Restoring landscapes across the Mount Alexander Region

Sunday 7th May 2017 – Launch of new interpretive signs along Forest Creek

Posted on 4 May, 2017 by Connecting Country

Connecting Country would like to share that new signs are being installed at the Monster Meeting site, Chinamans Point and Expedition Pass Reservoir to tell the rich story of Forest Creek through the years.

Golden Point Landcare invites you to the launch of this Forest Creek Track Interpretive Signage on Sunday 7 May 2017 at 10.30 am at the junction of Forest and Wattle Creeks at the Monster Meeting site (near the corner Golden Point Road and the Pyrenees Highway).

Please join Golden Point Landcare for morning tea after the launch.

Please RSVP for catering:  0423 900 590  or  0407 977 731


Sunday 30 April 2017 – Launch of the Cactus Control Season

Posted on 26 April, 2017 by Connecting Country

This year’s Cactus Killing season opens on Sunday 30th April 2017. Tarrangower Cactus Control Group and Parks Victoria are organizing this community field day which will kick off the day at 10.30 am in Watersons Road near the corner of Tarrengower School Road. Follow the signs from the Watersons Road turn off on the Bridgewater-Maldon Road.

There will be a special guest to open the season and the usual great sausage sizzle, cuppa and cake. For more information please contact Tony Kane, Treasurer of the Tarrangower Cactus Control Group Inc. on  5475 2973 or visit


Landcare Gathering at The Meeting Place

Posted on 24 April, 2017 by Asha

Gathering at The Meeting Place

Smoke drifted through the last rays of sunlight as people gathered outside at The Meeting Place in Yapeen for a Cultural Awareness Evening on Monday the 3rd of April 2017. Aunty Julie McHale and Kathryn Coff from Nalderun guided the group through a series of learning activities. The figures of Bunjil and Waa made by the Meeting Place children hung over a room packed full of people.

After the smoking ceremony, we had a game of ‘Pacman’ where Aunty Julie tested our  Aboriginal history knowledge. For example, do you know what the question was on the 1967 Referendum?

We were then given a card with a picture and a snippet of an event in Aboriginal history, and we lined them up along the floor in order to make a timeline. A few people selected a card which stood out to them and shared them with the room, ranging from the Dreamtime to the present.

The last activity for the evening focused on the Kulin Nation seasons. We moved down the hall to the classroom and split into two teams. A competition was then underway to see which team could correctly match the most natural events with the correct season – surprisingly not an easy task!

A huge thank you to Aunty Julie and Kath for their hard work and kind sharing, and to Nalderun for inviting us out to the beautiful Meeting Place. It was both a fun and enlightening evening for those who attended.

This event was made possible through the Connecting Landscapes program with support from the Australian Government.


Muckleford Landcare have some great water events coming up!

Posted on 19 April, 2017 by Connecting Country

Muckleford Landcare are continuing the ‘water in our landscape’ theme with two great events covering improving habitat in dams and dealing with erosion. Pencil them into your diary now and check their  website for more details.

Dams to wetlands workshop
Practical half day session on things you can do to improve your dam
Sunday 23rd July 2017, 9.30-12
Morning tea provided

Landscape Restoration Workshop
Looking at simple restoration techniques for erosion and stabilizing banks.
Sunday 20th August 2017, 9.30-11

There are also still a few spots left in the Ecological Thinning on Bush Blocks on Connecting Country’s very popular Water in our Landscape workshops.


April 2017 edition North Central Chat plus Landcare Grants and Report Card

Posted on 19 April, 2017 by Connecting Country

CLICK HERE to view the April 2017 edition of the North Central Chat. This month’s edition features information, Landcare stories and upcoming events.

Landcare Australia’s Sustainable Agriculture Grants 2017 have recently opened. All the information can be found at:

To see our region’s Landcare report card 2015-16 from Tess Grieves, our Regional Landcare Coordinator, CLICK HERE.


Muckleford Forest gets mapped!

Posted on 10 April, 2017 by Connecting Country

In April 2015, after suggestions from Connecting Country, the Castlemaine Information Centre and the Newstead Landcare Group, Jase from Cartography Community Mapping started work on a map of the Muckleford Forest. He has recently completed this map – recognizing that a map is never really “complete”.

Broadly the map area is bounded in the north by the Castlemaine-Maldon Railway, in the south by the Pyrenees Highway, on the west by the Maldon-Newstead Rd and on the east by the east boundary of the public forest land There are some minor tracks yet to be delineated and features to be defined – these adjustments will happen over time. For further information, perusal and PDF files for printing are available when you click here.

Cartography Community Mapping (CCM) offers free mapping services to non-profit organizations such as Landcare groups.  The maps have proved useful for resource management and as support material for reports and grant applications. Other non-profit organizations may have use for maps in “how to get here brochures” or for training purposes. Maps can be provided by CCM in any of the standard graphical file formats (usually PDF) and georeferenced formats. Some of the other local maps that Jase has prepared are available via the CCM Examples page.


2017 Camp-Out – Camping and Connecting with Country

Posted on 6 April, 2017 by Connecting Country

The beautiful Leanganook Campground on Mount Alexander set the scene for the Camp Out on The Mount over the weekend of 1-2 April 2017. Hosted by Connecting Country with Harcourt Valley Landcare and Friends of the Box-Ironbark Forests, over eighty children and adults enjoyed a packed weekend of free environmental and cultural heritage education activities. Check out lots of fun photos at the end of this post!

To start the weekend, Trent Nelson of the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation gave a Welcome to Country and Mount Alexander Shire Counsellor, Bronwen Machin, officially opened the Camp Out by cutting the pine tree ribbon.

A keen team of volunteer ‘Pine Assassins’ then headed down the road to Dog Rocks to treat feral pine trees. Experienced assassins mentored some new apprentices in drilling-and-filling and cutting-and-painting, and together they continued the work done at past Camp Outs controlling pines.

Back at the campground, families took part in engaging activities aimed at increasing understanding about the environment and Aboriginal culture. Parks Victoria ranger, Brendan Smith, ran through the importance of soils and showed how to propagate local indigenous plants, Aunty Julie McHale from Nalderun Aboriginal Services shared  Aboriginal kids games, and Jirrahlinga Koala & Wildlife Sanctuary held kids in awe with their wild animal display.

Ahead of lunch Aunty Julie told the creation story of Bunjil and answered questions about Aboriginal language, stories, and food sources. Everyone then focused on setting up their tents, having a rest in the sun, and soaking in the beautiful place. Later, George Milford from Harcourt Valley Landcare Group did a wonderful job of entertaining adults and children alike with stories about the history of the Mount, both geological and human.

Harcourt Lions Club provided a delicious BBQ dinner and Muckleford Landcarers Beth, Neville, Nioka, Maisy, and Theo prepared damper for all the kids to cook on the communal campfire. A big thank-you to Juliet Walsh and Jenny and Paul Leishman for donating the firewood.

Brendan’s walk along the Great Dividing Trail allowed us to see, hear and smell the bush at night while looking for animals with nocturnal habits. We spotted one or two Brush-tailed Possums and heard a few bats flying overhead.

It was a chilly night for those who camped out, but well worth it for the beautiful sunrise on Sunday morning. Early risers were treated to a bird and nature walk with Connecting Country’s Tanya Loos. They learnt how to be ‘bush detectives’ by sneaking quietly and looking closely, and how to tell your Grey Fantail from a White-eared Honeyeater.

Combining environmental education with on-ground action and an appreciation of the local forests is something the Camp Out has managed to do each year. A small army of volunteers made this event happen and for this great effort we thank everyone who gave up their time and energy to provide an active and informative experience at Leanganook.

Connecting Country is looking forward revisiting the mount on Saturday 17th June 2017 for the Little Habitat Heroes planting day. We hope to see more young families learn about and look after nature on Mount Alexander.

Camp-out on the Mount 2017 was made possible with support from the Australian Government, the Victorian Landcare Initiative, the Harcourt Lions Club, Harcourt Valley Landcare Group, and the Friends of the Box-Ironbark Forest.



Water in our Landscape workshops – registrations now open!

Posted on 28 March, 2017 by Connecting Country

Water can have a powerful impact on our landscape. If we can slow flows and retain water for longer we can improve soil fertility, habitat quality and reduce erosion. How we might achieve this is the theme for Connecting Country’s 2017 ‘Water in our Landscape’ education program. Three workshops will explore habitat creation in dams, ecological thinning, and gully restoration.

The free Friday morning workshops are being held on public and private land in late April and early May. They are likely to be popular with rural landholders, bush block owners, and local Landcarers. Numbers are limited and booking is essential.

Turning your Dam into Habitat – 21st of April 2017
This workshop features local ecologist, Damien Cook, who will discuss the possibilities and practical steps of turning farm dams into habitat. Participants will learn how to reap the benefits of establishing more wetland plants and animals on their properties. For bookings please visit:

Ecological Thinning on Bush Blocks- 5th of May 2017
This workshop is designed for those interested in the benefits, challenges, and approaches to ecological thinning remnant vegetation. Participants will visit a four year old thinning trial in Muckleford and will hear from ecologist, Paul Foreman, and local contractor, David Griffiths, about this fascinating pilot project. For bookings please visit:

Creating Frog ponds and Habitat Corridors – 19th of May 2017
This workshop highlights the approach of the Victoria Gully Group in seeing possibilities and setting priorities for the ecological restoration of the gully. This session is designed to help people to make decisions about land use and habitat creation in low-lying areas. For bookings please visit:

CLICK HERE for more information about the workshops or CLICK HERE to download a copy of the poster.


Nalderun Cultural Awareness Evening

Posted on 20 March, 2017 by Asha

Uncle Rick Nelson, Aunty Julie McHale, and Kath Coff are inviting community members and Landcare groups to The Meeting Place on Monday the 3rd April 2017 to learn about local Aboriginal culture, history, and land management. Hosted by Connecting Country and Nalderun, this will be a unique evening for learning and understanding.

Nalderun is a local service that supports the Aboriginal Community, lead by Aboriginal people, through Castlemaine District Community Health. It is named after a Dja Dja Wurrung word meaning “Altogether”.

  • When: Monday April 3rd 2017 from 5:00pm – 7:00pm
  • Where: The Meeting Place (old Yapeen School site), Yapeen School Lane, Yapeen
  • Bring: a plate of supper to share, drinks will be provided

RSVP to if you would like to attend, or call (03) 5472 1594 and ask for Asha if you have any questions.

Looking out from Dja Dja Wurrung property Yapenya at Connecting Country’s Cultural Awareness Landcare Link-up in Feb 2017


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.


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!


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.


Victorian Landcare and Catchment Management magazine – Summer edition

Posted on 27 February, 2017 by Connecting Country

Connecting Country would like to share Issue 68 of the Victorian Landcare and Catchment Management Magazine, which features way of connecting nature and community. There are useful articles on crowdfunding, blogging for nature, and holding farm and nature walks.

To read this issue of the magazine go to the Victorian Landcare Gateway:


Local Landcare on the Radio

Posted on 16 February, 2017 by Asha

Over the next couple of months some of our valiant local Friends and Landcarers will be guests on 94.9 MainFM’s Hear Say radio program (see schedule below). Tune in between 9:30am and 11:00am on Tuesday mornings to hear their stories. You can also CLICK HERE to visit the MainFM website where you can listen live.

Date Name Group
Tue 28th February Karl Just Castlemaine Landcare
Tue 14th March Bev Phillips Maldon Urban Landcare Group (MULGA)
Tue 28th March Lee Mead Tarrengower Cactus Control Group
Tue 11th April Daryl Colless Barkers Creek Landcare & Wildlife Group
Tue 26th April Greg Waddell Castlemaine Landcare


FTLA Newsletter – October 2016

Posted on 13 October, 2016 by Asha

Susi Johnson from the Farm Tree and Landcare Association (FTLA) recently sent us an email with updates on membership and insurance renewals, as well as information on upcoming events, activities and grant opportunities.  We’ve turned her email into a PDF for our members and Landcare groups who are interested in having a read (CLICK HERE).


October 2016 edition North Central Chat

Posted on 12 October, 2016 by Connecting Country

untitledOur Regional Landcare Coordinator, Tess Grieves sent through a link to the October 2016 edition of the North Central Chat to share. Inside you’ll find plenty of great news stories and courses coming up which may be of interest. CLICK HERE to view the newsletter.

Also see the 30 years of Landcare celebration event invitation HERE for those of you that may not have a copy yet. If you’re joining in the celebrations, please get your RSVP’s in to the North Central CMA: or call (03) 5448 7124


Little Habitat Heroes – proudly supported by Connecting Country

Posted on 11 October, 2016 by Connecting Country

Version 5Connecting Country are very proud to be supporting the Little Habitat Heroes project. The plan is to regenerate a 10 hectare site of the East side of Leanganook (Mt Alexander). The invitation is open for all interested children to participate in the campaign and become ‘little habitat heroes’. By mid-November 2016 they hope to raise enough funds to order seedlings that will propagate in time for a planting day in winter 2017

This project was born by a group of new mums who met at a Mothers Group in Castlemaine in early 2016. They shared an dream to create something unique for their babies’ first birthdays and wanted to contribute to the restoration of the local environment and give their children the gift of a personal connection with nature.

Visit:, or their facebook page or donate via Give Now.

The inspiring mums at Little Habitat Heroes are also working with local artists, Harcourt Landcare Group and Parks Victoria to make this great community project happen for our future nature lovers.


Mount Alexander Schools Landcare Days 2016

Posted on 28 September, 2016 by Asha

There were students as far as the eye could see; sorting through macro invertebrates, feeling the soil, looking for birds and building nests. Over three Tuesdays in September 2016, close to 380 Grade 5/6 students from 15 primary schools in the Mount Alexander region attended Connecting Country’s Schools Landcare Days. The idea developed at a Landcare Link-up last year, as a way to engage kids and their families with the environment around them. As all the locals know, we’ve had an amazing amount of wet weather lately, which meant that two out of three of our Schools Landcare Days were held at the Harcourt Leisure Centre, and one at Vaughan Springs on a rare sunny day.


Students learning about different soil types with Brendan Smith

The activities each day were designed to teach students about natural processes and cultural heritage, and to encourage them to think of ways they can apply this knowledge to look after their local area. The wonderful Patrick Wilson from Doxa Youth Camp in Malmsbury came to all of the days, and maintained an infectious energy for aquatic ecosystems and macro invertebrates. Brendan Smith from Parks Victora had students laughing and getting their hands dirty while he talked about the importance of soil structure and health. They also transferred some young grasses into trays for planting out later, which for some students meant ducking out of the warm Leisure Centre and braving the icy wind outside!

On August 30th Jida Gulbil kindly came along and discussed Dja Dja Wurrung culture with students, helped by his beautiful didgeridoo (or, as Jida joked, his “telescope to see the stars”). That day we were also treated to an activity run by students from Chewton Primary School. Supported by Naomi Raftery, Marie Jones, and Julie Holden; Jet, Scout, Max, Amara and Emma ran an activity looking at food webs and thinking about what happens if you take elements out of a food web.


Looking for aquatic macro invertebrates with Patrick Wilson

Our second Schools Landcare Day was held at Vaughan Springs, so Krista Patterson-Majoor was able to take students for a walk in the bush to learn about our local ecosystems and what has influenced the landscape we see today. Colin Lyons from Parks Victoria joined Krista to give his insights into the heritage aspects of the area. Meanwhile, Cathy McCallum and Graeme Harris from Baringhup Landcare were helping students to find and identify some mysterious bird cut-outs that were hidden in some very tricky places. In a quiet spot down the track, Asha Bannon and students were talking about Landcare and drawing soundscapes of what could be heard around them, which included lots of birds, lots of water, and lots of people!

On the last day, we had Aunty Julie and her students from Castlemaine Secondary College: Shakira, Grace, Cohen, Zeppelin, and Bailey. With help from the secondary students, the Grade 5/6s tried to match cards with seasonal events (e.g. “Wedge-tailed Eagles are breeding”) to the correct Dja Dja Wurrung season. This proved to be quite a challenge, but a great way to get everyone thinking. At the end of the day, all of the students had a nest to take home built at Nicole Howie’s birds nest activity. As Nicole said, it’s hard enough to make a nest with your hands, imagine how difficult it must be to make one with your beak while on the look out for predators.

A huge thank you to all of the amazing presenters who came along and gave it their all. The feedback from schools on the activities has all been extremely positive, and it was easy to see how engaged the students were with what they were learning. Thank you also to the teachers for being so supportive, the students for your patience and interest, and the Landcare members who came along to chat with schools and join in. Finally, we thank Nicole Howie for her hard work putting the days together.

The Mount Alexander School Landcare Days were made possible with funding from the North Central Catchment Management Authority Community Grants Program.


50 Years with Kaweka

Posted on 28 September, 2016 by Asha

The Friends of Kaweka Sanctuary invite you to an afternoon tea to celebrate our 50 years with Kaweka.

Kaweka Sanctuary was donated to the people of Castlemaine and in 1966 a public meeting formed a community management group. Come and help celebrate this milestone anniversary. All welcome!

When: Sunday 2nd October 2016, 2pm

Where: Corner of Hargraves and Turner Streets, Castlemaine

RSVP: For catering purposes, please contact Secretary Lyndell Green:
Email: or Phone: 0448 190 444



Saturday 15 Oct 2016 – 30th Anniversary of Landcare Celebration event

Posted on 26 September, 2016 by Connecting Country

invite-image2The North Central CMA Landcare team have asked Connecting Country to extend an invitation to our supporters and local Landcare group members to the ‘30th Anniversary of Landcare Celebration event’ on Saturday October 15 2016 in St Arnaud.

Please find the  event details and RSVP information on the invite here. A hardcopy invitation is also on its way in the mail to each Landcare group contact.