Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Wycheproof locals win Landcare Awards

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The late Mr Mervyn John was announced as an inductee to the Buloke and Northern Grampians Landcare Group’s “Hall of Fame” last month. He was nominated by the “Friends of Mount Wycheproof” and was one of 30 nominations (12 were successful).

Mervyn was born at Wedderburn in 1917. At the age of 18, he joined the Wycheproof Shire as a cadet engineer, and was eventually appointed Shire Engineer, Wycheproof Shire.

He was a qualified Civil Engineer, Soldier, Sportsman, Captain of the Wycheproof Urban Fire Brigade, Church Elder, Photographer, Historian and an early Conservationist.

Mervyn developed a keen interest in the conservation of trees. He recognised at an early date that too many trees were being cleared in the Southern Mallee and that measures needed to be taken to rectify that.

It was his idea to get the local schoolchildren to plant native trees on the northeast side of Mount Wycheproof in the 1950s. The trees are still thriving today.

Mervyn was instrumental in a Wycheproof Shire treeplanting scheme started in 1980. Before the days of “Landcare” he was a foundation member of the “Southern Mallee Trees on Farm Group”.

He was appointed their Secretary /Treasurer in 1981. He was still performing this role in 1994 and beyond. He was one of the driving forces of this group.

This group planted corridors of trees in many locations in the Wycheproof Shire. They direct-seeded and planted tube stock. Mervyn was pedantic about planting the right trees in the right soil types. He said, “Be patient because direct seeding may not show early results. Some of these seeds may take up to ten years to germinate”.

Over the years they held “on property” field days at Corack East, Cokum, Mittyack, Sea Lake and Lascelles.

The Southern Mallee Trees on Farms group took part in the national project to plant one billion trees in Australia in the 1990s. The group planted corridors of trees on the Culgoa-Ultima Road, Rifle Butts Road at Sea Lake, the Dog Netting Road near Culgoa, the Culgoa-Tittybong Road, Pellegrino’s Road, Baker’s Road and Mackies Road near Wycheproof. He sought and received help with planting and fencing from Culgoa and Wycheproof Lions Clubs, the local Country Women’s Association, Wycheproof Young Farmers Club, local volunteers, and schoolchildren who all planted trees.

These plantations are now well established.

Mervyn John was an avid birdwatcher. He had an incredible knowledge of the flora and fauna in the Southern Mallee. He studied the flood flows of the Avoca River and the various creeks that flowed from the Avoca in the Wycheproof Shire.

Mervyn John died in November 1996.

Memorabilia from Mervyn’s life is on display at the Wycheproof Museum in Mount Street in the former State School building. The museum also holds his photographic collection.

Mervyn John is a worthy member of the “Hall of Fame”.

Wycheproof Landcare Recognised Again.

The Wycheproof and District Landcare Group and its Chair, Marney Durie, both won Awards at the Buloke Northern Grampians Network Landcare AGM in April 2024.

Wycheproof and District Landcare Group were awarded the Terry Simpson Award for contribution to Landcare, Community and Environment. The group was recognised for its support and work at the Wycheproof Wetlands Project and for its ongoing support within the community.

Marney Durie received the Carrie Jesse Landcare Award for Community and Advocacy. Marney is a leader who leads by example and is passionate about the environment and how she can support the whole community to move forward for the betterment of all.

Marney is the Co-ordinator of Windharp Horizons Landscape project, (Developing a landscape strategy for the Buloke & Northern Grampians Landcare region).

It is to be noted that Marney recently presented to the Victorian Landcare Forum held in Bendigo from the 9th to the 10th April with the theme – Growing Landcare. Marney was able to talk about the project she is coordinating and to join the panel for discussion. An amazing advocate for our region and for the environment.

Well done to the late Mr Mervyn John for his vision and to the Wycheproof Land Care Group and to Marney Durie, great assets in our community.

The Buloke Times 14 May 2024

This article appeared in The Buloke Times, 14 May 2024.

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