Friends of Merri Creek
Gnawing away at Beavers Rd Northcote
FoMC has been in discussion with Darebin City Council about the ownership and management of the land alongside Merri Creek between Beavers and Arthurton Roads Northcote. Currently, the land is privately owned by the businesses fronting the creek and they have failed miserably to look after the steep escarpment, which is ugly and covered with weeds. Not only that, but they can’t even properly maintain the buildings on the rest of the site, with the underpinnings spilling out onto the access road from a holding wall due to missing sleepers that haven’t been replaced for well over a year.
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Darebin Natural Heritage Plan approved
Thanks to those Darebin members who responded to the campaign run by new community group, Wild Darebin, to urge Darebin Council to fund the finalisation of the Natural Heritage Plan ($30,000) in their 2014/15 Budget. This plan was presented as a draft in 2011 and identifies important flora and geological sites in the area, especially on the Merri and Darebin Creeks. The campaign, strongly supported by FoMC and Greens Councillor Trent McCarthy, was successful and Darebin Council approved the funding on 30 June. Now the next step is to ensure that the plan retains its effectiveness and is implemented rigorously once it is adopted.
Brunswick Terminal Station
We were stunned to find out that Moreland Council had issued a permit for the proposed works at the Brunswick Terminal Station. The high level of community concern expressed at a well-attended public meeting had led us to believe that there would be further consultation before approval.
We now have quite a battle on our hands to try and mitigate the effects of concrete retaining walls that are 80m long and 4m high (in places) on the boundary. These walls are a big departure from the original plan, so we’ll definitely try for a more acceptable solution.
Another successful grant
FoMC thanks the Moreland Community Grants Program for $5500 which allows our sub-group MECCARG to continue gathering Murnong at their unique Wurundjeri Cultural Renewal & Community Craft Day on 8 November. (Put this date in your diary now.)
New Honorary Life Members
Congratulations to our newest Honorary Life Members: Irene Baker for coordinating the Streamteam Group for over ten years; and Dean Lombard for his superb layouts of the Friends’ newsletter for over ten years.
Celebrating FoMC’s 25th birthday
In November this year it will be 25 years since the Friends of Merri Creek was formed. We want to hear your ideas about how to celebrate this anniversary: please email your suggestions to before the end of August. Read More
Donations to Merri Creek Environment Fund
Thanks to all our members and supporters who responded to our special appeal letter by generously donating to Merri Creek Environment Fund. The fund received $5375 by the end of June, the great majority of which will go toward the donors’ choice of creating native habitat for Merri Creek in the area of Lorne St Fawkner.
Merri BirdWatch data - scientifically valuable
Our bird surveys since November 2008 have amassed a significant body of data. Susanna Bryceson has analysed the data from 199 surveys as part of her Biological Sciences studies at La Trobe University. The analyses explored bird diversity along the Merri’s rural to inner-urban corridor, relationship to habitat types and to rainfall, and aspects of seasonal migration. Here are some of her interesting findings. Read More
Upper Merri developments
Conservationists trying to protect nature in the upper Merri have been dealt a very poor hand from a deck heavily stacked in favour of developers by the Victorian Government.
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Improving gorge-ous views

Friends of Merri Creek, has received $19,997 from the Melbourne Water River Health Incentives program for restoring native vegetation at the striking Northcote Gorge. This volcanic escarpment on the east bank of Merri Creek north of Heidelberg Rd Northcote, still retains some of its original vegetation. The project: Gorge-ous Views! Restoring the Merri Creek Habitat Corridor, involves controlling serious environmental weeds, then planting trees, shrubs, and dense ground-storey plants. Everyone is invited to the community planting and BBQ on 15 June.

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Restoration at Kalkallo

Friends of Merri Creek, has received $20,000 from the Port Phillip & Westernport CMA to restore critically endangered volcanic plains grassland in Kalkallo. The project: Stages in Restoration - Stony Knolls in Kalkallo aims to re-establish shrubs and continue weed control on areas of stony knolls in Kalkallo, where woody weeds have already been removed. It will also establish an access track that will also serve as a fire break, and continue woody weed removal effort along the eastern boundary of Donnybrook Cemetery.

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Draft Constitution Added
A copy of the draft of the Friends of Merri Creek constitution has been added to the membership page
Successful grants 2013
In 2013, Friends of Merri Creekhasbeen successful with four grant applications totalling $45,360. Read More
Entire Merri Creek walked
From Good Friday to4 April, FoMC member and artist Rebecca Mayo walked all the way from the source of Merri Creek to its confluence with the Yarra River. Find out all about herseven day walkon he blog:
Shock resignation from MCMC
Long term representative to the Merri Creek Management Committee, Paul Prentice, shocked its members by tendering his resignation at the meeting on 21 February 2013. Read More
New FoMC Representative to MCMC
Nick Williams has agreed to fill the vacancy on MCMC created by Paul Prentices resignation. Nick has been a FoMC Committee member for a year and just this year he became a Substitute Representative to MCMC. Were glad that he seized the opportunity to step up.
Vale Jack Svendsen
Jack Svendsen, whowas a long term volunteer in the FoMC office, died on Friday 19 October 2012, just a few days short of his 83rd birthday. Read More
National Landcare Awards - results

Unfortunately,Friends of Merri Creekdidnt win the National Urban Landcare Award, but we received a Special Commendation, which was equivalent to coming second.Thanks to those who voted for us to win the Peoples Choice Award, but this went to Youngtown Primary School in Tasmania.

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Friends of Merri Creek President awarded OAM

Hearty congratulations to our President, David Redfearn, on being awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in the General Division, inthe 2012Australia Day Awards.
David was honoured for his service to conservation and the environment, to local government, and to the community. Besides being President of Friends of Merri Creek since 2004, there is a most impressive list of organisations to which he has made a substantial contribution. These include, among others: President of Merri Creek Management Committee from 1990-99; inaugural President of Yarra Riverkeeper Association from 2004-09; Mayor, City of Northcote from 1984-85 and 1986-87 and a Councillor from 1982-93. In 2000, David was also was awarded the City of Darebin Citizen of the Year.

Vale Harold Mackrell OAM

We are saddened by the death of Life Member, Harold Mackrell, on Sunday 1 April. Harolds connection with the Merri began in 1975 when he was a Fitzroy City Councillor (1973 to 1976 and 1979 to 1982 - becoming Mayor in his last year). He helped establish the group in 1988, was a Committee member, a reliable representative on Merri Creek Management Committee until 2009, and a regular at litter clean-ups with his special hooked 14ft folding pole for hard to reach litter. For decades he hosted Asian students in his Fitzroy home and was active with a number of Asian friendship organisations, and this work led to him being presented with a special gift by the Chinese Consulate. A documentary was even made about him in Mandarin. In 2002 he was awarded the City of Yarra Citizen of the Year and the Order of Australia Medal for his work in the Fitzroy community. Even after death, his humble nature and community values were revealed when, as he requested, no funeral was held and Melbourne University established a scholarship for Indigenous students in his name. Tributes can be left to Harold at:

Seeking action on Marran Baba

We have written to the Chief Executive of Parks Victoria, Dr Bill Jackson, asking him to ensure action on Marran Baba (Merri Creek Parklands north of the Western Ring Road) and enclosing a timeline showing a list of delays extending over almost ten years (see the May Merri Growler, p 4-5).

Friends of Merri Creek can't work in Yarra:

We have expressed our discontent at being unable to work on sites along Merri Creek in the City of Yarra, including Hall Reserve, Clifton Hill, and the area from Rushall Station to Queens Pde, Nth Fitzroy, after a Council directive has prevented Merri Creek Management Committee (MCMC) from doing revegetation work on these sites. They have been established and continuously maintained through partnerships between us, MCMC and Yarra Council.

Successful Grants

The Friends of Merri Creek have been successful with the following grants:

$19,998 Port Phillip & Westernport CMA Community Grant for the project: Stepping together to care for Bababi Djinanang (Jukes Rd Grassland), to enable restoration and management of Bababi Djinanang along with Wurundjeri.
$20,000 Caring for our Country Community Action Grant to MECCARG for the project: Restoring the Murnong fields and cultural landscape of the Wurundjeri, which aims to address loss of biodiversity values and the disconnection of human communities with the natural environment.

Thanks also to Melbourne Water for the following River Health Incentive Program grants:
$20,000 for the project: Bringing The Merri Island back to life in Northcote, for restoration of understorey streambank shrubland and control of invasive weeds.
$19,612 for the project: Linking up the Merri Creek habitat corridor in Fawkner, for weed control and revegetation alongside the Merri trail from Hare St to Jukes Rd Fawkner.
$15,020 for the MECCARG project: Linking Rosemary Grevillea escarpment & Pentridge quarry: riparian & wetland development, for linking sites to increase Biodiversity values.
$980 support grant to MECCARG for volunteers to tour Mt Rothwell Biodiversity Interpretation Centre.

Huge thanks to the MCMC Conservation Program Manager, Katrina Roberg, without whom we wouldnt have such success with grants.

Photo gallery of Merri creek

See photos of Merri Creek by Darron Davies at:

Help change the Basin Plan, which is bad news for the mighty Murray
The mighty Murray - and the rivers that flow into it - have been teetering on the brink of collapse. For far too long, we've been taking too much water out of them. Now theres a national plan to turn things around for our rivers the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. But instead of looking after our rivers for the long term, the draft Basin Plan condemns our rivers to a slow death. The good news is that the draft plan is only a draft, and you can help change it. Speak up for a plan which looks after Australia's lifeblood properly HERE. Read More
Help save Threatened critters from urban sprawl

The Victoran National Parks Association has started a campaign to save Threatened critters, like the Growling Grass Frog and Golden Sun Moth fromurban sprawl. See their website to see you you can help.

Back-to-front planning

The Victorian Governments is following an illogical out-of-sequence planning process for the new growth areas. The Governmenthas released the Northern Growth Corridor Framework Planssimultaneously withthe Golden Sun Moth strategy, which which should have been released beforehand.

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Another platypus seen in Merri Creek
During the month of May there were two different sightings of a platypus in Merri Creek, both about 500 metres north of Moreland Rd in a similar area to the one seen in September 2010. However, the later sightings were both around 7am, whereas the 2010 sighting was around 3pm.
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Platypus seen in Merri Creek

On Thursday 16 September, Friends of Merri Creek Secretary, Ray Radford was lucky enough to see a Platypus about 30cm long in the Thornbury/Coburg area of Merri Creek.

Ray was able to watch it for about 20 minutes while it hunted, swam, went in and out of its refuge and even had a scratch while on a rock.

Geoff Williams, from the Australian Platypus Conservancy, said: As far as we are concerned, this is the first really confirmed record for Merri Creek itself since the Australian Platypus Conservancy conducted trapping surveys (with negative results) in 1995."

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Friends of Merri Creek win Landcare Award

Friends of Merri Creek (FoMC) has won the Port Phillip and Westernport Landcare Award in the category Community Group Caring for Public Land.

The Awards took place on Saturday 11 September and FoMCs award was accepted by the President, David Redfearn, the Secretary, Ray Radford and the Membership Secretary, Monica Williamson.

In the words of the judges, "The Friends of Merri Creek have shown great leadership and innovation in regards to protecting and enhancing the environs of the Merri Creek."

This Award is great recognition for the work done by FoMC and the honour is shared by our members and all those who have helped out at any of our events. This award is particularly special for FoMC as an urban-based group, when Landcare tends to be associated with rural-based groups.

Next year, FoMC will be proud to represent the Port Phillip and Westernport catchment in the same category at the Victorian Landcare Awards.

The Merri Valley: Nature on Melbourne's northern doorstep

In December 2008, the State Government announced investigations for a significant expansion of the Urban Growth Boundary. One investigation area covers most of the Merri Creek catchment from north of Craigieburn to Wallan.

In response, the Friends of Merri Creek present their vision of parklands, habitat links and rural and urban landscapes that sustain natural ecosystems and provide spaces for recreation:-

A Melbourne of 5 million people without sacrificing the plants and animals that have made the Merri home for millennia.

The Friends of Merri Creek seek protection for creeks, wetlands, significant native vegetation, volcanic cones, Aboriginal and historic heritage. We envisage a network of habitat links through urban and rural areas, to connect larger conservation reserves within and beyond the Merri catchment. Green wedges would be retained between growth corridors, and rural communities and landscapes sustained, both for their own sake and as breathing spaces for the metropolis, complementing the habitat in conservation areas. These measures will help to maintain Melbourne�s liveability for people, and maintain the diversity of life on our northern doorstep.

Click here for more information

Wurunderi names for Merri grasslands

FoMC now has the pronunciations for the innovative Wurundjeri names, provided by Doreen Garvey-Wandin, for the grasslands along Merri Creek.

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Friends' Life Member wins Landcare Award

FoMC congratulates Life Member, Brian Bainbridge, on winning the 2008 Port Phillip & Western Port Landcare Caring for Commumnity Groups Award.

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Comments on the Land & Biodiversity Green Paper

Comments on theGreen Paper: Land and biodiversity at a time of climate change

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Article submitted for publication in a book on Landcare

The importance of urban Landcare

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News - Submission to White Paper on Land & Biodiversity
FoMCsubmission to White Paper on Land and Biodiversity Read More

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