Tidy Towns 2014

AWARD LEVEL: WINNER

APPLICANT: BEECHWORTH

PROJECT SUMMARY

Located in the north-east of Victoria Beechworth is surrounded by trees, parklands and historical buildings making it a popular tourist destination. Beechworth evolved from the gold rush and many historical artifacts from the region are on show its 150 year old Burke Museum.

The town’s community prides itself on being environmentally pro-active and is supported by hard working community groups who undertake individual and community-driven initiatives. This year projects included a comprehensive guide to encourage consumers to source fresh food from local growers, and habitat protection to ensure that Beechworth remains unspoiled for future generations. Beechworth boasts the highest density of rooftop solar panel installation in Victoria and is set to embark upon the Indigo Shire’s community energy generation project. From 1926 until 1946 Beechworth’s energy was powered by the Crossley Engine Plant which was recently refurbished and rehoused by members of the Old Cranks Moto Club and Rotary. This project is an entrant in this year’s awards.

The town’s schools are engaged in environmental management both within their schools and by assisting community groups. St Joseph’s Primary School has been working with North East Catchment Management Authority to create a frog bog at the school. This will be an outdoor learning space that will also increase bugs in the Beechworth ecosystem.

Entrants in the award’s Young Leaders category are the Youth Health Crew who share health and wellbeing information with the youth of Beechworth. Members of the group are undergoing training in first aid, youth mental health first aid, prevention of alcohol and risk taking behaviour, sexual health and peer support so that they can help and support their friends and those in need.

Several community groups run programs to reuse items that would previously have been sent to recycling or waste. The Quercus Community Bookshop is a social enterprise run by the Beechworth Neighbourhood Centre to redistribute books donated by the community. In their daily endeavours to recycle, the Tidy Towns committee created a blanket out of the old Beechworth Visitor Information Centre vests after a new uniform was introduced. Each vest was deconstructed – zips went to the op-shop for reuse and the material from the vests was made into a warm blanket for the centre.

Beechworth’s community is committed to increasing sustainable practices that protect and enhance. This makes them the 2014 KABV Tidy Town – Sustainable Community.

CATEGORY: DAME PHYSLLIS FROST AWARD

AWARD LEVEL: WINNER

APPLICANT: AUDREY HURST

PROJECT SUMMARY:

Audrey Hurst has been a stalwart in Dimboola, probably for more years than she would like to recall!

Audrey has been actively involved in community work through the Lions Club of Dimboola where she has held numerous committee positions including a year as the District Chair and participates in the Good Friday Royal Children’s Hospital Appeal, Driver Reviver stop and numerous other Lions projects in and around Dimboola. She is also on the Dimboola Town Committee where she has acted as treasurer.

Audrey has organised and submitted the Tidy Towns entries since 2000 through the ever changing formats, freely giving her time talking to community groups and schools convincing them that their entry is well worthy of recognition and will benefit the town. The KABV judges have enjoyed Audrey’s tours around the projects spruiking the achievements of Dimboola at every opportunity. Once judged, Audrey arranged the Tidy Towns Regional Presentations for entrants and finalists in the awards and has travelled the state representing Dimboola at the annual Tidy Towns awards celebrations.

Audrey has been a long time employee and contributor to the Dimboola Banner, retiring after 15 years of service in 2010. She has returned as a volunteer news contributor ensuring the community activities in Dimboola are acknowledged.

Audrey was named the Dimboola Town Committee’s Australia Day Volunteer of the Year in 2013.

In her spare time Audrey is a fitness fanatic who can be regularly found at the Dimboola gymnasium and has regularly completed marathons and walks to raise money for charity.

Tidy Towns has been a huge part Audrey’s life and we are proud to name her as this year’s Dame Phyllis Frost winner.

CATEGORY: ACTIVE SCHOOLS

AWARD LEVEL: WINNER

APPLICANT: MYHRREE PRIMARY SCHOOL

PROJECT SUMMARY: MAKING DAYS

Myrrhee Primary School encourages the local community to get involved with the school to promote sustainability and learning. Located high in the hills, this isolated and beautiful school boasts 14 students. Thursdays are dedicated to Making Day, when students negotiate with staff, parents and the local community to select a project. Students write plans and approach community members to become involved and help them. Projects have included welding art sculptures from scrap steel selected by students from local scrap metal yards, using local timbers to create fine pieces of furniture with help from a local craftsman, and making delicate bowls and jugs with assistance from the local potter. Students raised money by holding an annual dinner and auction where they sell their craft items.

A special treat is the lunchtime pizza made by year 6 students in the school’s pizza oven, using mainly school-grown vegetables from the kitchen garden hydroponic hothouse. The garden is supported by an aquaponics installation that uses fish to clean the water.

AWARD LEVEL: HIGHLY COMMENDED

APPLICANT: MILDURA WEST PRIMARY SCHOOL

PROJECT SUMMARY: ENVIROTEAMS = SUSTAINABLE ACTIONS

Mildura West Primary School forms a series of Enviro teams annually, including Sustainability Ambassadors, Environmental Leaders, Student Representative Council and the Enviro Team. The Environmental Leaders are mentored by older students to support sustainable actions throughout the school and community. Sustainable actions include planting trees, reducing litter and caring for wildlife.

AWARD LEVEL: HIGHLY COMMENDED

APPLICANT: ST JOSEPH’S CATHOLIC PRIMARY SCHOOL BEECHWORTH

PROJECT SUMMARY: BE ACTIVE IN CARING FOR THE ENVIRONMENT

St Joseph’s primary developed a Strategic Environmental Management Plan to guide the future of the school. A projects completed as part of the plan include installation of five water tanks and solar panels, waste-recycling, re-using and composting, building a chicken shed, introduction of a produce table for vegetable swaps and a sustainability electives program. St Joseph’s is a participant in the Resource Smart Schools initiative.

CATEGORY: CLEAN BEACH WATERWAYS

AWARD LEVEL: WINNER

APPLICANT: LAKE SAMBELL MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE AND INDIGO SHIRE

PROJECT SUMMARY: LAKE SAMBELL BIRD HIDE PROJECT

850 seedlings were planted as part of a project undertaken in July 2013 to regenerate Lake Sambell’s beautiful Emma George garden that had been destroyed by nine years of drought. In August 2014 a further 440 seedlings, purchased with the assistance of Indigo Shire Council, will be planted. The replanted garden has transformed Lake Sambell reserve into a haven for birds. Recent bird sighting have included up to eighty resident bird species includes waterbirds, and many migratory bird species.

Three identification and conservation storyboards for the bird hide help visitors identify the birds and their conservation status with guide symbols to provide food source and habitat information. It was decided it was also time to refurbish the bird hide. The installation of the storyboards was conducted as part of a bird hide refurbishment and planting project undertaken by the Lake Sambell Management Committee with support of community volunteers, Beechworth Prison outdoor gang and Jenny Pena from Indigo Shire Council who designed the art work for all three large storyboards.

AWARD LEVEL: HIGHLY COMMENDED

APPLICANT: COHUNA NEIGHBOURHOOD HOUSE, GANNAWARRA SHIRE, FRIENDS OF GILRULE PARK

PROJECT SUMMARY: GILRULE PARK

Over 2000 volunteer hours have contributed to the transformation of Gilrule Park, near the centre of Cohuna, from a neglected area of land to a peaceful little piece of bushland in the middle of town. Volunteers have cleared the park of weeds and invasive species, and planted 1200 indigenous shrubs and trees.

CATEGORY: COMMUNITY ACTION OVER 3000

AWARD LEVEL: WINNER

APPLICANT: WANGARATTA SUSTAINABILITY NETWORK

PROJECT SUMMARY: ‘LETS GO FISHIN’’ CARP MUSTER

Following the 2010 floods, Wangaratta’s One and Three Mile creeks were overtaken by carp – an invasive species. Wangaratta Sustainability Network has since worked with Landcare, schools and community groups to reduce this pest, and in 2012 and 2013 400 competitors took part in “Let’s Go Fishin” Carp Muster days. Participants from Wodonga, Indigo and the Wangaratta shires fished European carp from the creeks that wind through Wangaratta. The Carp Musters formed part of an awareness program highlighting the problem of alien fish in waterways and attendees were educated on using sustainable practices when disposing of the carp. Messages were reinforced by guest speakers and displays showing the effect of carp on native fish. The community was informed that carp shouldn’t just be left on the bank, and that they can be eaten with a little thoughtful preparation or can be simply recycled into liquid fertilizer.

CATEGORY: COMMUNITY ACTION UNDER 3000

AWARD LEVEL: WINNER

APPLICANT: RUTHERGLEN HISTORICAL SOCIETY

PROJECT SUMMARY: EVERY PICTURE TELLS A STORY

The community of Rutherglen, schools, past pupils and the historical society created a photographic display of the early life and times of St Mary’s Primary School and Mt Carmel Secondary School. Information and photos were sourced from the Rutherglen community, archives of the Presentation Sisters in Gardenvale as well as archives from the Sandhurst diocese.

The photos include the first group of nuns who came to Rutherglen Mount Carmel convent in 1901, day students and boarders, the building of the second convent in 1924, and St Mary’s church that was burnt down in 1961 followed by the building of the new church and its opening. Each of the small crumpled photos were cleaned and scanned with the final three hundred photos professionally enlarged and arranged on mats. Names of people or events were included on the photos ready for public display. The opening of the show drew a crowd and the Rutherglen Historical Society will ensure this archive remains in safe hands.

CATEGORY: COMMUNITY GOVERNMENT PARTNERSHIP

AWARD LEVEL: WINNER

APPLICANT: HORSHAM GOLF MEMBERS AND HORSHAM RURAL CITY COUNCIL

PROJECT SUMMARY: HORSHAM GOLF CLUB

Horsham Golf Club was a victim of the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires. The club was devastated losing its clubhouse, maintenance sheds and equipment as well as flora and fauna. The intense fire sterilised the soil necessitating a great deal of work to re-establish plants. Since then, many local organisations and individuals have banded together to rehabilitate the site. Club members collaborated with Horsham Rural Council to apply for grants for the rehabilitation works from federal, state and bush fire relief sources in excess of $1,450,000.

The volunteer Board members have been incredibly supported by people who joined the 15 sub-committees currently in operation plus many other volunteers. The newly built clubhouse compliments the prestigious golf course currently ranked 9th best public course in Victoria. Every accomplishment starts with the decision “I’ll try”. Horsham’s achievements to date will determine tomorrow’s success.

AWARD LEVEL: HIGHLY COMMENDED

APPLICANT: SUNRAYSIA SUSTAINABILITY NETWORK AND THE MILDURA RURAL CITY COUNCIL

PROJECT SUMMARY: THE MILDURA ECO VILLAGE

The Mildura Eco Village is part of a multi stage community project providing community sustainability and environmental education. The community project was developed in partnership between the Sunraysia Sustainability Network community group which comprises over 80 members and the Mildura Rural City Council. Other organisations involved in the project include SuniTAFE Mildura, the Mildura Christie Centre and the Mildura regional waste management group.

CATEGORY: CULTURAL HERITAGE

AWARD LEVEL: WINNER

APPLICANT: WYCHEPROOF HISTORICAL SOCIETY

PROJECT SUMMARY: MT WYCHEPROOF MUSEUM

When Wycheproof Primary School relocated, the vacant 1957 built school was retained due to its historical value to community. Supported by school principal Christine McKersie, Wycheproof Historical Society took custodianship of the old school building to create the Mt Wycheproof Community Museum. Avid collector and owner of the Willandra private museum, Mick Giddings, kindly donated much of his large collection of artefacts and Wycheproof memorabilia. Wycheproof Historical Society and a team of volunteers worked for months to transform and preserve the almost derelict building.

Museum Victoria’s community consultant Euan McGillivray advised the group and volunteers on preservation and display techniques to create static displays preserved for visitors and residents. A combined celebration was organised to preview Mt Wycheproof Community Museum and celebrate the 120th year of the school. Over 500 people attended the event.

Not only is the historical building now preserved but it provides visitors an insight into the community’s history.

AWARD LEVEL: HIGHLY COMMENDED

APPLICANT: RACHAEL CROUCHER & WHITLANDS PLANNING GROUP

PROJECT SUMMARY: SETTLEMENT OF A VICTORIAN TABLELAND

The Whitlands Progress Association is almost one hundred years old and was originally initiated to develop a community in hard and isolated times. With only 33 residents, Whitlands is a small community but one with a fascinating history of early settlers and English migrants. The Association has recorded this valuable history including that of the Post Office, school, community groups, farming life, religion and importantly, Whitland’s families, in a book titled ‘Settlement of a Victorian Tableland : The History of Whitland’s, its People and their Memories’.

CATEGORY: ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY

AWARD LEVEL: WINNER

APPLICANT: SUNRAYSIA SUSTAINABILITY NETWORK AND THE MILDURA RURAL CITY COUNCIL

PROJECT SUMMARY: THE MILDURA ECO VILLAGE

After three years of community consultation the Mildura Eco Village – one component of an 11 acre multi-stage community precinct project- is now complete. The community precinct includes a sustainably built education centre which serves as the administration area and a teaching hub delivering sustainability and environment programs to local primary schools and the community. The Eco Village demonstration sites include Photovoltaics monitoring and a solar distillation park there are also community gardens. The centre provides opportunities for hands-on education encouraging visitors to live and work sustainably while developing strong regional networks. The Eco Village is a well-designed space for the community to come together to share ideas.

The Mildura Eco Village is the product of a partnership between the Sunraysia Sustainability Network community group which comprises over 80 members and the Mildura Rural City Council. Other organisations involved in the project include SuniTAFE Mildura, the Mildura Christie Centre and the Mildura regional waste management group.

AWARD LEVEL: HIGHLY COMMENDED

APPLICANT: BEECHWORTH URBAN LANDCARE AND SUSTAINABILITY GROUP

PROJECT SUMMARY: PATCH TO PATCH PEDAL DAY

On this special day, nine of Beechworth’s best backyard fruit and vegetable gardens were on display. Visitors rode their bikes along a special route to visit the gardens. The town’s old train station was used to host a food growing festival with a pop up café selling local produce, seedlings, a pop up vegetable garden display and a Landcare marquee distributing food growing show bags.

CATEGORY: LITTER PREVENTION

AWARD LEVEL: WINNER

APPLICANT: BARWON REGIONAL WASTE MANAGEMENT GROUP

PROJECT SUMMARY: A CLEANER COAST, GEELONG AND OTWAYS IS IN YOUR HANDS

BRWMG’s Litter Prevention Taskforce developed a campaign based on the Victorian Litter Action Alliance Roadside Litter Prevention Kit’s best practice approach to litter prevention. The campaign targeted the Great Ocean Road, the Otways, and Geelong city with the tagline “A Cleaner Coast, Geelong or Otways is in your hands – stop litter where it starts – report litterers” which calls on the community to report litterers using mobile devices.

A partnership was developed with local businesses and fast food outlets to displayed campaign posters in drive throughs and windows, outdoor banners and bin stickers promoting the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Victoria’s litter report website. Billboards were displayed on major roadsides, visitor information centres, caravan parks and at community events. Volunteers conducted roadside audits, and Department of Justice corrections teams and Adopt a Roadside groups conducted roadside clean ups. These efforts resulted in a 30 percent reduction in littering and a 30 percent increase in reports to the EPA.

CATEGORY: PROCTECTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT

AWARD LEVEL: WINNER

APPLICANT: THE BEECHWORTH TREESCAPE GROUP

PROJECT SUMMARY: MAYDAY HILLS FLORA

This work culminated in 120 nominations to Indigo Shire Council’s Significant Tree Register, 120 nominations to the National Trust of Australia (Victoria) for trees of state or regional significance, and the preparation of public information for guided walks.

The National Trust added 62 Mayday Hills trees or stands of trees to its Register of Significant Trees. This is the largest collection of Trust classified trees in Victoria. Mayday Hills is now recognised as being among the top five collections of planted trees in Victoria and Indigo Shire Council has amended its planning scheme to recognise the importance of these trees.

AWARD LEVEL: HIGHLY COMMENDED

APPLICANT: RURAL CITY OF WANGARATTA

PROJECT SUMMARY: PLUME POSITIVE PROJECT

Plume Positive is a project focused on areas of the Wareena Wetlands affected by a pollution plume created after an industrial toxic spill in 2011. Wangaratta Council worked in partnership with local environment organisations to deliver community events including tree planting, water watch sessions, nature walks and information sessions. Street tree planting screens the industrial area and improves air quality, while community projects restored a positive perception of the area.

CATEGORY: RESOURCE RECOVERY AND WASTE MANAGEMENT

AWARD LEVEL: WINNER

APPLICANT: BASS COAST SHIRE

PROJECT SUMMARY: RECYCLE 100%: A TARGETED EDUCATION PROGRAM FOR BEHAVIOUR CHANGE

Bass Coast Shire’s kerbside collection includes 23,000 households and commercial properties across 800km2. In 2012 the council ruled it an offence to contaminate recycling bins with non-recyclable items. Poor recycling practices contributed to significant loss of recyclable materials sent to landfill and adding $180,000 annually to the cost of disposal.

The council researched local, state and national waste education resources to create a program for Bass Coast homes and businesses. Bins were checked, a sticker was applied and an education pack left for those who were not recycling correctly or who had a contaminated bin. Council’s kerbside recycling data reflects an overall positive trend since the project commenced July 2013. The number of contaminated bins identified reduced by 65 percent in six months, and the significant reduction in ‘repeat offences’ indicated the success of the educational efforts.

The environmental and economic benefits of this project mean it will continue, facilitating positive behaviour change across the diverse community.

AWARD LEVEL: HIGHLY COMMENDED

APPLICANT: AXIS WORX EMPLOYEES

PROJECT SUMMARY: PIPLELINE PLASTIC RECYCLING PROJECT

To alleviate stress on landfill, employees from Axis Worx – a not-for-profit disability enterprise that provides supported employment for people with disabilities – cut up 100 tonnes of plastic lining from the GWM Water pipeline for recycling. The plastic can be processed into agricultural film, industrial bags and concrete underlay.

CATEGORY: YOUNG LEADERS

AWARD LEVEL: WINNER

APPLICANT: SAM MITCHELL

Sam is a determined and adventurous young leader. A 19 year old engineering student from Orbost and a committed environmentalist, Sam has little interest in transport reliant on fossil fuels. He wanted to build a bike that ran on solar energy, so he did.

He built the bike with a solar panel sheet sitting on the top of the bike’s A-frame. This solar charges a battery and turns the pedals. In March 2013, Sam set off from the Orbost Sustainability Festival to ride his bike around Australia. It took nine months to pedal from Victoria up the east coast, across the Northern Territory, down the coast of Western Australia and back across the Nullarbor. Sam’s aim was to travel to the four compass points of the mainland and cover about 25,000km spreading the message about renewable energy and sustainable travel.

Sam’s nomination is well supported by the Orbost community. Orbost Secondary College principal Heather Macalister says that Sam has always had a passion for the environment. “Sam has a quiet determination and inner strength which has been evident throughout the time I have known him. Even in his early years of secondary school his affinity with nature and appreciation for the environment was clearly evident. His resourcefulness and independence saw him take on a great many challenges, not least was his weekend cycling or hiking into remote locations. Sam shared his appreciation for the environment with his peers in outdoor education studies. That Sam was able to achieve the challenge of cycling around Australia was no surprise to any of us who know him.”