Category Archives: Newsletter

New Letter – February 2018

Wybejong Park, Macedon Ranges Protection Advisory Committee and Protecting Our Small Settlement

What I love about working in Wybejong Park is that landscape management is possible. From
the culling of weeds to imagining planted vistas, it’s all possible because of collective labour.
When you have weeds on your private property, it’s up to you to deal with them. In Wybejong it’s
up to us, the team of worker bees.

Working Bee Banner

At our January working bee, 7 of us cut and painted willow regrowth, dug out thistles, landscaped
under the new sign construction, brush cut the entrance hill to Riddell, brush cut the creek path
and under the picnic benches, weeded and pruned the car park garden, removed graffiti from a park bench and plotted and planned future endeavours at morning tea.

Wybejong Park is a small section of a wildlife corridor, the local section of the bio link connecting the grasslands and the Maribyrnong River to the Macedon Range. The Echidna and Wallaby you see under the bluestone arch are the same ones you see at Smiths Nursery. The Woolly Tea-Tree near the bridge is the same as those upstream. As well as going out with our dicky knees, bad backs, diggers and rakes, looking after the environment requires us all to respond to what planning authorities are doing.

In 2016, the Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne, appointed the Macedon Ranges Protection Advisory Committee to consult, hear submissions and prepare a report on how the Macedon Ranges should be protected. The Advisory Committee found Macedon Ranges Shire warranted protection with legislation and a Localised Planning Statement. Policy from Statement of Planning Policy No 8 has been the basis of planning in Macedon Ranges for over 40 years, and has made protection of Macedon Ranges’ water catchments, and its role as a State-significant location for leisure activities and nature conservation, the number one priority for decisions and actions.
In early 2017, the Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne, came to Gisborne and announced he accepted all of the Advisory Committee’s recommendations. Shortly after, the newly elected Macedon Ranges Shire councillors resolved to accept, and robustly implement, the Advisory Committee’s recommendations.

However the proposed Localised Planning Statement is worse than the status quo. It turns our small settlements into growth towns, diminishes heritage and environment values by singling out only State and National significance, and even removes existing policy protections from towns, rural land and environment.

In Riddells Creek, which only last year had 130ha rezoned for future residential development, another 120ha south of the railway line is added to the town (that’s an additional 250ha in total), for a town which grew by 38 people a year over the last 5 years

Newsletter – May 2017

It’s Time to Dead Head your Aggies (Agapanthus).

Like many Riddell gardeners I grow Agapanthus for their great mauve-blue flowers in summer. But I also know that their seeds pop up in native reserves like Wybejong Park. It’s time to cut the seed heads off and put them in your fireplace, especially if you border an indigenous plant area.

At our April working bee in Wybejong, Heather weeded around the western steps, John removed tree guards in the top paddock, Robin continued grinding and rust proofing the quarry steps, Doug brought the “Furphy” and watered the brachychitons, Jenny weeded around new plants, Fergus, Julie and Lyn dealt with weeds and staked and sprayed our May planting site.

As you drive over the creek on the road bridge, Phragmites australis the big reedy plants are doing a useful job. They slow down floods, clean the water, provide habitat and stop erosion. We try to cut them to the ground every few years as they grow back small, green and lush. We can also get to the blackberry, gorse, willow twig and elm sucker growth in their midst. This is a whether job rather than a weather job, whether we have a strong volunteer who can do this arduous cull.

The Victorian Government’s Macedon Ranges Protection Committee is currently making decisions about planning issues that will affect Riddells Creek. The Riddells Creek Structure Plan meetings and the Supermarket issue showed that people here are passionate about how their town should grow. We have a new council who will listen. Take every opportunity to have your say.

Come and help monitor the creek health through Water Watch

When: 10 am, Saturday 6th May (Planting at 9am)

Where: On Riddells Creek, at the end of River Gum Road,
at the other end of Wybejong Park to the car park opposite the bridge.

A joint event by Greening of Riddell and Riddells Creek Landcare

Newsletter – March 2017

As Ross says in the Riddells Creek Landcare column in this March edition of Riddells Roundup –

Early March sees a big event in rabbit control—1000 doses of Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus K5 were released at roughly the same time across Australia.

Greening of Riddell supports Landcare’s concern about rabbits. The property west of Wybejong Park is pockmarked with rabbit diggings, creating soil wash aways in the last few heavy rain events.

Here is some history to shine a light on the rabbit problem.
In 1859, approximately seven rabbits were released at ‘Barwon Park’ near Geelong. Just seven years later, 14,253 rabbits were shot on Barwon Park.
By 1875, the rabbit was well established in the western districts of Victoria, in South Australia at the southern end of the Flinders Ranges and around Sydney.
By 1879, the South Australian and Victorian infestations had merged covering the area from Spencer Gulf to north-eastern Victoria.
By the 1920s, rabbits had colonised most of the southern half of Australia and were present in extremely high numbers. The rate of rabbit invasion varied from 10-15 kilometres per year in wet forested country to over 100 kilometres per year in the range lands. The invasion of the rabbit was the fastest of any colonising mammal anywhere in the world.
The impact of rabbits on the Australian environment has been disastrous. Rabbits have significantly altered the botanical composition of extensive areas of natural habitat.

Rabbits are prolific breeders, able to produce numerous litters per year. Two rabbits can breed to over 180 rabbits in just 18 months!
Rabbits are stimulated to breed by the presence of nutritious green growth. This usually occurs during the wetter months but can include wet summers.
Survival of young is substantially increased when rabbits have safe harbour, especially breeding burrows and warrens. The destruction of warrens is the key to achieving long-term rabbit control.
One rabbit is one too many. Leaving a pair of rabbits or just one burrow will lead to re-infestation.
Rabbit control is most cost-effective, now, in late summer and early autumn as breeding has generally ceased in the rabbit population.

If the Chinese can eradicate flies, surely we can beat rabbits!

Newsletter – January 2017

Walkers in Wybejong Park have been cooling down next to a gurgling stream, green grass and flourishing bush plants.  Such a treat in January!  The Parks Victoria logo Healthy Parks Healthy People should add Happy Dogs.
At our last working bee three volunteers cut and poisoned the gorse regrowth on our south side frontage off River Gum Road. This included gorse around an elm tree with a honey bee hive in its base by a volunteer in her bee suit in 36 degree heat! Also paths were mowed, plants watered and weeded, then we lingered over morning tea at the picnic bench in the shade of the elms and oaks.
We have  been advised by Melbourne Water that our grant applications for 2017 were successful. We will get $1000 for fees and subscriptions, website update and administrative costs. And $1260 for weed control and creek side plants for the south side River Gum Road frontage, and for repainting, de-rusting and graffiti tag removal on the quarry steps.

We employed a local excavator contractor to extend the concrete pipe near the Somerville Lane entrance to the Park.  The drain was cleaned up and it functioned well in the Big Downpour in early January. Now, at the end of the laneway, the CFA and other big vehicles can turn left into the Park without having to do a complicated turn.

Greening of Riddell working bees are held on the first Saturday of the month, from 9:30 am till lunch time with a morning tea break.  I’m always amazed at how much a small group of people can accomplish. Feel free to come and join us.

If you wish to contact Greening of Riddell, our email address is and our postal address is PO Box 142, Riddells Creek, Victoria, 3431

Newsletter – October 2016

At the September working bee in Wybejong Park, a small group of people juggled planting new wattle trees and cleaning up dead wattle trees cut down by Parks Victoria.
The number of our participants has got smaller as some members have moved to other towns or are caring for family members who have become ill.
If you are new to town or have lived here a while and just found you have time on one  Saturday morning a month, Greening of Riddell would love to see you. We meet at the car park in the Carre Riddell Reserve at 9:30 am and draw up a blackboard of jobs to be done.
We generally do a Job Safety Analysis to remind people of possible risks and ways to avoid them. We choose which jobs we feel comfortable with and scatter through the Park to get them done.
At 11 am we regroup for morning tea and a chat and people who can stay go back to work for a while. We do this on the first Saturday of the month, every month of the year because working collectively on public land surrounded by the beauty of the bush and creek is an absolute joy – an addictive absolute joy!
Recently we have had to traverse the creek by walking or driving over the road bridge because the spillway has been inundated and the stepping stones have disappeared. The flood in the middle week of September has cleaned out the creek and rejuvenated the riparian zone. Some of our plant shave washed away and many of our wooden stakes have gone east to the Maribyrnong River. But what goes around comes around and we have gathered numerous stakes and guards washed downstream from plantings to the west.
It was good to see lots of people coming down to the creek to witness the drama of a river in flood.