You’re Invited: Whittlesea Agribusiness Dinner

Dear friends,

The City of Whittlesea Agribusiness program is very pleased to invite you to the fourth annual Agribusiness Dinner, to be held Saturday 25th August at the Growling Frog Golf Course.

It’s again time to gather the City of Whittlesea farming community and its supporters together, celebrate a successful year and a fruitful Spring ahead. Come along and enjoy an evening of local food and wine, conversation and ideas.

This year, we are pleased to announce that Dr Charles Massey, author of the book “Call of the Reed Warbler – A New Agriculture, A New Earth” will be keynote speaker. Charles has managed Severn Park, a 1820 ha sheep and cattle property on the Monaro for 40 years. He is a leader in regenerative agriculture systems, a Research Associate of ANU and has been awarded an OAM for services to the Wool Industry and Community. He will introduce to you his vision for the future of agriculture.

The dinner will again be fully catered with locally grown produce, with a three course menu full of heart-warmingly traditional fare on offer this year.

Please join us for a fabulous evening of friends, local food and inspiration!

See the event flyer for details or go to Eventbrite to book. Tickets are strictly limited and sell quickly, so please book early to avoid disappointment. Feel free to share amongst your networks.

For any queries or further information, please don’t hesitate to contact me by email or phone 9214-2593.

Kind regards,

Annemaree Docking (Agribusiness Officer)


Whittlesea Landcare Meets the Minister

We had an exciting start to the day last Thursday when the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio and the Deputy Mayor, Emilia Sterjova braved the icy wind to come out and meet some members of the newly formed Whittlesea Landcare Group.

The Minister used this meet and greet to announce the latest round of Landcare grant recipients, which includes Whittlesea Landcare who were successful in their application for a $500 start-up grant. Click HERE for the state government press release which details the latest Landcare funding and makes a special mention of the new Whittlesea Landcare Group. If you’re interested in joining the group or would like more information, contact Council’s Landcare facilitator Jane Juliff

Whittlease Landcare group members with Minister D’Ambrosio, Deputy Mayor Emilia Sterjova, and Kerry from Whittlesea Community House



Upcoming event: Taste of Thomo Presents David Holmgren, Permaculture Guru

Join us for a local multi-media event, ‘Aussie Street’ featuring permaculture co-originator, David Holmgren at City of Whittlesea’s Taste of Thomo Food Festival on Saturday 4th August, 2018 at Thomastown Neighbourhood House.

David Holmgren’s new book, RetroSuburbia: the downshifter’s guide to a resilient future (Melliodora Publishing, 2018) elevates the importance of household food growing and related neighbourhood activity into an empowering vision for the future of Australian suburbs. Retrosuburbia uses permaculture thinking to create home-based solutions by applying the retrofitting paradigm to our homes, gardens and most fundamentally our behaviours.

‘Aussie Street’ cleverly elevates the importance of household food growing and neighbourhood activity into our everyday lives, using 100+ photos and water coloured illustrations and practical concepts from his exciting new book.

David is globally recognised as a leading ecological thinker, teacher, respected writer and thought-provoking speaker promoting permaculture lifestyle, a philosophy that is scalable across households of all sizes.  

Come along to be part of Holmgren’s remarkably insightful, thought-provoking vision for a resilient and life enhancing sustainable future.

 Bookings are essential. To book click here.

Taste of Thomo Flyer

Rakali: the Australian “otter”

Rakali, the Australian water-rat, is an attractive and charismatic native rodent that tends to resemble an otter, rather than their pest relatives, the brown and the black rats. The amphibious mammal inhabits rivers, creeks and farm dams; however, they tend to be elusive, which may be why you haven’t spotted one before.

Rakali prefer waterbodies with low-growing dense vegetation close to the water’s edge, and occupy burrows located in creek and river banks, or large hollow logs near the water. They can grow relatively large and can be easily identified by their distinctive white-tipped tail. They are an apex predator in our waterways, with a varied diet including fish, insects, yabbies and waterbirds.

Once hunted for their soft fur, rakali populations declined dramatically until the mid-1900’s, when hunting ceased and populations were able to stabilise. Nowadays, the biggest threat to rakali populations are illegal fishing traps and nets left in waterways, which rakali get caught in and drown. They also experience predation by foxes, cats and dogs.

A recent study looked at 17 years’ worth of recorded rakali sightings across Victoria combining live-trapping and citizen science records. This information was used to examine rakali distribution and habitats. Live trapping upsteam of Toorourrong Reservoir, and records from the Atlas of Living Australia ( showed rakali to be present in the City of Whittlesea, albeit in low numbers. Keep an eye out for one on your next visit to the reservoir, and remember to add your sighting to the Atlas of Living Australia.

If you are interested in learning more about the Australian water-rat, you can find the full report HERE. The Australian Platypus Conservancy are holding a rakali information session on Tuesday 24 July (for more information: or call the Land Management and Biodiversity Team on 9217 2323 or 9217 2147 if you would like to report a rakali sighting or more information on how to make your property rakali-friendly.


Annual Thistle Education and Compliance Program Begins

As Councils annual thistle Education and Compliance program commences this week, we’d like to recognise the significant amount of work being undertaken around the municipality to tackle these pest species. For many landowners involved in the program, the advisory notices they’ll receive in the coming days serve simply as a reminder to follow-up on the previous years work.

Last year saw a number of large landholdings engage aerial-spraying contractors to cover large, dense infestations of Artichoke Thistle. While this method isn’t applicable in all situations, it allows good, overall coverage for land managers with limited time and/or vehicle access issues and sets the site up for strategic on-ground follow-up.

You may also have noticed by now the great deal of Artichoke Thistle control being undertaken by Parks Victoria staff at Plenty Gorge Parklands. We’ve been working collaboratively with other public land managers and larger private enterprise organisations to ensure they’re doing their bit to support the significant amount of work our rural residents are undertaking.

If you’d like more information about Councils Pest Plant Local Law or the Education and Compliance Program Procedure, visit this LINK.

You can find fact sheets for all prescribed pest plant species and a seasonal guide to weed control HERE.

For any other sustainable land management advice, or to report an area that may need attention, feel free to contact the Land Management and Biodiversity Team on 9217 2323 or 9217 2147.




The ‘Fast Break’ Climate e-newsletter


The Fast Break e-newsletter, produced by Agriculture Victoria (AgVic), details monthly climate driver activity and provides a three-month summary prediction of rainfall and temperature for Victoria.

Read the latest Fast Break Newsletter for Victoria and subscribe to receive it direct to your inbox, HERE.

Dale Grey, seasonal risk agronomist with the AgVic Grains team based in Bendigo has been working in the industry for two decades and produces the Fast Break newsletter. You can watch Dale in action discussing climate and seasonal outlooks for Victoria by subscribing to the Very Fast Break YouTube channel.



Register Now: Whittlesea Farm Chemical Users Course

The City of Whittlesea’s Green Connected Active and Landcare programs are bringing you a two-day, accredited Farm Chemical Users Course. The course is heavily subsidised at just $30 for both days (fully catered), usually costing around $250.

Don’t miss this opportunity to refresh or learn new skills in Integrated Pest Management, including safe and effective herbicide application. Topics covered include:

  • Pest plant and animal identification and control methods
  • Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
  • label interpretation, chemical modes of action
  • animal health and welfare
  • chemical preparation, storage, transport, disposal and spill clean-up
  • Effective application including nozzle selection and calibration of spray equipment
  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • Legislation, regulations and industry standards
  • 1080 endorsement (optional at no extra charge)


For full details and to register, open the course flier HERE

Get involved: Rabbit Biocontrol Tracker

Following the release of the Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus K5 (RHDV1 K5) strain virus last year, the project is now in monitoring stage. You can get involved by reporting any suspected RHDV1 K5 infected rabbits on your property by using the FeralScan app.

It’s never been more important (or accessible) to contribute to a project of this scale. Governments at all levels are increasingly relying on citizen science input and your assistance will help ensure continued commitment and resource investment into pest animal research, monitoring and control programs. Uploading a record (either suspected or confirmed) is really simple and there are straight forward instructions on how to collect a sample for testing to confirm the virus. You can jump on the app to view records in your area (see image below):

Or you can simply log a record following the prompts in the panel on the left side of the screen:



Why stop at rabbits? The feral scan app allows you to view and record sightings (including animal counts and impacts) for a host of pest animal species.

If you’d like more information on the RHDV1 K5 virus, including how you might be able to assist with a release on your property, follow the link below:

Happy Tracking!