Wolf playing the Backyard Blues, Yambra

    Limited edition merch for sale. Sausage and vego sizzle. There will also be a Nalderun information stall to learn about the impactful work this grassroots Aboriginal-led organization is doing in the region.

    Bookings for upcoming tours can be made at waamantours.com.au or for further information, please email cdemarco@nalderun.net.au.

    Kulin Nations Seasons Calendar

    We are now in the Waring season according to the Kulin Nations Aboriginal calendar. This season marks the shift to cooler misty mornings, shorter days and longer nights and is the time when wombats emerge and feed on new shoots of grass.

    The information on the Waring season is shared in Nalderun Education Aboriginal Corporations ‘Our Mob’s Season Calendar’ which you can purchase through their website. It is a great resource to help understand the local Indigenous seasons based on nature observations over tens of thousands of years. It is a reminder that the four European seasons applied to Australian conditions can be out of touch with what is happening around us in nature.  



    Sustainable Living Resources

    Degrowth  Central Victoria Launch:  A Castlemaine Free University event

    When: Monday 13 May 2024, 6 pm (doors open 5.30 pm)

    WHAT What’s ‘degrowth’? Find out at our launch and hear what degrowth advocates are doing and plan to do in locally. On degrowth book below, see https://www.celinekeller.com/who-is-afraid-of-degrowth

    WHO — Nikki Marshall, Peter Yates, Ben Laycock, Anitra Nelson, and Kirsten Moegerlein  introduce the degrowth idea and reveal activities they’ve started and visions for more to come. We hope you’ll be enthused enough to join/support us. We’ll have a cheeky questions Q&A.

    For a sneak preview — https://degrowthcentralvic.org/

    And check out the DCV Substack https://degrowthcentralvictoria.substack.com/

    WHERENorthern Arts Hotel, 359 Barker Street, Castlemaine, 3450

    FREE — Free event with degrowth snacks. Drinks for purchase at NAH bar

    Repair Cafes


    When and Where: Sunday May 19th, 1-4pm at Trentham Community Centre joining with Trentham Sustainability Group and Clothes Swap


    When and Where: Last  Sunday of each month, 10am to 1.00pm  at Castlemaine Community House, 30 Templeton St.  For further information join our Facebook group, visit our website or call Chris on 5470 5508.

    Creswick Repair and Share

    When and Where: Third Sunday of each month at Creswick Community House and hall


    Building Community

    A new faith community in Yandoit

    A faith community is being developed at Yandoit Uniting Church in addition to, but separate from, Yandoit Cultural.

    Several gatherings have been held over the past few months to explore the kind of faith community we feel inspired to create.  Directions include multi-faith, keeping the spirit alive, recognising the seasons, reconciling with our first nations people, and incorporating rituals meaningful to our community and to the times we are living in.

    Our first gathering was on April 24th . We are supported in this exploration by Rev Sarah Tomilson, Uniting Church Minister, as well as the Sipwell Faith Community in Castlemaine.

    More information: Contact Nikki if you are interested in joining this community or if you have any questions on 0432 232 073

    Grounded Community Land Trust


    Help us make affordable housing a reality before The Australian Dream becomes an urban myth. Our work in Daylesford continues with the steering group honing in on a former disused caravan park.  Hopefully we will gain access to the site, but as we know with government land, it can take time – even during a housing crisis.

    These government submissions might be tedious but they help us understand the handouts insiders receive, fortifying our asks. Recent high level meets have included the Victorian Department of Treasury, Hepburn Shires’ Director of Planning and senior management at the Dja Dja Wurrung.

    Grounded is a not-for-profit organisation established to advocate, incubate and accelerate the development of Community Land Trusts in Australia. Become a Member

    Castlemaine Community Coop

    Today we are 98 members strong! The board met recently, and we:

    ✔️ are nearly fully registered: ABN, tax exempt, registered as not for profit

    ✔️ are ready for local lawyers to look over the disclosure statement for our investment mechanism

    ✔️ have started looking at the business model for the Hub

    If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to reply to this email and drop us a line:  https://castlemaine.coop/

    Local Government News

    Hepburn Matters and Upcoming Council Elections

    Hepburn Matters is concerned that Council elections are loomimg at the end of October with a completely new scenario. The change to seven councillors elected across the Shire without wards and a voting system similar to the Tasmanian state elections or a Senate election has implications for who can get elected and how. This has consequences for candidates who wish to stand so we are planning a roundtable with people who have been engaged in community matters of varying kinds relating to the council. We know  that many of you have views about how we can get the best Council to meet the community’s needs in the next four years.

    Hepburn Matters is developing a set of criteria which set out the sort of credentials which we think would best serve the community. We are holding two informal meetings to discuss the next steps at the Bendigo Bank Room next to the Palais in Hepburn : Saturday 4 May from 11 am – 12 pm      and     Sunday 5 May 11am-12pm

    Mt Alexander Democracy Group

    A group of Castlemaine locals is engaging community to increase understanding of council, amplify community voices in what we want for our shire and in our elected representatives, and to encourage people to run for council in the October elections.

    The group is entirely independent and volunteer run. The team will be facilitating discussion and sharing information over the coming months.

    If you would like to organise a discussion in your area, get involved or otherwise help out, get in contact.


    All Aboard at Bullarto Station

    Locals and visitors alike can now step back in time and enjoy a vintage railway experience at Bullarto Station thanks to a redevelopment of the historic station.

    The works have created a replica of Bullarto Station as it appeared in the 1930s complete with historical exhibits. Families, train lovers and history buffs can get a taste of rural life in the 1930s, learn about the history of Victorian Railways over the last 140 years and enjoy the restored platform and surrounding gardens.

    Daylesford Spa Country Railway (DSCR) manages the operation of the tourist rail, which runs restored heritage trains on return trips from Daylesford to Bullarto through picturesque farmland Wombat State Forest.

    This series of works at Bullarto Station will also complement the forthcoming development of the Daylesford Macedon Rail Trail, enabling people to transport their bikes on the train between Daylesford and Bullarto.

    Have questions or want to learn more about this project, contact our Project Manager: eatkin@hepburn.vic.gov.au

    Workshops and Courses

    Beyond the Polarities – a Thrutopian Perspective for Climate Coaching

    When: Tuesday 7 May 2024, 2:00pm – 3:30pm Melbourne time

    Where: Online

    Who for: Facilitators, leaders and climate coaches who want to be better informed about how to support clients

    A Thrutopian perspective is the foundation from which we create a viable future for all beings, one that we would be proud to leave for the next seven generations.   It arises from a new genre of writing, filmmaking and communicating about the future that can inform how we can best support people and groups they are working with. clients.  Thrutopian perspective recognises: -Where we are at now individually and collectively as a planetary civilisation, and the gravity of our situation; – shows a pathway, (perhaps many pathways),  towards a possible viable future that we would be proud to leave behind for future generations.

    The concept of Thrutopia was coined by Prof Rupert Read in 2017, when he saw that much of our climate communication and stories about the future are polarised between somewhat delusional happy ‘everything-will-be-alright utopian face’- and the doom and gloom dystopian stories of a future that leads to inaction and despair, either fighting or giving up.  For more information to to Climate Coaching Alliance  To Register go here

    Understanding Human Behaviour to Influence Community Change

    When: Tuesday, 14 May 2024 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
    Where: Ballarat: 910 Pleasant Street South Ballarat

    Are you passionate about sustainability and keen to find out more about how to motivate and create change in your community? Then this workshop is for you. Sustainability Victoria and Behaviour Works Australia are partnering with the City of Ballarat to offer a free workshop to help volunteer and community groups understand the role human behaviour can play in driving successful outcomes for your sustainability projects.

    click here to express your interest

    Growing our connection with all that lives, from the Work that Reconnects

    When: Saturday June 8. Time 1pm-5pm

    Where: Green Gully Victoria

    Cost: By donation

    The workshops provide a safe space for a deep connection with all life and the opportunity to share that with fellow travellers. Processes include Loving Kindness Meditation, a Mandala activity and The Milling- an experience of shifting from overload to simply being present.
    It is led by experienced WTR facilitators to serve a cultural shift towards reconnection with all beings and the planet.

    Inquiries Shana 0457 496 864 or Diane 0421 510 017
    Booking essential via Email: dianethompson61@gmail.com

    Food for Thought

    International Day of Transition Practise on Sat, 27th April (online)

    Hear from Transitioners and Transition groups who’ve succeeded in making changes in their communities. Learn more about the practices and conditions which supported this and what they learned along the way. Explore how to apply these practices and learnings in your own context. Join us for the Australian session, or register for sessions around the world!

    “Stories of Transition” is a series of online talks held every three months where we hear stories from three different Transition or other related groups from around Australia and the world. Attendees get to hear what different groups are currently doing and may be inspired to try similar ideas in their own area.

    Read more & register here for session

    Continue reading →
  • April 2024 Newsletter

    Love doesn’t just sit there like a stone. It has to be made like bread. Remade all the time. Made new. 

    (Ursula LeGuin, cited in Milkwood Newsletter,  March 2024)

    Welcome to the April edition of Localising Leanganook’s e-newsletter. There’s lots of local news and events as well as a thought-provoking feature article, in podcast format, on Cycles of Renewal – an interview with permaculture co-originator and Hepburn Springs resident David Holmgren.

    Cheers, Nikki, Keppel, Laurel, and Samantha

    Note to Contributors and Readers

    As you can see, Localisising Leanganook’s e-news grows 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 the May or 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

    April’s edition includes:

    Feature Article: Reskillience Podcast

    1. Arts and Culture
    2. Food Growing, Farming and Food Security
    3. Ecology and Environment
    4. First Nations
    5. History, Books and Libraries
    6. Sustainable Living Resources
    7. Building Community
    8. Local Government News
    9. Workshops and Courses

    Letters – 

    Food for Thought

    Feature Article- Reskillience Podcast

    Looking for fresh ear food? Reskillience is a podcast born and raised in Hepburn featuring lots of familiar voices. It explores the intersection between permaculture, rewilding and non-irksome self help, highlighting the hard and soft skills that’ll help us stay resilient into the future. Hosted by Catie Payne and released every Monday, Reskillience brings you provocative and peace-loving convos with people like David Holmgren, Meg Ulman, Suzy Muir, Su Dennett, Patrick Jones, Devon Harris and many, many more. David’s episode “Cycles of Renewal” is a great place to start. 🎧 Have a listen on iTunes, Spotify or wherever podcasts bloom.

    Arts and Culture

    CresFest- Creswick’s Folk  and Roots Festival

    When: Friday April 5th to Sunday April 7th

    Where: Assorted venues in Creswick

    This CresFest World Podcast created by Neil Adam. What other festival goes to this much trouble to tell you the stories behind the music – ten episodes and more coming weekly, with in depth interviews with artists past and present.

    For more information and to book: https://cresfest.com.au/


    Northern Arts Hotel

    THE COOLROOM DIARY [Click on links for event details] MUSIC GIGS  [Usually at 7.30pm, Sunday 2.30pm]

    Friday 29 March | The Cartwheels
    Saturday 30 March | The Great Unknown
    Friday 5 April | The Duck Downpickers
    Saturday 6 April | Jack Pantazis Group
    Friday 19 April | Michael Plater + Friends
    Saturday 27 April | The Anticlinal Fold 
    Saturday 18 May | Dave Graney & Clare Moore
    Sunday 31 March | Secret Movie Matinee
    Thursday 28 March, 4pm | Maine-ly Ukes
    Sunday 21 April 2.30pm | Pride Secret Movie
    Monday 22 April 7pm | Pride CFU: LBGTiQA + Asylum Seekers
    Thursday 25 April 7pm | Best of BQFF Short Films
    Friday 26 April 7.30pm | Kaiyah Mercedes + Candice Alisha

    Newstead Arts Hub

    Through My Eyes: Exhibition – Dawn Robinson 
    Weekends Sat 6 – Sun 28 April, 10am-4pm
    In this exhibition, sculptor and artist Dawn Robinson, explores the interplay of natural and urban environments. Her new series of limestone sculptures and abstract expressionist paintings are full of contrasts; movement & stillness, solidity & emptiness, negative & positive, light & dark. Dawns’ captivating works explore and test these dualities. Sat 6 April, 2.30pm: To celebrate the opening of Through My Eyes, Dawn has arranged some special treats for us.
    There will be tastings of award winning Macedon Ranges gin from Travelling While Standing Still and gorgeous sounds by Smith & Appleby Duo Jazz

    Slow Stitching: Workshop
    Sat 14 April, 10am-3.30pm – $110 Full $100 Members 

    Scrap Piecing in the ‘boro’ style with Liz Sardone. Boro stitching is an art form that grew out of necessity in medieval Japan. Using slow, meditative stitches, scraps are transformed into something beautiful and practical. In this workshop you will use  pre-loved fabric scraps to construct your own piece of cloth, then turn it into a small bag.  BOOK HERE After a brief outline of the history of Boro, you will select your fabric scraps and decide how they go together. Liz will teach you different stitching techniques and you’ll be on your way to creating a beautiful piece of fabric. This workshop will suit people who have done some stitching and who have access to a some old and used fabrics (or you could visit your local op shop!).The ultimate in upcycling and repurposing.

    Finding your Creative Self Through Experimentation
    Workshop:  Sat 27 April, 10am-3pm – $135 Full $120 Members

    A fun, mixed media workshop for beginners, facilitated by the fabulous Julie Patey. Julie will guide you in exploring colour, texture & materials. Using wet and dry media to create abstract imagery which could lead to paintings, fabric design, cards or artworks. Come for the joy of playing with materials in a friendly environment. No pressure to create a finished piece. It’s all about enjoying the process. Ages 12-100! No experience necessary. BOOK HERE  Julie is a Central Victorian artist who exhibits regularly across the country.The love of paper and its potential to take stains, textures and colours is endlessly fascinating to her. She concentrates on mood and texture and the memory of the landscape. Natural pigments are combined with both collagraph and etching to create textual nuance.

    Radius Art Gallery- Hepburn Springs

    • Peter Sparkman’s Photographs delve into the lives, loves and interactions of our local queer community.  The images span the past 15 years of ChillOut Festival. MORE INFO UNTIL SAT 13TH APRIL
    • Julian Assange Film – “The Trust Fall” at Radius.  27th & 28th April from 7pm  Tix will be $15 with some $ to Julien (also to Radius and the film company).  P.  Trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcYOv2SorgY
    • Spoontastic – again some details below.  A quirky culinary exhibition as Radius is transformed by giant spoons hanging from walls & ceilings.  A long table will be laid out for a meal in the middle: set with hand crafted bowls, cups and plates. During the exhibition a number of dining-performances allow audience members to sit at the table and partake in a shared meal and story together. REGISTER YOUR INTEREST

    76, Main Rd, Hepburn Springs


    Food Growing, Farming and Food Security

    The Orchard Keepers

    Harcourt’s fruit is still available at market and online sales for a couple more months! The Farm Shop will still be open for collection of pre-ordered fruit. Please note, it will only be staffed until about 1pm Wed-Fri, but if you’ve ordered a box it will be in the black fridges (inside the door to the left) with your name on it. Thanks so much to everyone who has visited the farm this season.

    Hepburn Wholefoods

    Opening hours: Mondays 9.30-11.30am
    Wednesdays 2-4pm
    Thursdays 3-5pm
    Saturdays 11am-1pm

    Location:   11 Perrins Street · Daylesford.  Find us here,


    Mt Franklin Organics

    Give your garden beds a boost with green manure seeds – fava beans and oats&peas $8/500g. Also broad bean seeds.
    A range of organically gown fruit and vegetables,  as well as trees and organic seeds.
    Available at Daylesford’s Sunday Market or  PICKUP from farm on Saturday, (180 church Rd, Mt Franklin, come down the driveway and park at shed, your order will be there).   Please pre-order produce by FRIDAY EVENING.

    Ecology and Environment

    Support Local Climate Activists


    Dean Bridgfoot, Laura Levetan and Bernie Tonkin, – 3 Castlemaine Climate Activists, who occupied the Bendigo NAB, were tried for trespass at the NAB bank in Bendigo during the first week of  March. They have  each been fined and welcome contributions from other concerned climate activists to help pay their fines

    Please contact Bernard- bernard.tonkin@gmail.com if you can help out.

    Wildlife Nest Boxes- Newstead Landcare

    Newstead Landcare and Wildlife Nest Boxes are installing twenty new nest boxes. Meet us at Rotunda(less) Park from 9:30am on Sunday 7 April 2024 for a short on-site talk from Miles Geldard of Wildlife Nest Boxes. Miles will talk about the importance of nest boxes and hollows for our local wildlife, share some of his learnings from years of experience building and installing nest boxes, and answer questions from the audience. Hollow dependent fauna can be found throughout Australia, however, some of them are on the threatened species list. It’s generally understood that species decline is primarily driven by habitat loss. Installing a nest box helps restores this habitat – it is a form of emergency housing for wildlife.

    Food and organics collection starting in Hepburn Shire  


    A weekly food and garden organics bin collection is coming for township households in Creswick, Trentham, Daylesford, Hepburn and Hepburn Springs, following on from the successful trial held in Clunes since 2021.  The new lime green-lidded bins and kitchen caddies will be delivered in mid-to-late-March, with the collection starting just after Easter on 8 April. Here’s a short video clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01fO0jXNEP4


    2024 Nest Box checks

    Connecting Country is seeking volunteers to monitor the Brush-tailed Phascogale during April and May  2024. This nest box volunteer role involves: Travel within the Mount Alexander region, Following safety procedures, Carrying ladders and equipment to sites, Helping to navigate to sites, Writing observations and recording data, and Taking photos. For more information on our nest box monitoring – click here

    If you are interested send a brief email to anna@connectingcountry.org.au

     Photo by Geoff Park

    Safeguard Harcourt’s wildlife corridors: Petition

    Harcourt Valley Landcare Group have been busy working on a campaign to protect Harcourt’s wildlife corridors and biodiversity assets from inappropriate development, for future generations. Harcourt is a special part of our region, and has significant vegetation that is critical habitat for threatened species such as the Brush-Tailed Phascogale, Brown Toadlet and Sun Moth Orchid, as well as many majestic large old trees and habitat corridors. The Harcourt Valley Landcare Group have started a petition on Change.org, to request the Mount Alexander Shire Council protect such natural assets from inappropriate development and ensure our wildlife and biodiversity thrive into the future.

    Posted by Connecting Country:  https://connectingcountry.org.au/

    Join Harcourt Valley Landcare Group’s call for Mt Alexander Shire Council to protect wildlife corridors that allow safe passage for our precious native species from Leanganook (Mt Alexander) to the Walmer Forest. These wildlife corridors include roadside vegetation corridors like Elys Lane, Douglas Lane, Shady Lane and Eagles Rd; and waterways such as Barkers Creek and Picnic Gully Creek. We call for strong protections for Large Old Trees, habitat for the Brush-tailed Phascogale, Brown Toadlet and Golden Sun Moth Orchid. Click hereto sign the petition and for more information.

    Bird of the Month

    Bird of the month is a partnership between Connecting Country and BirdLife Castlemaine District.

    Varied Sitella (Daphoenositta chrysoptera): The Varied Sitella is a small grey bird that is often hard to see, although it is widespread in our region. One distinguishable behaviour is that it often runs down a tree trunk or branch or hangs upside down as it searches for food. A gregarious species, it can usually can be seen in groups of 2 up to 20 when foraging in its preferred woodland haunts.

    As the name implies, plumage can be quite variable within the species and there is extensive and complex variation in different geographical areas. DNA evidence supports a few distinct subspecies, and there is widespread hybridisation between these different subspecies – all in all a bit confusing!

    It can be found across Australia (but not Tasmania) in a variety of habitats from southern Victoria all the way up to Cape York, in Western Australia and is also lightly spread throughout the inland.

    At times it can be found foraging in mixed species flocks which include Buff-rumped and Striated Thornbills and occasionally Scarlet Robins. It is rarely seen on the ground, preferring to move along tree trunks and in the foliage. It tends to favour higher spots on trees compared to other bark-feeding species such as Treecreepers and Crested Shriketits and can be seen 8-14m above ground level, which of course makes observation that much more tricky.

    The Varied Sittella is a small songbird native to Australia. Photo: Damian Kelly

    Sustainable Living Resources

    Repair Cafes

    Castlemaine: Last  Sunday of each month, 10am to 1.00pm  at Castlemaine Community House, 30 Templeton St.  For further information join our Facebook group, visit our website or call Chris on 5470 5508.


    Repair Cafés are about keeping things out of landfill, saving you money, and giving members of the community the opportunity to volunteer. Bring along broken household appliances, sewing repairs, toys, etc. Learn bicycle maintenance. Join the Mending Circle and swap tips on crochet, darning, knitting, hand sewing, etc. or learn to do these so your clothes continue to be usable. There’s also help with mobile phones, wiping information before recycling, settings etc.

    Daylesford: Third Sunday of each month, 1pm-4pm _ Tner April Cafe will again be  at Radius Gallery,  76 Main Road, Hepburn Springs, For further information: Nikki 0432 232 073 or  https://www.facebook.com/daylesfordrepaircafe/

    Gold Coin donation.

    Creswick Repair and Share : Third Sunday of each month at Creswick Community House and hall


    Degrowth Central Victoria

    Degrowth Central Victoria has been meeting regularly over the past few months. Degrowth aims to achieve socio-political equity and ecological sustainability in our everyday practices. Degrowth addresses questions such as — How can we be more ecologically efficient? How can we care for one another and Earth more?

    Degrowth has become an international movement in the last couple of decades. Degrowth embraces many principles and aims of other environmental and social movements. But, degrowth is unique in its focus on the growth fetish – as in growth of monetary GDP (gross domestic product), productivity and profits. Market economies are driven by an abstract concept of limitless monetary growth at the cost of human lives, quality of life and Earth’s regenerative capacity. Think out-of-control carbon emissions threatening our futures. Degrowth is about transforming our everyday practices towards respecting and working with the fragile, limited, yet bountiful Earth on which we rely to exist. Degrowth aims to reframe our economies away from socially and ecologically destructive growth. The regenerative capacities of Earth and of ourselves need to be restored and preserved. Everyone’s needs – and more general ecological needs – must be met, neither more nor less.

    Degrowth Central Victoria is a collective of people supporting degrowth aims by experimenting with degrowth practices in our local area. Here is the new Website — https://degrowthcentralvic.org/ which offers details of such activities, and how to get involved in them or engage with us, along with resources to learn more about degrowth. There’s also regular articles published via substack:  https://degrowthcentralvictoria.substack.com/

    Castlemaine Community Investment Cooperative

    The Castlemaine Community Investment Co-operative was launched on the 6 of March with about 60 founding members joining in singing and playing Big Yellow Taxi with Lena Mitchell and Meg Corson. There were community guardian sculptures by Eliza Jane Gilchrist. Directors – Warwick Smith and Angus Gratton – provided updates on the preparations for the the co-ops proposed first investment in the Hub, and the board answered questions from the audience.

    The co-op is aiming to collectively purchase and manage profitable local properties, taking them out of the speculative real estate market for good. It will offer locals a way to invest in their own community to protect and support the things we value. Our community members democratically determine the direction of the co-operative and we are nearly 100 members strong. You can join for $40/$20 at  https://castlemaine.coop/join/. New members welcome!
    You can find out more at https://castlemaine.coop/ or follow us on Facebook for details https://www.facebook.com/castlemainecoop. 

    Solar offer for Hepburn Shire locals

    Have you heard about our Hepburn Solar and Battery Bulk Buy? We are working with long-term solar partners Solar Savers to offer a bulk buy on solar PV, and also batteries.

    Get in touch on 1300 548 598 to discuss with one of the Solar Savers team or visit www.solarsavers.org.au


    Free Mulch

    Are you looking to give your garden some extra TLC? Hepburn Shire  transfer stations have mulch ready and waiting in Daylesford, Trentham and Creswick. And guess what? It’s absolutely FREE if you roll up your sleeves and load it by hand.

    If you need assistance loading, our trusty front loader machine at the Daylesford site is on standby for just a small charge of $12 per load.  The mulch comes from the green waste you all shared during our free disposal period in November. Your contributions are coming back to help your gardens grow.

    Affordable Housing

    The issue of housing affordability is a concern for many people in Mt Alexander (and other ) shire, and the shire is committed to making more homes available for more people. Find out what actions we’re taking to address affordable housing in a bi-monthly e-newsletter.

    Visit Shape Mount Alexander and click ‘Follow’ for updates on what we’re doing : https://shape.mountalexander.vic.gov.au/affordable-housing

    Sign up for affordable housing updates

    Castlemaine Seed Library

    Next working bee- April 4th, 11am at Castlemaine Library

    Join our friendly group for seed packing and gardening chats. All welcome.

    On the board for March there are Western Red carrots, Mustard, Coriander, Flat leaf parsley, radish, Globe Artichoke, Painted lady lettuce, Brocolli, Tuscan black kale, Broad beans, Mixed lettuce, Spring onion, Red and Green Silverbeet, Wasabi mustard, Mizuna, Beetroot and Russian kale.


    Building Community

    Castlemaine Free University

    In collaboration with Castlemaine Pride 2024, CFU hosts a LGBTIQA+ Refugees & Asylum Seekers event on Monday 22 April 2024, 7pm,  Norther Arts Hotel —

    For Palestine Fundraiser

    Gaza is unsafe, with Palestinians living in tents or temporary shelters, lacking essentials like water, food, and electricity. Aid is
    insufficient for the over two million residents due to blockages.On the 21st of April 2024, join us at the Theatre Royal as we show our solidarity and raise much needed funds for the people of Gaza. All proceeds will go to providing much needed food, water, and electricity for the writers (and their families) from We Are Not Numbers (WANN), who—despite the very real fear of being killed—are continuing to write and tell their stories.This will be a peaceful event with music from The Double Dole String Band, Eliza Hull, Baby Velvet, Charlie Needs Braces, Angie Hart, Nokomi Achkar, and The Freedom Singers. With poetry by Andy Jackson and Declan Furber Gillick.There’ll be an art auction and a raffle made up of donations by Castlemaine’s incredible local businesses. There will also be screen
    printing on the day, so bring along your t-shirts!Food and drinks at bar prices.Auslan Interpreted. Accessible Venue.

    When: SUNDAY 21ST APRIL 3-6 PM 

    Children are free entry.

    This project is an initiative of We Are Not Numbers, supported by the Middle East Children’s Alliance, a registered non-profit organisation.
    Tickets –

    Jumpleads- Programs to grow your community impact

    FREE programs: For creatives, local leaders & regional communities.
    A feast on offer! With lots of practical & supportive initiatives for you to: progress ideas, take care of yourself & others, grow your community impact.

    All delivered by Jumpleads, Make a Change & Pop Up Art

    Programs include local leadership, big weather, supercharging community energy, and climate conversations.

    Local Government News

    Community Grants

    There are three grant opportunities currently open via Hepburn Shire for community groups.

    Council’s Quick Response Grants – support community groups who may have experienced an unforeseen disruption, urgent issue or to facilitate small projects. Grants of up to $1,000 are available until the allocated budget is exhausted.

    Biodiversity grants – for  community-based projects that enhance and protect the biodiversity of our Shire.

    Sustainable Hepburn grants – for community-based projects and initiatives that aim to reduce future impacts of climate change.

    Biodiversity and Sustainable Hepburn grants close on 8 April. More information on grants here. 

    Workshops and Courses

    Alexander Technique Workshops in Daylesford

    Foot Workshop | Walk with Ease     + Smart Yoga Workshop

    When: Sunday, 14th April, 2024

    Where: Daylesford Neighbourhood Centre

    Cost: $80 per workshop or $140 for both

    Bookings:  https://www.alexanderschool.edu.au/daylesford

    Highly engaging & interactive workshops.  David Moore is an Alexander Technique of 35 years experience,  Director of the School of FM Alexander Studies in Melbourne, and  an internationally renowned yoga teacher and author.  His book, Smart Yoga brings fresh and practical insights into how the Alexander Technique can contribute to yoga practice: https://www.alexanderschool.edu.au/smart-yoga-by-david-moore

    Smart Yoga book will be available for sale ($45).  David is available for Introductory One Hour Lessons, $110 (GST Included). Lessons will be held in Hepburn Springs, on Saturday 13th April.

    For all lesson bookings, contact Peter O’Mara 0439 761 150  Any enquiry/chat is welcomed.


    NAB Climate Protesters on wrong side of law and right side of history.

     Three climate protesters fined in court in March maintain they are on the ‘right side of history’, even though found to be on the wrong side of the law. The magistrate said they had a moral not a legal case. Bernard Tonkin, a carpenter and domestic violence men’s counsellor; Laura Levetan, retired lecturer in carbon economics and senior corporate strategy advisor; and Dean Bridgfoot, a veterinarian, appeared in the Bendigo Magistrate Court this week charged with trespass.

    Following a vigorously contested three-day trial – in which the 3 protesters represented themselves in court, without a lawyer – Magistrate Joanna Metcalfe today found the trio Guilty of trespass. Unusually for a charge like trespass, the Castlemaine residents all pleaded Not Guilty and employed a rarely used defence. In at-times emotional testimonies in court the protesters said they had had no choice but to escalate their campaign of non-violent direct action as all previous efforts – such as writing letters, to stop NAB bank’s financing of coal, accelerating climate change – had failed.

    The trespass charges and trial stem from a protest at the Bendigo NAB branch on 31 March, 2023 – part of a wave of protest action at more than 60 NAB branches nationwide to ‘Move Beyond Coal’.  A group of Central Victorian citizens, including the three defendants, entered the Bendigo NAB branch asking to talk to a bank manager about their climate concerns. They also intended to show a film highlighting NAB’s ‘greenwashing’ while funding coal projects with billions of dollars. The group handed out popcorn to customers, and asked to speak to the bank’s senior management, a request which was refused. The Bendigo 3 defendants were arrested when they refused to leave the bank and were charged with trespass. Four months later NAB withdrew its planned financing of Whitehaven Coal.

    The accused 3 sought to establish that their refusal to leave the NAB Bendigo bank branch during the March 2023 protest was reasonable and necessary conduct when faced with the threat of harm caused by climate change, and by NAB’s $1b financing of new coal projects in particular.

    Magistrate Joanna Metcalfe permitted the 3 to use the defence of Duress never before used in an Australian environmental court case.

    Contact Defendants: Laura Levetan, 0412 887 835; Dean Bridgfoot, 0403 160 091; Bernard Tonkin, 0459 472 558; bernard.tonkin@gmail.com

    Food for Thought

    Deep Time Diligence: Tyson Yunkaporta in conversation with Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee in Emergence Magazine-  https://emergencemagazine.org/interview/deep-time-diligence

    North Central Chat- Information from North Central Catchment Management Authority:

    North Central Chat March 2024 | North Central Catchment Management Authority (nccma.vic.gov.au)

    Milkwood’s Recipe for growing green manures for our gardens: 


    Local Futures- lots to read and listen to about promoting localisation globally including Planet Local Voices- podcasts and video clips 


    Transition Network Australia-Inspiring and supporting local communities as they build a sustainable future- You can subscribe to their newsletter.


    Ballarat Gold Mine put on notice after tunnel collapse


    Stories of Transition- Transition Australia

    Online Stories of Transition for 2024, on the theme of exploring community land use. Monday 8 April 2024 8.00pm- 9.15pm AEST (6.00pm WA, 7.30pm SA) 

    Read more and register here for zoom link

    Agrariansim and the Relocalisation of farming – Chris Smaje

    Chris Smaje is an author, small-scale farmer, social scientist, and food system analyst. In this episode, Chris explains how the organization of food systems is ultimately an energetic question; one that, in the modern era, has been answered by an over-reliance on cheap fossil fuels. He argues that, in a future of lesser energy abundance and mounting crises, localized food systems will be vital for survival. Listen to the podcast or  Watch the video


    Continue reading →
  • Special Bulletin- Palm Sunday Peace Walk in Castlemaine

    Dear Localising Leanganook e-newsletter subscribers,

    Please find below a special e-news bulletin about next Sunday’s Palm Sunday Peace Walk in Castlemaine. Localising Leanganook wishes to support this important local initiative.

    Please Note: Our usual monthly e-news will be published at the end of March.

    Palm Sunday Peace Walk- Castlemaine

    When: Sunday March 24, 2024, 11.30am

    Where: Gather at the Uniting Church on Lyttleton st, at 11.30am, and arriving at 12.15 at Jaara (Victory) Park, for speeches and music.

    Uniting the traditions of Palm Sunday Peace Marches with the weekly Free Palestine rallies, the Castlemaine community are invited to gather together across race, culture, faith and politics – for peace and justice for all.  

    Based in Christian traditions, over the past several decades Palm Sunday Peace marches have become a place for ecumenical and non-faith based communities to come together with “the common purpose of compassion for others and a passion for justice”[1] (https://www.insights.uca.org.au/the-palm-sunday-peace-march-some-history/)

     The Castlemaine community has been gathering every Sunday to bear witness and show solidarity with the Palestinian community as horrors in Gaza continue to be live-streamed on our devices, but dismissed by governments and media.

     Palm Sunday brings us the opportunity to broaden out this event and focus together on working for bringing peace and justice everywhere. From here in Australia where First Nations peoples continue to be impacted by colonisation and refugees are often met with suspicion and racism, to the many conflicts active across the world, we need to be tackling the root causes of such violence and offering compassion and support to those displaced and damaged by these systems of oppression.

    Rev Sarah Tomilson from the Castlemaine Uniting Church said: “It’s time for us to come together, regardless of religion or culture, to meet on Country in the spirit of peace to keep alive the hope for a greater humanity. This is what we can do. This is what we must do. “

    We will be gathering at the Uniting Church on Lyttleton Street for a walk ending at Jaara (Victory) Park for speeches and music. Participants are invited to bring gum branches for the walk. All are welcome. 

    This event is co-hosted by Castlemaine Commons and Free Palestine Central Vic and supported by the Castlemaine Uniting Church.
    Like all Free Palestine Central Vic events this is a safe and inclusive event. We condemn and oppose all forms of racism, including antisemitism and Islamophobia.
    Please get in touch if you have any specific accessibility requirements.
    We acknowledge Dja Dja Wurrung as the Traditional Owners of the lands on which we live, work and organise. We pay our respect to their Elders past and present, and their emerging leaders. We recognise that the ongoing land theft, occupation and genocide of the Palestinian people is deeply connected to First Nations struggles here and across the globe.

    For more information, contact Emma King on 0428 818 109

    Continue reading →
  • February/March 2024 newsletter

    I think the task before us is to re-learn what it means to walk as if everywhere is a temple. To approach how we are in relationship to the Living Earth as if it were a temple.
    Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee- Emergence Magazine

    Welcome to the February/March edition of Localising Leanganook’s e-newsletter. There’s lots of local news and events as well as a thought-provoking feature article on de-growth and supermarkets.  Let our editing team know (Keppel, Laurel, Samantha and Nikki) if you’ve got items for inclusion in the March/April edition – (nikki.marshall@mmnet.com.au).

    1. Arts and Culture
    2. Food Growing, Farming and Food Security
    3. Ecology and Environment
    4. First Nations
    5. History, Books and Libraries
    6. Sustainable Living Resources
    7. Building Community
    8. Local Government News
    9. Workshops and Courses


    Food for Thought

    Feature Article- Angst in the Aisle by Peter Yates

    I went to the supermarket. I do that sometimes. More than I want to. More than I intend to. I have principles. It’s just hard to stick to them all the time.

    I just stood there, stunned. Partly it was the plenitude. Row after row of stuff. Partly it was the bright lighting, the bright packaging, the cacophony of attention-seeking plastic. Partly it was the fact that most of this stuff was stuff that nobody needs, that is nutritionally dubious at best. Partly it was because so much of this stuff is produced and packaged and delivered and put on a shelf because it might draw you or I into a ‘comfort purchase’, a momentary hit of sugar, fat, salt and dopamine.

    In that supermarket, with its exhortations to buy, buy, buy; with its lies about freshness; its lies about affordability; its lies about caring for the consumer, the farmer, the environment, I felt like I was entrapped in a great snarl of evil – a fabric of falsity, woven of threads that are designed to conceal, though I fear that the deception is barely necessary, so normal is the violence embodied in all that stuff.

    Hannah Arendt wrote about the “banality of evil”. She was writing about the (almost) unspeakable violence of the Holocaust. I don’t want to diminish the trauma of that event with a glib comparison – but I don’t think that I am. The banality on display on the supermarket shelves is as crushingly banal as a 1930’s German functionary accepting morally repugnant instructions because he needs a job. And the end result – the destruction of living ecosystems, the destruction of a planet – is not less than the extermination of a people. It just happens more slowly and seems to happen a long way away. What I think I felt, what paralyzed me in the supermarket that day, was that part of the destruction of the planet was very present and very immediate, because I felt a part of myself starting to die in that place.

    All that stuff.

    I could go along and put some of it in my trolley. In the end, when I had recovered a little, when I had pushed down the moment of lucidity, I did go along and put some things in. Everything in plastic. Nice clean plastic. Durable, hygienic plastic. The yogurt I picked up comes in plastic. The yogurt will be gone in a day or two. The plastic container will be around for a few hundred years. Perhaps it will be buried out of sight in a landfill? Perhaps it will slowly decompose in the sun, breaking into ever smaller pieces until the particles are so small they can enter the blood and brains of children and small birds. The cows that gave the milk probably didn’t have terrible lives (in Australia at least). But it is true that their milk production is dependent on their producing calves every year, and that the calves were removed soon after birth, causing genuine grief and trauma. My yogurt is infused with a mother’s sorrow. It doesn’t make it taste better, but it does make it much cheaper.

    I didn’t buy the bacon. It too was in plastic, but it is the lives, and deaths of the pigs that trouble me here. Pigs are social and intelligent, I’ve kept them on the farm at times, humorous, cheeky and boisterous, I had to give them up because I hated killing them. But the lives of the pigs that go for supermarket bacon? These are lives confined, on concrete floors where a pigs’s strongest urge – to dig – is thwarted. Their pig-ness is irrelevant to their lives. These are not so much pigs as economic units. They are future bacon. Living their short, miserable, un-realised lives before they are forced onto a crowded truck, delivered to an abattoir where they are gassed en-mass, dismembered and soaked in vats of saline. In that saline is a solution of nitrates that will give you and I colon cancer.

    One of the things that gets me into the supermarket is peanut butter. True, I can get it from other sources, many of them allowing me to grind my own. But the nuts always seem to be undercooked. I have a favourite brand at the supermarket. The nuts are grown in Queensland. The soil rich red soil of Kingaroy is ploughed and enriched with synthetic fertilisers. It is sprayed with herbicides. The peanuts are sown and grow under the protection of repeated applications of insecticide and fungicide. The only life allowed in that field is peanuts. After harvest they are shipped to New Zealand, where someone knows how much to roast a peanut. Given the strictness of New Zealand’s quarantine, one wonders what the raw nuts are treated with? They are then shipped back to Australia, where I buy them, somewhat shame-facedly. In a plastic tub. The tubs are good. I use them for lots of things. But there are limits. There is poetry under the label (Aren’t they cute, these Kiwi’s?)

    It’s Christmas, so the supermarket is full of chocolate. Is there a product in the world (other than some of the minor ingredients of your smart phone), that is more ethically dubious than chocolate? There is the deforestation making way for the cacao plantations, and the deforestation making way for the oil palm that is used in many (most?) cheaper brands. There is the child labour, there is the below-living-wage labour and there is the slave labour. There is the sugar, a vast industrial crop sustained by synthetic inputs that wash into and pollute waterways, a further stress on the already devastated Great Barrier Reef.

    The canned veggies and beans seem innocuous enough. But these days, every can is lined with plastic. The cheap Italian tomatoes seem a good buy. But understand that the canned tomato industry is Mafia controlled, and the cheapness come from the exploitation and forced labour of undocumented migrants. Have you ever grown your own tomatoes and bottled your own passata? Then you know how crap those commercial versions really are.

    Don’t go down the water aisle! Do you even realise there is an aisle dedicated just to bottled water? Water, pumped from aquifers that are owned by the people, owned by the ecosystem, and put in plastic bottles, with or without sugar, bubbles or colouring. Water brought to you from the other side of the world. Water that costs more than petrol. Drink the water, throw the bottle away. Somebody is prepared to lie to you that the bottle will be recycled.

    I could go on. You know I could. But I’ll spare you, and myself. I consider my point made. That supermarket is the focal point and enabler of countless industrial processes that extract value from the world and from people. The value that shapes every facet of every contributing activity is economic optimisation. The environment, the animals, the soil, the workers: there is no room for care of these things.

    And we go to the supermarket because? Is it the cornucopia of stuff? Is it the convenience of having everything in one trolly? The easy parking? Is it the cheaper prices and the ‘specials’ that make our budgets a little easier to manage? Whatever the reason, we go, and in going we participate in a thousand acts of banal evil.


    Arts and Culture

    Michael Leunig’s Cartoons in Music and Song Come to Yandoit

    When and Where: Saturday, March 9th, 7.30pm at  Yandoit Cultural, Uniting Church Road, (off High St) Yandoit

    After a sell-out performance in Castlemaine in late January, Fay White and musical friends are bringing this fabulous concert to Yandoit Cultural on Saturday March 9th at 7.30pm. Castlemaine resident Fay White, composer and choir leader, was commissioned to write songs drawing on Leunig’s poems and images that are short, can be learnt by ear and are easy to learn for novices and experienced singers.  Leunig’s images will be projected and the concert will include songs, stories and audience participation in song.

    The concert will be in two halves, followed by refreshments at the end.

    “Fay White is a poet of our times. For the past five decades she has written songs that reflect and inform contemporary living.  Fay’s singing compels and inspires. She can turn a crowd into a choir in three minutes.” 

    Entry by donation– Suggested donation: $15/10. Monies raised will contribute towards the Dharrak Djanga Bush Tucker Project run by Nalderun Education Aboriginal Corporation, based in central Victoria.  Bookings Essential: ycfcpg@gmail.com or Nikki  (0432 232 073) or Alison (0415 555 081)

    Waking Up a Fiery Love For The Earth- Book Launch

    Join us for the launch of Susan Murphy’s new book, A Fire Runs through All Things: Zen Koans For Facing The Climate Crisis (Shambhala, 2023).

    Susan will be in conversation about the ecological heart of the Dharma, its potent resonance with indigenous sense of Country, and how to wake up a fierce love for the earth.

    Don’t miss this unique opportunity to engage in the most fiery questions of our time.

    What: Book Launch and Conversation with Susan Murphy
    When: Monday March 18, 2024, 5.45pm for a 6pm start — 7.30pm

    Where: Northern Arts Hotel, 359 Barker St, Castlemaine
    Cost: FREE- (Nibbles provided, drinks will be available for purchase at the bar)

    Copies of the book will be for sale and Susan will be available to sign them after the conversation.

    Co-hosted by Castlemaine Zen and Localising Leanganook

    About Susan Murphy: Susan is a familiar presence in Castlemaine. In 2015 she gave a keynote address at Local Lives, Global Matters. This conference gave birth to Localising Leanganook, a thriving network of members committed to viable economies, social and ecological justice, reclaiming democracy and revitalising spirit.Susan has also written numerous books on Zen and the climate crisis we face, including Upside-Down ZenMinding the Earth, Mending the World, and Red Thread Zen. Since 1999 she has been teaching and leading Zen retreats in Victoria (Melbourne Zen Group), Tasmania (Mountains and Rivers Zen, Hobart) and New South Wales (Zen Open Circle). She is widely recognised nationally and internationally for unearthing the ecological heart of the Dharma, and the potent resonance of Zen mind with indigenous sense of Country.

    Singalong Book Launch-New Book- A Basket of Songs

    Castlemaine’s Trace Balla and Andrew McSweeney invite you to come along to a singalong book launch for a new book A Basket of Songs.
    When and Where: 11 am Sat 16 March 2024 – the Good Op Shop, 4 Lewis Drive, Castlemaine
    The Castlemaine Launch will be in the courtyard cafe (yes you can buy cuppas and cake!) of the Good Op Shop (yes you can go op shopping before and after!).
    Trace has written the lyrics and stories behind the songs, and illustrated the book. Andrew McSweeney has made them into songs- the book comes with music sheets as well as a link to online recordings.
    Cost $20- cash or card- (correct cash is faster!)
    The book will be available for sale at the op shop for a couple of weeks after the event, and as an e-book.

    Northern Arts Hotel

    THE COOLROOM DIARY [Click on links to see event details]  MUSIC GIGS  [Usually at 7.30pm, Sunday 2.30pm]

    Saturday 17 February | Langue de Chat | French Musette and Chansons
    Saturday 24 February  | Peter and the Wolves 
    Friday 1 March | Andy Baylor’s Cajun Combo
    Saturday 2 March | Smith & Holiday
    Friday 8 March |  Mic Conway & Friends
    Saturday 9 March |  Emma Gilmartin and Gianni Marinucci
    Thursday 14 March | Curtis Eller and Gleny Rae
    Sat 16 & Sun 17 March | The Sentimental Bloke
    Friday 22 March | Keppel Cassidy and The Constant Gardeners
    Saturday 23 March | Maggie Jackson NY Jazz Trio
    Sunday 18 February 2.30pm | Secret Movie Matinee
    Thursday 15 February, 4pm | Maine-Ly Ukes
    Thursday 15 February 7.30pm | Guildford Folk Club
    Saturday 17 February, 2.30pm | Celtic Singing Circle
    Saturday 24 February, 2.30pm | PoetiCas
    Monday 4 March, 7pm | Castlemaine free Uni | Wage Peace

    Forest Film Society

    Forest Film Society 3461 is a community-run initiative under the auspices of the Glenlyon Progress Association. It’s designed to bring together residents living within the district of postcode 3461 to enjoy a season of films, along with a bowl of home-made soup, crusty bread and even a glass of wine!

    Season 5 – March to September 2024
    Venue: Glenlyon Hall
    When: First Friday of the month – March 1st, 2024
    Time: From 6.30pm for a bowl of home-made soup and bread or BYO snacks/drinks/plate/glass etc.
    Film commences at 7.15pm
    Cost: See membership options below
    Scheduled films
    March 1 – EMPIRE OF LIGHT – drama (UK 2022)  A drama about the power of human connection during turbulent times, set in an English coastal town in the early 1980s. Writer/Director: Sam Mendes. Stars: Olivia Colman, Micheal Ward, Collin Firth.

    Here’s the trailer link: https://www.imdb.com/video/vi193119513/?playlistId=tt14402146&ref_=tt_pr_


    Newstead Arts Hub- Events in March

    Mysterious Landscapes – Weekends Sat 2 – Sun 24 March, 10am-4pm
    Opening celebration Sun 3 March 2.30pm – all welcome

    Mysterious Landscapes explores shared artistic connections to nature, myths and the imaginary realms. Join the three artists – Kaye Dixon, Jane Wells and Margund Sallowsky – to discover the mystic, the uncanny and the dark corners of the world we inhabit through a powerful combination of photography, printmaking, and sculpture. Kaye Dixon combines painting, photography, and the alchemy of cyanotype to present prints and sculptures on the theme of Bone Women: Re-membering the Journey Home. Jane Wells presents sculptural figures constructed from found items and other materials on the theme Internal worlds. Margund Sallowsky’s work, Iceland from the Air is a series of landscape and aerial images shot from a helicopter, offers abstracted landscapes accompanied by audio stories and sagas from Icelandic mythology.

    Barry Lacey Bonsai- Weekends Sat 2 – Sun 24 March, 10am-4pm
    Barry is a local legend and much loved member of the community. Come along to see his spectacular exhibition of beautiful bonsai, which he has masterfully shaped and tended to over decades.Barry hopes that this exhibition will encourage people to try the art of bonsai. He says, ‘With the right help anyone can learn to make a bonsai, the art is to make your bonsai look old’.

    Newstead Open Studios Art Trail-  9, 10 & 11, 16-17 March, 11am-5pm

    Newstead Open Studios Art Trail will offer visitors the chance to look behind the scenes in local artists’ studios over two weekends 9,10 & 11 March (the long weekend) and 16-17 March, 11am to 5pm.  There will be lots of beautiful and diverse art for sale at each of the studios, you might even make a purchase or two. Look out for the Art Trail guide, available NOW, or join the Newstead Open Studios mailing list.

    For more info re whats on: www.newsteadartshub.org

    Cresfest’s Folk and Roots Festival

    Enjoy three days of dance and music in the beautiful heritage town of Creswick. A huge range of performers, from international stars to local newcomers, will entertain you over the weekend of Friday 5 April – Sunday 7 April.

    More than concerts, you’ll have the chance to participate through a dense packed program of workshops including singing, dancing and playing. Learn new skills and take part in the mayhem when KlezFest comes to CresFest and the streets are filled with klezmer dancing.

    Budding performers can enter our IGA Busking Competition for great prizes or sign up for open mic spots. It all happens on the streets of Creswick, the weekend after Easter in 2024, and during the school holidays.

    Kids 12 and under are free and we cater for them across the weekend with our (new) KidsOwn KidZone in 2024.

    Castlemaine Documentary Film Workshops

    Editing workshops for film makers of all levels
    Saturday 2 March at  Senior Citizens Centre, Castlemaine > Workshop

    The Disappearance of Shere Hite
    Thursday 7 March & Saturday 9 March Theatre Royal, Castlemaine > The Disappearance of Shere Hite

    CLUB CDOC Club CDoc is an informal get together for makers and lovers of film … people interested in story, creative non-fiction and media more broadly. It will be a regular event, happening the first Thursday of every month. No booking required, just roll up.

    Thursday 7 March — 6:00pm Casual drop-in on the 1st Thursday of the month
    The Love Shack > March Club CDoc

    Submit your film by 1 May- if you are toying with the idea of making and entering a short documentary film into LOCALS 2024 – (seeing it on the big screen at Theatre Royal on Opening Night of the Festival) – then this would be the perfect opportunity to sound out your film idea with others who might help you, and get inspired to make it.  Locals 2024

    Event on Facebook

    Food Growing, Farming and Food Security

    Mt Franklin Organics

    Daylesford Sunday market again this week. However for those of you who can’t make it to the market, you can come to the farm after 2 pm pm on Saturday   180 church Rd, Mt Franklin, come down the driveway and park at shed, your order will be there. FOR PICKUP from farm on Saturday,  please preorder produce by FRIDAY EVENING. Please call or text me on 0412 517 013 to let me know beforehand.
     Produce list- Rhubarb  $4.50, Strawberries  $4.50 punnet, Carrots  $5/bunch. Green beans  $6.50/500g, Zucchini  $5/kilo,  Zucchiniflowers  $1.20, Spring onions $3/bunch, X-large new season garlic $3/each or 4 for $10, Garlic 250 punnet  $7.50, Blackberries   $6/punnet, Chioggia beets ( italian heirlooms) $5/bunch, Chives, garlic chives,  thyme, tarragon, sage, Vietnamese mint  $2.50/bunch, Dutch cream potatoes from wombat organics $4/kg, Sebago potatoes  (good roasting)  $4/kg, Cherry and heirloom tomates  $7.50/500g, Sweet  basil $3.50/bunch, Thai basil  $3.50, Green gage Plums $7.00/kg, Apples “Gravenstein ” $5/kilo, Fig trees $12 -$30 depending on size, Red or black currants  $8
    Huge selection of organic seeds $4.00 each/packet. Happy to rycycle small punnets and pots to reuse. To find out whats fresh and available, subscribe to Florian’s newsletter: newsletter@mtfranklinorganics.com.au

    Two Fold Bakehouse


    We bake naturally leavened, organic loaves, using organic stoneground flours, and work with the seasons; changing our loaves to suit what’s growing around us. We support regenerative agriculture and small family farms, who together form a part of a movement towards a local grain economy.

    Buy bread weekly on Thursday, ordered online weekly as a one off, or monthly as a subscription with pick up each Thursday from Daylesford, Yandoit or Kyneton hubs. Daylesfore Sunday Railway market Fortnightly. Hepburn Wholefood Collective – Fresh every Thursday from 3pm

    Castlemaine Seed Library

    Next working bee 7th March 11am, at Castlemaine library. All welcome!

    On the board this month you will find: Amaranth, Carrot, Coriander, Dill, Garlic Chives, Globe Artichoke, Leek (cross), Mixed Lettuce, Royal Oak Leaf Lettuce, Mustard, Wasabi Mustard, Radish, Flat Leaf Parsley, Rocket, Spring Onion, Landcress, Swiss Chard (silverbeet) and Watercress.

    Orchard Keepers- Castlemaine Weekly Market

    Specials on 10kg boxes of ripe plum seconds this week – perfect for a bottling session so you have delicious organic plums all winter

    CLICK HERE TO ORDER SPECIALS at our online shop

    Getting here

    • Come to 69 Danns Road, Harcourt. There is a Harcourt Organic Farming Co-op property sign at our entrance, then a long driveway to the farm carpark. The speed limit on the driveway is 25 km/hr. Please drive slowly and enjoy the view of the cows and kangaroos.
    • Park in the carpark at the big green shed. Please don’t park on the concrete apron (as we need access to the shed to bring fruit in and out) or in front of the blue shed (this is Sellar Dairy and Tess needs to be able to access her shed). Come to the Farm Shop and we’ll show you where to pick

    Growing Abundance and Fruit Harvests

    • Join us for our Summer Gathering with the Food Links Project on Wednesday March 6th to launch our ‘Year of Abundance’.
    • Keep an eye out on socials and your email inboxes for updates about upcoming blackberry, apple and pear harvests.
    • Please get in touch if you know of a tree that would love to be harvested by us

    Over the past few weeks, our new Harvest Coordinator Thea has been harvesting plums, pears and blackberries which are making their way to Castlemaine and Maldon Community Lunches. With a hotter summer than we’ve has a for a few years, fruit is ripening noticably sooner than we’ve become a little accustomed to. We’ve been in a bit pof a transition period over summer with a change in Harvest Coordinators, so it’s exciting to be getting into the swing of things now, feeling ready to go with apple and pear season upon us already!  Keep an eye on your emails for details about harvest in the coming weeks.


    Ecology and Environment

    Natural  Newstead



    Geoff Park’s regular blogs are a good way to learn more about native grasslands, plant and bird species. One of the signature plants is Tufted Burr-daisy Calotis scapigeraconsidered rare in the district, and a magnet for insect pollinators including butterflies, wasps and native bees.  To learn about volcanic grasslands and Geoff’s latest post go to or subscribe to Geoff’s blog: https://geoffpark.wordpress.com/

    Bird of the Month

    Welcome to Bird of the month, a partnership between Connecting Country and BirdLife Castlemaine District. 

    Brown Goshawk: Solid looking Brown Goshawk in Campbells Creek, showing the heavy brow, long rounded tail and middle toe is similar length to other toes. Photo by Jane Rusden

    Observed one morning when walking through the bush on my block, a Brown Goshawk pursued an Australian Owlet-nightjar in a fierce dog fight, flying at full speed down the gully, dodging trees by millimetres. The Brown Goshawk managed to catch the desperate Owlet-nightjar just before they saw the two humans, then they tumbled to the ground still locked together. the poor little Owlet Nightjar looked stunned and worse for wear, while the Brown Goshawk flew up into a tree, reluctant to loose it’s prey. The Owlet-nightjar at least got a bit of a breather, before both birds went their separate ways. I have no idea if the Owlet-nightjar survived the lethal body-puncturing talons of the Brown Goshawk, but the Goshawk certainly went hungry that morning. Read more: https://connectingcountry.org.au/bird-of-the-month-brown-goshawk/

     Biolinks Central Vic Workshops

    An important Local to Landscape initiative this year is Glideways in Central Victoria – which includes 12 projects (across private and public land) either underway or planned with our Network Members or other conservation groups. This strategic and collaborative endeavour can deliver a lasting, positive impact for gliders and phascogales in our region. Now at the funding stage, we are reaching out to philanthropics, government and our NGO partners.

    2024 Monthly Webinar Series.

    We are also launching our 2024 monthly webinar series in March – so you have an easy and accessible way to learn more from our small but expert team about the ecology of our beautiful region, its many precious native species and what you can do to help save our environment.

    This webinar series is set to explore topics that challenge conventions on conservation issues facing Central Victoria and beyond, and aims to educate and mobilise people to take action for our environment.  Put it in your diary! The first webinar in our webinar series – Secrets of the Wombat Forest – will take place on International Day of Forests on 21 March from 6pm.

    Connecting Country

    The Misunderstood Magical Mistletoes: ABC Online Article

    Connecting Country has a long history of raising awareness about the often misunderstood native mistletoe in our region and the benefits it provides to a large array of birds, insects and marsupials. Our bird walk for beginners along Forest Creek, Castlemaine VIC, highlights various patches of healthy eucalypt and acacia species that host the semi-parasitic mistletoe plant and provide a healthy ecosystem function for many of our woodland birds. Read the full article on this link.

    Photo competition

    Connecting Country – To celebrate our Instagram debut and celebrate our latest project – Habitat Trees for Phascogales – we’re hosting an exciting giveaway for one of our Instagram followers via a photo competition. We will be giving away a phascogale nestbox* for the best large old tree photograph taken in the Mount Alexander region during February 2024. To enter, simply upload your favorite photo to Instagram and tag @connectingcountrycastlemaine. Link to competition details:

    We would love to hear from you, so please share your thoughts in the comments, and join the conversation using our official hashtag, [#connectingcountrycastlemaine]. Your feedback will help shape the content you want to see!

    Brush-Tailed Phascogale!

    The brochure is aimed at educating our community and raising awareness of the Brush-tailed Phascogale and their habitat needs. It is available for download immediately – Click Here, or you can pick it up from the Connecting Country office in Castlemaine VIC.  The brochure is part of our ‘Habitat trees for Phascogales’ project that aims to protect and enhance habitat stepping stones for the Brush-tailed Phascogale and other native fauna, by protecting existing large old trees on grazing land.


    Lerderderk Track Project (from Wombat Post- 2/2))

    The Great Dividing Trail Association last week launched a project which involved the installation of interpretive signage along the 87km Lerderderg Track from Daylesford to Bacchus Marsh.

    Trailhead sign at Lake Daylesford. (Photo: Tim Bach)

    The signage is installed on large trailhead signs at entry points to the Track and on trail marker posts along the Track. Signage tells the history and the stories of the people who lived and worked in the area and the unique flora, fauna and geology of the Wombat and Lerderderg State Forests. The stories on the signage are brief but each sign includes a QR code which links to more extensive information and images on the GDTA website (gdt.org.au)

    About 40 members of the GDTA  watched last Sunday as Mayor, Cr Brian Hood and Mark Rak, Chair of the Community Bank Daylesford and District, unveiled a trailhead sign at the Lake Daylesford Lookout in Bridport Street. The ceremony started with a smoking ceremony Welcome to Country by local Dja Dja Wurrung elder, Uncle Ricky Nelson. After the ceremony, GDTA President, Tim Bach, led a pleasant walk along the Lerderderg Track from the Lookout to Jubilee Lake and back.

    “Our goal was to make the Track more interesting and attractive for walkers and cyclists,” said Tim Bach. “It’s easier and more compelling to engage with your environment if you know the stories that are embedded in it.”

    Hepburn Shire Mayor, Cr Brian Hood, congratulated the GDTA on the completion of their project. “We’re very fortunate to have a beautiful, natural environment surrounding us,” he said. “This project will enhance the experience of visitors to the area and make their visit more meaningful.”

    Placard sign at Square Bottle Track near Mt Blackwood. (Photo: Gib Wettenhall)

    The interpretive signage project is the second stage of the GDTA’s work to refurbish the Lerderderg Track. The Track was built by the GDTA as the final stage in the 310km Great Dividing Trail Network which includes the Goldfields Track from Ballarat to Bendigo. In recent years, the Lerderderg Track had fallen into disrepair. The GDTA obtained a substantial grant from Victorian Department of the Environment (currently DEECA) in 2018 to renew posts, signage and other infrastructure along the Track. This first stage of the refurbishment was completed in 2020.

    In 2022, additional funds were obtained from Moorabool and Hepburn Shire Councils and from the Bendigo Community Banks in Daylesford, Trentham and Bacchus Marsh to design and install interpretive signage and develop web-based resources to enhance the visitor experience for users of the Lerderderg Track.

    “We’re proud to support this project by the GDTA,” said Mark Rak. “We have a good relationship with the GDTA and also supported their publication of the Central Victorian Highlands Walk and Ride Circuits Booklet which has been very popular. Since the Bank was established, we have reinvested more than $1.25 million in community projects like this for the benefit of our local community.”

    Local historical societies in Daylesford, Blackwood and Bacchus Marsh provided information, images and inspiration for the project.

    For more information see www.gdt.org.au/tracks/lerderderg-track/lerderderg-track-interpretive-signage

    North Central Catchment Management

    Keeping you up to date with all the Landcare and WaterWatch news – dates, new appointments, new projects in link below.

    North Central Chat February 2024 | North Central Catchment Management Authority (nccma.vic.gov.au)


    First Nations

    Nalderun Annual Report


    Nalderun is a not-for-profit Aboriginal run and led organisation, on Djaara Country in Castlemaine, under the guidance of Elder Uncle Rick Nelson.

    Nalderun is a Dja Dja Wurrung word which means ‘all together’ , because we believe by moving forward together we can make the change needed for our children, local mob and the wider community in the region to thrive. We know what our Community needs, as we are a part of it. Over 12 years we have seen our children become stronger, proud and deadly.  Nalderun came about through the work and legacy of Uncle Brien Nelson who believed that sharing is the way forward for everyone. Aunty Julie McHale has also worked tirelessly for over 40 years and has carried on this legacy which we continue today.



    Newstead Post-Referenum Ally Group

    A new group has formed in Newstead.  Arising from a post-referendum gathering, local people from Newstead are meeting monthly to connect and learn as allies in practical and visible ways.   It is early days for this self organising group and already themes and possible activities about how to be good allies to first Nation people are beginning to emerge.  Themes so far are – connection, learning, field trips and events, practical and visible allyship.  Possible activities – field trips like Franklinford, making signs about caring for country and more, book sharing sessions,  supporting local indigenous events, history of local region.  For more information about next group meeting contact Andrew Shirres on andrewshirres@gmail.com  or Laurel Freeland laurelfreeland@bigpond.com


    History, Books and Libraries

    2023: Dr Deborah Wardle  Subterranean Imaginaries and Groundwater Narratives. Published by Routledge, Environmental Humanities series.


    This book interrogates the problems of how and why largely unseen matter, in this case groundwater, has found limited expression in climate fiction. It explores key considerations for writing groundwater narratives in the Anthropocene.

    2024: Susan Murphy’s new book, A Fire Runs through All Things: Zen Koans For Facing The Climate Crisis (Shambhala, 2023).

    “The koans point firstly at ourselves-at the very nature of “self.” Until we hold “self” as a live question rather than its own unquestioned answer, we’re stuck looking on from the “outside,” hoping to engineer change upon a problem called “climate crisis,” all the time oblivious to the fact that we’re swimming in a reality with no outside to it, an ocean of transformative energy. Do we dare relinquish our wish for absolute control and fearlessly surf the intensity of our feelings about the suffering earth?” See details of book launch March 18 in Arts and Culture section of this newsletter.


    Sustainable Living Resources

    Sustainable Hepburn Day

    Saturday, 16 March 2024

    10:00 AM to 03:00 PM

    Volunteer shifts available



    Castlemaine Community Co-operative Official Launch

    When and Where: Wednesday 6 March, 5:30pm- 6.30pm, Castlemaine Town Hall.

    Come along and hear about our vision, where we are up to, and what help we need to set up our first offer (to buy the Hub).

    Members and friends  are welcome. You can also join beforehand  at: https://castlemaine.coop/join/   $40 annual full/ $20 Concession/Strapped/Under 18

    You can also buy a founding member t-shirt for $20/$15.


    Focus on Trees – Tree Photography Workshop with Alison Pouliot

    Large old tree Photography workshop with Alison Pouliot


    Fri, 15 Mar 2024 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM AEDT

    2905 Lancefield-Tooborac Rd2905 Lancefield-Tooborac Road Tooborac, VIC 3522

    More info  about the event

    More info about the  large old trees project here



    International Women’s Day 2024

    ♦  Hepburn Shire

    ♥ Silver Apron Award- Hepburn Wholefoods Collective

    Friday 8 March 5.30 – 7.30pm
    Hepburn Wholefoods Collective, 66A West St, Hepburn

    ♥ Celebration of extraordinary women in our Shire at the International Women’s Day (IWD) Heather Mutimer Honour Roll event 

    Thursday 7 March 2024 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
    Daylesford Town Hall,  76 Vincent Street , Daylesford VIC 3460
    Bookings and info

    We encourage you to think about a woman you know who deserves to be recognised. Nominations will open again in August 2024.


    Mt Alexander Shire

    My Home Network- Castlemaine and Surrounds


    Tiny Homes On Wheels (THOW), vacant dwellings, collective housing models, tenants working group

    For more info or to join a MHN working group-, contact Kaz cneilson@castlemainehealth.org.au

    For more information 

    Mt Alexander sustainability group- (MASG)

    Community Energy Conference 

    6 – 7 March
    In Sydney or hybrid (online) or in Bendigo hub
    More info


    ♥ Wash Against Waste Trailer – Volunteers needed

    March 10thTaradale Mineral Springs Festival

    March 17thBendigo Sustainability Festival

    If you can help please phone Chris Hooper on 5470 5508 or email Chris at chrislhooper1050@gmail.com with your phone number and times available.

    ♥ Mount Alexander Regenerative Agriculture Group (MARAG) – 2024 program

    ♥ Home Energy Audit – Free Workshop

    Limited to 20 people.
    To book, email wer.energygroup@gmail.com
    When: Sunday 25th February
    Time: 10.30 am to 12.30 pm – morning tea provided.
    Where: Castlemaine, address provided after registration

     Repair Cafes

    Castlemaine and Daylesford…Bendigo  Ballarat Creswick ….

    In 2024, the Repair Café turns 15! We’re for repairing, but also for collaboration, volunteering and a shared commitment to a sustainable future.


    Online Permaculture series: Do with Su: Season Two is on pre-sale now!


    Learn seven more essential homesteading skills,
    including cheesemaking
    and Su’s guide to bulk foods
    – from permaculture’s radical grandma.



    Building Community







    Castlemaine Free University Wage Peace Event

    Monday 4th March, 7pm Northern Arts Hotel, 359 Barker St, Castlemaine

    WAGE Peace is part of a global campaign for Earthcare not warfare.

    Listen to podcasts and their back story in the WAGE PEACE series.
    de-militarisation, non-violence, on creating peace… https://anitranelson.info/cfu/

    Local Government News

    ♦  Mount Alexander Shire

    Reflecting on Australia Australia Day – Survival Day 🖤💛❤️

    Watch the event, which was filmed live, on our YouTube channel.

    Mayor, Matt Driscoll, shares the latest Council news

    Repairs to the Market Building: Read more about these works

    Flood recovery works continue Learn more about these works

    Have your say by signing up to Shape Mount Alexander

    Find out what’s on in the shire

    ♦  Hepburn Shire

    ♣ Kerbside bin collection is set to change in townships in Hepburn Shire, with a weekly food and garden organics service starting on Monday 8 April. Read more about this service.

    ♣ The annual Community Satisfaction Survey for Councils is underway and you may receive a call from National Field Services. We want to hear how you think we’re performing. From roads to parks and open spaces, community support and more, this is an important opportunity to give us your feedback.

    ♣ Update on structure plans: One of the major components of our strategic planning project, Future Hepburn, is the development of structure plans for Trentham, Clunes, Creswick, Daylesford/Hepburn and Glenlyon. These structure plans will guide the future development in each township to 2050. Find out more

    Central Springs Reserve refresh : The rejuvenation of Central Springs Reserve is underway, with a major project starting to install new mineral spring pumps, a shelter with an electric BBQ, new park furniture, landscaping and connecting path network.
    Find out more.

    Solar savers for pensioners: Get in quick to secure one of the last few places in this year’s Solar for Pensioners program. More info

    Reconciliation advisory opportunity
    We are inviting expressions of interest to join our Reconciliation Advisory Committee (RAC).  Complete an expression of interest by Thursday 15 February. Want to have a chat about the RAC to see if it’s for you? Call our Reconciliation Officer on (03) 5348 2306.

    ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

    Workshops and Courses

    Nature course for Hepburn, Mitchell and Macedon residents: Are you passionate about the environment and keen to learn more about nature? If so, consider becoming a nature steward. The ten-week program kicks off in March.
    Find out more.


    Build Your Organisation’s Capacity to Support Autistic People:

    online 90 min webinar run by Castlemaine resident, Samantha Wittenberg. For teachers healthcare professional, first responders or parents, this event is designed to equip you with practical tools and resources to enhance your capacity to support Autistic individuals.
    To book and find out more


    Castlemaine based Trevor Scott’s statement  to the Magistrate at his court hearing in January 2024:

    “Your Honour, I’m 76, a retired architect, a father & stepfather of  five children and grandfather to 5 more. I live in central Victoria.  Millions of human lives have already been lost to Climate Change caused by Global Heating, not to mention the lives of  billions of wildlife creatures. Many species have already become extinct, all of the above due to storms, fires, floods and other disasters around the world. This is something that our state and federal governments continue to ignore; in fact they make matters much worse by opening new coal mines and continuing to export coal while not counting the cost of its emissions. I’m no longer prepared to expose myself, my children and grandchildren to this threat, so blocking the shipping channel in the Port of Newcastle on 26th November last year without permission was an opportunity I took to shine a light on this predicament. I regret that I had to break the law to do this and I regret that the Court’s time has to be spent on my defence, when I have always been hopeful that in the light of scientific evidence, common sense would prevail”.

    This was my statement to the court when my case came up before the magistrate in Newcastle on Thursday, 25th January.  Earlier I had pleaded guilty to the charge of occupying a waterway with a vessel, with more than a hundred others, at the entrance to the Port of Newcastle without permission. It was actually an only-just seaworthy raft made from 44 gallon drums tied together with bamboo poles and wire and there were five of us on board with 4 paddles.

    Pertinent to this is the statement issued in April last year by Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the UN:- “Climate activists are sometimes depicted as dangerous radicals. But the truly dangerous radicals are the countries that are increasing the production of fossil fuels”.

    We know from recent announcements by Environment Minister Plibersek that during this climate emergency which we are currently experiencing, not only has the export of coal increased, but also new coal mines have been opened and existing mines have been expanded. So, in my eyes the need to protest has not gone away. My journey to Newcastle in November last year was the 4th time I had travelled there to protest against the largest coal port in the world.

    In 2016 I was part of a group of locals who drove up to Newcastle in a van powered with recycled oil from a fish and chip shop. We had our canoes stowed neatly on a trailer following close behind. This action was called “Breakfree from fossil fuels”. At the time Tony Abott was PM and he infamously declared that he would “turn back the boats” referrring to the boats that arrived on Australian shores carrying “illegal immigrants”. I recall that the “Breakfree” action was one of the first of its kind in Newcastle where a solution was negotiated. What I mean by this is that with more than 2,500 people taking part in this action and their safety being of paramount importance, Nicola Paris and the other organisers were able to negotiate with the Police and the Harbourmaster for our safe occupation of the entrance to the port for a whole day. So the very next morning, actually the Sunday of that weekend, more than 100 of us got into our kayaks and canoes and whatever else would stay afloat, and paddled out into the water. I remember how much we laughed at the sign that someone was holding up that said “Look Tony, we stopped the boats!”

    My second visit was in 2019 and the huge stockpiles of coal were our target. The coal was enclosed in a large fenced-in area where there were huge machines that loaded it into the ships. Early in the morning someone cut the wire and about 50 of us broke into the enclosure. Many of us locked on to one of the coal loaders, once again effectively shutting down the port for a whole day. I recall being held in police custody for an hour or so, and then being released without being charged. As we walked back to the buses that we had come on, we noticed much to our amusement, that there were 3 police officers on horseback, carefully guarding the hole that we had made, earlier that morning in the fence.

    My third visit to Newcastle was in 2020 during the Covid pandemic. I planned to do an arrestable action – lock on to the railway line and stop a coal train that would have been carrying hundreds of tons of coal to the port. I was all set to do it the next day, but unfortunately the group that was called Blockade Australia, held an emergency meeting that evening and the action was sensibly called off. It was agreed that rather than being arrested and charged for a Covid offence, which was very likely, we would abort until that emergency was over.

    So this, my fourth visit to Newcastle in November of last year, was the first time that I actually took part in an arrestable action, and actually got arrested. Although initially there were 109 of us who were arrested, eventually only 99 of us were given notices, and ordered to attend court on 11th January of this year.  As it turned out, my case was adjourned to Thursday 25th January but, following legal advice from the EDO (Environment Defenders Office) in Sydney, I decided to plead “guilty” and not return to Newcastle for the hearing.  I heard later that those who appeared before Magistrate John Chicken on Thursday came from Queensland, Victoria, and Canberra – as well as locally. Apparently many represented themselves, though the Environmental Defenders Office took up the case for a few. In the end, probably due to the large number of us offenders, the EDO was not able to defend us all, and I ended up putting my case to the court in a written plea.  As in the previous hearing, this one on 25th January included people from a broad range of professional backgrounds such as teaching, nursing, psychology, environmental engineering. It even included a 97 year-old minister of the Uniting Church and a former Navy serviceman. Of the 36 people who entered a plea on Thursday, 30 had their charge dismissed. The largest fine was $400. The ruling for each individual’s case was based largely on their prior record, the court heard. I was one of the lucky ones in that category and did not receive a conviction, a fine or even a good behaviour bond.

    Magistrate Chicken said the protesters had “noble intentions, albeit they ended up in an infraction of the law”. He said they were motivated by “selflessness” and “out of genuine concerns for the climate and the future of the earth”, which was a mitigating factor in sentencing. And he praised police for their handling of events as they unfolded. “In all of the material before me, there has not been one suggestion of inappropriateness of police on the day,” he said. While Magistrate Chicken said peaceful protests were important in democratic societies, they should take place legally. “There is no suggestion the protest was anything other than peaceful,” he said. “There’s no doubt that the people involved in this protest were all doing so out of a genuine desire to better the world. There is not one person here who has been charged with this offence who did so out of an act of selfishness.”

    So maybe the tide is turning. If magistrates and judges are at last realizing the need for real action on the climate, maybe there’s still hope that our leaders will wake up too. But we’re not there yet. Join us this year in November when Rising Tide plans to have 10,000 people join in a protest lasting 10 days. You can contact Rising Tide at  www.risingtide.org.au, or for details on local action call myself (Trevor Scott) on 0412 250 392 or Serena on 0408 550 110.


    Food for Thought

    Watch this short video (2 minutes) about our recently completed 138-hectare Spring Plains Watershed Repair Pilot Project.

    This pilot project offers a beacon of hope and demonstrates what can be achieved through simple but strategic ecological interventions.


    New episodes from Planet Local Voices, new video and podcast series featuring cutting-edge thinkers, writers, movement-builders and activists from across the world.








    Sustain food network – https://sustain.org.au/

    Continue reading →
  • January/February 2024 newsletter

    I will train myself to look deeply to see your true nature: you are my loving mother, a living being, a great being—an immense, beautiful, and precious wonder.

    (From Ten Love Letters to the Earth, Vietnamese Buddhist monk and Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh- cited in Emergence Magazine 24/12/23)

    Welcome to the January/ February edition of Localising Leanganook’s e-newsletter. There’s lots of local news and events as well as a thought-provoking feature article on Housing and Community Land Trusts. Let our editing team know (Keppel, Laurel, Samantha and Nikki) if you’ve got items for inclusion in the February/March edition – (nikki.marshall@mmnet.com.au).

    1. Arts and Culture
    2. Food Growing, Farming and Food Security
    3. Ecology and Environment
    4. First Nations
    5. History, Books and Libraries
    6. Sustainable Living Resources
    7. Building Community
    8. Local Government News
    9. Workshops and Courses


    Food for Thought

    Feature Article: It’s Time for a Housing Disruption- Karl Fitzgerald

    CLT’s remove land from the speculative market by placing a legal covenant on the land and housing’s resale value. A CLT may limit the resale value of a home to 60% of the median price in the suburb. Or it may use a formula where it limits housing costs to 30% of the median income for the bottom 40% of income earners in that region. This is known as the 3040 rule.

    Long term affordability is the central aim of the Trust, with both legal and economic protections put in place. The land is managed by an independent board that is composed of ⅓ residents, ⅓ neighbours and ⅓ civic minded individuals. The board holds the land in trust to ensure it is perpetually affordable for residents and maintained as an important community resource. Residents sign a contract accepting this arrangement, in effect agreeing that the trust will give them access to this land in acceptance that little financial return will occur for this ownership.

    Deposits required to get into a CLT home can be up to 70% lower. This can help renters find security of tenure up to a decade earlier than on the open market. By ensuring an affordability lock is placed on the land and housing, this grounds pricing growth to the reality of our wages. In doing this, we place a shield over housing, recognising it as a place of shelter – as a human (rather than speculative) right.

    Grounded is advocating to improve the right for community led housing. There must be an alternative to market-led cookie cutter homes. We have no statutory definition of CLTs anywhere in the country. This means government hasn’t provided a legislative definition of the concept. Banks are therefore less likely to lend to a housing model more popular in permaculture circles than on the pages of the AFR. Building confidence in the banking sector is a major objective. With Bank Australia joining the Global Alliance for Banking on Values, the move towards ethical banking is growing. They have lent to the ACT’s Land Rent Scheme – a public land trust, so a precedent exists.

    At the Federal level, a number of tax incentives have been established to support Environmental Land Trusts. We need similar reforms in place for community owned trusts in either the residential or affordable farmland sectors too.

    CLTs: history and why they’re important

    The history of Community Land Trusts is compelling. They have been in operation since the early 1970’s in the US, with examples going back to the early 1900s under land rent colonies. In 1973, landless African American farmers understood that the battle against segregation in the deep south meant little if one couldn’t afford a roof over their head or land upon which to stand. This led to the world’s first CLT – New Communities, Inc Farm, established by Slater King, Charles Sherrod and Dr Bob Swann. Unfortunately, their tenure was challenged with racist impediments relentlessly thrown at these pioneers. From building delays to watered down fertiliser, they fought a valiant battle that was finally recognised in a multi-million dollar payout decades later.

    Now with over 50 years of CLT history, the data is revealing. Community-led housing leads to better outcomes – just like it does in health, education and many other core components of life. Many CLTs incorporate financial planning into their community ethos, helping residents plan for unexpected events. During the GFC, US foreclosure rates were 82% lower in CLTs than in the mainstream market. Over in the UK, the health, well being and income distribution positives are such that for every $1 invested in CLTs, there is a $3.1 return over 30 years. This is virtually unheard of in housing. Policies such as the Albanese government’s Help to Buy policy and the wretched Regional First Home Buyers grant both act to inflate land values.

    With less spent on land by a CLT resident, the homeowner can afford to invest more in resilient buildings. UK CLTs have been estimated to reduce CO2 emissions by 15-50%. US CLTs in places like Florida are being built to be hurricane resistant, and in Alamedia, a bushfire retardant bunker is incorporated into the design. We look forward to a future where we can incorporate permaculture design into housing developments so that our entire living envelope can be more resilient to the climate shift we are witnessing. Underpinning this is a need to recycle the ever increasing value of location, location, so that it helps to make our communities stronger – rather than falling prey as a gentrification target. Without stable and secure housing, there is no freedom, no matter who we vote for. We need more than democracy, we need an economic democracy where we all share from the rising value of living in effective communities.

    (Written for the 145th edition of Friends of the Earth’s Chain Reaction magazine.). Karl Fitzgerald is the Managing Director of Grounded CLT Advocacy. He lives in Malmsbury. Karl ran the Renegade Economists podcast on 3CR for 13 years, whilst working at Prosper Australia as Research Director. 

    What’s on in Central Victoria

    Arts and Culture

    Newstead Live 2024


    Where: multiple venues around Newstead (see website for details)

    When: Thursday 25th January – Sunday 28th January

    Cost:weekend pass $160, youth/student weekend pass: $90, day and evening passes $50-90 – see website for details

    Australian folk-roots music festival in the historic country town of Newstead. Newstead Live Music Festival takes place over the last weekend in January, when a range of diverse and highly regarded international and national artists perform in live music venues, concert spaces, workshops, impromptu sessions, spoken word performances and open-mic sessions. Music for all ages and a variety of genres.

    For more information and to book tickets: https://www.newsteadlive.com/

    Mechanics Lane Spring/Summer Program- Castlemaine

    When: Thursday 25 to Sunday 28 January 2024

    What: Street Latin Dance: Summer Salsa

    Where: Mechanics Lane, Castlemaine

    This is an outdoor space that runs live music, performances and community events. To view our upcoming events, visit Mt Alexander shire’s Events Page.

    For more information contact Sam Thomas, Creative Programs Officer on 5471 1700 or s.thomas@mountalexander.vic.gov.au.

    Learn easy, sizzling salsa steps in a group class, then put them into action with some of the hottest Latin tunes. It’s all about fun and encouragement with top-notch dance instruction.

    Yandoit Cultural and Yandoit Faith Community

    We’ve recently received the good news that the lease at Yandoit Uniting church has been extended for a further 12 months. This has been supported by the Castlemaine Uniting Church minister and church council as well as regional Presbytery.  So, for 2024 Yandoit Cultural is planning a varied program of  music,  spoken word, Open Mics, with an emphasis on local, acoustic and quality. Our historic church is an intimate community space, seating 100/110 people, with excellent acoustics. Let us know if you’d like to perform and/or give it a go with at of our seasonal Open Mic’s . (Nikki on 0432 232 073)

    We will also be establishing a ‘faith community’ at the old church in the bush- something we, as a community, can develop in a way meaningful to us in these times. The faith community will be supported by Minister Sarah Tomilson. We will be holding a faith community dreaming/visioning session towards the end of January/early February. Contact Nikki if you are interested in participating- nikki.marshall@mmnet.com.au or 0432 232 073.

    Guitar Concert- Music of Spain and South America

    When: 6.00pm, Friday 23rd February, 2024

    Where: Yandoit Cultural– the historic church in the bush, Uniting Church Rd (off High St), Yandoit.

    Classical Guitarist, Darcy King returns to Yandoit Cultural in collaboration with Ross Morris (UK), a partnership formed during their studies at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. With a programme of solo and duo music for guitar, this concert is a celebration of the vibrant and expressive music of Spain and South America.

    Entry by donation.  Bookings: ycfcpg@gmail.com or Nikki on 0432 232 073

    Open Mic- Locals sharing stories, songs, poems, history and more

    When: Sunday February 11th, 2pm

    Where: Yandoit Cultural– the historic church in the bush, Uniting Church Rd (off High St), Yandoit

    Join us at Yandoit Cultural for an afternoon of stories, song, music, poetry and history shared by locals. Anyone and everyone can have their 5-10 minutes. You’ll enjoy a variety of performances and you’ll discover and experience the many talents within our neighbourhood and surrounds. And stay for a country-hospitality afternoon tea at the end, where you’ll meet other locals and Open Mic contributors.

    Entry by donation.  Bookings: ycfcpg@gmail.com or Nikki on 0432 232 073

    Castlemaine Johannine Community aka the Grail Community

    The Castlemaine Johannine Community practises ‘pagan Christianity’, a spirituality based in the mystical tradition of St John and the Rosicrucians, and grounded in deep reverence for the sacredness of the Earth and the wisdom of the ancient Celtic, Aboriginal and Native American spiritual traditions. Through both inner and outer work, we seek to collaborate with the Christ impulse to create bring healing and renewal to our communities and the Earth. We meet monthly for eucharist services and other special events shaped by the sacred calendar of the seasonal Christian and Celtic festivals.

    February’s events include the Lammas/Lughnasadh service on 4th February from 11am followed by a shared lunch, the Ash Wednesday/Valentine’s Day service on 14th February at 7.30pm, and a Full Moon service on 24th February at 8pm.

    Where: the Grail Chapel, 75 McMillans Rd, Green Gully

    Cost: all events are free, donations are welcome

    Enquiries: contact Ken Killeen on 0423 194 878 or email johannine@hotmail.com

    The Coolroom at the Northern Arts Hotel

    The Coolroom at the Northern Arts Hotel's logo

    Upcoming events:

    27th Jan: The Anteclinal Fold with Jo Huf $18-22 + booking fee

    3rd Feb: Daniel Champagne $30 + booking fee

    10th Feb: The Amazing Magic Lantern Music Show $15-20 + booking fee

    17th Feb: Langue de Chat French Musette Quartet $18-22 + booking fee

    24th Feb: Peter and the Wolves $18-22 + booking fee

    All events start at 7.30pm.

    For more information and bookings visit: https://events.humanitix.com/host/the-coolroom-at-the-northern-arts-hotel

    Inkwareny Artists of Yuelamu come to Castlemaine

    When: Throughout February 2024- Opening Friday 9th February at 5-7pm.  Katherine Coff from Nalderun will open the exhibition. The gallery will be open over three weekends in February: 9,10,11, then 16,17,18 and 23,24,25.  11am -4pm.

     Where: Lot 19 Gallery, Castlemaine
    Inkwareny Artists is the Anmatyerr people of Yuelamu’s new art centre and gallery. We are situated three hours northwest of Alice Springs at Yuelamu in the Tanami desert, Northern Territory, Australia. We only just formed in October 2023 from a desire to assert Anmatyerr identity through art and this is our very first exhibition.  We are presenting paintings from almost all of our artists and four of our most prolific painters including: Alison Ngal Daniels, ShonellePwerrerlStafford, Lisa Mpetyan CookeandJuliette Napaljarri Morris. Three of the artists will be attending the opening and gallery sessions over the first two weekends. Inkwareny Artists of Yuelamu is self-funded and governed by the Anmatyerre people and artists of Yuelamu. 
    In Anmatyerr, Inkwareny means ‘honey ant’ and is from the inkwareny anengkerr (songline). This exhibition will express Anengkerr (songlines) of: inkwareny (honey ant); Irrkwely (women); mwelyar (stone curlew); arnperrk (centipede); ankara (emu); yerrakwerr (bush onion); anek (bush potato); anakety (bush tomato) and kwaty (water).
    RSVP if attending the opening:  to Natalie Moxham – 0448 372 466; nataliemoxham@wantaac.org

    Newstead Arts Hub- Musical Instrument makers…  plus much more

    What: Musical Instrument Makers

    When:  Friday 26 & Saturday 27 January 10am-5pm, Sunday 28 Jan 10am-12noon  A special event as part of Newstead Live

    The Hub will host a brilliant array of musical instrument makers during Newstead Live 2024. A chance to see and hear some of the most skillfully crafted instruments around, and to talk to the makers about their craft.

    Nine instrument makers will be there during the festival: guitar makers Jack Spira, Roderick Octigan; Ray Black – banjos & mandolins; Joe Gallacher – guitars, mandolins & Irish bouzoukis; Trevor Phillips: guitars, banjos, ukuleles; Patrick McNamara – ukuleles, hollow body electric guitars, dulcimers, banjos, banjo ukuleles; Mark Aspland– Cajon percussion; Andy Rigby harps; and Jeff Wilmott, clay ocarinas (and the gumleaf!).  Danny Silver and Marcus Goddefroy will demonstrate the gentle art of slow making!

    To find out what else is coming up  at Newstead Arts Hub go to: https://newsteadartshub.org/

    Radius Art Gallery

    An art space for the inspirational creative people living in a radius around us.

    re:create – the art of sustainability

    Join us for a month of all things renewable at Radius!  We have joined forces with SideShow & reAWARE to celebrate the National Sustainable Living Festival 2024. and Daylesford’s Repair Cafe. Included in our program is a host of things to help us all get creative & eco!  Giving life to forgotten materials, learning skills, repairing, swapping and foraging.


    The Tap Room- Mill Markets


    A variety of music, locally brewed beer and pizzas made on site,  at the Mill Markets complex . For details go to: https://www.facebook.com/castlemainetaproom/

    Theatre Royal- Castlemaine


    Cinema, music, pizza and more .


    Castlemaine Art Gallery- Ancestor Treasures: First Nations Tools and Adornment on Jaara Country

    Many of these items are being exhibited for the first time in Ancestor Treasures, under the direction of Uncle Rick Nelson (Jaara), Dja Dja Wurrung Traditional Elder; Alvin Darcy Briggs (ADB) (Yorta Yorta, Taungurung, Ngarigo Walbunga), Artist; Tiriki Onus (Yorta Yorta, Dja Dja Wurrung), Associate Dean of Indigenous Development and Head of the Wilin Centre for Indigenous Arts and Cultural Development, University of Melbourne; and Sharnie Hamilton (Djaara), Cultural Values Manager, Djandak.

    This exhibition follows a private viewing for First Nations people of the region. Ancestor Treasures also includes traditional tools made by contemporary artist ADB (Yorta Yorta, Taungurung, Ngarigo Walbunga), in response to the Collection, and a video by First Nations photographer James Henry in collaboration with Henry Harmony Nelson’s Descendants – the Saunders family from Mooroopna, documenting their Meeting at Marna bulatj dharak (Meeting of arms), Lake Eppalock.

    Registered as significant on the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Register (VAHR) [2015], the majority of these works were obtained by settler Australians through largely unknown means and primarily donated during the early years of the Museum’s operation. These works hold significance for First Nations communities across Australia. In 2019, three items were repatriated, while the rest of the Collection has since been safely rehoused in handcrafted museum storage.

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

    Castlemaine Documentary Festival Call-for-Entries for LOCALS Opening Night Showcase

    Real stories, Real Issues, Real Characters, Real Conversations.

    Be part of the Castlemaine Documentary Festival’s tenth anniversary and realise your big screen dream. We are calling for filmmakers (from all walks and experience levels) to submit a 6-minute documentary film for screening at our LOCAL’S Opening Night showcase. Works can be about anything in any style and entry open to all who live, work, play (or have some meaningful connection) with Regional Victoria.

    Deadline is May 1, 2024. Entry is free. For support and advice with editing for screen, attend our full day Workshop for filmmakers, led by Bergen O’Brien and Rob Buttery. Happening March 2, 2024 in Castlemaine.

    For more information, visit: https://cdocff.com.au/locals-2024/


    Food Growing, Farming and Food Security

    Mt Franklin Organics


    A variety of fresh organic veggies, fruit and seedlings. Available at Daylesford’s Sunday market or order and pick up from Florian on Saturday afternoon.

    To get updates via the newsletter, subscribe : newsletter@mtfranklinorganics.com.au

    Orchard Keepers- Harcourt Organic Farming Coop

    A variety of fresh organic fruit including: boxes of plums and apricots, you-pick and by the kilo available at

    Castlemaine Farmers Market weekly on Wednesday afternoon, Farm Shop in Harcourt and Wesley Hill Market, weekly on Saturday morning.

    The Farm Shop will be open on Friday 26 January- 10 am to 4 pm; and Sunday, 28 January-  10 am to 1 pm.

    You can pick-your-own (PYO) fruit or buy it pre-picked.

    There’s also the beginning of Gravenstein  apples-  a very old heritage variety from Europe. They’re not like modern apples – the flavour is more complex, with both sweet and tart flavours.

    For more information: https://hofcoop.com.au/


    Trewhella Biodynamic Berry Farm

    It’s blueberry harvest time. After a couple of challenging years from which much has been learnt to improve the flavour of our Blueberries,we’re now back on track & just commenced harvest.

    To access our berries contact via email or txt to 0408 548 359 or leave a message on (03)53485593.


    Hepburn Wholefoods

    At Wholefoods, we are continually trying to keep packaging waste to a minimum by talking to our farmers and suppliers about packaging, ordering bulk whenever possible, and re-using buckets and bags.  This is by no means a perfect system, but it helps. There’s a few ways you can help us as well. We welcome donations of large clean un-labelled jars; Sometimes packaging can be returned for re-use. This includes medicinal cream brown jars, clean egg cartons, clean berry plastic containers. We have a compost system behind the shop that takes small food scraps, and we also sometimes need donations of straw to add to the compost. You can also help by tending to the wicking beds – watering, weeding and harvesting are all welcome.

    Where: 11 Perrins Street · Daylesford

    Opening Hours: Mondays 9.30-11.30am; Wednesdays 2-4pm;Thursdays 3-5pm; Saturdays 11am-1pm

    Two fold Bakehouse

    LOCAL BREAD FOR THE LOCAL COMMUNITY. 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. DAYLESFORD SUNDAY RAILWAY MARKET- FORTNIGHTLY . HEPBURN WHOLEFOODS COLLECTIVE-Fresh bread every Thursday from 3pm



    Ecology and Environment

    Natural Newstead


    Geoff Park’s regular blogs are a wonderful way to learn more about local bird species. Here’s a Diamond Firetail which recently arrived at the Rise and Shine Bushland Reserve (between Clydesdale and Strangways). An adult arrived first, announcing its presence from a distance with a couple of mournful whistles, followed by a wary juvenile. Both birds drank and bathed briefly before departing. It’s always good to see evidence of successful local breeding by this declining woodland bird.

    To see more or to subscribe to Geoff’s blog: https://geoffpark.wordpress.com/

    Mapping Precious Large Old Trees

    Connecting Country is asking the local community to map our precious large old trees, through their online mapping portal. The mapping portal aims to engage with the community about the importance of the old, and often large trees of central Victoria, as part of Connecting Country’s larger project, ‘Regenerate before it’s too late’. Anyone can access the mapping portal. To date, we have mapped over 30 old trees on the database and are keen for the community to continue mapping trees that are important to them and our local wildlife.

    Coppiced long-leaved box of Chewton- Joel B: Its story is literally etched on it – first lopped, it has regrown with multiple branches, having survived a wildfire, multiple axe wounds and sawn-off branches, this is a living example of bush resilience!

    The mapping portal is now open for any community member to record the old trees in your area. You will need to register with the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) (its quick, easy and free), then upload a photo and enter the field details needed for the survey. The portal will ask you simple questions about the tree location, size, species, age (if known), health status and habitat value. By recording these trees, you will help build our understanding of the large old trees in our region, and contribute to the largest biodiversity database in our country. As the database grows, you can also access the portal to learn about other wonderful large old trees in our area and view the photos.

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

    Wombat Forest Care


    Wombat Forest Care’s December 2023 newsletter includes stories on mountain skinks, salvage logging, Blue Mount’s woodland herb-land, and a variety of birds that live in and visit the forest including the white-bellied cuckoo shrike, blue winged parrot, and rufous whistler and the barking owl. There’s also information about the Victorian State of Environment Report 2023.

    Visit the website –https://www.wombatforestcare.org.au/ 

    Don’t Undermine Daylesford

    Protecting the aquifer, and Daylesford in particular, from exploration and mining. The group is urges the completion of legislated new National Parks in Wombat Forest as this would be a major step in protecting the mineral water resources. The Daylesford-Hepburn Springs region holds over 80% of Australia’s mineral springs, a truly unique and ecologically important resource. The extraction of gold can have a number of negative impacts, including the release of heavy metals such as mercury and arsenic into the environment. These substances can be harmful to both the ecosystem and the health of local communities.

    First Nations

    Australia Day – Survival Day Event 


    Join us for a free, family-friendly event on Friday 26 January from 10.00am at Castlemaine’s Victory Park. The day will include a Welcome to Country, citizenship and awards ceremony, and Survival Day concert programmed and hosted by Dja Dja Wurrung Elder Uncle Rick Nelson.

    The line-up will offer some incredible performances. Last year’s Survival Day concert saw world-class musicians such as Bart Willoughby, Yung Warriors, Tjimba Possum Burns, Darcy Spiller, The Rattlers, and more.

    Where: Victory Park/Djaara Park, Castlemaine

    When: Friday 26th January from 10am – 2pm

    Self-reflection Conversations- Djaara Country

    When: 4 x Tuesdays: Feb 20th, 27th and March 5th and 12th, 5.30-7.30pm

    A series of facilitated conversations for and by local non-Indigenous people to reflect on privilege, allyship and structural racism. Created in conversation with Nalderun Education Aboriginal Corporation.

    To work in effective allyship, non-Indigenous people need to reflect on our understanding and attitude surrounding significant events impacting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and our own beliefs and values – privilege, structural racism and cultural bias. It is only when we have some knowledge and critique of the dominant culture and its systemic racism, and our own ingrained and often unacknowledged privileges and biases that we can go with open hearts and minds to find ways to work with and support First Nations people.

    To book in or find out more email reflectionconversations@gmail.com

    Overview of Nalderun Education Aboriginal Corporation

    by Floria Maschek

    Nalderun (Nalderun Education Aboriginal Corporation), meaning ‘all together’, is a local Aboriginal run and led organisation and registered charity that predominantly focuses on providing opportunities for young, local First Nations People, whilst also supporting their families. The organisation also provides historical and cultural learning opportunities to the extended community, instilling the values of Country, truth telling and Indigenous world views, having many partnerships in government, community, education and health. Connection to Country, Community and Culture is at the core of Nalderun’s work – walking together for a thriving future for all. 

    For more click here:     Walking Together- Nalderun overview (final).doc

    History, Books and Libraries

    History of Werona

    Local historian Ken James has produced a book about the history of Werona, a village on the outskirts of Mt Alexander and Hepburn shires. Ken has previously written books on Guildford, Sandon, Strangways and Joyces Creek to mention a few. The book is 265 pages in length and made up of 11 chapters, 16 appendices, a list of references as well as a surname index.

    It is to be launched at Strangways at Don & Floss Hepburn’s residence on Sunday March 3 at 2pm.  To determine the number of copies to be printed Ken is taking pre-orders. If you are interested in ordering a copy, contact Ken on 0457 600 668 or knjames47@gmail.com  If you wish to attend the launch, contact Carmel Longmire for details on 0427 766 256 or longmire3@bigpond.com

    Free IT help for seniors at Castlemaine Library

    Oldest adults may have much to gain from social technology | Stanford News

    Need help navigating the ever-changing digital world?  Access free one-on-one training and support at your local library.

    Drop in or give us a call, tell us what you would like to know about or learn, and we’ll make an appointment for you.

    Where: Castlemaine Library and other Goldfields Libraries

    When: during library hours

    Cost: free

    Happy Birthday, Dickens

    Andrew Barrie shares his exuberance over the life, time and works of Charles Dickens in celebration of Dickens’ birthday (7th Feb, 1812).

    When: Thursday 8 February, 5.30-6.30pm

    Where: Castlemaine Library 


    Sustainable Living Resources

    Do with Su: Online Permaculture Series

    Join renowned permaculture elder Su Dennett as she shares her passion for food and nourishment, and her wisdom on the household non-monetary economy with a generous dash of frugal hedonism.

    Where and When: online and  access any time

    Cost: $45 for 7 sessions plus resources, $75 including access to a live Q and A with Su, $295 including a private online Q and A with Su

    Bookings and more information: https://hub.holmgren.com.au/lp/do-with-su/season-one/online-permaculture-series/

    Castlemaine Free University: Creative Community Participation for Social and Environmental Change


    Participatory designer and Castlemaine resident Dr Michael Chew explores a range of creative grassroots experiments reflecting community participants’ engagement with environmental sustainability and social justice, Michael offers space for discussions around using creative participatory methods in community engagement projects.

    Where: Northern Arts Hotel, 359 Barker St, Castlemaine

    When: Monday 5th February at 6.30pm for 7pm start

    Cost: free, drinks are available  for purchase from the bar.

    Newstead Solar Farm

    Construction of the Newstead Solar Farm is underway and will be completed in the first quarter of 2024.Households in Newstead will be able to formally sign up to source their electricity from the farm next year.* We expect this will be in May and will update you when that offer becomes available. Solar tracking systems are going in. Solar panels will be installed next. Next will installation and connection of Battery, Power line to be extended from the Pyrenees Highway to the site, and Panels to be connected. (Underground wiring will mean sheep can graze beneath the panels.)

    Watch out for two key next steps in the first half of this year. They are: a community open day on site; and an offer from our farm builder and electricity retail partner Flow Power to sign up as customers. You have previously signed an expression of interest (EOI) via the RN website so don’t need to do so again. When the retail offer becomes available, Flow Power will email you inviting you to formally sign up.

    For more information: www.renewablenewstead.com.au   e: info@renewablenewstead.com.au 

    Sustainable Hepburn Newsletter

    Find out what’s happening around sustainability and the circular economy  in Hepburn Shire.  The newsletter includes:

    • Sustainable Hepburn Day on Saturday 16 March 2024 at Victoria Park in Daylesford;
    • Nature Stewards- short educational course which aims to foster a connection with nature and provide ways to get active for the environment. The ten-week program will allow people to discover more about their local environment, connect them with others in their community, and help them learn how to volunteer for nature as a citizen scientist, advocate for nature or a nature guide.  Find out more here. 
    • the soon-to-be-released Circular Hepburn Toolkit for Businesses;
    • Purchase low-cost e-waste items at Creswick and Trentham Transfer Stations.  Electronic items that pass safety inspections are available through the Resource Recovery Shops (aka tip shops). The function of second-hand items cannot be guaranteed, and they are sold as-is.
    • Food and garden organics collection coming soon- a weekly kerbside collection of food and garden organics for township residents in 2024, which will help to divert thousands of tonnes of organic material from landfill.
    • Solar Savers program- For more information, including eligibility and the special rates charge, visit Hepburn Shire Solar Savers;
    • Establishment of Sustainable Hepburn Community Advisory Committee- a diverse group who represent business and community leadership across the Shire and who share a passion for making our Shire more sustainable.
    • Noxious weed guide-  explains which weeds are noxious and ways to manage them, as well as providing images to help residents identify common weeds. The guide is available at transfer stations, customer service hubs and online. 
    • Biodiversity assessments inform township planning as part of the ‘Future Hepburn’ program.  For more information check out Future Hepburn

    To subscribe to the Sustainable Hepburn newsletter go to: https://vic.us1.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=ed7363da7342d76568c38d847&id=ac5ba36264


    Repair Cafes

    Castlemaine: The Cafe resumes for 2024  on Sunday January 28th, 10am to 1.00pm  at Castlemaine Community House, 30 Templeton St.  For further information join our Facebook group, visit our website or call Chris on 5470 5508.

    Repair Cafés are about keeping things out of landfill, saving you money, and giving members of the community the opportunity to volunteer. Bring along broken household appliances, sewing repairs, toys, etc. Learn bicycle maintenance. Join the Mending Circle and swap tips on crochet, darning, knitting, hand sewing, etc. or learn to do these so your clothes continue to be usable. There’s also help with mobile phones, wiping information before recycling, settings etc.


    Daylesford: The Cafe resumes for 2024 on Sunday February 18th, 1pm-4pm , this time at Radius Gallery,  76 Main Road, Hepburn Springs, as part of the Sustainable Living Festival. In addition to repairs there’ll be a clothes swap, an exhibition of repurposed and environmental themes; a chance to fix, learn, up-cycle, swap and share knowledge; and a series of talks and speakers to inform and inspire us with sustainable journeys & information.  For further information: Nikki 0432 232 073 or  https://www.facebook.com/daylesfordrepaircafe/

    Gold Coin donation.

    Castlemaine Seed Library

    The First working bee for the year is Thursday 1st Feb 2024. 11am at Castlemaine library, as usual. All welcome! Come along and pack seeds with us.

    We are having a quick AGM on Friday 26th January 2024, at 3pm, in the Hub Plot garden.  There will be tea and cake, and we’d love to see you there.

    Hands on Seed Saving Workshop – Start the year with some solid, useful training in seed-saving by coming along to our Hands-On Seed-Saving Workshop at Newstead Community Garden.  Gregg Muller will be facilitating the workshop. The garden is ready so the workshop will be  17th February.  

    Building Community

    Tiny Towns Funding Available

    Funding is available through the Tiny Towns Fund for local government and community organisations to deliver infrastructure projects to build stronger local connections. The fund offers grants between $5,000 and $50,000 to deliver infrastructure projects, such as hiking trails, splash parks, playgrounds, barbeques, community hall and library upgrades, public art and more. Applications open until February 25, 2024. Further rounds will be available from 2024. Eligible applicants include community and non-profit groups and councils in towns with under 5,000 people across regional Victoria and outer metro-Melbourne.

    To find out more about the fund, visit rdv.vic.gov.au/tiny-towns-fund.

    Fixed wireless broadband for Sailors Falls

    A fixed wireless broadband project at Sailors Falls will replace existing satellite service providing improved mobile and broadband connectivity to Sailors Falls and surrounding areas in the Hepburn Shire.

    The rollout schedule will be published on the carriers’ websites once contracts are executed.


    Resident-led Housing

    The Resident-Led Housing workshop held as a Castlemaine Free University session at Northern Arts Hotel on 8 November 2023 attracted a lot of interest. Local follow-through involved a brief discussion at the My Home Network Forum (MHN) on 30 November 2023. The Forum supported a Monday 12 February 2024 6 pm ‘springboard’ meeting at Northern Arts Hotel for all interested in forming and joining a MHN working group you wish to progress, such as cohousing, purchasing land jointly, sharing existing owned land, a tiny-house ecovillage, or any other model you would like to come along and propose.
    Contact Carolyn Neilson (Kaz) for more information – cneilson@castlemainehealth.org.au

    Wombat Post

    A community run newsletter for Daylesford, Hepburn Springs and surrounds published every Friday afternoon.

    The most recent edition includes an update on Dan Murphy and the VCAT decision: In VCAT case P493/2023 – Banco Properties v Hepburn Shire Council, VCAT has denied the appeal which would have allowed the sign ( to be installed on the corner of Central Springs Road and Bridport Street, Daylesford. VCAT agreed with Council and the objectors that the sign was not in keeping with the aesthetics of the area. The original design of the sign had a height of 6.4 metres, width of 1.6 metres, and a panel area of 10.2 square metres. The sign was to be double sided, and internally illuminated with a lux level of 1500 and have Dan Murphy’s face on it. However, the applicant changed the sign prior to the hearing, to the design below and to reduce the height to 5.0 metres, change the width to a maximum of 3.2 metres, increase the overall area of the sign, and reduce the internal illumination to 1000 Lux.

    However, the overall design was determined by VCAT to be “not compatible with the character of the area or the streetscape or setting.” The member stated in the findings: “The introduction of a 5-metre-high pole sign with internally illuminated display areas will be inconsistent with the character of this area, both the commercial land to the north of Central Springs Road and the residential land to the south.” Thanks to VCAT, the pole sign will not be going ahead.

    To read the full VCAT findings you can click this link https://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/cases/vic/VCAT/2024/4.html?context=1;query=banco;mask_path=au/cases/vic/VCAT

    Local Government News

    Have your say with Shape Mount Alexander

    Help us prioritise our budget spend for 2024-2025
    We have a nifty new online budget tool where you can tell us how you’d allocate our budget. Tell us how much you’d spend on roads, arts, venues, waste management and more. Sign up to Shape Mount Alexander

    2024 Community Grants

    Do you have an idea for a community project or event? Apply for the next round of Community Grants to get it up and running. Applications open on Monday 22 January and close on Monday 12 February. Apply for a Community Grant

    Free pool entry on 26 January

    Our outdoor pools in Castlemaine, Harcourt, Maldon and Newstead are open for summer fun. Each pool offers lap-lane swimming, aqua aerobics, swim classes and free entry on Australia Day!

    Find out what’s on in the shire

    Upcoming Council meeting

    Our next Council meeting will be held at 6.30pm on Tuesday 20 February. To raise a question at the Council meeting email the Governance team at governance@mountalexander.vic.gov.au or write to them at PO Box 185, Castlemaine VIC 3450. Messages must be received by 12.00pm on the day of the meeting. You can also Livestream the Council meeting via YouTube

    Hepburn Shire Community Grants Program

    The Grants program has reopened for Round 2.   Submit a project idea for funding of up to $5,000. Applications close on 12 February 2024.

    The Community Grants Guidelines are available at www.hepburn.vic.gov.au/grants.

    Workshops and Courses

    Systemic family Constellations


    When: Sunday February 18th, 10am – 4pm

    Where: Wesley Hill Hall

    Explore dynamics within yourself and within your family system.

    For more information:  amyjonesroberts@yahoo.com.au 





    The People’s Blockade of Newcastle Harbour, and the largest coal port in the world, was always going to be big. It was well organised from start to finish by the climate action group, Rising Tide.  Around 500 visitors from all around Australia zeroed in on Newcastle between November 24-27, 2023 and camped at the reserve adjacent to Horseshoe Beach. Up to 2,500 more arrived over the next 4 days to support and take part in the blockade. Camping on the reserve was authorised by the city council and it all went smoothly except for a few motorists who received parking fines.

    Horseshoe Beach, at the mouth of the harbour was a colorful and spectacular scene over the weekend of 24th-27th November. The tiny beach was awash with canoes and kayaks and seaworthy vessels of every shape, size and colour. There were inflatables, yachts, pedal driven vessels and even a few rafts made of bamboo. By agreement with the police and the harbour master, we occupied the shipping lanes and kept the coal ships at bay for 30 hours from 10am on the Saturday morning to 4pm on the Sunday afternoon. The vigil was maintained throughout Saturday night and into the wee small hours of Sunday morning by canoeists and kayakers working in shifts.

    What was not so widely known was a secret plan for as many of us as possible to continue to block the shipping lanes after the cutoff time of 4pm Sunday. During the protest, there were many, many people on the beach. Most of the better-known climate action groups were represented: Extinction Rebellion, the Pacific Climate Warriors, Knitting Nanas, Doctors without Borders, Bob Brown Foundation and SS4C (school strikers). The Greens were also represented. Most of these groups had little marquees higher up on the beach. Although the main action was to stop the coal ships, the blockade also included many activities for children such as face painting, sand sculpture, and kite making to name a few. There was even a pirate school taking place in the Kids’ Tent. One of the highlights on Saturday was an inspiring speech by former Greens leader and champion of the Franklin River Blockade, Bob Brown.

    On Sunday, the second day of action, at around 3.30pm, we slipped into our canoes and kayaks and headed out. I looked around for a boat but almost all had left the shore. So we were directed to the remaining vessels, a couple of rafts made from 44 gallon drums tied together with bamboo poles and wire ties. They looked seaworthy enough so 5 of us with our life-jackets and paddles, clambered aboard. As the police boats lurked about in the background, we paddled out and joined the flotilla. I felt really empowered to be part of this mass protest. I felt that I was in exactly the right place at the right time. After staying out on the water for at least an hour longer than the 30 hour deadline one of the police boats came alongside and told us that by remaining in the shipping lane we were breaching a maritime law, and that if we didn’t desist, we would be under arrest. At this stage, every one of us was aware that this was our opportunity to make a powerful statement. So we remained in the channel until the police boat pulled alongside and we were informed that we were under arrest. Most of us arrestees were charged and given CAN’s (Court Attendance Notices) for January 2024. 

    Food for Thought

    Degrowth Central Victoria (and the World) -A collection of writings concerned with the need, philosophies and practicalities of degrowth, with particular emphasis on Central Victoria, Australia, but with relevance to, and sometimes contributions from, the World. Click to read Degrowth Central Victoria (and the World), by Peter Yates- https://degrowthcentralvictoria.substack.com/

    Return of the Fourth Bark Petition to Yirrkalahttps://thewombatpost.com.au/2023/12/22/return-of-the-fourth-bark-petition-to-yirrkala/

    Friends Don’t Let Friends Destroy Themselves – Charles Eisenstein Essay, 29/12/23 – https://charleseisenstein.substack.com/p/friends-dont-let-friends-destroy

    Transcript of conversation with my son Philip – Charles Eisensteinhttps://charleseisenstein.substack.com/p/transcript-of-conversation-with-my?utm_source=substack&publication_id=427455&post_id=139831485&utm_medium=email&utm_content=share&utm_campaign=email-share&isFreemail=true&r=1r08bh 

    Post Carbon Institute- Indigenous voices on the great unravelling – with Dilafruz Khonikboyeva, In our conversation, she discusses how people can live through collapse while maintaining their core identities and values, by grieving, but then drying their tears and carrying on.  https://holdingthefire.buzzsprout.com/

    Final Snapshots of Planet Local Conference : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLcItcv-Djo

    Milkwood Permaculture skills and blog : https://www.milkwood.net/


    Continue reading →
  • December 2023 newsletter

    Some thoughts on what Localisation means (from Local Futures November 2023)

     A cultural turning towards Nature, towards community, towards diversity – towards life.

    An expression of our need for connection – both to others and to all living beings.

    A renewed respect for the feminine, the indigenous, the embodied, the whole.

    An embrace of the small, the slow, the humble, the everyday.

    So what does that mean in practice?

    Shifting from dependence on global corporations towards local and regional economies.

    Building or supporting place-based institutions or cultures.

    Shortening the distances between producer and consumer.


    Palestinian peace activist Aziz Abu Sarah describes what it is like:

    It is a very tough time obviously to be a peace activist and much harder than choosing which side I want to care about more. Because if you are pro-Palestinian you sympathize obviously with the Palestinian cause. If you’re pro-Israel, you sympathize with the Israeli cause. And if you’re a peace activist, you have friends on both sides. And so your pain is multiplied. Because if I’m talking to my friends and family in the West Bank, I’m talking to my family or my family in Jerusalem, they are living in complete fear. I’m talking to my friends in Gaza who are escaping, terrified. I’m talking to my friends in Israel who are living the biggest nightmare in their lives. I’m terrified for my friends who have missing family members. They are trying to find where they are, most likely hostages in Gaza. I have friends who lost family members. And so you’re trying to take the pain of both the Israelis and the Palestinians and absorb both of it and live with both of it. And understand both perspectives, understand when your Israeli friends are angry, and they can’t comprehend how you could talk about Gaza right now. Because in their mind, but what about my pain? And my friends in Gaza think I’m completely a traitor, because how am I able to sympathize with the Israelis pain, with the people who’ve lost their lives in Israel. It’s very difficult. But I also think this is exactly what we need right now. This is the time to stand up and say there is an alternative: hate isn’t the only path.

    (cited in Charles Eisenstein’s blog, 19/11/23 – https://charleseisenstein.substack.com/p/war-is-always-justified)


    Welcome to the December edition of Localising Leanganook‘s e-newsletter from our editing team: Keppel, Laurel, Samantha and Nikki . Plenty to read, look at, listen to, and learn about in our central Victorian region. We welcome articles, letters and suggestions that encourage localisation- Email us here

    Our next edition is scheduled for the third week in January 2024. Subscribe to the newsletter at  https://leanganook.org/


    Feature Article –  Reading Landscape film

    What’s happening in Central Victoria

    1. Arts and Culture
    2. Building Community
    3. Ecology and Environment
    4. First Nations
    5. Food Growing, Farming and Food Security
    6. Sustainable Economic Initiatives
    7. Sustainable Living Resources
    8. Workshops and Courses
    9. Communicating Good News Stories

    Letters- (none this edition)

    Food For Thought

    Feature Article/Film- Reading Landscape

    This month our feature article is in the form of a recently released feature film- Reading Landscape with David Holmgren- the co-originator of Permaculture.

    Set in Djarra country, this feature length documentary, Reading Landscape with David Holmgren, is finally complete and available for viewing. Since the tragic death of film director/producer Dan Palmer last year, film maker Dave Meagher lovingly stayed with the project consulting closely with David Holmgren and other colleagues of Dan’s to complete the vision.

    The film is an invitation to walk with David Holmgren across Djaara Country, as he shares his insights and discusses his unique approach to reading landscape, a wealth of knowledge and wisdom developed over forty years. David’s approach contributes to re-embedding reading landscape into our cultures as a known and fundamental human capacity, providing an opportunity for humans everywhere to deepen their connection to place.

    You can register to watch the film at no cost here: https://readinglandscape.org/view-film-private-link-sign-up/

    1. Arts and Culture

    Locals Film Making – call out for submissions

    LOCALS 2024 is a program showcasing local and regionally made shorts which will be screened on Opening Night of Castlemaine’s Documentary Film Festival in June 2024. Submit a short, non-fiction film for consideration. The brief is broad:

    The film can be about anything and be in any style.
    Anyone who lives, works, plays (or has some meaningful connection) to Regional/Central Victoria is eligible to enter.
    Duration of the film no longer than 6 minutes.

    Entries close May 1st 2024 Find out more about LOCALS

    Yandoit Cultural Christmas Carols with Castlemaine Peace Choir

    Come along to Yandoit’s old church in the bush for some hearty carol singing, lead by Jane Thompson and James Rigby and the Castlemaine Peace Choir. After join us for supper under the eucalyptus.

    When: Thursday December 21st, 7pm

    Where: Yandoit Cultural- the old church in the bush- Uniting Church Rd, (off High St) Yandoit

    Film Making Workshops

    Castlemaine Documentary Festival is offering two full-day hands-on workshops in filmmaking – the first on recording sound and vision, the second on editing.

    Whether you are putting together movies for socials or wanting to enter a short doc into the LOCALS screening at the Castlemaine Documentary Festival … It’s useful to be able to capture sound and vision and to put it all together in an engaging way.

    More details: https://cdocff.com.au/workshops/

    Northern Arts Hotel

    All links for accommodation,  gigs and events, click here

    Swiss Italian Festival – Landscape Art Prizes at Radius Gallery

    Congrats to the winning entries from the 2023 Swiss Italian Lanscape Prize:

    Radius committee will meet soon to plan our exhibitions for next year.  If you have a body of work ready or a group show you would like to curate reach out now via our online application- radius@designscope.com.au

    Art works are available for sale.

    Photo: Julie Kluwer’s winning painting

    YOGART- CREATIVE THERAPY & FUN FOR KIDS / ADULTS-  Join Anna Kilpatrick for two sessions at Radius leading up to Christmas.  These unique workshops are a clever combo of yoga and art.  Connect & explore your creativity in whole new way! Tue Dec 26th / Sat Dec 30

    76, Main Rd, Hepburn, Victoria, 3461, Australia www.radiusart.com.au

    Lease extended for Yandoit Cultural 

    Yandoit Cultural‘s lease with the Uniting Church has been extended for a further 12 months. This enables the old church in the bush to continue hosting musical concerts, story-telling, Open Mic events, local oral history, film screenings,  and much more.

    Musicians who play at Yandoit Cultural express their delight at the excellent acoustics, the intimate feel of the place and also the warm welcome they receive by audiences.  With an emphasis on local, acoustic and quality Yandoit Cultural is keen to support and show-case the breadth of talent across our region.

    The community of Yandoit and surrounds greatly appreciates the support provided by the Castlemaine Uniting Church Minister, Church Council, Regional Presbytery in seeking this extension to the lease, enabling our much loved local church building to continue in community hands as a local cultural centre.

    Castlemaine and Surrounds Summer Market Art Exhibition

    The Market Art exhibition features work from over 100 local artists (ages ranging from 23 to 101!), and is on at the historic Market Building until March.

    When: 9.00am-5.00pm, daily (except Chirstmas Day)
    Where: Market Building, 44 Mostyn Street, Castlemaine
    Cost: Free


    2. Building Community

    Castlemaine Community Christmas Lunch- 2023

    A free community event. Join with other locals to  share Christmas day lunch.

     DATE & TIME: Mon, 25 Dec 2023, 12:30 PM

    Volunteer your time at the Castlemaine Community Christmas Lunch. Presented by Castlemaine Community House with support from Council, the lunch is an annual free celebration open to all Mount Alexander Shire residents. Christmas Community Lunch volunteer, Rohan Jones, said that volunteering offered an opportunity to connect with other residents.

    To find out more about volunteering, contact Castlemaine Community House in 5472 4842 or email reception@cch.org.au.

    For more information:  Phone: 03 5472 4842 Email: customerservice@cch.org.au

    Newstead 21- Community Development Opportunities

    Newstead 21 is a volunteer incorporated association based in Central Victoria. We promote the discussion and implementation of ideas and projects that benefit the Newstead community and also provide support to a number of local groups and organisations. Newstead 21 is looking to engage two highly skilled, community development workers on a part-time six month temporary/contract role.

    How to apply:  Download the detailed Position Descriptions via https://www.ethicaljobs.com.au. Submit your cover letter and resume to n21recruitment@gmail.com

    Note: While Applications closed on 3rd December 2023…it may be possible to put in a late application??

    Resident-led Housing Workshop

    A workshop facilitating community members to design resident-led housing futures for Mount Alexander Shire. We invite Castlemaine and other shire residents interested in 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.
    This event is supported by Allie Hanley (Saltgrass Podcast) and the My Home Network of Mount Alexander ShireTo express interest in the workshop and receive further information, please complete this short survey —https://forms.office.com/r/vAv4zgniCz

    Daylesford Tragedy- Support Available

    The tragedy in Daylesford that led to the death of five people and significant injuries to others in Daylesford- This event impacted many within the community. Clinical Psychologist Ingrid Morgan at Springs Medical provided advice for people impacted. Ingrid wrote that it’s OK to feel awful, on edge or jumpy, or want to avoid certain places. This is very typical after experiencing something traumatic and to try to give yourself space to experience these things. Read the rest of Ingrid’s advice on Hepburn shire’s website.

    If you need to talk to someone there is help available. Central Highlands Rural Health can be contacted on (03) 5321 6551 to arrange an appointment. Head to Health can also help and are available on 1800 595 212

    What’s On at Goldfields Libraries

    Lots happening over the pre-Christmas/New Year/holiday period including:

    • Free IT help for seniors: Need help navigating the ever-changing digital world?  Access free one-on-one training and support at your local library.

    Drop in or give us a call, tell us what you would like to know about or learn, and we’ll make an appointment for you.

    • Big Summer Read– JOIN. BORROW. PLAY. WIN- The BIG Summer Read is back! Read 10 books over summer and be in the running to win great prizes, including book vouchers and gift vouchers from EB Games and Smiggle. To get started, visit the library or register online here.  Return your reading record by 31 January for your chance to win a prize (Beanstack App participants will have automatic entry). Prize winners announced Friday 9 February. For children and young people up to 18 years.
    • StoryWalks

    child at Castlemaine Storywalk

    StoryWalks are a fun and educational activity that places a children’s story (literally a book taken apart!) along a popular walking route in the community. They are a physical activity and a literary experience in one. Goldfields Libraries regularly host StoryWalks across the region. We currently have StoryWalks in:

    • Castlemaine – Castlemaine Train Station. West side along Barkers Creek Trail (Gingell St). Download map.
    • Heathcote – Heathcote Playspace, 126 HIgh Street. Download map.
    • Kyneton – Shared path next to Kyneton Primary School and Kindergarten. Between Victoria and Edgecombe Streets. Download map.

    What’s on at Goldfields Libraries

    Quick Response Grants 


    These Hepburn Shire grants are now open for community groups to apply for a grant up to $1,000. The funds may be used to help facilitate small projects, or provide support towards an unforeseen disruption or urgent issue. Applications are assessed monthly. Learn more


    Twilight Artists Market- Castlemaine

    The Castlemaine Artists Market lights up the centre of Castlemaine with a wide diversity of artist stalls, demonstrations and workshops in the creative and performing arts each month. There are children’s activities, live music and food and drink available for purchase.

    The Twilight Market will be held Saturday 16 December at Western Reserve, 3-7pm.

    Bring your kids, bring a friend; come gather on the grass and enjoy the atmosphere of this fantastic local market. It’s the perfect place to pick up a unique and beautiful Christmas present. The Twilight Market will host young singer songwriters involved in the Mt Alexander Shire FREEZA program as well as an exciting participatory workshop in African drumming facilitated by Gianni Boragine.

    Newstead Arts Hub- Create a woven boat form

    A new workshop with Jodie Goldring  on Sunday 21 January 2024,  10am-4pm at 8A Tivey Street NEWSTEAD

    Learn how to use natural materials to weave a decorative boat by adapting the traditional basketry technique of ribbed construction. Weave around a forked branch and cane ribs learning a technique called randing.

    All materials included and no experience is needed. Jodie will explain how to collect, dry and prepare your own materials to use at home. Bookings open now

    3. Ecology and Environment

    On the lookout for Drought Refuge Pools

    The North Central Catchment Management Authority (CMA) is on the lookout for drought refuge pools – natural bodies of water that stay full, even during dry times. These refuge pools are often fed by groundwater and provide a valuable home for our native species, particularly small-bodied fish, water bugs, and platypus. Such refuges were worth protecting.

    “Landholders are under no obligation to tell us what’s on their land, but if they’re interested in restoring one of these refuges and adding to the lifestyle benefits of their property, we’re willing to help,” Mr Hogan said. “If you think you may have a drought refuge on your property, or know of one, we’d love to hear from you. We have an online survey available where you can tell us all you know about the pool, including where it is.”  The survey is closed but community members can also nominate drought refuges by calling North Central CMA on (03) 5448 7124 or by emailing asha.bannon@nccma.vic.gov.au.

    Castlemaine Seed Library

    Our last working bee of the year is Thursday 7th Dec 2023 11 am at Castlemaine Library
    There is no working bee in January, so we will resume in 2024 in February.

    Save the date: Thursday 1st Feb 2024

    For more info: https://www.castlemaineseedlibrary.org.au/

    The Habits of Birds – Geoff Park’s Natural Newstead

    NKNH4If you visit places with regularity, as I tend to do, you start to observe the patterns and rhythms of nature. I’ve been watching Sacred Kingfishers along the river over recent weeks, as they’ve been staking out their nesting territories.

    My visits are at the end of the day and as dusk approaches I’ve been observing Nankeen Night-herons leave their day-time perches, spreading out along the river in preparation for a night of hunting. The bird pictured here is an adult, with long, white breeding plumes trailing from its crown. A small group of night-herons roosts by day in one of the larger River Red-gums, mainly adults with at least one juvenile. I’ve yet to find a nest along the river but suspect they do breed locally in small numbers.

    Read and see more photos here: https://geoffpark.wordpress.com/2023/11/04/the-habits-of-birds/

    Connecting Country – Buzz Project

    The Buzz project: promoting pollinators of central Victoria, is a Connecting Country project that aims to celebrate and expand community knowledge on the smaller heroes of our local ecosystems, the insect pollinators. The project has been running throughout 2023 and has included a presentation with local entomologist Dr Mark Hall covering ‘Native pollinators on your property: who, where and what they do?’ followed by a field trip that took a further look into ‘promoting native pollinators from property to landscape.’

    And while that particular type of mistletoe is not native to Australia (and in fact is an environmental weed), there are a number of plants we call mistletoe in Australia that are native and have another species “kissing” underneath them at this time of year. The mistletoes in question are a group of semi-parasitic shrubs, often associated with Eucalypts – Amyema, Muellerina and Dendrophthoe species. The faunal species in question is the Imperial Jezebel butterfly (among others). Read more about this his spectacular butterfly species here

    Photo: Imperial Jezebel (Delias harpalyce)

    Biolinks Alliance

    Biolinks Alliance was formed in 2010 by community conservation groups in Central Victoria who recognised that in order to halt environmental and species decline in Victoria, large-scale landscape restoration was necessary. This scale of work would require coordination of effort and knowledge as well as new and innovative approaches. Here are links to just two of their projects:

    Latest news from our Spring Plains Watershed Repair project

    Heathcote Local to Landscape pilot project

    You too can get your hands earthy and be part of the nature movement here in Central Victoria. We are continually looking for more people to get involved in our work. There are many ways to help. Contact us to find out more about how you can support our organisation. We’d love to hear from you!

    North Central Catchment Management

    The North Central Chat is a newsletter with info about birds, trees, regenerative agricultural, water catchment levels, river detectives, landcare, nature stewards, soil moisture and much more…

    North Central Chat December 2023 | North Central Catchment Management Authority (nccma.vic.gov.au)

    Subscribe to the North Central Chat here.

    Connecting Country

    Connecting Country’s annual report 2023 is now available for you to catch up on our highlights from 2022-2023.  Along with brief updates from our President, Treasurer and Director, the report gives an overview of our work – spanning landscape restoration, community engagement, monitoring and Landcare support – with plenty of gorgeous pictures!

    To view the Connecting Country annual report 2023 as a document – click here


    4. First Nations

     Walking Together- Floria Maschek

    Djaara history is embedded in the landscape here and embedded in ‘Country’ as a broader concept. This year I had the privilege of being guided by senior Djaara Elder Uncle Rick Nelson – winding through streets, through coppiced forest, along rocky slopes, and along remnant wetland. Locally this place is sometimes referred to as ‘upside down country’, a reference to the aftermath of mining, but First Peoples history pre colonisation, is still told through the earth, rock, trees and other life and by First Peoples who have survived settler colonialism. Ancient and more recent knowledge is shared and culture is continued. 

    To read more: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1qLkuj7gYCYu39Mjjd_vynwRwQX-I_ehd/edit

    First Nations Project of the year Award

    Daylesford & District Historical Society and Djaara Elder Uncle Rick Nelson won the First Nations Project of the Year Award at the 2023 Victorian Museums & Galleries Award for their Coranderrk Portraits exhibition at the Daylesford Museum earlier this year.

    The exhibition featured a collection of life-sized portraits of Dja Dja Wurrung people forced off their land to live at the Coranderrk Aboriginal Station. It  included a narrated film led by Djaara Elder Uncle Rick Nelson and Professor Barry Golding, taking visitors on a truth-seeking journey across significant local sites. The exhibition was complemented by storyboards, videos, images, text, and artefacts that provided insights into the Dja Dja Wurrung story and Coranderrk history. The exhibition offered a rare opportunity to reflect on the impact of colonisation and forced removal on the Dja Dja Wurrung people and their communities.

    The judges commented that “this project showcases impactful local collaboration and dialogue led by Elders and First Peoples, bridging cultural divides, decolonising spaces, and reconnecting Djaara Ancestors with their community through powerful ancestral portraits. Involving young children in interpreting the artwork adds an inter-generational dimension to this small-scale initiative with a strong community spirit.”

    5. Food Growing, Farming and Food Security

    Tumpinyeri Growers

    Community Supported Agriculture based in Blampied.  The word Tumpinyeri is from the Ngarrindjeri language. Tump means life and inyeri means belonging to. Belonging to life is how we see ourselves and as growers we use regenerative farming practices to honour this.  Following Agroecological principles we care for the soil, water and air in a holistic and respectful way. We promote and encourage biodiversity which in turn aids us if things become unbalanced.

    Tumpinyeri Growers understand that healthy food comes from heathy soils and thriving ecosystems. Caring for country is the only way we can truly care for ourselves and all life.

    For more information: https://tumpinyerigrowers.com.au/

    Orchard Keepers – PYO-CSA

    What is PYO-CSA? 

    • PYO = Pick Your Own fruit
    • CSA = Community Supported Agriculture, which is a way of inviting the community to take part ownership of the crop. At the beginning of the season, you become a member and pre-buy a set quantity of fruit.

    This year, we’re trying something different. You can sign up for a share of fruit in advance and then visit the farm to pick it yourself through the season. It’s a PYO-CSA! This means you can pre-buy your fruit for as little as $3.50 kg! Plus, you’ll get special members-only access to the fruit each week before we open to the general public on Friday and Sunday. Click here to find out about more about PYO-CSA subscription.

    P.S. If you’d like to find out more about Fruit Crew, please click here. It’s a practical, hands-on, summer course in fruit growing. Rather than charging course fees, we’re offering a simple exchange of our skills, knowledge, fruit, and free workshops for your labour, enthusiasm, and participation. If you’re ready to apply, fill out this form.

    P.P.S. We’ve also launched a new Friday volunteering program called Friday Crew. This one is based in the Farm Shop (not the orchard) and will be helping with selling (rather than growing) the fruit. Please fill out this form if you’d like to apply (the form says Fruit Crew but just tell us in your application that you’re interested in Friday Crew instead).

    Two Fold Bakehouse

    Local bread for the local community. Locally baked sour dough bread, delivered to Daylesford and Yandoit and Kyneton on Thursday and available at Daylesford’s Sunday market. You can subscribe and order weekly.  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. With the Christasm season coming up extra goodies are being baked.

    For more information and/or to subscribe: https://twofoldbakehouse.com/


    Mt Franklin Organics

    Florian’s produce is available at Daylesford’s Sunday market. There’s seedlings including tomato plants,  tomatilla, Chives, garlic Chives,  balinese chives, sage, oregano,  rosemary,  mint, thai basil  thyme, parsley, basil, assorted lettuces, cucumbers, peppers , plus fig trees and much more.
    Pick up directly from the farm on Saturday afternoon is also possible.
    To find out whats fresh and available, subscribe to Florian’s newsletter: newsletter@mtfranklinorganics.com.au


    Local Food can Save the World- a short film


    Watch Local Futures’ new 3-minute film, ‘Local Food Can Save the World’, which highlights the important differences between a global food system based on monoculture and long distances, and local food economies based on diversity and connection.

    A number of recent posts on the Local Futures blog have focused on food issues: https://www.localfutures.org/blog/

    6. Sustainable Economics

    The Big Switch-Local businesses switch to renewable energy


    Film Night & Talk organised by Mt Alexander Net Zero Working Group (MANZWG). The group aims to  forward the objective of 100% renewable energy use in Mount Alexander Shire and inspire and encourage community focus by telling the stories of projects in our towns and surrounds.

    When and Where: 5.30 – 6.30pm Thursday 14th December, Castlemaine Library

    Local Futures- Planet Local Summit

    Planet Local summit- : full recordings from the Summit

    New booklet for a Local Planet

    We produced a booklet that distills a big-picture message into a few hundred words. Blending poetry with political critique, philosophical reflections with a call to action, the booklet is intended to be a helpful companion to those thinking globally and acting locally. You can now download the booklet for free, here

    Build your own localization initiative with the help of our Localization Action Guide — a unique resource that points to practical solutions for communities across the globe

    7. Sustainable Living 

    Mt Alexander Sustainability Group

    Mount Alexander Sustainability Group (MASG) is the peak sustainability organisation for the Mount Alexander Shire, delivering education, research, advocacy, and endorsement for shire wide sustainability and clean energy initiatives. MASG was established in 2006 by a passionate group of locals who wanted coordinated action on climate change and to support the Mount Alexander Shire Community to work towards a sustainable future. For events and more, go to https://www.masg.org.au/ 

    The MASG Wash Against Waste trailer : Join our volunteer army and we  can let you know our schedule. It may be for a few hours, a single event, or more. We need volunteers to help setting up canopy, tables at trailer, put up signs with dirty dishes tubs, help throughout the event and in packing up. We’re also looking for someone to help with trailer bookings and operation plus Party Hire. Email: chrislhooper1050@gmail.com or phone 54705508

    Come Join Us: Management Committee Members. We invite anyone who feels they would like to join a team that is dedicated to working towards a Zero Net Emissions Shire to join the committee. You may bring a special interest with you or just want to contribute. Either way we welcome you. While the committee has a formal limit of 9 voting members that doesn’t limit the number of members in total. Seeking a New Secretary- MASG Committee of Management is seeking a new Secretary as it enters an exciting 2023/24 for the organisation. Please contact admin@masg.org.au for more information or to register your interest.

    Fire Season and Fire Plan

    We are now in the Fire Danger Period, which means some restrictions are in place to stop fires from starting. Visit the Country Fire Authority (CFA) website for details. While it’s easy to put off having a plan for emergencies, it really is critical that you think about an emergency well before it occurs.

    The CFA has a Guide to Survival, which provides essential information aimed at anyone who lives, works or travels in Victoria so they are prepared for the summer fire season. You can read it on their website. It covers essential topics such as: How to stay informed on fire risk days; Why you should leave early;     What you can or can’t do on fire risk days; What information to gather ahead of fire season for you and your family; What to expect during a bushfire; Guidance on how to stay informed of fires across your area.

    Share your plan with your family and neighbours. Make sure your download the VicEmergency app and set up Watch zones so you receive live updates on emergencies.

    E-waste at Hepburn’s Transfer Stations

    After the success of the e-waste recovery pilot at Daylesford Transfer Station, electronic items are now available for purchase at all transfer stations – Daylesford, Creswick and Trentham. All items pass safety inspections and are sold as is. This work is part of unlocking circular economy opportunities and increasing resource recovery locally in our Shire.  Since commencing the e-waste recovery pilot in Daylesford in February this year, around 440 electronic items have been recovered and made available to the community. E-waste electronic items with a cord can be recycled for free at all our transfer stations.


    Community Panels guide Future Hepburn

    One of the major components of our strategic planning project, Future Hepburn, is the development of structure plans for Trentham, Clunes, Creswick, Daylesford/Hepburn and Glenlyon. These structure plans will guide the future development in each township to 2050. The structure plans are being co-designed by Council and the community. In addition to collecting community feedback through surveys and conversation events, Community Panels were established for each township to better understand views on housing, business and economic development, transport connectivity, neighbourhood character and urban design, cultural heritage and biodiversity. The panels are made up of residents of different ages and backgrounds who have met regularly over the last two months to help co-design the township structure plans.

    The township structure plans are now being drafted and will be considered by Council early next year, when they will then be open for public feedback. Find out more

    Milkwood Permaculture

    Together, we teach permaculture living, organic veggie gardening and home mushroom cultivation, to help create resilient and abundant households and communities, wherever we can.

    We do this by providing free online resources & offering world-class training – skills that give you the confidence to create permanently sustainable systems.

    Articles on Permaculture skills,, stories, how-to guides & inspiration – for living like it matters here  See latest email here.

    8. Workshops and Courses

    FORUM: The Future of Firefighting in Victoria

    Join Friends of the Earth to hear from a panel of speakers with intimate knowledge of firefighting share their ideas for strengthening our responses to bushfire. Speakers include Sarah Harris, Manager Research and Development, Fire Risk, Research and Community Preparedness (CFA); Cam Walker, Friends of the Earth campaign coordinator and CFA volunteer; and Jordan Crook, Victorian National Parks Association

    WHEN: December 14, 2023 at 7:00pm – 8:15pm

     WHERE:Online (Zoom)

    CONTACT: Anna Langford · anna.langford@foe.org.au · 0478031771

    9. Communicating Good News Stories

    Castlemaine’s Saltgrass podcasts

    Saltgrass is produced on Djaara country in Central Victoria, Australia. Each episode is a new story, a different angle and a fresh voice. In-depth interviews featuring everyday folk; farmers, psychologists, ecologists, artists, change agents, scientists and concerned citizens – talking about what can be done about the climate crisis at a local level.

    Recent podcasts include:

    Connecting Country,  landcare groups and restoration

    Yes in My Back Yard (YIMBY) – Composting project

    Love and garlic- Gung Hoe Growers

    For more info: https://saltgrasspodcast.com/

    Food for Thought

    Interview with World Renowned author and trauma expert Dr. Gabor Maté 

    Gabor speaks about his own history, including his grandparents who died in the Holocaust, and his current thoughts on Palestine / Israel. In this in-depth interview, he offers a vision for healing personal and global conflict. Dr. Gabor Maté shares his own journey raised Jewish, and also his experiences visit to Gaza multiple times.

    Understanding De-growth – a few articles, podcasts and video clips

    Castlemaine’s Anitra Nelson, scholar-activist and member of Degrowth Central Victoria, reports on a recent international degrowth conference and an international degrowth network assembly which took place in Zagreb in late August and early September. Zagreb (Croatia) provocatively winks at visitors. A human-scale capital of just one million inhabitants it has grown a museum of broken relationships, a museum of hangovers, a museum of naïve art, a hunting museum, a museum of illusion, a cannabis museum, a new wave museum, a police museum, a museum of selfies and memories (mark the distinction), and a typhlological (touch and feel) museum. All in all, […]Read More…
    Australian Channel 10’s program The Project aired a short special on degrowth which Castlemaine’s Anitra Nelson:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHY-8juqt1o
    Degrowth is a trend that, ironically, is growing as more and more young Aussies feel the pinch during the cost of living crisis, but what is it exactly? #Degrowth #Sustainability #EcoFriendly   www.youtube.com
    An interview between Jacques Boulet and Anitra Nelson on degrowth for Borderlands 3CR program: https://www.3cr.org.au/thinkagain/episode/need-de-grow-how-can-we-make-it-happen


    The Andes-Amazon Ecocultural Corridor

    Conversation between Charles Eisenstein and Andes-Amazon Conservency AAC’s Executive Director Rebecca Allen to talk about this conservation work, which is coming from a different paradigm than a lot of environmental philanthropy. The work of the AAC is not about “protecting” land from human beings. Rather, human beings — namely, the four indigenous nations of the region — are understood to be essential parts of the ecosystems that need protection. Secondly, the vision and planning for the protected corridors comes from the local people themselves, not the foreign NGO. Just as no organ of the human body can function if it is cut off from the other organs, so also does the vital organ of earth we call the Amazon depend on surrounding ecosystems.  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

    Small & Slow Solutions- David Holmgren interviewed by Nate Hagens for the The Great Simplification podcast.

    In the episode, David discusses his experience within the permaculture movement and what it might look like for more systems to be designed using permaculture in the future. While often thought to be an agricultural tool, permaculture thinking is meant for designing human systems to be embedded in nature – an important principle for a future where societies will need to re-synchronise with natural flows. What does it mean for permaculture design to ‘scale up’, and how is it different from how we usually think about growing a system? How will permaculture design change as we move through different phases of resource availability? More importantly, how can the ‘small and slow’ foundation of permaculture help human societies adapt to a lower throughput future as we navigate The Great Simplification?

    You can watch/listen to the podcast in its entirety here.

    Biolinks- Big Restoration – the new movement of hope for nature.

    Sharing our expertise in large landscape restoration, Dr Sophie Bickford, Biolinks Alliance Executive Director, was invited to speak at Trust for Nature’s John Paul Memorial Lecture, 
    In September, speaking alongside two other esteemed conservation leaders, Keith Bradby, CEO of Gondwana Link and Eamon Nathan, General Manager of Reconnecting Northland – Sophie shared insights into Biolinks Alliance’s work and how we restore and reconnect large landscapes across Central Victoria, amplifying community driven conservation efforts. Make sure to watch it now

    When Only Love Remains

    A conversation between Charles Eisenstein and Michal Halek: “Her words shine with the kind of wisdom that is available to those for whom death has dispelled all illusions about what is important and what is not. It is my wish that the information that her words, her voice, and her presence carry may reach the darkest corners of our personal and collective consciousness. It is the medicine the world needs right now.”

    Here is the audio version on Soundcloud. Here is the video version on YouTube


    Continue reading →
  • September/October 2023 Newsletter

    The horizon is one of the perceptual fault-lines that runs between white and Aboriginal ways of understanding country. There’s an assumption amongst white observers of traditional Aboriginal painting that the horizon is absent. But it is omnipresent, hovering in the space around the paintings. If you sit beside the painters while they work, you feel the horizon all around you. The strangeness is in our habit of hanging the paintings on walls, which must provoke a sense of vertigo, seeing the ground so precariously tilted. Desert paintings are not closed. Laid on the ground, they become part of the earth, open-sided, leading off to connected journeys. 

    (Mahood, Kim: Position Doubtful- Mapping Landscapes and Memories, Scribe, 2016,  p.35)

    Welcome to the September/October 2023 edition of Localising Leanganook e-news. With the spring equinox just past, the Dja Dja Wurrung six seasons calendar reminds us that we are in Lawan and Murnong time ( September-October) –  the time for collecting seeds including Murnong (yam daisy) and the time when Lawan (the Mallee fowl) make their nests and lay their eggs.  This edition includes another feature article-  about the Castlemaine Rites of Passage-  as well as a diverse array of events and activities within central Victoria to enlighten, inspire and uplift. We hope you enjoy it.

    We welcome  suggestions and information for future editions- email- nikki.marshall@mmnet.com.au

    Nikki, Samantha, Keppel and  Laurel


    Feature article – Castlemaine Rites of Passage- John Terry

    What’s happening in Central Victoria?

    1. Arts and Culture
    2. Building Community
    3. Ecology and Environment
    4. First Nations
    5. Food Sovereignty, Security and Farming
    6. Sustainable Economies
    7. Sustainable Living
    8. Democracy and Local Government

    Letters- (none this edition but we welcome your letters)

    Food For Thought

    Feature Article: Castlemaine Rites of Passage

    Castlemaine Rites of Passage is a group of local people, 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.

    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. Arne Rubinstein an Australian GP who has developed rites for young men, notes that 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.

    The Castlemaine program centres around a long weekend shared together out in bush in the local area, with other activities leading into and following this. 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.

    As well as events for teenage young men and adult men, Castlemaine Rites of Passage has recently begun holding events for teenage girls and women. For more information visit the website: https://castlemainerop.org/  

    (John Terry- Chewton)

    1. Arts and culture

    Climate Concert- Castlemaine

    This concert will bring the community together with music for climate justice. Being involved in the fight against the climate crisis can be overwhelming and depressing, so this concert will uplift the community with music, encouraging people to take action.
    When: 11 November, starting at 6:30
    Where: Goods Shed on Kennedy Street in Castlemaine
    Donation: https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-us-organise-a-climate-concert
    If you are interested in supporting us to organise this, please get in touch by emailing:  arlofoynhill@gmail.com

    School Strike for Climate Film Fundraiser 

    What: Movie-  How to Blow up a Pipeline, hosted by Central Vic Climate Action, Castlemaine SS4C, and the Theatre Royal.
    When: this coming Thursday the 28th, at 7:30pm.
    Where: Theatre Royal, Castlemaine
    We are heading out of the hottest ever recorded summer in the northern hemisphere, and bracing for the impacts of an extreme El Niño summer on this continent. This film explores the validity of extreme actions in addressing the climate crisis, the question of terrorism, and the use of property damage and sabotage of fossil fuel infrastructure as activist tactics. It challenges the narrative of individual responsibility for the climate emergency.
    You can buy tickets for the screening on this link. Funds raised from this screening will go to our School Strike 4 Climate group in Castlemaine, to help us organise our Climate Concert on November 11th, 6:30pm at the Goods Shed. Attending the movie screening will really support us to make the concert a success! I’ll send out another email about the concert soon, and the link to buy tickets for the climate concert is here.

    Newstead Arts Hub- Artists’s Talks

    Finding a voice: Spring Series of artists’ talks 

    • Melinda Harper – Thurs 7 September, 5.30 pm – BOOK HERE
    • David Frazer, Thurs 12 October 5.30pm – BOOK HERE
    • Kynan Sutherland, Thurs 9 November 5.30pm – BOOK HERE

    These talks are free, but please book to help with catering.

    Django Fretts Gypsy Jazz Quartet returns to Yandoit Cultural

    When: Saturday October 21st,  5.00pm

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

    Entry by donation

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

    For more information or to book: nikki.marshall@mmnet.com.au or  mobile- 0432 232 073, or https://www.facebook.com/yandoitcultural

    Swiss Italian Festa returns to Hepburn

    When: 26-29 October 2023

    Where: assorted venues around Hepburn Springs and Yandoit

    The early Swiss Italian settlers came in significant numbers to the towns of Hepburn Springs, Hepburn and Daylesford, and surrounding townships such as Shepherd’s Flat, Yandoit, Guildford and Blampied. These early Swiss Italian settlers came for the gold, but also to escape the poverty and political upheaval in their home regions. Many of the early Swiss Italians stayed on because this region reminded them so much of home. They played a key part in the preservation of the mineral springs and spas which are the region’s trademark, not to mention, the early vineyards, wineries, olive groves, bakeries and dairies, and brought many cultural and culinary traditions. Most notably, they established Australia’s first macaroni factory at Hepburn Springs, and created the bullboar sausage, using local ingredients but based on their homeland traditions.
    Learn about, experience and celebrate this heritage : https://www.facebook.com/swissitalianfesta/

     Our Swiss Italian History, Music and Stories at Yandoit Cultural

    When:  Sunday October 29th, 1.00pm

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

    Entry by donation

    As part of  the Swiss Italian Festa,  2023. Yandoit and surrounding hamlets, was 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.

    For more information or to book: nikki.marshall@mmnet.com.au or  mobile- 0432 232 073, or https://www.facebook.com/yandoitcultural

    Early Music Saltbush Ensemble to play Daylesford’s Christchurch

    When: Saturday September 30th, 2.30pm

    Where: 54 Central Springs Road, Daylesford

    The Saltbush Ensemble collaborate with various Early Music artists developing unique and varied programs for an Australian audience and responding to an increasing insatiable thirst for historical or Early Music The name of the ensemble was inspired by the native Australian Saltbush plant which grows in many varied environments and is particularly renowned for its rejuvenating properties in salt ravaged landscapes. Like a Saltbush, the rekindling of Early Music in Australia is rejuvenating the traditional classical music scene bringing new perspectives and repertoire into the fold.

    The  concert will commence at 2.30pm at Christ Church on Saturday 30 September . Visit the Christ Church Concerts Facebook
    page to book 

    On the couch with Beck Lister

    Where: Sunday October 29th, 4pm
    When: Radius Art Gallery, Main St  Hepburn Springs
    For more information: Anvil Productions-  https://www.anvilproductions.com.au/
    Rebecca: 0409 201262 or Joanne: 0422 380700

    Newstead Arts Hub – Poetry @ the Hub with Melbourne poet Peter Bakowski and inspire your inner poet. 

    When: Friday 27 October, 7.00 – 8.30pm  
    Newstead Arts Hub
    Booking:BOOK NOW: $20 or $15 concession.

    His pep poetry talk will follow the regular Shut Up and Write Session from 4-6pm on Friday 27 October – so please stay on – bring your own dinner or food to share and we will order in pizza before the Newstead Arts Hub Poetry Pep Talk Event begins at 7pm.

    Newstead Arts Hub- Random Weaving

    Create a contemporary basket using the modern basketry technique of random weaving, guided by expert basket maker Jodie Goldring.
    When: Sat. 21 October, 10am-3.30pm
    Where: Newstead Arts Hub
    $130, includes all materials pre-prepared by Jodie Golding 
    BOOK NOW: for more details and to book go to our website


    Daylesford Ceramic Collection and  Exhibition – 2023

    Opening : Sat 16th September 3-5pm

    Exhibition Dates : 16th of til the 30th September

    Where: Radius Gallery, Main Street Hepburn Springs

    The Daylesford Ceramic Collection is a celebration of the amazing array of local artistic practitioners who use clay as their medium to express, explore and create.

    Meet Author-  Chris Hammer

    An opportunity to meet leading Australian crime novelist Chris Hammer in person in Castlemaine. A journalist for more than 30 years, Chris’ books have atmospheric Australian settings, a range of colourful characters, intricate plots, descriptive language and emotional depth.

    When: Monday October 9th, 5.30 -6.30 including book sales and signings.

    Where: Castlemaine Library

    Lake of Scars film screening

    Explores the beautiful, mysterious, scarred trees, middens and stone scatters of Lake Boort. Presented by the late, great Uncle Jack Charles.

    When: Thursday 5 October, 5-6:30pm

    Where: On the big screen in the Phee Broadway Theatre, Castlemaine.

    2. Building community

    Local Futures Summit

    When: 29 Sep – 1 Oct
    Where: Bristol, UK and online
    Program & booking link: https://planet-local-summit.localfutures.org/programme/

    Local Futures is dedicated to renewing ecological and social well-being by strengthening communities and local economies worldwide.

    Drawing on Local Futures networking and movement building over four decades, the three-day Summit will be our biggest, boldest and most international event yet. It will bring together leading minds and activists grappling with our planet’s most pressing challenges.

    You can buy tickets for a single day, for two days, or for all three. And, for those unable to join us in Bristol, our affordable livestream ticket offers the chance to tune into approximately 16 hours of content, including all plenary sessions. (Free livestream tickets are available for those who need them.) Book tickets

    Full Planet Local Summit program available here. Program highlights  include:

    ● Pat McCabe (Woman Stands Shining) explores the links between community and the sacred.
    ● Charles Eisenstein joins Bayo Akomolafe and Manish Jain in conversation.
    ● Mika Tsutsumi, a leading investigative journalist from Japan, examines tech dictatorship in the plenary session: ‘The Matrix of the Global Economy’.
    ● Activists from five continents present their projects in a rapid-fire format.
    ● Actress Nathalie Kelley performs ‘Visions of the Future: A Short Play in Two Acts’.

    And here’s a snapshot of summit break-out sessions (day one):

    1) In Search of Wisdom for a Broken World- — with Iain McGilchrist and Bayo Akomolafe

    2) From Deadlihoods to Alivelihoods- — with Manish Jain and Salim Dara

    3) What Can I Do? Taking Meaningful Action-— open space facilitated by Fiona McInnes-Craig

    4) Leading the Way to Local Food Prosperity- — with Jon Jandai, Saad Dagher, Nelson Mudzingwa, Ruby van der Wekken and Morag Gamble

    5) Living Lightly Locally- — with Keri Hopeward

    6) Right Here, Right Now! Strengthening Local Economies — with Jay Tompt and Diego Isabel La Moneda

    Offers and Needs Market

    The Offers and Needs Market is one of the most effective methods for revealing local wealth, rapidly deepening connections, and regenerating economies. In the two-hour guided process, folks meet to identify and exchange their passions, knowledge, skills, resources, and opportunities. A powerful yet simple process which shifts the narrative around community resources, creating a culture of trust, empathy, and connection. 

    Where: Castlemaine Community House
    When: 12 November, 10 – 12am
    More details: contact Samantha at samantha.wittenberg@gmail.com or 0490501671

    Hepburn Seniors Festival

    FREE ‘tickets’ for yourself and one friend (over the age of 55): https://www.hepburn.vic.gov.au/events

    On 3 and 4 October 2023 (during Seniors Festival), at the Town Hall, the Embolden 2023 National Symposium on Ageism and Respect for Older People is coming to Daylesford!

    This symposium, by Celebrate Ageing Celebrate Ageing – Building Respect for Older People is Australia’s only national event that aims to combat ageism and build respect for older people, by emboldening and building the capacity and confidence of service providers, policy makers, community leaders and the older people within our community.

    To Register for this event and to obtain tickets go to: Embolden2023 National Symposium | Humanitix

    Ticket prices as follows: Waged – $650.00   Unwaged – $70.00

    Eddie Wyman, Positive Ageing Officer
    Mobile: 0438406538 • Phone: 0353216494 • Email: ewyman@hepburn.vic.gov.au

    Housing for the aged information session

    One in six people experiencing homelessness in Australia are aged over 55, with older women adversely affected. Learn about risk factors for homelessness and where you can go to access support.

    When: Monday 16 October, 1-3pm

    Where: Castlemaine Library 

    The Wombat Post

    Daylesford and Hepburn’s independent community on-line weekly newsletter connecting the community. You can subscribe and receive a link each Friday afternoon in your inbox.


    The Old is Beautiful Workshop – Hepburn U3A

    When: Thursday October 5th

    Where: Daylesford Neighbourhood Centre

    A free workshop.

    For more information: https://www.dncentre.org.au/


    North Central Chat

    Here’s links to both the September and the October 2023 edition of the North Central Chat, featuring Biodiversity Month,  Aussie Bird Count, National Water Week and our very own Chicks in the Sticks.  There’s also online courses for Environmental Volunteers, including some webinars next week on targeted recruitment and engaging young people; engaging diverse groups in environmental volunteering; and an introduction to Indigenous cultural awareness.

    North Central Chat (nccma.vic.gov.au)

    North Central Chat September 2023 | North Central Catchment Management Authority (nccma.vic.gov.au)

    Save the date for Chicks in the Sticks –Saturday October 28th.

    Jumpleads Team- supporting local initiatives

    Jumpleads is a social enterprise that ‘jump starts’ arts and community initiatives to change cultures and invigorate communities for a better future.

    Find out more: www.jumpleJumpleads NFP . It includes Make a Change & Pop Up Art programs  ads.net

    Jumpleads is responding to calls from people making a positive impact in their community, such as Bendigo Sustainability Group, pictured here.


    3. Ecology and Environment

    Castlemaine Free University- the Dao of Civilisation- Freya Matthews


    What: A rare opportunity to hear from Freya Matthews, one of Australia’s most important eco-philosophers. Freya imagines our transformation to an ecological civilisation supporting the biosphere.

    When: Monday October 2nd, 2023, 6.30 for 7pm start

    Where: Northern Arts Hotel, 359 Barker St, Castlemaine

    A free event



    Seeking landholder for mammal surveys: MSGV

    The Mammal Survey Group of Victoria has recently contacted us, as they are seeking sites on private land for wildlife surveys, including phascogales and sugar gliders!

    Please see the information below provided by the Mammal Survey Group of Victoria and contact Kathy directly if you are interested in being involved.

    If you are curious about the mammals in your area and own a property with a significant amount of native vegetation or have undertaken revegetation activities, we would love to hear from you. Property owners and families are welcome to participate.

    Email Kathy Zonnevylle kathyz@optusnet.com.au for a chat. For more information about the Mammal Survey Group of Victoria, please click here

    Recording the large old trees of central Victoria

    Connecting Country has a mapping portal, aimed at helping community citizen scientists map the old, and often large, trees of Central Victoria. Database entries have been fed in over the past 12 months and we have now reached 25 large old trees entered into the portal. The majority of the entries have been around the Maldon, Welshmans Reef, Chewton, Castlemaine and Guildford areas, with a variety of citizen scientists taking some excellent photos and providing data about the tree species, age, height and habitat values.

    The interactive mapping portal is part of Connecting Country’s larger project, ‘Regenerate before it’s too late‘ , engaging the community in the importance of old trees and how to protect them.  Over the next two years (2024-2025), we will continue to host community workshops and develop engagement resources. We will also help local landholders with practical on-ground actions to protect their large old trees and ensure the next generation of large old trees across the landscape.

    We are asking the community, including landholders, Landcarers and land managers, to map their favourite old trees across our region. Anyone can access Connecting Country’s new online mapping portal. The portal uses BioCollect, an advanced but simple-to-use data collection tool developed by the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) and its collaborators. BioCollect helps users collect field biodiversity data for their own projects, while allowing the data to be easily copied into the ALA, where it can be publicly available for others to use in research, policy and management. This allows individual projects to collectively contribute to science across Australia.

    For more information and to join the mapping team : https://connectingcountry.org.au/large-old-trees-growing-in-the-cloud-or-mapping-large-old-trees-progress-but-more-needed

    iNaturalist Workshop

    When: Friday October 6th, 2023

    Where: Castlemaine Community House

    Local naturalist and Castlemaine Field Naturalist Club member Euan Moore will hold the workshop and will cover a range of skills including: How to set up an iNaturlist account and profile, How to upload photos to iNaturlist; How to reach out to naturalists and scientists on iNaturlist to confirm, verify or identify your sightings.

    iNaturalist is an online platform that allows all curious citizen scientists to record sightings and identify all kinds of species including, insects, birds, mammals, reptiles, plants, sea life, coral, and fungi.

    In some recent posts I’ve remarked about the arrival of spring migrants, a number of which have now appeared – White-browed Woodswallow and Rufous Songlark, to name two.

    A less obvious species, but a migrant nonetheless, is the Australian Reed-Warbler. This plain-looking songster can be found in wetlands areas wherever there is tall cover, such as that provided by reeds and cumbungi.

    They generally arrive in mid-September each year and announce their presence with rich, scolding calls as they dart between patches of vegetation. While somewhat furtive they will often appear at the top of a plant stem to investigate their surroundings. In my experience they disappear from local breeding sites in early autumn and apparently move north for the winter, although small numbers do remain in some years.

    To subscribe: https://geoffpark.wordpress.com/

    4. First Nations

    Large old tree walk: with Uncle Rick Nelson – sold out


    Although sold out, please register your interest for future events through the booking link.

    This cultural walk is part of Connecting Country’s larger project, ‘Regenerate before it’s too late
    This is a free event for limited numbers, with lunch provided.

    For catering and logistical purposes, please register your attendance – click here

    When: Saturday 14 October 2023 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
    Where: Dry Diggings Heritage Park, Golden Point 3451 (exact location will be revealed once you book)


    Voice to Parliament Information session

    What’s On program  All events are free, but many require bookings.

    Voice to Parliament Referendum: Information Session 

    What: Join Public Law Lecturer Dr Balawyn Jones as she discusses what the Voice is, what a Referendum is, and how they will impact our Australian Constitution from a legal perspective. Ask all the questions you need to to feel informed to vote on October 14

    When: Wednesday 4 October, 5.30-6.30pm
    Where: Castlemaine library

    Democracy for Dinner

    Democracy for Dinner supports a Yes outcome in the upcoming referendum to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice. We came to this position by listening to local First Nations voices, individually and organisations, by reading the Uluru Statement from the Heart and the Dja Dja Wurrung DJAARA Statement, and meeting to discuss how this aligns with our goals as an organisation. Ultimately, we came to the view that a Yes outcome from the referendum is the best for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, for all Australians and for democracy in Australia.

    A ‘Yes’ outcome is good for democracy – https://mailchi.mp/…/a-yes-outcome-is-good-for-democracy

    First Nations Artist Commission – Call for applications!

    Castlemaine Library has an exciting opportunity for First Nations artists living or working on Djaara Country.

    Click here to request a full copy of the Expression Of Interest, with Artist Brief, budget, and details of how to apply.
    Applications close 14 October 2023.


    Walking Together Article

    Prepared by Floria for Friends of Nalderun

    This edition is entitled Place and Context



    5. Food Sovereignty and Food Security

    Hepburn Wholefoods Collective

    Opening hours: 
    Mondays 9.30-11.30am
    Wednesdays 2-4pm
    Thursdays 3-5pm
    Saturdays 11am-1pm

    Location: Hepburn Wholefoods Collective, 11 Perrins Street, Daylesford
    Website: https://www.hepburnwholefoods.org.au/
    Membership: $40 per year, $20 per year concession, FREE for volunteers.
    If you are able to volunteer time as a shop attendant, fresh food wrangler and shop beautifier, digital content creator & storyteller or cleaner, please contact members@hepburnwholefoods.org.au

    Earlier this year HWC was invited to participate in a project with the Open Food Network, along with 6 other Community Food Enterprises (CFEs), to assess the needs and gather evidence of the public value of the Victorian CFE sector. You can read the full report here, and also view an infographic of HWC’s impact here.

    TwoFold Bakehouse

    Delicious sourdough bread baked in a wood-fired oven in Daylesford. You can order and have your bread delivered every Thursday to Kyneton, Yandoit  as well as pick up from Daylesford.  Every fortnight TwoFold bakers are at the Sunday Daylesford market. Monthly subscriptions are available.

    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. https://twofoldbakehouse.com/

    Mt Franklin Organics


    Fresh produce, seedlings and seeds available.  Florian is now back at the Daylesford Sunday market.

    For more information or to subscribe to Florian’s newsletter: https://www.facebook.com/mtfranklinorganics/

    Natural Beekeeping Course

    Where: Castlemaine

    When: November 18 @ 9:30 am – November 19 @ 4:00 pm

    This unique course teaches the fundamentals of Natural, Bee Centric, Organic, Beekeeping practices and theories. While also inspiring a reverence for the miraculous, wordless lives of honey bees whose complex communal patterns and systems draw us into greater and more sacred connections to life, nature and community.

    For more information and bookings: https://www.beekeepingnaturally.com.au/course/natural-beekeeping-workshop-castlemaine-melbourne-2023-11-18/

    6. Sustainable Economies

    New Economy Network Australia NENA 2023 CONFERENCE “LIFE AFTER CAPITALISM?”

    When: 17-19 November
    Where: Canberra
    See program and register: https://www.neweconomy.org.au/nena-events/conferences/2023-conference/registration/

    Anyone wanting to join a group to share accommodation in Canberra and transport from the local areas can email samantha.wittenberg@gmail.com

    WEBINAR RECORDINGS NOW AVAILABLE! Visit our website to watch and listen to our amazing events held so far this year!
    CLICK HERE TO READ THE JULY JOURNAL!  As always, we hope these articles provoke discussion and debate, and provide hope and insight into how we can build a new, just and sustainable economy. Please get in touch with the Journal team if you are interested in contributing to these discussions.
    If you are a NENA member, join the directory to promote your work!

    The Degrowth Network Australia (DNA)

    Castlemaine has started up a Degrowth group. Contact Anitra Nelson for more information: anitra.nelson@unimelb.edu.au

    The DNA brings together people interested in degrowth from all around the country, to discuss degrowth issues, to share what we are up to and to plan! Meetings are on the second Wednesday of every month, from 12-2pm (East Coast/AEST), 10am-12pm (WA), 11.30am-1.30pm (SA)

    Email degrowthnetwork@proton.me if you have questions and wish to be added to the email list. Next meeting : 12pm AEST Wednesday 11 October.

    For more information: www.facebook.com/degrowthnetworkaustralia

    Also, for folks outside of Melbourne, we are hosting a degrowth spring festival on October 8th and you are all welcome to join. You can find more info on the Facebook event here – www.facebook.com/events/s/degrowth-spring-festival/683265497197775/

    7. Sustainable Living Resources

    Renewable Newstead

    A project to generate local energy that’s renewable and competitively priced. Construction of the Newstead Solar Farm is scheduled to begin in October and is due to be completed by late April next year. The farm will begin generating electricity for use by mid-2024.

    Find out more at https://renewablenewstead.com.au/

    Tell us how you save money on electricity? We’d love to know. Email your tips to info@renewablenewstead.com.au and we’ll start sharing them in our next e-newsletter.

    Holmgren Design

    Venie Holmgren Environmental Poetry prize winner Prize-winning poem, i watch a cat choke / call it [redacted],

    Read Tim Loveday’s winning poem >

    Hot seed raising tip from David: fill up your watering can and leave it in a sunny spot (ike a greenhouse or windowsill) to gently and passively warm the contents. That way you can water seedlings and other tender specimens with tepid water, especially useful in early spring when you’re trying to start crops in cold soil.

    David Holmgren was recently interviewed on the Circular Metabolism podcast. Hear David talk about what permaculture is, how it can be applied to different contexts and territories, what a permaculture lifeway looks like, and his favourite books and films at the moment. Listen to the podcast episode

    Sign up to the Holmgren Design newsletter here

    Community Energy Guide- Breaze

    Navigating the world of renewables and community energy can often feel like a daunting task. While there are so many examples of communities driving their local energy transition, it’s not easy to know where to begin. BREAZE Inc.’s Regional Guide to Community Energy. This comprehensive guide is a useful resource for those communities throughout central and western Victoria that are eager to take action. Inside, you’ll find information about our energy system, renewable energy technologies, and diverse delivery models and processes. We’ve put an emphasis on practicality, offering real-life examples, illuminating case studies, and links to valuable resources and local organisations.

    To explore the Guide,  visit the Hepburn Z-NET website here. For more information about BREAZE Inc. – website here.

    Glass recycling available at Castlemaine and Maldon


    Did you know that glass bottles and jars are accepted at the Castlemaine and Maldon transfer stations?

    Drop them off in the purple bins so they can be recycled separately and turned into new products.

    How to recycle your glass


    Goats as weed control agents

    Here’s a video link on slow, deliberate, biological responses to weed management from Artist as Family :



    Repair Cafes and Workshops


    Daylesford Repair Cafe

    When and Where: Sunday October 15th, 1-4pm, Victoria Park Pavillion, Ballan Road Daylesford. For more info including how-to workshops details: https://www.facebook.com/daylesfordrepaircafe/ 

    Castlemaine Repair Cafe

    When and Where: Sunday October 29th, 10am -1pm, Castlemaine Community House, Templeton St, Castlemaine https://www.facebook.com/groups/castlemainerepaircafe/- 

    Creswick Repair and Share- a project of Transition Creswick  

    When and Where: Sunday October 1st, 1pm to 4pm, at Creswick Neighbourhood Centre Hall, 19-21 Victoria Street. Contact Tim 0428716544- https://creswicknc.org/groups/post2-nn6m5

    Ballarat Repair Cafe

    When and Where: last Saturday of the month, 1-4pm,  Barkly Square, Ballarat  – https://www.facebook.com/ballaratrepaircafe/

    Bendigo Share and Repair Shed

    When and Where: Garsed St, Bendigo-  https://www.facebook.com/BendigoRepairCafe/

    Democracy and Local Government

    ‌Mt Alexander Shire Open Day and Meet councillors and staff ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

    Subscribe here to receive regular emails with the latest news and information from Hepburn Shire Council.


    Food for Thought

    The Abundance of Subsistence by Laureli Ivanoff

    Depending on your definition of “subsistence”, we Inuit are either just getting by … or we’re living in a way that allows us to obtain the necessities. Which, I would argue, along with food, water, shelter and clothing, include community and belonging. Published in August in Local Futures website Read more

    How would David Holmgren manage Australia’s water?

    David’s latest piece is filled with serious suggestions for keeping this sunburned country hydrated. Sweeping changes to agriculture, behavioural (dis)incentives for citizens, composting toilets, eco technologies and more. Read it here 

    Dr Charles Perkins Oration 2023- by Rachel Perkins


    Discussion about Industrial Agriculture

    Renowned environmental activist and author, Vandana Shiva, joined Russell Brand at our first ever live community event in Hay-On-Wye. Discussion includes how the mainstream media have framed the Dutch Farmer protests, the hidden land grab agenda and how data is not the highest evidence for living, a good healthy body is! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJzbdcHQ4-A

    Visions For A More Beautiful World: A Wake Up Call- Charles Eisenstein in conversation with Andre Duqum-  Podcast

    Spotify Apple Podcasts Instagram

    A home in Hepburn shire- Affordable housing? By Cr Jen Bray

    Councillor Column – A Home in Hepburn Shire

    Does politics neglect the needs of younger generations? – Podcast

    An ABC radio interview with the first world commissioner for future generations and well-being in Wales.

    Milkwood Permaculture Living Handbook

    This handbook is a small offering to help you cultivate big change by creating more connection and purpose in your daily life, with you as a valued resident of your ecosystem, at its centre. ‘This book is all about igniting the can-do, cultivating the possible, calming the chaos, delivering the doable. And, above all else, connecting and caring for the community. It’s a home, a safe place to come and grow hope in what is a challenging world.’ Costa Georgiadis


    Fact Checking the Yes/No Pamphlet

    Revegetation in a changing climate

    The event was recorded by  Ally from Saltgrass Podcasts.

    Artists and the Practice of Agriculture: Politics and Aesthetics of Food Sovereignty in Art Since 1960

    Deep Listening to Nature- a new book- Andrew Skeoch


    Continue reading →
  • August/ September Newsletter

    Basically a privileged person is somebody who in fact doesn’t have or doesn’t need community because they can meet all of their needs with money. Because if you have enough money in modern society, you don’t need anybody or anyone or anything. You don’t need the people around you because you can pay somebody else to do whatever they’re doing. You don’t need the ecosystem around you, you don’t need the soil around because you can pay to import food from somewhere else. You’re completely independent of your relationships, except for the one one relationship that matters in modern society to sustain life, which is money, or so it seems, but as the study you cite demonstrates, it’s not actually true that we can meet all of our needs with money. But what money does is it replaces human relationships. So in an Amish community, there’s no such thing — as far as I know — as insurance on your home. Because if your home burns down, the community will get together and build you a new home. That’s your insurance. And your insurance payment is all the times that you helped somebody else build their house. So you don’t need insurance in that community. Well, any society that lives in that way is a ripe target for development, as it’s called, for economic growth, because you can replace that community function with a paid service. And so what’s happened in the modern era is that one after another, human relationships have been replaced with paid services. Everything from growing food to taking care of children to making entertainment. It’s not just the survival needs, it’s also: What does it take to live well? To be fully human? And if you don’t make your own music any more but you download it from Spotify, then that’s another service that’s been converted into money. And also ecological services get converted into something that you purchase. And that strips away what actually makes life rich. So you ask what to do about it, and on the broadest level, it’s to reclaim to restore, to recover, to regenerate the lost relationships to come into relationship again … but to turn that idea [of privilege] on its head and embrace the knowledge of what actually makes life rich, what makes life good, and to say, ok, it’s time to enrich ourselves again. It’s time to reclaim the lost relationships.

    Charles Eisenstein, from  an interview on the Regenerative Agriculture podcast, episode 86


    Welcome to the August/September 2023 edition of Localising Leanganook e-news. As the sun starts peeking through the clouds and the dazzling bloom of wattles fills the bush with golden yellow colour, we sense with anticipation the coming of spring and the return of warmer weather. This edition includes another fascinating feature article from one of our editors (Keppel) and a rich, soulful array of events and activities from our amazing community to enlighten, inspire and uplift you. We hope you enjoy it.

    Keppel, Laurel and Nikki


    Feature article – The Forgotten Third Way: Social Threefolding and its Role in Supporting Social and Ecological Renewal

    What’s happening in Central Victoria

    1. The arts and culture
    2. Building community
    3. Ecology and the environment
    4. First Nations
    5. Food growing, farming and food security
    6. Sustainable economic initiatives
    7. Sustainable living resources


    Food For Thought


    Feature Article

    The Forgotten Third Way: Social Threefolding and its Role in Supporting Social and Ecological Renewal

    By Keppel Cassidy, Kyneton 

    What socio-economic framework will give us the best chance of creating a thriving, ecologically sustainable society? Capitalism, socialism/communism or something else? This question, which was the subject of both a major global power struggle and intense academic debate in the 20th Century, is surely just as relevant today as it was then, if not more so. The collapse of the Soviet Union and its allies in the late 20th Century seems to have been largely triggered by the failure of their economic model, and since that time socialism and communism have largely been in retreat, notwithstanding a surge in support in the 2010s in the USA and many countries in Western Europe led by activist politicians such as Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn. However on current evidence, capitalism is also failing to fulfil its promises. Poverty and inequality are rising across the world, and power is becoming concentrated in fewer and fewer hands through the concentration of ownership in media and business, undermining democratic processes. Meanwhile quality of life continues to decline for many people, forced to work longer and longer hours to make ends meet, with less and less time for all that makes life meaningful. Finally, the Earth’s ecosystems are at crisis point on multiple fronts: biodiversity loss, air and water pollution, soil degradation, resource depletion and climate change are all coming together to generate an existential crisis for the web of life and for humanity.

    A Third Way between capitalism and communism
    Many attempts have been made to find a ‘Third Way’ that will provide the roadmap to lead us to a healthy, prosperous society that communism and capitalism have failed to achieve. Following the Great Depression of the 1930s, a broad consensus emerged in the non-communist Global North to adopt Keynesian, social democratic economic policies, including protectionist industrial policies, public ownership of key utilities such as transport and infrastructure, publicly funded education and healthcare, and a strong welfare safety net. Following the turn towards neoliberalism in the 1970s and 1980s, left-leaning parties led by politicians such as Tony Blair, Bill Clinton and Gerhard Schroeder sought to combine socially progressive policies with a free market, neoliberal economic platform. This move was politically successful but led to both short- and long-term negative social and economic impacts, some of which are playing out today with the rise of an impoverished, angry class in many countries who are turning towards conservative populism, as demonstrated by the support for politicians such as Marine Le Pen in France, Donald Trump in the USA and Pauline Hanson in Australia.

    Social threefolding: the forgotten ‘Third Way’
    Yet there are ‘Third Way’ frameworks that are more than just a politically expedient halfway compromise between capitalism and communism. One of the least known, but in my view most profound of these is what has become known as social threefolding, developed in the early 20th Century by the Austrian philosopher, educationalist and visionary Rudolf Steiner. I believe that social threefolding offers a lens through which we could develop both small- and large-scale policy that could overcome many of the problems that have been created through capitalism and socialism, and also to facilitate the urgent transition to an ecologically sustainable society. Steiner argued that the social threefolding approach wasn’t an intellectually constructed conceptual framework, but instead a reflection of the kind of society humanity is already reaching towards, albeit in a fumbling and stumbling way. He emphasised that, to be successful, social and economic structures needed to be suited to the present evolutionary stage of humanity, being neither regressive (belonging to the past) nor too advanced for our current level of moral and spiritual development. In this way, the functioning of communities and societies can support the individual and collective evolution of humanity rather than hindering it.

    Steiner described the threefold society as being an ‘organism’, and this picture can help us to grasp it as a living reality rather than an abstract system. The foundation of this society is that it is built on three interconnecting spheres: the cultural sphere, the rights sphere, and the economic sphere. Whilst these three spheres are interdependent and interact with each other, they each have their own distinct identity and needs, and must be allowed to operate autonomously according to these. I will describe each of the spheres in turn below.

    Cultural sphere
    The cultural sphere governs all of those activities connected with learning and growth for the individual and society. This includes all levels of education, the arts and all forms of spiritual practice. Here, we find and develop new ideas and practices that will benefit society as a whole. It is also where we engage in work to remedy existing problems for the benefit of society – thus it includes all kinds of health care, social work and welfare. The key concept that must guide the cultural sphere is freedom: people must be free to think for themselves, try new approaches and debate the best way forward for us to gain the full benefit of their knowledge. Steiner emphasised the importance of educators having autonomy over what and how they teach for this reason, and likely would have extended the same expectation to health care professionals. A social threefolding approach also requires freedom of speech to be strongly protected, because only when there is the ability to discuss theories and practices freely can the best knowledge emerge.

    Rights sphere
    The rights sphere governs those institutions that determine the rules by which we live together, so that the dignity and worth of each person are honoured. This includes the political system, the legal system, and institutions that are involved in upholding and enforcing laws, including the police and a variety of government agencies (for example in Australia, the Fair Work Commission, state and local government planning officers and state environmental protection agencies). The key concept that must guide the rights sphere is equality. This reflects a belief in the sacredness of life, and the dignity of all people regardless of characteristics such as race, culture, gender, sexuality, ability or belief. Thus laws should apply equally to all people and not be differentiated based on power, privilege or personal characteristics.

    Upholding human dignity also requires that individuals be treated fairly and with respect by others: hence acts that oppress or harm another person are prohibited, such as intimidation, theft, all kinds of abuse and homicide. In the workplace, the rights sphere should ensure that workers are paid fairly for their work: Steiner’s simple yet profound prescription was that each worker, no matter how grand or humble their profession, should receive sufficient payment for the product of their labours such that they and their dependents could meet all of their needs for living well until the next product should be completed. In this statement, he predated concepts such as fair trade and a living wage by several decades.

    Economic sphere
    The economic sphere governs all activities that are concerned with meeting our material needs for surviving and thriving in the world. At their most basic, these include shelter, food and drink, clothing and all kinds of tools and equipment for facilitating access to these. Thus this sphere governs all of those who are involved in the production, distribution and consumption of goods. The key concept that must guide the economic sphere is brotherhood/sisterhood, meaning that we engage economically with others with the goal of benefiting both ourselves and them, based on a feeling of kinship with them. Another, more contemporary term for this consciousness is solidarity. Put simply, our focus becomes co-operation rather than competition.

    You will likely notice that it is in this sphere that we see the greatest departure from orthodox economic approaches. Neoliberal capitalist theory proposes that people’s primary economic motivation is self-interest, and that being free to pursue personal wants, whatever these may be is the ‘engine’ that will drive the economic activity needed to generate prosperity for the good of society. The social threefolding approach recognises that people need to be able to act autonomously to meet their economic needs, but argues that action driven by purely egotistical desires will frequently lead to destructive impacts on others, as both socialist theorists and indigenous societies have long recognised: the oppression of the weak, harm to community cohesion and the destruction of nature to name a few.

    On the other hand, the motivation of free co-operation borne out of a sense of solidarity acknowledges and takes advantage of the primacy of the impulse towards survival and material wellbeing in humans, the motivation of Ananke or necessity. Yet it encourages us to bring the light of awareness to this impulse, so that we perceive that we will survive and be happiest when all of those with whom we interact economically also survive and thrive. And it recognises that, freely chosen, co-operative action is actually the most efficient and powerful way of meeting needs: indeed Steiner often pointed out that the material comforts we enjoy today are entirely dependent on our co-operation with others through the economic sphere: the farmers who grow the food that we eat, the manufacturers who produce the clothes we wear, the builders who built the house in which we live, and many others. All the social threefolding approach does is make these relationships conscious, and call on us to infuse them with a sense of solidarity, which can also be understood from the perspective of the rights sphere as respecting the rights and dignity of others.

    How can social threefolding help to create a healthier, more just and sustainable society?
    I have been contemplating this question over the last week, and have a few initial thoughts came to mind, though these are likely not exhaustive. Firstly, I think one of the most important things social threefolding does is to separate out the three spheres and their three different human impulses, while emphasising that each is equally important: the impulse to learn and grow, the impulse to live harmoniously and respectfully together, and the impulse to meet our needs for physical survival and health. These can be roughly mapped onto Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and like Maslow’s work provides an antidote against the human tendency to obsessively focus on one thing at the expense of others. For economists often concentrate their attention solely on material prosperity, which meets the needs of the economic sphere, but ignores our need for a supportive community and opportunities to grow and express our unique potential. On the other hand, those who concentrate exclusively on freedom of self-expression or creating a just society without considering how we are going to sustain ourselves are also not going to meet the community’s needs.

    Secondly, a unique insight of social threefolding is that the work of each sphere is right for that sphere only, and they should not be muddled up. To give an example of this, we can consider those who subscribe to a libertarian philosophy, which demands freedom in all areas of life. In relation to the speech, thinking, creativity and indeed the need to ‘follow one’s own star’ – in short, the cultural sphere – this demand is a vital and justified one. But my freedom in the rights sphere must clearly be curtailed where it impacts on the rights of others, otherwise society will become either a lawless ‘Wild West’ or a place where the strong and powerful oppress the weak. In the economic sphere, freedom might seem a justifiable goal, and indeed it has a place there. But Steiner made it very clear that humanity needs to transcend egotism in the economic life, so that we each employ our individual gifts primarily for the benefit of the community, rather than for personal gain. It is not hard to see that we have a lot of work to do in this area at this point in human evolution!

    Thirdly, I think that Steiner’s understanding of the economic sphere brings an important theoretical ballast to our emerging sense that the desire for material gain is the wrong driver for the economic life, yet it also answers the criticisms of big state socialism – that it is inefficient and hampers individual initiative – and provides another way to approach the challenges of this area. He emphasised that the state’s role should be confined to the rights sphere, for example setting and enforcing laws regarding fair dealings between employers and workers, and between sellers and consumers. But he called for the formation of ‘associations’ that brought together the producers, distributors and consumers in any given area to collectively guide economic policy in their domain so that the needs of each group are met. This is a radical idea that, as far as I’m aware, hasn’t been applied on a large scale in any society. But we can see in some movements and initiatives the first stirring of the kind of social consciousness that is required to do this:

    • In the fair trade, food sovereignty and consumer supported agriculture (CSA) movements, where consumers and distributors choose prices that are sufficient to meet the needs of the producer;
    • In various forms of ethical and social impact investing, notably the Triodos Bank, where borrowers and lenders sit down at a yearly meeting to work out an interest rate that will balance the needs of each group
    • In the co-operative movement, especially those co-operatives that are set up at a community level to meet an identified community need, and also in community businesses that are operated for the same reason, such as the Bendigo Bank community banks

    Finally, because social threefolding shifts the focus of the economic life to co-operatively meeting needs, it is highly compatible with the need to transition to an ecologically sustainable way of life that is confronting humanity in this time, as has been articulated in the environmental, degrowth and transition towns movements. Steiner’s emphasis on cultivating a reverence for life infuses all his teachings, and echoes those who call for us to reawaken our deep connection with nature, what Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh called our sense of ‘interbeing’, our sense of wonder before its sacred mystery, and our responsibility to protect it, as indigenous cultures the world over recognise. At the same time, social threefolding offers a practical pathway to a new economic and social life that does not require us to become egoless, perfect beings, nor machines, but real human beings learning, loving, striving and growing together towards the better world our hearts know is possible. And the beauty of it is that we can begin to implement this awareness at any level: individual, family, workplace or community – it doesn’t have to begin on a whole of society level.

    I hope that this introduction to social threefolding has given you a glimpse into this profound social model and its potential for transforming our future. There is much more to it than I have articulated here, so please explore the references below if you would like to go deeper. Note that the Wikipedia entry on social threefolding is an excellent, accessible place to start.


    Goetheanum Section for Social Sciences (nd.). Threefolding 100 years 1919 – 2019. Accessed on 25/08/2023 from https://socialnew.goetheanum.org/threefolding/

    Large. M. (2016). Rudolf Steiner’s Vision for our Social Future: Openings for Social Threefolding. New View, 81, 3 – 9.

    Steiner, R. (2000). Towards Social Renewal: Rethinking the Basis of Society. Translated by Matthew Barton. Hudson NY: Anthroposophic Press. (Note: an online translation is also available at http://www.threefolding.org/archiv/800.html.  

    Wikipedia (nd.) Social Threefolding. Accessed on 25/08/2023 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_threefolding


    What’s Happening in Central Victoria

    1. The Arts and Culture

    Arts and Photography Prize

    The revamped Kyneton Daffodil and Arts Festival Art and Photography Prizes are now open for entries. The Photography and Art Prize will be on display the 31st – 11th of September 2023 at The Old Auction House Gallery in Kyneton. Prize pool of $1,700:  the overall winning piece with a daffodil $700, and open themes in the mediums of Oil, Acrylic, Watercolour and Sculpture each taking a $200 prize. Entries are $10 a piece, apply via link, and applications close Sunday 20 August at 5pm.


    Castlemaine Free University – Towards Eudaemonia

    WHERE — Northern Arts Hotel, 359 Barker Street, Castlemaine
    WHEN — 6.30 pm for 7 pm, Monday 4 September 2023
    FREE — the event is free, and drinks can be purchased at the bar

    Towards Eudæmonia-  ‘Expect a rich mélange of words, images, sounds and conversation. All in opposition to modernity’s disenchantment of our world…’

    With unfolding ecological catastrophe, we urgently need new imaginaries such as the Towards Eudæmonia Spring 2023 series, which explores this terrain in direct interaction with Dhurrangowa, seeking to build small bridges back to belonging, feeling and harmony.
    WHO — Renowned locals, namely the writer, anthropologist, garlic farmer, once-and-future camel-man Peter Yates; the nature sound recordist Andrew Skeogh; the artist, designer and researcher Kirsten Moegerlein; and the filmmaker Rory McLeod.

    Circus Mania

    When: 27 Sept – 1 Oct 2023

    Where: Western Reserve Castlemaine

    A 5-day and night circus festival in beautiful Castlemaine, showcasing the world-class talent that is in and in fact all-around Victoria.

    Featuring an extraordinary contemporary Circus, saucy Cabaret and family-friendly Entertainment, this festival has something for everyone, all taking place inside ‘The May Wirth’, a stunning 350-seater traditional circus tent.

    The Day the School Went Under

    A hilarious comedy show presented by Daylesford Youth Theatre as part of the Words in Winter Festival.

    When: Saturday 26 August

    Where Daylesford Town Hall, Vincent St

    Tickets $15/$10

    Bookings: https://www.trybooking.com/events/landing/1088886

    Documentary Filmmaking Masterclass

    A 3-hour masterclass with three of the documentary world’s most experienced practitioners.

    Tony Jackson, Bergen O’Brien and Sam Dinning share tips and tricks to help you create a compelling short documentary.

    When: 9 September, 2 – 5 pm

    Where: Northern Arts Hotel

    Cost: $50/$40

    Bookings: https://www.trybooking.com/events/landing/1099262

    Maldon Landscape Prize: Essence of Place

    The inaugural Landscape Prize 2023 Essence of Place is presented by Maldon Artist Network (MANet) and EDGE Galleries. Entries close 8 September 2023. First prize $10,000 and People’s Choice Award $1000 for the online exhibition winner. For more information go to the MANET website.


    Mapatazi: Girlz Guitar Onslaught

    Sunday, 27 August 2023, 11 am – 3 pm

    Goods Shed Arts

    $35 Full / $25 Concession

    Calling all women/girls/non-binary electric guitarists & bass players from beginners to advanced to make some noise in this electrifying workshop without pressure to perform in public. Feel what it’s like to be part of the Mapatazi (pronounced Map o’ Tassie!) en masse onslaught of guitars.

    Community-spirited yet professional in the outcome. Mapatazi’s original music hints at ambient washes, heavy metal riffs and anything in-between. In the workshop, we’ll try out some new ideas composed especially for an onslaught of guitars. This may include rock riffs ambient washes, and anything in between. You don’t need to read music. All the pieces are designed for players of different skill levels.
    All ages are welcome. BYO instrument, amplifier, leads & lunch.

    Melbourne Chamber Orchestra: A Feast of Music 2023

    When: 9 – 10 September 2023

    Where: Hotel Bellinzona – Daylesford and Hepburn Springs

    MCO’s “A Feast of Music” chamber music festival lights up Daylesford and Hepburn Springs this September 9 & 10. Magnificent chamber music, an orchestral concert & a musical dinner. Directed by MCO Artistic Director Sophie Rowell, and with special guests acclaimed pianist Kristian Chong and French horn virtuoso Peter Luff. Packages and single tickets are now on sale.

    To book tickets: https://mco.org.au/event/a-feast-of-music-2023/

    Newstead Arts Hub

    NerdROM Node 1: Sound and Music 

    Sat 2 Sept, 7pm onwards. Free  
    Come along for this inaugural event exploring sound and music using live electronics. Experience the creativity of four performers from Newstead and Castlemaine: Barfield, Nicky System, Paul Britton and Aimee Chapman. Live projection art will accompany the performances. Free entry. Drinks available

    Finding a voice: Spring Series of artists’ talks’ 

    Three talks: Thursdays 7 Sept, 12 Oct, 9 Nov – at 5.30pm

    Join us for our Spring Series of artist talks. Hear three local, accomplished artists speak about finding and sustaining their own artistic voice. These talks will be of interest to anyone working in creative fields, as well as art loving members of the public.

    • Melinda Harper, Thurs 7 Sept 5.30pm – BOOK HERE
    • David Frazer, Thurs 12 October 5.30pm – BOOK HERE
    • Kynan Sutherland, Thurs 9 November 5.30pm – BOOK HERE

    These talks are free, but please book to help with catering

    While We Live: an exhibition 

    Weekends: Sat 9 Sept – Sun 2 Oct, 10am-4pm
    Opening event Sat 9 Sept 2pm

    Experience this new body of work by James Healey and Hugh Wayland. Their photographs explore links between analogue and digital, contrasting the urban and remote environments in which we live and move. It includes images captured spontaneously while travelling by car, walking or meeting people, as they went about their daily lives

    Exhibition spaces at the Hub
    Get out of the studio and into the Hub where our great exhibition spaces await your work. We’ve got some gaps in our calendar and a great team to help you hang and promote your work. Bookings now open for 2024!  Email us at info@newsteadartshub.org or submit a short proposal at https://newsteadartshub.org/venue-hire/.

    Northern Arts Hotel program

    Music, film discussions and more each week.

    Here’s the link to the latest calendar of events at the Coolroom: https://northernartshotel.com.au/the-coolroom/

    Project Ludwig – A Family Concert at The Daylesford Convent

    Date: Friday, September 22, 2023
    Time: 7:00pm
    Venue: The Convent, 7 Daly Street, Daylesford
    Tickets: Adults: $30, Children: $10, Family: $60

    The Artamidae Quartet will hold a family-friendly, interactive concert featuring Beethoven’s Opus 18 string quartets, where you decide the program!

    This special choose-your-own-adventure style event will allow concertgoers to learn about music of Ludwig van Beethoven’s famous Opus 18 string quartets and to speak personally with the musicians about their favourite music before choosing what they would most like to hear.  The audience decides the program! Experience your very own, unique, Beethoven string quartet. A different program every time!

    For more information: https://thewombatpost.com.au/2023/08/25/project-ludwig-a-family-concert-at-the-convent/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Fri+25+Aug+2023&utm_campaign=Local+News+for+Daylesford+and+Hepburn+Springs

    The Taproom – Shedshaker Brewing

    Upcoming gigs:

    Aug 26 – Yes23 Art Auction Fundraiser

    Sep 8 – Tribute – Rolling Stones

    Sep 10 – Tango Mood



    Words in Winter

    A weekend of writers, story-tellers,  poets, artists and more. This years theme is ‘Out of the Shadows’.

    : August 25, 26 and 27th

    Where: Assorted venues around Daylesford and other locations in central Victoria

    For program: https://wordsinwinter.com/

    Words in Winter- Open Mic at Yandoit Cultural

    Stories, song, poetry and local history.

    The theme for this year’s Open Mic session is “around the hearth”- that place where we gather in the winter. All welcome.

    When: Sunday August 27th, 2pm

    Where: Yandoit Cultural– the old  church in the bush, Uniting Church Rd,  (off High St) Yandoit

    2. Building Community

    Goldfields Libraries StoryWalks

    child at Castlemaine Storywalk

    StoryWalks are a fun and educational activity that places a children’s story (literally a book taken apart!) along a popular walking route in the community. They are a physical activity and a literary experience in one.

    Being active is good for our bodies, and reading is good for our brains. The combination of both is a great all-round activity for our health and wellbeing!

    Goldfields Libraries regularly host StoryWalks across the region. We currently have StoryWalks in:

    • Castlemaine – Castlemaine Train Station. West side along Barkers Creek Trail (Gingell St). Download map.
    • Heathcote – Heathcote Playspace, 126 HIgh Street. Download map.
    • Kyneton – Shared path next to Kyneton Primary School and Kindergarten. Between Victoria and Edgecombe Streets. Download map.

    For more information: https://www.ncgrl.vic.gov.au/storywalk

    Hepburn Life – Council Newsletter Out Now

    This month’s edition includes information on an upcoming agricultural forum for farmers, seniors week activities and subsidised compost bins for shire residents. Follow the link below to read the newsletter:

    Hepburn Life


    Saturday Philosophy in the Library

    On the first Saturday of each month, the library has hosted philosophical discussions. Meet up with like-minded people to enjoy a session of thought provoking ideas run by the Central Goldfields School of Philosophy. There is a new subject each month – come to one, some, or all!

    Saturday 2 September 10-11:30
    Saturday 7 October 10-11:30
    Saturday 4 November 10-11:30

    More information at practicalphilosophyvic.org.au

    Seniors Week Community Lunches and Mini Expos

    Castlemaine Community House is hosting the Seniors’ Week Festival again for Mount Alexander Shire. The theme for the statewide festival is Love, Live and Learn.

    Seniors are invited to come and enjoy community lunch for free, and chat with mini-expo vendors

    3 October: Castlemaine (Town Hall)

    4 October: Maldon

    6 October: Harcourt


    3. Ecology and the Environment

    Ballarat Tailings Dam Concerning Local Residents

    An article was published this week in the Guardian online about a new tailings dam for the Ballarat Goldmine that was recently approved by the City of Ballarat, a decision that is being challenged at VCAT by a concerned local residents group.


    Biolinks Alliance Newsletter

    On-the-ground works start at Spring Plains
    Local students bringing life back to Snipes Creek
    Restoring and reconnecting glider habitat
    Fundraising for Biolinks Alliance on a journey of a lifetime
    Rewilding Central Victoria – expert panel event
    Large Old ‘Hero’ Trees and their life-sustaining hollows webinar
    Volunteer opportunities
    Meet the team – Ellie McKenna, Biolinks Alliance Relations Manager
    Donate to support our work

    For more information about the Biolinks Alliance: https://biolinksalliance.org.au/

    To subscribe to the Biolinks Alliance newsletter: https://biolinksalliance.org.au/sign-up

    Climate Changers Documentary

    Follow renowned Australian environmental scientist Tim Flannery as he searches for leadership in tackling climate change in this documentary. Where are the leaders who will drive change, and how might they succeed where others have failed?

    When: 17 September at 5.30pm

    Where: Theatre Royal

    Cost: $25/$22

    Bookings: https://theatreroyalcastlemaine.oztix.com.au/outlet/event/


    Community Carbon – Landowners Wanted for Revegatation Pilot Project

    Fence in foreground and young trees with guards in background

    The Northern Central Catchment Management Authority (NCCMA) are looking for interested landowners for the Community Carbon project, which aims to support revegetation efforts restoring critical habitats, connecting fragmented landscapes and addressing biodiversity loss.

    For more information and how to apply, please visit https://connectingcountry.org.au/community-carbon-growing-to-net-zero-in-central-victoria/


    Free Environmental Video Program- Stories to Action

    Where: Greater Bendigo region

    Seeking young people (12-25) interested in using creativity to help inspire a more sustainable world! The Stories to Action program will support you in creating your own videos about the environment and sustainability, and use them to inspire positive change in the broader community. You can be involved as a co-designer and/or participant. Applications are assessed as they come in. Closing at latest by Mon Sept 11th.

    Be a participant or be a co-designer. Questions: leonie@bsg.org.au / 0425 767 964

    For more information and to apply: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSf08rvD2kZXRmr73WJuzrnxm_qxmIgoFFflaXSmazFf6WirWg/viewform


    Native Wildlife and Rodent Poisons Alert

    Newstead Landcare group is alerting community members of the dangers that second-generation rodent poisons pose for our native wildlife. They accumulate in the blood of our owls, raptors and marsupial carnivores. BirdLife Australia is campaigning to have these poisons appropriately controlled. You can write to the Federal Agriculture Minister calling on him to expedite action on this. For more information contact patrickkavanagh@bigpond.com
    You can add
    Add your voice to our open letter to Minister Watt, to help protect our wildlife and communities from dangerous poisons.

    Planet Local Summit- Re-framing the Climate Debate

    When: September 29- October 1st, 2023

    Where: livestream (plus in situ in Bristol UK)

    The Planet Local Summit is shaping up to be one of the biggest gatherings focused on localization/decentralization in history. Among those joining us are powerful voices reframing the climate debate:

    • Charles Eisenstein, author of ‘Climate: A New Story’.
    • Camila Moreno, the world’s preeminent analyst of the COP climate negotiations.
    • Jack Harries, youth leader for climate education and documentary filmmaker.

    “Even if we cut carbon emissions to zero, if we don’t also reverse ongoing ecocide on the local level everywhere, the climate will still die a death of a million cuts. The most important global policies would be those that create conditions where we can restore and protect millions of local ecosystems.” Charles Eisenstein Newstead blog

    4. First Nations

    Concert for the Yes! Vote

    When: 7pm, Thursday 14 September 2023

    Where: Theatre Royal Castlemaine

    A collaboration of fourteen-plus outstanding Indigenous leaders, musicians, storytellers, writers and artists to raise money and spirits in support of the YES in the forthcoming Australian referendum on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Voice and recognition in the Constitution and to celebrate Indigenous culture in central Victoria. A night with a substantial Welcome to Country, songs in the Dja Dja Wurrung and Wadawurrung languages, mighty anthems from great Australian songwriters, powerful words from renowned writers, music that unites cultures, a soundscape of this continent and a big sing-along.

    All proceeds go to the local YES23 campaign.

    For more information and tickets: https://theatreroyalcastlemaine.oztix.com.au/outlet/event/3c7b2f5a-6d5e-456b-b24e-dab686e35e75?Event=17429

    5. Food Growing, Farming and Food Security

    Castlemaine Seed Library Working Bee



    Come and join Castlemaine Seed Library volunteers to help pack seeds for the seed library program

    When: 7 September at 11am

    Where: Castlemaine Library Foyer


    Eating Democracy: The True Cost of the Food We Eat – Crowdfunding Campaign

    The Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (AFSA) has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise $30,000 to publish its new book, Eating Democracy: The True Cost of the Food We Eat, and they need your help to reach their target!  Through the stories of everyday people from different cultures, Eating Democracy explores the true cost of the food we eat, and the benefits to health, community and the planet from making ethical food choices.

    To support the campaign, you can make a donation at: https://www.pozible.com/project/eating-democracy

    If you’d like to spread the word about the campaign, please share the Eating Democracy Promotion Pack among your networks.

    The campaign closes on 19th September, so please share widely to support this important work from AFSA.

    Harcourt Organic Farming Co-op (HOFC) dairy is back at the market

    Tess from HOFC is pleased to announce that the milk drought has broken, and she will be selling milk and yoghurt again at the weekly Castlemaine Farmers’ Market

    Read the full article here



    6. Sustainable Economic Initiatives

    Unleashing Local Economies in a Global Game – webinar

    Economist Michael Shuman and Kai Lofgren from Regen Melbourne in conversation exploring how innovative, place-based approaches to economic investment can help to build stronger, more resilient communities.

    Organised by: Castlemaine Institute in partnership with Regen Melbourne and Small Giants Academy.

    A free event.

    When: 31 August from 8-9am (yes, am!)

    Where: online

    Bookings: https://events.humanitix.com/conversation-local-investment-in-a-global-game-with-michael-shuman

    7. Sustainable Living Resources

    Hepburn @ Home

    A 6-session series of free online workshops on sustainable living, put together by the team from the Good Hood, full of practical information on composting, low waste cooking, electric vehicles and much more


    When: starting 16th August

    Where: Online

    Cost: free

    To register, go to: tinyurl.com/hepburnathome



    Kinship Natural Building Festival


    A two day, hands-on workshop in methods of building with natural materials, including cob, mudbrick, natural renders and earthen floors. Sleep overnight in the solar-passive ecologically designed and fire-resilient Earthship ‘Kinship’ featured in lead articles, radio shows and news stories across local, state and national media.

    When: 25 – 26 August, starting 10am

    Where: 19 Ward St, Kinglake

    For all enquiries and bookings, contact Daryl Taylor by phone on 0497097047 or email kinship.kinglake@gmail.com



    Camp Reserve Destruction

    By Trevor Scott, Castlemaine

    Already many of you have written to this newspaper about the redevelopment of the Camp Reserve in Forest Street, Castlemaine. In his recent letter, Ian Braybrook says “those who know the history and continuously use the Camp [Reserve] are content with the council plan” but how well do they know the history and, is he aware that in a recent survey carried out by MASC, 51% of those surveyed, voted against the plan. If you stand at the south end near the entrance and look westwards to the top of the highest point on Gingell Street, you will see the mature, native species trees that have to be removed. You will also realise that the flat area needed for basketball courts and a grandstand with change facilities, has to be cut out of this hill, irretrievably changing the look and appearance of the reserve.

    As an architect and long time resident of the town, I am concerned that the proposed plan will change the landscape drastically, and I really wonder if the extra cost of tree and earth removal, site drainage and retaining walls, all to be borne by ratepayers, is justified when the grandstand and proposed facilities could more easily and definitely more cheaply, be built on the flatter part of the site at the northern end.

    The history of this area goes back more than 150 years, to a time when everywhere you looked you would see miners panning for gold. History tells us that their tents and shanties were perched on the hill that they now want to remove. Surely history is not just a list of events in a book; it is also very much about the places where these events occurred. I think that unless we move forward with respect for our history, we make these proposed changes to the Camp Reserve at our peril.


    Food for Thought

    1. Conversation between Dr Iain McGilchrist  and Charles Eisenstein

    An inspiring, thought provoking discussion between two of our favourite writers: Charles Eisenstein, author of Sacred Economics and The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible and neuroscience researcher Dr Iain McGilchrist, author of The Master and His Emissary and The Matter With Things.


    2. Animals in the Room – Why We Can and Should Listen to Other Species, by Melanie Challenger in Emergence Magazine

    Anyone who develops deep knowledge of other species by living alongside them for years realizes something both obvious and essential: we are not the only lives that matter…


    3. Mine-Field documentary on-line.

    About mining in Victoria.  $5 to rent. Here’s the link: https://barkingmedia.vhx.tv/

    4. Interview with Helena Norberg-Hodge, Local Futures,  on redundant trade and the need to systemically reduce resource-use and emissions.

    Author and filmmaker Helena Norberg-Hodge is a leading, eloquent voice in the localisation and new economy movement. Some readers may recall that she was one of the keynote speakers in the Local Lives Global Matters conference held in Castlemaine in 2015, out of which Localising Leanganook was born. See the interview here: Free Speech TV

    5. How the ‘green economy’ exacerbates deforestation in Brazil By World Rainforest Movement 

    “In the ‘green economy,’ the interests of corporations, governments and the conservation industry intersect. All of these entities, in one way or another, profit from the destruction of forests and the dispossession of communities.” Read More

    6. Walking Together Towards Makarrata – Cultural Literacy

    The latest piece from local writer and First Nations ally Floria Maschek

    And finally, from the Holmgren Design newsletter:

    7. Permie Vision, US Provisions and David on Television

    Want to hear something basic?

    This week we patched up a tumbledown chicken coop in readiment for a new flock.

    It’s a bit out of the way, this hen haunt, a fair jaunt from the nearest water source.

    Or so I thought.

    But just as I was lamenting the lack of taps and hoses, steeling myself to schlep pails of water across the road and up the slope…

    …I noticed David Holmgren’s intervention.

    He’d attached a gutter and a downspout to the chook house roof, directed neatly into a barrel right next to their trough.

    Because water falls from the sky.

    Permaculture design often seems simple, but when you’ve been steeped in a culture of commodification, convenience and buying back your basic needs, observing and interacting with nature’s systems can be quite the revelation.

    Here are three more:

    🎥 David Holmgren is featured on the latest episode of Great Australian Walks with Julia Zemiro, popping up at Vaughan Springs to share deep knowledge of the local landscape, history and hidden waterways. It’s a television revelation! Watch the playback.

    📚 The United States of Permaculture is live! If you’re in the US, we’re pleased to tell you that wholesale book purchases are now available. Great for permie teachers, resource centres, book clubs, libraries and big families. Minimum order of $100USD, free shipping over $200USD. Head to the US store.

    🤓 And Aussies, you’ve always been able to access our titles at wholesale prices for orders over $150AUD, with free shipping over $250AUD. Is it finally time to start that RetroSuburbia Book Club? Or install 470 at your local library? Jump to the AUS store.

    Thanks for reading, friend. Wishing you a wellspring of August cheer.

    Catie and the Holmgren Design team

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