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  • February/March 2024 newsletter

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

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

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


    Food for Thought

    Feature Article- Angst in the Aisle by Peter Yates

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

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

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

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

    All that stuff.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Arts and Culture

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Waking Up a Fiery Love For The Earth- Book Launch

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Co-hosted by Castlemaine Zen and Localising Leanganook

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

    Singalong Book Launch-New Book- A Basket of Songs

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

    Northern Arts Hotel

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

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

    Forest Film Society

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

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

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


    Newstead Arts Hub- Events in March

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Cresfest’s Folk and Roots Festival

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

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

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

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

    Castlemaine Documentary Film Workshops

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

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

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

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

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

    Event on Facebook

    Food Growing, Farming and Food Security

    Mt Franklin Organics

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

    Two Fold Bakehouse


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

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

    Castlemaine Seed Library

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

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

    Orchard Keepers- Castlemaine Weekly Market

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

    CLICK HERE TO ORDER SPECIALS at our online shop

    Getting here

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

    Growing Abundance and Fruit Harvests

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

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


    Ecology and Environment

    Natural  Newstead



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

    Bird of the Month

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

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

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

     Biolinks Central Vic Workshops

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

    2024 Monthly Webinar Series.

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

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

    Connecting Country

    The Misunderstood Magical Mistletoes: ABC Online Article

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

    Photo competition

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

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

    Brush-Tailed Phascogale!

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    North Central Catchment Management

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

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


    First Nations

    Nalderun Annual Report


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

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



    Newstead Post-Referenum Ally Group

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


    History, Books and Libraries

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


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

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

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


    Sustainable Living Resources

    Sustainable Hepburn Day

    Saturday, 16 March 2024

    10:00 AM to 03:00 PM

    Volunteer shifts available



    Castlemaine Community Co-operative Official Launch

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

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

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

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


    Focus on Trees – Tree Photography Workshop with Alison Pouliot

    Large old tree Photography workshop with Alison Pouliot


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

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

    More info  about the event

    More info about the  large old trees project here



    International Women’s Day 2024

    ♦  Hepburn Shire

    ♥ Silver Apron Award- Hepburn Wholefoods Collective

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

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

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

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


    Mt Alexander Shire

    My Home Network- Castlemaine and Surrounds


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

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

    For more information 

    Mt Alexander sustainability group- (MASG)

    Community Energy Conference 

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


    ♥ Wash Against Waste Trailer – Volunteers needed

    March 10thTaradale Mineral Springs Festival

    March 17thBendigo Sustainability Festival

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

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

    ♥ Home Energy Audit – Free Workshop

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

     Repair Cafes

    Castlemaine and Daylesford…Bendigo  Ballarat Creswick ….

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


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


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



    Building Community







    Castlemaine Free University Wage Peace Event

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

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

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

    Local Government News

    ♦  Mount Alexander Shire

    Reflecting on Australia Australia Day – Survival Day 🖤💛❤️

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

    Mayor, Matt Driscoll, shares the latest Council news

    Repairs to the Market Building: Read more about these works

    Flood recovery works continue Learn more about these works

    Have your say by signing up to Shape Mount Alexander

    Find out what’s on in the shire

    ♦  Hepburn Shire

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

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

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

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

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

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

    ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

    Workshops and Courses

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


    Build Your Organisation’s Capacity to Support Autistic People:

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Food for Thought

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

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


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








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

    Continue reading →
  • January/February 2024 newsletter

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

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

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

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


    Food for Thought

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

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

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

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

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

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

    CLTs: history and why they’re important

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

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

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

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

    What’s on in Central Victoria

    Arts and Culture

    Newstead Live 2024


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

    When: Thursday 25th January – Sunday 28th January

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

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

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

    Mechanics Lane Spring/Summer Program- Castlemaine

    When: Thursday 25 to Sunday 28 January 2024

    What: Street Latin Dance: Summer Salsa

    Where: Mechanics Lane, Castlemaine

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

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

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

    Yandoit Cultural and Yandoit Faith Community

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

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

    Guitar Concert- Music of Spain and South America

    When: 6.00pm, Friday 23rd February, 2024

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

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

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

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

    When: Sunday February 11th, 2pm

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

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

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

    Castlemaine Johannine Community aka the Grail Community

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

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

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

    Cost: all events are free, donations are welcome

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

    The Coolroom at the Northern Arts Hotel

    The Coolroom at the Northern Arts Hotel's logo

    Upcoming events:

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

    3rd Feb: Daniel Champagne $30 + booking fee

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

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

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

    All events start at 7.30pm.

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

    Inkwareny Artists of Yuelamu come to Castlemaine

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

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

    Newstead Arts Hub- Musical Instrument makers…  plus much more

    What: Musical Instrument Makers

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

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

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

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

    Radius Art Gallery

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

    re:create – the art of sustainability

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


    The Tap Room- Mill Markets


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

    Theatre Royal- Castlemaine


    Cinema, music, pizza and more .


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Food Growing, Farming and Food Security

    Mt Franklin Organics


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

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

    Orchard Keepers- Harcourt Organic Farming Coop

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Trewhella Biodynamic Berry Farm

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

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


    Hepburn Wholefoods

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

    Where: 11 Perrins Street · Daylesford

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

    Two fold Bakehouse

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

    Where can you buy our bread?  THURSDAY BREAD, WEEKLY; ordered online weekly as a one off, or monthly as a subscription with pick up each Thursday from Daylesford, Yandoit or Kyneton hubs. DAYLESFORD SUNDAY RAILWAY MARKET- FORTNIGHTLY . HEPBURN WHOLEFOODS COLLECTIVE-Fresh bread every Thursday from 3pm



    Ecology and Environment

    Natural Newstead


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

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

    Mapping Precious Large Old Trees

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

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

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

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

    Wombat Forest Care


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

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

    Don’t Undermine Daylesford

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

    First Nations

    Australia Day – Survival Day Event 


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

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

    Where: Victory Park/Djaara Park, Castlemaine

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

    Self-reflection Conversations- Djaara Country

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

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

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

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

    Overview of Nalderun Education Aboriginal Corporation

    by Floria Maschek

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

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

    History, Books and Libraries

    History of Werona

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

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

    Free IT help for seniors at Castlemaine Library

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

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

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

    Where: Castlemaine Library and other Goldfields Libraries

    When: during library hours

    Cost: free

    Happy Birthday, Dickens

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

    When: Thursday 8 February, 5.30-6.30pm

    Where: Castlemaine Library 


    Sustainable Living Resources

    Do with Su: Online Permaculture Series

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

    Where and When: online and  access any time

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

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

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


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

    Where: Northern Arts Hotel, 359 Barker St, Castlemaine

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

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

    Newstead Solar Farm

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

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

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

    Sustainable Hepburn Newsletter

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

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

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


    Repair Cafes

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

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


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

    Gold Coin donation.

    Castlemaine Seed Library

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

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

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

    Building Community

    Tiny Towns Funding Available

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

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

    Fixed wireless broadband for Sailors Falls

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

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


    Resident-led Housing

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

    Wombat Post

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

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

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

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

    Local Government News

    Have your say with Shape Mount Alexander

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

    2024 Community Grants

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

    Free pool entry on 26 January

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

    Find out what’s on in the shire

    Upcoming Council meeting

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

    Hepburn Shire Community Grants Program

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

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

    Workshops and Courses

    Systemic family Constellations


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

    Where: Wesley Hill Hall

    Explore dynamics within yourself and within your family system.

    For more information:  amyjonesroberts@yahoo.com.au 





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

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

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

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

    Food for Thought

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Continue reading →
  • December 2023 newsletter

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

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

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

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

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

    So what does that mean in practice?

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

    Building or supporting place-based institutions or cultures.

    Shortening the distances between producer and consumer.


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

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

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


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

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


    Feature Article –  Reading Landscape film

    What’s happening in Central Victoria

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

    Letters- (none this edition)

    Food For Thought

    Feature Article/Film- Reading Landscape

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

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

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

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

    1. Arts and Culture

    Locals Film Making – call out for submissions

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

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

    Entries close May 1st 2024 Find out more about LOCALS

    Yandoit Cultural Christmas Carols with Castlemaine Peace Choir

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

    When: Thursday December 21st, 7pm

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

    Film Making Workshops

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

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

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

    Northern Arts Hotel

    All links for accommodation,  gigs and events, click here

    Swiss Italian Festival – Landscape Art Prizes at Radius Gallery

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

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

    Art works are available for sale.

    Photo: Julie Kluwer’s winning painting

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

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

    Lease extended for Yandoit Cultural 

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

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

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

    Castlemaine and Surrounds Summer Market Art Exhibition

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

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


    2. Building Community

    Castlemaine Community Christmas Lunch- 2023

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

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

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

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

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

    Newstead 21- Community Development Opportunities

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

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

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

    Resident-led Housing Workshop

    A workshop facilitating community members to design resident-led housing futures for Mount Alexander Shire. We invite Castlemaine and other shire residents interested in resident-led housing options (developing multi-residential housing for their own occupation in partnership with other households) to a workshop focussing on the collective resources required to deliver such projects.
    This event is supported by Allie Hanley (Saltgrass Podcast) and the My Home Network of Mount Alexander ShireTo express interest in the workshop and receive further information, please complete this short survey —https://forms.office.com/r/vAv4zgniCz

    Daylesford Tragedy- Support Available

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

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

    What’s On at Goldfields Libraries

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

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

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

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

    child at Castlemaine Storywalk

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

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

    What’s on at Goldfields Libraries

    Quick Response Grants 


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


    Twilight Artists Market- Castlemaine

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

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

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

    Newstead Arts Hub- Create a woven boat form

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

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

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

    3. Ecology and Environment

    On the lookout for Drought Refuge Pools

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

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

    Castlemaine Seed Library

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

    Save the date: Thursday 1st Feb 2024

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

    The Habits of Birds – Geoff Park’s Natural Newstead

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

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

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

    Connecting Country – Buzz Project

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

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

    Photo: Imperial Jezebel (Delias harpalyce)

    Biolinks Alliance

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

    Latest news from our Spring Plains Watershed Repair project

    Heathcote Local to Landscape pilot project

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

    North Central Catchment Management

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

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

    Subscribe to the North Central Chat here.

    Connecting Country

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

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


    4. First Nations

     Walking Together- Floria Maschek

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

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

    First Nations Project of the year Award

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

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

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

    5. Food Growing, Farming and Food Security

    Tumpinyeri Growers

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

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

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

    Orchard Keepers – PYO-CSA

    What is PYO-CSA? 

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

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

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

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

    Two Fold Bakehouse

    Local bread for the local community. Locally baked sour dough bread, delivered to Daylesford and Yandoit and Kyneton on Thursday and available at Daylesford’s Sunday market. You can subscribe and order weekly.  By ordering Thursday bread you are joining our bread family of farmers, millers and bakers who work to regenerate the land and value small scale, local food systems. Your support means we can bake to order, with no bread going to waste. With the Christasm season coming up extra goodies are being baked.

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


    Mt Franklin Organics

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


    Local Food can Save the World- a short film


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

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

    6. Sustainable Economics

    The Big Switch-Local businesses switch to renewable energy


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

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

    Local Futures- Planet Local Summit

    Planet Local summit- : full recordings from the Summit

    New booklet for a Local Planet

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

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

    7. Sustainable Living 

    Mt Alexander Sustainability Group

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

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

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

    Fire Season and Fire Plan

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

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

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

    E-waste at Hepburn’s Transfer Stations

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


    Community Panels guide Future Hepburn

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

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

    Milkwood Permaculture

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

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

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

    8. Workshops and Courses

    FORUM: The Future of Firefighting in Victoria

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

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

     WHERE:Online (Zoom)

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

    9. Communicating Good News Stories

    Castlemaine’s Saltgrass podcasts

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

    Recent podcasts include:

    Connecting Country,  landcare groups and restoration

    Yes in My Back Yard (YIMBY) – Composting project

    Love and garlic- Gung Hoe Growers

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

    Food for Thought

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

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

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

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


    The Andes-Amazon Ecocultural Corridor

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

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

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

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

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

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

    When Only Love Remains

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

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


    Continue reading →
  • September/October 2023 Newsletter

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

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

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

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

    Nikki, Samantha, Keppel and  Laurel


    Feature article – Castlemaine Rites of Passage- John Terry

    What’s happening in Central Victoria?

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

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

    Food For Thought

    Feature Article: Castlemaine Rites of Passage

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

    Rites of passage are intrinsic to many cultures around the world. In these traditional communities boys on reaching puberty are taken into rites of passage both to acknowledge significant transition they are moving through and to acknowledge each young person’s uniqueness. There is ample evidence that young men could well find their own ways, often involving risk taking behaviour, if adults in their community don’t provide rites of passage experiences for them. Arne Rubinstein an Australian GP who has developed rites for young men, notes that many boys do not relate to images of being a man commonly portrayed in media and on the internet, which can leave them feeling unseen and trying to play out roles that are not authentic to themselves.

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

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

    (John Terry- Chewton)

    1. Arts and culture

    Climate Concert- Castlemaine

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

    School Strike for Climate Film Fundraiser 

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

    Newstead Arts Hub- Artists’s Talks

    Finding a voice: Spring Series of artists’ talks 

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

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

    Django Fretts Gypsy Jazz Quartet returns to Yandoit Cultural

    When: Saturday October 21st,  5.00pm

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

    Entry by donation

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

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

    Swiss Italian Festa returns to Hepburn

    When: 26-29 October 2023

    Where: assorted venues around Hepburn Springs and Yandoit

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

     Our Swiss Italian History, Music and Stories at Yandoit Cultural

    When:  Sunday October 29th, 1.00pm

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

    Entry by donation

    As part of  the Swiss Italian Festa,  2023. Yandoit and surrounding hamlets, was home to many Swiss-Italian migrants who settled during the 1850’s. Some mined for gold,  some created farms, some set up bakeries, some built houses from local stone, while others grew grapes for wine.  A number of the original families have remained in the neighbourhood for generations. This special event, as part of the Swiss Italian Festa, will bring together decendants from some of the original Swiss Italian settlers, to share memories, tell stories and play music they brought to Australia. There might even be a bus tour to some of the stone houses in the area.

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

    Early Music Saltbush Ensemble to play Daylesford’s Christchurch

    When: Saturday September 30th, 2.30pm

    Where: 54 Central Springs Road, Daylesford

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

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

    On the couch with Beck Lister

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

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

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

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

    Newstead Arts Hub- Random Weaving

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


    Daylesford Ceramic Collection and  Exhibition – 2023

    Opening : Sat 16th September 3-5pm

    Exhibition Dates : 16th of til the 30th September

    Where: Radius Gallery, Main Street Hepburn Springs

    The Daylesford Ceramic Collection is a celebration of the amazing array of local artistic practitioners who use clay as their medium to express, explore and create.

    Meet Author-  Chris Hammer

    An opportunity to meet leading Australian crime novelist Chris Hammer in person in Castlemaine. A journalist for more than 30 years, Chris’ books have atmospheric Australian settings, a range of colourful characters, intricate plots, descriptive language and emotional depth.

    When: Monday October 9th, 5.30 -6.30 including book sales and signings.

    Where: Castlemaine Library

    Lake of Scars film screening

    Explores the beautiful, mysterious, scarred trees, middens and stone scatters of Lake Boort. Presented by the late, great Uncle Jack Charles.

    When: Thursday 5 October, 5-6:30pm

    Where: On the big screen in the Phee Broadway Theatre, Castlemaine.

    2. Building community

    Local Futures Summit

    When: 29 Sep – 1 Oct
    Where: Bristol, UK and online
    Program & booking link: https://planet-local-summit.localfutures.org/programme/

    Local Futures is dedicated to renewing ecological and social well-being by strengthening communities and local economies worldwide.

    Drawing on Local Futures networking and movement building over four decades, the three-day Summit will be our biggest, boldest and most international event yet. It will bring together leading minds and activists grappling with our planet’s most pressing challenges.

    You can buy tickets for a single day, for two days, or for all three. And, for those unable to join us in Bristol, our affordable livestream ticket offers the chance to tune into approximately 16 hours of content, including all plenary sessions. (Free livestream tickets are available for those who need them.) Book tickets

    Full Planet Local Summit program available here. Program highlights  include:

    ● Pat McCabe (Woman Stands Shining) explores the links between community and the sacred.
    ● Charles Eisenstein joins Bayo Akomolafe and Manish Jain in conversation.
    ● Mika Tsutsumi, a leading investigative journalist from Japan, examines tech dictatorship in the plenary session: ‘The Matrix of the Global Economy’.
    ● Activists from five continents present their projects in a rapid-fire format.
    ● Actress Nathalie Kelley performs ‘Visions of the Future: A Short Play in Two Acts’.

    And here’s a snapshot of summit break-out sessions (day one):

    1) In Search of Wisdom for a Broken World- — with Iain McGilchrist and Bayo Akomolafe

    2) From Deadlihoods to Alivelihoods- — with Manish Jain and Salim Dara

    3) What Can I Do? Taking Meaningful Action-— open space facilitated by Fiona McInnes-Craig

    4) Leading the Way to Local Food Prosperity- — with Jon Jandai, Saad Dagher, Nelson Mudzingwa, Ruby van der Wekken and Morag Gamble

    5) Living Lightly Locally- — with Keri Hopeward

    6) Right Here, Right Now! Strengthening Local Economies — with Jay Tompt and Diego Isabel La Moneda

    Offers and Needs Market

    The Offers and Needs Market is one of the most effective methods for revealing local wealth, rapidly deepening connections, and regenerating economies. In the two-hour guided process, folks meet to identify and exchange their passions, knowledge, skills, resources, and opportunities. A powerful yet simple process which shifts the narrative around community resources, creating a culture of trust, empathy, and connection. 

    Where: Castlemaine Community House
    When: 12 November, 10 – 12am
    More details: contact Samantha at samantha.wittenberg@gmail.com or 0490501671

    Hepburn Seniors Festival

    FREE ‘tickets’ for yourself and one friend (over the age of 55): https://www.hepburn.vic.gov.au/events

    On 3 and 4 October 2023 (during Seniors Festival), at the Town Hall, the Embolden 2023 National Symposium on Ageism and Respect for Older People is coming to Daylesford!

    This symposium, by Celebrate Ageing Celebrate Ageing – Building Respect for Older People is Australia’s only national event that aims to combat ageism and build respect for older people, by emboldening and building the capacity and confidence of service providers, policy makers, community leaders and the older people within our community.

    To Register for this event and to obtain tickets go to: Embolden2023 National Symposium | Humanitix

    Ticket prices as follows: Waged – $650.00   Unwaged – $70.00

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

    Housing for the aged information session

    One in six people experiencing homelessness in Australia are aged over 55, with older women adversely affected. Learn about risk factors for homelessness and where you can go to access support.

    When: Monday 16 October, 1-3pm

    Where: Castlemaine Library 

    The Wombat Post

    Daylesford and Hepburn’s independent community on-line weekly newsletter connecting the community. You can subscribe and receive a link each Friday afternoon in your inbox.


    The Old is Beautiful Workshop – Hepburn U3A

    When: Thursday October 5th

    Where: Daylesford Neighbourhood Centre

    A free workshop.

    For more information: https://www.dncentre.org.au/


    North Central Chat

    Here’s links to both the September and the October 2023 edition of the North Central Chat, featuring Biodiversity Month,  Aussie Bird Count, National Water Week and our very own Chicks in the Sticks.  There’s also online courses for Environmental Volunteers, including some webinars next week on targeted recruitment and engaging young people; engaging diverse groups in environmental volunteering; and an introduction to Indigenous cultural awareness.

    North Central Chat (nccma.vic.gov.au)

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

    Save the date for Chicks in the Sticks –Saturday October 28th.

    Jumpleads Team- supporting local initiatives

    Jumpleads is a social enterprise that ‘jump starts’ arts and community initiatives to change cultures and invigorate communities for a better future.

    Find out more: www.jumpleJumpleads NFP . It includes Make a Change & Pop Up Art programs  ads.net

    Jumpleads is responding to calls from people making a positive impact in their community, such as Bendigo Sustainability Group, pictured here.


    3. Ecology and Environment

    Castlemaine Free University- the Dao of Civilisation- Freya Matthews


    What: A rare opportunity to hear from Freya Matthews, one of Australia’s most important eco-philosophers. Freya imagines our transformation to an ecological civilisation supporting the biosphere.

    When: Monday October 2nd, 2023, 6.30 for 7pm start

    Where: Northern Arts Hotel, 359 Barker St, Castlemaine

    A free event



    Seeking landholder for mammal surveys: MSGV

    The Mammal Survey Group of Victoria has recently contacted us, as they are seeking sites on private land for wildlife surveys, including phascogales and sugar gliders!

    Please see the information below provided by the Mammal Survey Group of Victoria and contact Kathy directly if you are interested in being involved.

    If you are curious about the mammals in your area and own a property with a significant amount of native vegetation or have undertaken revegetation activities, we would love to hear from you. Property owners and families are welcome to participate.

    Email Kathy Zonnevylle kathyz@optusnet.com.au for a chat. For more information about the Mammal Survey Group of Victoria, please click here

    Recording the large old trees of central Victoria

    Connecting Country has a mapping portal, aimed at helping community citizen scientists map the old, and often large, trees of Central Victoria. Database entries have been fed in over the past 12 months and we have now reached 25 large old trees entered into the portal. The majority of the entries have been around the Maldon, Welshmans Reef, Chewton, Castlemaine and Guildford areas, with a variety of citizen scientists taking some excellent photos and providing data about the tree species, age, height and habitat values.

    The interactive mapping portal is part of Connecting Country’s larger project, ‘Regenerate before it’s too late‘ , engaging the community in the importance of old trees and how to protect them.  Over the next two years (2024-2025), we will continue to host community workshops and develop engagement resources. We will also help local landholders with practical on-ground actions to protect their large old trees and ensure the next generation of large old trees across the landscape.

    We are asking the community, including landholders, Landcarers and land managers, to map their favourite old trees across our region. Anyone can access Connecting Country’s new online mapping portal. The portal uses BioCollect, an advanced but simple-to-use data collection tool developed by the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) and its collaborators. BioCollect helps users collect field biodiversity data for their own projects, while allowing the data to be easily copied into the ALA, where it can be publicly available for others to use in research, policy and management. This allows individual projects to collectively contribute to science across Australia.

    For more information and to join the mapping team : https://connectingcountry.org.au/large-old-trees-growing-in-the-cloud-or-mapping-large-old-trees-progress-but-more-needed

    iNaturalist Workshop

    When: Friday October 6th, 2023

    Where: Castlemaine Community House

    Local naturalist and Castlemaine Field Naturalist Club member Euan Moore will hold the workshop and will cover a range of skills including: How to set up an iNaturlist account and profile, How to upload photos to iNaturlist; How to reach out to naturalists and scientists on iNaturlist to confirm, verify or identify your sightings.

    iNaturalist is an online platform that allows all curious citizen scientists to record sightings and identify all kinds of species including, insects, birds, mammals, reptiles, plants, sea life, coral, and fungi.

    In some recent posts I’ve remarked about the arrival of spring migrants, a number of which have now appeared – White-browed Woodswallow and Rufous Songlark, to name two.

    A less obvious species, but a migrant nonetheless, is the Australian Reed-Warbler. This plain-looking songster can be found in wetlands areas wherever there is tall cover, such as that provided by reeds and cumbungi.

    They generally arrive in mid-September each year and announce their presence with rich, scolding calls as they dart between patches of vegetation. While somewhat furtive they will often appear at the top of a plant stem to investigate their surroundings. In my experience they disappear from local breeding sites in early autumn and apparently move north for the winter, although small numbers do remain in some years.

    To subscribe: https://geoffpark.wordpress.com/

    4. First Nations

    Large old tree walk: with Uncle Rick Nelson – sold out


    Although sold out, please register your interest for future events through the booking link.

    This cultural walk is part of Connecting Country’s larger project, ‘Regenerate before it’s too late
    This is a free event for limited numbers, with lunch provided.

    For catering and logistical purposes, please register your attendance – click here

    When: Saturday 14 October 2023 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
    Where: Dry Diggings Heritage Park, Golden Point 3451 (exact location will be revealed once you book)


    Voice to Parliament Information session

    What’s On program  All events are free, but many require bookings.

    Voice to Parliament Referendum: Information Session 

    What: Join Public Law Lecturer Dr Balawyn Jones as she discusses what the Voice is, what a Referendum is, and how they will impact our Australian Constitution from a legal perspective. Ask all the questions you need to to feel informed to vote on October 14

    When: Wednesday 4 October, 5.30-6.30pm
    Where: Castlemaine library

    Democracy for Dinner

    Democracy for Dinner supports a Yes outcome in the upcoming referendum to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice. We came to this position by listening to local First Nations voices, individually and organisations, by reading the Uluru Statement from the Heart and the Dja Dja Wurrung DJAARA Statement, and meeting to discuss how this aligns with our goals as an organisation. Ultimately, we came to the view that a Yes outcome from the referendum is the best for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, for all Australians and for democracy in Australia.

    A ‘Yes’ outcome is good for democracy – https://mailchi.mp/…/a-yes-outcome-is-good-for-democracy

    First Nations Artist Commission – Call for applications!

    Castlemaine Library has an exciting opportunity for First Nations artists living or working on Djaara Country.

    Click here to request a full copy of the Expression Of Interest, with Artist Brief, budget, and details of how to apply.
    Applications close 14 October 2023.


    Walking Together Article

    Prepared by Floria for Friends of Nalderun

    This edition is entitled Place and Context



    5. Food Sovereignty and Food Security

    Hepburn Wholefoods Collective

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

    Location: Hepburn Wholefoods Collective, 11 Perrins Street, Daylesford
    Website: https://www.hepburnwholefoods.org.au/
    Membership: $40 per year, $20 per year concession, FREE for volunteers.
    If you are able to volunteer time as a shop attendant, fresh food wrangler and shop beautifier, digital content creator & storyteller or cleaner, please contact members@hepburnwholefoods.org.au

    Earlier this year HWC was invited to participate in a project with the Open Food Network, along with 6 other Community Food Enterprises (CFEs), to assess the needs and gather evidence of the public value of the Victorian CFE sector. You can read the full report here, and also view an infographic of HWC’s impact here.

    TwoFold Bakehouse

    Delicious sourdough bread baked in a wood-fired oven in Daylesford. You can order and have your bread delivered every Thursday to Kyneton, Yandoit  as well as pick up from Daylesford.  Every fortnight TwoFold bakers are at the Sunday Daylesford market. Monthly subscriptions are available.

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

    Mt Franklin Organics


    Fresh produce, seedlings and seeds available.  Florian is now back at the Daylesford Sunday market.

    For more information or to subscribe to Florian’s newsletter: https://www.facebook.com/mtfranklinorganics/

    Natural Beekeeping Course

    Where: Castlemaine

    When: November 18 @ 9:30 am – November 19 @ 4:00 pm

    This unique course teaches the fundamentals of Natural, Bee Centric, Organic, Beekeeping practices and theories. While also inspiring a reverence for the miraculous, wordless lives of honey bees whose complex communal patterns and systems draw us into greater and more sacred connections to life, nature and community.

    For more information and bookings: https://www.beekeepingnaturally.com.au/course/natural-beekeeping-workshop-castlemaine-melbourne-2023-11-18/

    6. Sustainable Economies

    New Economy Network Australia NENA 2023 CONFERENCE “LIFE AFTER CAPITALISM?”

    When: 17-19 November
    Where: Canberra
    See program and register: https://www.neweconomy.org.au/nena-events/conferences/2023-conference/registration/

    Anyone wanting to join a group to share accommodation in Canberra and transport from the local areas can email samantha.wittenberg@gmail.com

    WEBINAR RECORDINGS NOW AVAILABLE! Visit our website to watch and listen to our amazing events held so far this year!
    CLICK HERE TO READ THE JULY JOURNAL!  As always, we hope these articles provoke discussion and debate, and provide hope and insight into how we can build a new, just and sustainable economy. Please get in touch with the Journal team if you are interested in contributing to these discussions.
    If you are a NENA member, join the directory to promote your work!

    The Degrowth Network Australia (DNA)

    Castlemaine has started up a Degrowth group. Contact Anitra Nelson for more information: anitra.nelson@unimelb.edu.au

    The DNA brings together people interested in degrowth from all around the country, to discuss degrowth issues, to share what we are up to and to plan! Meetings are on the second Wednesday of every month, from 12-2pm (East Coast/AEST), 10am-12pm (WA), 11.30am-1.30pm (SA)

    Email degrowthnetwork@proton.me if you have questions and wish to be added to the email list. Next meeting : 12pm AEST Wednesday 11 October.

    For more information: www.facebook.com/degrowthnetworkaustralia

    Also, for folks outside of Melbourne, we are hosting a degrowth spring festival on October 8th and you are all welcome to join. You can find more info on the Facebook event here – www.facebook.com/events/s/degrowth-spring-festival/683265497197775/

    7. Sustainable Living Resources

    Renewable Newstead

    A project to generate local energy that’s renewable and competitively priced. Construction of the Newstead Solar Farm is scheduled to begin in October and is due to be completed by late April next year. The farm will begin generating electricity for use by mid-2024.

    Find out more at https://renewablenewstead.com.au/

    Tell us how you save money on electricity? We’d love to know. Email your tips to info@renewablenewstead.com.au and we’ll start sharing them in our next e-newsletter.

    Holmgren Design

    Venie Holmgren Environmental Poetry prize winner Prize-winning poem, i watch a cat choke / call it [redacted],

    Read Tim Loveday’s winning poem >

    Hot seed raising tip from David: fill up your watering can and leave it in a sunny spot (ike a greenhouse or windowsill) to gently and passively warm the contents. That way you can water seedlings and other tender specimens with tepid water, especially useful in early spring when you’re trying to start crops in cold soil.

    David Holmgren was recently interviewed on the Circular Metabolism podcast. Hear David talk about what permaculture is, how it can be applied to different contexts and territories, what a permaculture lifeway looks like, and his favourite books and films at the moment. Listen to the podcast episode

    Sign up to the Holmgren Design newsletter here

    Community Energy Guide- Breaze

    Navigating the world of renewables and community energy can often feel like a daunting task. While there are so many examples of communities driving their local energy transition, it’s not easy to know where to begin. BREAZE Inc.’s Regional Guide to Community Energy. This comprehensive guide is a useful resource for those communities throughout central and western Victoria that are eager to take action. Inside, you’ll find information about our energy system, renewable energy technologies, and diverse delivery models and processes. We’ve put an emphasis on practicality, offering real-life examples, illuminating case studies, and links to valuable resources and local organisations.

    To explore the Guide,  visit the Hepburn Z-NET website here. For more information about BREAZE Inc. – website here.

    Glass recycling available at Castlemaine and Maldon


    Did you know that glass bottles and jars are accepted at the Castlemaine and Maldon transfer stations?

    Drop them off in the purple bins so they can be recycled separately and turned into new products.

    How to recycle your glass


    Goats as weed control agents

    Here’s a video link on slow, deliberate, biological responses to weed management from Artist as Family :



    Repair Cafes and Workshops


    Daylesford Repair Cafe

    When and Where: Sunday October 15th, 1-4pm, Victoria Park Pavillion, Ballan Road Daylesford. For more info including how-to workshops details: https://www.facebook.com/daylesfordrepaircafe/ 

    Castlemaine Repair Cafe

    When and Where: Sunday October 29th, 10am -1pm, Castlemaine Community House, Templeton St, Castlemaine https://www.facebook.com/groups/castlemainerepaircafe/- 

    Creswick Repair and Share- a project of Transition Creswick  

    When and Where: Sunday October 1st, 1pm to 4pm, at Creswick Neighbourhood Centre Hall, 19-21 Victoria Street. Contact Tim 0428716544- https://creswicknc.org/groups/post2-nn6m5

    Ballarat Repair Cafe

    When and Where: last Saturday of the month, 1-4pm,  Barkly Square, Ballarat  – https://www.facebook.com/ballaratrepaircafe/

    Bendigo Share and Repair Shed

    When and Where: Garsed St, Bendigo-  https://www.facebook.com/BendigoRepairCafe/

    Democracy and Local Government

    ‌Mt Alexander Shire Open Day and Meet councillors and staff ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

    Subscribe here to receive regular emails with the latest news and information from Hepburn Shire Council.


    Food for Thought

    The Abundance of Subsistence by Laureli Ivanoff

    Depending on your definition of “subsistence”, we Inuit are either just getting by … or we’re living in a way that allows us to obtain the necessities. Which, I would argue, along with food, water, shelter and clothing, include community and belonging. Published in August in Local Futures website Read more

    How would David Holmgren manage Australia’s water?

    David’s latest piece is filled with serious suggestions for keeping this sunburned country hydrated. Sweeping changes to agriculture, behavioural (dis)incentives for citizens, composting toilets, eco technologies and more. Read it here 

    Dr Charles Perkins Oration 2023- by Rachel Perkins


    Discussion about Industrial Agriculture

    Renowned environmental activist and author, Vandana Shiva, joined Russell Brand at our first ever live community event in Hay-On-Wye. Discussion includes how the mainstream media have framed the Dutch Farmer protests, the hidden land grab agenda and how data is not the highest evidence for living, a good healthy body is! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJzbdcHQ4-A

    Visions For A More Beautiful World: A Wake Up Call- Charles Eisenstein in conversation with Andre Duqum-  Podcast

    Spotify Apple Podcasts Instagram

    A home in Hepburn shire- Affordable housing? By Cr Jen Bray

    Councillor Column – A Home in Hepburn Shire

    Does politics neglect the needs of younger generations? – Podcast

    An ABC radio interview with the first world commissioner for future generations and well-being in Wales.

    Milkwood Permaculture Living Handbook

    This handbook is a small offering to help you cultivate big change by creating more connection and purpose in your daily life, with you as a valued resident of your ecosystem, at its centre. ‘This book is all about igniting the can-do, cultivating the possible, calming the chaos, delivering the doable. And, above all else, connecting and caring for the community. It’s a home, a safe place to come and grow hope in what is a challenging world.’ Costa Georgiadis


    Fact Checking the Yes/No Pamphlet

    Revegetation in a changing climate

    The event was recorded by  Ally from Saltgrass Podcasts.

    Artists and the Practice of Agriculture: Politics and Aesthetics of Food Sovereignty in Art Since 1960

    Deep Listening to Nature- a new book- Andrew Skeoch


    Continue reading →
  • August/ September Newsletter

    Basically a privileged person is somebody who in fact doesn’t have or doesn’t need community because they can meet all of their needs with money. Because if you have enough money in modern society, you don’t need anybody or anyone or anything. You don’t need the people around you because you can pay somebody else to do whatever they’re doing. You don’t need the ecosystem around you, you don’t need the soil around because you can pay to import food from somewhere else. You’re completely independent of your relationships, except for the one one relationship that matters in modern society to sustain life, which is money, or so it seems, but as the study you cite demonstrates, it’s not actually true that we can meet all of our needs with money. But what money does is it replaces human relationships. So in an Amish community, there’s no such thing — as far as I know — as insurance on your home. Because if your home burns down, the community will get together and build you a new home. That’s your insurance. And your insurance payment is all the times that you helped somebody else build their house. So you don’t need insurance in that community. Well, any society that lives in that way is a ripe target for development, as it’s called, for economic growth, because you can replace that community function with a paid service. And so what’s happened in the modern era is that one after another, human relationships have been replaced with paid services. Everything from growing food to taking care of children to making entertainment. It’s not just the survival needs, it’s also: What does it take to live well? To be fully human? And if you don’t make your own music any more but you download it from Spotify, then that’s another service that’s been converted into money. And also ecological services get converted into something that you purchase. And that strips away what actually makes life rich. So you ask what to do about it, and on the broadest level, it’s to reclaim to restore, to recover, to regenerate the lost relationships to come into relationship again … but to turn that idea [of privilege] on its head and embrace the knowledge of what actually makes life rich, what makes life good, and to say, ok, it’s time to enrich ourselves again. It’s time to reclaim the lost relationships.

    Charles Eisenstein, from  an interview on the Regenerative Agriculture podcast, episode 86


    Welcome to the August/September 2023 edition of Localising Leanganook e-news. As the sun starts peeking through the clouds and the dazzling bloom of wattles fills the bush with golden yellow colour, we sense with anticipation the coming of spring and the return of warmer weather. This edition includes another fascinating feature article from one of our editors (Keppel) and a rich, soulful array of events and activities from our amazing community to enlighten, inspire and uplift you. We hope you enjoy it.

    Keppel, Laurel and Nikki


    Feature article – The Forgotten Third Way: Social Threefolding and its Role in Supporting Social and Ecological Renewal

    What’s happening in Central Victoria

    1. The arts and culture
    2. Building community
    3. Ecology and the environment
    4. First Nations
    5. Food growing, farming and food security
    6. Sustainable economic initiatives
    7. Sustainable living resources


    Food For Thought


    Feature Article

    The Forgotten Third Way: Social Threefolding and its Role in Supporting Social and Ecological Renewal

    By Keppel Cassidy, Kyneton 

    What socio-economic framework will give us the best chance of creating a thriving, ecologically sustainable society? Capitalism, socialism/communism or something else? This question, which was the subject of both a major global power struggle and intense academic debate in the 20th Century, is surely just as relevant today as it was then, if not more so. The collapse of the Soviet Union and its allies in the late 20th Century seems to have been largely triggered by the failure of their economic model, and since that time socialism and communism have largely been in retreat, notwithstanding a surge in support in the 2010s in the USA and many countries in Western Europe led by activist politicians such as Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn. However on current evidence, capitalism is also failing to fulfil its promises. Poverty and inequality are rising across the world, and power is becoming concentrated in fewer and fewer hands through the concentration of ownership in media and business, undermining democratic processes. Meanwhile quality of life continues to decline for many people, forced to work longer and longer hours to make ends meet, with less and less time for all that makes life meaningful. Finally, the Earth’s ecosystems are at crisis point on multiple fronts: biodiversity loss, air and water pollution, soil degradation, resource depletion and climate change are all coming together to generate an existential crisis for the web of life and for humanity.

    A Third Way between capitalism and communism
    Many attempts have been made to find a ‘Third Way’ that will provide the roadmap to lead us to a healthy, prosperous society that communism and capitalism have failed to achieve. Following the Great Depression of the 1930s, a broad consensus emerged in the non-communist Global North to adopt Keynesian, social democratic economic policies, including protectionist industrial policies, public ownership of key utilities such as transport and infrastructure, publicly funded education and healthcare, and a strong welfare safety net. Following the turn towards neoliberalism in the 1970s and 1980s, left-leaning parties led by politicians such as Tony Blair, Bill Clinton and Gerhard Schroeder sought to combine socially progressive policies with a free market, neoliberal economic platform. This move was politically successful but led to both short- and long-term negative social and economic impacts, some of which are playing out today with the rise of an impoverished, angry class in many countries who are turning towards conservative populism, as demonstrated by the support for politicians such as Marine Le Pen in France, Donald Trump in the USA and Pauline Hanson in Australia.

    Social threefolding: the forgotten ‘Third Way’
    Yet there are ‘Third Way’ frameworks that are more than just a politically expedient halfway compromise between capitalism and communism. One of the least known, but in my view most profound of these is what has become known as social threefolding, developed in the early 20th Century by the Austrian philosopher, educationalist and visionary Rudolf Steiner. I believe that social threefolding offers a lens through which we could develop both small- and large-scale policy that could overcome many of the problems that have been created through capitalism and socialism, and also to facilitate the urgent transition to an ecologically sustainable society. Steiner argued that the social threefolding approach wasn’t an intellectually constructed conceptual framework, but instead a reflection of the kind of society humanity is already reaching towards, albeit in a fumbling and stumbling way. He emphasised that, to be successful, social and economic structures needed to be suited to the present evolutionary stage of humanity, being neither regressive (belonging to the past) nor too advanced for our current level of moral and spiritual development. In this way, the functioning of communities and societies can support the individual and collective evolution of humanity rather than hindering it.

    Steiner described the threefold society as being an ‘organism’, and this picture can help us to grasp it as a living reality rather than an abstract system. The foundation of this society is that it is built on three interconnecting spheres: the cultural sphere, the rights sphere, and the economic sphere. Whilst these three spheres are interdependent and interact with each other, they each have their own distinct identity and needs, and must be allowed to operate autonomously according to these. I will describe each of the spheres in turn below.

    Cultural sphere
    The cultural sphere governs all of those activities connected with learning and growth for the individual and society. This includes all levels of education, the arts and all forms of spiritual practice. Here, we find and develop new ideas and practices that will benefit society as a whole. It is also where we engage in work to remedy existing problems for the benefit of society – thus it includes all kinds of health care, social work and welfare. The key concept that must guide the cultural sphere is freedom: people must be free to think for themselves, try new approaches and debate the best way forward for us to gain the full benefit of their knowledge. Steiner emphasised the importance of educators having autonomy over what and how they teach for this reason, and likely would have extended the same expectation to health care professionals. A social threefolding approach also requires freedom of speech to be strongly protected, because only when there is the ability to discuss theories and practices freely can the best knowledge emerge.

    Rights sphere
    The rights sphere governs those institutions that determine the rules by which we live together, so that the dignity and worth of each person are honoured. This includes the political system, the legal system, and institutions that are involved in upholding and enforcing laws, including the police and a variety of government agencies (for example in Australia, the Fair Work Commission, state and local government planning officers and state environmental protection agencies). The key concept that must guide the rights sphere is equality. This reflects a belief in the sacredness of life, and the dignity of all people regardless of characteristics such as race, culture, gender, sexuality, ability or belief. Thus laws should apply equally to all people and not be differentiated based on power, privilege or personal characteristics.

    Upholding human dignity also requires that individuals be treated fairly and with respect by others: hence acts that oppress or harm another person are prohibited, such as intimidation, theft, all kinds of abuse and homicide. In the workplace, the rights sphere should ensure that workers are paid fairly for their work: Steiner’s simple yet profound prescription was that each worker, no matter how grand or humble their profession, should receive sufficient payment for the product of their labours such that they and their dependents could meet all of their needs for living well until the next product should be completed. In this statement, he predated concepts such as fair trade and a living wage by several decades.

    Economic sphere
    The economic sphere governs all activities that are concerned with meeting our material needs for surviving and thriving in the world. At their most basic, these include shelter, food and drink, clothing and all kinds of tools and equipment for facilitating access to these. Thus this sphere governs all of those who are involved in the production, distribution and consumption of goods. The key concept that must guide the economic sphere is brotherhood/sisterhood, meaning that we engage economically with others with the goal of benefiting both ourselves and them, based on a feeling of kinship with them. Another, more contemporary term for this consciousness is solidarity. Put simply, our focus becomes co-operation rather than competition.

    You will likely notice that it is in this sphere that we see the greatest departure from orthodox economic approaches. Neoliberal capitalist theory proposes that people’s primary economic motivation is self-interest, and that being free to pursue personal wants, whatever these may be is the ‘engine’ that will drive the economic activity needed to generate prosperity for the good of society. The social threefolding approach recognises that people need to be able to act autonomously to meet their economic needs, but argues that action driven by purely egotistical desires will frequently lead to destructive impacts on others, as both socialist theorists and indigenous societies have long recognised: the oppression of the weak, harm to community cohesion and the destruction of nature to name a few.

    On the other hand, the motivation of free co-operation borne out of a sense of solidarity acknowledges and takes advantage of the primacy of the impulse towards survival and material wellbeing in humans, the motivation of Ananke or necessity. Yet it encourages us to bring the light of awareness to this impulse, so that we perceive that we will survive and be happiest when all of those with whom we interact economically also survive and thrive. And it recognises that, freely chosen, co-operative action is actually the most efficient and powerful way of meeting needs: indeed Steiner often pointed out that the material comforts we enjoy today are entirely dependent on our co-operation with others through the economic sphere: the farmers who grow the food that we eat, the manufacturers who produce the clothes we wear, the builders who built the house in which we live, and many others. All the social threefolding approach does is make these relationships conscious, and call on us to infuse them with a sense of solidarity, which can also be understood from the perspective of the rights sphere as respecting the rights and dignity of others.

    How can social threefolding help to create a healthier, more just and sustainable society?
    I have been contemplating this question over the last week, and have a few initial thoughts came to mind, though these are likely not exhaustive. Firstly, I think one of the most important things social threefolding does is to separate out the three spheres and their three different human impulses, while emphasising that each is equally important: the impulse to learn and grow, the impulse to live harmoniously and respectfully together, and the impulse to meet our needs for physical survival and health. These can be roughly mapped onto Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and like Maslow’s work provides an antidote against the human tendency to obsessively focus on one thing at the expense of others. For economists often concentrate their attention solely on material prosperity, which meets the needs of the economic sphere, but ignores our need for a supportive community and opportunities to grow and express our unique potential. On the other hand, those who concentrate exclusively on freedom of self-expression or creating a just society without considering how we are going to sustain ourselves are also not going to meet the community’s needs.

    Secondly, a unique insight of social threefolding is that the work of each sphere is right for that sphere only, and they should not be muddled up. To give an example of this, we can consider those who subscribe to a libertarian philosophy, which demands freedom in all areas of life. In relation to the speech, thinking, creativity and indeed the need to ‘follow one’s own star’ – in short, the cultural sphere – this demand is a vital and justified one. But my freedom in the rights sphere must clearly be curtailed where it impacts on the rights of others, otherwise society will become either a lawless ‘Wild West’ or a place where the strong and powerful oppress the weak. In the economic sphere, freedom might seem a justifiable goal, and indeed it has a place there. But Steiner made it very clear that humanity needs to transcend egotism in the economic life, so that we each employ our individual gifts primarily for the benefit of the community, rather than for personal gain. It is not hard to see that we have a lot of work to do in this area at this point in human evolution!

    Thirdly, I think that Steiner’s understanding of the economic sphere brings an important theoretical ballast to our emerging sense that the desire for material gain is the wrong driver for the economic life, yet it also answers the criticisms of big state socialism – that it is inefficient and hampers individual initiative – and provides another way to approach the challenges of this area. He emphasised that the state’s role should be confined to the rights sphere, for example setting and enforcing laws regarding fair dealings between employers and workers, and between sellers and consumers. But he called for the formation of ‘associations’ that brought together the producers, distributors and consumers in any given area to collectively guide economic policy in their domain so that the needs of each group are met. This is a radical idea that, as far as I’m aware, hasn’t been applied on a large scale in any society. But we can see in some movements and initiatives the first stirring of the kind of social consciousness that is required to do this:

    • In the fair trade, food sovereignty and consumer supported agriculture (CSA) movements, where consumers and distributors choose prices that are sufficient to meet the needs of the producer;
    • In various forms of ethical and social impact investing, notably the Triodos Bank, where borrowers and lenders sit down at a yearly meeting to work out an interest rate that will balance the needs of each group
    • In the co-operative movement, especially those co-operatives that are set up at a community level to meet an identified community need, and also in community businesses that are operated for the same reason, such as the Bendigo Bank community banks

    Finally, because social threefolding shifts the focus of the economic life to co-operatively meeting needs, it is highly compatible with the need to transition to an ecologically sustainable way of life that is confronting humanity in this time, as has been articulated in the environmental, degrowth and transition towns movements. Steiner’s emphasis on cultivating a reverence for life infuses all his teachings, and echoes those who call for us to reawaken our deep connection with nature, what Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh called our sense of ‘interbeing’, our sense of wonder before its sacred mystery, and our responsibility to protect it, as indigenous cultures the world over recognise. At the same time, social threefolding offers a practical pathway to a new economic and social life that does not require us to become egoless, perfect beings, nor machines, but real human beings learning, loving, striving and growing together towards the better world our hearts know is possible. And the beauty of it is that we can begin to implement this awareness at any level: individual, family, workplace or community – it doesn’t have to begin on a whole of society level.

    I hope that this introduction to social threefolding has given you a glimpse into this profound social model and its potential for transforming our future. There is much more to it than I have articulated here, so please explore the references below if you would like to go deeper. Note that the Wikipedia entry on social threefolding is an excellent, accessible place to start.


    Goetheanum Section for Social Sciences (nd.). Threefolding 100 years 1919 – 2019. Accessed on 25/08/2023 from https://socialnew.goetheanum.org/threefolding/

    Large. M. (2016). Rudolf Steiner’s Vision for our Social Future: Openings for Social Threefolding. New View, 81, 3 – 9.

    Steiner, R. (2000). Towards Social Renewal: Rethinking the Basis of Society. Translated by Matthew Barton. Hudson NY: Anthroposophic Press. (Note: an online translation is also available at http://www.threefolding.org/archiv/800.html.  

    Wikipedia (nd.) Social Threefolding. Accessed on 25/08/2023 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_threefolding


    What’s Happening in Central Victoria

    1. The Arts and Culture

    Arts and Photography Prize

    The revamped Kyneton Daffodil and Arts Festival Art and Photography Prizes are now open for entries. The Photography and Art Prize will be on display the 31st – 11th of September 2023 at The Old Auction House Gallery in Kyneton. Prize pool of $1,700:  the overall winning piece with a daffodil $700, and open themes in the mediums of Oil, Acrylic, Watercolour and Sculpture each taking a $200 prize. Entries are $10 a piece, apply via link, and applications close Sunday 20 August at 5pm.


    Castlemaine Free University – Towards Eudaemonia

    WHERE — Northern Arts Hotel, 359 Barker Street, Castlemaine
    WHEN — 6.30 pm for 7 pm, Monday 4 September 2023
    FREE — the event is free, and drinks can be purchased at the bar

    Towards Eudæmonia-  ‘Expect a rich mélange of words, images, sounds and conversation. All in opposition to modernity’s disenchantment of our world…’

    With unfolding ecological catastrophe, we urgently need new imaginaries such as the Towards Eudæmonia Spring 2023 series, which explores this terrain in direct interaction with Dhurrangowa, seeking to build small bridges back to belonging, feeling and harmony.
    WHO — Renowned locals, namely the writer, anthropologist, garlic farmer, once-and-future camel-man Peter Yates; the nature sound recordist Andrew Skeogh; the artist, designer and researcher Kirsten Moegerlein; and the filmmaker Rory McLeod.

    Circus Mania

    When: 27 Sept – 1 Oct 2023

    Where: Western Reserve Castlemaine

    A 5-day and night circus festival in beautiful Castlemaine, showcasing the world-class talent that is in and in fact all-around Victoria.

    Featuring an extraordinary contemporary Circus, saucy Cabaret and family-friendly Entertainment, this festival has something for everyone, all taking place inside ‘The May Wirth’, a stunning 350-seater traditional circus tent.

    The Day the School Went Under

    A hilarious comedy show presented by Daylesford Youth Theatre as part of the Words in Winter Festival.

    When: Saturday 26 August

    Where Daylesford Town Hall, Vincent St

    Tickets $15/$10

    Bookings: https://www.trybooking.com/events/landing/1088886

    Documentary Filmmaking Masterclass

    A 3-hour masterclass with three of the documentary world’s most experienced practitioners.

    Tony Jackson, Bergen O’Brien and Sam Dinning share tips and tricks to help you create a compelling short documentary.

    When: 9 September, 2 – 5 pm

    Where: Northern Arts Hotel

    Cost: $50/$40

    Bookings: https://www.trybooking.com/events/landing/1099262

    Maldon Landscape Prize: Essence of Place

    The inaugural Landscape Prize 2023 Essence of Place is presented by Maldon Artist Network (MANet) and EDGE Galleries. Entries close 8 September 2023. First prize $10,000 and People’s Choice Award $1000 for the online exhibition winner. For more information go to the MANET website.


    Mapatazi: Girlz Guitar Onslaught

    Sunday, 27 August 2023, 11 am – 3 pm

    Goods Shed Arts

    $35 Full / $25 Concession

    Calling all women/girls/non-binary electric guitarists & bass players from beginners to advanced to make some noise in this electrifying workshop without pressure to perform in public. Feel what it’s like to be part of the Mapatazi (pronounced Map o’ Tassie!) en masse onslaught of guitars.

    Community-spirited yet professional in the outcome. Mapatazi’s original music hints at ambient washes, heavy metal riffs and anything in-between. In the workshop, we’ll try out some new ideas composed especially for an onslaught of guitars. This may include rock riffs ambient washes, and anything in between. You don’t need to read music. All the pieces are designed for players of different skill levels.
    All ages are welcome. BYO instrument, amplifier, leads & lunch.

    Melbourne Chamber Orchestra: A Feast of Music 2023

    When: 9 – 10 September 2023

    Where: Hotel Bellinzona – Daylesford and Hepburn Springs

    MCO’s “A Feast of Music” chamber music festival lights up Daylesford and Hepburn Springs this September 9 & 10. Magnificent chamber music, an orchestral concert & a musical dinner. Directed by MCO Artistic Director Sophie Rowell, and with special guests acclaimed pianist Kristian Chong and French horn virtuoso Peter Luff. Packages and single tickets are now on sale.

    To book tickets: https://mco.org.au/event/a-feast-of-music-2023/

    Newstead Arts Hub

    NerdROM Node 1: Sound and Music 

    Sat 2 Sept, 7pm onwards. Free  
    Come along for this inaugural event exploring sound and music using live electronics. Experience the creativity of four performers from Newstead and Castlemaine: Barfield, Nicky System, Paul Britton and Aimee Chapman. Live projection art will accompany the performances. Free entry. Drinks available

    Finding a voice: Spring Series of artists’ talks’ 

    Three talks: Thursdays 7 Sept, 12 Oct, 9 Nov – at 5.30pm

    Join us for our Spring Series of artist talks. Hear three local, accomplished artists speak about finding and sustaining their own artistic voice. These talks will be of interest to anyone working in creative fields, as well as art loving members of the public.

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

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

    While We Live: an exhibition 

    Weekends: Sat 9 Sept – Sun 2 Oct, 10am-4pm
    Opening event Sat 9 Sept 2pm

    Experience this new body of work by James Healey and Hugh Wayland. Their photographs explore links between analogue and digital, contrasting the urban and remote environments in which we live and move. It includes images captured spontaneously while travelling by car, walking or meeting people, as they went about their daily lives

    Exhibition spaces at the Hub
    Get out of the studio and into the Hub where our great exhibition spaces await your work. We’ve got some gaps in our calendar and a great team to help you hang and promote your work. Bookings now open for 2024!  Email us at info@newsteadartshub.org or submit a short proposal at https://newsteadartshub.org/venue-hire/.

    Northern Arts Hotel program

    Music, film discussions and more each week.

    Here’s the link to the latest calendar of events at the Coolroom: https://northernartshotel.com.au/the-coolroom/

    Project Ludwig – A Family Concert at The Daylesford Convent

    Date: Friday, September 22, 2023
    Time: 7:00pm
    Venue: The Convent, 7 Daly Street, Daylesford
    Tickets: Adults: $30, Children: $10, Family: $60

    The Artamidae Quartet will hold a family-friendly, interactive concert featuring Beethoven’s Opus 18 string quartets, where you decide the program!

    This special choose-your-own-adventure style event will allow concertgoers to learn about music of Ludwig van Beethoven’s famous Opus 18 string quartets and to speak personally with the musicians about their favourite music before choosing what they would most like to hear.  The audience decides the program! Experience your very own, unique, Beethoven string quartet. A different program every time!

    For more information: https://thewombatpost.com.au/2023/08/25/project-ludwig-a-family-concert-at-the-convent/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Fri+25+Aug+2023&utm_campaign=Local+News+for+Daylesford+and+Hepburn+Springs

    The Taproom – Shedshaker Brewing

    Upcoming gigs:

    Aug 26 – Yes23 Art Auction Fundraiser

    Sep 8 – Tribute – Rolling Stones

    Sep 10 – Tango Mood



    Words in Winter

    A weekend of writers, story-tellers,  poets, artists and more. This years theme is ‘Out of the Shadows’.

    : August 25, 26 and 27th

    Where: Assorted venues around Daylesford and other locations in central Victoria

    For program: https://wordsinwinter.com/

    Words in Winter- Open Mic at Yandoit Cultural

    Stories, song, poetry and local history.

    The theme for this year’s Open Mic session is “around the hearth”- that place where we gather in the winter. All welcome.

    When: Sunday August 27th, 2pm

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

    2. Building Community

    Goldfields Libraries StoryWalks

    child at Castlemaine Storywalk

    StoryWalks are a fun and educational activity that places a children’s story (literally a book taken apart!) along a popular walking route in the community. They are a physical activity and a literary experience in one.

    Being active is good for our bodies, and reading is good for our brains. The combination of both is a great all-round activity for our health and wellbeing!

    Goldfields Libraries regularly host StoryWalks across the region. We currently have StoryWalks in:

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

    For more information: https://www.ncgrl.vic.gov.au/storywalk

    Hepburn Life – Council Newsletter Out Now

    This month’s edition includes information on an upcoming agricultural forum for farmers, seniors week activities and subsidised compost bins for shire residents. Follow the link below to read the newsletter:

    Hepburn Life


    Saturday Philosophy in the Library

    On the first Saturday of each month, the library has hosted philosophical discussions. Meet up with like-minded people to enjoy a session of thought provoking ideas run by the Central Goldfields School of Philosophy. There is a new subject each month – come to one, some, or all!

    Saturday 2 September 10-11:30
    Saturday 7 October 10-11:30
    Saturday 4 November 10-11:30

    More information at practicalphilosophyvic.org.au

    Seniors Week Community Lunches and Mini Expos

    Castlemaine Community House is hosting the Seniors’ Week Festival again for Mount Alexander Shire. The theme for the statewide festival is Love, Live and Learn.

    Seniors are invited to come and enjoy community lunch for free, and chat with mini-expo vendors

    3 October: Castlemaine (Town Hall)

    4 October: Maldon

    6 October: Harcourt


    3. Ecology and the Environment

    Ballarat Tailings Dam Concerning Local Residents

    An article was published this week in the Guardian online about a new tailings dam for the Ballarat Goldmine that was recently approved by the City of Ballarat, a decision that is being challenged at VCAT by a concerned local residents group.


    Biolinks Alliance Newsletter

    On-the-ground works start at Spring Plains
    Local students bringing life back to Snipes Creek
    Restoring and reconnecting glider habitat
    Fundraising for Biolinks Alliance on a journey of a lifetime
    Rewilding Central Victoria – expert panel event
    Large Old ‘Hero’ Trees and their life-sustaining hollows webinar
    Volunteer opportunities
    Meet the team – Ellie McKenna, Biolinks Alliance Relations Manager
    Donate to support our work

    For more information about the Biolinks Alliance: https://biolinksalliance.org.au/

    To subscribe to the Biolinks Alliance newsletter: https://biolinksalliance.org.au/sign-up

    Climate Changers Documentary

    Follow renowned Australian environmental scientist Tim Flannery as he searches for leadership in tackling climate change in this documentary. Where are the leaders who will drive change, and how might they succeed where others have failed?

    When: 17 September at 5.30pm

    Where: Theatre Royal

    Cost: $25/$22

    Bookings: https://theatreroyalcastlemaine.oztix.com.au/outlet/event/


    Community Carbon – Landowners Wanted for Revegatation Pilot Project

    Fence in foreground and young trees with guards in background

    The Northern Central Catchment Management Authority (NCCMA) are looking for interested landowners for the Community Carbon project, which aims to support revegetation efforts restoring critical habitats, connecting fragmented landscapes and addressing biodiversity loss.

    For more information and how to apply, please visit https://connectingcountry.org.au/community-carbon-growing-to-net-zero-in-central-victoria/


    Free Environmental Video Program- Stories to Action

    Where: Greater Bendigo region

    Seeking young people (12-25) interested in using creativity to help inspire a more sustainable world! The Stories to Action program will support you in creating your own videos about the environment and sustainability, and use them to inspire positive change in the broader community. You can be involved as a co-designer and/or participant. Applications are assessed as they come in. Closing at latest by Mon Sept 11th.

    Be a participant or be a co-designer. Questions: leonie@bsg.org.au / 0425 767 964

    For more information and to apply: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSf08rvD2kZXRmr73WJuzrnxm_qxmIgoFFflaXSmazFf6WirWg/viewform


    Native Wildlife and Rodent Poisons Alert

    Newstead Landcare group is alerting community members of the dangers that second-generation rodent poisons pose for our native wildlife. They accumulate in the blood of our owls, raptors and marsupial carnivores. BirdLife Australia is campaigning to have these poisons appropriately controlled. You can write to the Federal Agriculture Minister calling on him to expedite action on this. For more information contact patrickkavanagh@bigpond.com
    You can add
    Add your voice to our open letter to Minister Watt, to help protect our wildlife and communities from dangerous poisons.

    Planet Local Summit- Re-framing the Climate Debate

    When: September 29- October 1st, 2023

    Where: livestream (plus in situ in Bristol UK)

    The Planet Local Summit is shaping up to be one of the biggest gatherings focused on localization/decentralization in history. Among those joining us are powerful voices reframing the climate debate:

    • Charles Eisenstein, author of ‘Climate: A New Story’.
    • Camila Moreno, the world’s preeminent analyst of the COP climate negotiations.
    • Jack Harries, youth leader for climate education and documentary filmmaker.

    “Even if we cut carbon emissions to zero, if we don’t also reverse ongoing ecocide on the local level everywhere, the climate will still die a death of a million cuts. The most important global policies would be those that create conditions where we can restore and protect millions of local ecosystems.” Charles Eisenstein Newstead blog

    4. First Nations

    Concert for the Yes! Vote

    When: 7pm, Thursday 14 September 2023

    Where: Theatre Royal Castlemaine

    A collaboration of fourteen-plus outstanding Indigenous leaders, musicians, storytellers, writers and artists to raise money and spirits in support of the YES in the forthcoming Australian referendum on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Voice and recognition in the Constitution and to celebrate Indigenous culture in central Victoria. A night with a substantial Welcome to Country, songs in the Dja Dja Wurrung and Wadawurrung languages, mighty anthems from great Australian songwriters, powerful words from renowned writers, music that unites cultures, a soundscape of this continent and a big sing-along.

    All proceeds go to the local YES23 campaign.

    For more information and tickets: https://theatreroyalcastlemaine.oztix.com.au/outlet/event/3c7b2f5a-6d5e-456b-b24e-dab686e35e75?Event=17429

    5. Food Growing, Farming and Food Security

    Castlemaine Seed Library Working Bee



    Come and join Castlemaine Seed Library volunteers to help pack seeds for the seed library program

    When: 7 September at 11am

    Where: Castlemaine Library Foyer


    Eating Democracy: The True Cost of the Food We Eat – Crowdfunding Campaign

    The Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (AFSA) has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise $30,000 to publish its new book, Eating Democracy: The True Cost of the Food We Eat, and they need your help to reach their target!  Through the stories of everyday people from different cultures, Eating Democracy explores the true cost of the food we eat, and the benefits to health, community and the planet from making ethical food choices.

    To support the campaign, you can make a donation at: https://www.pozible.com/project/eating-democracy

    If you’d like to spread the word about the campaign, please share the Eating Democracy Promotion Pack among your networks.

    The campaign closes on 19th September, so please share widely to support this important work from AFSA.

    Harcourt Organic Farming Co-op (HOFC) dairy is back at the market

    Tess from HOFC is pleased to announce that the milk drought has broken, and she will be selling milk and yoghurt again at the weekly Castlemaine Farmers’ Market

    Read the full article here



    6. Sustainable Economic Initiatives

    Unleashing Local Economies in a Global Game – webinar

    Economist Michael Shuman and Kai Lofgren from Regen Melbourne in conversation exploring how innovative, place-based approaches to economic investment can help to build stronger, more resilient communities.

    Organised by: Castlemaine Institute in partnership with Regen Melbourne and Small Giants Academy.

    A free event.

    When: 31 August from 8-9am (yes, am!)

    Where: online

    Bookings: https://events.humanitix.com/conversation-local-investment-in-a-global-game-with-michael-shuman

    7. Sustainable Living Resources

    Hepburn @ Home

    A 6-session series of free online workshops on sustainable living, put together by the team from the Good Hood, full of practical information on composting, low waste cooking, electric vehicles and much more


    When: starting 16th August

    Where: Online

    Cost: free

    To register, go to: tinyurl.com/hepburnathome



    Kinship Natural Building Festival


    A two day, hands-on workshop in methods of building with natural materials, including cob, mudbrick, natural renders and earthen floors. Sleep overnight in the solar-passive ecologically designed and fire-resilient Earthship ‘Kinship’ featured in lead articles, radio shows and news stories across local, state and national media.

    When: 25 – 26 August, starting 10am

    Where: 19 Ward St, Kinglake

    For all enquiries and bookings, contact Daryl Taylor by phone on 0497097047 or email kinship.kinglake@gmail.com



    Camp Reserve Destruction

    By Trevor Scott, Castlemaine

    Already many of you have written to this newspaper about the redevelopment of the Camp Reserve in Forest Street, Castlemaine. In his recent letter, Ian Braybrook says “those who know the history and continuously use the Camp [Reserve] are content with the council plan” but how well do they know the history and, is he aware that in a recent survey carried out by MASC, 51% of those surveyed, voted against the plan. If you stand at the south end near the entrance and look westwards to the top of the highest point on Gingell Street, you will see the mature, native species trees that have to be removed. You will also realise that the flat area needed for basketball courts and a grandstand with change facilities, has to be cut out of this hill, irretrievably changing the look and appearance of the reserve.

    As an architect and long time resident of the town, I am concerned that the proposed plan will change the landscape drastically, and I really wonder if the extra cost of tree and earth removal, site drainage and retaining walls, all to be borne by ratepayers, is justified when the grandstand and proposed facilities could more easily and definitely more cheaply, be built on the flatter part of the site at the northern end.

    The history of this area goes back more than 150 years, to a time when everywhere you looked you would see miners panning for gold. History tells us that their tents and shanties were perched on the hill that they now want to remove. Surely history is not just a list of events in a book; it is also very much about the places where these events occurred. I think that unless we move forward with respect for our history, we make these proposed changes to the Camp Reserve at our peril.


    Food for Thought

    1. Conversation between Dr Iain McGilchrist  and Charles Eisenstein

    An inspiring, thought provoking discussion between two of our favourite writers: Charles Eisenstein, author of Sacred Economics and The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible and neuroscience researcher Dr Iain McGilchrist, author of The Master and His Emissary and The Matter With Things.


    2. Animals in the Room – Why We Can and Should Listen to Other Species, by Melanie Challenger in Emergence Magazine

    Anyone who develops deep knowledge of other species by living alongside them for years realizes something both obvious and essential: we are not the only lives that matter…


    3. Mine-Field documentary on-line.

    About mining in Victoria.  $5 to rent. Here’s the link: https://barkingmedia.vhx.tv/

    4. Interview with Helena Norberg-Hodge, Local Futures,  on redundant trade and the need to systemically reduce resource-use and emissions.

    Author and filmmaker Helena Norberg-Hodge is a leading, eloquent voice in the localisation and new economy movement. Some readers may recall that she was one of the keynote speakers in the Local Lives Global Matters conference held in Castlemaine in 2015, out of which Localising Leanganook was born. See the interview here: Free Speech TV

    5. How the ‘green economy’ exacerbates deforestation in Brazil By World Rainforest Movement 

    “In the ‘green economy,’ the interests of corporations, governments and the conservation industry intersect. All of these entities, in one way or another, profit from the destruction of forests and the dispossession of communities.” Read More

    6. Walking Together Towards Makarrata – Cultural Literacy

    The latest piece from local writer and First Nations ally Floria Maschek

    And finally, from the Holmgren Design newsletter:

    7. Permie Vision, US Provisions and David on Television

    Want to hear something basic?

    This week we patched up a tumbledown chicken coop in readiment for a new flock.

    It’s a bit out of the way, this hen haunt, a fair jaunt from the nearest water source.

    Or so I thought.

    But just as I was lamenting the lack of taps and hoses, steeling myself to schlep pails of water across the road and up the slope…

    …I noticed David Holmgren’s intervention.

    He’d attached a gutter and a downspout to the chook house roof, directed neatly into a barrel right next to their trough.

    Because water falls from the sky.

    Permaculture design often seems simple, but when you’ve been steeped in a culture of commodification, convenience and buying back your basic needs, observing and interacting with nature’s systems can be quite the revelation.

    Here are three more:

    🎥 David Holmgren is featured on the latest episode of Great Australian Walks with Julia Zemiro, popping up at Vaughan Springs to share deep knowledge of the local landscape, history and hidden waterways. It’s a television revelation! Watch the playback.

    📚 The United States of Permaculture is live! If you’re in the US, we’re pleased to tell you that wholesale book purchases are now available. Great for permie teachers, resource centres, book clubs, libraries and big families. Minimum order of $100USD, free shipping over $200USD. Head to the US store.

    🤓 And Aussies, you’ve always been able to access our titles at wholesale prices for orders over $150AUD, with free shipping over $250AUD. Is it finally time to start that RetroSuburbia Book Club? Or install 470 at your local library? Jump to the AUS store.

    Thanks for reading, friend. Wishing you a wellspring of August cheer.

    Catie and the Holmgren Design team

    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.

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