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IndyWatch Central Victorian News Feed was generated at Australian Local News IndyWatch.

Thursday, 24 January


Ziggy Alberts Laps Around The Sun World Tour "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Thursday 24th Jan, 7.00pm 10.45pm, Theatre Royal

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Sunday, 20 January


Skyscraper Stan with Mon Kerr "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Sunday 20th Jan, 3.00pm 5.00pm, The Bridge Hotel Castlemaine

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Saturday, 12 January


Luluc 'Sculptor' Tour "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Saturday 12th Jan, 8.00pm, Theatre Royal

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Thursday, 03 January


Bendigo Line Notification: Service change "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

17:30 Southern Cross - Epsom will terminate at Bendigo. Alternative transport will be available for Epsom customers. [19:16 03/01]


Bendigo Line Notification: Service update - Bendigo line "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

18:25 Southern Cross - Swan Hill will not run and has been replaced by road coaches due to extreme heat. [14:36 03/01]


Bendigo Line Notification: Delay "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

13:36 Bendigo - Southern Cross is delayed by approximately 21 minutes due to the late arrival of a previous train.

[14:32 03/01]


Bendigo Line Notification: Service change "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

12:54 Swan Hill - Southern Cross train has been replaced by road coaches.

[10:49 03/01]


January 3 #OnThisDay in #Australian #History "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

1788 - Captain Arthur Phillip was on board HMS Supply when, bored to tears from the long First Fleet voyage, Smarty-Arty played Eye, Spy with the coast of Van Diemen's Land.

1812 - Amongst the various Government and General Orders issued on this day by Gov Macquarie was..
"His Excellency, the Governor directs that tomorrow shall be considered as a holiday, and that the convicts shall be exempted from labour during the whole of the day.
His Excellency is further pleased to direct that an extra ration of one pounds and a half of fresh beef shall be served out tomorrow to each non-com officer and soldier of the 73rd Reg't and male convict in the settlement of Newcastle with the usual proportion to all the women and children...."

1813 - At Kissing Point (Putney) Woollarawarre Bennelong passed from this world to the next, he was buried in the orchard of his great friend brewer James Squire.

1825 - The absconding convicts headed south and reached as far as Reid's Mistake (Lake Macquarie) a distance of about 15 nautical miles. Lieut. Owen reached the same place on the 3rd January where he found the oars and rudder, all that remained of the gig which had been swamped. With the help of the native trackers they soon afterwards captured five of the prisoners - Tunnicliffe, Pritchard, Smith, Johnston and Collins in a hut with Private Yams. The telescope was found with them. They were brought into Newcastle on this day and lodged in the gaol.

1826 - Father Philip Conolly opened the first Catholic school in Van Diemen's Land at Hobart.

1827 - Pack the picnic basket with the Waterford Crystal Auntie Maud....The first boat regatta, organised by the officers of HMS Success and HMS Rainbow, was held on the Derwent River.

1839 - John Hutt replaced James Stirling as Governor of WA. Stirlingm, not one to mess about, left for England the next day.

1840 - Read all about it...The Port Phillip Herald began publication in Melbourne, edited by George Cavenagh.

1841 - The steamer Clonmel, on just its second voyage between Sydney and Melbourne, was wrecked near Corner Inlet.

1850 - Victoria's first stamps issued. Costing 1d., 2d. and 3d., they featured a portrait of Queen Victoria, who was most definitely not amused to have 'colonials' licking her back !

1851 - Today was the final day in a series of 'examinations' aka massacres that took place on Fraser Island between Christmas Day 1850 and January 3, 1851. In a newspaper report it was called "a jaunt" with the added description of "...natives were driven into the sea and kept there as long as daylight or life lasted."

1853 - Keep the pennies under the mattress...The Bank of Victoria opened in Melbourne.

1861 - The Wallsend Railway Branch line (NSW...

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Wednesday, 02 January


Gliding on a Lake "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Gliding on a Lake is a track from my album Mysteries of Gaia.


Dwelling prices down 5pc in 2018 "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Affordability improves in 2018

House prices were 10 per cent and 9 per cent lower over 2018 in Sydney and Melbourne respectively. 

Unit prices were 6 per cent and 2 per cent lower in the same two cities.

Overall, dwelling prices at the national level were 5 per cent lower over the year with prices down sharply in the most expensive quartile (-8 per cent) and flat in the cheapest.

Perth's housing market had looked to be bottoming out, but has been clobbered anew by new mortgage lending rules along with the rest. 

Brisbane, Adelaide, and Canberra recorded modest price growth in 2018, and Hobart topped the charts (click on the graphic to expand):

Source: CoreLogic

Gross yields in the largest two cities are off their cyclical lows, rising from about 3 per cent to 3 per cent. 

Yields on capital city real estate are of course low when compared to a 'risk free rate' of about 2.3 per cent, though of course you can't live in a 10-year government bond. 

Housing is a unique asset class as both a consumption and investment good (for example, I'll always keep property in Sydney - the alternative if I decided to return is paying at least $50,000 per annum in rent, and probably $75,000 plus the way rents are good heading for thanks!). 




The Refugee Action Coalition has dismissed the government announcement that Maribynong and Blaxland at Villawood will close, as an empty gesture. The fact is that the government has increased detention capacity with new compounds being opened at Yongah Hill, and a high detention facility opening in the Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation, to replace Maribynong, said(...)


Get ready: Aussie property falls to get worse "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Welcome back.

Just like that, a new year begins.

Although I am going to begin the new year with a look back at what happened last year.

The so-called Santa rally never came to the markets in 2018.

That is, a small spurt for stocks to finish the year higher.

The broader Aussie market sold off as December came to an end.

Over in the UK, the FTSE 100 finished December where it started.

Major indices in the US, on the other hand, were savagely sold off as the year wrapped up.

And it turns out Aussie house prices took a bigger beating than most expected.

New year, same news

The last week of a year, and the first week of the new year, is my favourite time.

In Australia, theres generally very little do, other than complain about the heat. Most places are closed. Theres no rushing from place to place. You have time to finally finish that project you started a year ago, or enjoy guilt-free Netflix binges. You lose track of the days. The markets are quiet.

The time of year when you actually have the time to read the paper but theres nothing really new to read.

Take The Age this morning.

It kicked off the year talking about falling Aussie house prices. Again.

According to The Age, theres more doom and gloom ahead for the property sector in 2019. Todays headline is: Weakest property market since 2008: Sydney, Melbourne house prices tumble.

According to the article, Sydney house prices fell 10% for 2018, while Melbourne prices are down 9%. Australias two largest cities contributed to a nationwide property fall of 4.8% for the year.

The good news is that the average Joe didnt bear the brunt of the falls.

Turns out, the worst performing areas are where the rich people live.

It seems that houses in inner Sydney and Melbournes inner east are falling the most. Both areas saw double-digit falls for 2018.

Basically, multimillion-dollar houses are dropping back and becoming just million-dollar homes.

This skews the data somewhat, in the sense that the percentage figure of property price falls looks bigger. I mean, theres only a select group of people who can buy in those areas. So, already the number of purchases is reduced.

But the gloomy outlook doesnt end there.

Not only that, but The Age has wheeled out an economist or two to suggest that the falls will get even bigger in 2019.

Ah yes. New year but with th...

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Tuesday, 01 January


The joy of forgetting "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

I just read (on a plane) The Labyrinth Index the latest novel in Charlie Stross Laundry series (a mashup of HP Lovecraft and Len Deighton). The central conceit is a spell which causes Americans to forget the existence of the President whenever they go to sleep. After reading the book and nodding off, I had a dream that someone has a similar office in Australia, with a couple of deputies, one in charge of the bush and another in charge of the money. On waking though, I couldnt remember any of these.

Update: Apparently, Im not alone.


Australian Labor Party commits to recognizing Palestine "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

In Australia we have a significant lobbying force for the Palestinian position within the political sphere. The Australian Palestinian Advocacy Network (APAN) is quite active and effective at running campaigns to highlight the plight of Palestinians. For example, they have had great success with a campaign entitled No Way to Treat a Child which chronicled the conditions under which Palestinian children are convicted and incarcerated in military tribunals.

Along with elder statesman and former Foreign Minister Bob Carr, APAN has also been lobbying for recognition of the state of Palestine within the Australian Labor Party (ALP). The Labor Party is in opposition in the Australian parliament to the ruling center-right Coalition bloc, of Liberal and National party members.

Two weeks ago on December 16 to 18, the ALP held its triennial national conference in Adelaide, the capital of South Australia. Persistent efforts to engage with senior members of the current ALP parliamentary group appear to be having results. APAN is a very diverse group. On the executive board are a retired Anglican Bishop, Palestinians of both Muslim and Christian heritage, secularists and a professor of Jewish background. They all participated in efforts leading up to the conference as this is the arena where policy positions are debated and then adopted.

To attract further attention to the cause I undertook another long range advocacy walk to highlight the unequal treatment of Palestinians. From November 18 to December 16, the walk covered a distance of 458 miles (starting in Melbourne and finishing in Adelaide). Many MPs and Senators greeted our arrival in Adelaide. The arrival was specifically planned to coincide with opening date of the ALP conference.

Bob Carr was overseas during the conference but made an address via video.

Delegates to the conference would also have been aware of support for recognition by former Prime Ministers Bob Hawke and Kevin Rudd and another long serving Foreign Minister, Gareth Evans.

There is still strong support for Israel within the ALP but those members w...


Housing credit pulse "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Take a pulse

It's a happy new year, and all that, but not so much for bankers, with lending growth continuing to flounder. 

The Reserve Bank's latest figures showed credit growth slowing to 4.4 per cent, down from 5.2 per cent a year earlier, and broad money growth at fresh quarter-century lows of just 1.86 per cent. 

It was noteworthy to hear last week that the RBA has been watching the gross household debt-to-income ratio as a main point of concern, especially as this ratio has already peaked and is now falling

The distinction from housing debt-to-income was quite interesting (to me at least) as the lines between housing, small business, and personal credit are blurred at best, with small business loans often secured against a home, and so on. 

As you can see in the chart below, changes in the direction of housing credit growth have tended to lead changes in dwelling price growth. 

You can also see that no such change had occurred by the end of November 2018. 

A simple credit impulse model as favoured by ANZ economists suggests that capital city (i.e. Sydney and Melbourne) dwelling price declines should moderate, although there are several fa...


2019: Lighthearted Gaiety Perhaps "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

New Years resolutions are not for me. Never had one and likely never will. Every day is a new day. Every hour sings a new song. Every moment is entirely special and paradoxically nothing in particular....


January 1 #OnThisDay in #Australian #History "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

1785 John Oxley , who was an early Australian explorer, was hatched in Yorkshire, England. In 1824 Oxley tripped over the Brisbane River and Bremer River on Moreton Bay, an area now known as Brisvegas...err...Brisbane.

1793 The Flogging Parson aka Samuel Marsden was appointed assistant to the chaplain of New South Wales.

1809 Lieut William Paterson frocked up & rocked up at Port Jackson where he assumed the ballgown and role of Governor.

1810 Because he had nothing better to do that day (apart from recover from a hangover), Major General Lachlan Macquarie took up office as the fifth Governor of New South Wales.

1811 Governor Lachlan Macquarie's police regulations for Sydney came into effect, and the Sydney Police Court was established.

1812 John Joseph William Molesworth Oxley (in England) is appointed Surveyor-General of NSW.
Oh, and happy 27th birthday, Johnny-boy!

1814 The Fair Isle of Oz got its first form of currency when The 'holey dollar' and 'dump' trotted out into circulation.

1822 The Van Diemen's Land Agricultural Society was formed in Hobart.

1823 YES! We should have this day off as an extra public holiday just to give thanks for the fact that distillation of spirits was officially allowed in the colony of NSW.
It's already a public holiday.

1825 Richmond Bridge, Tasmania, was opened to traffic; it is still in use today. When completed the Bridge had the record of having the longest span of Australias bridges, a record not surpassed until 1836.

1827 The Sydney Gazette began daily publication. On 10th February this was reduced to three times a week.

1829 Explorer Charles Sturt's party reached the Bogan River. He tickled about the edges of the Darling River while having a good stickybeak near present day Bourke, and then fox-trotted his way as he traced the Castlereagh River.

1830 I like their timing...4 hotels in Fremantle became Western Australia's first licensed premises.

1837 For a pittance of 10 licence fee generous Gov. Bourke told squatters to go forth and graze beyond the limits of location.

1838 First horse race meeting held in Adelaide.

1838 Another bloke with too much time over the festive season....Melbourne's first newspaper, a miniature sheet of four pages handwritten in manuscript, called the Port Phillip Advertiser, was founded and issued by John Pascoe Fawkner.

1839 Assignment of convicts for service in towns ended.

1841 WA Governor John Hutt laid the....

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Monday, 31 December


On holidays again "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

I am travelling for most of today across land and water and so have no time to write anything coherent. So it is just a music day to welcome in 2019. Happy New Year to all and lets hope a few banksters go to prison, that a few politicians join them on corruption charges, that Italy tells the European Commission to jump and leaves the Eurozone, that the Gilets in France spread throughout Europe and bring down the whole disastrous monetary union, that Britain goes out without an agreement and that the British Labour Party gets some spine, sacks its New Keynesian advisors, and demonstrates how to actually run fiscal policy, and that you get the drift.

Music to listen to and welcome the New Year amid all the chaos in the world

Jimi Hendrix played at the Monterey Pop Festival on Sunday, June 18, 1967 in the evening session. He followed the Grateful Dead.

He was introduced by Rolling Stone Brian Jones.

In their song about the festival Monterey released in December 1067, the Animals referred to Jones presence in this way:

His Majesty, Prince Jones,
smiled as he moved among the crowd
Ten thousand electric guitars
were groovin real loud, yeah

That was one of the coolest things I ever read when I was just a teenager trying to absorb all this music.

Ten thousand electric guitars were groovin real loud, yeah sounded like nirvana to me (the utopia not the band)!

Jimi Hendrix played 9 songs at Monterey and some of the footage never made it to the public for various reasons.

I saw D.A. Pennebakers movie release of the festival Monterey Pop at the Palais Theatre in Melbourne sometime in 1969.

Leo de Castro did a song before the movie started Lucille and I loved the riff. This was a great era of music and guitars.

It was a magic era really and Jimi Hendrix was at the apex.

Anyway, song 3 for Jimi Hendrix....


A lean year? "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

In a good year Nankeen Kestrels can easily raise three young. This year conditions have not been favourable, with food scarce on the plains. As a result only a single youngster has emerged in 2018 at least two nestlings were seen earlier in December. Normally three eggs will be laid but nestlings will weaken and die if there is not sufficient food to go around.

Juvenile Nankeen Kestrel, Moolort Plains, 30th December 2018

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Sunday, 30 December


FOCAM Christian Waller Daughters of the Sun Excursion "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Join the Friends of Castlemaine Art Museum on an Excursion to Bendigo Art Gallery (at your own cost). This is a fundraiser for CAM

When: Thursday, January 17th

Departing by COACH leaving Castlemaine Station at 9.22am

Please Book before January 15, 2019 by email to Enquiries to 0400 156 021

$15 CASH PAYMENT ON DAY Come and help us all support CAM

See attached for details


Russell Street bomber operating distressing Twitter account from Barwon Prison "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Craig Minogue is a prisoner in Victoria's high security Barwon Prison. He should be completely out of circulation, but somehow he's pumping out regular and confronting messages to the world via Twitter. Thirty years ago Minogue and others parked a Commodore loaded with explosives outside the Russell Street Police Headquarters....


Bendigo Line Notification: Service update - Bendigo line "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

17:20 Southern Cross - Echuca is expected to be delayed approximately 15 minutes on departure due to a train fault. Please note this service will now run as a 3 carriage VLocity. [17:35 30/12]

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Saturday, 29 December


Just in time! "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

I was concerned that in my absence over Xmas the 2018/19 crop of Rainbow Bee-eaters may have fledged and left their nesting tunnels.

Not so. The adults are still busily bringing prey to the youngsters and I think it will be a few days before they take flight.

Rainbow Bee-eater with dragonfly, Sandon State Forest, 29th December 2018


Australian jihadist stripped of citizenship "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Australias most wanted jihadist, Neil Prakash, has been stripped of his Australian citizenship.

Announcing the move, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton described Prakash as a very dangerous individual.

Intelligence officials say Melbourne-born Prakash was a recruiter for the Islamic State (IS) group and encouraged terrorist plots in Australia.

He is currently being held in Turkey where he faces trial on terror-related charges.

In July, a Turkish court ruled against extraditing him to face terrorism charges in his home country.

In Australia, he faces charges of being member of a terrorist organisation as well as supporting and promoting IS.

In a televised new conference, Mr Dutton said Prakash had been central to ISs efforts in the Middle East.

If given the opportunity Mr Prakash would harm or kill Australians and our country is a safer place for him having lost his Australian citizenship, he said.

In 2016, the Australian government described Prakash as the principal Australian reaching back from the Middle East into networks in Melbourne and Sydney.

In a court appearance in Turkey in 2017, Prakash admitted he had something to do with terrorist plots in Australia but said he was not 100% responsible.

He said he had been forced to make IS propaganda videos and that he had fled the group after seeing its true face.

Prakash, 27, left Australia for Syria in 2013, taking the name Abu Khaled al-Cambodi. He was mistakenly reported to have been killed in a US air strike in Mosul, Iraq, in 2015.

Through his father, Prakash had joint Australian and Fijian citizenship. Under Australian law, a dual national can be stripped of their citizenship if they are convicted or suspected of terror offences.

Prakash is the 12th dual citizen to be stripped of Australian citizenship.



Bird baths doing their job "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Returning home after a few days on the coast I was pleased to see our bird baths doing their job. Id filled them to the brim when we left on 23 December and most had at least a pool of water remaining, after a succession of days in the high thirties.

Heatwave conditions can be tough, for small birds especially. There was a steady procession last evening to our home garden watering points Weebill, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, Common Bronzewing and Brown-headed Honeyeater, in addition to those pictured below.

Galahs, Wyndham Street Newstead, 28th December 2018

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Friday, 28 December


Ghostly Garden "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

This is going to become a familiar sight over the next couple of months as summer takes hold and we experience more weeks like the past one. It gives a new meaning to fried greens and kale chips! The January Notes are now posted, mostly conventional, but with some ideas for managing the month ahead (including Continue reading Ghostly Garden



6:30pm Mon Jan 21 | Forum: From Kids Off to All Off- How can we close the camps? "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

When: 6:30pm Monday 21st January 2019 Where: ANMF Vic Branch, 535 Elizabeth St, Melbourne Facebook event here In 2018 the campaign to get #KidsOffNauru won significant support, and put huge pressure on the Liberals to bring children and families from Nauru to Australia. But there are still 3 children and hundreds of refugees on Manus and Nauru.(...)


Dan Andrews answer to Victoria's gang violence problem - look out for each other "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

The Andrews response to Victoria's violence. Meanwhile in the real world. Chelsea Beachgoers attacked in horror night People have been attacked at Chelsea Beach. Picture: Mark Stewart AN HOUR AGO DECEMBER 28, 2018 Youths have glassed a young man, bashed others and robbed beachgoers of their belongings during a horror...

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Thursday, 27 December


Five Dollar Friday 2018 "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Click here to view the embedded video.

Ray Ray, Hansel, Burpy, Together, Lucille, Babe, Queenie, Lemonade, Mary, Try. These are just some of the lives our Five Dollar Friday community changed in 2018.

52 weeks of kindness. 52 weeks of changing lives together. We couldnt do it without you.

Edgars-Mission-lamb,-Lambini,-Ray-Ray,-SheepHansel2Edgars Mission - burpy, Goat, pig, tripodEdgars Mission - Pam, Paula, Sheep, Try...


Back on the Property Couch "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Property Couch return

I mostly fly Virgin when headed interstate, but when I fly Qantas I always make sure to jump straight onto Q-Streaming to take in a Property Couch podcast. 

In an industry often known for its colourful characters these fellas have shone through with such generous and high-quality content over the past few years that their podcast is the most downloaded in the genre (at well over 4 million downloads the last time I checked).

A brief scroll through the back-catalogue shows the calibre of the guests they've had on, from Paul Clitheroe to Alan Kohler, and from Nerida Consibee to NBA Superstar Andrew Bogut. 

It's not a bad roll call, to be fair!

So when I was invited back onto the couch for my second appearance it was a no-brainer for me to get down to Melbourne quick-smart. 

Once you get past the hyped introduction (thoroughly undeserved) and a droll observation about my haircut (admittedly, deserved), it was a ripper episode and here are some of the key themes we covered this time around. 



PERTH Police charge man armed with machete in East Victoria Park "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

snip .

Police charge man armed with machete in East Victoria Park .

December 27, 2018 at 11:07AM .

possession of cannabis with intent to sell or supply and possession of methylamphetamine. He is due to appear in Perth Magistrates Court today. .



Defence Department accused of deception over Woomera radioactive wastes "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Defence under attack on nuclear waste dump  LUKE GRIFFITHS @_LukeGriffiths DECEMBER 27, 2018

 Woomera must be revisited as a potential site for Australias first nuclear waste dump, says Centre Alliance senator Rex Patrick, who accuses the Defence Department of deception over claims the site is unsuitable.

Senator Patrick said he would question Defence officials at Senate estimates hearings over why the department dismissed Woomera as a potential site because of an intolerable risk and its impracticability a position since backed by Resources Minister Matt Canavan.

 The 122,000sq km Woomera Prohibited Area, located in the South Australian outback 450km northwest of Adelaide, is a military testing range under federal government control.

 Senator Patrick said significant nuclear waste materials had been stored there since 1994, including 10,000 drums of low and intermediate-level waste from a CSIRO research facility at Fishermans Bend in Melbourne.

In a report published on its website last week, the CSIRO said tests had found the material posed no threat to health or the environment.   Tests in May found radiation levels adjacent to the storage had natural background values for Australia, as would be found in typical soil and rock.

The report findings make a mockery of Defence claims theres no way a national radioactive waste management facility could be located anywhere in the enormous expanse of the WPA, Senator Patrick said.
 The reality is radioactive waste has been safely st...


The Moon by Stuart Wilde "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

One day I stood on tiptoe in order to kiss the moon, she would have none of it. So I went down on one knee in homage, hoping for her love, again she ignored me....

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Wednesday, 26 December


How sweet are Sugar Ants, really? "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

I remember Black-headed Sugar Ants (Campanotus nigriceps) from my childhood being somehow special and of sweet temperament. They seemed very placid and Id never known them to bite or be aggressive.

A wander in the bush on a warm night at our place at Strangways and there are plenty of them, foraging on both eucalypts and Golden Wattles.

Black-headed Sugar Ant (Camponotus nigriceps)

Black-headed Sugar Ant

I was quite startled to watch one of these serene beings of the night staking out a smaller black ant that was feeding on the nectar gland in the bend of the leaf stalk of a Golden Wattle. The Sugar Ant seemed very keen to get to the gland and suddenly struck out at the smaller ant. My naive view of this species seemed shattered.

Black-headed Sugar Ant (Camponotus nigriceps) wanting to move someone else along from the nectar

She seems to want to move the smaller ant on.

The several strikes were rapid and I could see the mandibles moving. But she seemed to be hopelessly short of range and actually quite desultory and after a few half-hearted efforts, she moved on to other pickings. My faith in them restored. To a point.

On another Golden Wattle, I found a few other species seemingly sharing in harmony. Like an Acacia Jewel Beetle feeding with two Leaf Beetle larvae.

An Acacia Jewel Beetle and a pair of Leaf Beetle larvae share a wattle leaf

Acacia Jewel Beetle and Leaf Beetle larvae

And a another pair of beetles munching in mirror image.


Beetles on Golden Wattle

I found another intriguing beetle on a Mistletoe I think its another Jewel Beetle.



Bendigo Line Notification: Service change - Bendigo line "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Due to heat speed restrictions, 16:13 Swan Hill - Southern Cross will originate at Bendigo and 18:35 Southern Cross - Swan Hill will terminate at Bendigo. Please note that both services will be running with a reduced capacity 3 of carriages. Alternative transport will be available for affected customers. [12:00 26/12]

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Tuesday, 25 December


Bendigo Line Notification: Heat speed restrictions - Bendigo line "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Heat speed restrictions apply on the Bendigo line from 12:00 - 22:00 today. For more information please visit [08:00 26/12]

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Monday, 24 December


2018 Image of the Year Awards "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

The Award Winners

Image of the Year


Ron Gale

Gaze of a Child

Adrian Cook Award


Jenny Donhardt

Most Improved

Ken Lowery Award


Ron Gale

Best Child Portrait

People's Choice


Ron Gale

Gaze of a Child

Experienced Colour Print

First Place

Ron Gale

Gaze of a Child

Experienced Mono Print

First Place

Ron Gale


Novice Colour Print

First Place

Jenny Donhardt



Have a productive xmas and tanks "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Best wishes for a productive garden this festive season, heres hoping you have plenty of stonefruit, berries, tomatoes, eggplants, greens and the odd zucchini (exciting seeing the first of the inchoate zukes in the garden, but the novelty will probably soon wear off ) Thanks to all our garden members for their participation and contributions Continue reading Have a productive xmas and tanks


Christmas 2018 "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Look who came to spread some joy to the residents this ChristmasSanta and a merry band of helpers.

Thank you to everyone who supported Edgars Mission in 2018, your belief in our work ensured that every day for our many residents felt like Christmas

Click here to view the embedded video.

Edgars Mission -_-125 Edgars Mission -_-131 Edgars Mission -_-132 Edgars Mission -_-133...


Labour market tightens further "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Tightening labour force

Lots of people would like more work, which probably isn't that surprising given the ongoing casualisation of the workforce. 

But the volume of underutilisation is clearly falling, as at November 2018 down to the lowest level since the ABS began reporting this in its surveys at 7 per cent. 

The improvement has been driven by New South Wales (6.3 per cent) and Victoria (6.5 per cent), where the jobs markets have now picked up to levels consistent with stronger wages growth. 

Total construction employment has declined to a still-elevated 1.15 million, which is the lowest level in 15 months, albeit still 9 per cent of the total number of employed Aussies. 

This figure will likely fall further given that about three-quarters of construction employment relates to the residential sector. 

On the other hand mining employment has picked up sharply to the highest level in four years. 

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Sunday, 23 December


Skippy and Joey friends ever true "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Edgars Mission - joey, Sheep, skippy

Meet Skippy and Joey. A sad twist of fate saw this ovine duos world turned upside down when their human friend passed away, however kindness intervened and they were soon Edgars Mission-bound.

Its safe to say, the kind heart who set out to seek a safe and happy outcome for Skippy and Joey hadnt quite anticipated what lay in store. With loving forever homes for sheep few and far between, it was a chance referral to Edgars Mission that saw a lifeline thrown the girls way. However, Skippy and Joey hadnt quite got the memo that we were indeed the good guys and it was only after some impressive fence-hurdling antics akin to that of their resident kangaroo friends (hence the names) that Skippy and Joey were eventually aboard our Kindness Van.

It is not only Skippy and Joeys outwardly appearances that have transformed since their arrival. Having had the opportunity to settle into their new patch of the world, adjust to a new routine and with us now instead gently offering wheet bix treats as we pass by, the duo are beginning to realise that we are indeed the good guys. Skippy and Joey remind us of our undeniable duty to those we have tamed. They remind us simply;

All beings tremble before violence. All fear death. All love life. See yourself in others. Then whom can you hurt? What harm can you do?


A decade on "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Today, 23rd December 2018, marks a decade of Natural Newstead.

The first post recorded some observations that I made with Joe in the Rise and Shine on the 23rd December 2008.

I guess its apt that todays note, post number 2767, should also feature The Shine one of my favourite local places, that is also enjoyed by lovers of nature far and wide.

Dusky Woodswallow, Rise and Shine, 16th December 2018

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Saturday, 22 December


Sydney unemployment rate hits record low "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Record low unemployment

Greater Sydney's economy continued to add jobs at a remarkable, thunderous pace throughout 2018, with total employment up by a rip-roaring 100,000 over the year to November. 

That's more than a third of all new jobs created in Australia on a net basis over that time. 

The media is all about traffic congestion, light rail delays, and falling house prices in the harbour city, but meanwhile the unemployment rate quietly fell to just 3 per cent in November 2018 (not reported anywhere, as far as I could tell!). . 

Interestingly, that's now the lowest monthly unemployment rate figure on record for Sydney, a dynamic which can happen at the tail-end of a monster construction boom. 

On an annual average basis, Sydney's unemployment rate is now down to only 4.3 per cent, while Melbourne has been the biggest improver of recent times, and Adelaide has recovered nicely from a sticky patch. 

At the other end of the spectrum, the equivalent figure for Perth remains elevated at 6.3 per cent.

These are backwards-looking indicators, of course, but still those are some healthy results in the two largest capital cities.

As the labour force grows there will be more unemployed persons in absolute terms over time; but the latest ABS figures showed that some inroads have been made here. 

In fact the trend rate of unemployment is at the lowest level in 7 years at 5.1 per cent, with the total number of unemployed persons down by -34,000 over the...

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Friday, 21 December


A time of weevils "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

There are quite a few different weevil species active at our place at Strangways at present. Recently, I found a Long-nosed Weevil curled up in the fork of leaf stems on a Golden Wattle. These are so hard to see as they are only a couple of millimetres long and curl themselves up so that they look like a little gall on the stem rather than an insect.

Long-nosed Weevil - Haplonyx sp.

Long-nosed Weevil Haplonyx sp.

Last night, I found another tiny weevil clinging to the stem of a wattle.

Weevil - Gonipterus perhaps?

Weevil #2 Goniopterus sp?

Eucalyptus Weevils (Gonipterus sp?)

Goniopterus mating on Red Box

Also common at the moment is another type of Eucalyptus weevil Myllocerus sp.

Eucalyptus Weevil - Myllocerus sp.

Myllocerus weevil.

Belid Weevils, are also around in good numbers. When I met this one, I only had my super macro MP-E65 lens with me, so I couldnt fit the whole species in, so I went for a real close up. For a wider view of this species, have a look at

Belid Weevil up close

Belid Weevil up close



A Killer Christmas bargain "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

This year has been the worst on record for drownings of native water rats, and the second worst for platypus.

According to DELWP, an average of five platypus are drowned per week in Victoria, victims of illegal or inappropriate yabbie nets. One of the culprits is the Opera house net, which traps air breathing animals, stops them from surfacing, and drowns them. An alternative, appropriate net would have an open top, allowing the animal to escape.

Its illegal to use the Opera net in public waterways, but has been legal in private water: however, from July 1 next year, it will be illegal to use it in all Victorian waterways.

The Victorian Fisheries Authority has a deal with some stores to offer a free exchange of old opera house nets with open top nets. The Authority has done tests and found the new nets are very effective yabbie catchers. The Victorian Fisheries Authority had supplied a  list of participating stores.

So it was a bit of a downer to find one of our local stores offering Opera house nets for a bargain price before Christmas. Nothing illegal about it, of courseup to next July. But maybe not a great Christmas gesture for one of Australias most remarkable creatures.

Photo caption: Christmas catalogue for Lyal Eales stores. The Opera style yabbie net is a platypus killer.

By the way, there are heavy penalties for taking protected wildlife, or using prohibited equipment in public waters: nearly $39,000 and 24 months jail.


Snake and reptile workshop in January "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Join Connecting Country and Muckleford Catchment Landcare on Saturday 19 January 2019 from 10.00 am to 12.00 pm to learn about snake ecology and behaviour. Snakes play an important role in healthy ecosystems, snacking on frogs and smaller reptiles and providing a food source for larger predators. Find out what makes good snake habitat, how we can protect snakes, as well as keep our pets and families safe!

The workshop will include an opportunity to meet real live snakes. However this activity is optional.

This is a family-friendly event held at a property in Muckleford. All are welcome. Morning tea will be provided.

RSVP is essential. For bookings and more information contact Jacqui Slingo by email at or phone 03 5472 1594.

A flyer on the workshop is available here.

This workshop has been made possible by funding from the North Central Catchment Management Authority.


Refugee Detention, Torture and Abuse by Australia doesnt STOP for holidays, New Year celebrations, Christmas Carols or Sporting events #SanctionAustralia "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

While you are celebrating your end of year events, our community is being tortured, abused and murdered in Australian run detention centers in front of your eyes every single day. Have you forgotten?

This is a call by RISE eX-detainees to the Australian public and the International community to join our #SanctionAustralia Campaign and stand AGAINST Refugee/Asylum seeker Detention, Torture and Refoulement committed by the Australian government, during end of year events across Australia and Overseas.

What you are witnessing RIGHT NOW against Refugees in Manus or Nauru or any other Australian run detention camp is not something new. The systemic abuse against refugees coming on boats to seek asylum has been going on for over 26 years now. Australia needs to stop using us as political pawns and


Furthermore, Australias state sanctioned refugee trafficking, detention, torture and abuse has been the laboratory for the world. It has given a green light to many across the globe who claim to support refugees including the European Union who recently made a major deal with Libya to intercept refugee boats.

RISE eX-detainees call for immediate pressure to be placed on Australia in the way of global sanctions that address their deliberate and inhumane mandatory detention process and refugee boat push back policies. Specifically, Australia should be excluded in participating in international humanitarian and human rights forums until mandatory detention and refoulement of asylum seekers is abolished in Australia.

We eX-detainees request all supporters of eX-detainees and current detainees held hostage by Australia to take a stand during end of year holiday events and bring to the forefront the forgotten people in our community being tortured, refouled and abused by this government while mainstream Australia celebrates this festive season.

What can you do?
Download our posters and display them at public places and send a strongmessage that you are no longer going to stand by idly while the trafficking inhuman misery is leveraged for political gain.

Hand out our sanction Australia brochures

For more details about the #SanctionAustralia campaign initiated and run by eX-detainees visit the main page: #SanctionAustralia



Christmas & New Year Closure "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

We will be closed from 3pm Friday 21st December and will re-open 9am Monday January 7th.

If you are required to report to Centrelink during this time, a laptop has been made available at the Castlemaine Library.

Wishing you all a safe and happy holiday season!

The post Christmas & New Year Closure appeared first on Castlemaine Community House.


Population growth remains strong (but internal trends shift) "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Population growth still strong

The June quarter tends to be a quiet one for population increase, but over the course of FY2018 estimated population growth remained strong at 391,000 or +1.6 per cent, despite a moderate slowing of visa processing and net overseas migration.

Total births increased by 7,000 over the 2018 financial year, mainly due to a jump in New South Wales, although there have been processing lags and blips before.

In time this will set Australia up for its next property cycle as apartment construction slows dramatically over the next few years, but at the moment it's all about mortgage processing delays and mechanical minutiae.

New migrants from overseas are now dominated by young arrivals from China (83,000 in FY2018), India (67,000), and other Asian countries, and less so by permanent migrants from New Zealand, Britain, or other parts of Europe.  

Of the 553,000 migrant arrivals in FY2018? Overwhelmingly they still headed for Greater Sydney (179,000), Melbourne (151,000), Brisbane (56,000), and Perth (48,000) respectively, with other parts of south-east Queensland capturing a fair chunk of the remainder.

The bulk of new migrants lie within the 18 to 34 years cohort, and some 85.4 per cent now opt to reside in the capital cities, and especially so Sydney (32.4 per cent) and Melbourne (27.3 per cent).

Internal shiftology

There have, however, been some internal migration shifts over FY2018. 

Interstate migration to Queensland increased to the highest level in a dozen years as incumbent Aussie residents moved away from the crowded capitals for the more affordable Sunshine State.

I'm hiding in that maroon line myself somewhere, albeit at the nadir of the cycle some years back. 

And while...

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Thursday, 20 December


Its early days "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

in the life of this Dusky Woodswallow.

I observed it last weekend, one of three juveniles almost ready to fledge from a nest in the Rise and Shine. While its two siblings remained in the nest this youngster was determined to test its pin-feathered wings. At one point, perched about a foot above the nest the sight of an incoming parent with food prompted it to flutter excitedly into space whereby it grabbed a dangling piece of loose bark. After clinging skilfully for a few minutes it flew back to its original perch.

With this sort of determination its chances of reaching adulthood are probably better than average!

Juvenile Dusky Woodswallow, Rise and Shine, 16th December 2018


NSW unemployment rate hits 40-year low "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Unemployment keeps declining

Stacks of interest in today's employment report - so much, in fact, that the ABS website crashed again.

Funding required, to use a hackneyed Muskism.

The composition swung back to part-time, but the economy added another +37,000 jobs in November 2018 on a seasonally adjusted basis to 12.7 million, led by firing Victoria at +30,900. 

Looking through the noise the economy added an impressive +295,700 to total employment year-on-year, for a growth rate of 2.4 per cent. 

On a cyclically positive note the trend participation rate hit the highest level on record.

And in spite of this the trend unemployment rate continued to decline to 5.12 per cent, the lowest since all the way back in July 2011. 

Victoria has been the great improver of late, but New South Wales saw its unemployment rate fall to a 40-year low of just 4.4 per cent.

The annual growth in hours worked was still very modest at under 2 per cent, which is hardly a ringing endorsement of strength. 



And the winner is ha! "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Raffles turn out to be strange things, very often. Our wonderfully and generously provided raffle was drawn today by Suzie a valued ex-member and non ticket buyer and the winner was   Peter McDonald. Congrats Peter! A wonderful prize for you which gets us over the line to pay our water bill.  The Continue reading And the winner is  ha!


New Gallery Manager for CAM "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

The Board of Castlemaine Art Museum (CAM) is pleased to announce the appointment of Naomi Cass as Gallery Manager, CAM.

Naomi has a longstanding career in arts management and development, including most recently as Director of the Centre for Contemporary Photography (CCP), Melbourne. Naomi has previously been a curator and writer working in contemporary art, craft and design.

CAMs outstanding art and history collection and her respect for regionally based creative communities were what attracted Naomi to apply. Ms. Cass said, I welcome the opportunity of living and working within Castlemaines exceptional artistic community. I pay my respects to the people of the Dja Dja Wurrung and look forward to working with the traditional owners of the land.

On her resignation from the CCP, Naomi was recognised for more than 14 years of leadership, for being the driving force behind CCPs growth as a leading arts organisation and that she had successfully fostered a tight-knit creative community of artists and supporters. Naomi played an integral role in supporting early career artists, curating mid- career artists as well as advancing curatorial practice in ground breaking exhibitions and commissioning projects to engage the wider community.

Castlemaine is distinguished by the quality and range of artists living and working in the region as well their active engagement across multiple art forms. I am keen to engage with this diverse commun...

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Wednesday, 19 December


Why Im not hiking in Tasmania this summer "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

I dont like whats happening in Tasmania in terms of commercial development of its wilderness areas. Its something thats finally starting to get a bit of press with The Weekend Australian Magazine and The Guardian recently writing about it.

When did national parks and the wilderness need to pay for themselves? What happened to protecting parks and wilderness for the flora and fauna they sustain? To preserve a space where theres been little to no human disturbance. Since when did helicopters and huts and standing camps become part of the wilderness experience?

Just some of what has been planned or already underway:

         A cable car to Dove Lake at Cradle Mountain

         Standing camp and helicopter flights to Halls Island in the Walls of Jerusalem

         Huts on the South Coast Track

         The Three Capes Track

         A cable car on Mt Wellington

         Others here.

I dont want to spend my money in a state whose Liberal government only sees the environment for its developme...


What is Trade Justice and how does it relate to Labor Policy? "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Donald Trumps rejection of trade agreements and aggressive use of unilateral tariffs, and One Nations similar policies in Australia have tapped into resentment of current neoliberal trade policies, which for many people have not delivered promised jobs and growth, and have contributed to growing inequality.

Trump and One Nation have mobilised this resentment from a conservative and racist perspective, fanning ultra-nationalist and anti-immigrant sentiment. But their simplistic responses of high tariffs on imports will not magically restore lost jobs. Building walls and discriminatory migration policies based on fear will not improve peoples lives but will bolster militarism and the danger of war.

AFTINET is part of the global movement of progressive groups supporting peace, human rights and global solidarity. We are not opposed to trade, but want a more just global trade system

What Trumps rupture with some neoliberal trade policies does demonstrate is that they are not immutable economic rules resulting from market forces, but political decisions that can be changed. As advocates for trade Justice we must seize the opportunity to challenge bad policy and develop alternatives which benefit the majority, not just the top 1%.

Whats wrong with current trade policy

Fundamentalist neoliberal trade policy as practised by the Coalition Government aims to achieve not only zero tariffs but also zero other barriers to all trade and investment.

Each country should specialise in its most narrowly-defined competitive products or services, import everything else at the lowest possible prices, have no active industry policies and minimise other government regulation. Australia would be a farm and a quarry, with deregulated service industries like tourism and financial services.

This policy culminated in former Treasurer Joe Hockeys  admission that his government decided to end all assistance to the car industry to reach trade deals with....

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Tuesday, 18 December


New home sales bounce "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

New home sales up a bit

Some brighter news for builders in the last monthly Housing Industry Association (HIA) release of the year, as new home sales increased 3.6 per cent.

Still comfortably lower than a year earlier.

The HIA included cautionary comments about credit becoming too tight.


Can We Love Enough To Leave Alone? "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

It's interesting to arrive at the end of a year and look back. The theme for our planet of talking heads seemed to be people wanting others to behave in acceptable ways and have opinions like their own...

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Monday, 17 December


FOBIF breakup in Walmer "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

About 20 people gathered at Walmer last Monday for the FOBIF end of the year BBQ. It was perfect weather for a relaxed and enjoyable end of the year celebration.

Looking north-west at Walmer. Photo by Harley Parker

Lynette, Harley and Rex relaxing.

The FOBIF committee wishes all friends of our forests a happy Christmas and a great new year. Our 2018 walks program will soon be available. Well see you in the bush in the new year!


Last weekend for nature photography show at Newstead "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

This weekend (22-23 December) is the last one for the Nature Photography in the Goldfields exhibition by Patrick Kavanagh, Geoff Park and Bronwyn Silver at the Newstead Railway Arts Hub. The Hub will be open from 10am 4pm.

Dusky Woodswallows. Photo by Geoff Park

Echidna. Photo by Patrick Kavanagh

Emerging Yellow Gum blossom. Photo by Bronwyn Silver


4:30pm Dec 19 | Save Hakeem Urgent Protest "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

When: 4:30pm 19th December 2018 Where: Australian Federal Police, 383 LaTrobe St, West Melbourne, VIC Facebook event here Bahraini refugee Hakeem Al-Araibi, a permanent Australian resident living in Melbourne, is being held in Thailand and faces deportation back to the threat of torture in Bahrian. He fled Bahrain because of persecution and torture due to(...)

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Sunday, 16 December


Black-fronted Dotterel nesting "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

It appears this latest burst of summer rain may have spurred on a surge of breeding before the hot weather kicks again.

This Black-fronted Dotterel found a typically risky location to lay its eggs on the edge of a driveway near Pound Lane. The two beautifully camouflaged eggs blend seamlessly into the surrounding gravel. While the location may appear unusual it enables the adults to leave the eggs safely exposed at the slightest hint of danger.

Black-fronted Dotterel, Pound Lane Newstead, 16th December 2018


467 ways to die on a warming planet "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

A new study published in Nature has found evidence for 467 ways in which climate hazards due to global warming are making life on the planet harder for humans. It confirms that we are witnessing a shift in the functioning of the Earth system as a whole, a shift to a new state that is unsympathetic to the continued flourishing of human life.

A changing climate is only one feature of a warming globe. Human activity has bounced the Earth into a state that has no equivalent in its 4.5 billion year history.

Clive Hamilton

The Earths new trajectory as it spins into the future has led scientists to tell us we have entered a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene. We have crossed a threshold and the geological clock cannot be turned back. The disruption we have caused is increasingly unpredictable and uncontrollable, and it has no endpoint.

There are, therefore, two questions humankind must face. What must we do to prevent serial disasters becoming existential catastrophe? And how can we make our social and economic systems flexible enough to cope with the new dispensation?

There are several reasons an international agreement has proven so hard. The leading one is sabotage by climate science deniers. Ca...


Roadshow Deluxe Tour "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Sunday 16th Dec, 3.00pm, The Bridge Hotel Castlemaine


Sweet Bursaria, Bok Choy and Leek a recipe for pollinators "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Sweet Bursaria (Bursaria spinosa) is a prickly bush, indigenous to our area, with sprays of white flowers in early summer. Weve had a few specimens on our place and have been lucky to augment them with plants grown by Frances Cincotta from seeds in our own lane in Strangways. The ones we planted in our front yard, free from grazing pressure, have a profusion of small, delicate flowers at present.

Sweet Bursaria (Bursaria spinosa)

Sweet Bursaria

The plant takes its name from the purse-shaped seed pods. As the plants have been flowering over some time, there are seed pods forming alongside new flowers.

Sweet Bursaria seed pod

Sweet Bursaria seed pod.

Slender Bee Flies (Geron sp.) are frequent visitors to the flowers at present and make great subjects as they dont seem bothered by the proximity of the camera.

Bee Fly - Geron sp.

Slender Bee Fly

I love the way these flies so often seem to have pollen grains on their eyes. Their long probosces are great for going deep into flowers. I am also fascinated by the intricate details of all fly species, especially around their thoraces where the wings join on.

Bee fly - Geron sp.

Slender Bee Fly up even closer

Red and Blue Beetles (Dicranolaius sp) have also been enjoying the bounty.

Red and Blue Beetle - Dicranolaius

Red and Blue Beetle

On one plant, I thought this Rhytidoponera ant was doing some pollinating, as ants are very important...


Babe a life undiminished by disability "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Edgars Mission - Babe, calf-3

Undiminished by her disability, Babe, a rescued bobby calf inspires us daily that sight is but a state of mind, and that a vision for a kinder world rests within us all.  The very first photo we saw of sweet Babe told of the fondness she had found at the hands and heart of a kindly worker who had ever so gently painted a red heart on the calfs side. Determined to find a happy outcome for Babe, several phones calls lead to Edgars Mission where happily ever after and a life unhindered by prejudice awaited Babe.  Watching the sweet Babe and her belled buddy, Sophie we have pause to thought that the greatest disability held is perhaps by those humans who see animals not for who they are, rather only for what they can produce.

The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.

Edgars Mission - Babe, calf-5 Edgars Mission - Babe, calf-4...

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Saturday, 15 December


One small gully "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

This one small gully on the edge of the Sandon bush yielded a rich bounty of birds, and other creatures on Friday evening.

Brown Treecreeper with food for youngster, Sandon State Forest, 14th December 2018


Feisty by name, feisty by nature "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Edgars Mission - duck, Fiesty-3

Shes a feisty one, we cooed as we gently plucked the bemused little Muscovy duck from the back of the rangers vehicle. Despite her vocal and wing-flapping protests, we loved her the instant our eyes meet. Found doing unwelcome laps on a householders pool, Feisty had flown in from who knows where. Highlighting how poorly protected our feathered friends are, there exist no statutory requirements for holding lost, stray or abandoned birds. Fortunately, in this instance we were able to offer sanctuary to this sweet, albeit forthright duckher fate is now good, but sadly this does not address the problem so many of her kind face. Feisty did not fall from the sky, she is not the result of native waterbirds breeding; rather, her existence is the result of human intervention. And so to tackle the dire circumstance so often faced by unwanted, lost or abandoned birds, we need to go back to the root, or in this case the nest of the problem, and remind one and all that we are forever responsible for who we have tameda feisty problem indeed.

Edgars Mission - duck, FiestyEdgars Mission -_-112...

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Friday, 14 December


Castlemaine Twilight Market "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Friday 14th Dec, 4.00pm 8.30pm, Western Reserve


Kevin Anderson & Hugh Hunt A Rule Book for the Climate Casino "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

https://ScientistsWarning.TV Kevin and Hugh are back with us this year discussing the new climate glitterati that come annually to Davos to feign concern about the climate while they discuss techno-fixes that might allow the (in their minds at least) to continue their excessive lifestyle that is heading us directly for runaway climate change and collapse.

Hat Tip to Chris Harries for this COPOUT chart..


Charity "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Edgars Mission -_-123

Heres a flashback to that time Charity lamb got back on her feet with a little help from her friend Dr Chris Brown.

Its been over four years since Charity made her television debut on Bondi Vet and since then, not only has our prosthetic-wearing Special Needs Sheep flock grown, so too have the number of friends helping our animal residents like Charity get back on their feet.

Edgars Mission -_-121

Our Five Dollar Friday community enables us to provide life-changing interventions for animals like Charity, who was born without hooves on two of her feet.

Fitting prosthetics is one thing but it takes a whole lot of time and effort to ensure they remain functional and comfortable. As Charity has grown, so too have her boots and with the support of our Five Dollar Friday community, we know we are able to keep Charity comfortably mobile (and fashionable) for many years to come!

To help animals like Charity get back on their feet, head to Mission -_-122...


Bendigo Sustainable Living Festival "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

When: Saturday May 4, 2019

Where: Bendigo Town Hall and Library Gardens

Further information will be supplied closer to the date.


Its Too Late to Brace for Impact "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Here, in the 18th year of the New Millennium, the 28th Year of Our Internet (delivering unlimited information to all), and the 30th year of the Great Harangue over Climate Change (dating it from ...


ICU "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Edgars Mission -_-110

Almost run down by a fast-paced BMW, the terrified kid goat dodged yet another bullet, or more to the blunt point, a fancy car. The previous day it had been chaotic traffic on an overpass that nearly claimed her life and the day before it could well have been a train. Whilst her past remains uncertain it was clear her future would have been both bleak and sealed had she not been seen for the vulnerable little being in urgent need of a kindly hand that she was. With the universe guiding her to the safety of a secure backyard, all kind-hearted council rangers could do was watch and thank their (and her) lucky stars they were at the right place at the right time. Not long thereafter the Lady in the Hat stood peering into the back of the Edgars Mission Kindness van cooing the words I see you, youre safe now, and for the first time in a long time ICU was.

Edgars Mission -_-111

The message of this story is simple: if only people could take the time to peer into the eyes of the animals who are farmed for food and fibre they would see before them, staring nervously back, a being who, just like us, desperately wants to live. The power balance here is enormous, yet the garden of our souls knows it should also tilt towards kindness as we utter the words I see youand the world will be as it should.

Edgars Mission - Goat, ICU-2...

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Thursday, 13 December


Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Til your good is better and your better is best. "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Edgars Mission -_-115

Roaming in a public reserve with many years fleece eventually proving too great a burden to carry, this handsome boy found kindness in the nick of time. Named Better because thats exactly what he deserves, a much-needed haircut was promptly scheduled as our work begun to ensure his would be a life worth living from here on in.

Edgars Mission -_-119

With Betters body soon relieved of over 13 kilograms of wool, it is unlikely this five year old sheep had ever met with a shearer in his life. With painful burrs and spear grass gently removed from his skin, this dear wether told us he did indeed feel better, half closing his eyes and sinking into the touch of our hands across his now closely clipped fleece as we removed the painful grasses that had penetrated Betters skin.

Edgars Mission - Better, Sheep

One thing we know for sure his life is about to get a whole lot Better from here! Our unending thanks go out to the kind hearted workers in the area who refused to rest in their effort to seek a safe outcome for Better.

Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Til your good is better and your better is best. St. Jerome



Warning shameless self promotion ahead "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Just a reminder that our show, Nature Photography in the Goldfields, is on for another two weekends at the Newstead Railway Arts Hub.

Bronwyn, Patrick and I have been delighted with the response so far and it would be great to see you drop by.

The Hub will be open from 10am 4pm, this weekend and next.

Praying Mantis by Patrick Kavanagh


Big Picture article "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Its so nice reading an article that joins the dots.  I get so sick of people concentrating on one issue or another, ignoring everything else troubling civilisation.  From Consciousness of Sheep, who else.?

Britain has apparently been thrown into crisis overnight.  Meanwhile across the channel, French president Macron is desperately trying to extinguish the flames of another weekend of mass protests that have now spread to Belgium and Holland.  In Eastern Europe the hard-right are gaining support; even undermining the previously untouchable Angela Merkels power base in the former East Germany.  Across the Atlantic meanwhile, the lines between deranged Democrats and MAGA nationalists are being drawn in readiness for Americas second civil war.  We are surely living through the greatest crisis in modern history.

Well, yes indeed we are.  But everything set out in the first paragraph is no more than the froth on the beer.  These political spasms are merely the outward manifestation of a human catastrophe that has been decades in the making.

Two far greater symptoms of our predicament have gained at least some public traction this year.  First was an all too visible plastic pollution crisis that is increasingly difficult to ignore now that China has ceased acting as the Wests rubbish dump.  Second is the somewhat less visible insect apocalypse that has seen the near extinction of a raft of pollinating insect species; without which we humans are doomed to starvation.  Interestingly, while these two symptoms are only tenuously related to climate change, they have tended to be included under that shorthand heading.  Plastic certainly damages the environment, but its build up owes far more to the ongoing power of the petrochemicals industry and the myth of recyclingthan to changes in climate.  The same goes for the insects.  While there may have been some climactic impact on migrations and reproduction, the main cause is the vast quantities of chemical insecticides required by an industrialised agriculture tasked with feeding 7.5 billion humans on a planet that could barely feed one seventh of that without fossil fuels and agrochemicals.

In the affected areas, local populations have been stunned by a series of red tide events that result in the mass deaths of fish and other marine creatures.  Climate change is indirectly involved in these events because of the increased rainfall from warmer storms.  But once again it is our industrial agriculture that is the primary cause ...


Midsumma Festival "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Midsumma Festival will reveal itself in all its finery once again in 2019, bringing a kaleidoscope of preeminent queer arts and cultural festivities from 19 January to 10 February 2019 #midsumma


COVER DEC/JAN: Gerwyn DAVIES, Hotrod, (part of Widgets and Doohickies from a Camp Toolbox, RMIT, Project Space/Space Room)   |   PARALLEL PARK (Holly Baytes and Tayla Jay Haggarty), Tandem, 2016. Archival inkjet print. (part of Queer Economies, various venues)  |  Snehargho GHOSH, Andy, In Situ Series, 2018 (part of In Situ Series 2, Blindside)  |  Melanie Jane WOLF & Ashton GREEN, CHORUS (The Substation)  |  Tyza STEWART, Nap 2017 (part of Personal Touch, Incinerator Gallery)  |  Anna THOMPSON, Madame Nightshades Poison Garden (Gasworks Arts Park).


An Amberley awakening "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

By Matt Phillips

They say that music can rejuvenate the soul, and that was what I was hoping for on Saturday 10th November as I arrived in leafy Amberley for the 2018 CMVic Singing Camp on a beautiful sunny morning.  I had been struggling with my own emotional demons the day before so I was hoping to find my centre; my support again.  Perhaps music could reorganise my brains foggy neural connections again into something clearer?

After the standard check-ins for new arrivals (most people had stayed over from the Friday welcome event the previous evening), all attendees gathered in the Banksia Room for an acknowledgement to country, welcomes, warm ups and an innovative Body Percussion musical game led by Jane York and Nicki Johnson.  It was a great way to meet some new people and to experience the unnerving sensation of speaking a simple repeated chant while engaging our bodies in a series of percussive movements.  Think of the frustration you get trying to pat the top of your head while rubbing your belly, and you get the idea.  It was fun, fast and quite furious!  Well done Jane and Nicki for waking us up and energising us all into a frenzy!




Jack be nimble, Jack be quick "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Edgars Mission - Goat, Jack-3

Well we all know how that one goes but this Jack didnt jump over a candlestick. It was most likely a leap over a fence or gate that saw this young Boer goat holed up in an outer suburb pound recently. Fearful of we humans at first and quick to nimbly flee from our presence, it didnt take too long for this dear boys personality to shine through as he began to nibble on our outstretched hands in anticipation of a treat, slowly learning we were indeed the good guys.

Edgars Mission - Goat, Jack

So strong in fact, is this goats cheeky demeanour that we soon had to rewrite the name recorded on our entry sheet with Jack Be Nimble becoming you guessed it Jack Be Nibble!

Welcome Jack Be Nibble! Yours will be a life truly worth living from here on in.

Edgars Mission - Goat, Jack-2


Munching Oats and the God Force Within "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Funny Stuart Wilde audio snippet from 33 Steps Beyond the Earth Plane

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Wednesday, 12 December


Tanks, Talbot "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

We will be at Talbot Farmers market on Sunday selling the rest of our garlic come and get yours or help sell ours and enjoy the historic surrounds of Talbot plus two busy pre-xmas markets Thanks to the Gs Gayle, Garry, Gillian and Gen for assisting at Clunes last Sunday. Continue reading Tanks, Talbot


PTUA welcomes government intervention to save The Overland "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) has welcomed the announcement that the Victorian government will provide additional funding to assist the Overland passenger train to continue running between Melbourne and Adelaide and has renewed calls for the government to support reinstatement of regular passenger trains to Horsham.

The Overland has been supported by the South Australian and Victorian governments for many years; its future was jeopardised when the South Australian government recently announced it would cut its portion of the funding. Todays announcement represents an increase in funding from the Victorian government, with the remainder of the shortfall coming from Great Southern Rail, who operate the Overland.

The Overland runs twice weekly in each direction, and stops at North Shore (Geelong), Ararat, Stawell, Horsham, Dimboola and Nhill in western Victoria; it is the only passenger rail service that travels west of Ararat, and is therefore a very important link for those communities. The Overland also serves Bordertown and Murray Bridge in South Australia.

PTUA Ballarat Branch convener Ben Lever praised the Victorian government for working with Great Southern Rail to ensure that the Overland can continue to run in 2019.

The Overland is the only passenger train that runs west of Ararat, and it serves as a vital link for people who live in places like Stawell, Horsham, Dimboola and Nhill. Not only does it connect these towns to Melbourne and Adelaide, it connects them to each other and to Bordertown and Murray Bridge in South Australia.

Many people in these communities cannot drive, and some struggle to use high-floor coaches its vital to maintain the rail link, and we are delighted to see the Victorian government step up to preserve this service.

While welcoming the news that the Overland will continue to run, Mr Lever noted that places like Stawell and Horsham needed a higher level of service than the Overland currently provides.

While its great that the Overland will still run, there is still a real need to provide regular rail services to Horsham in the very near future. The Overland provides a lifeline service to these communities, but years and years of cuts mean it only runs twice a week, and has a reputation for slow speeds and poor punctuality so its not an attractive option for most trips.

Great Southern Rail have committed to a full review of the Overland service, to determine its future beyond 2019. Mr Lever encouraged the Victorian government to take the opportunity to take a holistic view of rail transport....

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Tuesday, 11 December


Leafhoppers and leaping Mantis "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

The leaves of our Box trees are sporting quite a few Spiny-legged Leafhopper nymphs at present. A nymph is an immature insect which, unlike larvae, look somewhat like their adult forms. The undeveloped wings are the sign of a nymph stage.

Spiny-legged Leafhopper nymph

Spiny-legged Leafhopper nymph on Grey Box leaf

Leafhoppers are bugs, which means they feed by tubes that they use to suck nutrients from their food source. In the case of Leafhoppers, these are leaves. On the same Grey Box sucker on which I found the nymph was this adult Spiny-legged Leafhopper. The name fits well, as they have spiny legs, live on leaves and hop! I think this one is a Brunotartessus species.

Spiny-legged Leafhopper (Brunotartessus sp?)

Spiny-legged Leafhopper adult

What really surprised me was a miniscule bit of white fluff with 2 long antennae crawling along the leaf stems of a Long-leafed Box, a bit further into our bush. Through the lens, I still couldnt see it properly, but guessed in might have been something like a Lacewing larva, which often camouflage themselves by sticking debris on their backs. When I downloaded the image onto my computer, I saw that it was another leafhopper nymph, but at the most 2mm long. I wonder if this is how they look just after hatching. Or is something else going on?

Leafhopper nymph

Leafhopper nymph

Elsewhere, on a Golden Wattle (Acacia pycnantha) a few dark Praying Mantis nymphs were on the hunt. This one, about 15mm long, looked about to take a step into space.

Praying Mantis

Praying Mantis nymph



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Monday, 10 December


The Old Sage and the Fire Within "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

In the forest of Qian, a sprinkle of snow announced the early winter. Ambling through his domain and picking herbs the old sage encountered three young men from the nearby []


Not quite a deluge "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

What a welcome drop 13mm of rain yesterday afternoon was blessed relief after the heatwave.

As the last showers drifted east I took a quick circuit of the plains. Galahs feeding on thistles and stubble clearly enjoyed the cool change.

Buloke landscape, Moolort Plains, 9th December 2018


Highway matters "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Vicroads has set up a community consultation on its plans to clear vegetation from the Pyrenees Highway between Newstead and Muckleford South.

Readers may remember that FOBIF objected to some of these removals, arguing that the safety objective could be better achieved by rumble strips and reduced speed limits on the winding stretch of road. Vicroads response to that was to say, effectively, that reduced speeds would make no difference, something we found hard to understand. The Vicroads 2016-7 Annual report noted that The most common crash types were run-offroad on high-speed country roads and intersection crashes in metropolitan Melbourne. On the face of it, efforts to reduce speeds, along with traffic calming measures, might be a good response to this brutal fact. Vicroads response, however, seems to give up on the speed matter, and hope to soften the impact of any accidents.

Vicroads last consulted the community in 2016 and since then they have been developing strategies to mitigate risk to fauna and flora as part of our obligations under federal legislation. We understand that this involves assessing the impact of tree removal on Swift Parrot populations.

The consultation is a drop in session on Tuesday January 8, from 5 pm to 8 pm [drop in any time you can], at the Newstead Recreation centre, 21 Panmure Street.

Were offering this info tentatively, since Vicroads email on the matter sets the date at Tuesday 8 January December 2018

You can verify all this by emailing an RSVP to

A justification of the project can be found here.

You can find FOBIFs posts on the matter by putting Pyrenees Highway into the search box at the top of this page.

We believe works are due to start not long after the consultation.



Kick up the dust! Churn up the creek! You have the right! "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

In 2012 a British think tank estimated that for every pound made by advertising executives, they destroy an equivalent of 7 in the form of stress, overconsumption, pollution and debt; conversely, each pound paid to a trash collector creates an equivalent of 12 in terms of health and sustainability.

So says Rutger Bregman in his book, Utopia for realists [2017]. We cant verify this, but we find it strangely plausible. Who hasnt winced at some commercial being yelled from the radio? The amount of mental damage inflicted by some of these ads must be enormous.

Heres an example, in the form of a question:

Should drivers be forced to drive on roads? Or should they have the right to drive wherever they like?

Tyre marks on moss beds, Mount Alexander: irresponsible, dangerous and damaging behaviour is actively encouraged by car manufacturers and retailers.

These seem like pretty weird questions: of course you should drive on a road. People dont drive into the Botanical Gardens, up to the edge of the lake. They know there are limits.

But the bush is different. Opponents of the recent VEAC recommendations on the Wombat and Wellsford forests complained that if these places were national parks, they would have to drive on roads, an infringement of their traditional rights. Apparently they dont realise that the law on this matter is the same on all public land.

Some drivers of SUVs, and riders of motor bikes, believe that these machines have the right to go anywhere. Earlier this year, believe it or not, Coliban Water had to appeal to motorists not to drive into the Malmsbury reservoir!  Cars have been driven across moss beds on Mount Alexander, and when Parks Victoria blocked a very small section of road near Langs Lookout, the rock barriers were furiously graffitied  by drivers who didnt want to walk an extra 100 metres

Where does this weird mindset come from? If you want to know,  just watch a few sporting events on television, and be amazed at the comm...


A small glimpse into a hotter future "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Coliban Water has been promising to close down some of its inefficient water races for years. These include the Poverty Gully race, which has been leaking repeatedlya problem not helped when a DELWP fuel reduction burn destroyed the plastic lining water authorities had installed to try to improve the channels efficiency. They certainly reduced that particular fuel.

FOBIF supports the closure of the channel, believing the water is best allowed to boost the ailing Coliban River. At the same time, the closure will have some unfortunate side effects. Channel leakages over the years have created the odd interesting minor wetlands, which dry up when the channel isnt running, but manage to revive when the water comes.

So, what happens when the water stops for good? It seems that the authority may have at last acted to close the channel, and Naomi Raftery has the following response:

A few years ago I wrote a piece for Connecting Countys Nature News. It chronicled the excitement of moving into a new rental in Chewton, which backed onto an ephemeral creek line, fed, as it were, by a leak in the Poverty Gully water race. My enthusiasm was for the frog and birdlife that abounded following a leak and my newfound interest in identifying different species attracted to the water.

Coliban Water are in the process of decommissioning the water race, which will be finalised in January 2019.  The result is a deafening silence. The frog chorus is gone, the White-faced Herons are not anywhere and the weed march is on.

While FOBIF applaud the sensible decision to decommission the race, it is a good case in point for illustrating what will happen in the event of a warming climate and reiterates the importance of setting up solid, long view management of our natural places and in order that they become resilient refugia for  humans and plants and animals.

Right: although an artificial situation, the case is a very good example of what lies ahead for vulnerable corners of our region, like wetlands and water courses, as a warmer and drier climate settles on the country.

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Sunday, 09 December


Dec 2018 General Meeting Open Mic! "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

As per Castlemaine Field Nat tradition, the December 2018 general meeting is a chance for any member (or visitor) to make a short presentation.  People are encouraged to talk for up to 5 minutes about a topic related in some way to natural history.  It might be photos from a holiday to an exotic location, video footage of birds in your backyard, an analysis of recent weather patterns or reciting a poem about a forest.  It is only limited by your imagination.  There will be a projector, PC laptop and screen available for use.

The evening commences from 7.30pm on Friday 14th December in the Fellowship Room within the behind the Uniting Church on Lyttleton St (next door to the Art Gallery).  Members and visitors of all ages are welcome, and entry is free.

If youd like, bring along a plate of food to share with everyone afterwards.


SALON Dec 2018/JAN2019 "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Gabriella MANGANO and Silvana MANGANO, There is no there (still)  2015, single-channel High Definition digital video; 16:9, black and white, sound, 10 minutes 27 seconds; edition 2 of 3. Geelong Gallery. Purchased with funds generously provided by Geelong Contemporary, 2018. Reproduced courtesy of the artists and Anna Schwartz Gallery. Geelong Gallery, Little Mallop Street, Geelong (VIC), 8 December 2018 to 10 February 2019 Winner of the Koorie Heritage Trust Highly Commended Award, GOTAFE Shepparton, Aunty Girl 2018, ceramic, textiles. The Koorie Art Show, Koorie Heritage Trust, Yarra Building, Federation Square, Melbourne (VIC), 8 December 2018 24 February 2019 Andrew NICHOLLS, Porcellini (self-portrait as Tobias Smollett) 2015-2018. Large format photograph, 120 x 150 cm. the artist. WA Now Andrew Nicholls: Hyperkulturemia, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth Cultural Centre, Perth (WA), 15 December 2018 15 April 2019 ...

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Saturday, 08 December


Dinner is served "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

The following sequence was captured last week, with my favourite raptors on the plains.

The female Nankeen Kestrel, pictured here with a spider, was making repeated visits to the nest in the late afternoon. The chicks are still quite small and fluffy (you may be able to just make out one in two of the images), but will develop rapidly over the next few weeks.

Nankeen Kestrel, Moolort Plains, 5th December 2018


Sticky Beasts "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"


by Helen Kelly

Its Sticky Beast time of year! This tradition is slowly but surely taking root as a seasonal celebration. In our land without snow for snowmen we make do with sticky weed.

Alice Steel and her son Haku make Sticky Beasts out of the abundance of sticky weed that grows plentifully in Central Victoria at this time of year. Hakus favourite colour used to be yellow but now it is green he informed me when we recently had a chat. Sticky Beasts are not gender specific but Haku reckons the one he most recently made with his Mum is a Grandma. 

The now yearly tradition of Sticky Beast making grew out of fun seasonal picnic celebrations that Alice and her friends organised on a regular basis when they were in their late teens and early twenties they just happened roughly around when we could get together and when we noticed that it felt like it was definitely Summer, or definitely Spring, and people would bring food that was representational of that time of year. There was no strict observance of any particular time or ritual; the gatherings were more like spontaneous get-togethers to celebrate the seasons with a sense of respect, fun and creativity. 

On one of their picnics at a spot where two small local creeks meet, they were pulling out piles of sticky weed. As it is a weed, and they are environmentally active and caring kinds of people, they were cleaning up the area. This was something Alice had been taught to do from a young age. Her Grandmother, Helen Laycock (nee Steel), was a botanist and avid educator in native Australian plants. She fought hard for the rights of local plants and wanted the world to understand the importance of having endemic plants growing where they should be. Helens views were radical for her time she hated roses and fought for the underdogs of the plant world. She was disturbed by the lack of understanding that the non-indigenous public had about native Australian flora, and did her best to take action to change that. 

Alice recalls having her Grandmother Helen in mind when she first made a sculpture out of stickyweed. It was growing all around that area where we were having a picnic and although we acknowledged it was a weed and we were bundling it up trying to get rid of it out of this lovely little bush spot, we started to embrace it and realised how well it rolled in to a ball, and we just started going with the flow and sculpted it into this sticky beast.

And so, from a spontaneously creative act of love for and connection to the environment, and the fact that, now, Alice has a child of her own and is responsible for passing on family traditions to her son Haku, the legend of the Sticky Beast was born.


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Friday, 07 December


Are Gilets Jaunes the new guillotine? "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"


Between my French origins and the opinions expressed within this little blog, I have taken more than a passing interest in the events happening in France, especially when its fuelled by passionate and restless wwoofers who come from there too! As you will or should know, I believe the real economy runs on energy, not money, and surplus energy in particular as a result, I have been following Tim Morgans Surplus Energy Economics blog for a while, which I would encourage you all to follow too. This is Tims latest gem, which proves that when you do the math.  the truth comes out!


This weekend, the authorities plan to field 89,000 police officers across France in response to anticipated further mass protests by the gilets jaunes. In the capital, the Eiffel Tower will be closed and armoured cars deployed, whilst restaurateurs and shopkeepers are being urged to close their businesses at one of the most important times of their trading year.

Though the government has climbed down on the original cause clbre  the rises in fuel taxes planned for next year there seems to be no reduction in the worst protests experienced in the country since the 1960s. Reports suggest that as many as 70% of French citizens support the protestors, and that the movement may be spreading to Belgium and the Netherlands.

For the outside observer, the most striking features of the protests in France have been the anger clearly on display, and the rapid broadening of the campaign from fuel prices to a wider range of issues including wages, the cost of living and taxation.

The disturbances in France should be seen in a larger context. In France itself, Emmanuel Macron was elected president only after voters had repudiated all established political parties. Italians have entrusted their government to an insurgent coalition which is on a clear collision-course with the European Union over budgetary matters. The British have voted to leave the EU, and Americans have elected to the White House a man dismissed by experts as a joke candidate throughout his campaign.

Obviously, something very important is going on why?

Does economics explain popular anger?

There are, essentially, two different ways in which the events in France and beyond can be interpreted, and how you look at them depends a great deal on how you see the economic situation.

If you subscribe to the conventional and consensus interpretation, economic issu...


PP Arnold With You Am I "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Friday 7th Dec, 7.30pm, Theatre Royal


Deep Trouble: That Was Then This Is Now "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"


Or listen on iTunes, Spotify or Stitcher

That Was Then, This Is Now involved young adults and award winning writers (and a publisher!) coming together on stage to discuss much loved modern classics that have made an impact on them. Produced in partnership with the Castlemaine Childrens Literature Festival and Castlemaine Library, this event featured Robyn Annear and Cohen Saunders (The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton), Ellie Marney and Rosa Carrington  (A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine LEngle), Cate Kennedy and Abigail Meadows (To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee), Gryffin Winsor and Kristin Gill (The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien)



The event took place on 7 November 2018, in the Phee Broadway Theatre, Castlemaine, initiated and produced by Lisa DOnofrio.

This Event was supported by the Regional Centre for Culture Program, a Victorian Government initiative in partnership with the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation and Mount Alexander Shire, and a Mount Alexander Shire Community Grant.






The Necks "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"


by Steve Proposch

The Necks celebrate what it is to be a musician, living in the moment of the music, where a single note rings out in space and sparks an idea. Not even the band knows where it might lead, but the possibilities are virtually endless. 

The Necks know all the possibilities. Individually they are veteran musos with accomplished careers stretching back to the early 80s. Together they somehow find their way from silence and nothingness through spare bass notes, piano chords and feedback, to nifty riffs, to driving grooves, to crashing crescendos, to some kind of answer. 

Lloyd Swanton plays bass for The Necks and is a three-time winner of Best Bassist in the Australian Jazz and Blues Awards. Along with Chris Abrahams (piano), and Tony Buck (drums), he has been lauded in the world press for his work in this band as everything from a genius to some kind of musical shaman-stroke-prophet. The Necks performances have been described as Ecstacy in slow motion magically euphoric (Weser Kurier, Bremen, Germany), and a kind of religious experience (The Australian). We spoke to Swanton in the lead up to their performance at the Castlemaine State Festival in March 2013.

Your music feeds on itself, building from the first note with ideas tried out in the moment Do you ever play a song the same way twice?

Lloyd Swanton: No, never. Even if we wanted to, we couldnt.

Is that ever a problem? Do you sometimes have audiences requesting an old fave the play something we know mate moment?

LS: Well, people often come up to the merch desk after the show and ask which one did they play tonight? No, no-one ever asks for old faves. People just seem to know. For example, our first album Sex sold well and continues to sell well, 24 years later, such that wed expect to see some of those buyers rocking up to our shows, but although we get good crowds at our shows, its nothing like what youd expect considering how many copies Sex has sold, so clearly people just know that theyre not going to get the Sex experience at the live show (Ill tactfully avoid the many obvious jokes I could make there). And Im fine with that. We always have a good turnout to play to, and I think its great to know weve got a whole other stay-at-home audience.

Did you perhaps start out thinking you might form a straight up rock or pop band?

LS: (Snort.) We formed the band with the specific intention of exploring this modus operandi we had in mind. Incredible t...


EDPI Competition : June 2015 "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Judge: Graham Anderson (Pakenham Camera Club).

Novice Section

Category : Architecture

First Place

Photographer: Cathy Branson.

Second Place

Photographer: Heather Bell.

Third Place

Photographer: Heather Bell.

Highly Commended

Photographer: Heather Bell.

Category : Children

First Place

Photographer: Tammy Thomas.


Action Alert: Human Rights Day Refugee Rally to call for end to offshore crisis "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Action Alert: Human Rights Day Refugee Rally to call for end to offshore crisis Refugee supporters will rally on Human Rights Day, 6.30pm December 10 in the Bourke St Mall, calling to end offshore processing and bring the refugees here. The rally will also call on MPs to back the Phelps refugee bill when federal(...)


Avoca Main Street "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

As Seen on TV

Karen Cooper recently took this photo of Avoca's main street. It was selected by Channel Ten, who displayed it during their weather segment.


Talbot Central Victoria Landscape "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Maryborough's Local Phone Book Cover

This Central Victoria Landscape by Chris Crossley, has been chosen for the cover of the new local phone book. The photo was taken just outside of Talbot near Mount Greenock


Planting the markers "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Thanks to Kerry at Innovative Tags (she provided all the printed thermal labels free of charge) we have a heap of new galvanised plant markers for our fruit trees  and other permanent crops to make finding your way around the garden much easier. You can discover exactly what that brilliant tasting peach or apple is, Continue reading Planting the markers

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Thursday, 06 December

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Wednesday, 05 December


At both ends of the day "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Birds generally look their best during the bookends of the day.

This male Rainbow Bee-eater is perched above its nesting tunnel in the Sandon State Forest, stitching and preening as it contemplates the day ahead.

The White-browed Woodswallows are part of a small company that has set up camp along Mia Mia Road this pair paused briefly during a burst of pre-dusk insect hawking.

Rainbow Bee-eater, Sandon State Forest, 3rd December 2018



Victorian architecture is a series of architectural revival styles in the mid-to-late 19th century. Victorian refers to the reign of Queen Victoria (18371901), called the Victorian era, during which period the styles known as Victorian were used in construction. However, many elements of what is typically termed "Victorian" architecture did not become popular until later in Victoria's reign. The styles often included interpretations and eclectic revivals of historic styles. The name represents the British and French custom of naming architectural styles for a reigning monarch. Within this naming and classification scheme, it followed Georgian architecture and later Regency architecture, and was succeeded by Edwardian architecture.

Ballarat is a city in the state of Victoria, Australia, approximately 105 kilometres west-north-west of the state capital Melbourne situated on the lower plains of the Great Dividing Range and the Yarrowee River catchment. It is the largest inland centre and third most populous city in the state and the fifth most populated inland city in Australia. The estimated urban area population is close to 100,000 inhabitants. It was named by Scottish settler Archibald Yuille who established the sheep run called Ballaarat in 1837 with the name derived from local Wathaurong Aboriginal words for the area, balla arat, thought to mean "resting place". The present spelling was officially adopted in 1996.

Ballarat is one of the most significant Victorian era boomtowns in Australia. Just months after Victoria was granted separation from New South Wales, the Victorian gold rush transformed Ballarat from a small sheep station to a major settlement. Gold was discovered at Poverty Point on 18 August 1851 and news quickly spread of rich alluvial fields where gold could easily be extracted. Within months, approximately 20,000 migrants had rushed the district. Unlike many other gold rush boom towns, the Ballarat fields experienced sustained yields.

Proclaimed a city in 1871, Ballarat's prosperity continued until late in the 19th century, after which its importance relative to both Melbourne and Geelong ra...


2019 Enrolments Now Open "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Enrollments for 2019 are now open! From Art, French, Permaculture, Writing course for both kids and adults, Bush-Tucker..check out courses and workshops available!

The post 2019 Enrolments Now Open appeared first on Castlemaine Community House.

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Tuesday, 04 December


Wattles who doesnt love them? "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

The wattles at our place at Strangways are a very reliable source of invertebrate subjects at present.

By night,  I commonly these nocturnal ants feeding on the glands on the stem of the Golden Wattles Acacia pycnantha. The glands secrete a sweet nectar which entice ants which might benefit the plant by deterring insects that would feed on the plant. Im not sure of the species of the ant, but on Natureshare, it was suggested that it might be a Camponotus species.

A Sugar Ant (Camponotus sp) licking liquid off a Golden Wattle leaf

Ant feeding on wattle gland nectar.

Also by night, I found this fly, which I suspect is a species of Robber Fly on a Silver Wattle Acacia dealbata.

Therevid fly

A fly snoozing on Silver Wattle

By day, the wattles are still a busy place. Acacia Jewel Beetles certainly live up to their name. The live on Acacias and look like jewels. The larva of these beetles are responsible for the little piles of sawdust at the base of some wattle species and will eventually end the life of the host wattle. This one is on a Golden Wattle.

Acacia Jewel Beetle

Acacia Jewel Beetle

Another denizen of the Golden Wattle world is this tiny Lace Bug, a Nethersia species. At a couple of millimetres long, they seem to like hiding in the nooks between wattle stems. Lace Bugs mostly feed by piercing the underside of leaves of the host plant and sucking out sap.


Nethersia Lace Bug

On two Golden Wattles, I found many of these tiny Leaf Beetle larvae. Gastroenterological imaging seems easy in this little creatures. No x-rays, scans or endoscopes needed!




There are now almost daily suicide attempts among refugees on Manus Island, and no medical facilities to cope with the crisis.   The small Pacific International Hospital (PIH) at the East Lorengau compound has only one room to treat emergency patients, so there is no place to care for in-patients, so they are returned unsupervised(...)


#SaveHakeem Urgent Action Call: STOP deportation to Bahrain of Australian refugee Hakeem Al Araibi in Thailand "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Hakeem Al-Araibi has been recognised as a refugee and granted permanent protection by the Australian government. Last week, while he was in Thailand, he was taken by the Thai authorities to an immigration detention centre and told he will not be sent back to Australia.

The Thai authorities informed him that due to an Interpol red notice, he would be deported to Bahrain instead.  Today there are reports in the media that the Interpol red notice has been lifted, yet there is no clear sign of guaranteed safety and protection for Hakeem Al-Araibi by Australian and Thai state authorities or International authorities in the UN or ICRC with a  protection mandate.

Im a refugee in Australia, Im scared of the Bahraini government They will kill me. I dont know whats going to happen there. My life will end if I go to Bahrain. Hakeem Al Araibi who has been detained in Thailand.   

This is a critical case as it sets a further precedent of abuse and torture across the world, and makes us refugees more insecure about travelling outside Australia.  It violates our right to freedom of movement, life, safety and protection. RISE has emailed UNHCR Thailand, UN-CAT, The Asia Pacific refugee rights network and our team has contacted UNHCR in Thailand by phone.

We urgently request our supporters to contact Thai and Australian authorities and International agencies listed below and ask them to intervene and stop the deportation of Hakeem Al-Araibi to danger and provide him with proper support and safeguards for safe travel back to Australia.

1. Contact Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne
Electorate office: (02) 9687 8755
Foreign Affairs:

2. Australian Ambassador to Thailand. Paul Stephens 
Phone : 02 344 6300 (Thailand) or 1300 555 135 (Aus)

*[Also contact your local Australian embassies]

3. Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) head office in Canberra
Contact numbers
Switchboard: +61 2 6261 1111
Fax: +61 2 6261 3111

4. UNHCR Australia
Phone: 1300 361 288 (within Australia)
+61 (0)2 9262 5377 (overseas).

5. OHCHR | Convention against Torture

6. UNHCR Thailand
Phone : +66 2288 2180
Email :
Facsimile: +66 2280 0555

We should stop refugees from being deported to any country where they are likely to face harm and persecution.



You never know until you Try "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Click here to view the embedded video.

This is Try

Try, an ageing merino ewe, was witnessed recently by a member of the public aboard a livestock transport vehicle, desperately clinging to life as she lie almost motionless on the trailer floor, having endured being trampled beneath the hooves of her terrified companions. Injured, exhausted from her efforts to stand and covered in excrement, it was a miracle the elderly sheep had even made it this far. Some of her companions sadly had not been as fortunate, having succumbed to their injuries having had no way to escape from beneath the sea of hooves upon them.

In a twist of fate, as the livestock truck pulled into a service station, the stricken ewe made eye contact with the occupants of the vehicle beside her and a connection was made between the heart of this dying sheep and the people who saw her. Following the tug of their heartstrings, the kind hearted Samaritans knew what had to be done.

And so, they tried.

Edgars Mission - Paula, Sheep, Try

With the truck driver advising the kind hearts he was, meant to knock the injured ones on the head, but just couldnt bring himself to, they were advised to meet the vehicle at its next scheduled stop. It was then a race against time as they abandoned their previously made plans and sought to save the dear sheep who they knew needed them to try. With sanctuary at Edgars Mission promised and our Rescue Team dispatched, the truck driver and kind hearts made good on their deal and Trys safety was secured. Bundling the shaken, frightened and dripping with faeces sheep into the back seat of their late model car, they well and truly knew the life of this gentle being was worth the price of mild inconvenience on their part. Meeting our rescue team along the road to safety, Try was then Edgars Mission-bound. With the frightfully thin, ageing and badly injured sheep now in our care, our battle had only just begun. Only time, patience and a whole lot of care would tell if salvation had arrived too late.

And so, we tried.



Try a story of hope, resilience and one very courageous sheep. "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Click here to view the embedded video.

On the 30th of October 2018, kind hearts united to try and save the life of a downed ewe. What seemed an almost insurmountable task was made possible simply because people tried. Trys story serves to remind us that the everyday choices we make have the power to make a difference, what that difference will be you will never know unless you try.

If Trys story touched your heart and youd like to ensure our life-saving and life-changing work on behalf of animals continues, please donate to our Medical Fighting Fund today. But dont worry if you are not in a position to financially support our work, simply sharing these stories of hope has enormous potential to change the world for animals. Please Try.


Sophies choice a perfect storm "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Edgars Mission -_-114

It was a dark night when Sophie came into our world, the circumstances those of a perfect storm. Delayed leaving the sanctuary for her rescue, with a tank low on fuel, a phone battery not fully charged, and a vehicle highlighting the simple yet challenging question, If we could live happy and healthy lives without harming otherswhy wouldnt we?, we bravely ventured into dairy country to rescue a blind bobby calf.

Taking the story back a week or two, we were first alerted to this tiny albeit determined waif by an animal-loving veterinary nurse holidaying in Australia. Drawn by this love, Sophie found herself working on a dairy farm, tending the many calves. Do you know what happens to the unwanted calves? her voice trembled. Like Alice, she had stepped into the unknown, but unlike Alice, she had wound up on the other side of the curtain that shields the dairy industry.

Edgars Mission - calf, Sophie

Knowing as we do the stark fate of these calves born to this industry, it is hard to conceive that others do not, yet there was a time when we too lived in blissful ignorance, believing the impact of the dairy industry on the animals who make it possible was benign. With her heart breaking just that little bit more each day, but taking comfort believing the wee babies in her care would at least know some measure of kindness in their short time on this earth, this kind heart was touched beyond belief by a sweet little Jersey-cross calf who doggedly struggled to hold her own amongst her fully sighted brethren. Unaccepting of the fate that would normally befall such an animal, the race was on to find sanctuary for the calf we were to name Babe. The first picture we saw of Babe told of the fondness in which she was helda single red heart was painted on her side. Such an image, such a plight and such a determination swung us into action.



Forgiveness and Acceptance "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

A Stuart Wilde article: Some people dont need redemption, they believe they are perfect. The rest of us need as much redemption and forgiveness...


Weird responses of righteous fury, against students who protested about about climate change "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

The weirdest right-wing takes on the student climate protest , Australias free speech warriors took a righteous stand against children fighting for their future. Crikey, DEC 03, 2018   After years of apocalyptic headlines and government intransigence on climate change, the sight of thousands of high school students packing Sydneys Martin Place last Friday provided a jolt of much-needed hope for the future. Armed with loudspeakers, and some incredibly creative posters, the strike which also took place in Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Coffs Harbour, Bendigo and other city centres  represented part of a global surge of student-led climate change protests.

It also caused a surge of righteous fury among conservative politicians and commentators; a feeling that was not shared by most Australians who are more worried about climate change than ever, and increasingly are in favour of more renewable energy. Heres a selection of the responses from those who chose to take a stand against the children advocating for their future: (subscribers only)

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Monday, 03 December


Going underground "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

As summer commences two of our migratory species tend to fall a little silent. The Sacred Kingfisher and Rainbow Bee-eater are both tunnel nesting species, the former using both earthen tunnels as well as tree hollows. At present the birds will be incubating and they tend to be less vocal than will be the case in a few weeks when feeding young.

In Rainbow Bee-eaters both sexes excavate the nesting tunnel you can see some  evidence of activity on the bill of the male below. In both the Sacred Kingfisher and the Rainbow Bee-eater both sexes incubate, although my observations suggest the female bee-eaters do the majority of sitting.

Rainbow Bee-eater (male), Loddon River @ Newstead, 2nd December 2018


FOBIF breakup reminder "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

The FOBIF breakup for the year is on next Monday, 10 December beginning at 6pm. Further details can be found here. All FOBIF members and supporters are welcome.

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Sunday, 02 December


Little Corellas "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

The loud, screeching calls of flocks of corellas are a feature of the natural soundscape of the summer months around Newstead.

Increasingly its Little Corellas that are forming these flocks along with their larger relative, the Long-billed Corella. Little Corellas can be distinguished by their handsome crest and lack the extensive pink colouration around the face and neck.

Little Corellas, Loddon River @ Newstead, 2nd December 2018


Bristol Hill Pioneer Memorial Tower "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Central Victorian Photo Location

The Bristol Hill Pioneer Memorial Tower is the latest addition to our Central Victorian Photo Locations Map. It was built in 1933 during the Great Depression, largely of material from the old Maryborough Gaol. It offers great views of the town.

Bristol Hill Pioneer Memorial Tower

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Saturday, 01 December


Australias climate action schoolkids more intelligent, better informed, than Australias government "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

I think whats striking in Matt Canavans comments is how demeaning he is about young people and what they actually know, and how he underestimates their understanding,

I heard students today at the rally talking about the IPCC report, talking about the 700 odd days until emissions can peak before we exceed 1.5 degrees.

These are kids that actually understand the science in a way that I think most of parliamentarians dont.

Organiser Deanna Athanosos, who is in year 10, said Mr Morrisons rhetoric towards the strike made her laugh.

If you were doing your job properly, we wouldnt be here, she said.

Students strike for climate change protests, defying calls to stay in school  ABC News Thousands of Australian students have defied calls by the Prime Minister to stay in school and instead marched on the nations capital cities, and some regional centres, demanding an end to political inertia on climate change.

Key points:

  • Students called for politicians to act on climate change warnings
  • Thousands of young people were inspired by 15-year-old Swedish pupil Greta Thunbergs protest in Stockholm
  • Resources Minister Matt Canavan criticised demonstrators for missing out on school

Protests were held in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Coffs Harbour, Bendigo and other cities, as students banded together to pressure the Morrison Government in the lead-up to a federal election.

The politicians arent listening to us when we try to ask nicely for what we want and for what we need, said Castlemaine student Harriet OShea Carre.

So now we have to go to extreme lengths and miss out on school.

It follows similar protests in Canberra and Hobart earlier this week, which have spurred on the junior activists.

You dont learn anything from protesting

But the protests have sparked their own reaction among key members of the Federal Government who have used commercial radio to dress down the students.

Resources Minister Matt Canavan said the only thing children would be learn from th...

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Friday, 30 November


RISE University and Health Service Divestment Call "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

A Breakdown of the health and education institutions currently financially tied to security companies complicit in ongoing detention torture. There have been countless reports and inquiries regarding the deaths, torture and sexual abuse faced by refugees who have been incarcerated within Australias mandatory detention centres. These detention centres are allowed to exist with impunity because they are directly orchestrated by the Australian government for profit.

RISE encourages employees, students and clients of these institutions as well as general supporters to use the contact points linked below, maintain a physical presence at these establishments and demand they divest from the detention industry immediately and sever ties with these security companies.


Reclaim the Radical Spirit of the Eureka Rebellion "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Tune in for Live Broadcast 4am -6am Monday 3 December from the Eureka Dawn Ceremony at the site of the Eureka Massacre (Cnr Stawell and Eureka Sts Ballarat). As part of the day long series of events organised by the Anarchist Media Institute commemorating the 164th Anniversary of the Eureka Stockade massacre starting with the 4am dawn vigil, Eureka Awards ceremeny at Bakery Hill, a long march through the streets of Ballarat to the Old Ballarat Cemetery, a visit to the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka to see the Eureka Flag finally brought home to its origins in Eureka Park, the site of the Eureka Stockade; and concluding with a dinner at the Eureka Stockade Hotel. The Anarchist Media Institute has been holding Reclaim the Radical Spirit of the Eureka Rebellion Celebrations, in Ballarat on December 3rd, since 2002 reclaiming the historical revisionism and commercialisation.



Over the years, Ive written a fair bit about debt and how the only way out is a Jubilee. well, Michael Hudson, someone whose podcasts I now listen to religiously, has written a whole book about this subject. Heres a review of the book I must buy myself

A Review of Michael Hudsons new book
. and Forgive Them Their Debts

As published on Naked Capitalism

by John Siman

To say that Michael Hudsons new book And Forgive Them Their Debts: Lending, Foreclosure, and Redemption from Bronze Age Finance to the Jubilee Year (ISLET 2018) is profound is an understatement on the order of saying that the Mariana Trench is deep. To grasp his central argument is so alien to our modern way of thinking about civilization and barbarism that Hudson quite matter-of-factly agreed with me that the book is, to the extent that it will be understood, earth-shattering in both intent and effect. Over the past three decades, gleaned (under the auspices of H


arvards Peabody Museum) and then synthesized the scholarship of American and British and French and German and Soviet assyr...


The shape of things to come..? "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Consciousness of Sheep keeps coming up with magnificent articles, like this one..  

I know I keep saying this too, but the Matrix cant continue lurching about for too much longer.


Despite a series of stock market scares, see-sawing oil prices and central banks jacking up interest rates, it seems likely that we are going to get through 2018 without experiencing the economic crash that many expected at the start of the year.  But while we may breathe a sigh of relief to have got to the festive season without a complete meltdown, the odds of another crash are still high.

Understanding what might go wrong is a particular problem according to Helen Thompson at the New Statesman.  Not least because 10 years on, we still cannot agree on what caused the last one:

In July 2008 the then president of the European Central Bank (ECB), Jean-Claude Trichet, declared while announcing an increase in interest rates that the Eurozones fundamentals were sound. In fact, a recession had begun in the first quarter of that year.

The causes of recessions are also sometimes wrongly diagnosed even in retrospect. For instance, the impact of exceptionally high oil prices and the response of central banks to those prices are still routinely ignored as causes of the US and European recessions in the aftermath of the 2008 crash.

Thompsons article sets out a range of weaknesses across the global economy where a new economic meltdown could begin.  China, the (albeit anaemic) growth engine of the global economy for the last decade, has developed debt problems not dissimilar to those in the west in 2008:

Economic growth in China has been slowing since the second half of 2017, and even the growth of the first half of that year was an interruption of a downward slope that began in 2013. Predictions of a Chinese financial crisis, owing to the countrys huge accumulation of debt since 2008, are made too readily. But China is now caught between a policy shift towards deleveraging to try to avoid such a debt-induced financial crisis, and another debt-financed push for higher growth amid an economic slowdown and a fierce trade war with the US. The Chinese government is struggling under these conflicting imperatives as the countrys dollar reserves fall....



dr_susan_krumdieckAn interesting narrative by Susan Krumdieck.

Lets explore a thought puzzle: Can you change the future?

You are transported onto the deck of the RMS Titanic, the largest ship ever built and designed to be unsinkable. It is midnight 13 April 1912. There are 2,224 people on the ship, which is under full steam on the fastest ever crossing of the Atlantic. You know what will happen, what will you do?



You know that at 11:39pm on 14 April the lookout will spot an iceberg, and by 2:20am the ship and 1,517 people will be gone. Can you change the future?

You know that at 11:39pm on 14 April the lookout will spot an iceberg, and by 2:20am the ship and 1,517 people will be gone. The ship was launched with lifeboats for less than half the number of people on board. You could take a self-sufficiency strategy and make sure you are near a lifeboat, but you know they will be allocated according to class and you might not get a spot.

Clearly, the best solution is to slow down, change course and not hit the iceberg. You know that t...

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Thursday, 29 November


December gardening and garlic for xmas "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Looking to escape the mad bustle of xmas? What better place to escape to than the garden. The December Notes are now posted, so you can find out what to plant, when in the month is best, plus some tips for watering over the summer. Stumped for christmas gifts this year? If you buy a Continue reading December gardening and garlic for xmas


Its all happening "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Earlier this week I found this White-plumed Honeyeater nest suspended in River red-gum above the Loddon River.

At least two small nestlings were being fed by the adults, as they ferried food from the neighbourhood at regular intervals.

In the space of a few minutes I observed what looked like either a dragonfly or damselfly delivered, one of the adults remove a fecal sac from the nest and a sudden alarm call uttered from the nest site as a raptor passed overhead. Little vignettes of nature in action!

White-plumed Honeyeater feeding nestlings, Loddon River @ Newstead, 26th November 2018


Opinion Article in The Big Smoke "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

The removal of Palestine by Google Maps

Katherine Seppings

1018316866-640x360Read here:

I am really pleased to have been invited to write this opinion piece for The Big Smoke on why Palestine is not on Google Maps and the journey that Palestine has been forced to make into non-existence by Israels existence. (Published 29 Nov 2018)

Very informative history and for me an introduction into the part played by map makers and services like Google Maps with their biases, making them complicit in political struggles for borders and land, and erasing nations like Palestine from their maps and all that implies. Great article and mu...


Labor stabs Greens and shoots itself in foot "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

RESULTS in the Victorian election last weekend will go a long way to guaranteeing that Liberal-turned-independent Julia Banks will retain Chisholm at the next Federal election, if she decides to stand.

How is that, one might ask. Chisholm will fall to Labor on a 3.4 per cent swing and Labor got a 6 per cent swing in the state election.

Well, it is all to do with Victorias Upper House, the Legislative Council, and the dirty deed Labor did on the Greens.

The Legislative Council has eight electorates of five members each. The election is run on the same basis as the Federal Senate before the 2016 changes. Voters voting above the line just put a 1 in one box and their preferences are determined by a pre-registered ticket by that party.

You cannot express preferences for different parties above the line, as you now can in a Federal Senate election.

So the parties, major and micro, do deals to swap preferences, usually irrespective of political philosophy.

The quota to get a seat after preferences are counted is 16.6 per cent.

Now preferences are counted from both ends in this sort of election. Preferences from excluded parties are counted but so are the preferences of the leftover vote of the major parties. For example, in one electorate Labor got 37.5 per cent of the primary vote and had 4.3 per cent leftover after using two lots of 16.6 per cent of get its first two candidates elected.

But who did Labor preference? A whole lot of micro parties and others before the Greens. The Coalition did the same thing, but that is understandable on policy grounds.

As the count progressed and micro party candidates got eliminated all their preferences went to other surviving micro parties. Eventually, the last micro party left unexcluded took the last seat in all eight electorates.

In one electorate the Transport Matters Party won with just 0.6 per cent of the primary vote.

In three other electorates micro party candidates won with less than 2 per cent; three with less 5 and one with 7.

In all eight electorates the Greens had the third-highest vote behind Labor and the Coalition yet got just one seat losing four of its existing seats because of these diabolically undemocratic preference deals.

The Greens only seat was in the electorate where they polled 15.8 per cent of the vote, so close to a quota they hardly needed any preferences at all.

The Greens will not forge...


Ukestras: Sustainable Community Musicianship in the Third Place "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Mark Jackson knew he was doing something right when a member from one of his nine Ukestras informed him that she was too busy seeing friends to come and play.

My number one ticket holder said, Sorry I cant come to Uke today, Im playing cards with my new friends, you dont know what youve done with the ukulele, its been fantastic.

Helping people to make music, building community and sustainability are three significant keystones in the lives and business model of Mark and his partner, Jane Jelbart.  The pair work together as The Sum of Parts, teaching Ukulele, running participatory groups, holding Ukestras and developing and encouraging sustainable leadership using their very own, finely honed Ukestra Method1.

They do this so well that for the past nine years it has been their primary source of income and they have now written two books packed with insights about their work: The Ukestration Manual, about creating music making communities with the Ukulele and the Ukestra Method, and The Business of being a Community Musician for people who want to make a living or run a small business as a community musician.

A chief value underpinning what they do is the conviction that being active in our community is good for us and that a decline in the uptake and participation in socially focussed, group-activities such as sport, church or clubs is mirrored by a decline in the physical and mental health and wellbeing of the people within the community.

Community is really good for us and I think Its really good for the planet as well if were together. Its almost like making music together was the first way that we came together, and which wasnt about fighting or reproducing.

Once you get a community music group up and running, theres the question of how to sustain it and offer support and mentorship to emerging new leaders.

Being such an accessible and appealing little instrument, new people are drawn into the sphere of the ukulele all the time, which is fortunate when sustainability is so integral to making a living as a community musician.  Youve got to constantly be introducing people into this environment and thats whats so fantastic about the ukulele. Its an instrument that you can play really complex things on, but you dont have to says Mark.

What you need is a system of teaching and leadership that is effective and sustainable. If we just relied on the people we started out working with nine years ago, we wouldnt have a business, we wouldnt be connecting people up. If it was all stale, then people wo...


Interesting times ahead.. "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Very few people join all the dots, and as usual, Gail Tverberg does her best to do so here again. There are so many signals on the web now pointing to a major reset its not funny.

Low Oil Prices: An Indication of Major Problems Ahead?

Many people, including most Peak Oilers, expect that oil prices will rise endlessly. They expect rising oil prices because, over time, companies find it necessary to access more difficult-to-extract oil. Accessing such oil tends to be increasingly expensive because it tends to require the use of greater quantities of resources and more advanced technology. This issue is sometimes referred to as diminishing returns. Figure 1 shows how oil prices might be expected to rise, if the higher costs encountered as a result of diminishing returns can be fully recovered from the ultimate customers of this oil.


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Wednesday, 28 November


Midday trains crowded "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Every day between the peaks, some lines are packed because the trains run only every 20 minutes.

Melbourne is growing; to cut waiting times and crowding, we need frequent services all day.

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The Monthly Discussion in December Bust and Beyond "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

  The Monthly Discussion in December Bust and Beyond   What: Discuss + Debate + Drinks + Pizza When: Wednesday, December 5th Time: 6pm Cost: Free Is the property market in meltdown? In the blue corner sits plunging auction clearance rates (sub 40% in Melbourne last weekend), tighter lending conditions, and national land prices down 5% year-on-year []


Eulogy to a pig: To the Max- the final chapter. "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Edgars Mission - max, pig, rake-2

His life was fortified by our kindness and a straw-filled bed, the latter only the day prior refreshed by an intrepid group of corporate volunteers to whom Max quickly endeared himself. Of course, he did this in his own inimitable and affable way, leaving them walking away with snoutmarks on their hands and in their hearts.

Edgars Mission - max, Pam, pig-4
Shadowed by a life before Edgars Mission that saw him found wandering the streets in a town made famous for its bacon factory, Max was destined to make the headlines. From his daily sojourns about his little patch in the world at Edgars Mission, Max featured on billboards plastered across Australia and the internet, and in major daily newspapers and state news services. Max ruled supreme wherever he was seen, and, lets be honest, you could hardly miss him. True to the spirit of pigs, Max was a tidy boy, designating a section of his home range for his ablutions and bringing joy to our hearts as he seized a rake between his teeth and put the finishing touches to his straw bed. His antics with his ball broke all expectations of the fun-loving nature of pigs (but sadly, too, eventually the ball!).

Maxs life could best be summed up as a river of turbulence in his passage to find sanctuary here, quickly swapping that for one that was to be peppered with beauty, serenity, wisdom and the occasional bout of proud flatulence (if youre smiling now chances are you know pigs all too well; if not, you, have something to look forward to -not!). Max indeed made wise counsel; he was a stoic, a Zen master with a glorious Buddha-like belly. If you had a problem, best sit with Max, look deep into those wise eyes (if you managed to catch him when he was awake) and massage that plump tummy and the answer was simpl...

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Monday, 26 November


The Man Who Exuded Love "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

On my first visit to Ireland I met a man whose endowed purpose was to Exude Love amongst other things such as drink beer, smoke weed and generally be a nuisance....


Dusky courtship "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Male and female Dusky Woodswallows are impossible to tell apart from their appearance alone. Their behaviour during the breeding season however, often provides a clue. This pair was perched atop a dead tree in the Rise and Shine. The male departed at regular intervals, returning with a beak full of insects for the waiting female each time. They have probably commenced nest-building nearby and this ritualistic courtship feeding is a sign that egg-laying is imminent.

Dusky Woodswallows (male at front), Rise and Shine Bushland Reserve, 25th November 2018


The Number 5 "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"



The Number 5 is the most dynamic and energetic of all the single digit numbers. It is unpredictable, always in motion, and constantly in need of change. Although it is moulded from an almost equal mix of masculine and feminine qualitites, in general the the 5 is slightly more feminine albiet a daring, tomboyish kind of feminine, with nothing demure or submissive about her.



Exhibition Opening: Sat 1 Dec, 2-5pm

Gallery Hours: Saturday and Sunday 2 Dec 16th Dec, 12-5pm



Nature photo shows "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

The opening of Nature Photography in the Goldfields by Geoff Park, Patrick Kavanagh and Bronwyn Silver will take place this Sunday at 11am at the Newstead Railway Arts Hub. Everyone is welcome and refreshments will be provided. The exhibition will run between 10am and 4pm over the first 4 weekends in December. The first day of the show is this Saturday, 1 December. Find all the details here

One of Geoff Parks exhibition photos: Male Mistletoebird, Spring Hill Track, 3rd September 2018

And the FOBIF Creatures photo exhibition at TOGS will finish this Thursday (November 29). All photos are for sale and reasonably priced. Proceeds of sales go to FOBIF to cover costs. You can see more Creatures photos on our Flickr site  and on this previous post.

We would like to thank TOGS once again for their support in mounting this exhibition. This is our fifth show at the cafe and our ninth in total. 


It might look cute, but its a menace "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Victorias weird practice of classifying deer as a protected species for the benefit of recreational hunters has come increasingly under fire from farmers, landcarers and municipalities, both rural and Melbourne fringe.

Deer in Chewton: They damage crops, trash the bush and are a traffic menaceand illegal hunters are a danger to the public.

If youre under the impression that deer are cute species which occasionally appear in romantic pose, have a look here and here for a wake up call about the damage to agriculture and the environment caused by rapidly growing feral deer populations. They dont just damage the environment: theyre a pest to farmers and a danger to motorists. Whats more, rural residents in remote rural areas report living in fear of illegal hunters.

Perhaps as peculiar as the protected status of the deer is the apparent protected status of hunters. The recent draft deer strategy showed clearly that recreational hunting is not reducing deer numbers, now at a million and growing exponentially. Yet the strategy is heavily weighted to giving hunters more chances to enjoy their sport while doing nothing about the problem.

FOBIFs response to the strategy can be found here.


FOBIF 2018 breakup "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

On Monday 10 December Friends of the Box-Ironbark Forests is having a BBQ at Bronwyn Silvers place in Walmer.

It starts at 6 pm and the address is 1036 Muckleford-Walmer Road, Walmer. 

*  food to share, including something for the BBQ if you like

*  crockery plate, cups, cutlery
*  drinks 
*  a chair

All FOBIF members and supporters are welcome.

Walmer South Nature Conservation Reserve


Summer Request Line "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"


Summer Request Line Submissions

Submit your all time favourite hit of the summer to be played on the MAINfm playlist! One entry per person only. We prefer you to submit an MP3 file, but if you can't source the file, just tell us the name of the song and the artist and we'll do our best to source the track and put it on the summer playlist! We will be profiling some of the best songs and descriptions on social media. Please let us know if you prefer to remain anonymous.
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Madge Digest #153 November 2018 "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

1) Films about food and why the food movement is unstoppable.

2) GMO potato is dangerous and should be withdrawn, says the scientist who created it.

3) Australia postpones deregulating new GM and why is the US military creating extinction technologies?

4) The Monsanto Files: Roundup - is it in your hair? and how to get it out of your Council.  

5) Thank you and goodbye.

1) Films about food and why the food movement is unstoppable!


Contact Labor MPs Bill in Parliament to get all children and families off Nauru "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Bill in Parliament to get all children and families off Nauru: Contact Labor MPs    


With notably rare exceptions[1] "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

One of the arguments being pushed by those on the political right seeking to downplay the Victorian election outcome is that Australian state governments generally get a second term. A look over the period since 1990, however, brings up  several exceptions to that rule. Heres my list:

Borbidge (Queensland), Baillieu-Napthine (Victoria), Newman (Queensland),Mills-Giles (NT)

For the second-term argument to work in downplaying the result, more is needed. It has to be the case that, having won a second term, governments mostly fail to get a third.  Heres a list [1] of instances where two-term governments have been defeated.

Groom-Rundle (Tasmania), Greiner-Fahey (NSW), Kennett (Victoria), Carnell-Humphries (ACT), Court, Gallop-Carpenter, Barnett (WA), Martin-Henderson (NT)

Eagle-eyed readers will notice that all of the exceptions in the first list were conservatives, while only two of the confirming instances in the second list were Labor.

With a limited data set, its easy to support a wide range of conclusions. Still if conservative commentators want to use historical patterns to argue that, having easily won a second term, Daniel Andrews is on track to lose next time, I think theyre dreaming.


fn1.  This is a moderately famous Internet meme, coined by Alan Greenspan

fn2. One might arguably add the Goss government in Queensland, which won the 1995 election, but lost office after a by-election required by the Court of Disputed Returns.




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Sunday, 25 November


Weird attacks on National Parks "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Public responses to the VEAC recommendations for the Central West Investigation Area are due next week [December 10]. A simple letter is enough, indicating your interest in the area in question, and your reasons for your view.

The recommendations do not concern the Mount Alexander region, but they include two important proposals for our immediate northern and southern neighbours: the proposal for a new national park in the Wombat Forest, and a Nature Reserve in the Wellsford Forest. We believe both should be supported.

VEACs draft report can be found here. A method of making submissions is here.

A concerted campaign is now under way to attack the proposals. It contains a number of strange claims. These include the following:

The recommendations would put an end to camping, horse riding, motor bike ridingIn fact these activities are explicitly allowed in most of the proposed parks, under conditions broadly accepted by the community. Bizarrely, one objection is to the requirement that vehicles be driven on formed roads. The laws on this are the same in state forests as they are in parks.

Commercial photography in parks costs $80 an hour. Actually the fees are the same for parks and state forests. The $80 fee only applies if a ranger is required to be present.

A strange video circulating on the web shows a man walking with his granddaughter, and informing her that green groups have stopped us from picking flowers in national parks. The old gentleman doesnt seem aware that wildflowers have been protected since the Wildflowers and native plants protection Act of 1930, an act reasserted by the Bolte Liberal government in 1958. That government was definitely not a green group.

The gist of these objections to parks is that any restriction on the activity in question is a violation of our liberty. Theres a big problem here, never satisfactorily resolved in our culture: how much limitation should we be prepared to accept on our favoured activity, for the benefit of the environment and the wider community?

The main effect of the VEAC proposals would be to reduce logging, hunting and prospecting. We believe these are good proposals: you can read a defence of them here.


Whoever would have thought it? Reduction in speed brings reduction in animal deaths! "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

As a sidelight to FOBIFs ongoing interest in vegetation clearance on the Pyrenees Highway, we draw readers attention to a nice item in the Midland Express [November 20].

Animal shelter managers in Elphinstone lobbied Vicroads to reduce the speed limit on Pollards road to cut the number of animal deaths. Vicroads wouldnt come to the party, but the Mount Alexander Shire put in 70 kph advisory signs and wildlife crossing signs. Before the signs went up an animal a week would be presented to the shelter. After: theres been one in 12 months.

Pollards Road: calm down, slow down and reduce animal deaths.

This is a good news story, reinforcing ideas that should by now be commonplace: speed kills, not only people, but animals. As weve reported before, you can reduce your chances of hitting an animal by up to 50% by reducing your speed in a known hit area from 100kph to 80kphand that if you did this over 200 kilometres, youd be adding only two minutes to the journey!

FOBIFs submission to Vicroads on the Pyrenees Highway emphasised that significant improvements in safety could be achieved by speed reduction and traffic calming devices like signage and rumble strips. Vicroads, however, is governed by the logic that says that a road like Pollards road should have the same speed limit as the Midland Highway


Dam! We never knew that "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

A Deakin University Phd student has claimed that farm dams are a major contributor to greenhouse gases, according to the Weekly Times [ 21/11 ].

This is due to the microbes in dams, which release carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide.

But, according to the scientist behind the work, emissions from dams could be halved with simple changes to farming practices.

The studys lead author, Quinn Ollivier, a PhD candidate in Deakins Blue Carbon Lab, found Victorias 375,000 farm dams produce the equivalent amount of greenhouse gas emissions as 385,000 cars.

Mr Olliviers study found dam emissions were caused by dissolved nitrate concentrations, and were significantly higher on livestock farms, compared to cropping areas.

Well, we never knew that. The good news, however, is that the problem can be largely fixed by revegetating dam edges, which would obviously have other environmental benefits.

And while were on the subject of dams, the state government has proposed putting a brake on farm dams by instituting a reasonable use limit on them from early next year. The proposal is designed to prevent distortions on water accessibility which may happen, for example, if an upstream landholder reduces the amount of water available to downstream users. The proposal has met with plenty of opposition.

As weve explained before, FOBIFs position on this matter starts with a distinction between genuine farm dams, useful for agricultural production, and ornamental dams, put in by some rural users just to have a nice water view. The latter have exploded in number in recent decades, and have a significant effect on our waterways. As the Dja Dja Wurrung joint management plan puts it:

Dams fragment the watercourse theyre built on, preventing movement of aquatic animals between parts of the stream on either side of the dam. Dams and channels can decrease gatjin [water] flows downstream, particularly in low rainfall periods, reducing streams to disconnected pools, or causing problems associated with low flows, such as algal outbreaks.


A state election outcome with global implications ? "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

After any state election with a decisive outcome, partisan analysis shows a predictable pattern. On the losing side, the state party blames its federal counterpart, while the feds say that the election was decided on state issues. On the winning side, there is generally enough credit to go around, with the state party basking in success, while the federal party (particularly if it is in opposition) points to the outcome as a message to Canberra.

The recent Victorian election is, I think, rather different. Thats because, on the conservative side at least, the usual state-based issues (health, education, roads) were disregarded in favour of a culture war campaign almost identical to that being run by the Morrison government at the national level and by the political right globally. Notable examples were an overtly racist law and order campaign, a revival of the drug war, and proposals for publicly funded coal-fired power stations aimed at appealing to climate science denialists. Guys slogan get back in control could just as well have been used by Donald Trump, or by the rightwing advocates of Brexit.

The stunning rejection of Guys campaign gives some hope that Australian voters will not fall for this. In part, thats because Labor ran on its traditional strength at the state level. But the outcome was very similar to Morrisons drubbing in the Wentworth by-election, where the state level advantage didnt apply.

Its only one election, but its one of a number, notably including the recent US midterms, where the supposed irresistible force of rightwing identity politics has proved to be not so irresistible after all. Its too early to start cheering, but it now looks possible that, in a few years time, the whole rightwing upsurge will prove to have been the final spasm of the losing side in the culture wars. The question then will be how to build a better world from the mess we will inherit.


Labor as the natural party of (state) government "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

I was going to write a post saying that the resounding victory of the Andrews government in Victoria reflected the fact that Labor is the natural party of government at the state level in Australia. A quick check revealed that Id already written pretty much the same thing in 2002 (over the fold). Ill add some updates and qualifications in comments.

Australian Financial Review, 5 December 2002

The latest Labor landslide at the weekend reinforces the great paradox of Australian politics. Labor is in office, and looking comfortable in all the States and Territories, but seems doomed to endless Opposition at the Federal level.

It could be argued that this is just a random fluctuation. After all, something very close to the opposite configuration occurred during the last year of the Keating government.

Then there is the general tendency of Australians to distrust overly powerful governments, reflected in the strength of minor parties in the Senate. A Liberal government at the federal level is therefore good for Labor at the state level, and vice versa.

There is something in this, but not enough. Labor now appears to be the natural party of government in all the states, with the exception of the Northern Territory and perhaps WA, and even there, the old mould of non-Labor dominance has been broken.

In the past fifteen to twenty years, Labor has rarely lost a state election, except when it has displayed high levels of incompetence, arrogance or both. Even in the wake of fiascos like the Victorian and South Australian bank failures, the Liberals have struggled to gain a second term, and have never managed a third. By contrast, all the Labor governments on the eastern seaboard have won re-election by landslide margins, and all look set for extended periods in office.

At the Federal level, John Howards current dominance of the political stage has led many observers to overlook the fragility of his hold on power. The government scraped back in 1998 with a minority of the two-party preferred vote, and appeared doomed to defeat early in 2001. Only the combination of international crisis, astute demagoguery and a hopelessly lame opposition strategy saved them, and even then the win was far from crushing. As recently as August, the government trailed Labor (on a two-party basis) in opinion polls.

In an election fought solely on domestic issues, the government would probably lose, despite relatively good economic performance and the absence of an inspiring alternative. Since state elections are always fought on domestic issues, Labor has a huge headstart at the state level. Its only potential weak point is law and order, but the current crop of Labor leaders have proved entirely capable of neutralisi...

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Saturday, 24 November


Heavy Oil Shock "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

paris fuel riots 2.jpg.jpg

As the French government increases taxes on petrol and diesel to encourage people to switch to cleaner transport, as if they can afford to just dump the cars they now own to buy something really expensive..  this is what collapse looks like, no doubt about it. And its spreading to Belgium


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Friday, 23 November


Peak Oil & Drastic Oil Shortages Imminent: IEA "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

While the IEA got a lot of coverage for its World Energy Outlook 2018 (WEO 18), there might be a little snippet that got way underappreciated. (from Cleantechnica)

On page 159 of its Outlook, accessible only behind a payment barrier, the following graph can be found:


It is clear to see that Peak Oil will be hit well before 2020, while demand keeps on rising, unless the worlds Oil Majors and State Owned Oil Companies would massively invest in new exploration, according to the IEA.

However, the Oil Majors did already heavily spend on new oil exploration in the years after 2000, where a fossil fuel hype with an accompanying coal boom lead up to an oil price of over $150 in 2008. While this oil price proved unsustainable for a crashing world economy, this oil exploration boom lead to very little new findings in the big scheme of things:



RISE eX-detainees objections to Colour Code & Democracy in Colours Victorian Election Scorecards 2018 "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Yet again, Refugee eX-detainees are thrown under the bus by so-called progressive political campaigners during the Victorian State election According to the election scorecard formulated by Colour Code, an outfit that is run under the umbrella of GetUp and claims to independently represent people of colour, the Australian Labor state government and the Greens are given a positive score for Commitment to multiculturalism, equality and inclusionand saying no to attacks to communities because of race, religion or language.

Here are questions we have for GetUp and Colour Code on the above points in their Victorian state election score-card:

  1. How does this match with racial profiling and abuse of our people by Victoria Police under Daniel Andrews Labor government?
  2. How does this match with the Andrews State Labor government, maintaining an MOU with Victoria Police and Peter Duttons Australian Border Force. The Australian Border Force is a paramilitary wing of the Department of Immigration, originally formed by the current Australian Prime Minister and member for Cronulla, Scott Morrison. What have the Greens or Labor done to cancel this MOU?
  3.  Are you giving the Australian Labor Party a positive score on these points for starting mandatory detention, resulting in death, torture and rape of detainees and ex-detainees or giving Greens and the Australian Labor Party a positive score for supporting mandatory detention?
  4. Are you saying that the Australian Labor Parties support for the policy of pushing refugees arriving by boat back into the ocean is not an attack on communities because of race, religion or language and proves a Commitment to multiculturalism, equality and inclusion?

We would also like to note that a similar organisation called Democracy in Colour has given the Australian Labor Party and the Greens in Victoria a positive tick for...

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Thursday, 22 November


TaKeTiNa: as easy as one, two, three? "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

By Bridget Roberts with Sarah Berry

Each year CMVic budgets for a day when all the workers, paid and unpaid, are invited to get together and do something as a team. This year we gathered at the Body Voice Centre in Footscray and had an introduction to TaKeTiNa. Ever heard of it? I hadnt. TaKeTiNa (the name translates as 1-2-3-4)  is a worldwide practice of teaching rhythm and learning from the teaching of rhythm that draws on multiple traditions: it appears simple, but it is both mentally and physically challenging. It is also a lot of fun!

Okay, so we sat in a circle and learned a basic body and voice rhythm. Were all musicians of one stripe or another, I thought, so what will this add to what, for us, is business as usual relaxing into a groove, listening to each other, treating variations kindly, and so on?

Then the leader (Tania Bosak) made things harder and harder, so that we made mistakes, sometimes having to drop out and recover before joining back in. At times we were all gently taken back to a basic groove for a while, before heading off on another challenge. This went on for two and a half hours, with short rests and one short reflective conversation. Looking back at the morning over a shared lunch, the group talked about the experience of confusion or frustration arising from the desire to get it right on the one hand, through to letting go and a sense of flow on the other; of being able to return to our centre when confused; of sometimes finding more space in the mind.

It was important to be challenged and sometimes to fail in this safe space. Without the right level of challenge there couldnt be that sense of delight in finding the flow.

There were lessons too about the distinct processes of learning and performing. For instance, even a business as usual step-clap and call-and-response sequence hides many levels of complexity; levels that can be broken down into the smallest learning blocks and held up for examination and experimentation. At the same time, while we work in a circle becoming the audience for one another we are confronted with our own changing levels of self-awareness and group-awareness. For instance, of trouble-spots, of how we judge these moments, and of how we can persist through these moments and re-join the flow.

As leaders, in music or elsewhere, it was good to be reminded of how our group members feel when we lead them into new experiences. How they need us to challenge them but also walk alongside them with good humour. And how its okay to give participants permission to step out of the practice if theyre overwhelmed, and to shake it all out before coming back in.


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Wednesday, 21 November


Art Pathways Information Night "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

If youd like to know more about our highly popular Art Pathways course before booking in for next year, bring your questions along to this information session. Chat with the tutors and past students, find out why it books out so fast! To register interest, please email

Date: Thursday 29th, November   Time: 6pm -7pm  Location: 30 Templeton St, Castlemaine.


The post Art Pathways Information Night appeared first on Castlemaine Community House.


Musings on motoring "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Its been pouring rain here in the last 24 hours, and the quagmire is making it rather difficult to do much around the place, especially grass cutting, which I have been doing almost non stop for two weeks now. I need a day off, and so Im writing

The trip down in Glendas Little Suzi had me thinking about just how much cars have improved since I was a boy. My first memory of any car in the family was when my father got a job as a rep selling something or other, and his company car was a Renault 4CV. I just cannot imagine anyone today being given anything remotely as small as that as a company car!

4CVI remember my dad raving about how good this car was with petrol and how enthusiastically he used to drive it around, even rolling it on its side once on icy roads in Haute Savoie..  it was so light, he and his companion simply lifted it back on its wheels and drove off, with hardly any damage. No one got hurt either, even though seat belts hadnt even been thought of back in ~1957, let alone air bags..

To cut to the chase, when I was 16, my grandmother bought me one of these cars I was too young to even get a learners permit, but back then you could get away with murder!

It cost the grand sum of $90. I learned to drive in this car, covering untold miles before eventually getting my licence.

My only memories of this little car was just how crude it was. Three speed gearbox, no heater, terrible handli...


Hip Hop Bob and the evolution of us "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Edgars Mission - Hip Hop Bob, pig

It was a cortege of kindness, respect and the utmost of love that accompanied Hip Hop Bob to her final resting place amongst the trees and piggy friends she loved so much in Piggy Paradise. As the cows solemnly watched on by the fenceline where they had gathered, Tippi let out several long, low and heart-wrenching moos as the tractor set to work to inter the body of our friend.

Edgars Mission - Hip Hop Bob, kyle, pig-2

With Hip Hops presence still with us, as it always will be, we are struggling to come to terms with the injustice of the last 24 hours. Rallying beyond belief against the spinal condition that had robbed this most resilient pig of the use of her back legs (but not of her or our determination to get her back on her feet), Hip Hop daily inspired us with reasons for hope. Despite the occasional hiccup along the way, she had reached the point we felt that walking unaided was but a forthright trotter-step away. And then, over the last 24 hours, the curve balls came and came, as veterinary diagnostics struggled to find their sinister source. Yet one thing became soul-destroyingly clearthe prognosis was not good and all we could do was grant our sweet friend the kindest of mercies. As tears well in our eyes and a lump in our throat makes swallowing nigh impossible, we revisit the hauntingly beautiful image as Kyle and Hip Hop shared that final moment. The look of love between the two, love in its purest of forms, the connection, the knowing, the heartache and finally the acceptance of what was to follow. Oh, how Kyle loved that little pig, and witnessing the two together, it was so poignantly clear that love was reciprocated tenfold.

The narrative of Hip Hop Bobs life was always one laced with kindness, love and cool things to do. Even...

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Tuesday, 20 November


We Come From a Place of Great Light "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Stuart Wilde audio snippet from Trance States


Apologies for the advertisements "IndyWatch Feed Cvic" states we sometimes display advertisements on your blog to help pay the bills and also that the displaying ads from the Automattic Ad Network. The ads you see change depending on factors like your location and the type of site youre visiting, and may come from a number of ad partners.

The Castlemaine Field Naturalists Club do not endorse any of the companies or products advertised at the bottom of any of our blogs that you receive by email, nor do we receive any financial benefit.  We are investigated our options to return to an ad-free website and blog service as soon as possible.


Plains-Wanderer video "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

As a follow-on from the November 2018 presentation by Deanna Marshall (Trust for Nature), Zoos Victoria has just released this video of some captive-born Plains-Wanderer chicks.  Enjoy!


Is there anything to fear in Dan Andrews tax plans? "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Victoria is two weeks out from an election and finally somebody is talking revenue policy. The Liberals have launched a new website, in ominous shades of red and black, detailing the governments taxation agenda. The website reveals Labors shocking new taxes (9) and their dastardly agenda to increase taxes. While the site is designed to []

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Monday, 19 November


How to Use Photography for Mindfulness and Awakening "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Photography is about a stillness - developing a relationship with the world around us


Pyrenees Highway: speeding, not speeding? "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Vicroads proposed tree removal works on the Pyrenees Highway between Green Gully and Newstead have been put on hold pending advice from the Federal Department of the Environment [DEH] on the impact these removals might have on the health of migrating Swift Parrot populations.

Readers will remember that FOBIF has argued that removal of these trees, some of significant size, is both harmful for the amenity of the road and unnecessary for safety. We have argued that a reduction in speed limits and other measures would be a more effective policy, given that this is a winding stretch of road, probably unsuitable for significant speeds.

Vicroads response to this has been to point out that a car crashing into a tree at 80 is as fatal as a crash at 90 or 100which seems to be ignoring that fact that the lower speed would most likely remove the probability of a crash in the first place. Vicroads Annual Report for 2016-7, noting a 15% increase in road fatalities in that year,  points out that The most common crash types were run-offroad on high-speed country roads and intersection crashes in metropolitan Melbourne. In spite of numerous TAC campaigns like speed kills, and wipe off 5, it seems to us that Vicroads is more concerned to improve traffic flow than to influence drivers to drive to conditions. In a weird way, Vicroads and the Transport Accident Commission seem to be at odds

Vicroads will be holding more consultations in the local area before the works begin.


Nature Photography at Newstead Railway Arts Hub "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Patrick Kavanagh, Geoff Park and Bronwyn Silver are holding a photographic exhibition at the Newstead Railway Arts Hub starting on Saturday  December 2018. 

One of the exhibition photos by Patrick Kavanagh. Lipotriches Bee with Black-anther Flax-lily. 

The expression taking photographs is a curious and revealing usage. In English, we dont make photographs, we take them. When photographing nature wildlife, plants, landscapes it can seem that the photographer captures a beauty already there, taking something that belongs to the subject, but without diminishing the subject.

Bronwyn Silver, Geoff Park and Patrick Kavanagh roam the goldfields of Central Victoria, stealing images of the beauty they find. Birds, mammals, plants. Not even mosses and lichens are safe from their pilfering ways!

While the targets of their larceny are unaffected by the process, these thieves have been profoundly altered by the images theyve stolen from the wild, seeing more deeply into the wonders of the natural environment. They are happy to share their bounty at Newstead Arts Hub this December.

Newstead Railway Arts Hub, 8a Tivey Street, Newstead
Dates: Starts 1 December 2018, 10am 4pm
Opening: 2 December 11 am, refreshments provided, everyone welcome
Open 10am 4pm on the first four weekends in December: 1st & 2nd, 8th & 9th, 15th & 16th, 22nd & 23th.
Contact Bronwyn Silver for more details, 0448751111

And a reminder that the FOBIF Creatures photo exhibition is on at TOGS till 29 November.

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Sunday, 18 November


Phil Ceberano Band, Kate Ceberano, Lll Band & Guests "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Sunday 18th Nov, 9.30pm 11.10pm, East Street Sheds


Deep Trouble #9: Prof. Bain Attwood "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

with Dr Mark Halloran

Or listen on iTunes, Spotify or Stitcher

Professor Bain Attwood has published extensively on the history of colonialism and indigenous history. His latest book, The Good Country (Monash University Publishing): eschews the generalisations of national and colonial history to provide a finely grained local history of the Dja Dja Wurrung people of central Victoria.

In this episode we discuss in detail the protectorate system that was set up in Victoria in an attempt to protect the Aboriginal people from the early settlers and in particular the settlement at Franklinford, near Daylesford in central Victoria, from which many descendants of the Dja Dja Wurrung can trace their ancestry. At the time the Franklinford protectorate was described as a successful failure.

Like what you hear? Listen to all of the Deep Trouble interviews weve run to date.



The Captain "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Edgars Mission - Sheep, The Captain

Captain- defn: A leader. One in command.

And commanding our attention recently was a handsome Wiltshire Horn wether we have christened The Captain. Having arrived at our sanctuary after experiencing an horrific predator attack, The Captain simultaneously reminds us of all that is good in the human heart and all that is wanting in our relationship with the animals we farm for food and fibre.

Suffering severe wounds which see the muscle of his forelimb completely exposed and at risk of infection, The Captains condition upon his arrival at our sanctuary caused us to audibly gasp. Whilst The Captain was fortunate to eventually cross paths with a kind heart who brought him into our care, it was evident his injury was not recent but one that had been present for some time. Exactly how someone could allow a living, feeling being to endure such pain was beyond us. Charismatic and welcoming of our attention, our hearts sank even further when we realised The Captain was trusting of mankind, meaning he had most likely held a close relationship with a human in his past. Somehow this made the failure to meet his basic needs all the more upsetting.

Edgars Mission - Sheep, The Captain-3

However, it is not judgement of The Captains former carer, for we arent to know his or her unique circumstances, but a reflection upon our entire species relationship with those we label farmed animals. In fact, The Captain is the third sheep in as many weeks to enter our care suffering insufficiently-treated injuries resulting from a predator attack.

That our countrys recently-endorsed Standards and Guidelines for Sheep, to eventually be adopted by all states and territories, still allows for the performance of flesh and tail removal procedures as well as castra...

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Saturday, 17 November


Phil Ceberano Band, Brett Kingman & Davey Lane "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Saturday 17th Nov, 9.30pm 11.00pm, East Street Sheds


Deborah Conway & Willy Zygier "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Saturday 17th Nov, 6.00pm 7.10pm, East Street Sheds


Sean Sennett chats with Deborah Conway & Willy Zygier "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Saturday 17th Nov, 5.30pm 6.00pm, East Street Sheds


Phenomenal Women (Jazz) "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Saturday 17th Nov, 5.00pm 6.10pm, The Convent Gallery

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Friday, 16 November


Vika & Linda, Deborah Conway, Emma Donovan & Melody Pool "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Friday 16th Nov, 7.30pm 8.10pm, Daylesford Town Hall


Happy Hour! (Jazz) "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Friday 16th Nov, 5.00pm 6.10pm, The Convent Gallery


Election 2018: our scorecard "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

2014-2018 has seen significant public transport investment under Labor, and they have delivered on their major promises. But as Melbourne continues to grow, and demand for regional travel increases, the challenge ahead is to build a public transport network not only copes with patronage growth, but also provides usable services into areas which currently dont have them.

So how do the parties rank?

1. Greens in some ways the Greens have the least ambitious transport plan. But its full of affordable, commonsense policies. They are the only party to commit to the Metro 2 tunnel, and to frequency upgrades across the train, tram and bus networks essential for making the public transport network vastly more usable in the short term. Accelerating the rollout of low-floor trams and implementing on-road priority, extending metro services to outer suburbs with high capacity signalling are also important initiatives. Their policy of free public transport for students is misguided, but The Greens rightly oppose the major road projects proposed by the other parties, recognising that they will simply generate more traffic.

2. Labor some ambitious plans in starting the huge Suburban Rail Loop project, alongside continuing the successful Level Crossing Removal Program, and extensive upgrades planned elsewhere around the metro and regional rail networks. They lose points for construction of three major tollways/freeways, a lack of progress on bus and tram upgrades, and for lagging on the rollout of more frequent all-day metro train services essential for a big city such as Melbourne.

3. Coalition theyve backed away from what is probably their best policy, of metro trains every 10 minutes all day, leaving commitments to build three major tollways plus other freeways, and the messy grade separation of road intersections. More positive is commitments to extend metro trains to Clyde and Baxter. Their regional high speed rail plan is ambitious, but would only speed up trains moderately, and there are doubts over whether it could really be delivered in the timeframes promised.

For more details, including a summary of minor parties, read the full report (PDF)

Keep watching for updates

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Thursday, 15 November


East Street Sessions "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Thursday 15th Nov, 9.30pm 11.00pm, East Street Sheds


Ross Wilson "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Thursday 15th Nov, 7.30pm 8.40pm, Daylesford Town Hall


Dallas Frasca Trio "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Thursday 15th Nov, 6.00pm 7.10pm, East Street Sheds


Sean Sennett (Time Off Media) chats with Dallas Frasca "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Thursday 15th Nov, 5.30pm 6.00pm, East Street Sheds


European Musique Box (Jazz) "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Thursday 15th Nov, 5.00pm 6.10pm, The Convent Gallery


Our numbers are up! "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

We are slowly working towards getting our signage needs sorted at the garden. The Give Us A Sign project, funded by Mount Alexander Shire Community Grants  aims to improve the experience for members and non members alike when they visit. Thanks to the generosity of Richard Flavell at Sandleford, we now have durable stainless steel Continue reading Our numbers are up!

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Wednesday, 14 November


Opening Night Party hosted by Kate Ceberano featuring Husky "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Wednesday 14th Nov, 9.45pm 11.15pm, East Street Sheds


Lullabies & Longing (Jazz) "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Wednesday 14th Nov, 5.00pm 6.10pm, The Convent Gallery


Jean Marc Jancovici on Radio Eco Shock "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Ive just listened to his podcast, and its a must listen item  you will not be disappointed!


jean-marc-jancoviciDid you know energy is free, and Peak Oil is not dead? That comes from a French expert in technology, energy, and climate, Jean-Marc Jancovici. Jean-Marc co-founded Carbone 4 consultancy, and The Shift Project. He advises, writes books, and lectures mostly in French, but his ideas resonate with American writers like Richard Heinberg.

We have a special treat for you this week: the world premiere of an English language in-depth radio interview with Jean-Marc JancoviciJean-Marc is well known in Europe and beyond. He is a Professor, an author of several books, the latest being Sleep quiet until 2100, and other misunderstandings about climate and energy (French only, translation pending?). Jancovici is also a member of...

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Tuesday, 13 November


Stories of Growth: car traffic driven by new roads "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Whats worse than when population growth puts strain on our transport systems?

When road traffic grows even faster than population.

But that was the reality in Melbourne for nearly four decades.

No matter how much or how little Melbourne grows, well need to be smarter in future.

Read the study: Stories of Growth Population, Transport and Melbournes Future (November 2018) PDF, 184 Kb


Deep Trouble #8 Tim Errington "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

with Dr Mark Halloran

Or listen on iTunes, Spotify or Stitcher

In this episode we are in conversation with biologist Dr Tim Errington, Director of Metascience for the Center for Open Science (COS), which is dedicated to the replication of scientific research. First we discuss the Reproducibility Project: Psychology, which found that of the 97% of significant results published in high-ranking psychological science journals only 36% of the replications were significant. We discuss some of the post-hoc explanations provided by researchers to explain this failure of replication, as well as the funding incentive system within science which discourages reproduction of research. We follow on from this by discussing the Reproducibility Project: Cancer Biology, which aimed to reproduce medical studies that were published in top-tier journals such as Nature, Science and Cell. So far, 3 of the 5 studies they have attempted to reproduce had strikingly different results from the originals. We discuss this in terms of the extremely high failure rate of phase 2 clinical trials, and how these drugs may not make it into human trials if the pre-clinical trials were more statistically and methodologically robust. We also talk about the general statistical illiteracy in the field as well as the extreme pressure to find positive results in science which is dominated by a culture of publish or perish.

Like what you hear? Listen to all of the Deep Trouble interviews weve run to date.



Musings on a wedding, a funeral, and another road trip. "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

About a month ago, I was woken up at the crack of dawn by my mobile phone ringing. this cant be good news I figured. It was my darling wife who informed me I had to be at Hobart airport by mid-day, shed booked me on a flight to Brisbane that was scheduled to leave at 1PM. her mother, she informed me, was probably going to die that day, or some time very soon, and I was needed for moral support, among other things.

Obviously, I staggered out of bed, packed my bags, forced breakfast down, and cleaned up my mess at the building site.

I had originally been booked a week or more later to attend a wedding, and everything was now up in the air literally as I sat in one of those amazing aluminium tubes that can fly you thousands of kilometres in the blink of an eye lid, thanks to those irreplaceable fossil fuels..

It was warm and sunny when I left Tassie, and pouring rain and cold when I arived in Brisbane. I had planned for this, carrying a raincoat on board. My son picked me up in Brisbane and drove me through peak hour traffic to Caloundra where my mother in law Bettywas going to spend her last three days before calmly passing away, unconscious, I think. It was a lot like turning the ignition off a very old and tired motorcar that had simply reached the end of the road..

At 94, darling old Betty, who has been the kindest and most generous mother in law one could have wished...


Ripped Off, Lost Stuff? Its Only Borrowed from the Cosmic Library Anyway "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Free flow. A metaphysical understanding of giving and receiving.

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Monday, 12 November


Did you attend any Gardener in Residence activities? We need your feedback. "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

The GIR funds run out next week final GIR session will be Sunday 18th November, 10-12noon (and the other sessions are Tuesday 8.30-10.30 and Friday 4-6pm. We are evaluating the project as part of our acquittal to Council and also to provide us with a basis for future funding submissions, to try and get Continue reading Did you attend any Gardener in Residence activities? We need your feedback.


Talking Fire: Reviving Indigenous Burning Practices "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

How we manage fire is an important conversation for rural and bush communities. What can we learn from how Aboriginal people used fire? Are those techniques applicable today in local landscapes that have changed a lot over the last 200 years?

Join the Newstead community for two events this November:

Returning cultural burning Djandak Wi to Country
Thursday 29 November 7.30pm. Newstead Community Centre (9 Lyons Street, Newstead). All welcome, no booking required.

Reviving Indigenous Burning Practices in a Changed Landscape: Community Search Conference
Friday 30 November 9am-5pm. Newstead Community Centre (9 Lyons Street, Newstead).

Full details can be found on the Talking Fire website.

Talking Fire is a community initiative designed to create different kinds of community conversations about fire. Supported by the Mount Alexander Shire Council Community Grants Program.

Friday, 09 November


Skyscraper Stan and The Commission Flats With Guests "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

Friday 9th Nov, 9.00pm 11.00pm, The Bridge Hotel Castlemaine


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