Project Regeneration (1986-87)

What was Project Regeneration?

  • This interesting old map shows plans and plant lists for a major planting exercise in the Creeklands called “Project Regeneration” in 1986 & 1987.  At that time, the Blackburn Creeklands had just been created (from 1983) – incorporating land linking the parks that was nearly sold off for development.  See our Up the Creek page for details of the park campaign.

  • It’s interesting to see the old “tractor feed” sprocket holes in the large-size computer stationery and also the Kalang baseball diamond (top right corner of Kalang reserve) – both sure signs of a bygone era.
  • Although a little difficult to see in the full map above, the map shows 20 different numbered planting areas in the park – one of our earliest regeneration efforts after the park opened up.  The snapshot below shows the numbered plots more clearly:

Geoff Lodge

  • Geoff ran the project which was the first to use indigenous (ie belonging to the local area) plants in our park.  The culmination of the project was a planting day in October, 1986 followed by a second day in September, 1987.  Each zone had specific species pre-selected for its conditions and 1 or 2 supervisors were assigned to give volunteers initial training and then to supervise the planting.
  • These days, we think we are doing very well if 25 people participate in a community working bee.   On the first day, about 300 people planted 3,000 plants – and, on the second, 200 people planted 2,000!
  • In the photo below, Geoff Lodge is addressing a public meeting concerning the project.

  • To his right are Alan Reid and Mayor Wendy Reid.  Wendy Reid provided Geoff with a lot of support for the project in relation to the Council and, before that, was a great supporter of the acquisition of the MMBW land – to link and integrate our parks (Blacks Walk, Furness and Kalang Parks) into the Blackburn Creeklands in 1983.
  • Our Photopoints project sprang from an idea of Alan Reid.   Alan did some other innovative work in the park including leading Honeyeater walks in the early 1980s and his idea for a butterfly survey in the mid 1980s.  He was a member of our park committee from 1987 -1992.

Geoff’s Role

  • Geoff managed the relationship with Council’s park management and organized the area supervisors, volunteers (including locals and fellow students from Burnley Horticultural College), the logistics (including mulch and water availability), a backhoe to transport  the mulch on the day – but also prepared the sites, sourced the seed and managed propagation of the seedlings in the preceding 12 months.
  • All of the plants were propagated by Burnley students.  Our picture below shows Geoff with some of the seedlings – threatening to take over his parents’ backyard:

    • Those days were huge successes and the most impressive thing is that Geoff was only 21 at the time!  The project became the catalyst for the establishment of the Nunawading Indigenous Plant Nursery – now known as Bungalook Nursery – one of two community based nurseries we still use to source our plants!
  • Another part of the logistics Geoff managed was the supply of mulch.  He arranged for the delivery of quality mulch to strategic points in the park.  These piles then had to be moved to the new beds and spread.  This photo shows a team of locals and Burnley students working on the second phase…

  • At right, is Geoff’s dad Alan Lodge.  A legacy of the project is that Alan was so badly bitten by the regeneration bug, he received a Community Achievement Award in 2014 for the enormous contributions he has made over the decades since the project plantings – both to the Blackburn Creeklands and to the Bungalook nursery.
  • That is the Old Oak Tree at the bottom of Kalang Oval in the background – so the work site would be next to the car park adjacent to the bowls club.

What is Geoff doing these days?

  • These days, Geoff is based at Murchison in the state’s north, still growing indigenous seed (albeit on an industrial scale) and manages an indigenous seed bank providing seed for landscape restoration projects.
  • Geoff is also CEO of a not-for-profit social enterprise engaged in community-based solar electricity projects.
  • The themes of fostering  indigenous planting and dedication to community action still flow strongly in his life!