Down to Earth – November 2022


Newsletter of Project Platypus
Upper Wimmera Region Landcares

November 2022

In this edition:

General Updates: New facilitator/AGM
Landcare Roundup
Next Door Natives: Vanilla lilies
In the Weeds: Serrated tussock
Upcoming Events
Useful Resources



Preserving our land –
Protecting our wildlife


9 Ormston Rd Stawell, Victoria
PO Box 838 Stawell 3380
ph 03 5358 4410

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General Updates

New local landcare facilitator

Hello to all the landcarers of the Upper Wimmera!

My name is Elia Pirtle and I am very excited to be starting as our new local landcare facilitator for the Project Platypus Upper Wimmera Region. I am a trained research scientist and scientific communicator, with a background and interest in both conservation and agriculture, so I jumped on this opportunity. The Landcare program represents a unification between conservation, agricultural and community goals, and I am eager to plant myself right in the middle.

My partner James and I, and our dog Rory, at our house in Rhymney

To get myself settled into this new role, I’ve been dropping in on our landcare group’s next meetings. I look forward to meeting everyone and learning all about your projects and goals! I am also looking forward to working on this newsletter and hope to make it a fun and useful read. For all those I haven’t managed to meet yet, I have written myself a short introduction which you can find on the Project Platypus blog page, linked below.

Read More…

Project Platypus AGM held last Friday

Project Platypus held its Annual General Meeting October 21st at the Stawell office. It was a very social and enjoyable night, with representatives there from most of our local landcares, as well as from the local CMA. We heard updates from our board on the work Project Platypus has completed in the past year, including revegetation works at sites important for landscape connectivity, and the securing of funding to support waterway restorations along Mt. Cole creek.

We also welcomed two new board members to the team, representing Jallukar and Halls Gap Landcares: Welcome to Margot Galletly, and Jeff Parson!  We also said farewell to two of our hard-working board members: Ange Turrell and Jess Gardner are stepping down due to work commitments. Jess has been a very active contributor well-networked in the Landcare community and revegetation organisations through her position with Greening Australia. Ange took the lead role in the development of Project Platypus 2022-2024 Strategic Plan. We all thank them both for their contributions and desire
to continue to support Project Platypus!

After the AGM concluded, our guest speaker for the night was the CEO of local non profit ODONATA, Sam Marwood, who shared with us their vision of Australia’s future.

Read more about the night, and learn more about ODONATA, at our blog post below.

Read more…

Landcare Roundup

Updates from our local landcare groups and other partners covering activities happening in the bush, on the farm, and in our towns 

I will be posting regularly on the Project Platypus blog to share updates on landcare activities that have been happening across our region. I am still getting to know our landcare groups and their projects, and can’t wait to start putting together profiles on all the good work being done to share, but to kick things off, I thought I’d bring you an update from the local pasture group, Perennial Pasture Systems, which I’ve been a member of since moving to the area. Perennial Pasture Systems is one of our important partners in the region, helping promote sound land management on our region’s farms. PPS has just released their annual spring pasture report, as part of an ongoing project which collects local environmental data to provide local advice for managing healthy pastures. Check out the blog post linked below to find out more about this project and how it contributes to the health of our land.

A summary of PPS’s ongoing soil probe project, which allows for proactive management of healthy pastures.

Read More…

I’ve also recently attended the AGMs of Stawell Urban, Crowlands/Warrak, Jallukar, and Halls Gap Landcare Groups. Some short updates from the groups include:

  • The Stawell Urban Landcare Group recently ran a clean up of the Rifle Range reserve, as well as their adopted portion of the Western Highway, to keep our reserves and roadsides free from litter from dumped waste, such as garden scraps which can be packed full of seeds of weeds.
  • There have been some suspected sightings of a platypus in the Mt Cole area – but so far no one has been able to get a definitive photo. Crowlands/Warrak Landcare Group is keen to get to the bottom of this – members suggested perhaps a photo competition could speed things up?! They are also keen to expand on some environmental DNA monitoring that was undertaken in their area as part of the Great Australian Platypus Search, a project led by ODONATA. Environmental DNA testing involved screening water samples for minute traces of DNA left behind, such as from fur, scales, or of course, poop. You can learn a bit more about eDNA in the short introduction video here.
  • Black Ranges Land Management Group is in the process of finalizing a pest animal and weed strategy document, which will help them prioritise their local control efforts. Halls Gap Landcare Group is also laying plans to develop a priority weed strategy, to keep weeds from spreading into the national park. Both groups are interested in collaborating to create some informational material for the highest priority weeds to share with the community.

I’ll soon be meeting folks from Moyston and Elmhurst at their upcoming AGMs (along with our neighbours in Ararat, who are part of the Upper Hopkins Land Management group’s network of Landcares to our south).

Next Door Natives

Profiling the ecology of our local flora, fauna and fungi

Our region has an astonishing level of diversity (one third of Victoria’s plant species are found in the Grampians!) After three years living here I feel I am starting to get better at identifying our local plants and animals (definitely not the fungi though). But there is still much more to learn about these species beyond what they look like! So I am starting a regular blog segment where I will explore some of the research around the ecology of our ‘next door natives’ and share what I learn about how they live, grow and interact with the greater ecosystem.

We have been treated to amazing wildflower displays for several weeks now, but in the last week a slightly late bloomer has joined the party in a big way – the Vanilla lilies!

Read the full post at the Project Platypus blog, linked below.

Read More…

In the Weeds

Profiling our local weeds and pests, and how they are prioritised

I have to be honest, I sometimes feel like I don’t know what makes the ‘bad weeds’ we always hear about so bad, so I am keen to do some learning about our local ‘notorious’ weed species for my own benefit. But since some of you may find value in this as well, I am starting a regular blog segment where I will share some of the scientific research regarding different species to better understand how a weed’s biology and ecology makes it a priority to control to protect our native biodiversity.

I will kick things off with Serrated Tussock.

Serrated Tussock relies on disturbance of native pastures to invade

Read the full post at the Project Platypus blog, linked below, which covers where it came from, why we don’t want it in our region, why it is so good at spreading, and what we can do to protect our native biodiversity.

Read More…

On the subject of weeds, I also have a few updates to bring you from our local Upper Wimmera Invasive Plant and Animal Committee, who had a recent meeting in September. This committee brings together members of Project Platypus, DELWP, DJPR, Trust for Nature, Northern Grampians Shire Council, the Horsham City Rural Council, the Wimmera CMA and Parks Victoria.

Some updates include:

  • A Serrated Tussock community awareness project is getting underway in Landsborough, and Project Platypus will work on planning an information session for the Landsborough Landcare group.
  • The Good Neighbour program, run by Parks Victoria and is sponsored by DELWP, has a focus on supporting landowners who neighbour our parks to control invasive species, protecting our wilderness areas. The program will start funding control of boneseed and bridal creeper near Stawell.
  • Parks Vic is undertaking mapping and modelling to get ahead of the spread of sallow wattle.
  • DELWP has been following up on recent reports of new weeds in our area, including Fourtone Viooltjie near Gerang Gerang and prickly pear near the Grampians Rail Trail, and are also working on developing a treatment for Soldiers/Cape Cowslip in North Goroke State Forest.
  • Project Platypus has been hard at work undertaking local weed control work, which has recently included works focused on Patterson’s curse near Germainia, Cape Tulip and Boneseed near the Black Ranges, and Bridal Creeper at Old Glenorchy and in Stawell.

Just a quick note – if you are using Gmail, the last bits of this newsletter (Upcoming Events and Useful Resources) might automatically be clipped off. To see the rest, please click the “view entire message” option, which you should see at the very bottom left of this e-mail.

Upcoming Events

Below is a run down of events coming up in our region that might be of interest


Native Grass Information Session and Walk

Presented by Moyston Landcare


Join for this free informational session and walk which will cover how to identify native and introduced grasses. Hear from local egologist Adam Merrick, and Jallukar Landcare’s own Angela Turrell who will present on a native grassland restoration project. Find more info on the flier here.

Useful Resources

Resources that have come my way, which may help you manage your own patch of land. 


Sustainable Farms, an Australian National University initiative, has recently developed a guide to shelterbelts, which covers the science behind shelterbelts and how to build them on your property.

The website of the Victoria Serrated Tussock Working Party is packed full of resources to help you identify and manage invasions of serrated tussock.

That’s all for now!

As I start getting to know better all our Landcare groups, I’ll keep you updated with projects and progress within our circle of Landcares. Please let me know if you would like to share anything with your fellow landcarers in the PP region through this newsletter, such as events you’re group is running, great resources you have come across or developed, or exciting accomplishments from on your own plot of land!



Newsletter prepared by
Elia Pirtle
Local Landcare Facilitator
Project Platypus Upper Wimmera Landcare Network
Mob 0414 143 456 © 2022. Project Platypus Organisation Incorporated.  All rights reserved.Our mailing address is:
PO Box 838, Stawell, Victoria 3380