The Mulloon Institute  -  Enews - May 2018

From the Chairman, The Mulloon Institute

This month's update comes at a time when there is a growing concern around the country as to how long drought conditions will last or potentially, get worse. While supporting our farmers through drought is essential, what that assistance should comprise is debatable. In times gone by a lot of government assistance simply subsidised farmers to continue practices that don't ever prepare them for dealing with the next drought. Or worse, the assistance effectively puts them in an even more precarious position financially. These have been the "mainstream" approaches to drought assistance.

A different approach is along the lines of what The Mulloon Institute (TMI) has been demonstrating in its Mulloon Community Landscape Rehydration Project (MCLRP) by repairing and rehydrating the landscape and making it more resilient to extreme events such as drought. We advocate for government assistance to help farmers' transition to a more resilient position including a shift to regenerative agriculture. My great hope is that assistance based on these models will become the "mainstream".

The Mulloon catchment has not been spared when it comes to a lack of rain but the value of the repair work on the Home Farm section of Mulloon Creek and its adjoining landscape is very evident as water continues to trickle through the leaky weirs. Meanwhile other sections, not the subject of repair as yet, are bone dry. While our data can tell these stories there is nothing better than seeing it first-hand. You can view a recent video of Peter's Pond via our Facebook page.

Mulloon Consulting, Contracting & Certifying

As I write this May update Cam Wilson is back up north near Townsville conducting another Mulloon Consulting, Contracting & Certifying (MCCC) workshop for farmers in that district. The workshop titled 
'Landscape Rehydration: Banking Water in your Soil' is being run by NQ Dry Tropics at Worona Station with a focus on reducing runoff and preventing gully erosion. I'll report more on that next month but we have continued to receive good feedback from Cam's trip back in April. Spreading the word through education is a strong element of our work and continues to be a major focus.

Speaking of Queensland, during May I caught up with an old friend, Geoff Garrett. I first got to know Geoff when he was CEO of CSIRO but kept in contact when he moved to Queensland to become that State's Chief Scientist. He has "retired" back to Canberra and it was great to chat with him and let him know about TMI and MCCC. He was very interested and supportive of our work particularly the North Queensland projects where he maintains great contacts.

Mulloon Community Landscape Rehydration Project

Back on the ground, Pete Hazell hosted a well attended field day for landholders taking part in the MCLRP to witness first-hand the works recently completed in Stage 1. This was a great opportunity for landholders to inspect the creek works at Mulloon Farm  and to better understand the types of creek structures and vegetation plantings that will continue down the creek in their properties. 

Pete has also submitted Controlled Activity Applications for the next couple of properties in the catchment and hopefully we will see those approved before too long. Pete has stockpiled rocks and logs in anticipation of the next phase of the construction come spring time. Meanwhile he and Cam will be working on the designs for the balance of catchment.

CLICK HERE for more photos. 

Natural Sequence Farming training dates

We're pleased to announce that we'll be running another Natural Sequence Farming course with Tarwyn Park Training from 12-15 November 2018. If you haven't made it along yet but are keen to learn please consider joining us!

CLICK HERE for more information and bookings. Download the full FLYER.

Soil Science Australia visit

Luke Peel recently took 20 members of Soil Science Australia's NSW branch on a field visit to Mulloon Farm and Duralla at MCNF where they were interested in our compost trial results, mixed farming combination and rotational use of chickens and cattle, and our testing of using drones for applying biodynamic preparations to paddocks. 

'Restore the Soil: Prosper the Nation' -  In case you missed it here's the Soils for Life report to the Prime Minister, written by Australia's Advocate for Soil Health (and our Patron) Major General The Honourable Michael Jeffery, AC, AO(Mil), CVO, MC (Retd).
Saving our species

The Mulloon Community Landscape Rehydration Project is a  catchment scale landscape restoration and capacity building project that is helping rebuild the functionality and resilience of Mulloon Creek, its riparian corridor, tributaries, floodplains, wetlands, hills and woodlands, to support a suite of threatened and vulnerable species, including the  Green and Gold Bell Frog, Scarlet Robin, Diamond Firetail, and Dusky Wood Swallow.

And to support these project activities Luke Peel has been busy putting together an application under the NSW Office of Environment & Heritage's Save Our Species program. 
So far our work in the Mulloon catchment has shown that repairing and rehydrating landscapes and waterways results in greater biodiversity and encourages native species, with the return of native fish into the 3km section of repaired Mulloon Creek being a prime example.

Luke has also spotted a  healthy turtle recently at the base of the leaky weir at Peter's Pond on the Home Farm, giving a good indication of the creek's health despite the current drought-like conditions.

[Scarlet Robin image by Carolyn Larcombe]

Out and about

Staff from TMI and MCNF attended and supported  Rivers of Carbon 's recent premiere screening of ' Buffers, Sponges + Moderators' which looks at the importance and value in managing swampy meadows and wetlands, featuring our very own Project Officer Cam Wilson and Pete Hazell's wife Dr Donna Hazell. It was a great inspiring film with much valuable networking taking place after the screening.  There is a great review of the screening HEREplus you can now watch the film online HERE.
TMI and MCCC were also represented in Yass on 25 May at the 'Join the Climate Conversation' forum hosted by  Boorowa Community Landcare Group and Hovells Creek Landcare Group. The event focused  on how rural communities can make a difference with f orum speakers including ANU paleoclimatologist Dr Bradley Opdyke, Cooma regenerative farmer Dr Charles Massy, soil scientist Dr Christine Jones, and social scientist Dr Siwan Lovett who looked at how and why global warming is occurring, how regenerative agriculture could be part of the solution, how useful carbon cycle is, the benefits of revegetation, and how communities can work together to reduce the impact of global warming.  Kelly Thorburn and Luke Peel represented us on the day with a table display that generated interest and sparked up some great conversations, including one with Eden-Monaro politician Mike Kelly. You can read more about the event HERE.
In the media

The Mulloon Institute and Mulloon Creek Natural Farms have been featured in a video for the Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council promoting the Canberra region as a wonderful place to live and work. You can find out more about visiting the Queanbeyan-Palerang region at, and living and working in the region at

The Mulloon Institute - Canberra Region

'The Mulloon Institute - Canberra Region'

I was also interviewed by Jolene Laverty on ABC Radio Canberra, ABC Radio's Drive program during May and you can access that recording HERE.
I'll conclude this month's update with a reminder that the financial year end is looming large so don't forget about our tax deductibility status. If our innovative and landscape repairing work is to become mainstream, we need your financial help to achieve it.

All the very best and many thanks for your great support.


Gary Nairn AO
The Mulloon Institute, Chairman


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