Tidy Towns 2018


This year’s winner is Dimboola who submitted entries of an exceptionally high standard. Dimboola is situated in the Shire of Hindmarsh in the Wimmera region of western Victoria, some 334 kilometres north-west of Melbourne.

The Dimboola Town Committee and all their volunteers have over the past 20 years worked extremely hard to bring the town from one that looked very much unloved, to one where you would feel privileged to live.

It all began with two people who could see that their town was being neglected and literally put their heads on the chopping block to tackle major makeovers. The Shire were left shaking their heads, as no one had ever gone out of their way to improve the town to this magnitude before.

As time went on, more people decided that their dreams of walking tracks could become a reality, so working bees became the normality at weekends. Areas that had never been looked after became a show piece. Now all Victorians can enjoy the results of all the hard work undertaken by Dimboola to protect and enhance their local environment.

Rowena Ashley

Rowena was born in Adelaide and moved to Korumburra South Gippsland in 2000 as a qualified chef. With a passion for history, tourism, and the local community, Rowena quickly became a volunteer curator at Coal Creek Community Park and Museum and after a few years became Co-Ordinator Managing the Community Facility.

Sixteen years later Rowena is still involved in the Korumburra Community, with the Local Business Association, Prom Coast Tourism, Local Secondary College Committees, Local Rotary Club and the Federation Art Gallery.

Rowena has worked hard and contributed greatly to the area by taking on cultural and tourism activities.

Mornington Park Primary School & New Peninsula Men’s Shed, Mount Martha
Bike Maintenance & Restoration Program

Mornington Park Primary School, situated in Mornington North, is a small government school of 260 students ranging from prep to grade 6.

They have supported the VicRoads bike education program in their school for the last three years and run the program for six months during term 3 and 4. This program teaches students how to maintain and restore the 70 bikes owned and used by the school.


Horsham Tidy Towns Committee, The Wimmera River Experience

The Wimmera River is Horsham’s main natural feature, but also presents a barrier within the town. Until 2017, Horsham only had one bridge across the river, with population growth mostly occurring south of the river and being poorly connected to the CBD, schools and other services.

The Anzac Centenary pedestrian/cycling Bridge was completed in 2017, providing a second link between the two banks, and helping activate the river to enhance “The Wimmera River Experience”.

The group has successfully completed many river-focused projects over a long period, including the Weir Park picnic shelters, tree plantings, developing walking tracks, mowing, fencing, rubbish collection and storm clean ups.

Dimboola Boat and Water Ski Club Inc, Protecting our river and enjoying water skiing

Dimboola Town Committee,
Working with the community, for the community, to support businesses and encourage tourism

The Dimboola Town Committee (DTC) are an enthusiastic and committed group of volunteers who are willing to roll up their sleeves and get things done, and as such, are held in high esteem and are highly respected by the community.

The number of projects undertaken in the year are too numerous to list, but some include installing art works, completing walking tracks, water point installation skate park and Pickering gardens, signage for RV camping and bins.


Echuca Neighbourhood House, Echuca Neighbourhood House supports the community

Echuca Neighbourhood House (ENH) brings the community in Echuca together to connect, learn and contribute to the community through social, educational, recreational and support activities.

In 2015, the Food is Free initiative started at ENH to encourage the sharing of excess produce and promote gardening in public zones. ENH has led the project by redeveloping their front yard and nature strips with planter boxes and offering a community garden, providing the benefits of healthy food as well as the social benefits of people participating and gardening.

ENH recognised they could help the homeless to shower by setting up twice weekly times with the local basketball stadium. The project has been expanded with the support of Moama Bowling Club to offer the homeless an opportunity to wash their clothes and bedding for free.

Mornington Peninsula Shire/Food Industry Advisory Board, Mornington Peninsula Food Forum

Surf Coast Shire and community groups, Plastic Wise Policy for events and markets

Along with a number of active community groups, the Surf Coast Shire Council coordinates a volunteer Environment and Rural Advisory Panel who inform a range of programs, projects and strategies. The Panel recommended that Council adopt a Plastic Wise Approach to reduce or eliminate the impacts of plastics and pollution on the natural environment.

A key action was the development of a Plastic Wise Policy for events and markets held on Council owned/managed land. The Policy was introduced in April 2016, along with a Plastic Wise Program to support it. Management and Partnership Community groups have been vital in leading action and supporting the Plastic Wise Policy and Program. Implementation of the Plastic Wise Policy has resulted in reduced waste, reduced costs, increased participant enjoyment and time savings.

Mornington Peninsula Shire Infrastructure Team, Jetty Road Foreshore & Precinct Redevelopment
Rye Seaside Scavenge Committee, Seaside Scavenge Rye
Horsham Rural City Council/ Horsham Apex Club 15/ Wimmera CMA/ Wimmera River Improvement Committee, Pump Track
Mornington Peninsula Shire, Community Development, Faces of Volunteering Campaign

North Wangaratta Community Group, North Wangaratta Historic Storyboard Trail

The North Wangaratta Community Group was launched on December 12, 2012.

This small dedicated group of 15 members is the “driving force” behind the North Wangaratta Historic Storyboard Trail Project. The committee sought information from past and present district families, historical groups and two sporting clubs who have a long historical connection to North Wangaratta.

The trail follows the journey of the Bangarang people’s stories from the beginning of time through to the region’s early European settlement. It celebrates and preserves the rich indigenous culture and early European settlement for residents. Launched on Australia Day January 26, 2017 the project installed five Storyboards along the Murray to Mountain Rail Trail from Reedy Creek to Bowser a distance of 3km.

Dimboola Victorian Railway Institute, Saving the Historical Dimboola VRI Hall
Mornington & District Historical Society, 125th Anniversary of the 1892 Mornington Football Club Disaster

Rye Community House and volunteers, Sustainability Sundays 

Rye’s residents have a strong sense of community and really care about issues that matter.

Sustainability Sundays started with a question: What can we do to learn and educate people on how to protect our environment?

Three activities were born: Boomerang Bags, Crop and Swap and a Repair Cafe.

Sustainable Sundays run once a month and all under the one roof at the Rye Community House. There are many volunteers helping to make these endeavours a success and every volunteer cares about the environment, social aspects and health.

Mount Buller and Mount Stirling Resort Management, Don’t Waste Mount Stirling

Located approximately 250km northeast of Melbourne and of high ecological value, Mt Stirling is home to many species of flora and fauna that inhabit the alpine and sub-alpine environments.

Litter is prevalent during winter months when many school and outdoor education groups utilise remote camping areas and refuge huts. Effective removal of litter in remote areas is made difficult by harsh climate conditions experienced including snowfall and high winds.

To tackle this litter issue, an innovative behavior change program called ‘Don’t Waste Mt Stirling’ used education, infrastructure and good communication to assist visitors to effectively remove their waste from remote areas.

Beechworth Plasticwise, The 5 ‘R’s
Department of Justice/ Community Corrections/Sue and Ron Goudie, Litter Management in Horsham 

Northern Grampians Shire Council, Stawell Tyre Intervention Project

The Motorway Tyre site operated at the Stawell site until August 2008 leaving substantial stockpile of tyres. Access to the site was un-restricted, allowing considerable illegal dumping to occur.

The Stawell Tyre Intervention Project was developed to address what at that time was assessed as the second highest risk to the State.

The site is near a water course which leads to a creek system and ultimately into Lake Lonsdale.

To address this issue, a Project Control Group and Working Group were established comprising representatives of Council, EPA, DELWP, CFA, EMV and DHHS. These groups were able to plan for and implement a structured resolution of the issue by taking control of the site and removing all tyres from it.

Mornington Peninsula Infrastructure Team, Eastern Sister Footpath and Rock Seawall, Sorrento

Echuca Regional Health Theatre Department, Recycling, Sustainability and the Little Blue Towels

Victoria’s public hospital sector alone produces waste equivalent to 200,000 households and spends about $10 million annually disposing of this waste.

Dedicated theatre staff at Echuca Regional Health (ERH) are ‘cleaning up’ an industry that has more recently become very disposable. A waste audit in 2016 revealed that 50 per cent of the clinical waste bin’s contents, were not actually clinical waste.

The ‘Little Blue Towels’ movement collects the sterile cotton towels used by surgery staff, recycles them, then takes them to a local laundry where they are washed, ironed and then packaged and sold.

The costs associated with clinical waste removal is tenfold of general waste due to the incineration or chemical treatment process required before depositing into landfill.

The Green Team at Echuca Regional Health have set out to challenge an industry trend towards ineffective recycling, excessive packaging and single-use plastics.

Danni Haebich  (Dimboola)

Danni is an amazing 17-year-old student at the Dimboola Memorial Secondary College.

Danni had shown leadership early at primary school when she was elected school captain in 2012 and form captain and SRC representative in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

In 2017 and 2018, Danni was a member and representative of the Hindmarsh Youth Council where she was involved in creating the Hindmarsh Youth Strategy, which identified needs for youth throughout the shire.

Danni has volunteered for four years with meals on wheels, and is also a member of the Kwong Lee Dow Young Scholar Program at the University of Melbourne.

Danni has contributed a great deal to her community by getting involved with youth events and sports in the community. This was recognised by the community by awarding her the Dimboola Youth of the Year in the Australia Day Awards 2018.

Andrew Harrison (Horsham)

Mornington Peninsula Shire, The Peninsula Last Straw
Coal Creek Community Park and Museum – Coal Creek Education Team, “What’s in the Water?”
Rye Community Group Alliance, Keep Rye Beautiful and Protect Marine Life – Do the Right Thing