Restoring landscapes across the Mount Alexander Region

Sunday 11th September 2016 – Three Landcare Open Day events

Posted on 7 September, 2016 by Connecting Country

Landcare 270

Join in on the fun at one of this weekends Landcare Open Days held across the shire.

Over the next few weekends in September, several local Landcare and Friends groups will be holding public events as part of Connecting Country’s Landcare Open Day. Here are the details of three events to be held this Sunday the 11th September 2016, in Sutton Grange, Chewton, and Maldon .

While everyone is always welcome to attend the regular working bees run by their local groups, these events will be specifically suitable for families and people new to Landcare. For further details on all events, including those to be held the following weekend, visit our landcare webpage. This page will be updated as new events are added. If you have any questions, contact Asha on 5472 1594 or

Sutton Grange Landcare

Sutton Grange pictureWHERE: 893 Coliban Park Road, Sutton Grange
WHEN: Sunday 11th September 2016, 10:30am – 3pm
DESCRIPTION: Tree planting in Sutton Grange
Sutton Grange Landcare Group in conjunction with Connecting Country are participating in the Federal Government 20 million trees program by planting approximately 200 trees at Mike Abramowski’s property. We would like to make this an enjoyable group/family get together and plant a few trees. A BBQ and refreshments will be provided.  If you can provide an hour or more of your time on this day, please RSVP to as soon as possible. Further details will be provided once Sutton Grange Landcare has confirmed numbers.
This project is supported by the 20 Million Trees Programme, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme

Post Office Hill Action Group, Chewton Primary School, Chewton Landcare and, Golden Point Landcare

POHAGWHERE: Railway Street, Chewton (between Hunter Street and the railway line)
WHEN: Sunday 11th September 2016, 1.30 p.m.
DESCRIPTION: Discover the secrets of Chewton’s Post Office Hill
A free fun family orienteering event to celebrate the Landcare Open Day. Join Post Office Hill Action Group, Chewton Primary School, Chewton Landcare and Golden Point Landcare for this event followed by afternoon tea in the school grounds. Information about the groups and their activities, plant giveaways and prizes for the most interesting “discoveries”!! Register on the day at 1.30 p.m. at Chewton Primary School. For more details contact Jennifer Pryce; 0423 900 590 or

Maldon Urban Landcare Group (Mulga) and Nuggetty Landcare Group

Tanya leads a group of keen birdwatchers through the basics of how to watch and ID birds through behaviour, habitat and appearance

Tanya leads a group of keen birdwatchers through the basics of how to watch and ID birds through behaviour, habitat and appearance

WHERE: Meet at the Maldon Cemetery, Maldon-Shelbourne Rd, Maldon
WHEN: Sunday 11th September 2016, 10am to 1pm
DESCRIPTION: Woodland birds and boneseed weed walk and talk
Join Tanya Loos, the Woodland Birds Project Coordinator at Connecting Country, in a walk along Back Cemetery Rd. and onto the area known as ‘The Commons’, observing the habitat for birds, and pulling out small bone seed plants along the way.  BBQ lunch provided. For more details contact Bev Phillips; 0407 770 350 or


Celebrating Mount Alexander Landcare with the Landcare Open Day events

Posted on 29 August, 2016 by Connecting Country

Over the next few weekends in September, several groups will be holding public events for Connecting Country’s Landcare Open Day. While everyone is always welcome to attend the regular working bees run by their local groups, these events will be specifically suitable for families and people new to Landcare.


Archer helping out at a local landcare event in readiness for the upcoming Landcare Open Day events.

Maldon Urban Landcare and Nuggetty Landcare are banding together to run a bird walk with Tanya Loos.  Barkers Creek Landcare & Wildlife Group and Harcourt Valley Landcare Group are holding a flora walk to look for some of the exciting plants that are starting to flower. Golden Point Landcare, Post Office Hill Action Group, and Chewton Landcare are all joining forces for an afternoon of orienteering, and the Tarrengower Cactus Control Group will be holding a community field day where you can learn how to control Wheel Cactus. For more details on these and other Landcare Open Day events, CLICK HERE or contact

Landcare in the Mount Alexander region has been incredibly busy in the past year. Our biannual Landcare Link-ups provide opportunities for landcare members to share stories and experiences.  Two Green Army teams have been working on numerous projects, with a third team just started. Funding through the Federal Government’s 20 Million Trees Programme has created opportunities for four local groups to begin planting 6300 plants.

We are also very excited about the Mount Alexander Schools Landcare Days coming up. Grade five and six students from all local primary schools will attend a day of environmental-based activities at Vaughan Springs, hopefully fostering a new generation of Landcarers.

For more information about Landcare in this region and to find out how you can get involved, visit:



24 July 2016 – Muckleford Landcare History Project

Posted on 20 July, 2016 by Connecting Country

The Muckleford Landcare Group will host a pleasant Sunday afternoon at 2 pm on July 24 2016 at the Muckleford Community Centre for people interested in contributing to a local history project.

There will be two special guest speakers:


Author of Footprints Across the Loddon Plains: a shared history, Paul Haw.

Paul Haw grew up on a family farm fronting the Loddon River at Yando, near Boort. Paul served as a National Servicemen in Vietnam where he almost lost his life. This experience and other factors inspired him to look more closely at the place where he lived, its history and its environment.

The result is an impressive book, Footprints Across the Loddon Plains: a shared history, co-written with Margaret Munro.

Paul will relate how he went about his research and what he learned. It is a fascinating and inspiring story.

Robyn Ballinger is an historian who lives in Maldon. Robyn has published an environmental history of the Victorian northern plains entitled An Inch of Rain: A water history of northern Victoria. Robyn undertakes writing, historical research, teaching, facilitation of community consultation, and preparation of heritage studies and significance assessments.

Robyn will introduce the meeting to the ways in which local history can be pursued and the resources available to the local historian.

There will be an afternoon tea followed by a chat about the particular interests of those attending, how they can be assisted in their endeavours and ways in which their stories can be shared and archived.

Members from other groups are most welcome to join us.

If you wish to attend or know more about the event, text or email Paul Hampton:


Cactus Killing Field Day: Sunday 26th June 2016

Posted on 22 June, 2016 by Connecting Country

The Tarrangower Cactus Control Group’s next Community Field Day will be on Sunday 26th June at a property at the end of Whitlocks Road in Baringhup. The morning’s activities will begin at 10:30am and then end at 12:30pm with an enjoyable BBQ and friendly chat. Click here to view the field day poster.

Directions: If you leave Maldon via South Parkin’s Reef Road, just continue straight along into Whitlocks Rd, and it’s the last property on your right before you get to Cairn Curran Reservoir. This will be well signposted from South Parkins Reef Road.

If you have any queries, please contact Ian on 0412 015 807 or check out their website at

Ian Grenda demonstrating injection technique to some workshop attendees.

This could be you on Sunday! Ian Grenda demonstrating cactus injection techniques.



Grants for gorse

Posted on 22 June, 2016 by Connecting Country


Need some help to remove gorse?

The Victorian Gorse Taskforce (VGT) with the support of the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources is seeking project proposals from community-based organisations. In 2016/2017 the VGT will consider projects under a Small Grants Program, up to $5,000 (GST exclusive).

The VGT will consider funding projects that can demonstrate delivery of the goals of the Victorian Gorse Control Strategy 2014-2019 and a community-led commitment to long term gorse control.

CLICK HERE to view application form and CLICK HERE for the guidelines/eligibility to apply.

Applications open Monday 20 June 2016
Applications close Friday 12 August 2016


June 2016 edition of North Central CMA chat

Posted on 30 May, 2016 by Connecting Country

The June 2016 Chat edition is available for viewing (click here – 5MB).  Regional Landcare Coordinator, Tess Grieves, notes that the highlights this month include an invitation to the North Central Waterwatch 4th Annual Water Science Forum on June 4, an array of fishy news stories and an introduction to Gorse Project officer Jenny Johnson.

Tess also writes “I have also included a note in my intro about the 2016-17 North Central Community Grants program. Our annual grants program is likely to follow previous years’ timeframes, expected to be opened in mid-July 2016 *pending approvals. The 2016-17 program has been revised based on extensive community feedback, so we are currently updating the application forms, guidelines and “Supporting Landcare in North Central Victoria’ survey. It is really important that groups, networks and individuals are ‘project’ ready’, so it’s timely to begin thinking about what your Landcare community might be needing in your region. I look forward to being able to open applications in mid-July.”


Latest news from the FTLA

Posted on 30 May, 2016 by Connecting Country

FTLAOn the 27 May 2016. Susi Johnson from the Farm Tree and Landcare Association (FTLA) sent us a comprehensive email full of information about upcoming events, activities and grants opportunities.  We thought that there was lots within it which would be of interest to our members and local Landcare groups.  As such, we’ve turned her email into a PDF for you viewing (click here).


Friends of Campbells Creek Landcare – Direct Seeding Field Day 17 April 2016

Posted on 13 April, 2016 by Connecting Country

Nearly two years ago, the Friends of Campbells Creek Landcare (FoCC) machine direct-seeded wattles on barren hard ground outside the new Tonks centre in Lewis Drive, Castlemaine.
The ground was so hard and compacted, the hoes just bounced off the surface.  Now some of those seedlings are over three metres tall in spite of the hot and dry seasons since!

On Sunday 17 April 2016 @ 10:00 a.m. their Seeding Field Day will look “at the success from these efforts, and we’ll see and help with direct seeding again in a very different situation, this time in some dry rise country away from the creek.   Because the soil is so poor there, we’ll be sowing much earlier and using very different species.”

There will be:

–   a demonstration of the machinery used with direct sowing
–   an opportunity to help with sowing by hand
–   LATE morning tea provided

FoCC will also be giving away samples of seed if you’d like to try out the techniques later at home.

Meet at 10:00 a.m. in the car park at the end of Lewis Drive, below Tonks (see map).
The morning involves a walk of around 600 m to the new sowing site – they’ll provide transport for those who would find this difficult.

Please bring hats, gloves, enclosed footwear, sturdy clothing suitable for the weather and your own water – FoCC will supply the rest.


Bells Swamp – A jewel of a wetland

Posted on 13 January, 2016 by Connecting Country

The Castlemaine Field Naturalists Club have just moved into their 40th year.  Way back in 1976, their first ever excursion was to Bell’s Swamp – and they’ve made many visits to it since to view its beautiful old Red gums, to record its waterbirds and to study its wetland plants.

A photo of Bells Swamp by Rakali Ecological Consulting. From the front page of the new management plan.

A photo of Bells Swamp by Rakali Ecological Consulting. From the front page of the updated management plan.

This natural ephemeral waterbody just sneaks inside the north-western boundary of the Mount Alexander Shire.  It is intersected by the road between Maldon and Bridgewater – which was an issue in 2010-2011 when the extreme drought-busting rainfall filled the wetlands to over-flowing.  I’ll never forgot the sight of Pink-eared Ducks and Musk Ducks happily paddling back and forth across this road!

The wetland is also highly valued by local Landcare groups. The Mid Loddon Landcare Network – in conjunction with local ecologists Damian Cook and Elaine Bayes – produced a Draft  Management Plan for Bells Swamp in 2010 and have recently updated it to include the information that Damien has continued to collect since the flood in 2011. The plan is a comprehensive guide to its geology and its current vegetation, flora and fauna values.  The plan also identifies the threats to these values and proposes management actions to address them.  Judy Crocker, Landcare Facilitator for the Mid Loddon Landcare Network, says “Bells Swamp is a very important place for the local community, and as such the Landcare Network was keen to develop this management plan.  It’s still in draft form because we consider the plan to be a work-in-progress, and we’ll add in more information as we learn more about the site.  We’d love to receive feedback on this document from the local community, and to receive support to implement the management actions.”.

To read a copy of the draft management plan, follow this link (CLICK HERE).

Chris, Connecting Country.


Drought, Fire and a Riparian Action Plan

Posted on 13 January, 2016 by Connecting Country

In the past week or so, we’ve been made aware of the following three items – which will be of interest to many of you.

Help Shape Drought Support
The Victorian government’s DEDJTR Drought Response Team has set-up on-line forum to help shape drought support. As part of the drought package announced in November, the online forum is providing an opportunity to comment on what other support can be provided to make a difference for those affected by drought.  The forum is live and will remain open until 31 January 2016. They are encouraging people to have a look and also to share with anyone affected by drought.  You can find the forum at:

Fire Recovery Resources
After the fires in Victoria in early 2014, a web page was set up on the Victorian Landcare Gateway for landholders. The intent is for the page to act as a library of fire recovery information, which can be added to as more resources become available. It includes a range of practical information on land management issues that land holders may confront after fire. Well worth a look!

Regional Riparian Action Plan
In December 2015, a five-year Regional Riparian Action Plan was launched by the Victorian Minister for Environment, Climate Change, and Water. You can find a summary by following this link ( or download a copy here (CLICK HERE).   The plan involves on ground works to improve the health of land that runs along river banks and wetlands. This includes fencing to manage stock, revegetation programs, weed management and construction of off-stream watering systems.


Missed the 2015 Landcare Forum? See It Here

Posted on 24 November, 2015 by Connecting Country

combinedThe Mount Alexander Landcare Forum took place back in June this year, but it’s not too late to benefit from hearing what the presenters had to say (and sing) on the day.

Local videographer Jim Coad (Starfish Video) filmed each presenter at the forum and these have now been made available online via ‘Vimeo’. There are four videos from the Forum, covering the topics:

Each video goes for 30 – 40 minutes so you might not want to sit and watch them through. I would suggest turning up the volume and having a listen while you do the ironing  – or something like that!

Click on the titles of the videos in the text above to view them on Vimeo.

A big thank you to Jim for his filming and editing, and to the North Central CMA for making the Forum possible.









Geology of a Special Place – 14 November 2015

Posted on 7 November, 2015 by Connecting Country

Did you know that one side of the Muckleford Valley is older than the other side? And that the reason is a geological fault line running right through it? Have you ever seen the MucklIMGP1688eford Gorge, where the creek carves a ravine between the a basalt plateau and an upturned Ordovician seabed?

Muckleford is a place of special geological interest and the Muckleford Catchment Landcare group would like to take you on a guided tour with expert geologist Brian Cuffley to explore its unique land forms. Brian will use his special expertise to impart a deeper understanding of the place where we live.

Brian has worked as a mineral exploration geologist in various parts of Australia and overseas. He has also worked for the State Rivers and Water Supply Commission and the Soil Conservation Authority. He studied Environmental Management at LaTrobe University where the subject of his thesis was dryland salinity.

The tour will travel the valley, starting at Mount Gaspard in the north, taking in Chinaman’s Creek valley and conclude at Muckleford Gorge in the south.  Participants will be provided with explanatory maps to take home.

A couple of short walks are involved so it is advisable to wear solid shoes/boots, maybe sock protectors and of course bring a hat and water.

When: Saturday, November 14, 2015
1.30pm – 4 pm.
Muckleford Community Centre, Muckleford-Walmer Road (south of the Castlemaine-Maldon Road).
Paul Hampton on 0408 566 909 or go to

Places are very limited so please let Paul know if you are attending. Click here to download a flyer.

The Muckleford Catchment Landcare will be conducting its AGM prior to the bus tour at 11.30am, followed by lunch. All interested community members are welcome to attend.




Know your weeds and what to do with them!

Posted on 2 November, 2015 by Connecting Country

David Cameron stresses that proper identification of weeds is essential

David Cameron stresses that proper identification of weeds is essential

Did you know that there are at least 3 distinct species of Blackberry found in our area? Each of these have a different physiology and hence may require a different type of control. The importance of proper identification of weeds when deciding on appropriate management actions was stressed by DELWP Senior Botanist, David Cameron, at our “Back from the Brink” weeds workshop on Sunday 25 October 2015.

Alongside David, local contractor Matt McEachran, and Landcarers Frances Cincotta and Maurie Dynon shared their considerable wisdom and practical experience to help participants learn to identify weeds and the most appropriate techniques to managing them, from herbicide use to re-vegetation with native plants.

To find out more about the workshop session or to access some of the useful resources that were provided, please click here.

This workshop concludes our 2015 education program. If you missed out, summaries and resources from all sessions are provided in our education pages. Planning for the 2016 program is now underway – feel free to contact Krista on 5472 1594 or to offer your suggestions or to find out more.

The 2015 workshop program was supported by Connecting Country through funding from the Australian and Victorian governments.


October 2015 edition of North Central Chat

Posted on 30 October, 2015 by Connecting Country

The latest issue of the NCCMA’s newsletter, the North Central Chat, is now available for download (click here).

It contains stories of events that have taken place across the North Central region during October including the official launch of the North Waterwatch Program’s – River Detectives Website, the National Landcare Programmes – Sub Soil Manuring Field Day at Kamarooka and the Yates Junior Landcare Awards; plus a story about European Wasp control.  It also outlines some events coming up in November: The Cohuna Catch-a-Carp Day, the Agreed Level Taxonomy Waterbug Workshops, the annual Chicks in the Sticks event and a Rabbit Control Field Day hosted by the Metcalfe Landcare Group.


Needle Grass & the Damage Done

Posted on 12 October, 2015 by Connecting Country

Chilean Needle Grass, Texas Needle Grass and their close relative Serrated Tussock will be the focus of an information session at the Barfold Hall on Saturday 17th October 2015.

Needle Grass

This photo from New Zealand shows how serious some farmers are about keeping Needle Grass out of their property. From

The session’s focus on identification and control methods will be extremely helpful for landholders wishing to protect their property from invasion by these plants, and for those who already have a problem and would like to know what their control options are.

The session will be presented by Martin Deering, biosecurity officer for Loddon Mallee Region.

Texas Needle Grass is fairly widespread in the upper Campaspe River catchment, between Kyneton and Lake Eppalock. In some places whole paddocks have been made unusable for grazing by an invasion of this perennial tussock-forming grass.

Chilean Needle Grass and Serrated Tussock are not well-established in the region but have the potential to be a serious threat to agriculture and the environment across the Mount Alexander Shire.

One of the big challenges for land managers concerned about Needle Grass is identifying the plant. Needle Grasses can look almost identical to native Spear Grasses, and as with many grasses, they are difficult to identify when not in flower.

Spring is the best time to take a look at what’s growing on your property or roadside to find out whether that mystery plant is a friend or foe.

The session will take place on Saturday 17th October, from 10.30 am at Barfold Hall, 1909 Kyneton-Redesdale Rd, Barfold. All are welcome and there is no need to RSVP.

This event is part of the Campaspe Valley Landcare Group’s ‘Stopping Stipoids in The Upper Campaspe’ project, funded by a Victorian Landcare Grant from the North Central Catchment Management Authority.




Camp on The Mount – Landcare Style!

Posted on 6 October, 2015 by Connecting Country


Click image to download flyer.

Camping experiences come in many styles…

There’s summer holiday camping, normally with about 200 other people and ice-cream shop nearby; hiking camping, in a tiny tent made of material developed by NASA; camping at a music festival, which isn’t really camping at all except that you sleep in a tent to avoid getting stepped on; camping in your relatives backyard at Christmas, because there aren’t enough bedrooms in the house; and ‘glamping’, where someone else pitches your tent, cooks your food and puts some champagne on ice while you’re doing a guided tour.

But none of them are quite like the experience of camping on Mount Alexander at the end of an afternoon spent attacking invasive pine trees with your friends and family!

Camping is strictly optional for those who would like to come to the Landcare Camp Out on The Mount on Saturday 17th October 2015, but for those that do stay over it’s a great way to end the day and take a break from life at the bottom of the hill.

Last year’s Camp Out was a huge success with over 150 people attending the big working bee to remove invasive pine trees from Mount Alexander. One of the great things about the day was how many families came along – and the kids didn’t hold back.

This year’s Camp Out will include the regular activities of a big ‘pine purge’ working bee, BBQ dinner, wildlife spotlighting walk with a Parks Victoria Ranger and Campfire Dessert.

Everyone is welcome to attend this years Camp Out. If you’d like to be part of it, register your attendance with local Landcare facilitator Max Schlachter on 5472 1594 or

And camping really is optional if you’d prefer to head home on Saturday evening!

The Camp Out is a project of Harcourt Valley Landcare Group and is supported by Parks Victoria and Connecting Country. It is organised by a group of volunteers from Harcourt and surrounding areas.



16 Sept 2015 – Rabbit-buster Roadshow

Posted on 11 September, 2015 by Connecting Country

The Rabbit-buster Roadshow is moving across north-central Victoria, with the nearest event to the Mount Alexander Shire occurring on the evening of Wednesday 16 Sept at the Belvoir Park Golf Club in Ravenswood.  This event is being hosted by North Central CMA, who are pleased to bring Dr Tarnya Cox (Invasive Animals CRC) back to the region to present at this information session.

Information sessions will cover:
– Invasive Animals CRC Boost project (pathogenic calicivirus)
– Integrated rabbit management
– Landholder participation in the Boost project
– Case studies from local Landcare groups
– Where to next — the future release of a new strain of RHDV
– Rabbit Buster Month campaign.

For further information, see the attached flyer (CLICK HERE).

To RSVP to the North Central CMA (for catering purposes) – either call (03) 5448-7124  or email


Have your say: Landcare in Victoria

Posted on 4 September, 2015 by Connecting Country

You may have already heard about the review of the Victorian Landcare Program happening currently, as announced by the Victorian Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water Lisa Neville. Community input into the review is encouraged via an online survey available at

The Victorian Landcare Program includes:

  • Victorian Landcare Grants delivered by each CMA,
  • Regional Landcare Coordinators based in each CMA and state-wide support team,
  • Aboriginal Landcare Facilitator,
  • Victorian Landcare Gateway website,
  • Victorian Landcare & Catchment Management Magazine,
  • Victorian Landcare Awards
  • Victorian Landcare Facilitators (68 facilitator positions – one of which Connecting Country has hosted for the Mount Alexander Region since early 2012 (Max Schlachter’s role))

The input provided during the consultation will be used to inform recommendations for the Victorian Government’s support for Landcare into the future. This is your opportunity to contribute, and any decisions made will only be as good as the information we provide! So don’t forget to write comments if you think the survey doesn’t ask all the questions you want to answer!

  • If you value Landcare …
  • If you believe Landcare contributes to your community and your local landscape …
  • If there are aspects of the Landcare program you want to keep …
  • Or if you think there should be changes …
  • If you are or have been involved in Landcare …
  • If you have an opinion about the future of Landcare  …
    Have your say!


30 Aug 2015 – Wheel Cactus Injecting Day

Posted on 25 August, 2015 by Connecting Country

Tony Kane from the Tarrangower Cactus Control Group has let us know that they are holding their monthly working bee on Sunday 30th August at a property on the extension of Tarrengower School Road off Watersons Road.  Follow the signs from the corner of the Maldon-Bridgewater Road and Watersons Road, on the north-western side of Maldon.   CLICK HERE for more information from their flyer.

It starts at 10.30 am, and finishes with a BBQ and drinks at lunchtime.  Everyone is welcome to join in the control of this noxious pest.  Instructions and equipment provided on the day.


Celebrating a 10th Anniversary in the grasslands of northern Victoria

Posted on 17 August, 2015 by Connecting Country

The good people of the Northern Plains Conservation Management Network are celebrating their 10th anniversary.  With guest speakers, a visit to a specially protected Grassy Ecosystem on private property and a catered morning tea and lunch, they’ve invited us all to join the milestone festivities.

The Northern Plains CMN is located in the central part of the north of Victoria.  It was established in 2005 with the aim to bring together all those involved with and interested in the management and conservation of grasslands and grassy woodlands in the north central area.

Their special event is being held on Friday 4th September 2015, from 10.30am to 3.30pm, in Terrick Terrick East.  Further information is available in this flyer (click here).

To attend the event, an RSVP to the North Central CMA is essential (by 5 pm Tuesday 1 September on 03 5448 7124 or email