The 2019 NSW Landcare and Local Land Services Conference in October was a brilliant event that was the result of 12 months of planning and organisation by the Conference Committee. More than 300 delegates from across the country descended on Broken Hill for three days of presentations, discussions and merriment.
The event kicked off on the Tuesday with the 2019 Landcare Muster. Landcare NSW Chair Stephanie Cameron addressed the roughly 200 delegates with an update on what the organisation had been up to since the last Landcare Muster at Albury in 2017, and how they had worked to address the key issues that were raised at the time. She then spoke about looking to the future and the goals of Landcare NSW going forward. Afterwards, delegates participated in a series of workshops where questions were posed such as “Where do you see Landcare in 5 years, and what steps are needed to get there?”. The groups then discussed key issues and areas of attention for Landcare, and ways to ensure that it continued to progress well into the future.
Tuesday evening saw delegates head out to Mundi Mundi Plains Lookout, just north of Silverton, for drinks and nibbles before heading back in to the Silverton Pub for dinner and entertainment from Sara Storer, 21 time Golden Guitar winner, and her brother Greg Storer. The evening was a hit, with many dancing and singing along to their favourites. It wasn’t a late night though, with most attendees heading back into town early enough to get a good night’s sleep.
Wednesday morning kicked off with more than 300 delegates arriving and a variety of welcomes before jumping straight into a presentation from keynote speaker Charlie Arnott. Charlie was the recipient of the 2018 Bob Hawke Landcare Award, and it’s easy to see why. He spoke with passion about regenerative agriculture and the wonderful work he and other Landcarers have been doing in the Boorowa area. He was followed by several other fantastic presentations, including one from Alison Osborne from the NSW Biodiversity Trust on the power of the individual on private land conservation. Later in the morning, a panel on Ecosystem Management Understanding (EMU) was held, consisting of EMU developer Hugh Pringle, LLS Rangelands Rehab Officer Paul Theakston, holistic management educator Dick Richardson, and local landholder Luke Mashford. The sli.do app was utilised for this session so that questions could easily be posed to the panel from the delegates, and others were able to vote on questions they most wanted to hear the answer to.
After lunch, it was time for the much-anticipated field trips. Each of the four trips was well attended, and feedback was excellent. The options for the field trips were The Day Dream Mine near Silverton, a trip to the Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery and out to the famous Sculptures, a visit to the Riddiford Arboretum and Broken Hill Solar Farm, and a trip out to Clevedale Station, home of Simon and Lindy Molesworth. Delegates who hadn’t opted for a field trip were able to take a self-guided walking tour of Broken Hill if desired, and the community garden at the Broken Hill Centre for Community was also open for anyone wishing to see the wonderful work being done by Landcare Broken Hill.
Wednesday evening found all of the delegates back at the Civic Centre for the Gala Awards night. The winners are listed below. The committee had organised a photo booth for the event, and it was extremely popular throughout the night. At one stage one of the props was ‘borrowed’ by the evening’s MC Chris McCulloch who proceeded to wear it on stage for some time. Entertainment for the evening was provided by Paul Costa, Country Music Hands of Fame inductee, and the delegates danced the night away until the venue closed and it was time to leave.
Thursday morning was somewhat quieter and more subdued than the days preceding it. Delegates arrived in dribs and drabs, most making a bee line for the coffee and water stations. Despite the slow start, the presentations were fantastic and well-received. It was particularly wonderful to hear the enormous round of applause received by Landcare Broken Hill’s President Simon Molesworth AO QC, after his presentation on the group’s major project ‘Greening the Hill Mk. II’, which comprises around 39 individual projects and has had great success since it’s inception in April of 2019. Former Local Landcare Coordinator Jasmine Whitten also returned for the event with a presentation on the Healthy Soils, Healthy Farms project that she assisted with during her time with WLNSW. Her passion and enthusiasm for landcare and agriculture in general was contagious and she soon had the whole room participating in her presentation.
Once the presentations were finished, there was a Landcare Muster Feedback session to discuss Tuesday’s Muster, followed by the Closing Remarks to round out the official side of the event. That evening, delegates were invited to come to The Palace Hotel for an evening of Drag Entertainment, which was reportedly a hilarious evening that no one is talking about because “what happens at the Palace stays at the Palace”. More than 100 delegates hung around to attend the evening, which was great to see.
Special thanks go out to the ladies from Broken Hill CWA, who made the satchels from the conference using donated and second-hand materials from local supporters and also supplied morning and afternoon tea on the Thursday. Broken Hill SOTA supplied wonderful morning and afternoon teas on the Wednesday, and the ladies of White Cliffs CWA supplied the afternoon tea on the Tuesday. Cheffries Eats and Meats provided amazing lunches on each day of the conference.
Overall, the conference was an enormous hit and all feedback has been extremely positive. Thank you so much to everyone who was involved in organising the event, and all who travelled to attend it. Many friends and memories were made, and will not be forgotten any time soon.
2019 NSW Landcare Award winners:
Australian Government Individual Landcarer Award – Nerida Croker
Australian Government Partnerships for Landcare Award – Floating Landcare
Australian Government Landcare Farming Award – Amarula Dorpers
Australian Government Innovation in Agriculture Award – Land to Market Australia
Virgin Coastcare Award – Take 3 Ltd
Australian Community Media Landcare Community Group Award – Martindale Creek Catchment Landcare Inc
Woolworths Junior Landcare Team Award – Megalong Valley Public
Indigenous Land Management Award – Aunty Francis Bodkin
Austcover Young Landcare Leadership Award – Richie Benson
BCF Give Back to Fish Habitat Award – Gunning District Landcare
2019 Conference Sponsors Package_web