Author Archives: fobif

Great lockdown reading 1: Castlemaine in the ‘golden’ age

Looking for something to sharpen up a dull day? Try Marjorie Theobald’s recently released The accidental town: Castlemaine 1851-61. The business of this book is to show how a town and a community emerged from the mad scramble for gold … Continue reading

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Great lockdown reading 2: the dark side of the golden age

The accidental town doesn’t deal directly with the environmental consequences of the gold rush, but the context of environmental destruction is made clear, and the consequences soberly summed up in a sentence like this: ‘The Pennyweight Flat cemetery is a … Continue reading

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Great lockdown reading 3: Castlemaine’s first environmental conflict

One of the heroes in Marjorie Theobald’s narrative is Gold Commissioner Captain John Bull. The author builds on her previous research on one of the problems he faced: ‘As concern for the environment as we understand it today did not … Continue reading

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Oceans of blossom, thousands of questions

The photo below shows fields of Woolly Wattle south of the Wewak Track, east of Porcupine Ridge. The wattle is interesting (and beautiful, of course) for the fact that its blossom can vary from pale yellow to dense lemon colour, … Continue reading

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OK, it’s not a cascade, but it’s the best we can do…

The gouged and eroded gullies of our region are a heritage of the gold rushes, a time when an unknown quantity of topsoil was lost through deforestation and creeks were scoured for gold. There are a few reminders, however, of … Continue reading

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FOBIF goes around, again

FOBIF has made a submission to the inquiry by the Inspector General for Emergency Management [IGEM] into the 2019-20 Victorian fire season. The inquiry is broad, ranging over topics like education, operational responses, evacuation planning, the use of the Australian … Continue reading

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Engaged, again…enraged, again?

Engage Victoria is running another community survey, this time on Loddon Mallee biodiversity. As we’ve suggested before, these ‘public engagement’ exercises can be seen either as praiseworthy efforts to get the public onside, or time wasting exercises whose only result … Continue reading

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The collapse of civilisation–a progress report

Signs: what do they mean? And, especially, what does it mean that a lot of the signs around our parks are pretty decrepit? We posed this question a couple of years ago when we published this photo of a sign … Continue reading

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When the storm passes, what?

There’s increasing discussion about how Australia is going to recover from the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 attack. In this context we think it’s worth thinking about a proposal submitted to the Prime Minister by the Australian Conservation Foundation, … Continue reading

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Looking into the fire disaster

Following the summer’s fire disasters, the Inspector General for Emergency Management is running an enquiry into Victoria’s response to bushfire. Among many other things, the enquiry will  ‘Review … all opportunities and approaches to bushfire preparedness, including different methods of … Continue reading

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