Old Mill site

Old Mill site at Boolarra

Meet a group using Landcare to help a community recover from a bushfire

After fires swept through the Boolarra area in 2009 destroying 30 houses, spirits in the community were very low. This was when the Boolarra South Landcare group decided to take action.

They set their sights on the local Old Mill site. This area, on the edge of the township of Boolarra, was derelict and infested with weeds, rubbish and scrap metal. The group decided they could revegetate the site and establish walking tracks to help provide a positive experience for the recovery and well being of the community.

In the six years since the beginning of the project, the group has undertaken an enormous amount of work. The five acre site has been successfully revegetated and restored into a retreat for the local community. A range of innovative techniques have improved the soil biology, removed weeds and restored the vegetation. The majority of the works have been undertaken by members of the Boolarra South Landcare group, a Green Army team, supported by the Australian government and members of the community who have not previously been involved with landcare.

Boolarra South Landcare group secretary, Linda Minter said the project has allowed more people to participate in landcare activities.

“We’ve hosted over 40 education days at the site, covering a wide range of topics, such as surveying bird populations, scat collecting and plant identification,” said Linda. “These days have attracted a lot of the locals who weren’t associated with landcare, or who had not previously been involved in natural resource management activities.”

“It’s been a great way for local people to connect to their environment as well as get a taste for what landcare is all about.”

The site has also become an important retreat for the local community.

“There were a lot of people affected by the bushfires and some are still recovering from their problems,” added Linda.

“The Mill Site has definitely been a very positive experience for the community, enabling people to use the park for peaceful walks in the environment and its gazebo and arboretum provide a place to sit and think.”

“Other people have found it very therapeutic to help restore the site, whether it was tree planting or building bridges. Work is still happening; our next project is to restore the historic boiler site and to show some of the history of the early settlers.”

“This site is used every day; we get many walkers who just come down to walk around and appreciate nature.”

The Old Mill site was one of five sustainable agriculture/innovation recipients showcased as part of the 2015 Landcare in West Gippsland Green Carpet event.

The Old Mill site is located in Boolarra and can be visited any time. For further information about the Boolarra South Landcare group contact Linda Minter.

Revegetation at Old Mill site
Walking track at Old Mill site