Restoring landscapes across the Mount Alexander Region

Catch a festival glimpse of Dja Dja Wurrung Country by Eliza Tree

Posted on 23 March, 2017 by Connecting Country

While the State Festival is on, we hope you find some time to visit Eliza Tree’s exhibition titled Dja Dja Wurrung Country at Morell Gallery on 139 Mostyn St Castlemaine. The gallery is open from 12-5pm until the 25th March 2017. Eliza kindly donated the use of her stunning painting for the cover of our 2015-16 Annual Report and this exhibition gives the opportunity to see it in the flesh.

Eliza Tree’s painting of Castlemaine and surrounds at the time of Mitchell’s expedition


Guardians assemble! A new group of custodians is formed…

Posted on 22 March, 2017 by Tanya Loos

The special bird habitats of Clydesdale, Sandon and Muckleford now have a small team of Guardians! These three areas, of both private and public land, are designated as Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) by BirdLife International, and BirdLife Australia.

Connecting Country held a workshop on Saturday 18 March 2017 to recruit KBA guardians and provide training in filling out an Easter Heath Check form each year. Birdlife Victoria KBA coordinator Euan Moore and his wife Jenny kindly took some time out from their busy schedule to present a comprehensive introduction to KBAs, and how to become a Guardian.

The open bushland around the hall was filled with birds – despite being rather hot, we saw a Diamond Firetail, a Mistletoebird and a pair of Peaceful doves – 20 species in all!

There are over 300 KBAs in Australia – and the Easter Health Check is a means to working out which KBAs are in danger – so that lobbying can be done and funding procured. For example, recently the Murray-Sunset and Hattah KBA was saved from an inappropriate burning regime that had reduced the population of tiny,  rare birds called emu-wrens by such a drastic degree that they had become critically endangered.

In the case of our Key Biodiversity Areas,  the Easter Health check is a means for locals to come together and try to quantify the threats facing our woodland birds and their habitats. Each KBA has what are known as “trigger species” – the key species that are under threat in that habitat – in our area, the trigger species are the Diamond Firetail and Swift Parrot.  During the workshop there was much discussion around what these threats are, and the rate that they are causing declines in the Diamond Firetail. A fascinating process! Drought featured heavily, as did grazing, and pest animals such as European Rabbits, Red Foxes, and cats, both feral and domestic.

This young Diamond Firetail faces an uncertain future. Photo by Geoff Park

Connecting Country’s Stewards for Woodland Birds project is delighted to support the Easter Health Check initiative. The Health Checks filled in by our guardians will form the basis for a series of community plans for each area – Clydesdale, Sandon and Muckleford.

If you were unable to make it to the workshop but would still like to be involved – contact us! Not only birdos are needed for this process – anyone with understanding of our local habitats, the trials faced, and the communities working to address these threats is welcome to take part. At the workshop it was decided to form a small Guardians email list so that people can stay in touch – let Tanya know if you wish to be added to the list. Email or call 5472 1594.

Thanks to Euan and Jenny for an inspiring and informative workshop – and many thanks to the enthusiastic participants! For more information on KBAs, see BirdLife’s overview: click here

The KBA workshop and the Stewards for Woodland Birds Program are supported by the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust.


Linking Landcare and Aboriginal Culture

Posted on 15 March, 2017 by Asha

When you look across the landscape, can you see where Myndie the Rainbow Serpent travelled? You can at Yapenya, aka Mount Barker, which is Dja Dja Wurrung owned and managed land near Harcourt. For our February 2017 Landcare Link-up, the Dja Dja Wurrung Corporation invited Landcare group representatives from the Mount Alexander Region Network to visit Yapenya and go on a cultural journey with Jida Gulpilil. “Love, share, and care” were his three key words for looking after the land we live on.

Jida began by welcoming us with a smoking ceremony, explaining that he does this every time he goes on country.

We followed the contour of the land throughout the day, exploring different sites of significance across the hills and the stories behind them. We stopped at shaded spots and lookouts where Jida shared stories of local Aboriginal culture and history with the group.  Jida explained the importance of leaving culturally significant sites undisturbed by walking around them rather than through. Looking out at an amazing view to the east, Jida pointed out where Myndie the Rainbow Serpent traveled towards Leanganook, leaving a trail behind. If you look at the photo below, you might be able to see the trail running up the middle of the hill.

After some questions, everyone headed back down to a beautiful lunch prepared by our local Murnong Mammas, who incorporated some bush tucker into the meal. The peach and Kakadu plum cake went down particularly well! Big thank yous to the Murnong Mammas, Jida, and the Dja Dja Wurrung Corporation.

This event was part of Connecting Country’s Landcare Adapting to Change 2017 project, funded by the North Central Catchment Management Authority’s Community Grants Program.


It’s State Festival Time – Plant a seed for us!

Posted on 15 March, 2017 by Connecting Country

Ever felt concerned that your contribution to the world might be too small to make a difference? Connecting Country has partnered with Carbon Arts this month at the Castlemaine State Festival for the Garden of Earthly Delights – a giant, interactive artwork that visualises and empowers community action on the environment.

Electronic artist and creative technologist, Pierre Proske, and illustrator, Catherine the Firth, have created this playful, virtual gardening exercise. Over the course of 10 days, festival goers in Castlemaine, Victoria will be invited to plant their ‘seeds of change’ and witness as a flowering vine takes over a local municipal building.

With generous support from the Hub Foundation and the Mount Alexander Sustainability Group, the project also showcases the achievements of local environmental organisations working towards a zero emissions shire. Check the Castlemaine State Festival’s program for interaction times.


Singing from Country at the State Festival

Posted on 15 March, 2017 by Asha

Eva Popov’s song, Seeds That Grow, was inspired by the Little Habitat Heroes project

The Singing from Country concert will be on as part of the Castlemaine State Festival next week. The concert will include songs by songwriters Kavisha Mazzella, Neil Murray, Carl Punnuzzo, and Eva Popov. The songs were written to honour old knowledge and celebrate the fragile and beautiful ecosystems that sustain our lives. They feature Leanganook and the Little Habitat Heroes project, the Loddon River, Dja Dja Wurrung culture, and more. Songwriters will perform with several of our local community choirs, including Peace Choir, Chatwarblers, and children from The Meeting Place.

Details: Wednesday 22nd March 2017, 6:00pm | Castlemaine Presbyterian Church | $30 – $33

As a sneak preview, here is the lyrics and a link to the beautiful song written by singer/songwriter Eva Popov inspired by Little Habitat Heroes.

What did this land look like before
All the roads and all the gold
When the spirit of the dreaming
Held this country

There’s no going back
But there’s those who know
The seeds we plant now
Are the seeds that grow
From Leanganook
To the fields below
The seeds we plant now
Are the seeds that grow

There’s a memory in each seed
That holds the heart
Of an ancient tree
Grows to shelter
All the birds and
Connect the country

There’s no going back
But there’s those who know
The seeds we plant now
Are the seeds that grow
From Leanganook
To the fields below
The seeds we plant now
Are the seeds that grow

Healing takes work
Healing takes time
Healing takes hands
These hands of mine
To connect the land

From what once was
To what could be

There’s no going back
But there’s those who know
The seeds we plant now
Are the seeds that grow


Experience the Tarkine in Bendigo

Posted on 15 March, 2017 by Connecting Country

There is a lot going on in town at the moment but Connecting Country would like to share news of a beautiful exhibition and related events coming up in Bendigo in March 2017. Supported by the Bob Brown Foundation these events showcase and chronicle over 70 artist’s responses to the very beautiful Tarkine Forests. Pop along and experience a little bit of Tasmanian wilderness in Bendigo.

Pop-up Exhibition

Time: 25 March 10am to 26 March 4pm

Location: Dudley House 60 View St Bendigo

Artist Talks

Tarkine in Motion artist Olivia Hickey

3:30pm Saturday 25 March

10:30am Sunday 26 March

Location: Dudley House 60 View St Bendigo

Movie Screening

Tarkine in Motion documentary

Time: 26 March at 1pm-2:30pm

Location: Latrobe Arts Institute (formally known as the Visual Arts Centre) 121 View St, Bendigo (opposite the Capitol Theatre) short walk from the fountain.

Tickets: By gold coin donation

TiM-Film-Image.jpgKindly supported by Latrobe University, this is a special film screening of Tarkine in Motion an annual arts project in 2015 organized by The Bob Brown Foundation, and documented by Dan Broun.

In April 2015, over 70 photographers, filmmakers, musicians and artists journeyed into the Tarkine to document and interpret its wild, scenic beauty as never before. From that weekend comes this stunning 55-minute documentary portrait of this threatened wilderness and the creative minds working to save it. Curated by Tasmanian wilderness photographer and film maker, Dan Broun and the Bob Brown Foundation, Tarkine In Motion is a multi-platform project culminating in film, concerts and exhibitions of art created in the heart of the Tarkine, one of the last great wilderness areas on the planet.

This documentary screening will be accompanied by environmental shorts and a Question and Answer session from speakers who are working to protect the Tarkine and have tales to share, including suggestions for how you too can be involved.

You can watch the trailer here:



Instructive short film about pine treatment

Posted on 8 March, 2017 by Connecting Country

Watch our video and register your interest in becoming a pine assassin later in the year at the Camp Out.

This instructive short film (3 minutes) was shot last year by our multi-talented staff, Alex and Mel, and takes the viewer through the effective treatment of weedy pine trees using the drill and fill method.

Pine trees (Pinus radiata) are not native to Australia, but have been widely planted in parks, gardens, as windbreaks on farms and in commercial plantations. However, they also have the tendency to go wild and spread into native bushland – with detrimental impacts on indigenous flora and fauna. This video demonstrates one approach to controlling those specimens that have gone feral.

Watching the video will be useful for those attending the  Camp Out on the Mount weekend on the 1-2nd April.  The Harcourt Valley Landcare Group will present at the Camp Out and, depending on interest, will be running pine assassin missions on the Mount later in the year.

The film can be found in our weed specific treatment resources page under ‘Pine’. Please watch the video and, while you’re at the Camp Out, register your interest in becoming a pine assassin later in the year!


May 12th 2017 – linking landscapes symposium

Posted on 8 March, 2017 by Connecting Country

The Central Victorian Biolinks Alliance, of which Connecting Country is a part, is holding a symposium on the science and practice of re-establishing ecological connectivity in the landscape. The symposium “From islands to networks: Linking landscapes for conservation at a time of climate change” will be held on Friday May 12th at the Capital Theatre in Bendigo. It will be a chance for leading experts, including Professor Andrew Bennett (La Trobe University & Arthur Rylah Institute), Dr Gary Howling (Great Eastern Ranges), Ary Hoffman (Melbourne University) and conservation practitioners to share the latest knowledge and practical experiences around this important topic.

The day will explore the concept and practicalities of biolinks, addressing topics such as

  • why we need to reconnect the landscape,
  • how to design and structure biolinks and
  • how to set up and deliver them.

Connecting Country will keep you posted on booking details and the full program which are to follow shortly.


An opportunity to be a part of a global conservation initiative: locally!

Posted on 1 March, 2017 by Tanya Loos

BirdLife Australia is looking for people in each of the Key Biodiversity Areas to complete an “Easter health check” for their local area. Connecting Country has invited Euan Moore from BirdLife Victoria to come up to Clydesdale on Saturday the 18th of March to take us through the process for our part of the Bendigo Box Ironbark area.

The KBA boundaries are outlined in blue, and include Muckleford Forest, Rise and Shine Bushland reserve and the Sandon State forest. And a lot of private land too!

As you may know, Connecting Country is an affiliate organisation of BirdLife Australia. And BirdLife Australia is aligned with one of the biggest conservation networks in the world – BirdLife International. BirdLife International has designated hundreds of areas of conservation importance around the world known as Key Biodiversity Areas (KBA).  And we have one here on our very own doorstep – we are part of the Bendigo Box Ironbark area.   Our part of the KBA has been designated especially for the Diamond Firetail and Swift Parrot, and covers both public and private land. Your property could be of international importance! For more information on the KBA and the Easter Health check process click here.

This annual check is about assessing habitat and its threats so anyone with a interest in landscape restoration would be most welcome. In fact, the KBA’s used to be known as IBA’s: Important Bird areas – but they changed the Important Bird to Key Biodiversity to reflect the importance of the areas for the whole ecosystem, not just birds! We encourage you to attend this workshop whether you live in the areas highlighted in the map or would simply like to visit the beautiful bushlands.

  • A Swift Parrot surveys its woodland home, photo by Chris Tzaros.

    When: Saturday, 18 March, 2017

  • Time: 10-2pm with lunch provided
  • Where: Clydesdale Hall, Locarno Rd
  • RSVP is essential for catering purposes to Tanya on or 5472 1594
  • Please wear outdoor appropriate footwear and clothing as we will be going to the nearby Rise and Shine Bushland Reserve for some of the workshop. Click  here for a workshop flyer.

Funding for this workshop has been generously provided by the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust, as part of the Stewards for Woodland birds project. 





2017 Camp Out on the Mount – Celebrate nature!

Posted on 27 February, 2017 by Connecting Country

Connecting Country is thrilled to be coordinating the fourth Camp Out on the Mount on the weekend of  1st –2nd  April 2017 at the Leanganook Camping Ground on Mount Alexander. In the past, this event has attracted a large crowd of volunteers to share in the joys of eradicating weed pine trees. This year the free event will have an exciting array of activities for the whole family.

On the morning of Saturday 1st April 2017 you are invited to set up your camp site ahead of a Welcome to Country by a local Dja Dja Wurrung elder. There will be children’s environmental and Aboriginal cultural educational activities and a live animal display for the kids, while a small group of ‘pine assassins’ do further weed pine tree control on the Mount.

In the afternoon, campers can listen to a talk about indigenous culture from local Aboriginal people and enjoy some time exploring the Mount. Ahead of dinner, George Milford from Harcourt Landcare will talk about the history of the Mount. Dinner is BYO or by gold coin donation for the Harcourt Lion’s Club BBQ.  Parks Victoria will lead a night walk ahead of zipping up tents and watching the stars twinkle as campers settle in for the night. On Sunday morning, Connecting Country’s Tanya Loos will take us on a family bird and nature walk.

“I’m really looking forward to kicking off the school holidays with loads of happy campers and having a fun and informative time together on beautiful Mount Alexander.” our local Landcare facilitator Asha Bannon said recently.

You are welcome to join in for part or all of the Camp Out. Participants need to bring their own camping gear and food (including snacks, breakfast, lunch and dinner). Click here for more information including the program, a list of things to bring, and map.

Numbers are limited so booking is essential. Please click here to book!

For more information see our website or to be involved in the pine assasins mission contact Asha on 5472 1594 or by email:

Lots of happy campers at the 2014 Camp Out on the Mount. Photo Bronwyn Silver

Camp Out on the Mount is proudly supported by Connecting Country, Parks Victoria, Harcourt Valley Landcare Group and Friends of the Box Ironbark Forests. This project has been supported by Connecting Country through funding from the Australian Government.


Saturday 4 March 2017 – Monster meeting land purchase celebration

Posted on 27 February, 2017 by Connecting Country

Connecting Country would like to share an invitation from DEWLP to join Maree Edwards MP, Member for Bendigo West, to celebrate the purchase of land on which the first Monster Meeting occurred in 1851. The site is on traditional Dja Dja Wurrung land and return of this land to the public land estate is culturally significant.

The Monster Meeting of miners, held on 15 December 1851 in Chewton, is believed to be the first mass protest against a government in Australia, predating the Red Ribbon Rebellion and Eureka Stockade. The Monster Meeting was called to protest against an increase in licence fees and following the meeting the proposal was abandoned. The site is nationally significant for its links to the development of Victoria through the discovery of gold and its association with the beginnings of democracy in Victoria.

When: Saturday 4 March 2017 at 11am-1pm
Where: Golden Point Road, Chewton

Please RSVP by the 1st March 2017 or 5430 4685


Friday 24 February 2017 – Bring Back the Banksias workshop

Posted on 16 February, 2017 by Connecting Country

Flowering three year old Banksia

The ‘Bring Back the Banksia’ program is a relatively recent collaboration between many organisations, universities and agencies to conserve and restore the Silver Banksia (Banksia marginata) across Victoria and south-western NSW.  It is a topic of much interest to local ecologists and Landcarers, as there is much evidence to suggest that this was an abundant species in the region prior to European colonisation, but now there is only a few naturally-established plants remaining.  However, many local Landcare groups are now including Silver Banksia in their plantings.  At Connecting Country’s Landcare Forum in 2015, Clare Claydon spoke about the efforts that have been made to restore this species in the Baynton Sidonia area (CLICK HERE to see a video of her talk).

The ‘Bringing Back the Banksias’ team have asked us to spread the word that their next workshop is being held on Friday 24th February in Lake Bolac. The workshop will showcase what has been happening with regards to Silver Banksia research, mapping, genetics and seed orchards over the past few months.

Download their Agenda here

Download their flyer here.

Location: Bush Nursing Centre, 115 Montgomery St, LAKE BOLAC, Victoria
Time: 9am – 3pm
To Book: Martin Driver on 0400 170 957 or

More information on the Bring Back the Banksias program is available here



10 and 11 February 2017 – Castlemaine Field Naturalists AGM with guest speaker and excursion

Posted on 2 February, 2017 by Connecting Country

It’s a new year, and Connecting Country would like to share that the Castlemaine Field Naturalists Club (CFNC) are raring to go! The first event for the year is on the evening of Friday 10th February 2017 with both the Annual General Meeting (AGM) and a special guest speaker – David Cheal.  The title of David’s talk is The role of fire in Box-Ironbark forests.

David Cheal will be presenting at the Castlemaine Field Naturalists 2017 AGM

David Cheal is a botanist with expertise in ecological restoration, landscape ecology and survey methodologies  He has worked at the Arthur Rylah Research Institute on aspects of the ecological impacts of fire in forests, and currently holds the position of Associate Adjunct Professor at Federation University, Ballarat.

David will make a short presentation on aspects of fire impacts in Box-Ironbark forests, and recovery of flora and fauna.  He will then open the meeting to questions and comments from the audience, to extend the discussion in areas of interest to members.  David Cheal has said that there are no “right” or “wrong” answers in this complex area – rather, there are wiser, more thoughtful answers and other answers that may be simple and attractive, but counter productive.

The evening will commence at 7.30pm at the Fellowship Room, which is located behind the Uniting Church on Lyttleton St (next door to the Castlemaine Art Gallery and Museum).  After the brief AGM formalities, David will give his presentation.  Members and visitors are encouraged to attend – and to stay afterwards for a chat during supper.

The excursion on the following day (Saturday 11th February 2017) will be related to the talk – a visit to the forests around the Red, White and Blue Mine in the Muckleford.  CFNC members have been undertaking flora surveys in burnt and unburnt sites at this locality for many years, and this excursion will explore some of these areas and consider their differences.  The excursion will depart at 1.30pm sharp from the U3A Octopus building on Duke St (opposite the Castle Motel) – weather permitting.  Again, members and visitors welcomed and encouraged to attend.  Car-pooling is likely to be available, and don’t forget to bring your afternoon tea.

If you would like to do more reading about fire ecology and management please see Connecting Country’s resources page on Biodiversity and Fire and the Talking Fire website.


Save the date for weeds and rabbits – Wednesday 5th April 2017

Posted on 25 January, 2017 by Connecting Country

Save the date for the Agriculture Victoria Weeds and Rabbits Workshop, which will be held on Wednesday 5th April 2017 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). At the workshop they will review the learnings from systems mapping exercise and deliberate on strategies to support community action and guide future investment in established invasive species in Victoria. Arrangements will be made to cover costs of volunteers.


Agriculture Victoria are seeking to connect with all people involved in blackberry, gorse, serrated tussock or rabbits pest management and invite you to share your story –  private and public land managers, pest controllers, scientists, environmental consultants, farmers, business owners, people from government, industry and not-for-profits, people of diverse ages and backgrounds.

What motivates you to manage blackberry, gorse, serrated tussock or rabbits? What hinders your effort? What are your ideas for community action to manage blackberry, gorse, serrated tussock or rabbits? Got a picture to accompany your story?

Log on here,, it’s easy. Have a go or see what other people are saying.

For more information contact:

Agriculture Victoria Weeds and Rabbits Workshop Organisers
Phone: 1300 792 466


10-11 February 2017 – Local plant and weaving workshop at Guildford Winery

Posted on 19 January, 2017 by Connecting Country

The good folk at the Guildford Winery have asked Connecting Country to share details of their up coming Local Plant Weaving Workshop with Marilyne Nicholls. Marilyne is a renowned master weaver and generational Indigenous weaver, with extensive environmental knowledge about sedges and other plants. She is a member of the Victorian Aboriginal Weaving Collective with a strong Aboriginal traditional kinship connections to Victorian lands and to South Australian lands through her parents.

This two day workshop will explore the symbiotic relationships or biological alliances formed between people, culture, grasses, sedges and different species of birds and insects. Participants will learn how symbiotic relationships are important to Australian weaving traditions and how this in turn promotes wild species biodiversity conservation. Knowledge about local plants and different weaving techniques will be taught by Marilyne.

Details as follows:
When: Friday 10th and Saturday 11th February 2017 – 10am to 4pm
Where: Guildford Vineyard, 6720 Midland Highway, Guildford
Cost: $240 for two days or $120 for one day. This amount is inclusive of plant material, lunch at the Cellar Door, morning/afternoon teas for vegetarians/vegans/yogic.

Numbers are limited, to secure your place, pay full amount or pay deposit for $60 for each day you’d like to attend. The deposit is non refundable.

To book please contact:

Phone:54764457 or Mobile: 0411253506

For more info:


CC events in 2017 – it’s going to be a big one!

Posted on 10 January, 2017 by Connecting Country

Connecting Country runs a dedicated education and engagement program each year. Our program aims to provide a local platform for the sharing of information, practical skills and inspiration with a focus on plant and animal monitoring, environmental management and habitat restoration across the Mount Alexander region. 2017 is no exception.  We already have more than 10 activities planned and are so pleased to be collaborating on these with community members and a variety of partner organisations.

CLICK HERE for more details on activities we currently have planned for 2017.  Some of the highlights will be the Camp Out on the Mount event on the weekend of the 1st-2nd April and look out for the Water in our Landscape workshop series in late April-early May.

Volunteers at the Landcare Camp Out on the Mount

Volunteers at the Landcare Camp Out on the Mount 2014

You can also keep in touch and make contributions and suggestions via our Connecting Country Facebook Page  – do ‘like’ us!

Alternatively, you can also contact me at the Connecting Country office for more information about the Education and Engagement program on 5472-1594 or

I look forward to seeing you at one or more of our events in 2017.

Naomi Raftery
Engagement Coordinator




2017 Autumn Fungus Workshops and Forays with Alison Pouliot

Posted on 9 January, 2017 by Connecting Country

fungiDiscover the curiosities and delights of the fungal kingdom this coming autumn through a variety of seminars, workshops and forays with the wonderful Alison Pouliot. CLICK HERE for the full details of each of the events listed below.  (Note:  These workshops are run by Alison, and are not official Connecting Country events).

SUNDAY 16 APRIL 2017 (EASTER SUNDAY) – TRENTHAM, VIC – Fungi in Focus – Photographic Field Day
MONDAY 17 APRIL 2017 (EASTER MONDAY) – TRENTHAM, VIC – Wild Desires – Fungus Foray in the Wombat Forest
SATURDAY 23 APRIL 2017– GELLIBRAND, VIC – Wild Desires – A Forest Foray in the Otway Forests
TUESDAY 25 APRIL 2017 – GELLIBRAND, VIC – Anzac Day Mushroom Hunt
FRIDAY 28 APRIL 2017 – WOODEND, VIC – A Foray Among the Funguses of Ard Choille Heritage Garden
SATURDAY 29 APRIL 2017 – WOODEND, VIC – A Foray Among the Funguses of Ard Choille Heritage Garden
SUNDAY 30 APRIL 2017 – KYNETON, VIC – Discovering the Fungal Curiosities of Bald Hill Reserve
TUESDAY 2 MAY 2017 – BACCHUS MARSH, VIC  – Photographic Field Day – Fungi in Focus
FRIDAY 5 MAY 2017 – NEERIM SOUTH, VIC – The Fungi – An Introduction to a Curious Kingdom
SATURDAY 13 MAY 2017 – MELBOURNE, VIC – The Fungi – An Introduction to a Curious Kingdom
FRIDAY 9 JUNE 2017 – CRESWICK, VIC – Meeting with Mushrooms – Fungus Identification Workshop and Foray
SATURDAY 10 JUNE 2017 – CRESWICK, VIC – Meeting with Mushrooms – Fungus Identification Workshop and Foray
SUNDAY 11 JUNE 2017 – BARINGHUP, VIC – The Fungi – An Introduction to a Curious Kingdom

For further information and bookings, please contact Alison directly at


Merry Christmas from Connecting Country – our 2016 wrap and our 2017 plans

Posted on 22 December, 2016 by Connecting Country

2016 has been an exciting year for Connecting Country staff and committee of management. We have been busy helping landholders with on-ground works, supporting landcare, monitoring populations of plants and animals and engaging with our community of amazing supporters, members and volunteers. We are all so proud to have had the opportunity to work with the people and environment across the Mount Alexander region to do all of these activities.

In 2016 we focused on raising the profile of woodland birds and growing our partnerships with fellow organisations. This enabled us to work cooperatively with the Friends of Box Ironbark Forests, North Central Catchment Management Authority, Mount Alexander Shire Council, Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation, Parks Victoria, Castlemaine Festival of Gardens, Castlemaine Agricultural Society and of course lots of our local landholders and volunteers. We would like to thank all involved and our project funders over the last twelve months.

We have also been planning for our future and 2017 promises to be as invigorating. We currently have ten projects on the go and look forward to continue rolling them out into the New Year. We are particularly looking forward to the Camp Out on the Mount event, celebrating the achievements of the the Connecting Landscapes program which concludes in June and a workshop series around Water in our Landscape. Watch this space to find out more!

We have created a snapshot from 2016 events and activities in the gallery below, see if you can see you!

PS. Please note our office will be closed from the 24th of December 2016 until the 3rd of January 2016.


The ultimate Christmas gift for a Little Habitat Hero

Posted on 14 December, 2016 by Connecting Country

Connecting Country is very excited that the Little Habitat Heroes fundraising effort has been so successful. We are thrilled to have now raised over $3700! This has inspired these beautiful mums to continue to raise funds for 500 plants to revegetate the former Silkworm Farm on Mount Alexander with a community planting planned in June next year. So, if you’re looking for a Christmas gift with a conscience, please lend your support to this great project by making a donation on your recipient’s behalf and giving them an environmentally friendly hug when you see them next. We really hope you do!

(L-R) The Little Habitat Heroes mums and bubs, Jodi, Ann Ferguson and Krista.

Little Habitat Heroes held a celebratory lunch on Monday the 12th of December 2016 in the Hub garden to give thanks to donors and supporters of the project so far. Recipient babies received a ceramic tree made by local artist Ann Ferguson and an illustration by Trace Balla in recognition of the money raised on their behalf.

Jodi Newcombe spoke about the project and was delighted to share their inspiring story. The group also listened to a beautiful song inspired by the project written by singer/songwriter Eva Popov. You can listen to it here.




15th December 2016 – Monster Meeting of Miners celebration in Chewton

Posted on 12 December, 2016 by Connecting Country


Michael Smith recently walked from Chewton to Canberra to present to the Federal Parliament a bill about war powers in Australia.

The Chewton Domain Society have asked Connecting Country to share news of their annual celebration of the 1851 Monster Meeting of Miners at the original site at Golden Point Rd Chewton on the 15th December 2016. They will tell and sing the story of how the Diggers on the Forest Creek Goldfields set a path to democracy when they stood up to Governor La Trobe’s unfair gold licence fees. At this year’s celebration, author Robyn Annear will deliver a tribute to Connecting Country’s first president, the late Doug Ralph who was also the instigator of the modern celebrations of the Monster Meeting in 1995.

In 2016 there will be two additions to the Monster Meeting celebrations.

Firstly the site at Chewton where 15,000 miners peacefully gathered to defy the government and demand respect for their rights, has now been declared a Site of National Significance in the cultural history of Victoria, and nominated for addition to the Heritage Register.

This recognises that the Monster Meeting was a defining event that united individual gold seekers into a political force that became the Diggers and set a path to popular democracy in Australia. A path that led to miners’ defiance across the Victorian goldfields and culminated, three years later, at the Eureka Stockade.

Secondly, in keeping with the spirit and theme of democracy from the original 1851 meeting, this year the Monster Meeting celebrations will include a guest speaker who will talk about democracy today – in particular the issue of democracy and war.

That speaker is Chewton resident, Michael Smith. Michael recently walked from Chewton to Canberra to present to the Federal Parliament a bill about war powers in Australia. His bill proposes that any decision about whether our country becomes involved in a war should be made by the whole Parliament, not just by the Prime Minister as it is currently.

The MC will be Jan ‘Yarn’ Wositzky who, along with Danny Spooner and Tony Ryan, will be singing songs from the acclaimed Monster Meeting CD, and will pay tribute to one of the songwriters, the late Doug Owen.

CONTACT: For information Pat Healy – 0422 759 661.