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January 10, 2022
The South Gippsland Conservation Society wishes to acknowledge that the Bunurong and Boon Warring peoples of the Kulin nation are the traditional owners of this land, over which they have never ceded sovereignty, and we pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging.

Conservation Society News

Don't forget this important event on Wednesday.

Rally with us to demonstrate how much you care about acting to preserve our coastal dunes and vegetation.

Inverloch Surf Beach has lost around 40% of its vegetated dunes over the last 9 years. The rally will highlight the loss to the natural environment and the Inverloch community by positioning as many people as possible at low tide to mark out the face of the dunes as they existed in 2012, on either side of the Surf Club. We will be filming the event and the media has been invited. A big turn-out at the Rally will demonstrate to the key local and State government bodies how much we value the natural beach setting that the dunes provide, and the urgent need to protect the remaining dunes.

Join us at the grassed area to the left of the Surf Clubhouse at Surf Beach, Inverloch.

From the President



Last month, a small group of Conservation Society members met with Sonia Weston, a local traditional owner who has lived in the Bass Coast for over 30 years. We spent two hours of power, immersed in cultural heritage. It was as uplifting as it was positive, a precious exchange. Sonia is also the Cultural Officer for the Bunurong Land Council and very passionate about her family history that is right under our feet. Proactively, earlier that week, Sonia and Society Educator Mike Cleeland had arranged to meet about the repatriation of the First Nations artefacts in the care of the Society. 

Those few pieces, quite beautiful in their detail, are the Society’s portal into a beautiful and exciting world of culture.  As Sonia so explicitly detailed, the cultural riches are all around, more in some places, less in others.  So ever present and yet so remote. Literally right under our feet, every day.  A past so close you can almost touch it. Our meeting was about using these representative elements of the past to enrich the lived experience of all of us, today.  It nests beautifully and is intrinsically mixed in our Society’s remit of bringing out the wonder of our world.

I held a rock shard that day which had been held by another person, perhaps not more than 250 years ago.  I know, or at least I think I know, because of how the curve of the rock sat on my finger.  It gave an intimacy of experience and wonder.

We agreed to use the day as the catalyst for developing the Society’s educational message to reflect a fuller picture of our place.  It is exciting. We proposed to commence working towards an occasion, at a suitable site, where we could pass on the care.  

We even suggested that those members of our Society, or the wider community, with pieces in their possession may also want to take the opportunity to participate. We see this as the local personification of a national and global movement of cultural repatriation.  Where, rather than museums and heads of government, local individuals can have the opportunity, perhaps anonymously, to participate, knowing that they are passing precious items or curiosities on to those locals to whom they hold real contemporary significance.  In the end, it is all personal. It is an act of real generosity to recognize the real value in an object lies with those where the object has the most contemporary relevance. I give so you may live better. This is not so much about the past as about the lived experience of today.

Our action is but the first step in forging for the Society and our community, a fuller, richer appreciation of place.  We do this by using elements of the past to shape and enrich our collective future.
- Ed Thexton

Bunurong Coast Education

Summer Activities Program

There are still some tickets available for selected activities in our Summer Activities Program. Go to Eventbrite for details and bookings.

Summer by the Sea

The much-anticipated Summer by the Sea program has gone live at last, albeit on a slightly smaller scale than first anticipated. The month-long program delivers a suite of face to face presentations and online activities between 3 and 25 January 2022. It offers a variety of free activities exploring the rich and diverse natural and cultural values of Victoria’s coastal and marine environments.

Check the website for details about the activities including guided coastal walks, facilitator listening posts, live online events, videos and more.


Other News

The story of the Strzelecki (South Gippsland) Koalas


You might remember that Victorian and South Australian Koalas were almost extinct by the 1920s. After a handful of koalas were translocated to French and Phillip Islands, they bred rapidly but became genetically compromised. Some later were reintroduced to Victoria and South Australia, continuing to breed rapidly, causing over-browsing.
However, the genetically diverse Strzelecki or South Gippsland Koala is hanging on. Being genetically diverse, they are more likely to fight off disease, breed slowly and increase their population. 
The heating and drying of our country through the effects of climate change, along with drastic bushfires and storms over the past 20 years, has challenged the longterm survival of these koalas. Their habitat has been reduced by about 25% and continues to be threatened with land clearing, logging, car strikes and dog attacks.

A Citizen Science Challenge…

Friends of the Earth (FOE) have been surveying scats (poo) since 2013 and are aware of koalas’ preferred tree species. The Manna Gum is their favourite along our coast. FOE has completed a mapping survey indicating there is 1 koala for every 11 hectares in the region. They have also produced a leaflet which is now available in the Bunurong Environment Centre Shop. The leaflet identifies a number of things you can do to aid the Strzelecki Koalas’ survival.

Visit the FOE website for more information about their work with Koalas.
- Linda Senhenn

Deadline for contributions

We would love to share your photographs and stories in the newsletter. Please send your contributions by Friday 21 January. Email to

Newsletter archive

Read past copies of the newsletter in our archive.
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