Come and join in! Saturday night around the fire!

We’ll be weaving together stories about fire on Saturday 12 August – 4.30-8.30 pm – leaving from the Newstead Railway Arts Hub, Tivey Street, Newstead – visiting a spot in the nearby forest just for an hour as it gets dark and the moon rises. Then back at the Newstead Railway Arts Hub where there will be delicious soups to warm us and a fire too. Tell us you are coming by a text to 0418512471 – just so there is enough soup!

 

Booked yet for our Sharing Stories event?

Fire is a powerful force and a wonderful comfort. Aboriginal people have stories about how fire was brought to people and settler peoples brought their own experience of fire with them.

 

Kee woorroong Gunditjmara clan (south-west Victoria) tell this story:

A long time ago fire belonged to the crows who lived at Gariwerd, the Grampian Mountains. They were greedy crows and knew that fire was of great value. A little bird, Yuuloinkeear, firetail wren, was watching the crows making fun and games with fire-sticks. One fire-stick fell to the ground and Yuuloinkeear picked it up and flew away. The crows chased him and Yuuloinkeear soon grew tired. So he passed the fire-stick to Tarrakuuk. Tarrakuuk, the kestrel hawk, took the fire-stick from Yuuloinkeear and lit all the Country behind him. From that time there has been fire for all the Gunditjmara.

(Source: Nyernila: Listen Continuously. Aboriginal Creation Stories of Victoria, Creative Victoria website)

We’ll be sharing stories on Saturday 12 August – 4.30-8.30 pm – in the forest and around the fire at the Newstead Railway Arts Hub. Join us! You need to book through Eventbrite so we have enough soup for everyone. Click this link for more information and to book.

 

Sharing Stories Around the Fire

A Talking Fire event at Newstead Words in Winter: Saturday 12 August, 4.20pm – 8.30pm.

What is the place of fire in our lives and the lives of the species in our forest?

Join us on a short journey into the forest at twilight. Sitting beneath a particular ancient tree, we will listen to the forest as night falls, and imagine what this tree has witnessed, engaging with the language of the forest. As it gets dark, we will also listen to some stories of fire, safe in the wintery forest landscape.

Then, we’ll return to the Newstead Railway Arts Hub for hearty soup and to sit around a warming fire where we will weave together our own stories, drawing on our experiences in the past and from the evening. Our guides will be Sam Strong, who writes on fire and myths, Chris Johnston plus some special guests.

This journey through place, story, memory, myth and experience is a special event offered by the Talking Fire group as part of Newstead’s Words in Winter.

This event will start and finish at the Newstead Railway Arts Hub, Dundas Street, Newstead. We will be going out into the forest, so please bring a torch, dress warmly and wear sensible shoes.  Please arrive at 4.20 sharp so we can leave for the forest by 4.30pm. Our plan is to car pool for the trip.

Maximum number of participants:  18.

Register via Eventbrite – Sharing Stories Around the Fire

For further information call Chris Johnston on 54762457 or go to Talkingfire.org

Cost $10 per person (plus Eventbrite booking fee).

Newstead Words in Winter events.

 

Where to … rethinking fire

In the last session of Talking Fire, there was a chance to reflect on what we had heard and experienced over two intense days. The big question was:  How can we rethink ‘fire’ at a landscape-scale, not just as a threat to a house or a town? And then – So what might we do differently? What have we learnt? What are we puzzled by?

The notes from this session – created through small group discussions where people moved around the topic tables in a ‘world café’ format – have just been loaded onto the Talking Fire website. Many great ideas!

The Muckleford Forest Friends Group (MFFG) are pursuing the topic of “Rethinking … Values” taking on the idea of documenting the biodiversity of the Muckleford Forest, and then reporting each Easter as part of an annual health check for the large Bendigo Box-Ironbark Forest international Key Biodiversity Area. MFFG is one of a number KBA Guardians across our region that are being formed with the support of Connecting Country.

While the Muckleford Forest earns the Dja Dja Wurrung description of  ‘upside down country’ – a reflection of the gold mining history – it is still a much loved and beautiful forest. There is no forest restoration plan for the Muckleford Forest yet, but maybe one day there will be!

Broadly speaking, MFFG plans to select around 10 sites across the Muckleford Forest, and monitor them regularly throughout 2017/2018, so that when the Easter Health Check comes around in 2018, we are in a better position to make an informed assessment. We’ve got ideas for systematic recording, as well as sharing those serendipitous and often wondrous encounters, using the Muckleford Forest blog.

Ultimately it’s all about what we value and how we manage our local landscapes to protect what we love. Want to get involved? If you like planning and organisation, our next meeting is Tues 2 May – or if you’d like to put your hand up to take on a monitoring site (with training on “how to”) or to propose a location you’ve already been monitoring – or with any other great ideas – drop us a line to  to mucklefordffg@bigpond.com

 

 

Talking Fire – Igniting a Spark?

'Talking Fire' A Community Conversation: Understanding fire in our landscape - at the Newstead Community Centre

There’s a triangle involved in fire, which involves conditions, substrate and spark.

The “Talking Fire” weekend on 12/13 November lit a spark, but it certainly wasn’t damaging. The triangle of local, Indigenous and technical expertise, field and forest visits, and space to talk about what we’d heard and seen, all created another sort of ignition.

People are concerned about the places they love, including home, hearth and the local landscape more generally. Talking Fire was a great start to a new kind of conversation: about learning, reducing fear, building understanding, caring for our towns, settlements and the whole landscape together.

Thanks to everyone who participated and contributed. Especially Maldon Urban Landcare Group (MULGA). For funding – thanks to Mount Alexander Shire Community Grants, Maldon and District Community Bank (Bendigo Bank), Norman Wettenhall Foundation; catering – Newstead Primary School, Newstead Mens’ Shed; gifts – Goughs Range Olives and Newstead Natives; in-kind support – Newstead Landcare, Connecting Country, Newstead Fire Brigade, Newstead Auxiliary, Friends of Box Ironbark Forests, Bendigo TAFE, DELWP; photographers – Julie Hough, Julie Millowick, Christine Sayer, Marion Williams, Simon Beckett; sound recordists – Andrew Skeoch, Sarah Koschak; oral histories – Gordon Dowell. And three cheers for the planning group too.talking-fire_marionw-_low-res-4623

And mostly, to everyone who came to any of it, or all, and joined the chat. We think there were around 40 – 50 on each day, and not the same attendees, or speakers. It made for more conversations.

Because many people couldn’t attend the event, or only came to parts of it, we are curating the audio, visual and audio-visual of the weekend at our website http://www.talkingfire.org. You will be able to get a gist of the conversations there. But please be a bit patient for it all to arrive.

We are also interested in collecting ‘fire histories’ around the CFA auxiliary, and other fire experiences – to share and learn from. Contact Gordon 0467 586 881 or Janet 0439 003 469.

More info: http://www.talkingfire.org or Chris 54762457.

Talking Fire – come along on Sunday

post pictureDay 1 of Talking Fire was a hit – plenty of listening, reflecting, talking, sharing. We learnt that fire isn’t just one thing – every fire is different. Fire shapes ecology and it shapes the stories we tell. Our bush – the Box-Ironbark forest – doesn’t need fire for regeneration, but it can tolerate very occasional fires. We heard about cultural fires, slow trickling fires that are safe fires. And we talked about where risk reduction might be best – public land, private land or a strategic combination. What’s the right path to take?

Come along on Sunday and hear more. We start at 10.30 and finish at 3.30 at Newstead Community Centre. Looking forward to another great day!

Talking Fire – the conversation starts tomorrow!

Maldon area; fire, ecology, people - can they all co-exist?
Maldon area; fire, ecology, people – can they all co-exist?

Don’t forget – our community conversation Talking Fire starts at 10am on Saturday at the Newstead Community Centre. Everyone is welcome – come for the weekend, for a day or a session – and its free.

Talking Fire is about our local community, and fire in our local landscape. How can we work better as a community to reduce the risk to us – to our homes, families and friends – as well as protect our forests, wildlife and cultural sites?

Saturday will start at 10am with a welcome to Country, short talks on cultural burning, ecology, local fire experiences and fire myths with speakers Trent Nelson, Professor Andrew Bennett, Joan Sartori and Sam Strong.  If you are coming on our field visit to look at the landscape (11-30am – 3pm Saturday) don’t forget your lunch, water bottle, sensible shoes and mossie repellent!

Or head to the Community Centre and record your experience about fire with Gordon Dowell – do you remember the 1981 fire? did you set your haystack alight? or stories passed don from your forebears about fire?

On Sunday we start at 10.30 with a focus on risk: landscape-scale fire planning from Alison Boak (DELWP), community planning around risk from Steve Pascoe, and vegetation and fire from David Cheal, fire ecologist, and then we’ll look at how local planning could reduce risk.

After lunch, provided by Newstead Men’s Shed and Community Garden, Jinette de Gooijer will facilitate an exploration of ideas and options on how we might respond – as a community – to what we have learnt over the weekend.

What will come out of Talking Fire? Come along and share your ideas – that’s what its all about. Register via our website – talkingfire.org – it only takes a minute and it’s free, or drop in.

Thanks to Mount Alexander Shire Community Grants, Maldon & District Community Bank (Bendigo Bank), and the Norman Wettenhall Foundation for funding support, and to all the local organisations and individuals who are helping make Talking Fire a reality.