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.

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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. 

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Final call for photos for TOGS exhibition

The final date to send in photos for our Flickr website and TOGS exhibition is 19 August. You can see the details here and our full Flickr page here.

A selection of photos from our Flickr page for TOGS project.

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Jase Haysom, well known local map maker, will be our speaker at the upcoming FOBIF AGM on 9 September. Jase describes himself as ‘an incidental cartographer’:

I did not consciously decide that I would become a cartographer. It seems that, as a result of obliquely related actions, incremental step by incremental step I nudged myself in that direction. In the talk I’ll briefly look at how these incidental incremental steps occurred. I’ll then briefly discuss the mechanism I use to build a map and the limitations of the process.  If time permits the talk will finish with some personal observations.

You can find out more about Jase’s map making including examples of maps at Cartography Community Mapping (CCM). He offers free mapping services to non-profit organisations such as Landcare groups.  The maps have proved useful for resource management and as support material for reports and grant applications. Other non-profit organisations have used for maps in “how to get here brochures” or for training purposes.

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.

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Mount Alexander: snow!

A dump of snow on Saturday night changed the face of Mount Alexander, and attracted numerous sightseers on Sunday. The snow had essentially retreated by Sunday afternoon.

At the Mount Alexander Summit, Sunday morning: the snow was spectacular, but short lived


Below the summit: granite rocks were dusted with snow, and tree branches weighted down…


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Mount Alexander: on a less poetic note…

On a less poetic note: FOBIF has asked Parks Victoria for the rationale of the extensive vegetation removal along Joseph Young drive on Mount Alexander. Of course, safety is an obvious explanation, but we’re still a bit befuddled as to the logic of the particular removals. The simple fact is that the only way to make this road (or any similar road) safe in violent winds is to remove every tree within thirty metres, which would completely destroy the environment of the area and remove most of the reason for going there. Is the road safer now than it was before the removals? We’re not sure. We’ll let you know when–or if–we find out the criteria for removals.

Trees have been removed along the length of Joseph Young Drive, on Mount Alexander. It’s hard to see why some have been taken and not others…or in fact to understand the rationale at all.

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Fire: an ‘overwhelming preference’?

Community responses have revealed an ‘overwhelming preference’ the third of the three options canvassed in DELWP’s online fire consultation. This option proposes ‘less planned burning across the entire landscape’ than the others. It also aims for fuel management exercises to be conducted ‘in areas where they achieve the best outcome for bushfire risk reduction’.

Map shows the proposed approach to fuel reduction in our region. Red is most severe (seen around Castlemaine and Chewton, for example); aqua is exclusion of burns. More detail can be got from the interactive map–which has Maldon in it!

The community preference is revealed in the latest chapter of DELWP’s Engage Victoria consultation on fire. It can be found here. There’s an interactive map, which clarifies what the proposed strategy might mean on the ground. It shows that fuel reduction would be concentrated heavily around population centres, and that there would be extensive areas where there would be no ‘planned burning’.

The result so far reflects a common sense preference for targeted action on fuel, as opposed to the scorched earth approach pursued under the unlamented five per cent target strategy. In fact, it’s very similar to the recommendations of the Royal Commission Implementation Monitor, Neil Comrie.

DELWP is asking for feedback on the strategy, in the form of a short questionnaire. So far this consultation has concentrated on fuel reduction.  The questionnaire does open discussion on prevention, among other things. Given that nearly 80% of fires are caused by human ignorance, carelessness or arson, it might be about time to take this one on.

We recommend you have a go at the questionnaire. It’s open till August 12–next Monday!

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TOGS show

Noel Young has sent us this beautiful photo of the Castlemaine Spider Orchid for our TOGS photo project.

Photo submissions need to be in by August 19. You can find the guidelines here and you can see the project Flickr album here.

Castlemaine Spider Orchid (Caladenia clavescens) at the Monk, Photo by Noel Young, 28 September 2017

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Another terrific photo for our TOGS show

Damian Kelly has sent us a photo of two young Yellow-footed Antechinus (Antechinus flavipes) peeping out of an old fence post. People might remember Damian’s Antechinus photo (second one) that was very popular in TOGS show last year.

There are still 3 weeks (August 19) to go before the cut off date for photos for our Flickr page and the TOGS show. You can see all our photos for the show here.

 Photo by Damian Kelly, Campbells Creek, 2018.

Damian’s Antechinus photo from last year’s TOGS show.

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First notice for FOBIF 2019 AGM

The 2019 FOBIF Annual General Meeting will be held this year on Monday September 9 at 7.30pm in the Ray Bradfield Room. More details about the program and guest speaker are forthcoming.

Do you want to play a role on the FOBIF committee? Or nominate someone else to the committee? All that’s needed is a piece of paper signed by the nominee, a nominator and a seconder—all FOBIF members. There’s no need of an official form, but for convenience, here’s a sample:

I nominate_________________________________

for the position of____________________________



I accept the above nomination


Positions on the committee are President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and two ordinary members. Nominations should be in before the meeting.

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