Restoring landscapes across the Mount Alexander Region

BirdLife Castlemaine AGM and Geoff Park presentation – 27 October 2018

Posted on 18 October, 2018 by Tanya Loos

The team at BirdLife Castlemaine invites you all to the inaugural Annual General Meeting of the BirdLife Castlemaine District Branch. This historic occasion includes a presentation by the bird-man of Newstead himself, Mr Geoff Park, and a short guided bird walk.

BirdLife Castlemaine AGM and Geoff Park presentation
Saturday 27 October, 2018 at 2.00 pm
Campbells Creek Community Centre, 45 Elizabeth St, Campbells Creek VIC

Please consider nominating for the committee. The positions vacant are Chair, Secretary, Treasurer and three general committee members. Nomination forms and proxy voting forms can be obtained by emailing or by phoning Judy Hopley (Acting Secretary) on 5472 1156. Nominations will be accepted at the meeting.

A Yellow-tufted Honeyeater in all its golden glory – one of Geoff Park’s stunning photos

Birdlife Castlemaine supplied the following biography of their guest speaker:

Geoff is a Director of Natural Decisions, an organisation with expertise in environmental and natural resource economics, ecology, land and water management, and agricultural science. With such a busy schedule, somehow Geoff manages to play a pivotal role in the Newstead community where he resides. He’s involved in many local projects that make Newstead the vibrant place it is. 

Renowned Australia-wide, Geoff’s blog Natural Newstead website ( is insightful, entertaining and a visual feast. It is a joy to read the daily posts and his photographs alone are stunning.  For those not already subscribed, it is highly recommended. Together with Chris Tzaros, Geoff runs highly sought after photography courses held in spring and autumn. Despite Geoff’s busy calendar he has always been patient and generous in answering bird queries. Should you run into him bird watching, he’ll be the bloke with the big lens who loves a chat about our feathered friends.

Following the AGM, talk and afternoon tea it is proposed to hold a short birdwatching ramble along nearby Campbells Creek.  Thanks to those who have already sent acceptances and apologies.  If you haven’t responded please let us know if you plan to attend.

RSVP via email:

Jane 00448 900 896 or Judy 5472 1156


Habitat restoration projects for 2018-2019 – call for expressions of interest

Posted on 18 October, 2018 by Jacqui

Connecting Country is pleased to invite expressions of interest for our new woodland habitat restoration projects in 2018-2019. We are thrilled to support our growing network of landholders who are interested or perhaps already committed to land management actions that benefit local habitat and the wonderful woodland wildlife it supports. This includes threatened species of the Temperate Woodland Bird Community that have been shown to be in decline in central Victoria, such as Hooden Robin, Jacky Winter and Diamond Firetail.

Understorey planting to restore woodland habitat in 2018. 

The opportunities for assistance have been made possible through our ‘Prickly plants for wildlife on small properties’ project supported by the North Central Catchment Management Authority, and for larger properties, the ‘Remnant rescue: restoring woodland bird habitat in central Victoria‘ project supported by the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.

To be eligible landholders must own land within Mount Alexander region and have a minimum of 1 hectare (2.47 acres) of native vegetation (excluding buildings, dams, gardens, etc.).

For information on how to apply – read on!

Commitment to on-ground actions

The project commitments will include planting of key missing understorey plants to enhance and support your existing native vegetation, along with priority weed control and pest management. Control of weeds and rabbits assists natural regeneration, and helps your plants have the best chance to get established and grow to benefit woodland wildlife on your property.

Eligibility criteria

We’re seeking properties and landholders that meet these criteria:

Hooded Robin pair (male above, female below). Photo by Geoff Park.

  • Location – within Mount Alexander Shire
  • Land tenure – private land owned by the applicant
  • Project area size – minimum of 1 hectare (2.47 acres) of native vegetation, excluding buildings, dams, gardens, etc.
  • Vegetation quality – existing remnant vegetation (native trees, grasses and shrubs), may include land in transition to native species after removal of grazing, but not cleared paddocks
  • Commitment – landholders willing and able to commit to land management actions (e.g., weed and rabbit control, supplementary planting, grazing exclusion, retaining fallen trees)
  • Long-term benefits – Properties and landholders likely to result in long-term improvements in biodiversity and habitat quality for woodland birds and other native species

Site visit process

Landholders who meet the eligibility criteria will receive a site visit to discuss your goals for your property, review habitat values on your property, and provide management advice and a species list.

Selection process for assistance

Following the site visit process, assistance will be allocated to landholders based on current vegetation quality, size of the proposed project area, commitment and capacity for land management actions, location relative to priority restoration areas, and the potential for lasting habitat improvement. Management actions will be tailored to each property, but may include development of a management plan, supplementary planting, weed and rabbit control, grazing exclusion, and retaining leaf litter, standing and fallen trees. In the case of high demand, we may not be able to assist every eligible landholder, but will keep you on file for future projects.

For selected properties, we will supply plants (if applicable to your project) and in-kind support, and then it is over to you!  Planting, watering, pest control and maintenance will be carried out by the landholder. For larger properties, some initial assistance with planting, weed and rabbit control, and grazing exclusion will be available from the Dja Dja Wurrung works crew. It will be up to landholders to manage any contractors required to assist you on your land. Of course we will be on deck for any information or questions as needed.

How to apply

All interested landholders in the Mount Alexander region are encouraged to complete an expression of interest formExpressions of interest close 21 November 2018. To find out more or discuss your eligibility, call Jacqui at Connecting Country on 5472 1594. If you have filled out an expression of interest form in the past 12 months, we have you on file and you don’t need to fill in another form. Simply email to let us know you are still interested and we will be in touch.


Creatures photo exhibition in Castlemaine

Posted on 17 October, 2018 by Frances

Friends of the Box-Ironbark Forests (FOBIF) is holding a ‘Creatures’ photo exhibition. The 24 photos show a small percentage of the many wonderful creatures that inhabit our Box-Ironbark Forests. They were selected from 125 photos submitted by 23 local photographers.

The exhibition runs from 12 October to 29 November 2018 at Togs Place, 58 Lyttleton St, Castlemaine VIC.

Over half of the exhibition photos are of birds and include the critically endangered Swift Parrot, a group of perching Juvenile Scarlet Robins and a Red Wattlebird bathing. The rest show other beautiful local fauna including a macro shot of a Grasshopper Nymph, a watchful Koala and a curious Yellow-footed Antichinus. To see all submitted photos in a FOBIF Flickr album: click here

Friends of the Box-Ironbark Forests has been conducting art and photography exhibitions since 1999. They have all had the same purpose: to honour the native forests of the region, continuing the long tradition of artistic involvement with these forests.

This Creatures exhibition aims to give viewers an appreciation of the amazing variety and unique qualities of fauna to be found in our local bushlands. All photos are for sale with proceeds going to Friends of the Box-Ironbark Forests. More than one copy of each photo is available for sale.

For inquiries please contact Bronwyn Silver on 0448 751 111.