Brian manages a 100-hectare property at Smeaton / Kooroocheang near Ballarat where he runs cows and calves on the basalt plans. He has worked to improve the farm for over 30 years and joined the Blampied Kooroocheang Landcare group to help him build biodiversity across the property. Enhancements include pasture renovation, shelter belts and an increase in native fauna and flora. Brian has successfully eradicated approximately 10 ha of gorse on his property. He is the President of the local Landcare group which promotes gorse control on private and public land in the area. Brian joined the VGT in 2009 and supports the community–led approach to better land management, including the need to control gorse on public land and along shared boundaries with private land.
Peter got involved with gorse control when he purchased a farm at Cardigan near Ballarat in 1992 that was infested with the weed. Most of the gorse was along the boundary fences and in the Woady Yaloak creek which ran through his property. Peter became passionate about eradicating the weed and in 2005 joined the Woady Yaloak Catchment Project after retiring from his full-time veterinary practice. Peter is now the project’s representative on the VGT and has served as its Chairperson.
John and his wife Jill have been working to reclaim and rehabilitate their property since they purchased the 60-acre ‘lifestyle’ block straddling the Loddon River near Glenlyon in Victoria’s north-west in 2000. They are members of the Glenlyon Landcare Group and have focused on repairing the riparian zone of the Loddon River on their land. This has involved the control of gorse and blackberry, and removing willow trees to replace them with indigenous vegetation. John has degrees in pharmacy, chemistry and is an experienced researcher who has also worked in Canada and the USA. He worked with the National Biological Standards Laboratory (now the Therapeutic Goods Association) for more than 20 years before retiring.
Marg raises beef cattle at Kilmore and sees weed management as part of her whole-farm management approach. She has extensive experience in managing weeds and supporting diversity, having planted over 3,500 native trees on her property to create wildlife corridors and shelter belts. Marg has helped establish local Landcare groups and has a strong interest in water quality, having worked in partnership with her local catchment management authority. She sees the potential for social media to encourage and support land managers in weed control and better land management.
Matthew with his father George, over the last 30 years have continued the efforts of controlling gorse on their beef farm just west of Ballarat at Smythes Creek. The property had some areas of gorse that would have been 10 acres in area, but now gorse control consists of a twice a year chemical application on small plants with a Quad bike sprayer as part of the pest management plan. Matthew currently works as the Landmate and Agricultural manager for Corrections Victoria within the Department of Justice.
Additionally to managing 4 open camp prison farms across the state his role managers the “Landmate Environment program”. This program has 8 supervised prisoner work crews that work on environmental projects across the state for organisations such as the Department of Environment, Land Water and Planning (DELWP), Catchment Management Authorities (CMA), Landcare groups and local shires. The program aims to deliver a labour option for environmental project owners and in doing so, works to influence the prisoner’s behaviour to become better citizens on their return to the community.