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January 24, 2022
The South Gippsland Conservation Society wishes to acknowledge that the Bunurong and Boon Wurring 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

Welcome to our new Centre Manager


If you've been to the Environment Centre recently, you might already have met our new Centre Manager Kirby Leary. She has recently taken up the part time position managing the Centre and its operations including retail, education and the discovery room. 

Like so many other Victorians I got into the car with my family as soon as the "ring of steel" lifted, and we raced out of the city!  We drove to Venus Bay and decided to stay permanently. I am excited to start a new role with the Bunurong Environment centre and hope that my background in eco-tourism and not-for-profit management will bring some great changes to the centre. I look forward to meeting everyone involved with SGCS so please pop into the centre to say hello :)

We believe Kirby will bring experience, enthusiasm, new skills and fresh ideas to this position.

You can catch up with her at the Centre on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, or contact her by email at .

Great Victorian Fish Count 2021


Last year's fish counts, part of the Victorian National Parks Association's Victoria-wide program, were held late due to the complexity of Covid issues.  This was the 9th year of participation and organisation by the SGCS.  These were again held safely with a significant number of new participants.  Ash Belsar's Outthere Outdoor Education based on Phillip Island provided supervision, as they have for all of our events.

After having to postpone our initial scheduled event, we went ahead at Shack Bay on Friday the 14th and at Wreck Bay on Saturday 15th January. Conditions on both days were a touch challenging with low swell but choppy conditions. Nevertheless our participation was great with local, country and Melbourne attendees (some being involved since we started at Shack Bay 9 years ago.).

There were plenty of fish observed  in the Marine Park (16 Bony species and 4 Shark/Rays species). Harmers lacked numbers and size of Bony species (12) but had a high count of Sharks and Rays (6, including some large 'wobbies'.) 16 snorkelers in the water on a week-day was great but pleasingly we had 32 on Saturday with ages ranging from 12 to 70+. Terrific community engagement!  

The VNPA T-shirts were a big winner and as usual, the artwork was stunning. As is our custom we held a BBQ after each event  providing opportunity for discussion, establishing new contacts and stimulating interest for coming years' events. 

 I have been proud to work with SGCS, Friends of Harmers Haven and the wonderful group of local divers who have contributed to the success of this fantastic citizen science project over the years. I am looking forward to others taking over (the not very onerous) main planning role.  It is an important program we have begun in our region, particularly monitoring our Bunurong Marine National Park, and I hope SGCS is able to be associated with the Great Victorian Fish Count for many years to come.
- Rod Webster

Connecting Communities Webinar


In November, the SGCS was one of five local organisations to participate in the 'Connecting Community for social resilience and action in changing times' webinar.  

I know that at the Society we do a lot of things, but in preparing the presentation, I was reminded of the sheer breadth of it all! 

Bass Coast Landcare has made the video available on its Vimeo Channel, for those of you who couldn't attend at the time. The Society's contribution begins at 37:12. Hope you enjoy!

Project Updates



Many thanks to all our volunteers for helping to make the ‘Rally Round Our Dunes!’ such a success. The hundreds who turned out on the day, despite COVID-concerns and very windy conditions, were a clear demonstration to the authorities of how much the local community and its visitors value a healthy Inverloch Surf Beach and the urgent need for action. Thanks to Inverloch Surf Life Saving Club and Friends of the Earth – Act on Climate for their support.

The Society is also most appreciative of the support provided by Bass Coast Shire Council, and in particular Mayor Councillor Michael Whelan and Deputy Mayor Councillor Leticia Laing. Councillor Whelan highlighted the dire situation at Inverloch Surf Beach and the need to move quickly, both with short-term dune renourishment and funding for longer-term beach protection measures.

Thanks to Upper House MP, Ms. Catherine Burnett-Wake, the Upper House Member for Eastern Victoria, for her attendance and interest in the situation at Inverloch Surf Beach.

A short film of the event is in preparation and will be widely distributed, including to our elected representatives and the media, together with the results of our petition. The petition calls on all levels of Government for immediate funding of short-term dune renourishment works and a commitment to rapid implementation of longer-term beach protection works once the current Cape to Cape Resilience Project recommendations are made during the first half of 2022.

The petition is around half way to our target of 500 signatures. With it closing on 31 January, we call on all members and their friends to sign the online petition TODAY. Hard copies are also available to sign at the Bunurong Environment Centre, the Deck at Inverloch Surf Life Saving Club and the Offshore Surf School.

- Philip Heath, ICRP representative


Cape to Cape Resilience Project


The Cape to Cape Resilience Project team issued its Community Values Study in December 2021. Adaptation options are to be assessed in early 2022, with further community engagement opportunities expected at that time. 
- Philip Heath, SGCS SRG representative


Other News

Bass Coast Edible Gardens 


19 - 20 February, 2022


The first Bass Coast Edible Gardens festival has been designed to inspire more people to grow their own food.  About 15 gardens across Bass Coast shire will be open on the weekend of 19 - 20 February. 

Visitors will be able to chat and learn from gardeners about different approaches to growing food (including wicking beds, permaculture, no dig gardens, espaliering, hydroponics).  The open gardens are diverse including small gardens on urban blocks, larger rural properties and community gardens. 

We are also seeking volunteers to assist for a few hours at the open gardens.  If you volunteer for a 3-hour shift, you will receive one free entry ticket, allowing you to visit the open gardens on the other day. 

For more information and to buy tickets visit the website or contact Sharon Willcox, Gardens Coordinator (0423 348 933) or Leslie Adams, Volunteers Coordinator (0491 217 584). 


Photo Gallery


Pam Pritchard sent us this picture. She has sighted the bird three times in Ayr Creek this last month. It’s a Nankeen Night Heron. Check it out from the bridge in Halford Street.  


Deadline for contributions

We would love to share your photographs and stories in the newsletter. Please send your contributions by Friday 11 February. Email to

Newsletter archive

Read past copies of the newsletter in our archive.
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