Landholders in the area had been involved in various soil conservation schemes before the formation of the landcare group in 1994. Erosion was the main focus of the new group. There were 30 -40 members and quite an air of enthusiasm. Forming a new group had been talked about for some time so interest had been brewing.
We achieved a good balance between old and new landholders as members. During the last thirty years of the twentieth century, since the 1970s, land use had changed again. There were still several viable farms, but wool growing has largely disappeared. Grazing enterprises now produce mainly beef and/or prime lamb but a lot of smaller blocks have developed bringing new landholders to the district. Most have off farm incomes and some have not had previous experience managing land.
Membership numbers have remained constant at around 70 although membership is constantly changing. We see this as a healthy evolution of our group. Executive meetings are held regularly, general meetings are convened intermittently as need dictates- this would average 4 per year.
Focus of Activities
We have been involved in many district projects since the Landcare group began. Co-ordinated action and funding support have been the biggest advantages.
Whilst early issues of the group, for example, rabbits, weeds and erosion are relevant and important to this day, more complex sets of issues and the relationships between them emerged as the group matured. For example, tackling erosion started with strategic use of trees to slow water flows, evolved into an appreciation of managing pastures and grazing pressure to land class, transpiring into an understanding of the complex nature of the biological, physical and chemical components of healthy soils.
Our group is now particularly focused on sustainable agriculture and improving habitat for native fauna and flora in a farming landscape. It has been instrumental in bringing farmers and lifestyle residents together, improving and sharing knowledge and tackling landscape wide issues. The group provided leadership and auspice for important fire recovery projects following the 2009 fires. It has reached out to adjoining areas with a community blackberry program of 180 landholders and managed soil stabilisation and biodiversity improvement works such as nest box building and placement.
A strong sense of stewardship has emerged as members reflect on the tremendous amount of work their efforts have achieved over the years. An appreciation of what’s involved and how long it takes to fully understand and embrace sustainable land & water management has deepened over the life of this group. Our strong commitment to and relationship with the land and each other puts them in good stead for the future.
The Role of the Landcare Group
- Establishing standards
- Improving the environment
- Recognize achievements & acknowledge works carried out
- Promoting viability & efficiency
- Gathering information
- As a group, lead the way together
- Lobby for & promote pest animal & weed control where private & government land managers work co-operatively together
- Be a united voice to express concerns
- Provide a focus point for government agencies (DPI, Parks, CMA etc) as they will not talk to individuals
- Encouragement through peer pressure