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    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

    Continue reading →
  • July/August newsletter

    “My blood”, writes Stan Grant, who has both Irish and Wiradjuri forebears, in ‘Talking to My Country’, “the blood of Moyne and Belabula. White and black: two worlds that even within me, bend to each other but still can’t quite touch”. / And is that not us too? – two worlds, bending, but never touching? / Who is Australia? Why Australia? Where is Australia? It is the great question to which we must all make an answer later this year, and that is the question of whether or not we support the voice. / The Uluru Statement from the Heart was an invitation to finally meet, to finally touch. / Whether I wish to be or not, I am a child of this country. In seeking to understand it I have come to see that we must make a new start, a better start if our imaginings are to go further, if we are to create dreams that might liberate, stories we might live better by.

    Richard Flanagan: ‘Our inauthentic heart – What the voice to parliament means for the stories we tell’ (The Monthly , July 2023, ps 36-38)

    Welcome to the July/August 2023 edition of Localising Leanganook e-news. There are some changes afoot and here’s what you will find:

    Changes to Localising Leanganook e-news

    Feature Article- A Thrutopian Mindset

    What’s Happening in Central Victoria?

    1. Bendigo Share and Repair Shed launched
    2. Repair Cafes are Expanding
    3. Smoking Ceremony for Renamed Creek
    4. Guildford Folk Club
    5. Yes to Voice to Parliament
    6. Yandoit Milking Cooperative
    7. Wararack- Community Climate Transition Plan
    8. Wararack and MASG Networking Drinks
    9. Ballarat Zero Emissions Alliance Workshops
    10. Mt Alexander Sustainability Group (MASG) Programs
    11. Venie Holmgren Environmental Poetry Prize
    12. Loddon Mallee Climate Change and Health Framework
    13. Castlemaine Library Event- The Emotional World of Primary School Kids
    14. Wild at Art- Threatened Species Art Competition
    15. Connecting Country- Bird of the Month
    16. Stories of Transition- on line event- Transition Australia
    17. New Economy Network of Australia- Conference Proposals
    18. Northern Arts Hotel
    19. Saltgrass Podcasts and Interviews
    20. Wombat Forest Care
    21. Don’t Undermine Daylesford
    22. Contra Guitar Duo
    23. Calling All Artists- Newstead Arts Hub
    24. Coiled basketry – a workshop with Jodie Goldring
    25. Hub Writers Group: Monthly ‘Let’s Shut Up & Write’
    26. Words in Winter- Daylesford
    27. Words in Winter- Open Mic at Yandoit Cultural
    28. Harcourt Organic Farming Cooperative- Orchard
    29. Castlemaine Weekly Farmers Market
    30. Mt Alexander Shire’s Climate Change Strategy
    31. Hepburn’s Sustainability Advisory Group
    32. Future Hepburn – Join our Community Engagement Pool
    33. National Tree Day
    34. Central Victorian Biolinks Alliance
    35. Alliance for Responsible Mining Regulation
    36. Newstead 2021 Project- Community Meeting
    37. Diamond Firetail – A Vulnerable Local Species
    38. Hepburn Shire’s Age-friendly Declaration Expo
    39. North Central Catchment Management Info
    40. Revegetation Success in a Changing Climate event
    41. Sustainable Hepburn News and Sustainable Hepburn Advisory Committee
    42. Walking Together
    43. Mt Alexander Shire News
    44. Castlemaine Free University
    45. Seeds of Renewal Leadership Course
    46. Community Battery
    47. VNI West Transmission Lines Update
    48. Winter Workshop series for Soil Health and Fruit Trees
    49. Castlemaine Seed Library
    50. Refugee Support in Daylesford


    Food for Thought

    Changes to Localising Leanganook e-news

    Welcome to the July/August edition of Localising Leanganook e-news. You will notice changes to this and future editions. The call out to establish an editing group has borne fruit and there are now three new locals joining Nikki Marshall to prepare the newsletter (Keppel Cassidy, Laurel Freeland, Samantha Wittenberg ) .  Each edition will begin with a thoughtful quote;  followed by a feature article; an abbreviated  ‘what’s happening in our neighbourhood’  section with links to further information; a letters section; and a ‘food for thought’ section with links to articles, podcasts, books etc.

    We welcome your feedback, letters and what’s happening updates. Just click on ’email us’ at  https://leanganook.org/contact/ 

    The Localising Leanganook e-news started in 2017, following on from Local Lives Global Matters- a Conference for Future’s Sake–  held in Castlemaine in October 2015. The e-news encourages and provides information about localising initiatives in central Victoria which sustain viable local economies, act on social and ecological justice, reclaim democracy and revitalise spirit.

    Feature Article

    Cultivating a Thrutopian Mindset to Seed a Viable Future for All-  by Laurel Freeland, Newstead

    Many of our current debates about climate change are based on polarised beliefs about either/or, right and wrong, us/them which arise from binary, fragmentary views of the world.  The trajectory of this perspective leads us to further extremes – perpetual wars within and between ourselves, groups and nations that impede our collective ability to take the actions needed to create a viable future for all life.

    There are many ways to create the future.  There is a growing awareness that individually and collectively we have agency to contribute to a way of being in the world that engenders greater social, ecological, economic and political equity.  Whatever we are focusing on now is what will create our future.

    Some great minds have contributed to a way of being-and-doing in the world that takes us beyond globalisation, corporate interests, economics as the primary measure of success, excessive extraction and an ever-widening gap between rich and poor.  We know this old story well and we know it is not working for the good of all.

    Many indigenous cultures considered the impact of their practices on the next seven generations. And many contemporary thinkers have recognised that catastrophising and blaming is not sufficient to motivate the changes needed if we are to survive this precarious time on Earth.

    Professor Rupert Read is one of our contemporary thinkers who recognises this and sees that we can cut through the false binaries of dystopian and utopian futures by telling different stories – ones that recognise the precarious place we find ourselves in and which show possibility –   a pathway out.  He calls this Thrutopia.

    A Thrutopian Mindset

    Cultivating a Thrutopian mindset is one way we can cut through these polarities to generate life enhancing stories that seed a viable future for all life.   In 2017 Professor Read was asking himself, ‘How do we get to a position where we’re able to have a sort of realistic picture for how the future could be?  How do we aim for that future to be as good as possible?’  He recognised the dilemma that, despite the urgent need to take action on climate and other planetary boundaries that humanity has exceeded, the message just wasn’t working.

    Concurrently, many of his contemporaries were on a similar path – Rob Hopkins – From What Is to What If; Charles Eisenstein – A New Climate; Paul Hawken – Drawdown; Joanna Macy – The Work that Reconnects; and others were generating possible futures by offering solutions and processes, showing what is working, how to do more of it, how to imagine a viable future,  and acting on what we are called to do.

    Even the IPCC in its 2023 summary report began writing in a more accessible way than its previously indecipherable scientific jargon, ‘This report recognises the interdependence of climate, ecosystems and biodiversity and human societies and integrates knowledge more strongly across the natural, ecological, social and economic sciences than earlier IPCC assessments. The assessment of climate change impacts and risks as well as adaptation, is set against concurrently unfolding non climatic global trends, which are biodiversity loss, overall unsustainable consumption of natural resources, land and ecosystem degradation, rapid urbanisation, human demographic shifts, social and economic inequalities and a pandemic.’

    A way of writing and communicating that recognises the gravity of our planetary situation and which offers a viable possible future is sorely needed.

    Prof. Read wrote a short paper, ‘Thrutopia: Why Neither Dystopias Nor Utopias are Enough to Get Us Through the Climate Crisis and how a Thrutopia could be.’

    A Thrutopian mindset 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 involves examining who and how we are being and a change of mindset individually and collectively.

    Professor Read coined the concept and the term Thrutopia that was published in his article of the same name in the Huffington Post in 2017.

    Telling stories is powerful.  The ‘right and wrong’ game has been a big story on this planet.  It has generated a lot of collective stupidity.  We need stories that cut through binary perspectives that can generate collective wisdom.

    There is a germ of hope if Thrutopia remains present in any vision that we are trying to get behind for the future.  From this mindset we can tell stories that seed possibility and inspire actions.


    Huffington Post (https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/rupert-read/thrutopia-why-neither-dys_b_18372090.htm

    Manda Scott, Accidental Gods, Episode #122) (https://accidentalgods.life/transformative-connection/

    Karen O’Brien, You Matter More Than You Think, Quantum Social Change for a Thriving World.

    IPCC Climate Change 2023 Synthesis –  Summary for Policymakers. https://www.ipcc.ch/report/sixth-assessment-report-cycle/

    What’s Happening in Central Victoria?

    1. Bendigo Share and Repair Shed launched

    Where:  120 Garsed Street, Bendigo
    It includes a new Tool Library, the Useful Bin, Upcycled Textiles, a Food is Free station and a one-stop recycling space and the Bendigo Repair Cafe. To find out more contact Elsie — elsie@commoners.coop — For more info https://www.mckeanmcgregor.com.au/pages/real-estate/blog/13516/the-bendigo-share-repair-cafe-a-sustainable-haven-for-repair-and-reuse

    2. Repair Cafes are Expanding

    In addition Bendigo’s Share and Repair shed (see above) , Castlemaine, Daylesford and Ballarat continue to grow in strength. Recently Creswick started  Repair and Share.

    Castlemaine: last Sunday of the month, 10am to 1pm at Casltemaine Community House. The July cafe (30/7)will have a focus on apple computers. https://www.facebook.com/groups/castlemainerepaircafe/

    Daylesford: Third Sunday of the month, 1-4pm at Victoria Park Pavillion. Regular workshops inlcuding welding,  creative darning and mending, basic plumbing and more.  https://www.facebook.com/daylesfordrepaircafe/

    Creswick: Next Repair and Share- Sunday August 6th, 1-4pm, at Creswick Neighbourhood Centre. The August session will include a workshop on how to make recycled denim dog toys. This is an  initiative of  Transition Creswick and includes a community lunch and produce swap.  Foe more information : Tim Drylie 0425 716 544 or facebook:  https://fb.me/e/3JyILUUnx

    Ballarat: Every 4th Saturday, 1-4pm at Barkly Square. Subscribe to the newsletter here: https://breaze.us21.list-manage.com/subscribe

    3. Smoking Ceremony for Renamed Creek

    Renaming of the old Jim Crow creek to Larni Barrumal Yaluk was celebrated on July 18th with a smoking ceremony at Franklinford.  “Bringing a Dja Dja Wurrung presence back to Country is significant for Dja Dja Wurrung People’s health and wellbeing. We are also pleased to share our language and heritage with the wider community” said Rodney Carter, Djarra CEO .

    “Larni Barramal Yaluk means ‘the creek that flows through the home or dreaming place of the emu’.

    Elder Uncle Rick Nelson performed a smoking ceremony and Jason Kerr played the digeridoo.

    4. Guildford Folk Club

    When: 3rd Thursday of each month, 7.30pm
    Where:  Northern Arts Hotel, Barkers St, Castlemaine
    One of the region’s oldest continuous music gatherings, meeting monthly for over 30 years. The emphasis has always been on participation and the sharing of folk/acoustic songs, music and the spoken word. These enjoyable evenings take a “round-robin” approach with participants taking turns to share a song, tune or poem, with others joining in when appropriate. Contact Jeanette Gillespie if you wish to participate: jfgfolk@gmail.com or 0414 732 667.

    5. Yes to Voice to Parliament

    Central Victoria has a number of groups and activities to support the indigenous voice to parliament referendum. Kitchen Table Conversations (KTC’s) are being held around the region including at Newstead Arts Hub. Other local communities are invited to hold KTC’s- thoughtful conversations about the referendum, encouraging people to talk together, read and consider a range of information and then make their own decision on how they want to vote.

    Several meetings have been held at Castlemaine library to support the Voice, thanks to Vic Say. Next meeting is Saturday July 29th, 12noon.

    Bendigo (electorate) for Yes is meeting regularly at Newstead Hotel on Friday evenings. Newstead Arts Hub will be hosting several small round table discussions using the Together Yes resources: please book to come along . Dates are: Wed 9 and 30 August, 5.30-7.00pm (refreshments provided). Or you can book a space at the Hub if you would like to hold your own small group conversation – email info@newsteadartshub.org .For further info contact Dimity – 0475 260 051. .

    For more information about Together Yes or to register as a small group discussion host go to https://togetheryes.com.au/

    6. Yandoit Milking Cooperative

    Looking for a couple more co-op members. Join a team of cowhands and milk once or twice a week and enjoy the produce.

    Phone Nikki  on 0432 232 073 or email nikki.marshall@mmnet.com.au if you’re interested.

    Plenty of milk to make yoghurt, cheese and more.

    7. Wararack- Community Climate Transition Plan

    Wararack is a coalition of people and organisations in Mount Alexander Shire who support community-led efforts towards regenerative ways of living in response to the climate crisis, as sketched out in the Community Climate Transition Plan (2023–2030) (The Plan). Wararack is the ‘glue’ connecting and supporting all community regenerative activities within our unique landscape. Transitioning to regenerative living is an holistic response to the climate crisis. Wararack is tasked with holding this transition to a climate-safe future for the next generation and beyond.

    Read the Plan

    8. Wararack and MASG Networking Drinks

    When:  Thursday 7th September, 5:30pm for a 6-7:30pm event.

    Where: Venue to be advised.

    9. Ballarat Zero Emissions Alliance Workshops

    When: Mondays July 24th- September 11th

    Where: Ballarat Tool Library, Barkly Square

    This workshop series will be led by two Victorian Energy Scorecard Assessors, Dale Boucher and Tim Drylie, who will take participants through the various ways in which homes can be made more thermally efficient, with the objective of making them warmer in winter and cooler in summer, while also cutting energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

    10. Mt Alexander Sustainability Group (MASG) Programs

    • Bioenergy Facility
    • Regenerative Agriculture Program -working with local farmers and landholders to educate and support them in the adoption of regenerative agriculture practices.
    • Healthy Soils project –  promoting greater understanding of soil health,  practices that promote soil health in cropping and grazing systems; and cost-effective ways farmers can benchmark and gauge the health of their soils on a day-to-day basis.
    • Zero Net Retrofits for Vulnerable households project- aiming to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of houses and in so doing, make these houses warmer in winter, cooler in summer and less expensive to run.
    • Wash against Waste Trailer and Party Hire is gearing up for the spring festivals, and will keep loads of single-use plastic out of landfill. Please visit the WAW site to enquire about Trailer or Party Hire.
    • Repair Café continues to support the goal of waste reduction by repairing and re-purposing common items.

    11. Venie Holmgren Environmental Poetry Prize

    David Holmgren established the Venie Holmgren Environmental Poetry Prize to honour his mother and her work as a poet and activist.

    Information and entry details can be found here. Submissions close Monday August 7th

    12. Loddon Mallee Climate Change and Health Framework


    Developed by organisations and community groups  across the Loddon Mallee and state-wide experts. Here’s the link: Climate Change and Health Framework.


    13. Castlemaine Library Event- The Emotional World of Primary School Kids

    When: Thursday 31 August, 5:15-6:30pm

    Where: Castlemaine Library

    This session is part of the Parenting in the Modern World series.

    Note: Castlemaine library, as part of Goldfields libraries,  holds many events. For more info go to https://goldfieldslibraries.com/


    14. Wild at Art- Threatened Species Art Competition

    Wild At Art gives 5-12 year olds a fun way to advocate for the plants and animals they love that are under threat.
    From now until Threatened Species Day, 7 September, the Australian Conservation Foundation welcomes entries from 5-12 year olds that speak to how important our threatened plants and animals are.

    15. Connecting Country- Bird of the Month


    Connecting Country (Mount Alexander Region) Inc is a not-for-profit community group that works to increase, enhance and restore biodiversity across the Mount Alexander region of central Victoria. https://connectingcountry.org.au/

    Painted Button-quail: https://connectingcountry.org.au/news-events/

    16. Stories of Transition- on line event- Transition Australia

    Three upcoming online events hosted by our hub:  Conversation Cafe Sun 30 July; Stories of Transition Mon 14 Aug; and  Heart Nation Book Club Thur 17 August.

    Register now for the next ‘Stories of Transition’ event Monday 14 August 2023 8 PM AEST.

    Sharing stories from various Transition and related groups around Australia – as we find new ways to connect with others in creating the future we wish to see.

    YouTube channel-  you can watch or rewatch the Stories of Transition (7-14 minutes each) from groups across the country

    Inspiring, connecting and supporting groups to build a localised, sustainable and just future. 

    17. New Economy Network of Australia- Conference Proposals


    Life after Capitalism Conference.

    Submissions due on July 31st-



    18. Northern Arts Hotel


    A variety of music, film and spoken words events at the Coolroom.

    For program and more information:  https://northernartshotel.com.au/

    19. Saltgrass Podcasts and Interviews


    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.


    20. Wombat Forest Care

    Wombat Forestcare is a community group dedicated to protecting and enhancing the natural ecosystems of the Wombat Forest and surrounding areas.

    For more information: Gayle Osborne- info@wombatforestcare.org.au

    21. Don’t Undermine Daylesford

    A group of concerned locals who have come together in response to  mining exploration projects close to Daylesford, including homes, spring water  and aquifers.

    The risks posed by mining operations to our community are too great to ignore.


    22. Contra Guitar Duo

    When: Saturday 29 July, 7pm (concert at 7.30pm)

    Where: Newstead Arts Hub, 8a Tivey St, Newstead

    Queensland-based Contra Guitar Duo – Hamish Strathdee and Emma-Shay Gallenti-Guilfoyle.

    23. Calling All Artists- Newstead Arts Hub

    Exhibition spaces at the Hub
    Bookings now open for 2024!  Email us at info@newsteadartshub.org or submit a short proposal at https://newsteadartshub.org/venue-hire/.

    Experimental Print Prize: entries open now 
    Entries are now open for the Experimental Print Prize auspiced by Castlemaine Art Museum.  For all the details go to the CAM website. Entries close 23 July 2023.

    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

    24. Coiled basketry – a workshop with Jodie Goldring

    Where: Newstead Arts Hub, 8A Tivey St, Newstead

    When: Saturday 22 July, 10am-3.30pm

    Learn how to use natural plant fibre to coil a functional basket.

    Newstead Arts Hub

    25. Hub Writers Group: Monthly ‘Let’s Shut Up & Write’ 

    When: Last Friday, each month – starts at 1pm.

    Where: Newstead Arts Hub, 8A Tivey St, Newstead

    The Hub Writers Group is self-organising and supports everyone to write at their own pace.

    More info: Dimity on 0475 260 051

    26. Words in Winter- Daylesford

    A weekend of writers, story-tellers,  poets, artists and more.

    This years theme is ‘Out of the Shadows’.

    When: August 25, 26 and 27th

    Where: Assorted venues around Daylesford

    For program: https://wordsinwinter.com/

    27. 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 ) Yandoit

    28. Harcourt Organic Farming Cooperative- Orchard


    EOI for an exciting farming adventure now open! 

    An “instant orchard” business opportunity available right now at our organic farm in Harcourt.

    29. Castlemaine Weekly Farmers Market


    Castlemaine Farmers Market Weekly

    When: 2:30-5:30pm

    Where: Camp Reserve.


    30. Mt Alexander Shire’s Climate Change Strategy

    You can view the final documents here:

    The strategy sets six long-term climate change response goals for Council. These focus on integrating climate action, supporting just and equitable transitions, enhancing our natural environment, incorporating climate into our infrastructure planning and renewal, supporting community connections, and moving toward a circular economy. Council’s role in fulfilling these goals is clarified through action areas, with the Action Plan 2023/2024 guiding the coming financial year’s delivery.

    For further information: Melanie Marshall- m.marshall@mountalexander.vic.gov.au

    Subscribe to Council’s Sustainability News here.

    31. Hepburn’s Sustainability Advisory Group

    Are you passionate about Sustainability and the Environment? Join council’s new Sustainability Advisory group to help guide our sustainable action plan. Sign up below before Monday 31 July.


    32. Future Hepburn – Join our Community Engagement Pool

    Our towns are changing, growing, developing. What do we want to save and protect? How do we want to grow? Future Hepburn is a once-in-a-generation project to design how our towns look in 30 years. Be part of our focus groups. Council is calling for community members to sign up to part of a community pool to advise and give input. Your input into neighbourhood character, transport connections, biodiversity, agricultural land, bushfire, town structure plans is important. Help develop Structure Plans for Daylesford, Hepburn Springs, Trentham, Glenlyon, Clunes or Creswick.

    Register for the Community Engagement Pool at: https://participate.hepburn.vic.gov.au/future-hepburn

    33. National Tree Day


    A family planting celebration.

    When: Sunday July 30th, 10am -12noon.

    Where: Railway St, Chewton



    34. Central Victorian Biolinks Alliance

    Community-connected conservation across Central Victoria

    Pilot projects use the latest ecological thinking and conservation approaches – and share the scientific learnings across Central Victoria.

    35. Alliance for Responsible Mining Regulation

    ARMR has representation from groups in central and other parts of Victoria experiencing, or threatened by, the apparent unwillingness or inability of Earth Resources Regulation to properly regulate mining in Victoria.

    ARMR has presented many Victorian politicians with a copy of its 10 point plan for improving mining regulation. It has also been developing responses to a number of government consultations including the Federal Government’s Critical Minerals Strategy and the Victorian Government’s Trailing Liabilities (Rehab) Consultation.

    ARMR has developed a 10 point plan outlining the bare minimum required to bring Victoria’s mining regulations up to an acceptable standard.

    36. Newstead 2021 Project- Community Meeting

    When: Sunday September 10th, 11am -12.30pm

    Where: Newstead Community Centre

    Purpose: to revisiting and reassessing the Newstead 2021 project, to reflect on changes in the community and discuss new ideas, ambitions and desires. The Community Meeting will be followed by a Community lunch.

    All community groups are invited to develop a one page document that we will blow up to A3 size and display on the day,  to explain what your group does, call for more members, seek help, expose new projects etc. Please submit your document for display by Sept 1 to the email below, encourage your members to come along on the day and embrace the chance to help set up the next  round of visions for the future of our great community.
    For more information or submissions- deculvenor@gmail.com

    Newstead 2021 works to make Newstead a vibrant, fun, interesting and connected community. We help make stuff happen. Projects span the dreams, hopes and ambitions of our community.

    Photo: Wikipedia

    37. Diamond Firetail – A Vulnerable Local Species

    Connecting Country’s Feathered Five includes the small but striking Diamond Firetail. It is a tricky bird to find, but not impossible.

    Their conservation status was unfortunately recently upgraded to Vulnerable under the EPBC Act. It means that over the last 10 years, the population has an estimated decline in the region of 30-50%, with a high probability of declining further in the future.

    Photo: Damien Kelly

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


    38. Hepburn Shire’s Age-friendly Declaration Expo

    THEME: ‘Getting to know each other’.

    Event time: 12:00pm – 3:00pm 27 July 2023

    Event Place: Trentham Pavilion – 25 Falls Rd, Trentham.

    To RSVP:  The Hepburn Shire Age-friendly Declaration Expo: 27th July, 12pm-3pm, Trentham Pavilion (office.com)


    39. North Central Catchment Management Info


    Find out more about water management in our region via the North Central Chat:

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



    40. Revegetation Success in a Changing Climate event

    When: Tuesday 1 August 2023

    Where: Anglican Church Hall, Castlemaine

    Organised by: Connecting Country

    The event will address how we plan revegetation in a changing climate. The event will feature presentations from Sasha Jellinek (University of Melbourne), DJAARA and the North Central Catchment Management Authority (NCCMA), and a Q&A panel session to finish. 

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


    41. Sustainable Hepburn News and Sustainable Hepburn Advisory Committee

    You can sign-up to the Sustainable Hepburn e-newsletter. Council will report back on the progress with the strategy we co-designed with the community in 2022. Find out how we can work together to reach a circular, zero emission, climate resilient and biodiverse Shire.

    Subscribe to Sustainable Hepburn e-news

    Expressions of interest are still open for the Sustainable Hepburn Advisory Committee. Find out more!

    42. Walking Together

    This month’s theme is NAIDOC – For Our Elders, prepared by Floria from Friends of Nalderun. 

    43. Mt Alexander Shire News


    When: AUGUST 17 – SEPTEMBER 7, 2023 (4 sessions)

    Where: Zoom

    This four-part leadership course offers emerging leaders the opportunity to establish skills in building and co-creating spaces of renewal, reciprocity, and reverence. An abridged version of the Seeds of Radical Renewal Leadership program, this course is an introduction to the field of spiritual ecology: an evolving philosophy that is rooted in the understanding that ecology, culture, and spirituality are interdependent.

    46. Community Battery

    Hepburn Energy is one step closer to becoming Australia’s first energy park on the distribution network with wind turbines and battery storage, thanks to funding from the Australian Government’s Community Batteries for Household Solar program.

    For more information about the Hepburn Energy community battery project see their website.

    For more information on the Community Batteries Program visit the federal government website.

    47. VNI West Transmission Lines Update

    via Wombat Post 2/6/ 23  https://thewombatpost.com.au/

    VNI West, is the government’s plan to deliver 500 kilovolt overhead transmission lines from Bulgana, south-east of Stawell in Victoria, to just north of Jerilderie in NSW.  The project is part of the state government’s push to reach its target of 95 per cent renewable energy by 2035 but it has consistently drawn criticism from  farmers and landowners who are concerned about the impacts on their land.

    The preferred route in the north of the state is different from the route which and been advised to landholders. The new route will cross the Murray River north of Kerang rather than at Echuca. The proposed route will then pass through Boort, Charlton, west of St Arnaud and through Navare. The link will join the Western Renewables Link at at a new terminal station at Bulgana.

    The proposal for the Western Renewables Link remains unchanged. An earlier proposal for a terminal station at Mount Pleasant has been removed but the proposed route for the Link through Hepburn Shire remains unchanged. Hepburn Shire Council still has serious concerns about the increase in size of transmission line towers and the abject lack of genuine consideration for undergrounding lines.

    “Farmers will face the unwelcome prospect of massive easements around transmission infrastructure on their property, thereby restricting agricultural activities in this incredibly productive land,”  said Hepburn Shire Mayor.“We encourage the community to continue to make their voices heard throughout this process, including the upcoming Environmental Impact Assessment process.”

    The VNI West Project Assessment Conclusions Report is available on the AEMO website.

    48. Winter Workshop series for Soil Health and Fruit Trees

    at Harcourt Organic Farming Coop.

    49. Castlemaine Seed Library

    The Castlemaine Seed Library volunteers meet once a month to package up all the saved seeds – if you’re interested in becoming a volunteer, contact them via  castlemaineseedlibrary@gmail.com

    The Castlemaine Seed Library is free and everyone is welcome to use it during Library opening hours. The Library also has a great collection of gardening and seed saving books available to borrow too!

    Donations of saved seeds are also welcome.

    For enquiries-  visit www.castlemaineseedlibrary.org.au  


    50. Refugee Support in Daylesford


    Neil is a Tamil refugee living in Ballarat.

    His 1000 km walk to Anthony Albanese’s electoral office is to raise awareness that many refugees currently have no rights to access work, education or Medicare. Neil will be coming through Daylesford on August 2nd on his long walk to Canberra. Be part of the crowd in town to welcome him.


    Rethinking air travel

    Over 3 years ago, I wrote to this newspaper about the need to rethink air travel. At this time, because of the Covid pandemic, much of the world was “locked down” and, as a result, the grey skies over China had vanished and many large rivers, once polluted backwaters, were clean and flowing again. Today newspapers are awash with travel ads and thousands of people are again boarding jet airplanes and ocean liners. We seem to have forgotten that carbon emissions from jet planes are at least 3 times more than the industry admits to, and that flying is currently the single, most polluting activity. A recent investigation into offsetting schemes used by the commercial aviation industry, found that, although many forests were now being conserved, the credits generated by the industry are based on flawed information, and are failing to prevent the logging of old-growth forests. Claims of “carbon neutral flying” are simply not possible using fossil fuel- based aviation fuel. We’ve forgotten that human-induced global heating is predicted by the IPCC to reach at least 1.5 degrees C by 2040, which means more and more catastrophic weather in less than 20 years time! Our “business as usual” travelling habit is making a major contribution. Is this what we want? Now, before you take that overseas trip, think about it. Is there another way I could travel? Can I put this journey off for at least another 12 months until these serious problems associated with travelling have been addressed?

    Trevor Scott, Castlemaine, trevorscott3@gmail.com

    Food for Thought

    1.Biolinks- Rewilding Central Victoria workshop recording

    Could the topical conservation approach ‘rewilding’ restore nature at the extent and speed we urgently need here in Central Victoria?

     podcast and video recording from the day 

    2. The voice-  we must accept the invitation from first nations people- Tony Kelly


    3. Transition Australia videos

    Three new videos: stories of Transition Darebin, Transition Dubbo and Active Hope online; HEART NATION online book club; Cohousing webinar .

    three new videos‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

    4.  The Voice to Parliament Handbook: All the Detail You Need

    by Thomas Mayo & Kerry O’Brien (2023 Hardie Grant Explore) 96 pages.

    5. Transitioning to clean energy would reduce the volume and harm of mining dramatically

    A Fossil Fuel Economy Requires 535x More Mining Than a Clean Energy Economy

    6. Shifting Landscapes: Volume 4 –  Emergence magazine

    7. World Localisation Day recordings

    Online event recordings from World Localization Day 2023, including two powerful webinars featuring the voices of leading localizers from every continent.

    New Economy Network Australia:

    The Gift of Local Interdependence webinar with Pat McCabe/Woman Stands Shining & Helena Norberg-Hodge.‘Why localisation is the path to human wellbeing’ – Resurgence Talk with Helena Norberg-Hodge

    World Localization Day webinar hosted by the Sloth club (in Japanese and English) – with Keibo Oiwa and Helena Norberg-Hodge.

    Virtual panel on Education, Art and Culture – hosted by the Alliance for a Local Future (Mexico) and Local Futures (in Spanish).

    The Reconomistas ‘Twinning REconomy Places’ webinar with Jay Tompt.

    Village green India ‘InstaLive’ Sanjana Kaushik in conversation with Kunzang Deachen (Local Futures Ladakh), Alex Jensen and Henry Coleman (Local Futures).

    Food Forest ‘InstaLive’ with Pacha Light and Henry Coleman (Local Futures)

    8. Wedge issue: rich soils of Melbourne’s fringe under siege from development


    9. Marisa Holmes’ Occupy Wall Street, reviewed 

    https://www.ppesydney.net/a-human-geography-of-the-space-of-the-square/ — is the latest release in the Alternatives and Futures series

    Continue reading →
  • January/February 2023
    The Seven Sisters Songline is a tale of tragedy and comedy, obsession and trickery, desire and loss, solidarity and sorrow that touches on life’s moral dimensions: how to live with each other on this earth in a sustainable way; how to care for each other and share resources equitably. It also instructs on gender relations, kinship, marriage rules and other codes of behaviour. These lessons are embodied in compelling tales of intrigue, drama and passion that connect people and places across time….It is a saga of mythological dimensions and meanings. 
    (Margo Neale and Lynne Kelly: Songlines- The Power and the Promise,  Thames and Hudson, 2020, Introduction)
    “What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we are not able to cross the abyss that separates us from ourselves?”
    (Thomas Merton- from Emergence Magazine 18/12/22)

    Welcome to the first edition of Localising Leanganook for 2023. This is a brief edition covering late January and into February. There’ll be more in the February/March edition. In the meantime here’s an update on:

    1. Annual Terra Nullius Breakfast
    2. Castlemaine Free University – Film Screening: The Flooded Forest
    3. Back to Business for our Repair Cafes
    4. Yandoit Cultural– Two February Concerts
    5. Positive Living and Ageing Network in Hepburn Shire
    6. Orchard Keepers- Harcourt
    7. Castlemaine State Festival and Launch
    8. Wombat ForestCare
    9. Stories of Transition
    10. Help needed to map old trees of central Victoria
    11. Affordable Housing Consultation- A Home in Hepburn Shire
    12. Indigenous Women’s Voices Leadership Summit
    13. Daylesford Rural Refugee Advocates Call it A Day
    14. Hepburn Shire Welcomes Review of Transmission Lines and Terminal Station
    15. Rethinking Democracy- Democracy 4 Dinner
    16. Food for Thought ‌ ‌ ‌

    1. Annual Terra Nullius Breakfast

    When: Thursday July 26th, 9-11am

    Where: Outside Daylesford Town Hall, 76 Vincent Street

    The annual Terra Nullius Breakfast is on again this year, January 26th.

    Please join together to listen to Country and to First People, acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander sovereignty, stand with the grief that still stems from the legal fiction terra nullius, and celebrate Indigenous survival, connection to Country, First People lifeways and cultural renewal.

    Please bring a plate, cutlery, mug, thermos and a breakfast dish to share on the communal table. If you don’t have the capacity to bring anything to share please come and share what can be brought.

    You are most welcome to bring friends, family and neighbours, and if hot please join us for a swim and picnic at the L-shaped jetty at Lake Daylesford afterwards.

    If you haven’t seen the video from last year’s gathering featuring Djaara woman Bec Phillips, here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SaTgWiZAS3E&t=3s

    2. Castlemaine Free University – Film Screening- The Flooded Forest

    3. Back to Business for our Repair Cafes


    Castlemaine Repair Cafe recommences for 2023 on Sunday January 29th, 10am to 1pm, at Castlemaine Community House, Templeton St.

    Daylesford Repair Cafe recommences on Sunday February 19th, 1pm to 4pm, at Victoria Park Pavillion, Ballan Rd.

    Learn from the skilled teams of fixers as you watch household and gardening  items, bikes, clothes and much more being repaired, instead of being thrown out and ending up in landfill.

    Look out for upcoming How-to Workshops in the next edition.

    4. Yandoit Cultural– Two February Concerts

    What: Raziel Gutierrez Duo- An evening of World/Ethereal original music

    When: Friday February 17th, 6pm

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

    Raziel Gutierrez and Julian Harrison are a sui generis world/ethereal music fusion duo. Using vocals, aerophone and guitar the music is inspired by nature. Every piece has elements of several styles and genres – a homogeneous blend of those influences. Performances are unique in nature with an essence of open, spontaneous improvisation.

    Both members of the duo are professional musicians with many years of experience and a refined expertise with their instruments. With different cultural and musical backgrounds, as well as life journeys, Raziel and Julian contribute their own gifts to the music created.

    Cost: Entry by Donation

    What: Thieving Magpies Band- An afternoon of world music drawn from Balkan, Scandinavian, Middle Eastern, Celtic traditions

    When: Sunday February 26th, 4pm

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

    Thieving Magpies are a group of experienced local musicians that play music which includes the Balkans, Scandinavia, Celtic and England as well as their own compositions. The four members of the band are: Graeme Fletcher (double bass), Marni Sheehan (accordion and guitar), Jane Harding (Tenor Banjo, mandola and whistle) and Natasha Mullings (flute). All are vocalists.

    Members of the band have diverse musical backgrounds and influences, with a sense of musical adventure and desire to explore different musical traditions. In Thieving Magpies the group play music from around the world that excites, woos, challenges and entertains.

    Cost: Entry by Donation

    For more information or to book: Nikki Marshall m. 0432 232 073 or e. ycfcpg@gmail.com

    5. Positive Living and Ageing Network in Hepburn Shire

    Hepburn Shire Council is seeking an expression of interest from representatives of service providers and community organisations, to be members of the Positive Living and Ageing Network (PLAAN) 

    Starting with the draft action plan, PLAAN members will assist in developing and implementing actions contained within the plan.

    To have representation at PLAAN, there are 3 commitments required:

    Some homework before the first meeting; attending two induction meetings and attending ongoing quarterly meetings.

    Expressions of interest close 1 March 2023.

    For further information contact Eddie Wyman, Positive Ageing Officer: Mobile: 0438406538 • Phone: 0353216494 • Email: ewyman@hepburn.vic.gov.au

    6. Orchard Keepers- Harcourt

    Things are starting look a lot happier here in the orchard – some of the trees are bouncing back after the intensely wet spring and we’ve been able to harvest some of our usual crops like cherries (all finished now) & plums. Better yet, we’ve been able to get them to our CSA, markets & local retailers. Sadly, the wet winter & spring really hit the apricot, peach & nectarine crop. That’s left a big gap in our hearts this season but also means we are really appreciating every single piece of fruit that has made it to ripeness. Read on for where you can buy, eat & drink our fruit, upcoming events and a few ideas for what to do with delicious plums.

    Where to get our fruit Exciting – our first Castlemaine weekly market TOMORROW! We now have enough stock to bring so we would love to see your faces down at Camp Reserve between 2.30-5.30pm, look for the orange marquee.

    We’ll be bringing three varieties of plums – ‘Pizazz’, ‘Frontier’ and ‘Santa Rosa’ ranging between $9-16/kilo and some of our delicious crisp Pink Lady Apple Juice too. We’ll also have some plums in at Harvest in Castlemaine later this week.

    We’ll be back at both throughout the season with plums and then apples and pears so keep an eye on our social media for updates of where we’ll be.

    Summer Pruning workshop!
    Coming up, we’ve got a Summer pruning workshop (March 18th) for home growers, facilitated by Katie Finlay of Grow Great Fruit.On March 19th, the whole of the Harcourt Organic Farming Co-op will be having an open day so stay tuned for more details if you’d like to come check out our orchard along with the other enterprises here (Gung Hoe Growers, Sellar Dairy & Carrs Organic Fruit Tree nursery).

    For more information: Website 

    7. Castlemaine State Festival and Launch

    Castlemaine State Festival runs from 24 March to 9 April 2023 in Castlemaine, Victoria.

    Now in its 47th year, Australia’s flagship regional arts event The Castlemaine State Festival is launching its 2023 season with a preview event at Castlemaine Goods Shed on Saturday January 28th from 11.00am

    The launch, which is open to the public will feature festival director Glyn Roberts presenting this year’s generous program which includes a vast range of free and ticketed events and the establishment of a new Festival Precinct that will bring Castlemaine alive with contemporary and classical music, performance, dialogues, cabaret, circus, comedy and DJs to entertain while audiences enjoy the best food and beverage options the region has to offer.

    A showcase performance by award winning musician Eliza Hull will also feature at the Festival launch celebration. Recently awarded the Music Victoria ‘Amplify’ award, the APRA mentorship for women in music, the National Leadership Award from the Australia Council and Arts Access Australia and The Women In Music Award, Eliza is making change in the music industry. The time is now for greater representation of differently abled musicians, and Eliza is a huge part of this movement.

    The Castlemaine State Festival is unique in its scope and diversity; the popular biennial event will again draw thousands of visitors from across Australia and overseas to the regional centre to experience a family-friendly, fun, and accessible seventeen-day event.

    Host an artist at Castlemaine State Festival 2023

    The Festival brings some amazing artists to Castlemaine; many of them need a place to stay. Do you have a spare room to host an artist for a night or two? Your support will make a huge difference to everyone involved – you might even make new friends along the way.If you can help with billet accommodation please get in touch with Victoria at billet@castlemainefestival.com.au

    Further information can be found at www.castlemainefestival.com.au or follow the Festival on Instagram and Facebook for updates.

    8. Wombat ForestCare

    Wombat Forestcare members were horrified to discover that the CFMEU is seeking to source sawlogs from the Wombat Forest, in addition to the destructive salvaging of windfallen timber currently taking place; compromising the very values that ensured it was designated to become National Park. In an open letter to the Opal Paper Mill in Maryvale, Gippsland, the union stated that “there is a potentially viable option for alternative timber supply via the Wombat Forest…”.
    On Sunday 11th December more than 70 people from environment groups and the local community came to the Wombat Forest to express their anger at the continued destruction of the forest. Ballarat and Castlemaine Field Naturalists Clubs joined with the Moorabool Environment Group, Ballarat Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation, Bacchus Marsh Platypus Alliance, Actively Conserving Trentham, Central Victorian Biolinks Alliance and Wombat Forestcarers to show their support for the campaign to oppose sawlog harvesting and halt the salvage works in the Wombat Forest. The groups called on the government to immediately legislate the Wombat-Lerderderg National Park.

    VicForests are trucking our windfallen logs to Maryvale, a 520 kilometre round trip, to produce paper, much of it destined for overseas markets. Opal, a Japanese owned company, proudly states that they export to over 70 countries.Not only are there no benefits for the local community, butthe potential for nature-based tourism is being destroyed. A document obtained under Freedom of Information shows the intention to salvage 55,000 cubic metres of timber by
    the end of February 2023 and this covers only a few of the intended coupes. Our iconic threatened species such as the Greater Gliders and Powerful Owls, already under pressure due to loss of habitat from last years storm and current ‘salvage logging’, will be further impacted. With Australia having one of the
    worst extinction rates in the world, do we want these special animals found in the Wombat to join the list?“

    By Gayle Osborne. For more information:  https://www.wombatforestcare.org.au/

    The Rare and Secretive Grey Goshawk

    In recent years there have been a number of sightings of the impressive Grey Goshawk Accipiter novaehollandiae in this district, from as far afield as Elevated Plains in the north, to Lyonville in the east. As rare as it is secretive, seeing this FFGA vulnerably listed species in the wild is always a thrill. Although, one reported sighting was at a Wombat Forestcare member’s kitchen window, which probably can’t be classified as particularly wild. The bird in this photo was seen near the headwaters of the Coliban River and this spot has lots of tall, white barked gums, the sort of bush that the Grey Goshawk prefers. As Grey Goshawks are nearly always of the pure white phase in Victoria, these type of gums can provide them valuable cover as they perch, waiting for hunting opportunities.  And with tails longer than our other diurnal raptors, Goshawks are perfectly adapted for manoeuvring amongst these taller forests in pursuit of prey.

    Grey Goshawks, like many raptors are an example of sexual dimorphism, and in this case, it is the female Goshawk that is larger than its mate. In fact the female, at around 700 grams, can sometimes be nearly twice the male’s weight and it is this size difference that enables her to take larger prey items. The male will increase its prey size in the breeding season when he is responsible for much of the hunting. From birds the size of the Grey Goshawk disturbed when feeding on a rabbit on a roadside at Lyonville South.  White-faced Heron, and medium sized mammals like the Eastern Ring-tailed Possum, these birds are powerful hunters. To be able to drag a ring-tail (they can weigh up to 900g) out of its drey, really shows the strength they possess.

    By Trevor Speirs. Photography © Gayle Osborne.

    9. Stories of Transition  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

    Stories of Transition online series will continue in 2023, second Monday of February, May, August and November.

    You can register now for Monday 13 February 2023 8pm AEDT

    Join us online as we hear three different stories:

    • Lisa Gibson: Transition Bridgetown, WA
    • Robin Krabbe, Live Well Tasmania
    • Meg Ulman, Relocalise Hepburn, Vic

    In sharing our stories and learning from each other we help to make our groups and the Transition movement stronger.
    Info and booking here

    In case you missed it … (or even if you were there)

    The three speakers at our Stories of Transition 7 November 2022 were Tim Drylie, Transition Creswick, Vic; Monica Winston, Transition Streets Geelong, Vic; Karen Majer, Transition Margaret River, WA. Read more here and view the video of their presentations.

    Fashion – Out of the Box!

    Kit Shepherd of Transition Bondi has contributed her reflections on clothing and the fashion industry, the waste and environmental damage, and options such as vintage clothing and creative design. Read more here

    For more information: https://transitionaustralia.net/

    10. Help needed to map old trees of central Victoria

    Connecting Country  has a new mapping portal, aimed at helping community citizen scientists to map the old, and often large, trees of central Victoria. The interactive mapping portal is part of Connecting Country’s larger project, ‘Regenerate before it’s too late‘ that engages the community about the importance of old trees and how to protect them.

    Over the next three years (2023-25), we will continue to host community workshops and develop engagement resources such as the mapping portal and a video. 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.

    The community, including landholders, Landcarers and land managers, will be vital in mapping their favourite old trees of 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 ‘big science’.

    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 (its 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.

    Trees can be tricky to identify, especially eucalypts. If you are unsure about the identification of the tree species, you can:

    • Use the to iNaturalist app assist with identification –  click here
    • Refer to a good guidebook, like those published by Friends of the Box-Ironbark Forests – click here
    • Visit the Castlemaine Flora website – click here

    To record your large old tree, or view the field survey questions and required measurements – click here

    By recording large old 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.

    Euan Jenny and Peter with a large old tree (photo by Beth Mellick)

    Posted by Connecting Country,  20 December, 2022  https://connectingcountry.org.au/

    11. Affordable Housing Consultation- A Home in Hepburn Shire

    Hepburn Shire Council knows that it is getting harder for people to find a home in the local area that they can afford and meets their needs. It is affecting people on lower incomes but also people in key jobs that we need to support our services and local business like hospitality, tourism, farm workers, nurses and other carers.

    In April 2021, Council adopted an Affordable Housing Policy recognising that access to safe and affordable housing was an emerging and critical local issue. We are now developing a strategy and action plan to do what we can to make a difference. Most factors that drive housing affordability are outside the direct control or responsibility of local government and/or the community. However, there are some actions that we can take to encourage and create the right conditions to make more affordable housing available in the Shire.

    This community engagement will include a webinar, survey, an opportunity for people to share their experiences of housing affordability and pop-up sessions. The information collected through these avenues will inform the development of an Affordable Housing Strategy and Action Plan for Hepburn Shire. We’ve analysed research and data on the issue of housing affordability in the Shire – and put together ‘A Home in Hepburn Shire: Issues and Options Paper’. We would now like to hear the views and experiences of our community, and what you think of the possible options we’ve outlined in the paper. Please note that all councillors will be invited to the forum.

    Read the Issues and Options Paper – A home in Hepburn Shire.

    Register your interest to attend the Affordable Housing Solutions Forum which will be held on Wednesday 8 February at Daylesford. Complete the application online.

    The link for people to register: click here to RSVP

    To find out more about Council’s affordable housing consultation visit https://participate.hepburn.vic.gov.au/affordable-housing.

    12. Indigenous Women’s Voices Leadership Summit

    Prepared by Solway Nutting for Nalderun Aboriginal Education Corporation: https://nalderun.net.au/

    Women’s Voices (Wiyi Yani U Thangani): Securing our Rights, Securing our Future is a project that is a collaboration between the Australian Human Rights Commission and the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA). The first two stages of the project were led by June Oscar AO, the Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander Social Justice Commissioner. Stage 1 was the national engagement of women and girls, and Stage 2 the delivery of the Report of the findings. Stage 3 is to happen this year.

    The aim of the project is to recognise the rights and lives of Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander women and girls, and to ensure their voices are heard in decision-making processes. It promotes the importance of basing actions on the strengths and needs expressed by the community of First Nations people. Truth-telling and healing is integral to addressing the inequalities they experience.

    Throughout 2018, well over two thousand First Nations women, of all ages and descriptions and every part of Australia, met in 106 engagements, to discuss their needs and views. The roles of women in their families and communities are central to the new, inclusive and cohesive society we need to develop in Australia. The carefully-presented Report of these sessions, released in 2020, captures what women and girls consider are their key strengths and concerns, the principles they think should be followed in the design of policies, services and programs, and the measures they want that would lead to the fair enjoyment of their human rights.

    The seven overarching recommendations in the report called for a National Action Plan and an Advisory body, a Leadership Summit, empowerment of women and healing of inter-generational trauma, revival of cultural practices and knowledge systems, and actions based in the place or region where relevant – rather than centrally designed. The findings of the Report are being disseminated in accessible ways aimed at improving understanding and participation in the Leadership Summit to come.

    The government released its Response to the Report in April 2022, supporting the recommendations, aligning them with aspects of the National Agreement on Closing the Gap, and listing the relevant Commonwealth Agencies that could deliver the desired outcomes, Equality and Gender Justice. To implement the seven overarching recommendations, long-term, secure and holistic funding is essential, if Closing the Gap is to be achieved. Gender Justice is vital in this. Equality is not to make all people the same, but to appreciate and build on our differences.

    It is to be hoped that all agencies, at every level of government, will listen to the people directly involved, designing culturally sensitive programs and policy frameworks for specific individual locations. It needs to be differently done than formerly. So many of past actions were based on a Western conception of ‘fixing’ the issues.

    The project is now into its third stage, preparing for the First Nations Women and Girls National Leadership Summit this year. A document has already been prepared, the Wiyi Yani U Thangani Implementation Framework, to be used and refined in the First Nations women and girls leadership Summit. It will form the basis of the National Framework for Action. It makes visible and prominent the work, knowledges and initiatives already shown by women and girls in areas such as climate change, developing collective leadership, establishing Birthing on Country centres, financial institutions which invest in social projects, and prevention approaches to end violence against women and children.

    The Summit is intended to empower Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander women and girls and their communities as they participate in government processes, programs and policy frameworks at all levels. A First Nations worldview sees human and non-human beings as equal and existing within interdependent relationships. Over tens of thousands of years, they have lived in and sustained thriving ecosystems.

    Non-Aboriginal people, surrounded by a Western worldview that is based on individualism, hierarchy and compartmentalism, may have difficulty understanding the consequences of this different, more holistic worldview. Making an effort to embrace it will bring a thriving and united Australia much closer.

    13. Daylesford Rural Refugee Advocates Call it A Day

    The Rural Australians for Refugees Daylesford (RARD) have decided to wind up. Spokesperson Heather Mutineer said, “Recently a decision was made for RARD to windup due to a number of factors, but primarily due to the fact that the core active members are growing older and experiencing health issues of varying degrees.”

    Probably their most enduring and well known activity has been the weekly Friday Vigil ‘Toot for Refugees’ in Vincent Street, which began in 2018 and continues until this day. The last RARD vigil at the roundabout will take place on Friday the 6th of January at 5 pm.

    Many organisations in Hepburn Shire are struggling as a result of ageing memberships and decreased volunteerism.  Across Australia community events are being cancelled and emergency services are struggling to cope as the number of volunteers plummets. There has been a long-term decline in volunteering rates which has been amplified by the COVID pandemic according to research by Volunteering Australia.

    RARD has been active for two decades. It began in 2002, holding regular meeting with bring-a-plate suppers at St Matthews in Hepburn. Members visited detainees in Baxter, Port Headland and Maribyrnong on a number of occasions, bringing blankets, snacks and small gifts. Contact with refugees was maintained after their release.

    RARD held art exhibitions, food bank collections and street stalls to raise funds. Large public meetings were held in the Town Hall. Speakers included Julian Burnside and a range of politicians, activists and journalists. Other events included concerts. film nights and garage sales. RARD has struggled to get Australia to deal humanely, legally and generously toward people who approach us for help as asylum seekers and refugees. They see the change of government in Canberra as a an advance, but it will need encouragement and reminders.

    Active refugee advocacy groups continue in Trentham and Ballarat.

    Published by Wombat Post, 16/12/22

    14. Hepburn Shire Welcomes Review of Transmission Lines and Terminal Station

    The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) announced earlier this month that it is investigating options to connect the Victoria to New South Wales Interconnector West project (VNI West) to the Western Renewables Link (WRL) at a location further west than the WRL project’s proposed terminal station at Mount Prospect.

    This may have implications for the route of the WRL and proposed terminal station less than 15km from Daylesford and within prime agricultural land.

    AusNet are reconsidering the route and terminal station location in light of decisions about the VNI West.  AusNet will investigate alternate terminal station locations including sites in the Bulgana and Waubra/Lexton areas.

    Both AusNet and AEMO have received considerable feedback from communities and stakeholders about the powerlines and substation.  As part of the Environment Effects Statement (EES) process, AusNet is investigating project alternatives and evaluating the impact that any proposal to relocate the proposed terminal station will have on the WRL project.

    If the current Mount Prospect terminal Sstation site is retained, it is probable that another 500kV VNI West transmission line would connect the station to Bendigo. If the Terminal Station moves to Waubra/Lexton, the 500kV WRL lines would join the 500kV VNI West transmission line from Bendigo at that point. The proposed route in its majority would remain with a deviation in the Waubra/Lexton area.

    The most favourable location from a Hepburn Shire perspective would be a terminal station at with 500kV WRL line and a 500kV VNI West transmission line running north to Kerang. However, other communities would be seriously impacted. At this stage, the WRL EES will be submitted to the Victorian Government in early 2023. However, if AEMO decides to connect VNI West to a WRL terminal station in a different location, the submission of the WRL EES may be further delayed.

    Hepburn Shire Council has welcomed the announcement that alternative options for the transmission line route and terminal station for the VNI West project are being considered. “Council is incredibly supportive of reliable renewable energy,” said Mayor, Cr Brian Hood, “but these projects will be part of communities for decades to come. They need to be well-planned and thought out. This has not been the case for VNI West nor the Western Renewables Link to date,” said Cr Hood. “We have worked closely with our community to oppose this project and this review is a positive sign that we may be listened to,” he said.

    “The very large terminal station and power lines up to 80m high would be an incredible blight on our landscapes and have considerable adverse impacts on the highly-valuable and productive agricultural land in our Shire.”  While no decision has been made to change the proposed location, Council is optimistic that the review opens the opportunity for a rethink of the project. “We are grateful that levels of government are listening to our community’s concerns with this project and will be very interested in the alternative options that they propose,” he said.

    Published in the Wombat Post   16/12/22

    15. Rethinking Democracy- Democracy 4 Dinner

    You can subscribe to Castlemaine’s Rethinking Democracy newsletter and posts .  The posts are part of Democracy for Dinner’s new channel ‘Rethinking Democracy’, all about what is working in democracy, what isn’t and how we can keep citizens at the centre.


    16. Food for Thought ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

    1‌6.1  On the Road with Thomas Merton – Emergence Magazine 18/12/22

    16.2   Wetland Bounty – Natural Newstead Blog Post:  https://geoffpark.wordpress.com/

    16.3 New podcast episode – Dr. Iain McGilchrist – Rediscovering wisdom in a world gone mad

    Continue reading →
  • November/December newsletter

    37. Mt Alexander LETS

    “Eat locally grown, food in season.” Freshly picked, locally grown, low miles travelled fruit & veggies, homemade preserves, for your family.

    Trading days on Duke Street Castlemaine: Every Saturday morning: 8:30am to 12:30pm.

    Maldon Community Market: 9am to 1:30pm @ Maldon Neighbourhood Centre @ 1 Church Street, Maldon, second Sunday of each month.
    This market can carry home grown produce – fruit & vegies, preserves – relishes, pickles, jams, sauces, soaps & plants. There is no kitchen baked goods at this market.
    “WHOLE FOODS PROJECT” Available at Ma LETS on Duke Street trading days, every Saturday. Organic, Bio- dynamic, wholesale prices, offering a selection of dry goods in size for kitchen use only to start the project. No Bulk orders @ this stage.
    The items supplies available now all @ 4 Pods per bag. Chick peas, Red lentils, Quinoa, Mung beans, Sunflower Kernels, White, Brown & Jasmine rice,
    White Heritage, Wholemeal & White Spelt flour, Rolled Oats, Semolina, Whole grain, Pitted dates, Sultanas, Cashews, Walnuts

    *Contact list:
    Secretary: Matt Gibson 0423140881 email: gibbo68@hotmail.com
    Treasurer Transaction Manager: George Ryan 54762710 email: transmanager@gmail.com
    Ma LETS newsletter: Loretta De’nham malets.editor@gmail.com
    Come to the Trading days to trade your home grown produce, ideas & do you weekly grocery shopping.

    38. Food for Thought

    38.1 https://artistasfamily.is/2022/11/15/stinging-nettle-for-arthritis-and-allergies-neopeasant-medicine-food-series/

    38.2 Life After Progress: Technology, Community and the New Economy – a new collection of essays by Helena Norberg-Hodge and her colleagues at Local Futures. The book is now available from our online store.Some of the essays ask us to rethink our most basic assumptions about progress, poverty, and happiness, while others shine light on the root causes of our multiple crises: from climate change and income inequality to terrorism and right-wing authoritarianism. All point towards the most strategic steps we can take to bring about a healthier, happier world.As Bayo Akomolafe writes in his foreword:“This book is a cartography of sensations guiding us through the din of demise. A map to shake you out of the complacency of being so thoroughly found, so thoroughly intelligible, so worryingly available to the imaginations of the familiar.”

    38.3 https://artistasfamily.is/2022/11/27/permaculture-community-sufficiency-regenerating-ecological-culture-and-economy-2/

    38.4 Living in an ecovillage

    Life in an Ecovillage

    38.5. Ancient Futures: Learning from Ladakh, by Helena Norberg-Hodge, is now available as an audiobook.

    Translated into more than 40 languages, Ancient Futures is a rare first-hand account of an indigenous culture that had avoided the worst impacts of colonialism. It therefore serves as an invaluable lens for questioning deeply held assumptions – ubiquitous in the modern, globalized world – about who we are, and what ‘prosperity’ and ‘progress’ really mean.


    Continue reading →
  • October 2022 newsletter

    When: October 2nd – 22nd- OPEN WEEKENDS 11 – 3 or by appointment

    ORCHESTRA OF EXTINCTION: Artists- Forest Keegel and Amanda King

    Orchestra of Extinction is a contemporary interpretation of a Cabinet of Curiosities that highlights extinction and the vulnerability of threatened species. Conceived in 2014 by Forest Keegel and Amanda King as a decade long project, in which they do annual residencies in threatened species habitat. Where they record sound and video to emanate from old radiogram cabinets that are encrusted with residues of habitat, such as varnish made from plant saps and local beeswax. Each of these cabinets become an archive for a particular species forming a record of what King and Keegel have learnt about them through research, time walking and recording in their habitat and speaking with scientists and local experts. They never imagined koala would be added to the list or that the perils and threats to the biosphere would become so severe so rapidly.

    Orchestra of Extinction watch video

    CONFLUENCE: Artists- Amanda King, Forest Keegel, Simon Dow.

    Reflections of Country. A photo based installation.

    For more information: info@edgegalleries.com; Instagram @edgegalleries

    % full at end September 2022 

    Cairn Curran Reservoir-  97.35%
    Tullaroop Reservoir-  101.17
    Laanecoorie Reservoir –  108.69
    Newlyn Reservoir – 101.55
    Hepburn Lagoon 105.40

    Lake Eppalock – 98.52
    Upper Coliban Reservoir – 101.30
    Lauriston Reservoir –  95.60
    Malmsbury Reservoir –  115.40

    Source: North Central Catchment Management Authority: https://www.nccma.vic.gov.au

    38. Cloth Nappy Workshop

    Hepburn shire Council is running a waste education initiative focused on cloth nappies.

    A workshop was held in mid September but if you missed that, get in touch with Isabelle Hally, Waste Education Officer:

    Phone: 0353216127 • Email: ihally@hepburn.vic.gov.au

    39. Changes to Australia’s fire danger ratings

    Victoria’s fire danger rating have changed and signs are now being replaced. Here’s the news ratings and signage.


    40. Goldfields  Library-Castlemaine- What’s On

    Read Now at Castlemaine Library

    The Read Now collection at Castlemaine Library is a collection of books that you’d find if you walked into any book store right now – available to borrow with no waiting times! New titles are added every month, and we rotate the collection to keep it fresh and super up-to-date. There are multiple copies of each title, so you get them in your hands even quicker!

    You can still borrow them for three weeks, but they can’t be reserved – so when they come back, they go straight on the shelf waiting for you to take them home.

    Book Reviews

    Have you read something really great recently? Want to share it?
    Send us an email with a short review and we’ll include it in our next newsletter – everyone loves a good recommendation

    For more library information: www.ncgrl.vic.gov.au/events

    Check out the library’s latest What’s On program.

    41. Newstead Solar Farm Getting Closer

    LOCAL ENERGY FROM RENEWABLE NEWSTEAD’S SOLAR FARM – A project to generate local energy that’s renewable and competitively priced.

    Renewable Newstead held an information session about their planned solar farm in September. In partnership with electrical retailer FLOW it is anticipated that the local grid connected solar farm, providing 100% renewable energy, will be switched on around mid-2023. Residents of Newstead and surrounding towns and hamlets are eligible to sign up. You can also register to receive updated information. After jumping a bunch of hurdles, Renewable Newstead is now on the home straight to getting this solar farm built and for it to start generating 100% green energy for Newstead and surrounds. You can’t quite sign up yet. As soon as our partner Flow Power has their retail billing system ready we’ll let you know and then you can elect to be an early adopter.

    Meanwhile keep watching for updates on our website at: www.renewablenewstead.com.au

    And for more information, check out our FAQs page at:www.renewablenewstead.com.au/faqs/

    42. Rain, Cairncurran Reservoir and Birdlife

    Natural Newstead’s blog is an inspiring source of information about birds, flora and other wildlife, posted by Geoff Park and with occasional posts from Patrick Kavanagh. Extracts from the blog below, posted at the end of August, show one of our precious waterways and birds making the most of this wet season.

    With some good rains, soaked soil our waterways are flowing beautifully. Cairn Curran Reservoir has come up significantly. A kayak trip upstream from the bridge on the Pyrenees Highway on the weekend was pure delight.

    A group of Australian Pelicans (Pelecanus conspicullatus) were hanging around the lower reaches near the bridge. The can be few sights as magnificent as watching these birds in flight.

    On a branch of one of the old, dead River Red Gums that line the main channel of Joyce’s Creek (now well under water) a Royal Spoonbill (Platalea regia) rested.

    Ducks were abundant further up the creek, especially Pacific Black Ducks (Anas superciliosa) and Grey Teals (Anas castanea).

    Long-billed Corellas were also around in big numbers, some of them checking out hollows in the dead trunks and branches.

    Long-billed Corella

    There were a few Whistling Kites (Haliastur sphenurus) around, patrolling for fish or whatever else they could snatch off the water. Below the Kite’s roosting spot, Welcome Swallows (Hirundo neoxena) rested between sorties to hawk small insects above the water.

    A few kilometres upstream from the bridge, there was a great abundance of Straw-necked Ibis (Threskornis spinicollis) and a few Black Swans (Cygnus atratus).

    43. Bendigo Climate Alliance

    Bendigo Climate Alliance aims to connect, support and promote community groups, organisations and businesses in Bendigo that are actively working to combat the climate emergency.’

    Bendigo Climate Alliance is organising a calendar of events to celebrate what is happening in Bendigo and encourage people to join in the action to address climate change at the local level. You can view the calendar on the website or facebook page: https://www.bendigoclimatealliance.au  
     For further Information: Elsie L’Huillier, Commoners Co-op

    44. WALKING TOGETHER –A Journey Towards Solidarity 

    Janet Phillips

    I would like to Acknowledge the Traditional Custodians, Elders past, present and future of Djaara Country, on which I write this. I also Acknowledge other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who live on this land, or who are reading this. I was born on GunaiKurnai Country, my ancestors are primarily of English origin and my two sons were born on Djaara Country.

    I think my journey of solidarity really started in the early 1990’s, when with friends we became early supporters of the Pay the Rent campaign, and we were invited to join in on Invasion Day commemorations. We dressed up as convicts, went aboard a tall ship in Port Philip Bay, launched a longboat and landed on St. Kilda Beach. We were met there by local Boon Wurrung and Wurundjeri people, spears at the ready. Our (role-playing) Commander kindly requested and was given permission to come ashore, where we were warmly welcomed by local people. As newcomers, we signed a pledge to honour this Country and the people of this Land.

    On moving to Djaara Country in the mid 90’s, local treasure Vic Say introduced me to Reconciliation Learning Circles, a self-directed exploration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and history, of colonisation and the impacts of racism on our countrymen and women. As a small group at Castlemaine Community House, we created a safe space to challenge one another and to learn what Reconciliation could actually mean for us. One community activity our group initiated was a Women’s Story-telling Day. We invited local female Aboriginal Elders to share their stories with us as together we created a large wall hanging to represent our connection to Country, local lore and people. It was displayed in Green Goes the Grocer for many years.

    In the early 2000’s my sons were in the Community Class (a multi-age parent-guided classroom) at Winters Flat Primary School. We were very fortunate to have Elder Aunty Julie McHale as our Lead Teacher. Aunty Julie’s generous offerings and teachings deepened our knowledge of local country and our connections to local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

    In 2012 our family took a year to travel through the Central Desert and Top End, finally arriving in Gapuwiyak, Northeast Arnhem Land NT. The boys enrolled in school and my partner and I took on community development roles. I later also developed another project where I mentor a local woman, Minay Wunungmurra, to manage a whole of community Nutrition and Wellbeing program. We have fun creating community events like Family Cooking Competitions and Women’s Bush Camps, all underpinned by the ever-present nature of health issues in remote communities. Over these eight years Minay has become a respected local authority on Yolngu nutrition and is about to take on mentoring the program herself.

    In 2019 I started work in Darwin developing a social enterprise that works side-by-side with remote Aboriginal Corporations to build both-ways capacity in social and human services delivery.  And now, I am back in Castlemaine, a member of the Friends of Nalderun and part of a group hosting Self Reflection Conversations in Castlemaine. These are facilitated conversations for those who wish to become a good ally to First Nations people, to reflect on white privilege, racism and de-colonisation.

    I have found in my relationships and conversations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, that an open hand is always extended; I always hear ‘We can do this together, my sister’. I believe this open hand is linked to an open heart and an open mind and I aim to embrace this in my journey toward being a good ally. As we collectively move closer to enlivening the Uluru Statement from The Heart and making real Voice, Treaty, Truth, I invite you to consider how you too can become an ally. All you need to do is to start somewhere and follow it everywhere.

    If you are interested in joining a Self-Reflection Conversation, please email: reflectionconversations@gmail.com

    Nalderun Education Aboriginal Corporation is a service that supports the Aboriginal Community, led by Aboriginal people. Many people and organisations in the Mount Alexander Shire contribute to Nalderun; the name is a Djaara word meaning “all together”.

    More information can be found at www.nalderun.net.au

    45. 1,000 Plants for Climate Change Resilience

    During August Connecting Country has been creating 1,000 sturdy wire trees guards, laying out the plots, planting, and labelling 1,000 Silver Banksia (Banksia marginata) and Sweet Bursaria (Bursaria spinosa) to identify individuals and provenances most suited to survive in our changing climatic conditions.

    Each plot has been carefully set out to allow tracking of each plant into the future.  Mixing up provenances within the plot will increase the likelihood they will share pollen between plants when they flower and reproduce. This sharing of this genetic information may help the plants adapt as our climate changes. Once the plants are established, monitoring will allow us to assess plant growth and success.

    The two climate future plots are located near Castlemaine and Metcalfe, with one having 500 Sweet Bursaria and the other 500 Silver Banksia. Both are key species for our local woodlands and landscape.

    We have sourced plants from a variety of provenances, from local populations as well as further away. We started by looking at the Bureau of Meteorology’s climate predictions for our region, and selected seed from areas that are anticipated to match our predicted future local climate, focusing on areas that are hotter and drier. However, we also included seed from areas that are cooler and wetter. We aimed to include genetics from a wide range of environments, as we don’t know what will be important in the future. There may be other genetic information stored within a particular provenance, such as the ability to survive insect attack or frost resilience, that plants from hotter and drier areas do not have. We then paired these climate predictions with species distribution and the availability of seed or plants, to make our final plant selection.

    We will be holding a tour of the climate future plots over the coming year, once the plants are established.

    500 Sweet Bursaria planted at the plot near Castlemaine (photo by Bonnie Humphreys)

    Exerpt from Connecting Country Post on 18 August : https://connectingcountry.org.au/

    46. Food for Thought

    45. 1 Documentary- Sunday 16th October at 6pm with a Double Screening of Seed’s Water is Life documentary and Frack Free Kimberleys’ Fighting Giants followed by a panel of young First Nations people. Organised  by SEED- Indigenous Youth for Climate Action, at Cinema Nova Carlton .

    RSVP here to secure your spot

    46. 2 LISTEN: About how Adelaide’s ‘extinct’ Indigenous language Kaurna was brought back to life after 100 years of barely being heard. (Thanks to Milkwood e-news)

    46.3. Essay called Ancient Green. Moss, Climate, and Deep Time by Robin Wall Kimmerer for Emergence Magazine

    46.4. Planet Local short film series- Our short film series -an inspirational collection of free-to-view films that feature local food and farming projects around the world — with a particular focus on projects started by young people.

    46.5. Watch/Listen to Rufus Wainwright lead a huge choir in singing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”, from issue #67 of Dumbo Feather.  Watch

    46.6. Community libraries that lend things promote neighbourhood sharing and reduced consumption


    46.7 Water in the Landscape- a Dja Dja Wurrung perspective

    Chain of Ponds installation with Aunty Nichols in Hargraeves Mall Bendigo

    46.8 School-based solar and battery virtual power plant pilot kicks off in NSW

    School-based solar and battery virtual power plant pilot kicks off in NSW

    46.9. Repair With Heart – Making Fine Furniture From Foraged Urban Materials

    Peter Owen kitted his home out with free things found discarded in city streets by foraging his local urban ‘forest’ – the streets and laneways of Sydney.

    See The Upcycled Furniture 


    Continue reading →
  • August 2022 newsletter


    Rest is the conversation between what we love to do and how we love to be. At Rest Stop Retreats we guide you to have that embodied conversation. Allow the experience to nourish your nervous system and soothe your soul. Join Wander into Wildness and the Foundation to Come Home at a beautiful location in Maldon, central Victoria. Nat and Fran will guide you with: • Sound meditation • Mindfulness • Nature connection • Gentle movement • Nourishing lunch • Morning and arvo teas. BYO mat, water bottle and cosy things. We’ll be gathering on private land in central Victoria on Dja Dja Wurrung country (near Castlemaine)

    Rest Stop is not a doing ‘workshop’. It’s a simple (but clever) restorative program for complex times.

    Rest Stop Retreats Spring – Sat 3 Sept, 2022 – Maldon, Central Victoria


    Book now

    29. Walking Together – Towards Makarrata- The Seven Sisters

    Makarrata = ‘coming together after a struggle, facing the facts of wrongs and living again in peace.’


    The Seven Sisters dreaming story is widely known by First Nations people. Although it has many names and variations, the theme remains constant: a story of a forbidden pursuit and a daring escape, of desire, magic and family bonds. The star cluster named the Seven Sisters, or Pleiades, consists of about 300 stars, with seven of the brightest named for the daughters of Atlas and a nymph, Pleione, from the Greek myth about the Pleiades.

    Seen from southern skies, the constellation is part of the Milky Way, and rises above the horizon near Orion in the warmer months.

    Desert people know the Seven Sisters as a creation story. As the sisters flee from their pursuer, they form features of the landscape, rocks, water holes and springs. They escape by transforming into stars. The songline for the dreaming story goes from deep in the Central Desert out to the west coast, travelling through many different language groups. It teaches vital skills and lessons of surviving on the land, of changing seasons, of the bonds of family and relationships – how to live with each other, how to live in the environment, and how to be in tune with the spiritual realm.

    An evil sorcerer, Yurlu (Orion), admired the beautiful sisters. He wanted one as his wife but he was not of the correct skin group, so marriage was forbidden. In spite of that, he pursued the sisters back and forth across the deserts. They escaped capture every time; once they dug a hole through the back of the cave where he had ambushed them. Yurlu sent a magic carpet snake slithering over the rocks. The sisters grabbed it, thinking it would be good to eat. But the moment they saw Yurlu prowling they realized it was magic, and threw it away. Desperately they sought refuge in the sky. The trickster followed them and the pursuit continues today, with the Pleiades stars being chased across the sky by the Orion constellation.

    Amongst its many uses, the story teaches that when Orion can be seen appearing above the horizon in Central Australian springtime, the snakes come out. Beware they don’t catch you!

    Here in Dja Dja Wurrung  country Orion is Kulkan Bulla. He is an old man teaching a younger one how to dance a special dance, part of men’s business. The Pleiades or Seven Sisters might be the women playing their possum skin drums for the dancers at public ceremonies.

    Creation is made visible through such teaching stories, songlines, ceremony and art.

    Nalderun Education Aboriginal Corporation is a service that supports the Aboriginal Community, led by Aboriginal people. Many people and organisations in the Mount Alexander Shire contribute to Nalderun; the name is a Dja Dja Wurrung word meaning “all together”.

    More information can be found at www.nalderun.net.au

    30. Food for Thought

    30.1 New Economy Network RECORDINGS AVAILABLE

    30.2. Colin Tudge: Farming for People, not Profit

    Colin Tudge is a biologist, writer, and co-founder of the Campaign for Real Farming. In his plenary talk at the 2018 Economics of Happiness conference, in Bristol, UK, he shared his insights on modern agriculture and called for food sovereignty, economic democracy and respect for local, traditional knowledge and practice


    30.3. Noam Chomsky in conversation with the Post Carbon Institute

    Although Noam Chomsky’s critique of US domestic and foreign policy often sparks controversy, few can dispute his standing as one of the leading public American intellectuals of the last century. At the age of 93, Chomsky has witnessed and spoken out about a whole host of episodes and trends in American life, which is why I wanted to speak with him as a follow-up to the Crazy Town episode we recorded on the influence of Powell Memo and the rise of neoliberalism.

    Specifically, I wanted to get Noam’s response to something provocative the British author and columnist George Monbiot wrote a few years ago: “the left and centre have produced no new general framework of economic thought for 80 years,” — at least not an alternative to neoliberalism that operates in a world of environmental limits and a climate crisis.

    I hope you give my conversation with Noam a listen on your favorite app, a view, or read the transcript.
    TL;DR: Chomsky’s critique of neoliberalism – its failures in practice coupled with its dominance as a tool of what he calls “class warfare” – is utterly scathing. But he disagrees with Monbiot’s (and admittedly PCI’s own) views about the limits of Keynesian “green growth” economic policies. And yet Chomsky’s emphasis on community power, going back to his childhood experiences, strongly resonates with themes explored in Season 4 of Crazy Town and PCI’s strong emphasis on the need for community resilience.

    Continue reading →
  • July 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

    1. Home Energy Savings Workshop


    When: Sunday July 31st, 2pm

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

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

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

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

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


    2. National Tree Day

    When: Sunday July 31st

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

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


    3. Gibbo– Local Talent Brings Suspenseful Play to life


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Rated MA15+


    4. Repair Cafes including pulling things apart workshop

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

    When: Sunday August 28 from 2pm – 4.30pm

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

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

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

    Presented by:

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

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

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

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

    What: Django Fretts Concert- Gypsy Jazz Quartet

    When: Saturday  August 27th, 7pm

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

    Entry by donation

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

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

    6. Castlemaine Free University- Landcare and Wildlife Conservation

    WHEN? 7pm–9pm, Monday 1 August 2022


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

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

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

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

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

    FREE with drinks at bar and publications for purchase

    7. Words in Winter– Daylesford, Hepburn and Yandoit

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

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

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

    8. Hepburn Matters and The Rex

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    9. Northern Arts Hotel- Castlemaine

    Where: 359 Barkers St, CASTLEMAINE

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

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

    OPEN MIC – Castlemaine Live Streamed from the Coolroom

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

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

    10. Participating in Council meetings- Have your say

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

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

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


    11. Bird of the month: Blue-billed Duck

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

    Blue-billed Duck (Oxyura australis)

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

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

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

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

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

    12. Newstead Arts Hub- Exhibitions and Workshops

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

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

    Check the What’s On page.

    12.1 Plein air painting-  Bringing the outside in

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

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

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

     12.2 Relax into drawing workshop

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

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

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

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

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

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

    10 workshop places (max.)

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

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

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

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

    Book here

    12.4 Film Screening: Zorba

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

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

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

    13. Rehabilitation of Mining Land- Have Your Say

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

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

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

    The consultation closes on August 17th, 2022.

    14. Newstead Men’s Shed

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

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

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

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

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

    15. Concerns re commercial billboard outside Castlemaine pistol club

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

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

    Braided Rag Rugs- (on line or in person)

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

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

    Introduction to Handloom Weaving

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

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

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

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

    Look at Me: The ants keeping an endangered butterfly alive

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

    To listen to the Eltham Copper Butterfly podcast – click here

    For other Look at Me podcasts – click here

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

    18. Screening Planet Local – A Quiet Revolution

    What: Film Screening followed by discussion.

    When: Monday September 5th, 7pm

    Where: New Northern Hotel, 359 Barkers St, Castlemaine

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

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

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

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

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

    19. Victoria’s Renewable Energy Zones- Public Consultation

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

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

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

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

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

    1.     Victorian Transmission Investment Framework: Preliminary Design Consultation Paper

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

    3.     Options Paper: Access for Victorian REZs

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

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

    20. Wararack Initiatives- Networking Event

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

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

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

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

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

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

    21. Wombat Forest

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

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

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

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

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

    22. Towards Zero and Community Grant recipients  in Hepburn Shire

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Daylesford Girl Guides – Ovens – $1,360

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

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

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

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

    23. Storm Recovery – Photography Competition

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

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

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

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

    24. Farming Program- Regenerative Agricultural Training

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

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

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

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

    25. Hepburn Wholefoods Collective

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

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

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

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

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

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

    26. Digging Deeper for Soil Health Project

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

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

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

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

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

    27. Tree Project- Growing Indigenous Seedlings

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

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

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

    28. Victorian Landcare Grants

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

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

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

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

    29. Hepburn Energy- Community Retail Offer

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


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

    30. Food for Thought

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


     What might a world without money look and feel like? Here, in images from communities all round the world — some of which you might well recognise — is a vision of a possible future where people live in balance with nature. Hand-crafted in Castlemaine by a small team, namely Leonie Van Eyk (editor, animator), Bronwyn Silver (images) and the late Bruce Rogers (soundtrack, music).
     See embedded on this page — https://anitranelson.info/beyond-money/
    Continue reading →
  • June newsletter
    Botanist, teacher, writer, and member of the Potawatomi nation, Robin Wall Kimmerer has a lot to say about ancient moss beings, who were the first plants to cover the Earth. ‘Mosses, I think, are like time made visible…The mosses remember that this is not the first time the glaciers have melted…’. Kimmerer points out that mosses document a passage of time that is not linear.  ‘…the knowledge we need,’ she says, ‘is already within the circle; we just have to remember to find it again…’
    There are beings on this planet older by far than the human imagination. These ones await our apprenticeship, wait for us to turn to them and begin to breathe again. Four hundred fifty million years ago mosses travelled from the primordial waters and began a great experiment in evolution, as Kimmerer writes, ‘an experiment of which we are all a part, whose ending is unwritten.’
    Unwritten, because it is unknown. That’s where the mystery comes in, the acknowledgement that there is more to this world, to this life, than we know. There is knowledge more vast and deep than the torrent of information exploding out of our cell phones; there is a knowing far truer than our overwrought images. It is here all around us, greenly shimmering under the surface of things in this pandemic-ridden threshold, this new ground. 
    Lindsay McLaughlinFriends of Silence website, June 2022  https://friendsofsilence.net/

    Welcome to the June edition of Localising Leanganook. In this edition you’ll learn about:

    1. Community Forum on Affordable Housing in Hepburn Shire
    2. Classical Guitar and Cello Concert in Yandoit
    3. Rooftop Solar Feasibility Tools
    4. Bush walk in Castlemaine
    5. Social and Affordable Housing Strategy Launch
    6. Committees Seeking Members – Reconciliation and Gender Equity
    7. Climate future plants arrive
    8. Home Energy Savings Workshop
    9. Winter Sounds Festival
    10. Logging in National Parks- Letter
    11. Expanded transmission lines through our region
    12. Ordering locally grown fruit trees
    13. Castlemaine Documentary Film Festival
    14. Championing Community power hubs
    15. Size Matters- community challenges large supermarket in Castlemaine
    16. Growing Abundance
    17. Support for solar on community buildings and businesses
    18. Lock the Gates to Gold Mining
    19. From Fibre to Fabric and beyond- Exhibition at Newstead
    20. Castlemaine Free University
    21. Place Based Capital Program
    22. Bird of the month: Long-billed and Little Corella
    23. Repair Cafes
    24. Supporting Creative Practice
    25. Landcare grants
    26. Wilderlands platform launched
    27. Earth-Centred Futures Online Course
    28. Planting brings back woodland birds
    29. Food for Thought: Planet Local – A Quiet Revolution; Walking Together towards Makarrata; Documentary encourages Repair- SCRAP

    1. It takes a village- Community Forum on Affordable Housing in Hepburn Shire ‌

    When:  Sunday 26 June 2022,  2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
    Where: Daylesford Senior Citizens Centre
    Learn how affordable housing can generate shire-wide benefits for all.
    An update on the affordable housing strategy.
    Hear about innovative approaches.
    Discuss ideas and solutions.

    2. Classical Guitar and Cello Concert in Yandoit

    Come and enjoy a fabulous evening of live music with Darcy King on guitar and Ceridwen McGooey on cello on Saturday June 25th, 7pm at Yandoit Cultural- the old church in the bush- Uniting Church Rd, Yandoit.

    You will hear a selection of classical, folk and original music, old and new, drawn from Australia, Latin America, Wales and elsewhere. Some of the original music will include Ceridwen’s latest collection- Conference of the Birds.

    Both Darcy and Ceridwen have graduated with honours from the Conservatorium of Music (Melbourne University).Darcy and Ceridewn are generously donating this performance to support Yandoit Cultural- the Uniting church which is now a community cultural space and managed by the community.

    Cost: By Donation (to help keep this beautiful church, with excellent acoustics, in community hands)

    Tickets:  contact Alison King (0415 555 081) or Nikki Marshall (0432 232 073)

    When: Saturday 25 June at 7pm

    Where: Yandoit Cultural – the old church in the bush, Uniting Church Road, Yandoit
    For more information – https://www.facebook.com/yandoitcultural

    3. Rooftop Solar Feasibility Tools

    ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

    What: Rooftop Solar Feasibility Tools – Training for Communities
    When: 2 – 4:30pm, Wednesday 29 June
    Where: Online via Zoom (link will be sent in the week before the training)
    The Community Power Hub Loddon Mallee is offering Rooftop Solar Feasibility Tools Training! Run by Andrew Reddaway, the creator of Sunulator, this training will give you the basic skills and hands-on experience with both Sunulator and Pylon, so you can support more rooftop solar projects in your community.Through this interactive 2.5 hour training you will gain the technical experience needed to assess the viability of rooftop solar on any building, learning to understand tariffs, consumption, and costs related to rooftop solar installations.

    Click here to book your place. Get in quick though, there are only 15 places! Once these are full, we will have a waiting list; we will contact you if a place becomes available.

    Some experience with spreadsheets and some knowledge of electricity data is useful, but pre-course notes and a Sunulator file will be sent out in the week prior to the training. A Windows-based computer is ideal and Microsoft Excel is a must. To read more about about the tools: https://renew.org.au/resources/sunulator/

    If you have any questions contact Melissa Abel (Project Manager):  e: melissaa@bsg.org.au | p: 0421 704 064

    4. Bush walk in Castlemaine

    The next Australian Conservation Foundation bush walk will be on Friday 24th June, starting from our meeting point at 10.00 am and returning to the meeting point by 12.30pm. Join us for two short loop walks, enjoying some expansive views and taking in part of the unique cultural landscape of the Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park.  The meeting point is approximately 5km from Castlemaine.

    The two walks will take approximately 2 to 2.5 hours in total.  The tracks are quite rocky and slippery in places, so sturdy footwear is very important.  Also, please wear suitable clothing, bring drinking water and snacks, and protect yourself from sun, mosquitos, wind and rain.

    Register here: https://www.acf.org.au/june_2022_bushwalk  If you register, we will have an idea of how many are coming so we don’t leave you behind if you are running late!  Please include your phone number when you register, so we can call you if you haven’t arrived by 10.00 am or if there is a belated change. Friends and family are welcome but should register individually, as we like to have names and contact numbers for all participants. If you want to carpool from Bendigo, contact Philippe: 0400198375 or bonne.philippe1950@gmail.com

    Photo: Parks Victoria

    5. Social and Affordable Housing Strategy Launch

    Organised by : My Home Network

    When: Wednesday June 29th, 7-9pm

    Where: Castlemaine Town Hall

    The local My Home Network (MHN) are launching their 10 year social and affordable housing strategy next Wednesday 29th June 7-9 pm at the Castlemaine Town Hall

    The Network’s Vision and Mission:
    Our vision is for people in Mount Alexander Shire to have access to safe,affordable, secure, sustainable and appropriate housing that recognises their place in and connections to community.
    Our mission is to support a strengths based approach in housing delivery and reform that is linked to community health and well-being, social inclusion, gender equality, Indigenous self-determination and climate change adaptation. Indeed part of a broader and deeper system change that builds a more equitable

    Underpinning this housing strategy is a whole-of government and community approach. We will embed values of collaboration, inclusion, innovation and learning, acting on lived experience and a commitment to best practice principles in housing design.

    The My Home Network is a group of organisations and community members formed in 2019 in the Mount Alexander Shire. It all began with a Castlemaine Community House project to support local women to re-engage in waged work. The findings demonstrated that one of the predominant barriers to their re-
    engagement in waged work was a lack of affordable housing. This instigated a community forum, bringing community members, lived experience of housing crisis, and various housing, community and government organisations together to discuss the housing crisis in Mount Alexander Shire. One of the
    outcomes of the forum was the formation of the My Home Network.

    6. Committees Seeking Members – Reconciliation and Gender Equity

    Hepburn Shire Council has a number of community advisory committees which seek to provide community inputs for policy and strategic direction. These committees provide a mechanism for community voices to be included directly in local government decisions.

    Two advisory committees are currently seeking community members: the Gender Equity Advisory Committee and the Reconciliation Action Committee.

    Gender Equity Advisory Committee

    Council established the Gender Equity Advisory Committee (GEAC) in 2021. The aim of GEAC is to provide Council with advice on improving gender equity within Council and the community. The concept recognises that people may have different needs and power related to their gender and that these differences should be identified and addressed in a manner that rectifies gender related imbalances. Council is now calling on applications from suitably qualified and experienced community members for vacancies on GEAC. Applications  close Friday 8 July 2022. For those interested in applying, read the Terms of Reference, and apply through the GEAC webpage. For enquiries, please contact customer service 5348 2306.

    Reconciliation Advisory Committee

    Hepburn Shire’s Reconciliation Action Plan is a 12 month business plan outlining what the organisation will do within its sphere of influence to contribute to reconciliation. The plan is based around three key areas of action: Relationships, Respect and Opportunities. Council is calling for expressions of interest from community representatives to serve on the Reconciliation Advisory Committee (RAC). The RAC provides a forum for Hepburn Shire to consult key stakeholders and seek advice regarding the process, development, and implementation of the next Reconciliation Action Plan.

    For more information contact Annette at amillar@hepburn.vic.gov.au or on 0477979828/53216409.

    7. Climate future plants arrive

    Connecting Country extends a warm welcome to our 1,000+ recent arrivals of Silver Banksia and Sweet Bursaria plants. The plants have arrived from locations all over southeastern Australia, as part of our ‘Future-proof our forests’ project. In 2021 Connecting Country secured funding support from the Ross Trust to establish two climate future plots of 500 plants each, right here in Mount Alexander region during 2021-23.

    We are focusing on two species from our local area, Silver Banksia (Banksia marginata) and Sweet Bursaria (Bursaria spinosa). Both are key species for our local woodlands and landscape. We have sourced a variety of plant provenances of these plants, from local populations as well as some from further away. We started by looking at the Bureau of Meteorology’s climate predictions for our region and selected seed from areas that are anticipated to match our climate into the future, focussing on areas that are hotter and drier.

    However, we also included seed from areas that are cooler and wetter. We aimed to to include genetics from a wide range of environments, as we don’t know what will be important in the future. There may be other genetic information stored within a particular provenance, such as the ability to survive an insect attack, or frost resilience, which plants from the hotter and drier area do not have.We then paired these predictions with species distribution and the availability of seed or plants, to make our final plant selection.

    Connecting Country’s Landscape Restoration Coordinator, Bonnie Humphreys, said ‘The aim of our two climate future plots is to create seed production areas and provide climate-adapted seed for use in future revegetation projects. They may also help us identify provenances most suited to survive in our changing climatic conditions’. ‘We are excited to have reached the stage of planting at the climate future plots, and look forward to watching them grow over and monitoring their progress over coming seasons,’ said Ms Humphreys.

    The plants will be delivered from the depot to the climate future plot sites in the coming weeks, and guarded by sturdy wire plant guards. Each plot has been carefully set out to allow tracking of each plant into the future.  Mixing up provenances within the plot will increase the likelihood they will share pollen between plants when they flower and reproduce. This sharing of this genetic information may help the plants adapt as our climate changes. Once the plants are established, monitoring will allow us to assess plant growth and success.

    Stayed tuned for more updates once the plants are in the ground and protected with plant guards. We will be holding a tour of the climate future plots in coming months.  Learn more about climate future plots: For more information on climate future plots, see:

    • https://www.greeningaustralia.org.au/climate-future-plots/
    • https://connectingcountry.org.au/what-is-a-climate-future-plot/

      8. Home Energy Savings Workshop ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌‌ ‌ ‌

      What , When and Where: FREE 2 hour workshop: Sunday July 31st, 2 – 4pm at the West End Hall, Castlemaine

      Join the West End Resilience Energy Group and guests for the following session:

      Understanding your Energy Bill

      • Where does my energy come from? Why does it matter?
      • How to understand your bill and your consumption data.
      • Choosing a retailer. What should I consider? (Including the Power Saving Bonus Program)

      Basic Intro to Home Energy Efficiency for Everybody

      • Energy Efficiency in Context and Energy Basics – Why would we want an energy efficient home?
      • Appliances and Efficiency – Heating, cooling, hot water systems, and lighting
      • Building Shell Efficiency – Draughts, insulation, windows – practical tips and demonstrations

      We encourage participants to bring along a recent power bill that they can practice interpreting.

      There will be physical examples of draught-proofing materials, insulation, and external blinds etc, and the latest information about rebates for energy efficient appliances and upgrades.  ALL WELCOME!  Any questions /  further info: Email ilkajanewhite@gmail.com ‌

      9. Winter Sounds Festival

      The inaugural Winter Sounds music series will finally take place this July in Daylesford, delivering an all-Australian music lineup and plenty of country charm.

      Winter Sounds takes place from 15 to 17 July across a variety of venues in Daylesford and surrounds. Tickets and a full program are available now from wintersounds.com.au.

      Produced by the team behind the award-winning Riverboats Music Festival in Echuca, Winter Sounds will see a lineup of top Australian artists perform at some of the Daylesford region’s most atmospheric and character-filled heritage venues over three big music-filled days running from 15 to 17 July. Kicking off on Friday 15 July with the sublime sounds of award-winning soul band Emma Donovan & The Putbacks and support from Fenn Wilson at the Daylesford Uniting Church, the three-day event will see five separate performances hosted at a mix of truly unique historic sites across the Daylesford region.

      Director David Frazer says that each of the five performance spaces –– a charming mix of old churches and Gold Rush-era halls –– will offer audiences a chance to be transported to a different time and place for a set of intimate and extraordinary musical experiences. “Winter Sounds will bring some of Australia’s best-loved performers to Daylesford and surrounding hills while drawing attention to some of the region’s most beautiful and sometimes forgotten heritage buildings. With this unique combination of talent and atmosphere, we’re hoping to deliver a really special set of experiences for our audiences.”

      On Saturday 16 July, rockers Cash Savage & The Last Drinks will play a matinee performance at the wonderfully quaint, 100-year-old Bullarto Village Hall with support from The Peep Tempel’s Blake Scott; while Saturday evening will see internationally celebrated bluesman C.W. Stoneking take to the grand Daylesford Town Hall stage supported by Harmony Byrne. On Sunday 17 July, Melbourne alt-country legends The Luke Sinclair Set will perform at the 1890-built Glenlyon Town Hall supporting cosmic country star Freya Josephine Hollick, and the series will culminate with an afternoon performance by high energy seven-piece soul-jazz ensemble Jazz Party at the superb Palais Hepburn Theatre.

      Audiences can choose to purchase tickets for one or all of the five performances, while enjoying local wine and food in dedicated pop-up bars at each of the venues.

    10. Logging in National Parks- Letter


    “In the same week that the Victorian government announced permanent protections for Victoria’s three national parks, it also flagged new penalties for anti-logging protesters” wrote Angela Crawford in “Stakes high for forests” Midland Express 31st May ‘22. The irony is that at the same time as the government is offering this protection, it will not happen until 2030, and in the meantime Vic Forests, under the guise of “a recovery plan for the Wombat State Forest,” is flat out removing hundreds of trees. To log old growth forest in a climate emergency, to destroy the life blood of the planet when we are trying to curb global warming is madness, and it beggars belief that the authority put in charge of our forests could be so stupid; not to mention that by the time the area is declared a national park, a large proportion of the forest, including habitat for threatened species, will be gone. What happened to the Vic Forests plan to grow plantations, so that there would be a sustainable supply of timber and pulpwood? To log old growth trees for paper is an inexcusable act of environmental vandalism. According to Angela, there has been a number of local activists who care deeply about the forest and the creatures that live in it, and who have been campaigning for more than two decades to save it. They are convinced that this is much more than a “recovery plan”. So it is shocking to hear, that if they continue with their efforts, under these new laws they are likely to be fined up to $21,000, or go to jail for at least 12 months. Local State member for Macedon and Victorian minister for agriculture, Mary-Anne Thomas, always quick to say that she supports   climate action, now says that protests are becoming increasingly dangerous -particularly for workers, and that this legislation is needed to minimise disruption to the industry, but she doesn’t mention that the workers have been misled by Vic Forests and should not be logging old growth at all. Virtually all scientists agree that if we aim for net zero emissions by 2050, the emissions will have reached a level that will cause global heating greater than 2 degrees C, which will have catastrophic consequences for our climate; think the unimaginable – more frequent and more severe droughts, cyclones, floods and unstoppable bush fires, and all the threats that they would bring to our shores.

    Trevor Scott,  Castlemaine  Trevorscott3@gmail.com

    1 1. Expanded transmission lines through our region

    Since the early 1960’s a 220,000 volt powerline has traversed Werona, Yandoit Hills & Clydesdale as well as other locations in central Victoria  on its route between Ballarat to Bendigo. In 2019 the market operator (AEMO) determined that Victoria needs a stronger power line to NSW (VNI-WEST) & affirmed that the (yet to be built) Ballarat North & Bendigo Substations are on the preferred route. The Ballarat North substation placement and powerlines are being challenged by Hepburn and Moorabool resident groups (including Piss off Ausnet).

    The proposed route for the new line will most likely follow the existing powerline easement & this will be determined over the next few years. The line is schedule for construction from 2029-32. The new towers will be massive, up to 80m tall & will carry 6 conductors (the existing towers are 35m tall with 3 conductors). More info on AEMO website: https://tinyurl.com/Yandoittowers. Email Richard Johnson, who lives in Yandoit Hills, if you want to be kept up to date on developments: Richard.johnston@jouleadvisory.com

    12. Ordering locally grown fruit trees

    Katie, Liz, and Merv from Carr’s Organic Fruit Tree Nursery in  Harcourt, have fruit trees for sale including a variety of apples, apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches and plums. You’ll need to act quickly before they are gone.

    Order fruit trees by June 30

    For more information email:  carrsorganicfruittrees@gmail.com

    13. Castlemaine Documentary Film Festival

    When: July 1st – 3rd, 2022

    Where: Theatre Royal – 30 Hargraves St, Castlemaine


    LOCALS – the Opening Night, is taking advantage of what our region has on offer – an abundance of local regional talent. It’s a fun time to dip in and discover some of the things that inspire and energize our locals- a splendid array of creativity. We hope everyone will be as surprised as we were! And we hope everyone will come join us, and stay on for VibeMaster. It’s the perfect way to kick off the festival weekend: 1st – 3rd July. The chance to revel together as we see some of what our locals get up to ! You are guaranteed a fun time. Also we’ll need your vote for the inaugural LOCALS Audience Favourite Award – with the Winner and Runnerup’s announced on the evening when we take a short break during the music.

    We went on an intense, wonderful hunt for films which turn the lens of human experience on to the themes and issues at the heart of what we do and why we do it. We were determined to make each program offering distinct, in order to create a broad gathering together of creative and invigorating storytelling –  and finally bring to fruition the additional screen-based surprises we’ve been planning.




    This year’s Realise The Possible celebrates the connection between filmmakers, films and audiences and the lure of documentary storytelling with a diverse line-up of eight outstanding documentaries, stimulating panel discussions, conversations and parties. Films are also available online.

    Over the weekend you won’t have far to go for your sustenance between the films – The Stone Soup Kitchen ( Castlemaine Community Garden & Kitchen) will be in the Theatre Royal Courtyard providing hearty soups and good bread to festival –goers and it’s open to all-comers. Never heard of the Stone Soup parable? It goes like this:  a starving traveller comes to a little village, so poor it’s inhabitants never shared a morsel of the little food they have.  So the hungry traveller borrows a big pot, fills it with water and puts it over a fire in the village square  –  and drops into it a smooth stone.
    A villager wanders up to see what’s cooking and the traveller offers him a taste, saying the stone soup was nearly done but it could do with an onion. “I’ve got an onion,” the villager says  –  and adds it to the pot.  Then along comes another villager with two scrawny carrots … and so it goes until there’s a huge pot of soup which the whole village share – and give the stone back to the traveller when he leaves.So between films, share a soup with us:  it’s a well-known fact that Castlemaine stone is particularly tasty.

    For more information go to: CDOC WEBSITE

    14. Championing Community power hubs

    Hepburn energy is inviting residents to Sign on to the Community Power Hubs letter today to help save this critical program. ‌ ‌ ‌Join the call for the State Government to champion Community Power Hubs and commit to baseline funding.

    The Victorian State Government has been a leader when it comes to community participation in our energy system. A key centrepiece of this agenda is the Community Power Hubs program that empowers local people to grow renewable energy, promote energy independence and build resilience. Better still, this program skilled up local organisations across Victoria, giving them the resources they needed to build trust and support real projects on the ground.

    Hepburn Energy has benefited from this program, delivering the “Hepburn Branch” of the Grampians Community Power Hub. With these additional resources, we were able to facilitate solar, batteries and energy efficiency for community facilities and a heat pump hot water bulk buy. This is just a small part of what this program has delivered so far. From Bendigo to Ballarat, the Latrobe Valley and Mornington Peninsula, this program is helping communities skill up, create their own solutions and be part of the transition to renewable energy.

    But the 2022 state budget has left community energy groups out to dry, with no future baseline funding for the Community Power Hubs. This has put many community-led energy projects in free fall and left our state’s energy transition up to big energy companies rather than community leadership. That’s why we’re calling on the Energy Minister, Lily D’Ambrosio to champion Community Power Hubs and make sure that the state government commits to this essential program.  Sign on to the letter today!

    Thanks to Friends of the Earth and the Coalition for Community Energy who are leading this campaign. ‌ ‌ ‌

    15. Size Matters- community challenges large supermarket in Castlemaine

    Concerned residents of Castlemaine have gathered together to object to the size, scale, urban planning and traffic implications of the application for a larger supermarket—3,300 sqm plus approximately 420 sqm for two retail shops-  fronting onto Forest Street. The Group are not objecting to a third supermarket in Castlemaine-  a permit for a third supermarket was granted by Mt Alexander Shire Council in April 2018.

    The matter is being addressed by VCAT. Proceedings started in March, with two weeks of presentations. An additional week has been set aside from July 4th 2022. Eleven individual objector respondents to the proceedings lodged submissions with VCAT.

    To be physically viable the developer needs to subsume public land at the southernmost end of Urquhart St (to become part of the car park) and a road reserve/right of way between 2a Duke St and 2 Duke St (to become the loading bay). Without this acquisition of public land the larger development as currently proposed does not fit onto the proposed site.

    To date, respondents have presented to VCAT that the proposed loading bay of the development off Duke St and the entrance and exit points on Forest St will create significant traffic snarls from approximately the Castle Motel through to Barker St, inbound and outbound. The group has highlighted the risk that traffic will seek relief for this congestion by using the residential road network around e.g. Andrew St, Mostyn St and back onto Urquhart St, and, similarly, inbound traffic can seek to avoid the newly signalised intersection at Forest St and Urquhart St by turning left into Railway Avenue and right into Britton St, to name a couple of examples.

    This congestion is predictable from the projected influx of shoppers from the surrounding communities of McKenzie Hill, Campbells Creek, Guildford, Newstead, Muckleford, Maldon, Wesley Hill, Chewton, Taradale, Elphinstone, Barkers Creek, Harcourt and Castlemaine itself, i.e. those who are no longer going out of town to do their shopping. We have also argued that a Road Safety Audit (RSA), which takes into consideration the interests of all road users, is so far absent from the developer’s application. The RSA is a Department of Transport requirement and involves an independent, formal examination of the proposed project’s accident potential and road safety performance. Duke Street and Forest Street are roadways built to service traffic in a small town. There is no adequate provision to adapt them to accommodate safe access and egress from a supermarket the size of the proposed development and the vehicle movements it will generate.

    Other submissions focus on aspects of the Mount Alexander Shire Planning Scheme and the associated Design and Development Overlays: DDO15 which applies to the eastern portion of the proposed site and DDO7 which applies to the western portion. Objectors believe the proposed design does not achieve the design objectives of these Design and Development Overlays. Numerous requirements for buildings and works in both overlays are either disregarded or insufficiently applied. The proposal disregards many requirements governing building configuration and setbacks, site layout and car parking design, access and movement, which are needed to promote integration with the commercial centre and good urban design outcomes on this ‘gateway’ site.

    Objectors will continue to make presentations to VCAT  and expert witnesses will be called and cross-examined by legal counsel. As a group of individual objector respondents are not legally represented but have the right to cross-examine and/or to make a right of reply at the end of proceedings.

    16. Growing Abundance 

    It is well and truly winter and bounty is not plenty, but it is potent. At Growing Abundance this month a bunch of volunteers came out to Guildford to pick plenty of plump olives from a beautiful grove. We have been processing those olives using a variety of different methods and will end up with bucket loads to share! Our pruning workshop with the Orchard Keepers at Harcourt Organic Farming Cooperative was a success for those that came. Katie from Grow Great Fruit shared so much knowledge and the Co-op lunch was delicious!

    Whats happening next?

    Great news! Our ‘Grow What When’ calendars have been printed and are available for purchase!  Click here to purchase or find out more info. Thanks so much to the Hub Plot in Castlemaine for sponsoring the printing.

    We are still looking for any excess fruit to harvest! Do contact us if you have any excess lemons or fruit that you need help picking and distributing.

    It’s pruning season! If you are a fruit tree owner or are interested in learning more about caring for them, have a look at ‘Grow Great Fruit’s website. It’s packed full of great information and access to short courses to get you started on fruit tree care. And if you missed out on our pruning workshop with the Orchard Keepers this round, have no fear. We are planning to hold more events in the near future to get people skilled up and pruning. So stay tuned and stay in touch!

    hello@growingabundance.org.au or  go to the website https://www.growingabundance.org.au

    17. Support for solar on community buildings and businesses

    An initiative of Community Power Hub Loddon Mallee

    Did you know support is available to fund solar for your community building, business, or facility?

    Bendigo Sustainability Group & Community Power Hub Loddon Mallee stand for clean energy, owned locally for the benefit of OUR region. They are available & willing to support groups & individuals to realise solar power on their facilities.

    To learn more & take action you can attend a Community Discussion Online via Zoom this Thursday evening:


    If you cant get to the workshop you can find more information on clean energy benefits & the support subsidies & funds available, visit www.bsg.org.au/solar or contact Bendigo Sustainability Group: 03 54435244 | hello@BSG.org.au | www.bsg.org.au/contact

    18. Lock the Gates to Gold Mining


    Locals around Victoria, including concerned residents living in and around Hepburn, Mt Alexander shires as well as greater Bendigo, have banded together with the support of Friends  of the Earth and formed the group:  Alliance for Responsible Mining Regulation.  Lock The Gate signs are available to put up on your  gate or fence at a cost of $5.00. Email Debra at: hello@nominingyandoitregion.com or John at:  johnlewis@arcimedia.com.au

    19. From Fibre to Fabric and Beyond- Exhibition at Newstead

    By Newstead Spinners group

    From Fibre to Fabric and Beyond illustrates how natural fibre is transformed to create a range of fabric types for functional, expressive and decorative purposes. Enjoy demonstrations of fibre preparation and various fibre crafts including fibre preparation, spinning, dyeing, felting and weaving by members of Newstead Spinners. Your chance to view and participate in these activities and purchase beautiful hand-made items.

    Open: Weekends from June 4th to 26th at Newstead Arts Hub, 8a Tivey St, Newstead


    Newstead Spinners Group began 45 years ago as an informal gathering of interested fibre crafts people. Friendship and an open sharing of skills and curiosity about all things fibre, have been at the heart of Newstead Spinners ever since. Not all who join the group spin yarn, but all love to create using mostly natural fibre of various kinds.

    Newstead Spinners regularly have workshops, have a library of fibre craft books and members can borrow equipment owned by the group for that purpose. We meet every second Tuesday at the Newstead Community Centre from 10.30 am to 3 pm. Visitors are welcome. Contact: Sally 0400 922 027.

    20. Castlemaine Free University

    Next event: Monday August 1st, 7-9pm,  at Northern Arts Hotel, 359 Barker St, Castlemaine Mount Alexander: Connecting Country and Friends of the Box–Ironbark Forests and Landcare

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

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

    Speakers are: Newstead resident and ecologist Asha Bannon is a FoBIF committee member, was a Landcare Facilitator and is a volunteer with Connecting Country. She is particularly interested in wildlife conservation and community engagement. Guildford resident Hadley Cole recently joined Connecting Country as Landcare Facilitator for the Mt Alexander region having worked in various environmental management and conservation roles with government and non-government organisations. Inaugural member of Golden Point Landcare, Marie Jones has spent years on the Natural Resource Management Committee of the North Central Catchment Management Authority, and on both Connecting Country’s Management Committee and the FoBIF Committee since their inception.

    FREE with drinks at bar and publications for purchase

    Castlemaine Free University: For details and subscribing to our e-list — https://anitranelson.info/cfu

    21. Place Based Capital Program


    Local councils, development authorities, NGOs, community and other interested parties are invited to participate and/or partner in the Place Based Capital Program.

    • Does your region have local development and investment opportunities but you struggle to secure the capital to deliver them?
    • Are you tired of applying for temporary and ad-hoc grant funding and philanthropic donations?
    • Would you like a more permanent source of capital and an investment vehicle that’s owned and led by your region and understands and values the development and investment opportunities?

    After 12 months of consultation and co-design with local community, business and government across Australia, Ethical Fields in partnership with The Yunus Centre – Griffith University  present the Place Based Capital Program – creating local wealth, investment self-reliance and resilience.

    “Local regions and communities are eager to make a difference and invest in their region. They report that there are strong development and investment opportunities in their local area. However, to capitalise on these opportunities, they require locally aligned capital. Beyond capital, they also desire more control and influence over local capital, economic and development activity. They would like to ensure the benefits of this activity flow back into the hands of local people and organisations” Meaghan Burkett, Director Community Wealth Building

    The Place Based Capital Program (Proof of Concept Phase) will bring together a group of representatives from local places and regions across Australia to to design a local investment system and structure so that local places, businesses and councils have access to a dedicated and reliable source of capital to invest in local development and investment opportunities – place based capital. The program builds on the learnings and challenges of others that have tried to establish a local investment vehicle alone, by exploring and designing options that utilise collaboration, aggregation and/or mutualisation with other local regions across Australia to achieve economies of scale and access to larger forms of capital.

    By the end of the program, and having worked together through the process, the goal is for the group to create a ready to build solution, effective partnership, mandate and the collective ability to engage the stakeholders and resources required to establish place based capital in their regions and across Australia. The program adopts a collaborative and co-funded model bringing together interested places and regions from across Australia to work together through a facilitated and structured process. This delivers significant value for your investment and enables your region to:

    • Develop valuable relationships and a community of practice with like-minded regions and peers to support your journey
    • Learn more and achieve more together than you could alone
    • Receive the outcomes and outputs for a fraction of the total cost
    • Be in a stronger position to move forward with your place based capital goals

    We invite your region to be part of this program and community of practice.

    For more information: Download the proposal for the Place Based Capital Program here.

    Contact us at https://ethicalfields.com Or join our information sessions about this program. Reserve your seat here: https://bit.ly/PlaceBasedCapital

    Places are limited. Registrations close 8 July 2022

     22. Bird of the month: Long-billed and Little Corella

    Welcome to our 26th Bird of the month, a partnership between Connecting Country and BirdLife Castlemaine District. Each month we’re taking a close look at one special local bird species. We’re excited to join forces to deliver you a different bird each month, seasonally adjusted, and welcome suggestions from the community. Thanks to Damian Kelly and talented Jane Rusden from BirdLife Castlemaine District writing about our next bird of the month, accompanied by their stunning photos.

    Long-billed Corella (Cacatua tenuirostris) and Little Corella (Cacatua sanguine)

    Damian Kelly on wild Corellas

    The story of Corellas in Australia is one of boom, bust and boom. And along the way some hard lessons have been learnt about misguided control measures that had exactly the opposite impact to what was intended.Back in 1878 in the Kimberley in Western Australia one estimate put a flock of Little Corellas at 50,000 birds. The noise of their calls was unbearable as anyone who has been close to a flock would appreciate. Many very large flocks have been recorded across various parts of the inland.

    The Little Corella has been used as a reliable guide to the presence of water by both the local Aboriginal groups and the later European settlers. Little Corellas are seldom found far from permanent water sources as they drink each day and occupy communal roosts near water in wooded farmlands, tree-lined water courses and nearby scrublands.  Unlike northern Australia, in Victoria Little Corellas were first recorded in the dry north-west of the state in 1951. Steady expansion of their range occurred so that by the early 1970s flocks were common throughout the north-west. By 1978 they were recorded near Melbourne, probably assisted by accidental or deliberate releases of captive birds.

    First records in Tasmania were in 1982, most likely from releases of captive birds. They experienced a spectacular spread in South Australia from the 1950s. Little Corellas have adapted with ease to the changing environment of farms throughout inland Australia. Right from the early days they were kept as pets partly because they they are good talkers. There are even early records of some birds speaking in local Aboriginal dialects. They will readily breed in captivity and are also known to hydridise with Galahs and Pink Cockatoos in captivity. Hybrids with Galah have also been recorded in the wild. Long-billed Corellas originally were generally confined to south-eastern Australia. However, feral populations are now established in all states. They prefer wetter habitats compared to the Little Corella.

    Long-billed Corella in the wild displaying the very long bill, pink face and stripe across the base of the neck (photo by Damian Kelly)

    As a salutary lesson in messing with nature, in the early 1970’s large numbers of Long-billed Corellas were trapped by government agencies in grain growing areas. These birds were then sold into the pet trade. However, these wild birds proved to be totally unsuited to being pets and many were subsequently released, adding to feral populations. This impact of human intervention has only served to aid the spread of the birds. Big flocks continue to cause damage to crops in many areas as well as big roosting groups denuding their roost trees. Life expectancy for both species is around 20 years with some individuals living much longer. So once a mob is established in an area they will be around for a long time.

    Jane Rusden on captive rescue Corellas

    Interestingly, Damian’s research lead us to the realisation that my sweet aviary rescue bird, ‘Bird’, may well have been one of the Long-billed Corellas captured in the 1970s. His language indicates he’s about that age … I won’t enlighten you on his full phrase, but ‘grouse’ is the cleanest word, a word commonly used in the 1970s. Also, his leg band indicates he was taken from a nest during a cull. Both Corella species are very long lived –  70 years is expected, hence they often outlive owners. This can be a problem as they are very emotional birds who can become very attached to their humans. Their needs are much like those of a human child, but they also have distinctly bird needs as well. If these are not met by their owners, it can lead to a miserable, and sometimes aggressive bird. They are intelligent and crafty. Bird is an excellent escape artist, requiring padlocks on his aviary, which he can open if a key is left in them. ‘Chookie’ is my Little Corella aviary rescue. He is charismatic, loving, has amazing language, and is very adept at undoing quick links. He bites with pressures over 300 pounds per square inch (PSI). Despite trying, I can’t meet his needs and have the physical scars to show for it. He is about to join a large aviary flock, where we hope he will be happier with a mob of his own kind.

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

    23. Repair Cafes 

    Castlemaine and surrounds: last Sunday of the month (July 31st) ,  10am to 1pm, at at Castlemaine Community House,
    30 Lyttleton St Castlemaine, behind the Town Hall. Enter from the car park at rear to the back door.
    Broken household appliances and sewing repairs.
    For further info call on Chris 54705508  Gold coin donations appreciated.
    Daylesford : 3rd Sunday of the month, 1-4pm, at Victoria Park Pavillion
    For further information contact  Nikki (0432 232 073) or Danny (0488 604 231) or go to the facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/daylesfordrepaircafe/

    24. Supporting Creative Practice

    What: Professional Development workshops for Artists at Goods Shed Arts‌ . Skills, Structure and strategy to support creative practice.  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ A series of six two-day workshops over the course of 2022, providing essential inspiration, skills and support for artists of all descriptions, who are forming, sustaining or rethinking their professional practice. Each workshop is stand-alone; commit to the whole program for a significant discount. Workshops happen on Thursdays and Fridays from 10 am to 3 pm with lunch provided.

    Cost: $300 per 2-day workshop or $1200 for the whole series of 6. Book your sessions here or read below for all the details.

    Venue: The Goods Shed, Kennedy Street, Castlemaine

    WORKSHOP ONE: Creative Visioning – Knowing yourself, working with others & planning to sustain your practice – 13-14 July, 10 am-3 pm.

    In this workshop, you will develop your values and vision to create a foundation for your practice. That vision will be formed into a sound strategy that can sustain you, including looking at income streams and self-care. On day two we will explore the principles and practice of collaboration – working with others is an essential aspect of arts practice. Facilitator: Lucy Mayes with guests Kate Stones, Bob and Heather McNaught. Panel discussion on collaboration: Reece Hendy, David Hughes, Hermione Merry. BOOK NOW

    WORKSHOP TWO: Creating Digital Content One – Photography, Video & Audio- 11-12 August, 10am-3pm

    Creating digital content is an essential skill for artists, whether it’s documenting your work or creating an online workshop, or providing ‘self-tape’ video auditions. During the workshop, you will have the opportunity to refresh or create your own headshots with our professional photographers. Facilitator: Leonie Van Eyk. BOOK NOW

    WORKSHOP THREE:Creating Digital Content Two – Editing Principles & Techniques- 15-16 September, 10am-3pm

    With your intimate connection to your practice, it can be challenging to select the material from your body of work that shows you at your best. This workshop will cover key editing principles and techniques for stills, video and sound. How to kill your darlings, without making too much of a mess! BOOK NOW

    WORKSHOP FOUR: Your Online Presence- 13-14 October, 10am-3pm

    In this workshop, you will explore creating your own website with applications such as Square Space and WordPress. The workshop will cover the importance of understanding how to use Social Media effectively, combining different platforms, interacting online, and online safety. Facilitator: Jess Grant BOOK NOW

    WORKSHOP FIVE: Delivering Effective Workshops-3-4 November, 10am-3pm 

    Delivering workshops is an essential skill for artists who want to operate in the professional sphere. Many residences and touring opportunities require artists to deliver community workshops of some sort. It’s one thing to know your stuff, but different skills come into play when you create an engaging and rewarding learning experience for groups of all ages. Over the course of the workshop, we will work together to create workshop plans based on your practice. Facilitator: Kate Stones.

    WORKSHOP SIX: Business & Administrative Skills- 1-2 December, 10am-3pm

    Get your head around the business and financial skills such as negotiating and contracting, doing a realistic budget, identifying funding opportunities, organising an auspice, making sure you get paid, invoicing, tax and legal issues. The pointy end!

    25. Landcare Grants

    2022 Victorian Landcare Grants are NOW OPEN.

    Here’s the Ministers media release: https://www.premier.vic.gov.au/victorian-landcare-grants-and-junior-grants-now-open

    For all current Victorian Environmental Grants, visit: https://www.environment.vic.gov.au/grants

    VLG Grant Round details:

    • Project Grants can be up to $20,000
    • Support Grants up to $500
    • Applications need to be made online via SmartyGrants
    • It is essential you read the guidelines and talk to the Regional Landcare Coordinator about your proposed project to ensure your organisation and activities are eligible.
    • Applications need to be in by 5pm Tuesday July 26 (6 weeks away)

    For the guidelines and application links visit: Landcare | North Central Catchment Management Authority (nccma.vic.gov.au)

    Junior Landcare and Biodiversity Grant details:

    • Grants of up to $5,000 will be available for projects that provide young Victorians with an opportunity to participate in hands-on biodiversity projects or educate them in valuing and actively caring for biodiversity the environment.
    • Applications close 3pm Tuesday 9 August 2022.
    • For more information, visit Junior Landcare: 2022 Victorian Junior Landcare Grants | Junior Landcare

    26. Wilderlands platform launched 

    Connecting Country attended the stakeholder launch of the much anticipated ‘Wilderlands’ project in Kyneton on 2 June 2022. This ambitious project promises to make investing in biodiversity  easier for the community and businesses alike. Wilderlands provides people with the ability to protect Australia’s biodiversity through the purchase of Biological Diversity Units which each represent one square meter of land protected in-perpetuity.

    Wilderlands was created right here in central Victoria by Paul Dettmann, Ash Knop and the team at Cassinia Environmental. It aims to combat one of the world’s major environmental issues: biodiversity loss. The launch focused on the aims of the project and the importance of addressing the loss of habitat and species, which are irreversible.  The Wilderlands platform aims to bring investors, community and landowners together to make permanent protection of land for nature a reality. The goal is to contribute to reaching the United Nations’ target of 30% of global land being preserved for nature by 2030, at an affordable cost.

    About Wilderlands

    Wilderlands provides individuals and organisations with the ability to protect Australia’s biodiversity through the purchase of Biological Diversity Units which each represent 1sqm of land protected in-perpetuity. The platform offers a practical solution to a complex problem and is partnering with landholders to provide a marketplace where those individuals seeking to make protecting the planet a priority can engage with projects having impact and track their progress over time through geo-tagged units and regular reporting on the conservation work happening at each location. The platform provides users with the opportunity to customise their impact, ranging from the landscapes and locations they wish to support through to their preference for supporting with options including subscription or one-off contribution.

    Wilderlands is a response to the need for greater investment in nature, aiming to develop a solution that is both accessible and scalable by aligning the interests of landowners, conservationists, consumers, and large corporates making protecting the planet possible. (From the Wilderlands website). To learn more, visit the Wilderlands website and sign up for their e-news, which will update you on when the platform is open to the public for investment – click here

    How Wilderlands works

    Make a direct and lasting impact on Australia’s biodiversity. For less than the cost of a cup of coffee you can ensure the permanent protection of a specific area of land. Wilderlands is a pioneering marketplace which facilitates scalable and lasting investment into biodiversity conservation. This enables businesses and individuals to make a direct and lasting impact on the world’s natural habitats and threatened species. Wilderlands has created a platform which sells biodiversity units to businesses and individuals. For each unit sold, the customer is protecting one square metre of Australia’s fauna and flora.

    Research: We work with landholders of properties that have high conservation value following assessment by accredited ecologists as part of the government conservation plans in states across Australia.

    Plan: These assessments quantify the ecological units that can be protected and develop a detailed management plan to ensure the protection of the biodiversity on these properties which may include threatened species habitat and ecological communities.

    Protect: The landholder enters into an agreement (covenant) with a statutory authority to conserve and protect this land in-perpetuity. This contract is recorded on the land title and the covenant permanently controls land use and management.

    Register: The site and its ecological (biological) units are then recorded on independently managed registers. This process replicates the well established carbon market and ensures integrity and transparency of impact and ownership of units.

    Impact: Wilderlands provides you with the opportunity to purchase these geotagged units and help protect Australia’s biodiversity in perpetuity, watching as nature flourishes thanks to your support.

    27. Earth-Centred Futures Course

    An online course centred around Earth-centred governance and law during July and August, run by the Australian Earth Laws Alliance.

    • Download the Course Outline here
    • Facilitated by Dr Michelle Maloney and featuring experts from multi-disciplinary fields including Indigenous knowledge, western science, law, economics and policy.
    • Who should attend? Everyone! This course is aimed at a general audience of practitioners and scholars who wish to learn about how to integrate ecocentric thinking and practice more effectively into their own work
    • 8 week ONLINE course, from 12 July to 30 August, 2022
    • Live classes will be held on Tuesdays from 5pm to 7pm Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST)
    • Live tutorials will be offered 4 times during the 8 week course, based on course participants’ availability
    • All classes will be recorded for course participants
    • Participants can choose to participate in assessment (entirely optional) to earn a digital badge and certificate from AELA
    • For more information, contact us at aela@earthlaws.org.au

    Introduction to Earth Laws

    • Facilitated by Dr Michelle Maloney and featuring experts from legal fields including Earth jurisprudence, Rights of Nature, Ecocide, Indigenous First Laws and more
    • Who should attend? Anyone who has an interest in Earth-centred governance and law. Lawyers, legal scholars and law students will find the course particularly beneficial, and will be able to claim Professional Development points from their relevant jurisdiction. Non-lawyers will also find the course beneficial, as it will enrich their knowledge and practice.
    • 4 week ONLINE course, from 6th to 27th September, 2022
    • Live classes will be held on Tuesdays from 5pm to 7pm Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST)
    • All classes will be recorded
    • Participants can choose to participate in assessment (entirely optional) to earn a digital badge and certificate from AELA
    • For more information, contact us at aela@earthlaws.org.au


    Some of our guest speakers include:

    • Adjunct Associate Professor Mary Graham – Adjunct Associate Professor, Political Science, University of Queensland and Kombu-merri and Waka Waka First Nations person
    • Professor Will Steffen – Earth System and Climate Scientist – Climate Council and co-creator of the Planetary Boundaries framework
    • Professor Brendan Mackey – Forest ecologist – Director of the Griffith Climate Action Beacon (Griffith University)
    • Professor Robert Costanza – Ecological economist – Institute for Global Prosperity, University College London
    • Professor Yin Paradies – Professor of Race Relations, Deakin University
    • Mari Margil and Thomas Linzey – Legal Attorneys & Rights of Nature experts, Center for Democratic and Environmental Rights (United States)
    • Maria Mercedes Sanchez – UN Harmony with Nature
    • Dr Michelle Maloney, National Convenor, AELA


    • $295 per person for people from not-for-profit and community organisations
    • $495 per person, for people from government or the corporate sector
    • Payment plans are available
    • A limited number of scholarships are on offer

    For more information, please visit www.earthlaws.org.au/education or email: aela@earthlaws.org.au

    28. Planting brings back woodland birds

    Connecting Country was heartened to recently discover some robust scientific research that supports our observations: revegetation with suitable indigenous plants really does bring back woodland birds! The new research was published in the Journal of Applied Ecology, and shows planting trees and shrubs brings woodland birds back to farms, from superb fairy-wrens to spotted pardalotes. The research was conducted by a team of respected academics, including Professor Andrew Bennett, who is a long-term friend of Connecting Country and helped design our bird monitoring program.

    Connecting Country works with landholders and community groups to restore landscapes across the Mount Alexander region of central Victoria, with a focus on restoring habitat for woodland birds on both public and private land. Our key actions include fencing to protect remnant vegetation, changing grazing regimes, controlling pest plants and animals, planting revegetation and nurturing natural regeneration.

    We focus on restoring woodlands and degraded landscapes for the benefit of our woodland birds and other wildlife. Through Connecting Country’s long-term bird monitoring program, we have a solid database that allows us to assess changes in woodland bird populations over time. Analysis indicates that our landscape restoration efforts are having a positive impact on woodland birds.

    Revegetation of degraded woodlands is a key focus of Connecting Country (photo by Gen Kay)

    The research also concluded that scattered trees are valuable habitat features for birds. These large old trees act as stepping stones that help birds move across the landscape, and provide foraging and nesting habitat for species such as Brown Treecreeper, Laughing Kookaburra and Eastern Rosella. They found individual patches of revegetation have the greatest value for birds when they include a diverse range of trees and shrubs, are close to or connected with native vegetation, and are older (meaning the plants have had more time to grow).

    To read a news article about the research, courtesy of The Conversation website – click here
    To read the full scientific article in the the Journal of Applied Ecology – click here
    Connecting Country have been providing plants for landholder revegetation projects for over a decade (photo by Jacqui Slingo)

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

    29. Food for Thought

    29.1 Planet Local – A Quiet Revolution This new film,  created by Local Futures, is both a powerful critique of economic globalisation and a celebration of the kaleidoscope of grassroots initiatives that together form a growing movement for change: away from corporate rule towards the true democracy that more local markets make possible. Away from the screens of the mainstream media, the crude ‘bigger is better’ narrative that has dominated economic thinking for centuries is being challenged. As people work to protect and restore their local economies, their communities and the natural world, countless diverse initiatives are demonstrating a new path forward for humanity. It’s a path that localises rather than globalises, connects rather than separates, and shows us that human beings need not be the problem – we can be the solution.

    The film is built around edited presentations made for an event organised by Local Futures – World Localization Day – featuring prominent thinkers and activists from 6 continents, together with on-the-ground examples of localisation in action, the film highlights some key issues:

    • The disproportionate power and influence exerted by a handful of giant multinational corporations
    • The role of governments in supporting globalisation — through taxes, subsidies and regulations
    • The madness of “redundant trade” that sees countries routinely importing and exporting identical quantities of identical products
    • The crucial connection between localisation and diversity
    • The role localisation can play in helping to rebuild community
    • The political changes needed to move from here to there
    • The “unstoppability” of localisation

    Contributors to Planet Local – A Quiet Revolution include: Vandana Shiva, Russell Brand, Noam Chomsky, Helena Norberg-Hodge, Naomi Klein, Jane Goodall, Iain McGilchrist, Gabor Maté, Brian Eno, Jeremy Lent, and many others.

    Produced and created by: Helena Norberg-Hodge
    Written and directed by: Helena Norberg-Hodge, Henry Coleman and John Page
    Creative direction: Nara Peek-Silva

    Here’s the link to the trailer:

    Note: A local screening of the film Planet Local- A Quiet Revolution will be held in Castlemaine in August or September including potential to form discussion groups. Localising Leanganook’s July e-news will provide more information.

    29.2 Walking Together towards Makarrata

    Makarrata = ‘coming together after a struggle, facing the facts of wrongs and living again in peace.’

    NATIVE TITLE SINCE MABO- by Solway Nutting

    Calls by First Nations groups for title to their never-ceded lands have been made since early colonisation. Locally, in the 1840s, the Protector Edward Stone Parker joined his voice to the Dja Dja Wurrung in calling for land rights at Franklinford. Two of the men leased acreage from Parker after the station was closed, but all the families had been moved to Corranderrk by the early 1860s. The handback of the Wave Hill station to the Gurindji people in 1975 was the first time the Commonwealth government had transferred Aboriginal land to its original owners.

    Thirty years ago in June 1992, the High Court upheld the claim led by Meriam man Eddie ‘Koiki’ Mabo, along with David Passi and James Rice, that they held rights over the Murray Islands in the Torres Strait. The decision acknowledged the existence of Aboriginal law and custom prior to the establishment of the Australian nation, recognising First Nations’ connection to land and waters. After two centuries of injustice the earlier legal position that Australia was ‘terra nullius’ was now overruled.

    A new set of laws, the Native Title Act (1993), was intended to ‘rectify past injustices’. The Act’s four objectives, besides recognition and protection of native title, included how future dealings would proceed and how claims would be determined. In the decade after the Mabo decision a series of High Court decisions tested the implementation of the Native Title legislation, as in the Yorta Yorta Decision of 2003. For many groups the claims test was hugely difficult, especially for those forcibly moved off their land. The test required proof they had existed as a society prior to British sovereignty, practising law and custom through to the present day.

    In 1996, the High Court found that native title could co-exist with pastoral leases, but that where a pastoral lease and a native title right were inconsistent, the non-native title rights prevail. This controversial Wik decision led on to the government greatly extending the extinguishment regime, to their ‘ten-point plan’ and to the Native Title Amendment Act 1998.

    The harsh intervention into Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory Emergency Response, from 2007 to 2022, besides creating great hardship, anger and fear in the scores of townships affected, did not deliver culturally appropriate economic benefits for the communities.

    The Australian Law Reform Commission report of 2015 recommended 30 changes to the Native title Act, to ‘refocus on the core elements of native title law, to facilitate an effective determination process’. The South West Native Title Settlement of 2018, described by some as ‘Australia’s First Treaty’, was approved by the Noongar Nation in Western Australia. They agreed to surrender certain native title rights in exchange for a comprehensive settlement package. The first time the High Court considered and confirmed how compensation under the Native Title Act should be assessed came in 2019. Called the Timber Creek Decision, it dealt with calculating compensation for economic and cultural loss arising from violation of native title rights.

    About one third of Australia is now subject to some form of land tenure (including Native Title), often with co-existence or co-management agreement for land and waters between Indigenous and non-Indigenous groups. In Victoria, alternative agreement-making processes enable traditional owners to negotiate a ‘recognition and settlement agreement’.

    The Mabo case had been an important step for the Australian legal system, but as yet, parts of our legal foundation as a nation are still tied to the colonial past. The limitations on resolving ‘unfinished business’ between the Australian State and First Nations peoples include the unfair burden of proof, non-exclusive title (limiting its economic utility), no recognition of the right to self-government, and the slowness, sometimes many years, for land claims to be resolved.

    Principles of recognition, equality and justice are very much needed to redress the appalling disadvantages for First Nations people. The injustices and untruths that play such an insidious role are yet to be fully addressed.

    Nalderun Education Aboriginal Corporation is a service that supports the Aboriginal Community, led by Aboriginal people. Many people and organisations in the Mount Alexander Shire contribute to Nalderun; the name is a Dja Dja Wurrung word meaning “all together”.

    More information can be found at www.nalderun.net.au

    29.3 Documentary encourages Repair- SCRAP

    The Canadian film director Stacey Tenenbaum has just released SCRAP. This environmental documentary aims to raise awareness about a disposable culture’s environmental and social impact. It also encourages people to get involved in repair initiatives. Read more


    Continue reading →
  • April/May 2022 Newsletter

    We (humans) are a lot like other parts of nature in a lot of ways. But we’re also different in really critical ways that we have to understand, because if we don’t take an obligation associated with that difference, we will self terminate….I was talking with an Aboriginal friend Tyson Yunkaporta . He was saying that one of the oldest stories his people told was that when the stone tool was invented, the animal spirits came to the people and said: “we’re turning stewardship of the biosphere over to you now because you’ve developed this kind of capacity. If you continue to use it not as stewards, you’d ruin everything”. So with that capacity comes a stewardship and the people understood…stone tools turn into bronze age tools and iron age tools and then nuclear tools…with that power came responsibility

    (Daniel Schmachtenberger, interviewed in Dumbo Feather Magazine, no. 69, March 2022, p.50)

    Welcome to the April/May Localising Leanganook e-newsletter. In this edition you’ll find information about:

    1. Music at Yandoit Cultural– Ken Buddha Trio performs the Calamity of War
    2. Clunes Booktown Festival
    3. Castlemaine Free University– Poet and anarchist Pi O
    4. Connecting to this Country– 8 week course
    5. ‘Rethink the Rex’ in Daylesford
    6. Kavisha Mazzella Trio concert in Castlemaine
    7. Creek name change- Larni Barramul Yaluk
    8. Size Matters– No large supermarket in Castlemaine
    9. Northern Arts Hotel
    10. Heather Mutimer Women’s Honour roll
    11. A local currency for Castlemaine?
    12. Election season events including Meet the Candidates
    13. Hepburn Food Hub Plans
    14. Doughnut Economics– free webinar
    15. Growing Abundance- harvesting and fruit fly
    16. Walking together towards Makarrata
    17. Sustainable Hepburn strategy
    18. Castlemaine Seed library and Hepburn Seed Savers
    19. Bendigo Writers Festival
    20. Central Vic Climate Action
    21. Western Victoria Transmission Network Project
    22. Bird of the month– April: Crested Shrike-tit
    23. Sydney Writers Festival live-streamed in Castlemaine
    24. Gold mining and Lock the Gate signs
    25. Repair Cafes – Castlemaine and Daylesford
    26. Olive season and curing
    27. Castlemaine Documentary Film Festival
    28. Mt Alexander Shire Budget– your feedback
    29. Maldon Bank Corner comes alive with music
    30. Self-Reflection Conversations
    31. MaLets
    32. Greater Bendigo towards net zero emissions
    33. Hepburn Shire hits 42% renewables
    34. Limits to Growth- A Conversation-Holmgren and Heinberg
    35. Food for Thought– Community operations in disasters; Net Zero by 2050 is not enough; The spirit of water.

    1. Music at Yandoit Cultural– Ken Buddha Trio performs the Calamity of War

    What: Concert- Ken Buddha Trio with violinist Adam Menegazzo- performing works influenced by Vietnamese artist and poet- Le Van Tai

    When: Saturday April 30th, 8pm

    Where: Yandoit Cultural– Uniting Church, Yandoit

    Entry by donation

    From early childhood Le Van Tai knew the calamity of living with war. Chaos reigned as his family home was burnt to the ground. Born in Quang Tri province in central Vietnam, by the age of eight he and his family were living in a refugee camp set up by the French. His escape from this terror became a love affair with art, inspired by his goldsmith father. By the age of twenty-two, he entered the National Art School of Hue. Continuing as a lecturer, his reputation grew as an important painter and poet throughout Vietnam. With the American occupation, his art became popular with American’s, but after the northern forces took over the south, this connection drew suspicion by the authorities and he was arrested, spending 10 years in a jungle ‘re-education’ camp. Escape was his only choice if he wanted to practice his art. In 1981 he became a boat refugee, finally ending up in Australia, where his art practice and reputation flourished. He describes this practice as ‘romantic dreaming’:

    sometimes when I work in the garden, or talk to friends, I begin to feel the connection, the relationship; how we are together, with nature and other human beings. It’s like how we feel about the moon

    Ken Buddha Trio: Collaborative composition, with a palette of electronic and acoustic instrumentation. Physical and spiritual elements fuse to create aural environments and atmospheres driven by musical investigation.

    The performance will be introduced by artist Petrus Spronk.

    Yandoit Cultural: Yandoit Cultural is a new arts and culture space based in Yandoit’s historic Uniting Church and now run as a community venue. With excellent acoustics, Yandoit Cultural is a perfect setting for live music, story-telling, theatrical performances, talks, poetry readings, concerts and more personal events such as weddings. Yandoit Cultural is nestled in bush-land, in central Victoria close to Daylesford and Castlemaine, with a seating capacity for up to 120 people. For more information:  https://www.facebook.com/yandoitcultural or email ycfcpg@gmail.com

    2. Clunes Booktown Festival

    When: Saturday April 30th and Sunday May 1st

    Where: Clunes

    The 2022 Clunes Booktown program focuses on storytelling with an underlying theme of hope.
    Authors featured include Jock Serong, JP Pomare, Eliza Hull, Don Watson, Sean O’Beirne, Chloe Hooper, Fiona Scott Norman, Arnold Zable, Jacinta Parsons and more!

    Ticketed Talks are $15.00

    For more information and program go to: https://www.clunesbooktown.com.au/

    3. Castlemaine Free University- Poet and anarchist Pi O 

    When: Monday May 2nd, 7-9pm
    Where:  Northern Arts Hotel 359 Barker Street, Castlemaine
    What: π.o.- Pi.O
    Format: Talk, poetry reading and Q&A
    FREE EVENT — And purchase drinks at bar, and publications that Pi.O. brings along to sell.
    A short journey through the life and work of epic poet and anarchist Pi.O. whose working life was spent as a draughtsman in the Victorian land titles office. Known as ‘a legendary figure in the Australian poetry scene’, ‘the chronicler of Melbourne and its culture and migrations’, and ‘a pioneer of performance poetry in Australia’ (Giramondo), his Epic trilogy is 24 Hours (1996), Fitzroy: The Biography (2015), and Heide (2019) a 560-page poem comprised of 300 poems) which won the prestigious 2020 Judith Wright Calanthe Award.

    Writer Pi.O. is editor of magazines such as Unusual Work, which features creative writing and graphic art, and a publisher, namely Collective Effort Press. Born in Greece, his life has been spent in and around Fitzroy. His prolific work includes Panash (1978), The Fitzroy Poems (1989) and Big Numbers: New and Selected Poems (2008).

    For more information about Castlemaine Free University: https://anitranelson.info/cfu

     4. Connecting to this Country- 8 week course  

    A practical one day a week (Tuesdays) course that enables participants to develop more meaningful connection to the Victorian Central Goldfields on Dja Dja Wurrung Country. Participants will learn indigenous world views and nature connection, along with applied skills in land management, ecological restoration, plant weed and animal identification, regenerative living, carbon reduction, resilience and food systems. Presented in collaboration by five local organisations including: Castlemaine Commons, Connecting Country, Nalderun Education Aboriginal Corporation, Castlemaine Institute and the Maldon Neighbourhood Centre.

    The 8 weeks will cover a mix of visits to country, information, introductions and skills including:
    · Introduction day at Leanganook
    · Landcare – Connecting Country
    · Climate and Resilience Friends of the Earth & Castlemaine Institute
    · Reading local landscapes: the layers of geology, ecology and landuse – Castlemaine Institute
    · Living Simply
    · Local food systems
    · Tour with Aboriginal Elder, Nalderun Aboriginal Education Organisation
    · Bush walk overnight – morning bird chorus and closing

    Tuesdays – Term 2 Starting 3rd May for 8 weeks
    $750 Full / $550 Concession / $350 Subsistence.

    For registration contact Maldon Neighbourhood Centre, info@maldonnc.org.au and 5475 2093 and
    Enrolment form here: https://www.maldonnc.org.au/whats-on/life-long-learning
    For more information contact Castlemaine Commons, Natalie Moxham natalie@leanganookyarn.com and 0448 372 466

    5. ‘Rethink the Rex’ in Daylesford


    Following Hepburn Shire Council’s decision to abandon the Rex project and sell the building, the “Rethink the Rex” community group held a public meeting on 5th April at Daylesford Town Hall. The aim of the meeting was to provide information to the community including the heritage value of the building, identified youth and community needs, alternatives to sale, potential private and public use of the building and site and financial perspectives. Innovative ideas were presented together with some inspirational initiatives from other regional areas. The thorny issue of ‘to sell or not to sell’ was also explored. Community members had the opportunity to express their views and ask questions. Recommendations from the well attended public meeting were put to Hepburn Shire Council and the community group is currently awaiting a response.

    To keep informed or join Rethink the Rex community group: https://www.facebook.com/dayle…


    6. Kavisha Mazzella Trio concert in Castlemaine

    7. Creek name change- Larni Barramul Yaluk

    Recently both Hepburn shire and Mt Alexander shire Councils resolved to rename the Jim Crow Creek-  Larni Barramal Yaluk . The name was proposed by the local traditional owners, the Dja Dja Wurrung. “Larni Barramul” means “home or habitat of the Emu” and “Yaluk” means “creek”. The proposed name recognises Aboriginal heritage and promotes the reinstatement of the Djaara language of the traditional owners into the landscape. The original name of the creek has been lost because of the decimation and removal of the local Indigenous population after European settlement. The decision recognises Aboriginal heritage, the importance of reinstating Dja Dja Wurrung language, and removes a name that many people agree is racist and derogatory. The name change request now goes to Geographic Names Victoria for further review and final decision.

    The current name of the creek is considered offensive and derogatory.

    For most of its length, the creek passes through Hepburn Shire but the last part of the creek before it empties into the Loddon River is in neighbouring Mount Alexander Shire. Hepburn Shire Council conducted a community consultation process in keeping with the requirements of Geographical Names Victoria. The consultation found that while  a range of views exists within the community, there was clear overall support for the proposed name change. Council contacted people in the immediate vicinity of the Creek and received 21 objections to the name change and 65 residents in support. From the wider community, Council received 83 submissions in support and 8 objections.

    The final decision to accept or reject the recommendation will be made by the Registrar at the Office of Geographic Names (OGN).

    The term ‘Jim Crow’ has its origins in racial segregation and racism. In the 1820’s ‘Jim Crow’ became a racist term to refer to ‘black people’ worldwide and became ‘Jim Crow Laws’ in the United States (1877 to 1965), which made discrimination and racial segregation legal and enforceable.  The name Jim Crow was likely first applied to the area of Lalgambook/Mt Franklin by Captain John Hepburn in the 1830’s. The term Jim Crow became the unfortunate catch-all term used by colonists to refer to the mountain, the Aboriginal Protectorate, the ‘Tribe’, individual Aboriginal people, the creek, the goldfields (diggings) and district.

    8. Size Matters- No large supermarket in Castlemaine

    A group of local people from Castlemaine – Size Matters– have banded together to object to the plan for a large Woolworths supermarket in Forest Street. Mt Alexander Shire Council has rejected the application for such a large supermarket . There are a significant number of concerns about the development especially relating to the impact it will have from a traffic management and urban planning perspective. The entrance to the township will be change irrevocably if the plan goes ahead.  The matter is currently with VCAT until early July.

    A permit was granted by Council for a smaller supermarket on this site in April 2018. So, the argument is no longer whether Castlemaine will have a third supermarket or not, but what size supermarket can be located on the proposed site without destroying the integrity of Castlemaine’s character and uniqueness.

    For further information:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/3681171501945174

    No big supermarket for Castlemaine– A letter to the Castlemaine Mail by Trevor Scott, March 7th

    Last month it was reported in this newspaper, that Mount Alexander Shire councillors  voted against a larger version of the supermarket than previously, on the Forest Street site at the entrance to Castlemaine. I believe, for a number of reasons, that this is a good outcome for the town. But for the developer, I’m sure this is not the end of the story. Unfortunately, this application is headed back to VCAT for reconsideration by the state authority. I think many of you aren’t aware that this is the second proposal to build a supermarket on this site. The one that the developer wants to build, is more than twice the size of the first. So all the problems associated with the first–large articulated trucks winding noisily through Chewton, increased traffic and danger to school children because of proximity to the South primary school, inappropriate structure at the gateway to our town with its heritage streetscapes, narrow roads, lack of parking etc; all will be doubled in intensity if this new proposal goes ahead. So I congratulate our council for its wisdom. I think there are lessons to be learnt from the Covid pandemic that we could be taking heed of right here. Our desire to travel further and more often, our need for more exotic foods and commodities etc. at the expense of our own community, all have contributed, not only to the spread of Covid, but also to Climate Change. There are so many reasons why we need to minimise globalisation and return to a simpler way of life. Consider the local Farmers’ Market in comparison to the large supermarket. Food grown locally is consumed locally, avoiding large food miles and double and triple packaging. Local people grow the food and this connects them to other locals. The extension of this is that we get a community where people look out for each other. So it’s a simple matter to conclude that if we must have another supermarket, the smaller version is what we should allow, and nothing more.

    Trevor Scott, Castlemaine

    Castlemaine Institute, Castlemaine Commons and The Coolroom at the Northern Arts Hotel present

    Film screening & conversation with Scott Ludlam
    SUNDAY, MAY 1, 2022 at 7 PM

    Castlemaine Pride 2022 Events presented in conjunction with The Coolroom
    Persecution to Celebration: LGBTIQ+ History Talk

    Tuesday 3 May, 7.30pm | Info & Bookings
    Film Screen – My First Summer
    Wednesday 4 May, 7.30pm | Info & Bookings
    Film Screening – Hating Peter Tatchell
    Thursday 5 May, 7.30pm | Info & Bookings

    10. Heather Mutimer Women’s Honour roll

    Local honour roll inductee
    Congratulations to Joanne Pegg, who Council named as the 2022 inductee of the Heather Mutimer Honour Roll, recognising her tireless work for social inclusion and inclusive learning in the Shire. Joanne was inducted to the honour roll at a special event in Daylesford on International Women’s Day attended by around 100 people.

    The Heather Mutimer Honour Roll was established in 2005 to pay tribute to the women in Hepburn Shire whose contribution, courage and example have led to significant social change for women. Mayor, Cr Tim Drylie, said Joanne has changed the lives of many people, particularly in her role as Principal of Bullarto Primary School and her support for students who are on the fringes of mainstream learning.“Jo has also empowered parents of children with additional needs to have a voice, to be proud, and to advocate for their child”.

    International Women’s Day Event attendees heard from Aunty Marilyne Nicholls, Chief Executive Officer of the Otis Foundation Claire Culley, Daylesford College students Alice Dennis, Lucy Muscat and a performance by Lily Austin.

    11. A local currency for Castlemaine? 

    What: Currency Project Launch- Money Money Money

    When: Saturday May 7th, 2-5pm

    Where: Lot 19, Langslow Street, Castlemaine,

    This is the question posed by the Currency Project, an artist-led initiative that has fired $10,000 worth of clay ‘silver wattle’ coins and is releasing them into the local economy on 7 May. Come to the launch party “Money, Money, Money” at Lot19 at 2-5pm on Sat 7 May for your first chance to exchange dollars for wattles and join in the experiment. Full details available at www.carbonarts.org and the flyer with details on the associated exhibition and events can be downloaded here.
    Here’s some associated exhibition events:
    Saturday May 7, EXHIBITION OPENING PARTY– 2.00pm—5.00pm
    Thursday May 12, PANEL DISCUSSION, Should we have a local currency for real? 6.30pm—9.00pm
    For more information: https://fb.me/e/4xsCYJSlO

    12. Election season events including Meet the Candidates

    This Sunday 1st May 7pm at Northern Arts Hotel head along to Film screening & conversation with Scott Ludlam presented by Castlemaine Institute, Castlemaine Commons and The Coolroom at The Northern Arts Hotel. There will be a film screening followed by conversation with Scott in an intimate setting. Please RSVP on the Facebook page to help with preparation.

    On Saturday May 7th 2pm at Lot19 – MONEY MONEY MONEY – Castlemaine Currency Project Launch Party & Exhibition Opening. The Castlemaine Currency Project is both a visual art and social experiment which seeks to advance a conversation around the concepts of money, economic exchange and seeks to build local resilience from a turbulent, uncertain global economic environment.

    Last but not least, please save the date for our upcoming Meet The Candidates on Wednesday 11th May, 7pm at The Taproom! All candidates for the Bendigo Electorate have been invited. More details will be released next week but for now please pop it in your diary. If you have a topic or question you would like covered please email: info@democracy4dinner.org or daviesbryn@yahoo.com.au.

    Website is: www.democracy4dinner.org or Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/DemocracyforDinner/

    13. Hepburn Food Hub Plans

    Plans are afoot to create a physical food hub in the Central Highlands which aims to offer producers much needed facilities for processing and distribution, and a collectively managed resource to improve locals’ access to local food. The social affordances of a space to meet, network, and form ongoing relationships that foster collaborations and mentoring opportunities for new entrants and emerging young farmers cannot be underestimated. A food hub would improve food security and food sovereignty for everyone in our region.

    The Hepburn Food Hub could be housed in an existing building or a simple steel shed, and include: space for the Hepburn Wholefoods Collective; infrastructure for produce box aggregation, distribution, and dry and refrigerated storage; a commercial kitchen and licensed boning room for value adding; space for farmer and community meetings and collaborations; a community garden and food forest; and the Repair Café.

    A steering committee has been formed to take the next steps. Objectives of the Steering Committee include: determining a site, developing governance structure and business model, liaising with local producers and other community members, and facilitating next operational steps to realise a physical food hub. 

    Steering Committee will be representative of sectors of the community with a material, social, and/or cultural interest in a food hub, including but not limited to:

    • Small-scale farmers (ideally from across all produce: livestock, dairy, eggs, fruit, veg)
    • Small-scale food manufacturers
    • Hepburn Wholefoods Collective
    • Food relief organisations
    • Community meals organisations

    Also desirable are members with experience in governance, circular economies, and community development.

    Email Tammi Jonas (jonaifarms@gmail.com) or Mara Ripani (mara@villagedreaming.com.au) with your suggestions.

    14. Doughnut Economics- free webinar

    What: Free on-line webinar

    When: Monday 16 May @ 6pm to 7.30pm AEST

    Hosted by Greenprints, and supported by NENA (New Economy Network of Australia )

    Book your free ticket here!


    15. Growing Abundance- harvesting and fruit fly

    Growing Abundance is harvesting. There’s one more apple harvest coming up at the end of May, which will mark the end of the apple season in our region!

    After apples finish, the main crop we will be focusing on is olives. There are plenty of olive trees in the Mt Alexander Shire that drop to the floor every year. Hopefully this year we can catch more of them before they fall and put them to good use! If you or anyone you know owns any olive trees and need help harvesting and distributing, or if you’d like to help with the harvesting, please get in touch at hello@growingabundance.org.au.

    What about fruit fly?

    Growing Abundance has spent a lot of time focusing on the prevention and extermination of fruit fly in the gardens and orchards that we work in. As the Queensland Fruit Fly is new to us in Central Victoria, it is natural that we are all feeling confused about what to do. There are simple things we can do to help stop the spread of this contaminating species: netting our fruit trees, early picking, and proper disposal of fallen or rotten fruit. Check out these links below from the Orchard Keepers website for more info. It is all of our responsibilities now!

    16. Walking together towards Makarrata

    Makarrata = ‘coming together after a struggle, facing the facts of wrongs and living again in peace.’

    Dja Dja Wurrung and the Mindi (with thanks to Solway Nutting)

    In the spiritual and religious belief system of the Dja Dja Wurrung people, two ancestral beings are the totems for the two moieties that determine the pattern for social relationships and marriage partners. The all-powerful Creator Spirit Bunjil takes the form of an eagle, and Waa the trickster that of a crow. Snake-like Mindi also figures in their Dreaming but is not like the Rainbow Serpent in some other Aboriginal nations. This law and lore enforcer, many miles long, punishes lore breakers, and hisses poisonous dust on people bringing plagues like smallpox, and death.

    In January 1840, men of two Dja Dja Wurrung clans were preparing for an important ceremony, probably involving the stone arrangement which represented Mindi. The charismatic clan leader of Liarga balug, Munangabum was highly respected for his effort in shaping his people’s response to European settlement. A squatter Henry Monro, hoping to extend his Campaspe Plains run near present-day Heathcote, had sent some assigned convicts with a flock of sheep to two remote huts near Mount Alexander. These men felt menaced by the Dja Dja Wurrung warriors setting up for the ceremony, and returned to Monro with a concocted story of stolen sheep. Monro vowed retribution, and set off next morning with a posse to hunt down the ‘sheep stealers’. Assistant Protector Edward Stone Parker was staying at the station, and fearing slaughter was about to happen, pursued the armed men. When they opened fire on the Dja Dja Wurrung, Parker jumped down from his horse and intervened to save the leading man’s life. One young man was killed, and at least one more as Monro’s rampage moved further afield.

    The man Parker saved was Munangabum, who was then taken into custody in Melbourne charged with sheep stealing. The Dja Dja Wurrung leaders pleaded for his release. They feared he had the power to move Bunjil the Creator Spirit to release Mindi the snake to bring about a plague on Blacks and Whites alike. Assistant Protector Parker persisted on their behalf until he managed to have Munangabum released from gaol. A year later, Parker established the Loddon Aboriginal Protectorate Station at Franklinford, north of Lalgambook (Mt Franklin), to oversee the welfare of the people living in the area. Buildings including a school were constructed; some Dja Dja Wurrung worked on the farm but few became literate – or Christian. When the station was closed at the end of 1848, Parker continued to provide a safe home for the Dja Dja Wurrung, operating it as a pastoral run.

    Today, descendants of the families that lived on the Franklinford protectorate live and work in Castlemaine and Bendigo districts.

    Nalderun Education Aboriginal Corporation is a service that supports the Aboriginal Community, led by Aboriginal people. Many people and organisations in the Mount Alexander Shire contribute to Nalderun; the name is a Dja Dja Wurrung word meaning “all together”. More information can be found at www.nalderun.net.au

    17. Sustainable Hepburn strategy

    During the Hepburn Together process in 2020/21, Council heard loud and clear from our local community that environmental sustainability is the number one priority, closely followed by liveability. We love where we live and we wish to protect what we love, both now and for future generations.

    Sustainable Hepburn, developed with a committed Community Reference Group, will be Council’s updated commitment to further reduce our corporate greenhouse gas emissions, protect and enhance our local biodiversity, transition to a low waste Shire and become more resilient to the impacts of climate change. The draft Sustainable Hepburn strategy will be circulated to the community for comment in early May and presented to Councillors for endorsement at the July 2022 Ordinary meeting.

    18. Castlemaine Seed library and Hepburn Seed Savers

    Castlemaine Seed Library has been awarded a Mount Alexander Shire community grant to add some native seeds to those we offer on the seed board. This project has been initiated and will be led by volunteer member Jo Matthews, with local advisors and collaborators. Growing native seeds will create healthy habitats within our gardens, and draw awareness to local plant species, with the aim to connect people to their local environment. Growing plants from the local area will future-proof gardens that will feel the effects of more weather extremes as a consequence of climate change.

    Castlemaine Seed library meet on the first Thursday of every month and welcome new volunteers! The next working bee is on Thursday May 5th, at 11am at Library . All are welcome, come and join our friendly group!

    Hepburn Seed Savers meets at Glenlyon Hall on the third Sunday of the month in the afternoon .

    19. Bendigo Writers Festival


    What: An annual weekend festival for readers and writers

    When: May 12 to 15

    Where: Assorted venues around Bendigo

    For more information and program: https://www.bendigowritersfestival.com.au/


    20. Central Vic Climate Action

    A banner is hung over the Calder Freeway around Kyneton by Central Vic Climate Action.

    According to the Castlemaine Mail a contingent of about 100 Castlemaine students were amongst the estimated 2000 that participated in the March school strike for climate in Melbourne with the movement keen to put climate front and centre in the lead up to the federal election.  Castlemaine’s Niamh O’connor Smith says : “We want a just transition to renewables and we want community-led solutions”.

    Castlemaine climate activist Trevor Scott was a marshall at the school strike rally: “Students and adult supporters left school and work to continue to demand our government take climate action seriously! From small towns to big cities, across 32 strikes, both online and offline, thousands of people across Australia gathered on the streets, in parks and amongst flood wreckage. Whilst the Prime Minister responded to our strikes saying that his Government had ‘taken the challenge of climate change seriously’ and urged us to ‘go back to school….where the learning gets done’1, we sent him another clear message. If you were taking climate change seriously, you would be stopping investment in all fossil fuels, fulfilling- not denying- your duty of care, funding First Nations led solutions and investing in a just transition plan. So, until you do this Prime Minister, we will continue to strike for our futures.”

    21. Western Victoria Transmission Network Project

    Here is a map of the proposed route for the transmission network project.

    Hepburn and other affected councils have been advised that there’s an extension of time for the Environmental Effects Statement.

    AusNet has advised that the expected release date of its Environmental Effects Statement (EES) would be pushed out from mid-2022 to late-2022 in this statement.

    Hepburn Shire Council is strongly opposed to the proposed route and 24ha terminal station in the Shire, which is planned to be located on some of the highest value agriculture land in the country.

    “The good news for our community overall is that gives people more time to work out how they will respond to the EES once it is released for community feedback, however the uncertainty of the project and route will now be extended” said Hepburn’s Mayor, Cr Tim Drylie. “We are extremely disappointed at the historical lack of transparency and poor community consultation with this project. We hope an extension of time for the release of an EES means AusNet will use this time to listen to the community, consult properly with affected landholders and make significant changes to this project, including changing the route or placing the transmission lines underground.”

    “While Council is highly supportive of renewable energy, we are strongly opposed to the above ground transmission lines and the route proposed. As it stands, the project will have a significant impact on valuable agricultural land, significant landscapes and tourism, and we are already seeing the toll it is taking on the health and wellbeing of local residents,” Cr Drylie said.

    Hepburn Shire has resources on their website to help people to write a submission in response to the EES once it is released. Visit Participate Hepburn to learn more.

    22. Bird of the month- April: Crested Shrike-tit

    Bird of the month is a partnership between Connecting Country and BirdLife Castlemaine District. Each month we’re taking a close look at one special local bird species. We’re excited to join forces to deliver you a different bird each month, seasonally adjusted, and welcome suggestions from the community. 

    Crested Shrike-tit (Falcunculus frontatus)

    This month’s bird might be small in size, but packs a punch in character and arguably wins the prize for craziest hair do. The Crested Shrike-tit is boldly coloured, with a bright yellow chest and striking black and white head … and as it’s name suggests, a black mohawk-like crest. Often it’s heard before seen because of the ripping noise as it tears bark off trees using its powerful bill, searching for invertebrates, favouring spiders and beetles. Interestingly they will also eat fruit and other vegetable matter on occasion. They have even been recorded using a stick to procure hard-to-get-at insects, which is notable as using tools is normally associated with intelligence. For a pleasant change, it’s also a bird that’s easy enough to see as they can be bold and quite curious, and of course strikingly-coloured. Also welcome to the bird watcher is their distinctive high-pitched whistle, another solid identification indicator. However, like so many Australian birds, they are excellent mimics.

    Damian observes Crested Shrike-tits love a bathe in puddles, and I often see them at the birdbath in my garden. Typical of my place, they can be found in eucalyptus forests with a preference for gullies, and in dryer forests, along water courses. Their distribution covers eastern and southern Australia, as well as south-west Western Australia, but rarely into tropical forests.

    Usually Crested Shrike-tits are found either singularly or in pairs, though on occasion I’ve observed what I think is a family group in mid-summer. They build a deep cone-shaped nest, often high up in a vertical tree fork. Made of dry grass, moss, lichen and bark, the nest is held together with spiders web, and will hold 2-3 eggs. (Poor spiders get eaten by Crested-Shrike-tits, then their webs are torn down by them too!) Both parents brood and feed the chicks, but in some instances there will be a one or more helpers at the nest who feed young. The home range of the Crested Shrike-tit is quite large, but mobility is generally restricted to autumn, and otherwise they are quite sedentary.

    Damian Kelly, who is a master at lurking quietly and unobtrusively in the bush, writes of his wonderful observations of this stunning bird: ‘They are an intriguing bird, as they can be quite inquisitive and will often come up close and personal. One time at Railway Dam I returned from a walk to find a bird clinging to the radio antenna of my car. It didn’t fly off but just observed me as I took some nice photos. A few days later at the same spot I was sitting in the car with the door wide open when a shrike-tit alighted on the edge of the door, again observing me closely. I cannot be sure if this was the same bird. I could hear another individual calling in the trees nearby but that one never came close.’

    I have to admit to getting a thrill every time I see a Crested Shrike-tit, as they cock their head vigorously, showing off their crazy crest to full advantage.

    Words by Jane Rusden and images by Damian Kelly.

    With thanks to Connecting Country‘s posts and website: https://connectingcountry.org.au/

    23.  Sydney Writers Festival live-streamed in Castlemaine via Goldfields library

    These are free events at the Phee Broadway , next to the library in Castlemaine. Booking is required.

    The Sydney Writers Festival will be live streamed in Castlemaine hosted by Goldfields library in May 2022. Some of the world’s most celebrated and revered authors, writers and thinkers will be live streamed on the stage in the Phee Broadway Theatre – and you’re invited! This is an amazing opportunity to listen to and participate in some truly fantastic events, without having to leave town – and of course, it’s all for free.

    Below is some of what’s on offer. For more information on all of these writers, speakers and events:  https://goldfieldslibraries.com/castlemaine-events/

    Art Spiegelman – in conversation with Morris Gleitzman-  Friday 20 May, 10-11am


    Michelle de Kretser and Christos Tsiolkas- Friday 20 May, 12-1pm


    Steve Toltz: Here Goes Nothing- Friday 20 May, 2-3pm


    But Not Forgotten: Iconic writers remembered – with Sarah Krasnostein, Jackie Huggins, Melissa Lucashenko and Susan Wyndham- 

    Friday 20 May, 4-5pm


    Barrie Cassidy and Friends: Election 2022 – with Fran Kelly, Niki Savva and Amy Remeikis- Saturday 21 May, 10-11am


    Derecka Purnell: Becoming Abolishionists – in conversation with Melissa Lucashenko- Saturday 21 May, 12-1pm


    Maxine Beneba Clarke and Omar Musa in conversation with Evelyn Araluen- Saturday 21 May, 2-3pm


    24. Gold mining and Lock the Gate signs

    The Alliance for Responsible Mining Regulation- ARMR –  is a group of individuals communities around Victoria concerned to stop gold mining and to protect and rehabilitate our local environments. Given how much mining has and continues to occur in our region, as well as the number of exploration licenses, ARMR has good number of people living in central Victoria.  The group is supported by Cam Walker, Campaigns Coordinator at Friends of the Earth. If you are interested in joining this group email John Lewis: johnlewis@arcimedia.com.au 

    Lock the Gate signs are in the process of being printed and are available to locals who wish to keep big mining companies out. Contact Nikki via the Localising Leanganook contact email  if you wish to purchase a sign to put on your gate, or John Lewis- email above. Signs will cost somewhere between $5 to $6.

    25. Repair Cafes – Castlemaine and Daylesford

    The next Castlemaine Repair Cafe will be Sunday May 29th, 10am to 1pm at Castlemaine Community House, 30 Lyttleton St

    For further info contact Chris on 54705508 or: https://www.facebook.com/groups/castlemainerepaircafe

    The next Daylesford Repair Cafe will be on Sunday May 15th, 1-4pm at Victoria Park Pavillion, Ballan Rd.

    For more information go to the facebook page https://www.facebook.com/daylesfordrepaircafe/ or contact Nikki on 0432 232 073 or email nikki.marshall@mmnet.com.au

    Here’s an article about Austria and repair-  https://reasonstobecheerful.world/in-austria-the-government-pays-to-repair-your-stuff/

    26. Olive season and curing

    It’s olive picking and curing season. Here’s a method for curing olives in brine from Milkwood.

    27. Castlemaine Documentary Film Festival

    The 2022 Castlemaine Documentary Festival will curate and present a collection of creative, authentic, and local digital story-telling shorts in the form of LOCALS a family friendly and jovial event. LOCALS will take place on the opening night of our 2022 festival program at the Theatre Royal, Friday 1st of July from 6pm.

    Local legend, musician, and auteur Lifon Henderson will present and screen his early lockdown self-referential digital creations, while leading the call-out for others to contribute their digital recordings in the same way. Once collected we will curate the submissions into an evening of local voices, emotions and visions that have surged through our community as we’ve experienced the permeating impact of COVID-19.


    This is our chance to see your creation on the big screen at the iconic Theatre Royal. We are calling for the residents of Castlemaine and surrounds to boldly (or meekly) submit their creations. Submissions close Wednesday 8th June.

    The aim of this initiative is to elevate local voices, and to inspire future documentary filmmakers to pursue their ideas with the knowledge that their local doco festival, and partners, will support them in their endeavours. You can email him via locals@cdocff.com.au with any questions.


    Our 2022 program will be launched Friday 13th May at Boomtown, Castlemaine with Ilissos Greek. BBQ, music, and bottles available.
    Book your table with Tim via 0417 237 155. boomtownwine.com.au

    Our pre-program announcement early bird BLIND COURAGE tix are available now, until Friday 13th of May: www.cdocff.com.au

    28. Mt Alexander Shire Budget- your feedback

    Proposed budget 2022/2023

    Each year Mt Alexander shire Council prepares a budget and gives the community the opportunity to review the proposed budget and make a submission. Key dates:

    • 6.30pm, Tuesday 19 April: Ordinary Meeting of Council to consider proposed budget
    • 12.00pm, Wednesday 20 April: Proposed budget goes on public exhibition
    • 5.00pm, Wednesday 11 May: Closing date for public submissions
    • 5.30pm, Wednesday 24 May: Special Meeting of Council to hear budget submissions
    • 6.30pm, Tuesday 21 June: Adopt 2022/2023 Budget at an Ordinary Meeting of Council.

    Look out for the proposed budget at www.shape.mountalexander.vic.gov.au

    29. Maldon Bank Corner comes alive with music

    Mt Alexander Shire is partnering with the Maldon Folk Festival to present a series of free gigs on Sundays from 12.00pm to 2.00pm at Maldon’s Old Bank Corner. Maldon’s Old Bank Corner was transformed into a public park last year as part of Making Space – a Council project to revitalise outdoor spaces in the midst of COVID-19 restrictions.

    Sarah and Silas: Sunday 1 May, 12pm – 2pm

    Sarah and Silas play Country/Folk music with a dash of world flavour, sprinkled with a sweet romantic tone. Their love, skill and connection shine through exciting duelling fiddles and sweet vocal harmonies which dance to the strum of a uke and the beat of a drum. Their catchy original songs & tunes will warm the hearts of all. 2020 has been a big year, but this duo decided to keep the spirits of Australians high by writing catchy, uplifting songs defining the times. As seen in The Bushwackers, The Royal High Jinx and Alanna and Alicia.

    Hobo Playhouse Presents: Street Theatre in Maldon, Sunday 1 May 2022,  4PM and 5PM

    Hobo Playhouse presents Prince Charming, Rat Fink by Graham Pitts and The Fairy Trial by Robert Scott. Two short plays featuring three fairy tale divas, a two-timing Prince Charming and a Wee Willie Winkie who has been caught with his pants down.

    Suitable for adults and children aged 6+.

    Rich Davies & The Low Road: Sunday 15th May, 12pm – 2pm

    Rich Davies & The Low Road are garnering a reputation as one of Australia’s most formidable live acts, showcasing ‘a foot stomping, contemporary folk attack’ (Mick Thomas). With a poet’s heart and a rocker’s soul, Davies’ compositions pay loving tribute to the great folk forms of old. Drawing from the Appalachian mountains to his Celtic heartland, traditional narrative driven song-craft is seamlessly interwoven with the modern, into a rousing symphony of ‘glorious, visceral folk rock’. Golden Guitar Nominee Davies’ fist pumping anthems and rousing ballads invoke ‘The Pogues meets Springsteen’, with 5-part gang-vocals, joined by his band of veteran Melbourne musicians including Stirling Gill-Chamber on fiddle (The Bon Scotts), Kat Ogilvie on accordion (The Goodship), Craig Kelly on double bass (Tracy McNeil & the Goodlife), and Bek Chapman on washboard & found percussion (The Nymphs, Damien Cowell’s Disco Machine). The Low Road released their debut album ‘Ghosts’ to critical acclaim, converting audiences show by show into dedicated fans. The band traversed the Australian highways on the back of the success of Ghosts, entertaining audiences as ‘a guaranteed festival favourite with an enormous range’ (James Rigby, Newstead Live Music Festival). Rich Davies & The Low Road are currently working on their sophomore album with producer Myles Mumford (Kim Salmon, XANI) due for release in 2021.

    30. Self-Reflection Conversations

    about white privilege, structural racism, decolonising and being an effective ally

    To become good allies in the #BlackLivesMatter movement, to be a part of making real change in this space, the first thing white people need to do is look hard at ourselves and our culture. Listening to and learning from First Nations peoples and people of color is important, but our culture is the one that needs to change. To do this we need to start with reflecting on our understanding and attitude surrounding significant events impacting on Aboriginal people and our own beliefs and values – white privilege, structural racism and cultural bias. It is only when we have some knowledge and critique of our own culture and its systemic racism, and our own ingrained and often unacknowledged white privilege that we can go with open hearts and minds to find ways to work with and support Indigenous people and other people of color.

    (Photo from:  https://newsroom.unsw.edu.au/– Teela Reid, activist, lawyer, and proud Wiradjuri and Wailwan woman from Gilgandra)

    The Castlemaine SRC Community of Practice is offering another series of Self-Reflective Conversations for people to start/continue this difficult work. 

    The next series will start on April 20 from 5.30 to 8pm then continue for a further three weeks – April 27 and May 4 and 11. The group can hold up to 15 participants.

    The cost for participation is on a self-selecting sliding scale. Facilitators will be paid, then any other income will be used to Pay the Rent (25%), and the balance set aside to provide learning and training opportunities in anti-racism work and/or for First Nations people, as they become available or are requested. The highest price points also allow subsidisation for the lowest. The price points are A$550 – B$350 – C$150 – D$50

    For more information email reflectionconversations@gmail.com

    31. MaLets

    Mt Alexander LETS  has decided not to pursue a commercial stall @ the Castlemaine Farmers Market, but to continue with the alternative established trading weekly on Saturdays only @ Duke Street,  Castlemaine, from 8:30am to 12:30pm. We have free range produce, hand grown seasonal fruit & vegetables, eggs, organic & biodynamic grown dry goods, jams, marmalade, pickles, sauces, relish, cordial, home baked goodies, handcrafts, soaps, cleaning products, plant, seeds & most of all a supportive, community minded group of members.

    Maldon Community Market: 9am to 1:30pm @ Bill Woodfull Reserve, Francis Street, Maldon.
    This market can carry home grown produce, preserves, soaps & plants only, as per Maldon Community Market Committee.

    32. Greater Bendigo towards net zero emissions

    The City of Greater Bendigo is working with all sectors of our community to achieve zero net emissions by 2030. Join us for a year of climate action and education to:

    • Help businesses, homes and schools to act on climate, plan for zero emissions and get involved in community projects.
    • Run six community climate forums that bring us together to understand the zero emissions challenge and support and create city scale projects.
    • Pull together regional stakeholders to identify and implement the top ten zero emissions projects for the region.

    Three questions for everyone to ask:

    • What can I do?
    • What can we do together?
    • What can we advocate for together?

    Get in touch to register interest, discuss a climate project and to find out more:

    Ian McBurney – Coordinator, Greater Bendigo Climate Collaboration. Email i.mcburney@bendigo.vic.gov.au or mobile 0408 512 234

    33. Hepburn Shire hits 42% renewables

    A recent energy audit confirmed that 42% of electricity used in Hepburn Shire is from renewable power sources, outperforming Victoria’s state average of 29%. This news comes from Hepburn Z-NET, a collaborative partnership of which Council is a member. Z-NET has the goal for the Shire to move towards zero-net energy by 2025 and zero-net emissions by 2030.

    “Our community has taken real leadership when it comes to energy and emissions and these latest figures demonstrate how local action and ambition can have a big impact.” said  Z-NET  roundtable member Barbara Curzon-Siggers.


    34. Limits to Growth- A Conversation- Holgrem and Heinberg

    What and Who: Join Daylesford’s permaculture co-originator, David Holmgren, in conversation with Richard Heinberg, Senior Fellow at the Post Carbon Institute.

    Presented by:  Transition US.

    When: Wednesday May 11th, 9am to 10am, AEST

    A free event- Register: www.holmgren.com.au/events

    Only rarely does a book truly change the world. In the nineteenth century, such a book was Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. For the twentieth century, it was The Limits to Growth. Not only did this best-selling 1972 publication help spur the environmental movement, but it showed that the underlying dynamics of the modern industrial world are unsustainable on the timescale of a couple of human lifetimes.

    50 years on, is the Limits to Growth report still relevant? Listen to the conversation between two dynamic environmental thinkers, Richard Heinberg and David Holmgren. The event will be moderated by Jess Alvarez Parfrey, Executive Director of Transition US, who is presenting the event.

    35. Food for Thought

    34.1 An interview with Jean Renouf, Founder of Resilient Byron about community operations in disasters.

    35.2 NET ZERO BY 2050 IS NOT ENOUGH – a letter to the Castlemaine Mail from Trevor Scott

    Christiana Figueres, a leading climate diplomat and advisor to the UN on climate, said recently “While the rest of the world stood up at COP26, Australia stood back. As a result, Australia has increasingly been pushed to the margins and is seen as a blocker, a country willing to expand polluting industries at the expense of the planet”. It makes me feel ashamed that this country is seen as a pariah, when it comes to climate action. In an effort to address this, an ad in last week’s Castlemaine Mail, states that one of the major parties in this federal election, will invest in improving the energy grid, boost renewables, cut taxes on electric vehicles and connect 100,000 homes to community solar batteries. The party says it has a plan to get to net zero (carbon) emissions by 2050; but in all honesty folks,  this is nowhere near enough. We need to get to net zero by 2030. What I want to know is where is the plan to move the subsidy on fossil fuels to renewables, where is the plan for a just transition from fossil fuels to renewables and, more simply, where is the plan to stop the burning of coal, oil and gas, because we are in a climate emergency, and we absolutely need to do this by the end of this decade.

    Trevor Scott,  Castlemaine

    35.3. The Spirit of Water by Vicki Edwards

    Vicki Edwards of Castlemaine, Victoria, is passionate about the natural world, its awe and  beauty. She has written a series of articles exploring the true nature of what we share with Earth Our Mother. The first article was an ode to  to Tree and Nature entitled I’d like to speak of the tree.

    The second article is a reflection on the spirit of water. Read more here

    Continue reading →
  • March newsletter
    Dear Mother Earth,
    Each morning when I wake up you offer me twenty-four brand new hours to cherish and enjoy your beauty. You gave birth to every miraculous form of life. Your children include the clear lake, the green pine, the pink cloud, the snowcapped mountain top, the fragrant forest, the white crane, the golden deer, the extraordinary caterpillar, and every brilliant mathematician, skilled artisan, and gifted architect. You are the greatest mathematician, the most accomplished artisan, and the most talented architect of all. The simple branch of cherry blossoms, the shell of a snail, and the wing of a bat all bear witness to this amazing truth. My deep wish is to live in such a way that I am awake to each of your wonders and nourished by your beauty. I cherish your precious creativity and I smile to this gift of life. We humans have talented artists, but how can our paintings compare to your masterpiece of the four seasons? How could we ever paint such a compelling dawn or create a more radiant dusk? We have great composers, but how can our music compare to your celestial harmony with the sun and planets—or to the sound of the rising tide? We have great heroes and heroines who have endured wars, hardship, and dangerous voyages, but how can their bravery compare to your great forbearance and patience along your hazardous journey of eons? We have many great love stories, but who among us has love as immense as your own, embracing all beings without discrimination?

    (In memory of Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh,  who died in January 2022- A Letter to the Earth)

    Welcome to the March newsletter. In this edition you’ll find information about:

    1. Nature Photography at Newstead Arts Hub
    2. Castlemaine Free University– March, April and May events
    3. Yandoit Cultural
    4. Renewable Newstead – Solar Farm Underway
    5. Bird of the Month: Australian Magpie
    6. Jan ‘Yarn’ Wositzky’s Thank You For The Welcome – 50th Anniversary Show
    7. Don Watson to speak at Wombat Post AGM
    8. Climate Action– Castlemaine parents & adults supporting youth climate action
    9. Deliberative Engagement and Climate-Ready Conversations
    10. Daylesford’s Chill Out Festival
    11. Ground Work: Conversations on Community Care
    12. Saltgrass Radio and Podcast
    13. Australian Conservation Foundation – Bendigo- Film Screening
    14. EYESEEYOU Exhibition at CASPA 
    15. Planned ecological burns webinar and Sustainable Land Management
    16. Renaming of Jim Crow Creek
    17. Growing Abundance is Hiring
    18. Discovering Joyce’s Creek and Lake Cairn Curran after rains
    19. Seed Libraries– Hepburn and Castlemaine
    20. Castlemaine Institute– Work along side us
    21. Victorian Koala Management strategy
    22. Walking Together Towards Makarrata
    23. Repair Cafes & Funding available for community repair, re-purpose, re-use and recycle projects
    24. Northern Arts Hotel– Music, film and International Women’s Day
    25. Water Management Plan– North Central
    26. Regenerative Farming–  Walk and Discussion & Know Your Soils Field Day
    27. Bendigo Sustainable Living Festival
    28. The Way of the Ancestors Workshop
    29. Hepburn Wind Adds on Solar Energy
    30. Market Garden Partnership or Lease in Central Vic
    31. Hepburn Wholefoods Cookbook
    32. Arisaig Healing and Wellness Retreat in Yandoit
    33. Castlemaine State Festival
    34. New Economy Network- NENA- A Well-being Economy 
    35. Voting for nature and the climate– Bendigo ACF
    36. Food for Thought

    1. Nature Photography at Newstead Arts Hub

    What: Nature in Time- Images from Central Victoria

    Where: Newstead Railway Arts Hub, 8a Tivey St, Newstead

    When: Starting Saturday March 5th, 2022; every weekend in March and on the Labour Day long weekend, 10am to 5pm

    Opening event: Join the artists on Sunday 6 March 10:30am.

    Some moments pass too quickly, some things are too small for the eye to catch, some too ‘ordinary’ to be noticed. Photography helps us fix them in the mind, invites us to feel their unique weight. Patrick Kavanagh, Bronwyn Silver, Bernard Slattery and David Tatnall invite us to redirect our gaze at the ordinary and the fleeting in the Box-Ironbark region.

    About the photographers:

    Bernard Slattery: Ten years ago I took a photo of some wildflowers. It was terrible, but accidentally the camera picked up some strikingly interesting moss in the foreground. That photo introduced me to the wonderful world of bryophytes. That’s when I realised photography can reveal things even an attentive look can miss: a good picture carries a surprise, something in the frame you didn’t expect to be there. That ‘good picture’ is rare, but the search for it is what makes me go out with the camera.

    Patrick Kavanagh: I live in the woodlands of Central Victoria, where I am so often amazed and moved by the natural wonders that surround me. The vastness of the night sky, the magic of a small bird safe to come so close, the other-worldly grace of an insect, the purity of refraction in a dew drop on a moss. With my camera, I try to hold onto some of these extraordinary glimpses and to share them.
    Flickr: flickr.com/photos/patrick_k59

    Bronwyn Silver: My interest in nature photography began through observing native plants in the bush reserve that surrounds my Walmer home where I have lived since the 1990s. Later I explored many areas of our local Box-Ironbark forests taking macro and landscape photos for social media, art exhibitions and documentary style photos for several local nature books.

    David Tatnall: David Tatnall has been making fine art photographs in Australia since the mid 1970s. He has worked professionally as a fine art photographer since the mid 1980s. His passion is photographing the land using a large format film camera.David Tatnall’s photographs have been collected by The National Gallery of Victoria, The State Library of Victoria, Monash Gallery of Art, Australian Embassy in Washington USA, RMIT University Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam as well as many regional art galleries in Australia. David has visited this area many times and had an exhibition at the Castlemaine Art Gallery in 2003: Seeing The Forest And The Trees.He has been awarded a lifetime achievement award for ‘an outstanding contribution to nature conservation in Victoria through photography’.

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/davidtatnall

    For more detailsNewstead Arts Hub web site.

    2. Castlemaine Free University- March, April and May events

    What: A future Without Money

    When: 7pm–9pm Monday 7 March 2022

    Where: Northern Arts Hotel, 359 Barker Street, Castlemaine, 3450 

    Who: Anitra Nelson, author Beyond Money: A Postcapitalist Strategy

    A free event No need to book, just turn up. Drinks at the bar for purchase.

    Author, Anitra Nelson will pose the question: Why might we want a future without money and, if so, how might it operate? Anitra will offer a brief overview of her newly released book Beyond Money: A Postcapitalist Strategy. Then she will sketch out how a world liberated from money would operate in more socially equitable and ecologically sustainable ways than we experience now. There will a limited number of copies with misprinted headers appropriately available free. Anitra will also give out a coupon code for discounted corrected copies to buy online.

    Anitra Nelson is an activist-scholar affiliated with the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute (MSSI) at the University of Melbourne. Many of her academic activities coincide with her political activism and philosophical passions — Castlemaine Free University being an example. Almost exactly ten years ago a collection that Anitra co-edited with the late Frans Timmerman Life Without Money: Building Fair and Sustainable Economies was released by the publisher of Beyond Money. Meanwhile she has written or edited six other books, including Small is Necessary: Shared Living on a Shared Planet (2018).

    Either you repeat the same conventional doctrines that everybody else is saying … Or else you say something which in fact is true, and it will sound like it’s from Neptune.’— Noam Chomsky, Propaganda and the Public Mind

    For more information on Castlemaine Free University- https://anitranelson.info/cfu

    What: Cuba Then and Now: The End of the Revolution?

    When: Monday 4th April 2022, 7-9pm

    Where: Northern Arts Hotel

    The death of the Cuban Revolution seems always on the cards but, David Deutschmann, just returned from Cuba, and Deborah Shnookal will explain the origins and significance of protests and other recent aspects of Cuba’s revolutionary project.

    WHO? — David Deutschmann and Deborah Schnookal co-founded Ocean Press, and international publisher of books from and about Latin America. David advised Steven Soderbergh for his two-part bio-pic Che (2009) and has regularly travelled to Cuba for 36 years. Similarly, Deborah is an editor and writer, most recently of Operation Pedro Pan and the Exodus of Cuba’s Children (2020, University Press of Florida).

    What: Legendary poet TT.O. (Pi O)

    When: Monday 2nd May 2022

    Whet your appetite by reading about Pi O here

    For more information: https://anitranelson.info/cfu/

    3. Yandoit Cultural

    Yandoit Uniting Church is now in community hands and is being transformed into a community cultural centre. This beautiful and historical church, built by Yandoit parishioners in 1872 using locally-made bricks, is nestled in the bush amongst the eucalypts. In addition to charm and history the church has excellent acoustics so it’s a perfect venue for music, concerts, theatre, story telling, film screenings and much more. The church is also available for weddings and other significant rituals. Let us know if you’d like to hold an event at Yandoit Cultural. Contact Nikki Marshall on 0432 232 073 or email nikki.marshall@mmnet.com.au

    The Yandoit Clydesdale and Franklinford Community Planning Group has been liaising with the Castlemaine Uniting Church parish over the past 6 to 9 months to explore ways in which the community can manage the church as a local cultural centre, an alternative to being sold into private hands. The Castlemaine parish has been helpful and supportive.

    Yandoit Cultural‘s calendar will start off with a creative audio-visual event.

    What: Music from the Magic Lantern

    When: Saturday March 19th, 7.45pm

    Where: Yandoit Uniting Church, Uniting Church Rd, Yandoit

    Who: Petrus Spronk with Ken Buddha Trio

    Entry by donation to support Yandoit Cultural

    In an enchanted spot amongst the eucalypts, in a small homely church, artist Petrus Spronk, in collaboration with the Ken Buddha Trio, will create an evening of pure magic. From the moment Petrus cranks up his magic lantern until he blows out the candle you will have experienced an evening of old fashioned magic and entertainment. The colours and textures of Van Gogh’s palette will be splashed like faerie dust while the Trio create music to accompany the Dutch master’s paintings.

    The vivid colours of Van Gogh’s palette accompanied by the Trio’s live compositions will leave you craving for more. This creative audio visual event – Music from the magic Lantern – will colour in your evenings to follow in ways you will not likely forget.

    Petrus Spronk is an artist living in Daylesford. He is best known for his architectural fragment outside the state library in Swanson street and for his burnished ceramic bowls. In addition, he writes a monthly column- the Artist’s View- for the Wombat Post.

    Ken Buddha Trio: comprises Steve Kelly, Shohn Murnane and Peter McKenzie. Continuing their theme of collaborative Live Composition, with a palette of electronic and acoustic instrumentation, ‘ken buddha trio’ perform with guest artists in a way which fuses physical and spiritual elements and creates aural environments and atmospheres driven by musical investigation.

    “Music is a unifying force, composers around the world operate on a different frequency to politicians.  Their first thoughts are not to fight, but to collaborate, unite, band together for common causes, a life force, as opposed to a death force. ”

    4. Renewable Newstead – Solar Farm Underway


    More than a decade ago Renewable Newstead started working towards a project to generate renewable energy locally, near Newstead in Victoria, that’s accessible and competitively priced for use by all in our community. We want our kids and grandkids to know that right here in Newstead we made big efforts to collectively cut our CO2 output and use electricity that’s generated from renewable sources. And that we made it priced so that everybody in our area could buy it, not just ‘the haves’.

    Located west of Newstead, on Captains Gully Road, the solar array will be connected to the current 22kV powerline that runs along the Pyrenees Highway, 500 metres north of the site. The solar farm will be able to power all homes and businesses in the local area. Right now we’re on schedule to build our small-scale solar farm this year. To get us to ‘go’, we need your help.

    If you use grid-connected electricity in and around Newstead – Green Gully, Sandon, Clydesdale, Werona, Welshmans Reef, Yandoit, Muckleford, Strangways, Strathlea, Maldon, Guildford – here’s how you can help.Our energy retailer, Flow Power, needs to know enough locals intend to sign up to buy their energy from our solar farm. We’ll let them know if you let us know. All you need do is go to our website www.renewablenewstead.com.au, click on the home page button that says ‘Show Me The Deal’, complete the form and click submit (or click this button below). Signing this form is not binding. Off-liners can contact us by calling 0403 801 147 and we’ll complete the form with you. This tells us you’re happy for us to pass your details to Flow Power to contact you about your interest in buying your power from our farm.

    Show me the deal

    Our partner, Flow Power, will build and operate the Newstead solar farm and sell the electricity it generates. To find out more about Flow Power, check who will build, own and operate our solar farm under the FAQs on our website or go to theirs here.

    Renewable Newstead is a small group of volunteers and occasionally could use some extra hands to really make our project sing. Tasks range from data entry to event set-up and pack-down and letter-boxing. Tell us about your talents, ways you can help and the time you have by emailing info@renewablenewstead.com.au. Add ‘talent’ to the subject line & suggest tasks you might enjoy.

    Will the Newstead Solar Farm have a battery? Stage 1 will have a 2.5MW battery. It will store energy generated during the day for feeding into the grid when needed (i.e. at night). The battery will be housed in a shipping container.  How much energy will the Newstead Solar Farm generate?
    Stage 1 generation capacity =  2.5MW = 5266MWh/year  = enough to supply 600 households = all of Newstead, plus more, every hour, when running at full capacity.

    For further info: https://renewablenewstead.com.au/ or email info@renewablenewstead.com.au

    5. Bird of the Month: Australian Magpie

    Bird of the month is a partnership between Connecting Country and BirdLife Castlemaine District. With thanks to Jane Rusden from BirdLife Castlemaine District, and the Damian Kelly.

    Australian Magpie (Cracticus tibicen): Probably the most well known bird in Australia, found across the continent in a huge variety of habitats and adapted well to modified environments, the Australian Magpie is close to the heart for many people, and feared as well. As I type the fella that’s befriended me is catching European Wasps right out side my window, and doing a fine job of it.

    Australian Magpies live in social groups numbering from a pair to 20 birds, living in permanent territories which they defend fiercely. I have witnessed the local mob chasing off Wedge-tail Eagles and Square-tailed Kites. Many unfortunate cyclists and walkers have suffered attacks by Magpies during the breeding season when they have eggs or chicks in the nest, so it appears size is no deterrent to their protective instincts. However, it is interesting and perhaps heartening to note that the percentage of Magpies that attack humans is very low, though their attacks are arguably effective. If there is an Australian Magpie that gives you grief during the nesting season, the best course of action is to take an alternative route for a month or so. Remember, if you are mean to it, it can recall what you look like as they can recognise up to 100 humans!

    To read more on Australian Magpies attacking humans – click here

    Known to be very intelligent, both by observation of the species antics and anecdotal evidence, and hard data collected by scientists. The Conversation (online media channel) recently reported on a mob of Australian Magpies studied by Queensland University, who were fitted with very clever and very tiny tracking devices attached to a strong bird harness. The birds removed the tracking devices from all individuals fitted in the trial. The important and unique factor here, is that they removed them from each other, providing the first evidence of conspecific removal of GPS trackers. ‘While we’re familiar with magpies being intelligent and social creatures, this was the first instance we knew of that showed this type of seemingly altruistic behaviour: helping another member of the group without getting an immediate, tangible reward.’ To read the rest of this amazing article – click here

    The adaptability of the Australian Magpie is also evident in their breeding strategies, and the fact they have a number of strategies may have helped their success as a species. As co-operative breeders, like the Superb Fairy Wren and White-Winged Chough, there will be several Australian Magpies feeding young at the nest. However, DNA studies have shown that up to 38% of chicks may have been fathered by different males. More unusual and interesting, is that up to 10% of young are not related to any females in the group, meaning infraspecific brood parasitism, similar to Cuckoos.

    Once again the bird world amazes and confounds, but aren’t the Australian Magpies carolling calls the most beautiful sound, and what will they get up to next …?

    Please, if you are feeding Magpies, NO mince or meat as it can cause severe and deadly deficiencies, especially in young developing birds. If you want to feed them, buy some dried or live meal worms from the pet shop.

    Damian Kelly and Jane Rusden       Black-backed Australian Magpie (photo by Damian Kelly)

    To learn even more about the Australian Magpie, our contacts recommend the book ‘Australian Magpie: biology and behaviour of an unusual songbird‘ by Gisela Kaplan (published by CSIRO in 2019).

    Posted by Connecting Country , 24 February, 2022 https://connectingcountry.org.au/

    6. Jan ‘Yarn’ Wositzky’s Thank You For The Welcome – 50th Anniversary Show

    What: Jan ‘Yarn’ Wositzky’s Thank You For The Welcome – 50th Anniversary Show
    When: SUN, MARCH 20 AT 4 PM
    Where: Theatre Royal, Castlemaine
    May be an image of 1 person and text that says 'IN CONCERT THANK YOU FOR THE WELCOME Celebrating fifty years in Australian music and storytelling, with Jack Norton: guitars & bouzouki. and Wendy Rowlands: piano, sarangi, accordion & violin Tickets: it.ly/JanWositzkyTR'
    Fifty years after innocently stumbling into a life in the performing arts, Jan ‘Yarn’ Wositzky is celebrating the milestone with Thank You For The Welcome, a concert of gathered songs and stories that Jan believes are worth remembering into future. For this special occasion Jan will be joined by musicians Jack Norton and Wendy Rowlands (see bios below).
    The show was intimate and moving … delivered with such ease and sensitivity, stories of love and tragedy, backed by Jack’s beautiful guitar playing.” (Adele Duffy, Steiglitz, 2021)
    Beginning in 1971 as a founder of the renowned Bushwackers Band, Jan has gone on to produce acclaimed theatre shows, best selling books, award-winning television documentaries with Yanyuwa and Garrwa people of Borroloola; goldfields CDs and audio tours -and lots more.
    This is historical and political truth at its best.” (Dean’s Marsh Festival, 2021)
    The show’s title, Thank You for The Welcome, is Jan’s song to honour Australia’s Indigenous people – a theme that returns throughout the show.
    Jan is a brilliant storyteller, obviously learnt from some of the best storytellers, the First Nations. He makes you laugh and cry all at once. The story of the taipans made me laugh SO much. I just wish it was true.” (Megan Evans, Steiglitz, 2021)
    There are stories of the dancing Ngadiji women of Borroloola; a Bushwackers classic, Annie, sung in Yanyuwa; a lament for a mate who died of the grog; Turkish and Iranian music from Jack Norton, carrying the story of Gallipoli and the women from both sides, and of boat people incarcerated; weird happenings ‘up north’ with frozen kangaroo tails; a little bit of chainsaw music, and Dougie McLean’s secular hymn, The Singing Land – and Jan playing 5-string banjo, bodhran, rhythm bones, spoons and harmonica. It’s a journey. “This is a true theatrical experience, taking the audience to other worlds, other times, through many cultures and many emotions.” (Peter Sharp, Steiglitz 2021)
    Jack Norton
    Playing guitars, including the Italian chittara battente guitar, and bouzouki, Jack brings a world of musicality to Jan’s Australian sensibility. A musicologist as well as a musician, Jack plays across various musical genres, from rock, ‘Early’ music, folk to classical. In the 1980’s he travelled the Middle East and Europe, immersing himself in the music and cultures of the Middle East and Central Asia. In Thank You For The Welcome, Jack brings all these influences to bear, mesmerising audiences with his superb playing.
    Wendy Rowlands
    Wendy is a multi-talented, eclectic musician, with a background ranging from playing in orchestras such as the Australian Pops Orchestra and running her own community orchestra, The Corker Orchestra, playing violin in the Brazilian Choro band ‘Pipoca’, improvisation with the Melbourne Playback Theatre, touring with Aria Award winning Greek band ‘The Habibis’ … and much more in folk, jazz and community projects. In Thank You For The Welcome Wendy brings all the joy of her lifetime in music, playing piano, sarangi, accordion and violin. (Full bio go to www.corkerorchestra.com)

    7. Don Watson to speak at Wombat Post AGM

    The Wombat Post is an on-line community news publication for the Daylesford and Hepburn Springs region. The purpose of the Wombat Post is to

    • inform the community of news and events that contribute to community building community and community well-being,
    • promote a positive image of the local community,
    • contribute to the historical record, and
    • provide a medium for advertising services and trades offered to the community.

    The Daylesford District Community News Association Inc. (DDNA) is responsible for The Wombat Post.

    To subscribe to the Wombat Post and receive a link to the weekly edition in your inbox click on:  https://thewombatpost.com.au/about-the-wombat-post/

    Annual General Meeting

    When: Sunday March 20th, 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM 

    Where: Senior Citizens Centre, rear Daylesford Town Hall.

    Tickets are free: Go here to book

    Who: Best selling author and speech writer Don Watson has agreed at speak at the Wombat Post AGM on Truth and Integrity in the Media.

    8. Climate Action- Castlemaine parents & adults supporting youth climate action

    There’s movement at the station…. again! 

    A group of Castlemaine young people are planning to get back to collective climate action this Autumn ahead of the election and we’re helping with a bit of fundraising.  They are trying to raise $3000 for the Autumn action. Let’s help them reach their target. (And keep your ears open and your diary ready for some collective action in the coming months).

    Adults need to show young people that we care and are taking action too  

    A study of young people published last year showed that many don’t feel that the adults around them care about the climate crisis, and by extension, about their own future lives. Another even larger study found that young people are feeling increasingly worried and anxious about the climate crisis, and feel distressed and betrayed by governments’ inadequate inaction on the crisis. Our kids need to see us in climate action. So let’s get behind them, help them fundraise, turn up, turn out, and show them that they are not being asked to take the whole burden for action on climate change themselves.

    Win great stuff! Everyone who donates will get happier young people, will help tackle climate change and be giving more agency to the youngers to change the world. Win Win Win!

    9. Deliberative Engagement and Climate-Ready Conversations

    A Working Group of people based in and around Castlemaine, with support from Central Victorian Primary Care Partnership (CVPCP), have been meeting for the past few months. The group aims to build capacity within our community on deliberative processes, reaching those community members not always reached in conventional consultation processes and to build local climate change adaptation.

    Funding is being sought for a climate ready community conversations project. Conversations will draw on the Adapt Loddon Mallee Climate Ready Communities tool kit with targeted groups of people in a vulnerable state who are not always reached in conventional consultation. The tool kit guides a conversation regarding climate change adaptation. The data/information gleaned will then be shared with MASC, (DEWLP),  the Wararack Initiatives and other stakeholders to inform local and regional climate change adaptation initiatives.

    Deliberative engagement (DE) panels or citizens assemblies (bodies formed from randomly selected citizens to deliberate on important issues) can be cost prohibitive so this working group is keen to explore smaller scale and lower cost ways of deliberative engagement that ensure both broader engagement and a more random representation in decision making within our community using a range of structures and expertise already available within our community. In this project we will engage with neighbourhood networks and community groups through trusted connections and hold kitchen table conversations (KTCs) with them in small groups.

    It is well recognised through the amendment of the LGA Act, and other dialogues, that more considered and deliberative ways are needed to ensure both broader engagement and a more random representation in decision making.

    To find out more or contribute to this initiative email Carolyn Neilson on projects2@centralvicpcp.com.au

    10. Daylesford’s Chill Out Festival

    When: Labour Day weekend from Thursday, March 10 to Sunday, March 13.

    Where: Assorted venues around Daylesford

    The festival, which started in 1997, is the biggest regional LGBTIQA+ celebration in Australia.

    full festival timetable is available on the festival website. Or if you’re wandering around town and want a hard copy of the program, pick up the most recent issue of The Local.


    11. Ground Work: Conversations on Community Care

    When: Tuesday, March 15th, 2022 and Tuesday March 29th, between 4 PM – 5 PM

    What: Ground work: conversations on community organising.
    This is a collaboration between Castlemaine Commons and Salt Grass on Main fm

    12. Saltgrass radio and podcast

    Saltgrass is a collection of radio and podcast series all themed around the climate crisis and how grassroots movements are creating change. Made in Australia but you can listen anywhere: Apple, Google, Spotify or your favourite listening app. Saltgrass is broadcast via MAINfm on Tuesday afternoon from 4-5pm.
    Allie from Saltgrass is looking to get some listener feedback –  It takes about 2 minutes to fill out this survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GTTWY3D
    Saltgrass is at a bit of a crossroads. So far the show has been supported by the wonderful CBF (Community Broadcasting Foundation).  The funding they have granted has allowed us to create seasons two, three and four with confidence. Over that time we have been able to share so many wonderful conversations and explore so many important ideas about how we can all move forward through the uncertainty of the climate crisis.

    Through it all we’ve been airing the show on two amazingly vibrant community radio stations here in Victoria, as well as around the world via the podcast. We can’t tell how many people are listening on the radio but we’ve watched the podcast numbers as people from around the world started to discover and  listen to the show. It has been truly amazing! I’m so heartened by every single download.

    Each one represents someone, somewhere, who also cares about all this stuff. Someone who might be doing similar things in their own region. People who are looking for small and large ways to walk lightly, to change habits, to change culture, to make a difference.

    I know there are millions of stories around the world, and each culture and geographical region has different societal pressures, natural ecosystems, and weather patterns to think about. But I like to think that there are countless ways that we are the same as well. Sharing these stories from my local community can maybe offer solidarity, comfort and companionship on the road ahead.

    I am currently looking at what sort of topics and issues I could cover over the next year and am also about to apply for more funding.

    Like / subscribe / follow us on Facebook / Instagram / YouTube
    Get your sustainable Saltgrass t-shirts, bags and hoodies here

    13. Australian Conservation Foundation – Bendigo- Film Screening

    Damon Gameau (of 2040 fame) has released a new documentary  Regenerating Australia and it’s coming to Bendigo next Thursday. If you’re not curious yet check out the trailer here . We really need a sign of hope like this, in these troubled times.

    BENDIGO SCREENING: Damon Gameu will be at the screening to meet with the community.

    Date:       Thursday 10th March 2022

    Time:       5:45pm arrival for 6:00pm start

    Venue:     Bendigo Cinema

    Address:   107-109 Queen St, Bendigo, VIC 3550

    Under 18’s are free.

    Book your tickets at this link https://events.humanitix.com/regenerating-australia-village-bendigo .

    14. EYESEEYOU Exhibition at CASPA 







    What: Mars Drum’s New Work from “The True History Of Ned Kelly And Burka Woman”

    When: Sat 5th – Sun 27th March, Hours: 10am – 4pm every day
    Mars Drum will be in the gallery on the weekends

    Where: C.A.S.P.A.,  Above Stonemans Bookroom, cnr Hargraves & Mostyn Sts Castlemaine


    Artist’s Statement

    “Ned and Burka help me process my own transmutations and responses within the seismic context of an imploding nation and planet. I just want to smash all the existing regressive societal constructs that limit who we are and can be.

    See how Ned and Burka now merge, overlap, transition, shift shapes colours moods… uniting in heartache and love, hope and loss…the Eyeseeyou series includes eyes that see you and each other clearly as one race. We are one race. We’re the human race.”

    The True History of Ned Kelly and Burka Woman

    In response to the 9/11 US terrorist attacks in 2001, and the subsequent negative characterisation of Muslims being delivered to Australians by an aggressive Howard government and mainstream media, I took to wearing a burqa in public – including Melbourne’s regular street rallies, weekly art openings, CD launches, gigs, parties.

In December 2001, with Australia joining the US-lead military invasion of Afghanistan, I found myself painting war scenes on small canvases… women in burqas fleeing across desert sand dunes, chased by Australian military tanks…women in black on their knees clutching their dead babies… black corpses scattered on bloodstained snow. I titled this series “A True Story”.

 One day in 2002, Ned Kelly suddenly landed beside Burka Woman on my canvas, and so began a new series: “A Love Story”.

Both having experienced discrimination and persecution…hiding out from authorities who would have them killed for the colour of their skin, their heritage, gender, beliefs, and unyielding will to survive…. Burka and Ned spend the next two decades as inseparable companions, undertaking a survey of Australian culture in my ongoing art series re-titled in 2008 as “The True History of Ned Kelly and Burka Woman”.


    Mars Drum was born and raised on a farm in Banyena, Wotjobaluk country, Australia. 

Art running deep through the female bloodlines on both sides of the family, Mars knew early in life that drawing and painting was her special thing, and that Art was her guiding star.

Mars left home at eighteen to spend the next few decades “living the artful life”. This included six years of art residencies and extensive travel in Europe and Asia, and many more years obsessively videoing Melbourne’s fringe arts and counter-cultural happenings, and undertaking a diverse range of experimental community and public art projects and residencies.

Drum’s ongoing visual arts series “The True History of Ned Kelly and Burka Woman” is a contemporary investigation of Australia’s cultural history and identity, and has been exhibited, short-listed, and reviewed positively both nationally and internationally since 2006. 

Drum moved back onto Wotjobaluk country in 2012, and paints from her home studio in Dimboola.

    Enquiries:   ben.laycock@realhub.net.au
    mars.drawingtime@gmail.com   www.marsdrum.com

    Insta @mars.drum

    15. Planned ecological burns webinar and Sustainable Land Management

    What: Upcoming online webinar on planned ecological burns.

    When: Tuesday 8 March 2022 from 7 pm

    Registration: click here
    Cost: free
    Contact: Martin Roberts (mroberts@mrsc.vic.gov.au)- Macedon Ranges Shire Council

    Ecological planned burning is a land management tool applied to promote positive benefits for a local environment and certainly has its place in sustainable land management, if implemented with skill and knowledge.

    What are hazard reduction burns, are we doing enough of them, and could they have stopped Australia's catastrophic bushfires? - ABC News

    Ecological burns aim to bolster growth in native plant species and prevent serious bushfires (photo: ABC News)

    Ecological burns – the benefits

    These benefits include stimulating dormant seed banks in the soil profile, reducing the vigour or eliminating weeds, nutrient cycling and the removal of biomass….all of which promote biodiversity and ecosystem health. There are a range of factors that influence when and how an ecological planned burn can be conducted but essential to the process is a clear understanding of what you are trying to achieve and how to moderate fire behaviour and extent.

    The talk will explore how ecological burning is undertaken in Local Government and how this can be applied to other contexts.

    Zoom details will be sent to you prior to the webinar. To register – click here

    The Healthy Landscapes project

    The Healthy Landscapes: Practical Regenerative Agricultural Communities program aims to raise awareness in their community about sustainable land management practices that improve soil health, reduce exposure to climate risk, enhance biodiversity and increase on-farm productivity.

    This program is being delivered as a partnership between Macedon Ranges Shire Council, Hepburn Shire Council, the City of Greater BendigoA Healthy Coliban Catchment project (North Central Catchment Management Authority and Coliban Water), Melbourne Water and the Upper Campaspe Landcare Network.

    Posted by Connecting Country, 22 February, 2022 – https://connectingcountry.org.au/

    16. Renaming of Jim Crow Creek

    What: Speaking to submissions on renaming the creek at Special meeting of Hepburn Shire Council

    When: 22 March 2022 at 5:30pm

    As a result of the response to community consultation last year, Hepburn Shire Council will proceed with considering the proposed name change to Larni Barramal Yaluk. Council will hear from community members at a virtual Special Meeting of Council. At this meeting, community members who provided responses to the consultation in relation to the Proposed Renaming of Jim Crow Creek during the advertised community survey period in 2021 are invited to register their interest in speaking to their submission.

    Here is the Request to Address Council Form . This needs to be submitted to Council by 2pm 15 March 2022.


    The reason behind the proposed name change is twofold:

    • the recognition of Aboriginal heritage and the reinstatement of Dja Dja Wurrung language into the landscape,
    • and the removal of a name that is offensive and derogatory.

    The history of the term ‘Jim Crow’ is rooted in racial segregation and anti-black racism. In 1828 a US white actor Thomas Dartmouth, known as ‘Daddy Rice’, developed the first popular blackface minstrel character called Jim Crow. Rice became a hit on the world stage with his performance of ‘Jump Jim Crow’ a song and dance routine portraying an enslaved, disheveled and grossly stereotyped African American. ‘Jim Crow’ became a racist term to refer to ‘black people’ worldwide and became the foundation for the ‘Jim Crow Laws’ in the United States (1877 to 1965), making discrimination and racial segregation legal and enforceable.

    Historical sources indicate that the name Jim Crow was likely first applied to the area of Lalgambook/Mt Franklin by Captain John Hepburn in the 1830’s. The term Jim Crow was used by squatters, government representatives and miners to refer to the mountain, the Aboriginal Protectorate, the ‘Tribe’, individual Aboriginal people, the creek, the goldfields (diggings) and district. There are many precedents for removing racially offensive terms in the Australian landscape. Mount Jim Crow in Queensland was legally restored to the Darumbal (Traditional Owners) name of Baga in 2018.

    In Hepburn Shire, reinstating a name that re-connects our community with the Dja Dja Wurrung culture and language that spans many thousands of years, sets the standard for how we can support the Dja Dja Wurrung Peoples to reinstate language in our landscape.

    The new name proposed by DJAARA (formerly the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation) and supported by Djaara Elders, is Larni Barramal Yaluk. The name translates to ‘Home or habitat of the Emu Creek’. Another translation given is ‘the resting place of the Emu’. The crater at Mt Franklin/Lalgambook had this name because the crater resembles the Emu nest. The Country surrounding this was also referred to as Larni Barramal because the springs and swamps there provided water to emu. The Creek would also provide water, therefore, renaming the Creek Larni Barramal after this area was agreed to by the Traditional Owners.

    It is important to note that the name Jim Crow Creek will be reserved in the state’s geographic names register as an historic name and will remain a part of the region’s history.

    You can register to speak at the special council meeting by:

    • Emailing the completed form to creekrenaming@hepburn.vic.gov.au
    • Submitting the online form at https://participate.hepburn.vic.gov.au/proposed-renaming-jim-crowcreek
    • Completing a hard copy of the form and submitting it at your nearest customer service office

    A report to council will then be made for a decision at the April council meeting.

    For further information and updates refer to https://participate.hepburn.vic.gov.au/proposed-renaming-jim-crow-creek

     17.Growing Abundance is Hiring

    The Growing Abundance Project Committee is inviting expressions of interest for two contract positions for an immediate start. Made possible by a Strengthening Rural Communities Grant from the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR), we are looking for a Harvest Coordinator and Funding and Development Coordinator. A cornerstone of the Growing Abundance Project has been the Harvest Project, which sees volunteers harvesting excess food from local orchards and yards and distributing it to community members and local organisations.

    Harvest Coordinator
    The Harvest Coordinator (7.5 hours per week x 16 weeks) is a community facing role responsible for coordinating and delivering the Harvest Project.

    Responsibilities include: Liaising with orchard owners to organise harvest of food, liaising with community stakeholders to organise distribution of food, Coordinate harvest volunteers, participate in harvest activities, organise events, maintain database for participating stakeholders, manage online platforms including website, mailchimp and social media, attend monthly committee meetings, project evaluation, engaging with Fundraising and Development Manager as required.

    Fundraising and Development Coordinator
    The Fundraising and Development Coordinator (7.5 hours per week x 16 weeks) is a work from home position, and is responsible for fundraising and organisational development activities.

    Responsibilities include: grant research and submission, strategic development of the organisation, project evaluation, supporting Harvest Coordinator and harvest activities as required. Assistance and direction from the committee will be provided.

    Send expressions of interest, including responses to Role Requirements on a cover letter, a CV including two professional referees to: hello@growingabundance.org.au

    *Both roles will be paid at $40 per hour, with some allowance for phone, internet and travel costs.

    Closing date for expressions of interest: Wednesday 2nd March
    Shortlisted Candidates Notified: Friday 4th March
    Interview for Shortlisted Candidates: Monday 7th March (Times TBC)
    Role Commencement Date: Immediate Start

    For further information: Ruby Carrodus, Ph 0431 606 445
    Or email hello@growingabundance.org.au

    Click here for Position Description

    18. Discovering Joyce’s Creek and Lake Cairn Curran after rains

    (With thanks to Patrick Kavanagh and the Natural Newstead Blog)

    After our recent generous fall of rain, Joyce’s Creek near its inflow to Lake Cairn Curran has become a beautiful expanse of calm water. What could be better than to paddle upstream from the bridge at the Pyrenees Highway with binoculars and a camera?