Saturday, 28 March 2020

59th Australia Day Pioneer Women’s Ceremony, 20th January 2020, Women’s Peace Garden

This event was a great success with 50 members and quite a few guests. Girl Guides Victoria provided the Colour Party and all sang the National Anthem. The focus this year was on Pioneer Women in the Environment and Conservation. We were privileged to have Pam Robinson OAM as speaker, a founding member of Landcare.

Click to download the program

Pam said we can consider ‘Pioneer’ in the historical sense - relating to a person in a bygone time. It is important to recognise and respect past Pioneers, strides made by them that have brought us to where we are now, but also important for younger people to see that they can become a Pioneer in “their time’’ to be able to leave their legacy of endeavour. Pam acknowledged Indigenous people who have managed the land for millennia, quoting award winners, the Woka Walla Land Management Crew, who have been operating for seven years across northern Victoria where they have done cultural identification and protection, cultural burning, pest plant and animal control. The crew members have an unbroken link to the land through their families and have responsibility for Caring for Country which connects them to their ancestors.

Two Past Pioneers - women often referred to as the ‘Mothers of Landcare’ came from different backgrounds, but understood in the 1980s that if a new community program was to be established working with natural resources, enhancing environment, delivering sustainable farming practices, it needed to be a bipartisan approach. Joan Kirner AC and Heather Mitchell OBE AM - one a Labor Government Minister (later Premier), the other President of the conservative Victorian Farmers Federation, understood a bipartisan collaborative approach would achieve more – Landcare was born. The first Landcare Group was announced in 1986. Land Protection and other activities that people were undertaking continued in the Landcare theme. There are nearly 600 Landcare groups and 500 Friends of Groups in Victoria. The Australian Government introduced a National Landcare Program with a bipartisan approach. Also, there is Australian Landcare International, a non-profit organisation.

Landcare has no age barrier and Pam encouraged all to become involved with a local group. “We can go from sitting on the sidelines saying ‘THEY ORTA’ be doing this and that – we can decide that - We will take up the leadership position for the future of our environment and conservation by saying in a renewed bipartisan and collective voice ‘We Orta’ WE WILL and WE ARE’.”

Click here for the speech.


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