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Heartland cultural event wins more accolades

Ben Muir conducts a smoking ceremony prior to tree planting at Drung for HeartLand Horsham community planting event.

Ben Muir conducts a smoking ceremony prior to tree planting at Drung for HeartLand Horsham community planting event.

A cross-section of people involved in the inaugural Heartland Horsham weekend have joined a chorus in declaring the event a ‘resounding’ success.
Wimmera Development Association settlement officer Sara Barron said a Heartland Horsham committee was now considering ‘next steps’ needed for the project’s evolution.
“These include what opportunities can we provide for any visitors considering moving to the region, and how best can we support their settlement journey?” she said.
“The collaboration of the organisations that make up Heartland Horsham committee are certainly well positioned to make long-term settlement in the region possible, and for the Wimmera to become home to many migrants currently living in urban areas like Melbourne.”
Ms Barron said more than 40 migrants and Melbourne-based Lentil As Anything volunteers arrived in Horsham on ‘a beautiful’ Friday evening, when host families welcomed them to the region.
“They were here to enjoy a weekend of planting habitat, feasting on the finest multicultural food and dance and connecting to the Horsham community,” she said.
Ms Barron said Friday evening activities, hosted and catered for by the Centre for Participation, provided an opportunity for introductions for the families and Saturday, which started with breakfast prepared by Horsham City Rowing Club, involved planting along the Wimmera River.
Regeneration plan
Wimmera Catchment Management Authority provided 6000 indigenous trees to be planted on two designated sites, to help revegetate the area and regenerate native habitats for local wildlife.
Wimmera CMA Aboriginal water officer Ben Muir greeted the visitors on site and spoke about his experience as a Traditional Owner working in natural-resource management.
Ms Barron said planting then started with Member for Lowan Emma Kealy joining the group.
“After lunch, Wicked Wildlife Mobile Zoo arrived on site to introduce our guests to the indigenous animals of the area, before a tour of Horsham with Mayor Mark Radford, finishing at Holy Trinity Lutheran College hall for evening festivities,” she said.
“Saturday wrapped up with a Lentil As Anything vegetarian feast and entertainment by Oasis Wimmera and the Karen community in a dance extravaganza. Guests were invited to take to the stage at the end to learn some Bollywood dance moves from expert Anubha Jalla Das.
“Our Heartland Horsham visitors were bid farewell as part of a multicultural food festival. Curries, pancakes, noodles and coffees were all on offer at Horsham Showgrounds’ Cattle Shed and the Centre for Participation’s Social Pantry food van’s debut outing.”
Although Heartland Horsham was a pilot for Horsham, it built on a Yarrilinks model that had been well honed in Yarriambiack Shire and Hindmarsh Shire’s Project Hindmarsh.
Wimmera CMA engagement officer Rae Talbot, who helped develop the concept more than 20 years ago, was a key figure involved in the event.
“The Landcare tree planting that takes place over the weekend is so important to our environment and creating a connection between our guests and the Wimmera,” she said.
“It was a lovely caring and sharing weekend made special by so many different people coming together to share their homes, amazing food and dancing, as well as planting many indigenous trees along the Wimmera River.
“More than 100 local volunteers have participated in hosting, planting, sharing and showcasing the best of our community and all it has to offer.”
Opening doors
Horsham Rural City Council Landcare facilitator Wendy McInnes, who organised the tree-planting event, said the hope was the project would present the Wimmera as a possible place of settlement for the visitors.
“We want to introduce city-based migrants to our community and show them what a great place Horsham is to live, work and raise a family,” she said. “It’s an opportunity to celebrate and add to the diversity in our community and help our region or Horsham grow, as we spend time together building friendships in some of our beautiful natural environments.”
Heartland Horsham featured several supporting partners and volunteers. These included Wimmera Catchment Management Authority, ACE Radio Broadcasters through The Weekly Advertiser and radio stations 3WM and MIXX FM, Horsham Rural City Council, Centre for Participation, Wimmera Development Association Settlement Services, OASIS Wimmera, Young G youth group, Horsham Agricultural Society, Horsham Urban Landcare, Laharum Landcare, AMES – Footscray, Lentil As Anything, Ballarat Regional Multicultural Council and Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet.
Plans are for Heartland Horsham to become an annual event. Organisers have urged people keen to get involved or to find our more to contact Wendy McInnes via email at

The entire June 12, 2019 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

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Posted on Jun 12 2019

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