Experience the Dandenongs

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Revival of Traditional Practices in the Dandenongs

Experience the charm and romance of Victorian country life on Puffing Billy! Travel across trestle bridges and rolling hills on this narrow-gauge steam train, while visiting historical gardens and parks around the ranges.

Cultural revival is typically associated with minority groups who claim that aspects of their culture have been recovered after suffering losses due to colonization, displacement or oppression. Such claims often form the basis for claims for restitution and political recognition.

The Revival of Traditional Practices

Cultural revival has long been recognized by scholars as an effective tactic used by minority populations seeking to consolidate their identity and gain recognition. Cultural revival is typically accompanied by demands for rights, restitutions and political or legal recognition as an ethnic group; its foundation lies in the idea that “authentic” traditions should remain unaltered over time and pass them down through generations in an organic fashion.

Julie Shiels brought an unconventional display to this retail window typically reserved for high fashion: she displayed pyjamas crafted from mattresses that had previously served as intimate spaces of dreams and nightmares, passion and loneliness, birth and death – “remembrances of others’ lives”.

Wendy Black brought some cheerful fun to Dandenong city centre by designing this colorful sign featuring one of their iconic characters – a pig! In Crump Lane nearby (see Glorious Food!) this colourful sign also serves as key to an art installation (see Glorious Food!)

Brett Ashby’s artwork along Boyd Lane commemorated Dandenong Market’s history as an integral commercial area and theatrical heart of Dandenong Town. Inspired by Eugene Von Guerard’s Ferny Tree Gully from the Dandenong Ranges, Ashby celebrated a country landscape while providing a sense of place.

Drawing inspiration from the Victorian-era wallpaper designs of Florence Broadhurst, Howard Arkley and Isabel O’Brien – vivid colors and patterns decorated the walls of a car park elevator, offering passersby an intriguing new perspective of city buildings and spaces.

Ian de Gruchy, an internationally-acclaimed projection artist, stunned Dandenong for 10 nights with his breathtaking light show at an empty shop near Drum Theatre. His breathtaking projections covered every surface in vibrant geometric patterns and textures; filling each evening from all around Dandenong. The 15 minute light show could be seen nightly from anywhere within Dandenong.

Dandenong Plaza retail window featured a collection of repurposed pyjamas featuring positive and uplifting phrases to encourage passersby to take a moment for themselves to reflect upon their own journeys. It was part of an experiment in public art development undertaken jointly with primary school students from Dandenong South primary schools.

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The National Landcare Program

The National Landcare Program is an integral component of Australia’s commitment to natural resource management. Through a range of projects that address Australia’s most pressing environmental concerns – soil restoration and improvement projects; biodiversity conservation measures; vegetation preservation projects and so forth – as well as supporting community groups’ efforts at conserving natural resources, biodiversity and vegetation; this initiative forms an essential element in protecting and conserving these valuable natural assets for future generations.

NLP Phase One contributed directly to biodiversity and sustainable agriculture outcomes across Australia, providing support for Landcare Networks, 20 Million Trees and Australia’s 56 regional natural resource management organisations that fund local environmental and agriculture projects. Additionally, this project included funding of job creation in its entirety through a national program funded by NLP Phase One.

This report analyzes the National Landcare Program’s (NLP) first decade of environmental and sustainable agriculture outcomes on-ground, detailing its challenges, lessons learned and achievements while outlining potential enhancements for its second phase.

Home Comforts provided an unexpected way for Dandenong residents to explore one of its busiest pedestrian corridors from Lonsdale Street to Palm Plaza. Drawing inspiration from domestic environments, Home Comforts was intended to surprise and delight passersby on one of Dandenong’s most frequently used shortcuts.

Numerous projects explored the idea of creating an emotional bond with places. A Visit with Mrs Bird used an oversized plaster duck as its avatar, featuring subtle wall paper patterns which gave visitors a sense of familiarity; similarly, The Bigger Picture used family photographs as its medium for providing a contemporary interpretation of local landscapes.

Yarra Ranges Council worked in collaboration with Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation, Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation and Boon Wurrung Foundation to produce an Aboriginal Cultural Values report for Dandenong Ranges in 2019. This report gives readers a better understanding of its rich and diverse Aboriginal culture and history that are so visible in this part of Victoria.

The Bullen Bullen Bush Tucker and Medicine Tours

18 months ago, the Wurundjeri Tribe Land Council secured a grant through PPWCMA’s Dandenong Ranges Wildlife Protection, Weed Control and Fuel Reduction program to develop an Indigenous bush tour. Their hope was that visitors eager to discover Aboriginal history of their region could join. They strived to give visitors an enhanced understanding of Australian culture via traditional knowledge; visitors accompanied Arakwal Bundja woman Delta Kay learned about all sorts of fruits, roots, nuts and seeds native to Bangalow Parklands before exploring Cadi Jam Ora garden along with an experienced guide.

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Indigenous landcare groups and businesses can leverage new opportunities to showcase their culture to a broader audience with proper support and guidance. Many locals have experienced firsthand how much fun learning about traditional food and medicinal plants from one of many bush tucker experiences offered is!

Ayers Rock Resort, near Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, offers gourmet bush tucker dining experiences combined with modernized Dreamtime tales. Savor cocktails featuring lemon myrtle and desert lime as well as mulga berries before enjoying delicious dishes like smoked emu with saltbush chili crust or roasted sweet potato salad before taking in Wintjiri Wiru: an interactive sound and light show incorporating traditional dance, song, lore and technology!

Join Karrke Aboriginal Cultural Tours while in Victoria to gain the skills to identify edible plants, hunt kangaroo and other animals with your hands and feet, hear some of Australia’s oldest stories from your Aboriginal guide, harvest edible bush tucker from around Victoria’s wilderness areas and create your own art pieces using an ochre paintbrush – all while connecting the environment with traditional culture!

Small volunteer groups are eager to make a positive difference in their communities, which is why they were delighted when Federal Member for La Trobe Jason Wood announced the $2 Million Dandenong Ranges Environmental and Bushfire Reduction Community Grants. These grants, spearheaded by PPWCMA, will empower local residents to rid their community of weeds and feral animals while improving native habitat through revegetation and decreasing risk of bushfire by decreasing fuel loads. Last week, community members from Johns Hill Landcare Group, Cardinia Hills Ragwort & Landcare Group, Yarra Ranges Landcare Group, Montrose Environment Group and Kalowerama Community Fireguard and Weed Reduction Group came together at an information session hosted by PPWCMA to share project ideas and learn about funding applications.

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The Dandenong Ranges Aboriginal Land Trust

The Dandenong Ranges offer an idyllic rainforest retreat just minutes from Melbourne. Their steep volcanic hills are covered with towering mountain ash trees, providing shelter to wallabies, lyrebirds and wombats. A short drive or train ride from the city takes you directly into this national park full of lush temperate forests, waterfalls and charming hamlets – perfect for wallaby-watching or camping trips!

The park boasts several well-established, cool climate gardens. Stroll through an exquisite collection of rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias and tulips at the National Rhododendron Gardens or take a stroll along an ornamental lake framed by mountain ash trees, eucalyptus, gingko and liquid amber trees at Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens before marveling at stunning tulips during Tesselaar Tulip Festival from September through October!

Dandenong Ranges are well known for their abundance of botanical treasures, but are perhaps best known for their vibrant berries and cherries. Grown on rich soils of the region, these vibrant fruit are available for picking at local orchards such as Cherryhill Orchards, Blue Hills Berries and Cherries and Kookaberry Berry Farm for visitors during harvest season. Their fresh, vibrant fruit adds much-appreciated colour and are an added attraction during this harvest season for visitors.

Dandenong Ranges have long been home to the Wurundjeri People and remain their custodial land today. Visitors to the park can gain insights into this rich heritage by joining a guided tour led by one of their Traditional Owners.

Beyond cultural tours, the National Landcare Program also encompasses environmental and bushfire risk reduction projects in Dandenong Ranges. Trust for Nature was awarded funding as part of Round 2 of Port Phillip & Westernport CMA Dandenong Ranges Environmental and Bushfire Reduction Community Grants program; using those funds to assist 10 covenanted properties improve biodiversity values while decreasing bushfire risks by controlling high-threat weed species.

The Ngurrak Barring team is passionate about engaging with its wider community and welcomes feedback in both person and online. They regularly host pop-up stalls at community events and distribute quarterly digital reports via the mailing list of Ngurrak Barring. In addition, phone consultations take place regularly with various members of the public on various issues related to community involvement.