Restoring landscapes across the Mount Alexander Region

Threatened fauna forum and our AGM – 10 November 2018

Posted on 20 September, 2018 by Tanya Loos

A date for your diary! Join Connecting Country for an afternoon/evening of science, food and fun.
Hear from two leading scientists and share a yummy vegetarian meal, incorporating our (famously short) AGM.

All welcome!

Threatened fauna forum and AGM
Saturday 10 November 2018 from 4.00 to 7.00 pm
Campbells Creek Community Centre (45 Elizabeth St, Campbells Creek VIC)

Our presenters are both wonderful supporters of Connecting Country. Andrew helped design both of our long term monitoring programs (woodland birds and nest boxes). Jess has incorporated the Connecting Country nest box data into her PhD on Brush-tailed Phascogales. Jess also assisted enormously in our 2018 nest box check.

Professor Andrew Bennett (La Trobe University & Arthur Rylah Institute): Connecting Country’s woodland bird data – trends and questions  






PhD candidate Jess Lawton (La Trobe University): Results of Connecting Country’s Brush-tailed Phascogale monitoring 


RSVP is essential if you wish to join us for dinner.
For more information and bookings email or phone 5472 1594.

To view our flyer for the event: click here

This threatened species forum is generously supported by the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust via our Habitat Health Check project.


Water workshop with Muckleford Catchment Landcare

Posted on 18 September, 2018 by Asha

Let the rain run in, not off – an introduction to landscape function on a farm in transition

Join Muckleford Catchment Landcare at a workshop on how water functions in our landscape, presented by Muckleford landowner and ecologist, Paul Foreman, and land planning consultant, David Griffith.

Do you have cleared paddocks and want them to be more healthy and productive from both farm and conservation perspectives? Have these experts answer your questions about how you want your property to work.

Date: Sunday 23 September 2018
Time: 10 am to 12 noon
Location: Paul’s property at 678 Lewis Road, Muckleford VIC
Parking behind the house. Morning tea provided.

Please RSVP to Beth via email or call on 0431 219 980. 


Learn about landscape connectivity: science and practice

Posted on 18 September, 2018 by Asha

Newstead Landcare are hosting an interesting talk this Thursday.

Dr Jim Radford (Principal Research Fellow from the Research Centre for Future Landscapes, La Trobe University) will talk about the science and practice of connecting landscapes, what works and what we should be aiming for in landscape restoration projects.

Jim will focus on the benefits of revegetation in restoring rural landscapes, guiding principles for landscape restoration, and priorities and guidelines to improve landscape connectivity.

Landscape connectivity: science and practice
Venue: Newstead Community Centre, 9 Lyons Street Newstead VIC
Date: Thursday 20 Sept 2018
Time: 8 pm to 9 pm followed by supper

A gold coin donation would be appreciated to help cover costs.


Fabulous fauna photos required for FOBIF exhibition

Posted on 13 September, 2018 by Tanya Loos

The theme of the next Friends of Box Ironbark Forests (FOBIF) photo exhibition is Creatures, and they are seeking entries now.

TOGS Cafe in Castlemaine will host the exhibition in November 2018.

So if you have a favourite photo/s of wildlife in our region send them along to FOBIF ( Get cracking and select your fave pics: the closing date for the submission of photos is  1 October 2018.

Bronwyn Silver has kindly supplied some beautiful photos of local fauna for some inspiration.

For more info and the submission guidelines, see the FOBIF website here.



Baringhup Birds on Farms workshop – a great partnership event

Posted on 13 September, 2018 by Tanya Loos

On 9 September 2018 about forty people gathered on a beautiful property in Baringhup to learn about Birds on Farms. The day was a joint workshop by Connecting Country and Baringhup Landcare, and the participants ranged from Connecting Country regular workshop enthusiasts, bird survey volunteers, farmers from in and around the Baringhup area and Landcare members.

Two bird surveys were conducted down on the bird survey area. Curiously each survey recorded 13 birds, though each time the species composition was different! The surveys may be seen here and here. A few new species were recorded on the day – including the Grey Fantail.

Many thanks to Roy and Caroline Lovel for being such wonderful hosts, and all the many helpers on the day, especially Jackie Brown who helped Roy wash up all the bowls and cups!

Attendee Liz Burns wrote this wonderful summary of the day. Thanks Liz!

 Birds On Farms workshop

As a long-term attender of Connecting Country’s field days, it was a pleasure to take up Tanya’s request for someone to write up today’s events. In fact, I could write a book with all the detailed notes that I’ve taken over the years.

As usual, this one hit the mark and maintained the usual high standard.

As a full-time biological farmer who relies upon our native birds for pest control and even some pollination services, and a keen lifelong observer of all the complex relationships in nature, this is a subject dear to my heart. It was even more heartening to meet other like-minded farmers with the added bonus of passionate  protectors of very old trees.

 To read Liz’s detailed notes of the speakers’ presentations click Birds-On-Farms-Field-Day-write-up

After lunch we did separate farm and birds walks: Roy led a group up to the top of the property, and Tanya and Chris conducted a bird survey on a lower restoration area.

I would like to see the Connecting Country model rolled out across the State, as the best value for money blending of agriculture, environment and Indigenous history, especially as 70% of the State is in private hands and the State does not manage Crown Land very well (in my opinion). If farmers could be helped with managing their land, incorporating environmental and cultural values, we could maximise biodiversity and future food production with a three-way partnership with farmers, environmentalists and Traditional owners.

As usual, the catering, the company and weather was of the highest standard.

Grateful thanks must go to Connecting Country and all involved, but in particular Tanya Loos for yet another fascinating and informative day.

Liz Burns, Trewella Farm, Musk

Please scroll through the following gallery of photos from the day.



‘Future-proof your restoration’ seminars

Posted on 6 September, 2018 by Tanya Loos

The recent ‘Future-proof your restoration’  seminars brought the local community together with relevant experts to discuss and share the issues we face in landscape restoration, especially the challenge of our changing climate. Seminar one (Friday 24 August 2018) explored ‘Weeds to watch’. Seminar two (Friday 31 August 2018) addressed ‘Planting for the future’.

Our excellent guest speakers shared a wealth of knowledge and experience, and their expertise was warmly received by an enthusiastic audience at both events.

Thank you to everyone who helped make these seminars successful, including our presenters, the Landcare Steering Group, and volunteers who helped behind the scenes. The seminars were funded by the North Central Catchment Management Authority, through the Victorian Landcare Program, and organised by Asha Bannon, Connecting Country’s Landcare Facilitator.

Everyone gathered to listen to our guests speak about ‘Weeds to watch’

Read on for short summaries of each event, and click on the presentation titles to download a copy of the slides. Keep an eye out for another blog post coming soon, with links to copies of the resources we had available at the events.

Weeds to watch

David started us off by talking about the ecology of weeds, and how they affect us and the environment. He gave useful advice about the most strategic ways to manage weeds effectively. David encouraged us to look at ‘absences’ of weeds on our properties and project areas, to learn to appreciate what we have achieved rather than be overwhelmed by the weeds we have yet to control. John then shared information about grassy weeds – those that are  a problem now, and those that are likely to become a bigger issue with climate change. He stressed the importance of early detection and eradication of new and emerging weeds, plus better practices to reduce their spread in the first place. For details see:


Planting for the future

The three presentations were very different and complemented each other beautifully! Jeroen spoke passionately about the urgent need for large-scale landscape restoration, based on his work on Bush Heritage properties in the Wedderburn and St Arnaud area – particularly the Nardoo Hills. Sacha clearly outlined a practical way to approach revegetation that buffers the changing climate, and uses scientific monitoring to guide us in that approach.  Brian took us down to the square metre level as he recounted the tale of the restoration of an urban waterway, and the return of bush birds such as Brown Thornbills to the Merri Creek. Brian also talked about the struggle many of us face when it comes to accepting and adapting to the new approaches needed to future-proof our restoration.

From left to right: Chris from Connecting Country, Jeroen, Sacha, Brian and Asha.

For details see:


Celebrate Landcare Month!

Posted on 30 August, 2018 by Asha

September 2018 is Landcare Month! With Spring here at last, it’s the perfect time to get outside, get your hands dirty, and connect with other community members. We have 30 groups in the Mount Alexander region alone, so it’s easy to find an event or working bee that’s near you and suits your interests.

Visit to find Landcare events happening near you in September, or contact for more information.

Bonnie and Sutton Grange Landcarers admiring some Silver Banksias


Baringhup Birds on Farms Workshop – Sunday 9 September

Posted on 22 August, 2018 by Tanya Loos

Join us with Baringhup Landcare and others interested in habitat restoration at Roy and Caroline Lovel’s property to explore the benefits of birds on farms
The Lovels live on a beautiful 60 hectare property at Baringhup, north of Maldon. Over the past 25 years they’ve revegetated much of the property, with a strong emphasis on supporting and sustaining bird habitat.

Research shows that increasing bird populations and diversity enhances productivity of crops, orchards and grazing land. Birds contribute to the long term health of old paddock trees, sustain native vegetation, and bring joy with their colour and song.

  • Roy and Caroline Lovel will introduce you to their property and their motivation and vision.
  • Colin Jennings will speak about his experience as a landholder with responsibility for private land within Bells Swamp, wildlife corridors, and efforts to balance farm production and the environment.
  • Tanya Loos from Connecting Country will take participants on a bird walk visiting the long term bird monitoring site on the Lovel’s property.
  • Chris Timewell, coordinator of the Birds on Farms project at BirdLife Australia, will discuss various approaches to improving woodland bird habitat on rural properties.

White-plumed honeyeaters are commonly seen in River Red Gum paddock trees. In this photo by Geoff Park, a honeyeater adds cobweb to a delicate cup nest in a eucalypt sapling.

 Donations are always welcome, and feel free to bring a plate of nibbles to share.

When: Sunday 9 September from 9:30 am – 2:30 pm
Where: 49 Hayes Rd, Baringhup VIC
This is a free event. We will serve a light lunch of soup and rolls.

What to bring:
*Shoes and clothing appropriate for walking outside in the bush.
*Binoculars if you have them (we’ll also provide some).
RSVP: Bookings and enquiries to Tanya Loos or call our office on 5472 1594



FOBIF AGM: Monday 27 August 2018

Posted on 21 August, 2018 by Asha

Ian Higgins, well known local landcarer and co-founder of Friends of Campbells Creek Landcare, will be the speaker at the upcoming Friends of the Box-Ironbark Forests (FOBIF) AGM on Monday 27 August 2018.

In an article about Ian after he received the Australian Government Individual Landcarer Award in 2017, the Victorian Landcare Magazine wrote:

Higgins’ early interest in native plants has continued through his life. He developed a remarkable knowledge of indigenous flora species, their propagation and revegetation, leading to a 30-year professional career during which he has contributed significantly to revegetation and environmental planning in Victoria, in both professional and voluntary capacities.

You can find out about Ian’s history of involvement in environmental projects here.

Topics he will cover in his FOBIF speech will include:

  • Changes in our landscape and vegetation since colonisation, including the profound local impacts of gold mining and the consequences of a European mindset.
  • A short history of rehabilitation efforts, including the contribution of Landcare groups.
  • Is aiming for something more like the pre-European condition viable?  Given that we’ve already lost many components of the ecosystem, together with massive invasions of exotic species and climate change, what should our local landscape and vegetation management goals be?

The meeting will start at 7.30 pm in the Ray Bradfield Room, Castlemaine VIC (next to Mostyn Street IGA supermarket). Information on how to nominate for the FOBIF Committee can be found here. All welcome and supper will be served.


A watery Landcare Link-up

Posted on 8 August, 2018 by Asha

It was a dark and stormy night when Landcarers from around the region gathered in Campbells Creek. Our guest speakers included Trent Gibson (North Central Catchment Management Authority), Barry Floyd (Coliban Water), Brett Thompson (Coliban Water) and Mark Bailey (Goulburn Murray Water).

Trent started us off by talking about some of North Central CMA‘s current local projects. You can CLICK HERE to download his full presentation (2 Mb). Among other things, he talked about the new Castlemaine Creekways Management Plan developed by Mount Alexander Shire in partnership with Friends of Campbells Creek and Castlemaine Landcare Group.

Next we heard from Barry and Brent from Coliban Water, each covering different aspects of their work. They encouraged groups to keep an open mind about where partnerships can come from, and to consider the public health benefits of Landcare work and ways to partner with Coliban Water-funded projects.

Mark from Goulburn Murray Water (GMW) finished the event. He explained that GMW covers an area the size of Tasmania, and encouraged groups to have a look at the plans on the GMW website. During question time, Mark also directed us to the interactive map on the Visualising Victoria’s Groundwater website.

One of the big takeaways from the night was that water management is a complex issue, and we merely scraped the surface in this jam-packed evening. All four speakers stressed their support for government-community partnerships, and an interest in working with more Landcare groups. Speakers emphasised that the way our waterways are managed has changed significantly in the last 30 years, and we need to continue to adapt with the changing climate.

Thank you to all of our guest speakers, and to the representatives from eleven Landcare and Friends groups who came along and contributed to the discussion. Thanks also to the volunteers who helped plan and implement the Link-up, included the Landcare Steering Group, and Daryl for picking up our soup!

Beautiful Baker’s Swamp, by Geoff Park



‘Future-proof your restoration’ seminars

Posted on 7 August, 2018 by Asha

Golden Wattle, by Tanya Loos

Come along and learn about how we can prepare our environment for a changing climate at two upcoming seminars. This is a chance to hear from experts in the field, share ideas, and browse through useful resources.

We have some truly amazing guest speakers lined up to talk about topics that are relevant to Landcare groups and landholders working to restore their land for the environment.


Guest speakers:

  • David Cheal – ‘Weed attack strategies and plans’
  • John Morgan (LaTrobe University) – ‘Perennial grass weeds that will threaten nature’

When: Friday 24 August 2018, 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Where: Campbells Creek Community Centre, 45 Elizabeth St, Campbells Creek VIC

RSVP: by Monday 20 August for catering purposes to


Guest speakers:

  • Jeroen VanVeen (Bush Heritage) – ‘Woodland stress: signs of times to come?’
  • Sacha Jellinek (Greening Australia) – ‘Developing guidelines for Climate Future Plots in Victoria’
  • Brian Bainbridge – ‘Taking actions from modelling to reality’

When: Friday 31 August 2018, 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Where: Campbells Creek Community Centre, 45 Elizabeth St, Campbells Creek VIC

RSVP: by Monday 27 August for catering purposes to

CLICK HERE to download the flier, or contact Asha on (03) 5472 1594 or at for more information.

This event is funded by the North Central Catchment Management Authority, through the Victorian Landcare Program.


Come and hear about Scientific monitoring at Connecting Country: a community effort – Friday 13 July 2018

Posted on 12 July, 2018 by Tanya Loos

Castlemaine Field Naturalists Club is hosting a guest speaker, our very own Tanya Loos, talking about Scientific monitoring at Connecting Country: a community effort.

Woodland birds, arboreal mammals, frogs and reptiles – what can these critters tell us about landscape health? Tanya Loos, Connecting Country’s Monitoring and Engagement Coordinator, talks about the organisation’s long term monitoring programs – how and why they were created, and what we have found so far. There will be a special emphasis on the contribution volunteers have made to the program’s success. 

Tanya has worked with Connecting Country for four years, and whilst mainly a birdo, is also a field naturalist and science writer. She lives on a bush block in Porcupine Ridge with her husband, dog and a number of rescue budgies and cockatiels.

The evening event will be from 7.30 pm on Friday 13 July 2018 in the Fellowship Room (behind the Uniting Church on Lyttleton St, Castlemaine VIC, next door to the Castlemaine Art Museum). There is no cost for entry, and both members and visitors of all ages are welcome and encouraged to attend. We look forward to seeing you there.

Cullen speaks to the Wild Melbourne film crew, next to wattles growing from direct seeding.

The talk will be followed by an field excursion at 1.30 pm on Saturday 14 July 2018.

The excursion will be to Cullen Gunn’s property in Otterys Scrub Rd, Walmer. Cullen’s property is a former grazing property with many large old trees, and an extensive revegetation program involving three separate projects with Connecting Country. We will be able to see direct seeding revegetation in various stages of regrowth. The site has a long term bird survey site, and has recently been colonised by a population of Brush-tailed Phascogales, a sure measure of success!

Depart at 1.30 pm from the car park opposite the Castle Motel on Duke St, Castlemaine (next to the Octopus building).  Bring afternoon tea, raincoat and suitable footwear.


BirdLife Castlemaine District launch and Swift Parrot conservation

Posted on 10 July, 2018 by Tanya Loos

You have seen it here first, folks! The group’s new logo!

Many excited faces gathered at the Castlemaine Botanic Gardens Tearooms on Saturday 7 July 2018, as we celebrated the launch of BirdLife Australia’s newest branch – BirdLife Castlemaine and District. The launch also incorporated an ‘Act for Birds’ Roadshow – a community forum on how we can encourage stronger environmental laws to help safeguard threatened species such as the Swift Parrot.

We began the afternoon with a Welcome to Country from Uncle Rick and Kane, and Uncle Rick talked about the significance of birds to the Dja Dja Wurrung. Fiona Blandford (Branch Network manager) and Jane Rusden (BirdLife District Convenor) formally launched the new branch, with a lovely nod to Connecting Country and our work to build community interest in birds on our region.

Brendan Sydes (Connecting Country president), in his role as lawyer and CEO of Environmental Justice Australia, gave a rousing introduction to the potential for positive change to environmental laws in this country.

Beth Mellick (of Wettenhall Environment Trust) is the regional coordinator for the local Swift Parrot counts done twice a year. Beth gave a wonderful talk on our local swifties and the power of citizen scientists, including showing an excerpt from Debbie Worland’s DVD, the Swift Parrots of Muckleford in Central Victoria. The DVD shows never-seen footage of Swift Parrots filmed entirely in Muckleford over a five-year period by Debbie Worland, a member of the Castlemaine Field Naturalists Club. For infomation about the DVD, email If you would like to be involved in the Swift Parrot count later this year, email Beth at

We then heard from our main speaker – Kim Garrett (Conservation Community Organiser for BirdLife Australia). Kim spoke passionately and eloquently on how our current laws are failing threatened species in Australia, and what we as community members can do about it. Many policy and environmental law experts have prepared a detailed case for how environmental laws could be strengthened in our country, and the Act for Birds campaign summarises the case succinctly.

In a nutshell, the campaign calls for us to:

  • Create national environment laws that genuinely protect our unique birdlife.
  • Establish independent institutions that set national environmental standards, and operate transparently and independently of government.
  • Guarantee community rights and participation in environmental decision-making.

To get involved, head on over to to sign the petition and get some tips on engaging with your local member.

The Swift Parrot is Critically Endangered and numbers are still declining due to serious loopholes in current environmental laws. The current laws are up for a twenty year review, so now is an ideal time to act.

Please enjoy this gallery of photos of some of the attendees. Many thanks to the staff from BirdLife for travelling to Castlemaine to share in the excitement, to the committee and volunteers of BirdLife District Castlemaine for planning and logistics, Uncle Rick and Kane, the presenters, and to Jane Rusden for pulling the whole event together!

The contact email for the new branch is and our new Facebook page is BirdLife-Castlemaine-District

For a great overview of the Swift Parrot and the ‘Act for Birds’ campaign, see this article in the Bendigo Advertisor: renewed-focus-to-save-castlemaines-migratory-parrots/


BirdLife Celebration and Roadshow – 7 July 2018

Posted on 28 June, 2018 by Frances

BirdLife is coming to town, so put 12:30 – 3:00 pm on Saturday 7 July in your diaries folks. Join us at the Tearoom in Castlemaine Botanic Gardens (2 Walker Street, Castlemaine VIC). There will be celebrations, information on how we, the grassroots, can really make a difference, and an art activity for the kids.

BirdLife is bring its ‘Act for Birds’ Roadshow to Castlemaine, with plenty of ideas on how you and I can make a real difference for the natural environment.

The stunning Swift Parrot needs our help to save it from extinction. (Photo by Chris Tzaros)

Drum roll please …… We have a new group in the area: Castlemaine District BirdLife Branch, for all bird enthusiasts and aspiring bird enthusiasts, as well as those who are just curious or like birds a little bit. On offer will be monthly bird outings, some talks and a chance to meet like-minded people, across all age groups. Come along, find out more and meet some of us.

Jane Rusden, Convener Castlemaine District BirdLife Group


Fungi presentation and excursion with John Walter – Friday 8 June 2018

Posted on 6 June, 2018 by Tanya Loos

The guest speaker for the June general meeting of the Castlemaine Field Naturalists Club is Drummond-based naturalist, John Walter. His presentation is about FUNGI: the rare and the where and how you can make a difference.  

John writes:
‘I have an extensive library and will bring some of my collection of fungi books with me for members to examine. I would also like to demonstrate some of the web-based resources available for people to use.  FungiMap has a focus on some rare or rarely seen species and I have been fortunate enough to make some very interesting fungal finds so they will form a key part of the presentation and I will also show some of the incredible fungal diversity to be seen in our region.’

Parasol Mushroom, Macrolepiota clelandii, photographed by Tanya Loos.

John’s presentation is on Friday 8 June from 7.30 pm in the Fellowship Room on Lyttleton St, Castlemaine VIC (behind the Uniting Church, next door to the Castlemaine Art Museum). There is no cost for entry, and both members and visitors of all ages are welcome and encouraged to attend.

John will also kindly lead the excursion the following day, to search for fungi in the field. The destination is likely to be at Blackwood, but this is to be confirmed at the meeting on Friday evening.

The excursion will depart on Saturday 9 June at 1.30 pm sharp from the Octopus U3A building on Duke St, Castlemaine (opposite the Castle Motel). Car pooling will be available, and please bring along some afternoon tea. Again, visitors and members all welcome and encouraged.

For further information please contact Castlemaine Field Naturalists Club.


Camp Out on the Mount 2018 (minus the camp out)

Posted on 30 May, 2018 by Asha

Success! After one and a half Camp Outs cancelled due to severe weather warnings, we were at last able to run most of the activities we had planned on Saturday 12 May.

It was a chilly  day, but a warm fire provided by Parks Victoria created a cozy space to gather. Early birds Duncan and Frances were up on the mount before anyone else making sure the kettle was going and we had hot drinks available all day long.

We kicked off the day with a nature walk with Connecting Country’s Bonnie Humphreys. Before even leaving the campground, we were lucky to see both Scarlet and Flame Robins enjoying the sun that peeked through the clouds. We came back in time to listen to George Milford’s famous talk on the history of Mount Alexander.

MP Maree Edwards then launched the new Camp Out on the Mount 2018 t-shirt with Nick and Murray from Castlemaine Secondary College, who designed the t-shirts with fellow students Nioka and Des. There are a limited number of free Camp Out on the Mount 2018 t-shirts left in sizes XS, L, and XL. If you would like one, please email or drop into our office.

Next up was something a little different from the Little Habitat Heroes and the Macapellas. After treating us to their rendition of Eva Popov’s ‘Seeds that grow’ (song written about the Little Habitat Heroes revegetation project on Leanganook) they invited everyone to join in singing around the campfire.

Our afternoon activities were a wildlife display by TZR Reptiles and Wildlife, and a Leanganook Scavenger Hunt run by Nioka, Nick, and Murray. The wildlife display went down a treat, with the Carpet Python and Barn Owl being special favourites (as you can see from the smiles in the photos below!) The scavenger hunt was challenging and fun, with bonus points for those who came up with a name for their Landcare Superhero Team!

As a perfect finish to the day, the Mellick-Cooper family set up a damper making station and got everyone cooking damper over the coals, which were now glowing and ideal for this purpose.

So many people helped make this event possible, we almost need a whole other blog post dedicated to thank yous! We have many community groups and individuals to thank for making the 2018 Camp Out happen, both on the day and behind the scenes, including the Camp Out Advisory Group, Harcourt Valley Landcare, Little Habitat Heroes, MP Maree Edwards, the Mellick-Cooper family, Parks Victoria, Friends of the Box-Ironbark Forests, Nalderun Upper Loddon Group, Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation, Castlemaine Secondary College students (Nioka, Nick, Murray, and Des), Harcourt Lions Club, Tarrangower Cactus Control Group, TZR Reptiles and Wildlife, the Connecting Country team, and all those who stepped up to help out on the day.

Scroll through to enjoy a gallery of photos from the day.

This year’s Camp Out on the Mount is supported by funding through the Victorian Landcare Program. Our nature walk was supported by DELWP’s Biodiversity On Ground Action (BOGA) program.


Joint Management Plan for the Dja Dja Wurrung Parks: provide feedback

Posted on 30 May, 2018 by Tanya Loos

Community groups and individuals are invited to take part in community consultation regarding a joint management plan for six parks in Central Victoria.

From the Parks Victoria website:

Parks Victoria has a vision to manage all parks in their surrounding landscapes, in partnership with Traditional Owners, and other government and non-government organisations and community groups. Parks Victoria is currently supporting the Dhelkunya Dja Land Management Board to involve the community in developing a plan for the joint management of the six Dja Dja Wurrung Parks held by the Dja Dja Wurrung People as Aboriginal Title.

The Draft Joint Management Plan for the Dja Dja Wurrung Parks covers the following parks:

  • Greater Bendigo National Park
  • Hepburn Regional Park
  • Paddys Ranges State Park
  • Kara Kara National Park
  • Kooyoora State Park
  • Wehla Nature Conservation Reserve

Dja Dja Wurrung Traditional Owners meeting on Country in 2017 to participate in the planning for the Dja Dja Wurrung Parks

It is expected that this joint planning process will extend to other parks within the Mount Alexander Shire in the future.

To read the plan, make a submission, or access an online survey about the plan, click here: Dhelkunya Dja Land Management Board

All submissions must be made by 19 June 2018.


Wheel Cactus 2018 Season Launch

Posted on 21 May, 2018 by Asha

The 2018 season of Tarrangower Cactus Control Group field days will be launched along Baringhup Road (near Maldon) this coming Sunday 27 May.  President Lee Mead has asked us to distribute the following message: 

The Tarrangower Cactus Control Group continues to ‘wage war on Wheel Cactus’. We’re very pleased that Stephen Gardner, our new Tarrangower Ward Councillor for Mt. Alexander Shire, will be ‘cutting the ribbon’ for the launch of our 2018 season of Community Field Days, on Sunday 27 May at 10:30 am. 

Thanks to our sponsors and supporters, including Parks Victoria, Mount Alexander Shire Council and North Central Catchment Management Authority, we will hold these field days on the last Sunday of every month from May to October, to demonstrate how best to destroy Wheel Cactus.

Our State MP for Bendigo West, Maree Edwards, is also coming along to help motivate us to kill more Wheel Cactus, so please come and join us for a rewarding morning in the outdoors. We supply all the necessary equipment. All you need are sturdy shoes, long sleeves and pants and a hat.

The location this month is in Baringhup Rd, a few kilometers north of Maldon. To get there, follow Bridgewater Rd out of Maldon and turn left to Baringhup, and the property will be on the left opposite Hayes Rd. The route will be well signposted. The morning’s activities always end with a delicious BBQ lunch and friendly chat. These events are family friendly, but children must be accompanied by a parent at all times. If you have any queries please contact us via our website at


Moths of the Box Ironbark forests: talk on Thursday 17 May 2018

Posted on 14 May, 2018 by Tanya Loos

Newstead Landcare are delighted to host Steve Williams as guest speaker at their next meeting on Thursday 17 May. The talk will start at 8 pm at Newstead Community Centre (9 Lyons Street, Newstead VIC) and will go for about 45 minutes, with plenty of time for questions and at the end. Everyone is welcome to attend. A gold coin donation will help cover costs.

Plume Moth (Stangia xerodes), photographed by Steve Williams

Steve Williams has been exploring the biology of Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies) in Box-Ironbark forest ecosystems for the last decade. During that period he has documented the life histories of nearly 400 moth species, many for the first time. This work, along with nightly recording of adult moth activity over the same period, is providing important insights into ecosystem functions.

Steve will share the fascinating life stories of a few of these amazing animals, and discuss how understanding this biology has implications for land and biodiversity management in Box-Ironbark forests.



Learning about caring for large old trees

Posted on 3 May, 2018 by Tanya Loos

On Saturday 28 April 2018, over 30 people gathered at the Guildford Saddle Club to learn about the value and care of our old eucalypt trees. This was a joint Connecting Country and Mount Alexander Shire event, and part of the council’s Sustainable Living Series. Tanya Loos (Connecting Country) was the presenter, and we also heard from Bonnie Humphreys (Connecting Country), Kylie Stafford (Mount Alexander Shire Council) and Bev Philips (Maldon Urban Landcare Group). One of the participants, Vicki Webb kindly volunteered to write this post about the workshop. Thanks Vicki, and to all involved in this most successful workshop. Further information about caring for large old trees will be posted on the Connecting Country website in the next couple of weeks. 

Bev is dwarfed by a huge and healthy grey box. Photo by Bonnie Humphreys.

Is there anything old eucalypts can’t do? They are a keystone habitat structure in Mt Alexander Shire, providing resources critical to species diversity – that was the message from Connecting Country on a perfect-autumn-day workshop under the box gums at the Guildford Saddle Club.

Just about all parts of these majestic trees sustain a huge number of mammal, bird, reptile and insect species. Hollows in the trunk, branches and dead stumps provide shelter and nesting sites. The tough leaves are a source of food, moisture and shelter. Flowers, buds and nuts feed a large variety of species. The bark shelters bats and insects. And at the end of the tree’s life, it decomposes and provides nutrients for the soil and trees of the future.

I’d heard that hollows take at least 100 years to develop, but was amazed to learn that up to five centuries are required to form a hollow large enough to host a powerful owl or black cockatoo nest. And if we want a diverse range of species on our land, we need habitat that has at least three and up to ten trees old enough to form hollows for each hectare.

 We came along to learn what we can do to help our trees reach these kinds of phenomenal ages. An important message was not to fuss too much. Tree health is largely determined by soil, and falling branches and leaf litter should be left in place as habitat and natural fertiliser. We should avoid adding fertiliser, to avoid nutrient overload. However, we can actively assist nutrient cycling by planting deep-rooted perennials like native lilies and grasses around the tree’s drip line.

Some people said they try to help their eucalypts by removing remove native mistletoe, which takes hold in trees already under stress. We learned that this parasitic plant actually provides valuable resources such as prime foraging and nesting sites for birds such as the diamond firetail, as well as providing fruit, nectar and nutrient-rich leaves to feed a host of other species.

We learnt that echidna mothers find piles of woody debris of sticks, branches and leaves the perfect place to leave their young while they forage in their territory for days at a time. This message was very timely for me … just a few days later I spotted my resident echidna burrowing into the pile in my yard left over from fire season preparations, and destined for the mulcher. It hadn’t occurred to me that piles like these should be dismantled before burning, otherwise the puggles (baby echidnas) will have no chance of escape. Even better, woody debris can be left in place to create habitat for woodland birds before decomposing into the soil, or put into a dam to help create wetland habitat. I’m more than happy for my ‘mulch pile’ to remain in place as some choice habitat.

This workshop reminded me of how important our old eucalypts are, and has inspired me to make sure this precious resource is well looked after on my property.

Vicki Webb, landholder from Sandon