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Sustaining communities in regional, remote and rural Australia
Take a Lunch Break with Simon Molesworth AO QC
John Ridley AM
June 3 @ 12:30 pm - 2:00 pmFree
Broken Hill conjures images of a remote mining town surrounded by red dust on the edge of the outback in western New South Wales. What is not well known is its significance in environmental history as home of one of the earliest ecological regeneration projects in the world.
In the 1930s, through native revegetation, the Barrier Field Naturalists Club led by amateur botanist Albert Morris and his wife Margaret, after convincing the then Zinc Corporation to embrace the initiative, saved the town from the threat of massive dust storms and sand drifts that were a result of over-grazing, rabbit plagues and mining operations.
Between 1936 and 1958, the town’s famous regeneration belt was established. It saw the community and mining companies come together to create green reserves around the city. Today, more than 80 years since the first reserve was established, the town is surrounded by a heritage-listed green belt of native flora.
Following a prolonged period of drought and heavy dust storms in the summer of 2018/19, a relaunched Broken Hill Landcare decided it was time to emulate those pioneering efforts with a new greening initiative and ‘Greening the Hill Mk2’ was born.
Simon Molesworth is the honorary president of Broken Hill Landcare and leads a passionate group of volunteers involved in 39 concurrent whole-of-community projects under the Greening the Hill Mk 2 banner. As the architect of the Initiative, Molesworth explains that the projects are designed to foster more sustainable land management, encourage sustainable living and address the effects of climate change, thereby concurrently finding an assured pathway to a sustainable future.
The projects include activities that focus on revegetation, water management, sustainable living, fostering citizen science, behavioural change and enhancing community knowledge on sustainability. The Greening the Hill Mk 2 Initiative can be seen as more than integrated environmental projects: it has been described as an exemplary approach to re-energise a remote regional community in decline. Inherent in the interconnecting projects is a vision to reboot the City of Broken Hill and its region by attracting new green economic ventures reinforcing both the importance of, and opportunities within, regional Australia to the Nation.