Talking Fire November Events

Come along to one or both of these two upcoming Talking Fire events:

Budj Bim Rangers – Josh Ferguson & Sean Bell: Cultural Burning on the Kurtonitj IPA (South-West Victoria)

Building community capacity & confidence: Thursday 29 November – 7.30-9.15pm, Newstead Community Centre

Changing how we think about and manage fire in our local landscape means reflecting on our concerns, our capacities and our confidence in current practices and in any proposed changes. What might reviving Indigenous burning practices mean for example? Join us for a presentation on the value of community dialogue to foster shared knowledge and responsibility. All welcome. Free – gold coin donation appreciated!

 

Reviving Indigenous burning practices: Community Search Conference: Friday 30 November 9am-5pm, Newstead Community Centre

Join expert panellists at our Community Search Conference for a chance to explore how we might connect Indigenous fire traditions with current approaches to fuel reduction and planned burns to shape new ways to protect our landscape and communities. All welcome. The Community Search Conference is free but please book by Friday 23 November.

Bookings: for the Community Search Conference, email your name, organisation (if applicable), contact phone number and the number of people to Chris at Newsteadtalkingfire@gmail.com

For more information: Talkingfire.org or Talking Fire on Facebook. Contact: Chris Johnston 5476 2457.

This project is supported by the Mount Alexander Shire Council Community Grants Program.

Creative transformations

Fire Stories – part of Newstead’s Words in Winter 2018 – celebrated transformation. In the sunshine of a winter’s afternoon, we gathered, created, reflected and then shared our creations with the fire. Mostly anyway! A few things were held back, suggesting stories that needed to be developed further, or objects that suddenly felt precious!

It was fun and very playful, with an amazing arrange of natural materials – string, leaves, branches, paper, natural ochres and more – used to create objects for the fire. As each person tossed their creation into the fire, with a story,  or a few words or just in silence, it was magical to see their creation turned into some more warm for all of us around the fire.

We’ll post some more images on Talking Fire.

 

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.

 

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.