Around the Wewak Track

Last Sunday’s FOBIF excursion was a 5 km loop walk in Wewak Track area at the southern end of the Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park. It was a warm overcast day and fortunately the threatened rain held off. Numerous plant identification stops meant that the pace was leisurely. Highlights were finding the Smooth Parrot-pea and numerous Heath shrubs in flower, seven species of Wattles, and the rare Elphinstone Grevillea.  Jeremy Holland also took us a 100 metres off the track to see ‘Mr Hunts Chimney’ and a nearby extremely deep mine shaft. Lunch was at the Charlie Sanger hut ruin on the Goldfield Track.

Some of the walkers on the Wewak Track near the end of the walk.

Noel Young’s bird list
*Crimson Rosella, *Long-billed Corella, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, White-winged Choughs, Olive-backed Oriole, Grey Shrike-thrush, Fuscous Honeyeater, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, *Pallid Cuckoo, Fantail Cuckoo, Horsefield’s Bronze-cuckoo, *Grey Fantail, Rufous Whistler, White-throated Treecreeper, Spotted Pardalote, *Thornbill sp.
*sighted (otherwise from call recognition)

Thanks to Frances Cincotta and Elaine Bayes, for leading such as fascinating walk. 

Next month’s walk will be and 8 km walk in bushland between Railway Dam and White Gum Track. Leaders will be Bernard Slattery and Jeremy Holland. Check the walk’s page for more detail.

Posted in News, Walks | Leave a comment

It’s not Bambi, it’s not cute–and it’s coming to a place near you

More and more deer sightings are being reported from our region, where they were once reasonably uncommon. A herd of 11 was seen in Muckleford last month, and last weekend 7 were sighted in the Gough’s Range State Forest.

Deer in the Gough’s Range State Forest, September 2019: they’re a danger to traffic, a pest to agriculture and they trash the bush. And there are more and more of them.

Reports are piling up from around the state of the damage done by these feral animals, whose numbers are not being controlled by recreational hunters. The state government has been under pressure from farmers, conservationists and municipalities to deal with the exploding deer population. So far it has delayed making any kind of decisive decision about what to do with the problem. We can only speculate about the reasons for this delay, but the most likely explanation is that the government clings to the notion that the economic benefits of deer hunting and  the political clout of hunters outweigh the damage done by the animals.

As the deer population increases this position is getting dodgier and dodgier.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Carnivale for Climate Action

The Maldon Neighbourhood Centre has asked us to publicise this new Maldon street festival that will take place this Sunday (September 22).

Ditch your car for the day! Maldon goes car free for climate action

Walk, cycle, catch the bus or take the heritage steam train to Maldon on Sunday 22 September to be part of Car-free Carnivale – Maldon’s new street festival to inspire climate action and achieve a safer, healthier and cleaner environment for local communities.

Held to coincide with World Car Free Day, the Carnivale will take over Maldon’s main street from 12pm to 3pm, transforming the heritage shopping and café strip into a car-free thoroughfare of ideas for sustainable living. Innovative exhibitors, children’s activities and live performances will be on offer, as will plenty of local food, with Maldon’s cafes and hotels all open on the day.

Car-free Carnivale is an initiative of Maldon Climate Action Network (CAN), a local group formed this year, working to reduce Maldon’s carbon footprint through community-led action. “We want to inspire the people of Maldon – as well as neighbouring communities – to work together to reduce our carbon emissions so we can create a safer, healthier and cleaner environment for everyone,” says Ali Brookes, member of Maldon CAN.

“It can be as simple as catching the bus for some trips rather than using your car, to using some of the great local services on offer, like the Castlemaine Repair Café to fix your household goods rather than sending them to landfill. It’s about zero carbon, zero waste and infinite hope.”

Maldon CAN is encouraging locals to walk or cycle to the Carnivale, and for those from further afield to catch Castlemaine Bus Lines’ Castlemaine–Maldon bus (Route 4) or use the scenic rail trail, a 17.7km walking and cycling trail linking Castlemaine and Maldon. The Victorian Goldfield’s historic steam train will also be running on the day, providing a return trip for travellers from Castlemaine.

“We’re keen to promote sustainable transport options, especially given transport is Australia’s second largest source of greenhouse gas pollution after electricity,” says Maldon CAN’s Ali Brookes.

Maldon has limited public transport options, giving locals little choice but to predominantly rely on cars for personal transport. Maldon CAN believes governments can and must do more to fund regional public transport services as well as infrastructure to support Australia’s transition to electric cars powered by renewable energy.

In the meantime, locals are leading with initiatives to reduce transport emissions, including Maldon Neighbourhood Centre’s Community Bus, which will launch its new timetable at the Carnivale.

What: Maldon Car-free Carnivale for Climate Action When: Sunday 22 September 2019, 12pm to 3pm Where: Maldon Main Street
More information:

Media enquiries: Melanie Scaife, Maldon Climate Action Network, Mobile 0439 088 458

Continue reading

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Reminder: FOBIF AGM coming up

Jase Haysom, well known local map maker, will be our speaker at the upcoming FOBIF AGM on Monday 9 September.

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

You can find out more here.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Two presentations on The New Nature by TIM LOW

Tim Low

Tim Low, biologist and best-selling author of author of seven books about nature, will be giving 2 talks in central Vic, discussing The New Nature. This intriguing work looks at how modern human activity is changing the lives of many native species –some for better and some for worse. Tim will talk about how animals don’t have any concept of ‘natural’ or ‘unnatural’ so they don’t automatically recoil from cities and farms. Sometimes they can do better in cities than in forests. Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane now have Peregrine Falcons nesting on skyscrapers!

Tim’s presentation will go for 45 minutes then 15 minutes for questions from the audience. This is a rare treat, so make sure you come along to one or other of the talks, and tell your friends. All are welcome. Entry by donation. Tim’s two most recent books will be for sale at both events: Where Song Began and The New Nature.

Friday 6th September at 7.30 pm at Newstead Community Centre, Lyons Street/Pyrenees Hwy, Newstead. Hosted by Newstead Landcare Group and Connecting Country with extra support from FOBIF.

Saturday 7th September at 1.30pm at Glenlyon Shire Hall, Daylesford-Malmsbury Rd Glenlyon. Hosted by Wombat Forestcare.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Rubbish: hang on, this isn’t rubbish…

We’ve almost stopped being surprised by the rubbish people dump in the bush: a complete lounge suite in Kalimna Park! A washing machine in the Columbine Creek catchment! What will the dumpers think of next? And what does that tell us about, er, modern civilisation?

But here’s something new: thirteen white traffic guide posts, most of them in mint condition, in a quiet gully 200 metres from the road in the Fryers Forest. A quick internet search reveals they’re worth $12.32 each!

Roadside traffic posts in mint condition, dumped in the Fryers Forest: a new method of storing equipment?

We’ve asked DELWP whether they’re just being stored there, but haven’t received a response. It seems too far from the road…and it is, after all, a form of visual pollution in an otherwise reasonably untouched place…

We’ll report on any response.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Wood theft continues–and continues to be supported

More evidence of systematic looting of our bushlands: trees cut down and removed from the circuit walk in Kalimna Park.

To put this practice in context, it’s worth considering some of the social media reactions to it. For example, a report on Parks Victoria’s Facebook page about the arrest of a man caught stealing 2 cubic metres of wood from Chiltern provoked 521 comments. Most supported the idea of resisting wood theft, but plenty didn’t. A sample of their comments is below:

Kalimna circuit track, August 20: A tree here, a tree there: systematic pillaging of the bush continues


‘You do absolutely nothing in our area Parks, no weed reduction, no landcare whatsoever. You just cost taxpayers a fortune changing your name all the time.’

‘He was probably going to give the wood to some elderly residents..
Thats ok, they can freeze to death while the fox will find another habitat to breed and take our lambs and lifestyle..’

‘it should be cleaned up if not parks lett the puplic in its only a fire hazed’

‘Probably the same bloke that has cleared many a tree from a rd or track weeks after it has fallen across because parks delwp or whoever they blame, can’t do their job even when reported to clear it. But gets gutted when he collects some fire wood for his family’

‘Bad enough, not allowed to take fire wood for a basic human need, WARMTH . But when did our once great nation become a nation of give ups & dobbers.’

A significant proportion of our community is not convinced by the idea of conservation: Parks faces a very significant challenge in community education to solve this particular problem.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Promoting bad behaviour in the bush

What a great photo! No nonsense about ‘keeping to formed tracks,’ which is the law on Victoria’s public land. This is the latest piece of cowboy propaganda from The Age [24/8], which shares with numerous 4WD ads on TV an obsession with bashing waterways. The article inside, interestingly enough, doesn’t make any reference to driving in rivers. It does refer to ‘slaying deserts’, however, just to keep alive its message: nature is there to be tamed. Well, slain, actually.

Hey ho! Let’s show the environment who’s boss! The Age Drive continues its promotion of bad behaviour in the bush.

Is there a better way of being adventurous? If there is, you won’t find out about it in Drive. And as long as journals like The Age pour out cowboy propaganda, the few people who do drive like cowboys will feel encouraged and authorised to do it.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Views north, south and west

A strong group turned up for FOBIF’s August walk in brisk weather yesterday. They were rewarded with a fine route across high ridges above Expedition Pass, with magnificent views north and south, triangulated by Mounts Alexander, Macedon and Franklin. The rain held off till the last thirty minutes, and a small group which became separated from the cavalcade demonstrated their superior bush skills by beating the rest off the crests.

Our thanks to Barb Guerin and Lionel Jenkin for devising and leading the walk, and negotiating access with several property owners: this is a superb route, but difficult to access through private property; thanks also to Bob and Lesley Northey for use of their property as a starting point, and for guiding us over the ridge at the back of Expedition Pass.

Next month’s walk will be centred on Wewak Track, at the south end of the Diggings Park. Check the program for details.

Posted in News, Walks | Leave a comment

Last photos arrive

Twenty people sent in scores of photos for our recent photo project and entries have now closed. Below is a selection of the photos that arrived in the last week. The quality and variety of contributions has been terrific. The exhibition at Togs opens on 19 September. 

Posted in Photo Exhibitions | Comments Off on Last photos arrive