Restoring landscapes across the Mount Alexander Region

Arboretum comes to life in Elphinstone 

Posted on 14 May, 2020 by Ivan

We were fortunate to receive the following Landcare story written by Sue McLennan from Elphinstone Land Management Association (ELMA), as part of Connecting Country’s ‘Landcare Stories’ series. The story highlights the importance of Landcare in our community, and how Landcare not only helps restore our local ecosystems, but educates the next generation of land managers. Since 2012 Connecting Country has employed a  Landcare Facilitator to support the work of community land management groups in the Mount Alexander Shire. If you would like to join a local Landcare group,  visit Connecting Country’s website for contact details for all the groups in our region – click here

Arboretum comes to life in Elphinstone

The Elphinstone Arboretum is a great example of a shared vision coming to life through community engagement, teamwork and dedication, in the true spirit of Landcare. As the brainchild of former Elphinstone Land Management Association (ELMA) member Neville Cooper, who saw an opportunity to enhance and develop a half acre site dotted with mature sliver banksia and eucalypts at the Recreation Reserve in Elphinstone, the arboretum has become an important part of our local landscape.

When established in 2010, aided by a grant from the Mount Alexander Shire Council, the project captured the hearts of ELMA members and has been the most successful of our group’s planting days and working bees. With assistance from native plant guru Frances Cincotta from Newstead Natives, indigenous plants were carefully chosen and planted according to habit, with many species grouped together to allow for greater visual impact and easy identification. Over 400 seedlings have been planted over the years to showcase trees and shrubs indigenous to the area, encouraging visitors to learn about native plants and how to use them on their own properties, while providing habitat for native wildlife.

Elphinstone Primary School students learning all about the arboretum (photo: ELMA)

Some years later, when the plants had become well established, ELMA was successful in obtaining a grant for signage through the North Central Catchment Management Authority. In 2017 we installed fixed full colour signs with photos providing information on habit, flowering and cultivation of over 25 different plants including various species of acacia, eucalypts, correas, melaleuca and hopbush, to name a few.

The arboretum is an ever-evolving space. Although we’ve lost a few plants along the way, we’ve gained knowledge in which species have thrived under the local conditions and have planted more of those species, ensuring that each year it grows in abundance.

Not only is it a wonderful asset for our community, it’s a celebration of our botanical heritage and an example of how we can make a positive impact on our environment. We hope that visitors to the Recreation Reserve can enjoy the arboretum, not only to admire its beauty but as a botanical and educational reference for many years to come.

The Elphinstone Arboretum is located behind the Elphinstone Hall in Olivers Lane, Elphinstone VIC.

ELMA is a Landcare group in Elphinstone, in central Victoria, just outside of Castlemaine. This group of volunteers work on public and private land to enhance biodiversity, carry out land restoration, offer advice on best practice land use, and manage pest plants and animals. ELMA is a member of the Victorian Farmers Federation’s Farm Tree and Landcare Association (FTLA). Please visit ELMA’s website for more details on membership and upcoming eventsclick here

Sue McLennan



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