A timeline of significant events in the catchment project


April – A partnership with Golden Plains Shire and the Catchment Group saw all roadside weeds treated for the first time since the Woady Yaloak Project started in 1993.

July – In partnership with the Centre for eResearch and Digital Innovation (CeRDI) began development of a platform to unlock the information from 1400 soil test collected in the Catchment since 1993.

August – Woady Yaloak present the first of four Women in Farming sessions to be run in 2016 / 2017.  Fifteen farming businesses were represented.


March – Six of the seven landcare Group in the catchment decide to cease operation and merge with the Woady Yaloak Catchment Group. 

April - The Governing Rules of Association were changed to ensure annual planning meetings are held throughout the catchment to maintain local area involvement in the absence of local landcare groups.

May – Hosting 13 on farm trials on liming, alternative fertiliser and cover cropping in partnership with Southern Farming Systems.  

July – Initiated the development of a regional Horsecare through Landcare program as a result of the highly successful pilot small block program in 2012 and 2013.

August – Conducted a workshop on Essential Farm Conversations with Jeanette Long from South Australia which explore issues of farm succession and maintaining the legacy of landcare.

September – Chairman and local farmer Evan Lewis undertook a study tour to the Mid North of the United States to investigate opportunities with cover cropping.


January - Completed the next 5 year Woady Yaloak Action Plan (2014 – 2018).   

February – Mapped areas of joint priority with the Corangamite CMA.

March - Changed the funding rules to allow contractors to be subsidised instead of consumables such as chemical, fencing material and rabbit bait. Previously landholders were expected to provide the labour (except for erosion control work), but an aging demographic and labour shortages were hampering participation.

April – Completed an extensive bird survey of different vegetation types in partnership with Birdlife Australia and the Clarksdale bird sanctuary. Evan Lewis takes over from Daniel Laffan after seven years as chairman.

May - Hosted 10 long term soil monitoring sites to be used by the Corangamite CMA to determine trends in soil condition.

August – Remodelled the Woady Yaloak website.

September – Presented at the International Landcare Conference in Melbourne on the outcomes from 20 years of landcare in the Catchment. Cam Nicholson was also highly commended in the Bob Hawke Sustainable Agriculture Awards.

November – Entered discussions with the seven landcare groups in the catchment to amalgamate into one entity with the aim to reduce volunteer time spent running meetings and compliance costs.


January - Analysis of 1100 soil tests collected since 1993 shows a massive improvement in soil fertility and a reduction in soil acidity. The cost of these changes is estimated at more than $30 million. 

February - Native vegetation assessment carried out on 22 properties in the catchment.

March - New trials established to investigate responses to varying rates of lime and the biological stimulant TM.

April - Largest rabbit baiting and weed control program undertaken in the catchment commenced including significant weed control on roadsides.

May - The South West Agricultural Soils Plan was launched by Ret Major General Michael Jeffery, the National Patron for Soils at Werneth.

June - Signed an agreement with Southern Farming Systems to host and run extension activities in the catchment on nitrogen management.

August - Completed the 20 year audit of catchment condition which showed major improvement in soils, waterway condition, remnant vegetation and business viability. Results revealed landholder investment in landcare was 13 times greater than grants provided. 

September - Won the Victorian Landcare Network Award.

October - Commenced consultation for the next five year action plan (2014-2018).


March - New trials established to investigate responses to varying rates of lime and the biological stimulant TM.

April - Analysis of 1100 soil tests collected since 1993 shows a massive improvement in soil fertility and a reduction in soil acidity.  The cost of these changes is estimated at more than $30 million. 

June - Signed an agreement with Southern Farming Systems to host and run extension activities in the catchment on sustainable agriculture.

July - Commenced 10 year audit of activities and a 20 year review of changes in natural resource condition in the catchment. This included surveys of waterway and soil condition, vegetation, bird life and farm profitability.

August - Celebrated 20 years since the first meeting of the Woady Yaloak Catchment Group with the unveiling of a rock cairn at Pitfield by the State Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Ryan Smith MP.

September - Presented results from the evaluation of alternative fertilisers and biological products at the National Landcare conference in Sydney

October -Pilot course for landholders on small block with horses commenced with great enthusiasm.

December - Bill Whiteside joined the Woady Yaloak Project to co-ordinate rabbit and weed control works across the catchment.


February - Landcare group planning undertaken, identifying 48 projects worth $315,000.

March - Alice Knight appointed Chair of the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority.

April - Lime trials conducted in 1999 were retested to show the rate of soil acidification across the catchment.

July - Karen O’Keefe joins the project to manage on ground projects.

September - Geographic Information System (GIS) updated to QGIS.

November - Successfully completed the evaluation of alternative fertilisers and biological products after 3 years. The results were keenly sought after by landholders, advisors and researchers. 

December - Eighteen grants were applied for by the end of 2011, with 10 successful. The most significant was a 3 year Federal Government grant and a 4 year State government facilitator support project which underpins future activities. 


March - Landcare groups supported in developing a simple action plan that would maximise ongoing involvement in landcare with minimal resources.

April - The Corangamite Invasive Plant and Animal Strategy states there are no natural resources in the Woady Yaloak Catchment worthy of protection from rabbits or weeds. 

June - Group decide to adopt a more aggressive approach to influence the way agriculture and local issues are included in the planning and allocation of Government resources. A series of constructive meetings are held with Federal Government and State opposition members.

July - Membership drops below 50% for the first time in a decade.

August - Golden Plains Shire provide continuing support to the project making them a decade long sponsor.

November - Successfully completed the evaluation of alternative fertilisers and biological products after 3 years. The results were keenly sought after by landholders advisors and researchers. 

December - Smallest amount of landcare activity in the Group’s history, with only $59,900 of new works undertaken.  


March - Staff time reduced and financed through the Group’s own funds.

April - Group levy rises for the first time since 1993 to pay for the retention of staff.

July - Current five year plan reviewed because of shortage of funds to implement proposed activities.

September - Alice and Kevin Knight win the 23rd McKell Medal, the most prestigious Australian award for excellence and achievement in Natural Resource Management.

December - Woady Yaloak Catchment Project makes a significant loss, the first since financial reports were presented.


February - Neighbourhood Group Planning suspended because of drought and difficulty attracting funding, with Group resources invested into supporting failed projects from 2006.

March - Executive committee decide to use accumulated project funds to support landholder projects identified in the five year plan, after a large number of project applications were unsuccessful.

April - Daniel Laffan becomes the 4th chair of the Woady Yaloak Catchment Group, taking over from Michael Rowe who held the position for 5 years.

August - First talks instigated with Southern Farming Systems to better support farm productivity.

September - Commence a three year evaluation of alternative fertilisers and biological products. These are the first trials in the catchment run independently of industry or Government support.


January - Suzie Lunnon takes over from Troy Missen in running the group GIS.

February - Neighbourhood Group Planning suspended because of drought, with Group resources invested into supporting failed projects from 2006.

April - Family drought relief night at Linton, featuring a magician attracted 160 people.

May - Four drought recovery seminars held, featuring decisions around fertiliser management, grazing, resowing and animal health.

June - Governance course and philanthropy workshop completed by staff and executive members.

July - Presentation at national biodiversity conference in Tasmania.


January - Alcoa agree to support the Woady Yaloak Project for a further 3 years, bringing the financial support to $905,000.

February - Independent financial audit undertaken for the first time.

May - Sister Landcare arrangement with Tamar NRM in Tasmania, formalised with a presentation from Launceston Mayor Ivan Dean and a study tour exchange between staff of the Golden Plains and Launceston Shires.

July - Drought conditions grip the catchment resulting in a significant decline in proposed projects.

September - New initiative supports the installation of 34 off stream watering points and stock containment areas to avoid over grazing during drought conditions.

October - Kevin Knight awarded a lifetime achievers award from the Corangamite CMA.

November - New five year action plan takes shape with contributions from more than 110 landholders.  The previous five years saw 48 tours, 23 information sessions, 20 invited presentations and 57 print, radio and television stories.


March - Deductible Gift Recipient status granted to the Woady Yaloak Group, resulting in the Woady Yaloak Catchment Improvement Fund.

May - Awarded an honorary membership of the Bird Observers Club of Australia for work with Clarkesdale bird sanctuary

June - Landscapes for the Future ceased operation after filling the business objective to supply low cost GIS capability to landcare groups. 

October - Membership and activity in landcare hits an all-time high, with more than $1 million worth of works undertaken and membership close to 70%.

November - Forty five Neighbourhood Groups were in operation, undertaking a range of landcare activities


January - Victorian Government short lists farms at Pittong at the top of the catchment as a potential site for a toxic waste storage facility. The Woady Yaloak Group agree to provide technical advice to landholders objecting to the project.

February - United States Deputy Secretary for Agriculture Jim Mosely visits the project.

April - Woady Yaloak celebrates 10 years of landcare at Ken and Dianne McBeaths’s ‘bush block’ with more than 300 adults and 200 children attending. Salinity tour to Western Australia undertaken by 6 Woady Yaloak farmers.

May - Proposal for toxic waste site abandoned by State Government. Woady Yaloak website launched.

September - Woady Yaloak wins the National Landcare Catchment Award. helen sharpe commences as book keeper for teh project after Pam Oddie left the district.


February - New five year plan developed to integrate with Corangamite Regional Catchment Strategy.

April - Woady Yaloak invited to present the results of 10 years activity at the third National Landcare conference in Darwin. Michael Rowe becomes third chairman of teh woady yaloak group, taking over from Alice Knight.

May - Concerns about highly targeted funding programs threatens to undermine the 'whole of catchment' approach taken by the Woady Yaloak Catchment Project. Executive committee commence campaign to raise these issues.

June - Clarkesdale Bird Sanctuary a national finalist in the Banksia Environment Awards.

August - Woady Yaloak win Sensis Victorian Landcare Award on the fourth attempt.

October - After 10 years the Woady Yaloak Catchment Group had hosted 74 tours, held 48 information sessions, been involved in 10 university projects, appeared in the print and electronic media 66 times and were invited to speak at 17 conferences and workshops.

December - Launch of next five year program.


March - The Governor of Victoria, John Landy, launches the GIS package called Landscapes for the Future at Linton.

April - Committee agrees to create an independent not-for-profit company to promote the Landscapes for the Future GIS package in Victoria. The Corangamite CMA support this development with a $40,000 grant.

August - A joint program between the CCMA, DNRE and the Woady Yaloak group targets gorse in the upper waterways of the catchment.

October - Telstra Countrywide tree planting day at Mt Mercer.

November - Three Bestwool 2010 discussion groups formed in the catchment. Partnership with the Corangamite CMA to pilot the development of biodiversity action plans.

December - More than 130 people actively involved in neighbourhood groups at the end of 2002. The 10th neighbourhood group gathering attracts more than 120 people. Total investment through the neighbourhood group process since 1999 exceeded $830,000.


March - Neighbourhood group gatherings were initiated, where a number of neighbourhood groups host other members of the catchment and present what work they have been doing.

April - Alcoa commits a further $127,000 over 3 years to support on ground works and communication and information sharing activities.

August - Woady Yalaok hosts other catchment and network groups in the region at a one day workshop to share ideas and explore common issues.

September - Alice Knight speaks at the Alcoa 10 year landcare celebration in Western Australia.

October - 10 year audit of practice change in the catchment undertaken with support from the Corangamite CMA. Results confirm a significant change in productivity and adoption of more sustainable natural resource management practices during the past decade.

December - Neighbourhood gathering at Clarkesdales Bird Sanctuary attracts over 100 people. Twenty eight neighbourhood groups were active in the catchment at the end of 2001 with more than $280,000 worth of on ground works committed to in 2002.


January - Annual report for 1999 is produced, after a three year absence. Chairman Alice Knight wrote "It has been a challenge to re-design the Woady Yaloak Catchment Project to meet the rapidly changing needs of our community, the DNRE, private sponsors and the CCMA .... and .... I believe the Project has taken the first steps in making this change".

February - Woady Yaloak initiates own rabbit baiting program after DNRE withdraw support for bait distribution and cost of carrots and re-directs these resources to harbour removal.

March - Alice Knight presents at International landcare Conference in Melbourne.

April - Project database established to track neighbourhood group projects are contributions to projects by multiple funding sources.

May - Executive committee restructured into portfolio areas.

June - Introduction of GST necessitates the Catchment Group to employ Pam Oddie as part time book keeper.

July - Alcoa provides $24,000 to assist in information exchange activities in the catchment. Application submitted for fourth national landcare awards - receive highly commended in the research category for the GIS development.

August - Commence production of neighbourhood fact sheets, highlighting success of different projects.GIS project enters final stage of development and is extended catchment wide. Golden Plains Shire provide office space to set up equipment. Large roadside signs erected.

September - Phil Holding moves from district, is replaced by Ross Hadler. Troy Missen and Suzie Ellis employed on a part time basis to get the GIS operational catchment wide.

December - Production of 2000 annual report, indicating there are 18 neighbourhood groups involving 104 individuals or farming partnerships .


March - Success with Victorian Greenhouse initiative Replanting Victoria 2020 ($200,000 over 3 years) provides opportunity for large scale revegetation projects away from waterways.

April - Rabbit Action Plan developed in partnership with DNRE.

May - Victorian Greenhouse initiative Replanting Victoria 2020 launched by Environment Minister Marie Tehan at Pittong. Sustainable Grazing Systems supports two neighbourhood groups with productivity work on lime and increasing winter feed production.

June - Application submitted for third national landcare awards which was unsuccessful.

July - Cam Nicholson's role as project officer changed to project manager and Jen Clarke and Phil Holding employed on a part time basis to support neighbourhood group projects.

October - Document stating the outcomes and performance indicators of the service agreement with DNRE prepared but not executed because of a change in State Government. NHT proposal for neighbourhood group facilitation supported.

November - GIS development work piloted with the Pittong landcare group to be expanded to the whole catchment.

December A total of 14 neighbourhood groups were in existence, developing integrated 5 year plans.


February - Executive committee agree to become more 'political' in their seeking resources for the project.

March - With help from Ted Rowley, the neighbourhood group concept is introduced, starting with a pilot project involving three farmers on the Lower Naringhil Creek.

April - Tim Archer employed on a part time basis to co-ordinate the gorse and serrated tussock control in the Corindhap / Misery Moonlight areas.







May - Forty landholders seek funding through the DNRE Land Protection Incentive Scheme, as the Woady Yaloak Catchment Project was unable to directly support their projects.

June - A series of think tanks held to re-invent the catchment project.

July - Meetings commence with DNRE Melbourne to develop an agreement where DNRE pays Woady Yaloak directly and the catchment group purchase technical services from the most appropriate suppliers.

August - Alcoa agree to re-direct a small portion of their sponsorship to ensure some co-ordinator continuity is maintained whilst other funds are sought.

December - Level of activity drops significantly for individual landholders, with targeted resource allocation making many landholders ineligible. Four pilot neighbourhood groups and 3 rabbit co-operation groups are established with activity supported through Alcoa funding.


January - Alcoa commit to a further three year sponsorship of the Project, including $75,000 for on ground works and $25,000 for co-ordination and communications support.

February - River Management Program commences. Wesfarmers Dalgety provide $13,000 support the Better Pastures program.

March - New five year plan released and seven State and Federal funding applications prepared.

April - The management of Alcoa funds for the Woady Yaloak Catchment Project by Greening Australia ends. The Pittong-Hoyles Creek Landcare in conjunction with Rick Pope and Ballarat University commence a pilot GIS project in the catchment.

June - Rokewood landcare Group release their landcare handbook.

July - Kevin Knight steps down after 5 years as chairman. Alice Knight elected new chairman.

August - Ted Rowley, as representative of Alcoa Landcare makes his first visit to the Woady Yaloak Catchment.

September - Peter Hirth make a presentation on the Woady Yaloak project at the Second National Landcare Conference in Adelaide.

October - Woady Yaloak members visit Western Australia to explore the accelerated catchments approach.

December - NHT funding for many aspects of the five year plan and co-ordinator funding not supported or reduced to 12 months only. Monies only available for works on waterways and targeted rabbit and weed work. The ongoing future of the Woady Yaloak Catchment Project under serious threat. Landholder participation remains at 65% and activity with on ground works meet expectations.


February - Rabbit poisioning program moves to full cost recovery for supply of baits.

April - Planning for Woady Yaloak Catchment project beyond 1996 commences.

May - Application for Banksia Environment Awards unsuccessful.

September - The Woady Yaloak Catchment Project features strongly at the State Landcare conference in Ballarat. Agreement with the Agriculture faculty in the University of Melbourne to conduct a series of final year case studies in the catchment on an annual basis.

October - NLP funded tour guides program commences. Rabbit Calicivirus released at Rokewood .

December - Five year targets in catchment plan are reached 12 months ahead of schedule.


February - Woady Yaloak establishes own bank account and resume responsibility for employment before council amalgamations.

March - LEAP (Lancare Environment Action Program) commences in the catchment. Two properties featured in the ABC Open farms scheme.

April - A self guided tour booklet of the Woady Yaloak Catchment developed in partnership with Alcoa, the VFF and NLP.

May - Scarsdale - Smythesdale landcare group forms and joins the catchment project.

June - Concerted effort commences to attract other corporate sponsors.

July - Apply for first National landcare awards - unsuccessful. Catchment video produced with support from Alcoa.Reception hosted by Golden Plains Shire to thank Alcoa for their contribution to the area.

October - Paul Crock replaces Kathy Junor as VFF / Alcoa landcare officer, Fleur Maidment replaces Ian Dreher as DCNR representative and Tim Offor replaces Steve Burke from GAV.

December - 65% of landholders in the catchment actively involved in the project, a rise of 25% from 1994. A 1995 survey reveals works undertaken with the assistance of grants were accounting for less than half all the landcare type works occurring in the catchment.


January - Grenville and Haddon Landcare groups join the project. Woady Yaloak Catchment Group becomes incorporated through the VFF.

February - Alcoa commit to a further 3 years support, with funding which amounts to a cash commitment of $375,000 for on ground works and communications.

March - First annual report completed. Three farms in the catchment feature in the ABC open farm scheme.

April - Demand for catchment tours begins to increase.

July - Direct tree seeding machine purchased after successful NLP grant application.

September - Kevin Knight invited to present the Woady Yaloak story at the First National Landcare Conference in Hobart.

November - Chemical spray unit purchased by the Rokewood landcare Group.

December - Landholders involvement rises to 52% of freehold land in the catchment.


February - National Landcare Program (NLP) application success, allowing employment of a part time project officer 2 days a week.

March - After 27 meetings the action plan is completed and adopted by the community at a public meeting. The 10c/ha/yr levy is introduced.

April - Cam Nicholson employed as project officer and Justin Liddy as Rabbit control facilitator.  Plan presented to Alcoa of Australia and initial support of $145,000 for on ground works is secured. First meeting of the Woady Yaloak executive committee, with GAV managing the accounts, Grenville Shire employing the co-ordinator and Alcoa via Wade Hughes providing communication and management structure support.

June - Woady Yaloak, Productive Catchment Management logo adopted.

July - The first of 27 newsletters produced.

September - John Collet from the Alcoa landcare program in Western Australia visits the catchment.

November - Official launch of the Woady Yaloak Catchment Project in the Misery Moonlight catchment by Victorian Environment Minister, Geoff Coleman. The Minister said "This is the first time we have seen this type of treatment done on a whole of catchment basis and I hope it is the first of many". More than 400 people attended.

December - First year targets for pastures, trees rabbits and erosion all exceeded. 62 landholders involved, who farm 36% of the land in the catchment.


January - Bob Caraill from the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) contacts Cam Nicholson seeking a potential landcare catchment project.

March - Five landholders from the catchment (Kevin Knight, Jim Boyle, Simon Caldwell, George McKenzie and Michael Collins) host the VFF and Greening Australia Victoria (GAV) and tour the catchment.

June - Public meeting held and the Woady Yalaok Catchment Group is formed, comprising two members from the Werneth, Rokewood, Misery Moonlight and Pittong Landcare groups. Kevin Knight is elected chairman.

July - VFF invites landholders to prepare a river catchment action plan.

August - GAV provide the Woady Yaloak Group $7,000 to develop the action plan. Cam Nicholson from the Department of Agriculture is engaged to develop the plan.