Gippsland’s Creative Harvest festival January 2022 – growing from strength to strength

Words by Amanda Kennedy
Images Supplied

Did you buy some indoor plants over the last couple of years? Maybe you planted out a window box with a few herbs for your pandemic cooking sessions?  Perhaps you got the kids out into the backyard and started a no-dig garden. Not for nothing, did garden centres sell out of seedling and potting mix in early 2020.

The Covid pandemic has highlighted the tenuous nature of our food systems, prompting many people to invest in growing some of their own food. Whether your harvest was small or grand, there’s no denying the simple joy of eating something you’ve grown.

If that has left you hungry for more, Creative Harvest Festival (January 22nd  & 23rd ) could be the weekend event you’re looking for. Now in its fifth year, the group behind the event – Baw Baw Sustainability Network – are hoping to top last year’s record-breaking number of attendees, and they’ve pulled out all the stops to get you there.

There are 15 gardens open to visitors, from small suburban backyards to larger family-run farms. But it’s not all about growing your own food. The weekend also brings together more than 30 local artists and producers across a number of locations, showcasing their work and practice. Because as we also all learnt over the last couple of years to tap into our own creativity, when we’re not buried under the day-to-day busyness of commuting, working and socialising.

Creative HarvestGIVEAWAY

To celebrate the launch of Creative Harvest 2022 – the first weekend pass ticket purchases, will receive a tote bag designed by Helen Timbury Design valued at $30.


Creative Harvest Committee Chair, Wendy Savage sums things up perfectly.

Making our event more accessible to broader communities is a celebration of connectedness and creativity in all forms. It is fundamental to our wellbeing, especially in these uncertain times, and it is wonderful to see how a day out in the garden can inspire and create positive change.

So, here’s a taste of just some of the growers, makers and producers featured across the weekend.

  • AgriSolutions will be on hand to help gardeners get the most out of their soil and composting with their targeted approach to soil health management.
  • Join Come Fly With Me Beekeeping with their hives at Green Hills Farm in Yarragon South and learn what bee colonies have to teach us if only we pay attention.
  • Green Hills Farm produces grass-fed beef and garlic, as well as an orchard and vegetable plot that supplies local cafes & restaurants.
  • Based at the Butler Garden in Warragul, print-maker Helen Timbury will be displaying her work which celebrates the Australian landscape in all its wild, natural beauty.
  • Paul Stafford, self-taught tree craver and chainsaw sculptor will be on hand at Paul & Maureen’s Patch in Warragul, along with Kouark Wines and their wild-ferment pinot noir.
  • In Neerim South, you’ll find Kay Lancashire and her permaculture garden creating all manner of jewellery and wearable art, inspired by the natural shapes and textures she finds in her garden.

Children 17 and under are free and what better way to encourage the next generation of gardeners to get their hands dirty. There are plenty of treats and refreshments to keep you going throughout the day.


WHAT: Creative Harvest
WHERE: Various locations across West Gippsland
WHEN: Saturday & Sunday 22-23 January 10am-4pm

We wish to acknowledge the Bunurong and Gunaikurnai people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.

A rise from the ashes for the Grampians Music Festival

Words by Della Vreeland
Images supplied

Four years ago, a newly-envisioned idea blasted out of the Grampians region.

And no, it wasn’t a volcano.

And while the effects of this venture were indeed volcanic, emotionally speaking, the surrounding effects were much more sublime.

The Grampians Music Festival (GMF) was established in 2017 with the initial aim of encouraging tourists to explore the region, particularly during its quietest tourism months.

But festival director Carly Flecknoe says the plan was quick to take on more complexity, implementing sustainability practices while also taking on a more diverse approach.

Initially joining as a committee member before taking on the reins as director, Carly says the festival also embraced the opportunity to educate and support local youth through its newly-formed GMF Mentor Program.

“That first festival, the committee and I saw the role a festival could actually play both in the local community and in the broader music scene,” Carly says. “So the aim of GMF changed dramatically over that second year.”

“We took our waste profile and environmental impact seriously and created strong environmental policies around what could and couldn’t be brought to the festival and how it was to be disposed. And we realised that we could not only give incredible up-and-coming artists a platform, but that we could choose to represent diversity on our stage – creating a policy of inclusion around gender, cultural background and sexuality.”

Quite an ambitious objective for a small-town festival. But one that was seamlessly achieved.

GMF was held in Halls Gap’s aptly-dubbed Valley Floor – a stunning sprawling paddock in the heart of the town, surrounded by the panoramic views and majestic mountains the Grampians is known for.

Over the years, acts such as Alex Lahey, Saskwatch, Polish Club, Ruby Fields, Sampa The Great, Wafia and Horsham’s own Alice Sky took to the stage.

At the last festival, the likes of Julia Jacklin, Ecca Vandal, DreamingNow, and Clypso and The Buoys filled the bill.

“There were so many amazing moments with larger than life artists being up close and personal with our audience in an intimate festival setting,” Carly says. “It was just incredible.”

The GMF team recently announced they would have to cancel the festival – indefinitely.

With the last event taking place in February 2020, the advent of the COVID pandemic had led to much financial duress, meaning it was no longer viable for it to continue.

“To be totally transparent, the 2020 festival, unfortunately, left us in debt after the impact of both the perception of bush fires in regional areas and the fear of COVID,” Carly says.

“If GMF were to resume at any point, it would be with the ability to still maintain the magic of what it was. If we can’t do that, then it just doesn’t feel right to start up again.”

As has been the case for many in the entertainment industry, the festival was faced with challenges related to insurance during the pandemic’s ruthless reign.

“We attempted to actually claim insurance last year from the impacts of COVID-19 and it was declined, Carly says. “Costs have also gone up since then and there is a mountain of paperwork, additional infrastructure and a COVID Marshall that is needed to be able to get insurance. As a small festival, this would be incredibly difficult to afford.”

All that being said, the GMF team seems undeterred from achieving its initial aims of community connection and the strengthening of the music scene.

As such as in keeping with the volcanic theme, it was announced that the festival would rise out of the ashes – so to speak – with a series of ongoing intimate events. Set to be held in smaller venues around the region, Carly says these soirees will encourage local communities to come together and experience the talent Victoria has to offer.

She says the events will be focused around the Grampians area in spaces that can host up to 200 people.

“We’ll be bringing back that intimate family feel in a way that is manageable in this new COVID environment,” she says.

Carly says the GMF team is currently working with state government bodies in order to secure funding and re-establish the festival – albeit in a different context.

“Currently, we have two events booked thanks to Creative Victoria and Music Victoria that will be happening in March and April. They haven’t been officially announced yet so you’ll need to keep your eyes peeled.”

And even if the festival doesn’t return in its previous form, Carly says the incorporation of music into community life is unlikely to be hampered.

“Music is part of community, of healing, of inspiring and of soothing. Song and sound have been the celebratory glue for people for as long as memory,” she says.

“The chance for people to come together, to experience music together, is part of our life blood. And if we can be part of that, by bringing amazing musicians and storytellers out to people, then that is a privilege.

“We would love (GMF) to come back. I feel like there was something special that was created there, and I don’t want that to fade away. But in the meantime, we’ll keep the magic and the connection alive in smaller ways, while we find our new ways of living in this COVID-19 world.”


WHAT: Grampians Music
MORE INFO: Grampians Music

We wish to acknowledge the traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.

Deep in the Weeds network expands with The Producers food podcast

Words by Amanda Kennedy
Images Supplied

The Covid crisis has forced some to pull back while others have been inspired to take a risk. Co-founders at Deep in the Weeds network, Anthony Huckstep and Rob Locke fall into the latter camp, adding a fifth podcast to their growing stable. Along with hosts Dani Valent and John Susman, they bring experience and a unique perspective to food and drink journalism.

Podcasting, with its ability to connect to niche audiences in a very direct and intimate manner, makes a natural pairing to the fertile ground that is the Australian food industry. The team started with the eponymous Deep in the Weeds podcast in March 2020, giving voice to hospo workers during the Covid pandemic.

In July 2020 came: Dirty Linen with host Dani Valent bringing her journalist’s eye to hard-to-talk issues such as mental health, racism and misogyny and more; and The Crackling, a food podcast featuring conversations with chefs, producers and butchers primarily focusing on pork. July 2021 saw Fishtales, a seafood podcast showcase ‘below the surface’ stories from all parts of the seafood industry around the world.

The fifth and newest is food podcast The Producers which shares stories from the heart of our food system: the producers, farmers, growers and makers.  While only two episodes have currently been released, the guest list is surely endless.

It’s a fundamental given that we all eat but it is only recently that we’ve begun to realise the essential role food, and food industry workers, play in our lives. Whether they be a person who grows our food or a person who stacks supermarket shelves, we’ve all become a lot more cognisant of their vital part in the system.

As food systems were put under a lot more stress in the last two years, a number of newsletters, social media accounts and podcasts have stepped up to highlight the inequalities in the existing system. The more conversation there is around how food gets from the ground (or water) to our plate, the greater the chance that we will start to appreciate the actual cost and effort involved.

If nothing else, the lockdown sourdough craze taught us that a $7 sourdough loaf was actually a pretty good deal.


WHAT: The Producers podcast
WHERE: Wherever you listen to good podcasts
MORE INFO: Deep in the Weeds Network

We wish to acknowledge the traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.

Kristen Proud shares how her bookstore sheds warmth amidst the crisis

Words by Della Vreeland
Images supplied

Kristen Proud had just completed Grade 4 when she learned how to read.

‘I come from quite a tumultuous background, so I moved schools eight times in primary school,’ the bibliophile says. ‘That meant the schools and teachers couldn’t support my learning.’

While Kristen didn’t learn to read adequately until later in primary school, it didn’t wane her desire to open a bookstore when she grew older. But it wasn’t until four and a half years ago that her dream was finally fulfilled.

Driving along Kyneton’s High Street (while on maternity leave), she and her partner saw an empty shopfront and jokingly remarked that maybe it was time to open up shop. ‘We joke now that if I hadn’t been so sleep deprived it probably would never have happened,’ Kristen laughs.

And so it was, after the birth of her daughter Vega, that Squishy Minnie was also born. Located in the heart of Kyneton in the Macedon Ranges, the indie bookstore conjures up feelings of warmth, community, nostalgia and connection.

Kristen says one of her venture’s primary aims is to connect with individual hearts through the power of stories.

‘Stories connect us and reflect ourselves, but also they help us understand other people’s experiences,’ she says.

‘Regional people, in particular young people, don’t have as much access to literature to have that connection with books. So they might be coming to Squishy Minnie and going through the books like a library, or we might have authors come to the store because they want to share their love (of books).

I want for young people and kids to have access to literary events and leave here feeling nourished.

Kristen says she hopes young people will also be inspired by her own story, and realise you don’t need to be an advanced reader to lead an enriched life. Immersing herself in The Baby-Sitters Club and books from the likes of John Marsden at a young age, she says there were specific authors that particularly resonated with her and helped form her passion for books.

‘Life wasn’t easy as a teenager, so I found solace in John Marsden and other young adult novels. I felt like I was being heard and seen.’

Growing up under difficult circumstances, Kristen affirms her testing life imbued in her the capacity to overcome difficulties.

For this reason, she believes she was able to efficiently navigate through the trials of running a business during a global health pandemic. With a Masters in Public Health, Kristen made the decision to close Squishy Minnie early last year – before the effects of COVID were fully realised in Australia.

‘I was hearing things from our friends overseas and waiting for our government to do something and they didn’t,’ she recalls. ‘It was March during one of our Storytime sessions, which are always very busy, and I was watching the kids touch the books and thought, if anyone in this room had COVID, we would all contract it.

‘We made a decision to close early and I was sick to the stomach about it. I had this sense that people would think I was crazy and fear mongering.’

While the shop closed its doors to the public, Kristen swiftly implemented a number of tactics in order to maintain connection with community. Online shopping was further promoted, book clubs moved to an online platform, and Storytime was also hosted online by her much-loved partner Lucky – attracting up to 200 people every week.

‘I think if you are in the face of adversity, you just think, how do you move through that or around it,’ she says.

That being said, the COVID lockdowns still had a severe impact on business, especially since the shop’s main visitation was from regional Victoria.

‘This year has been particularly hard because people from regional Victoria haven’t been able to come and pick up their books, which has been particularly disastrous,’ she says. ‘We sold more online that I thought we would, but still made a huge loss.

‘The nature of our business is that it’s very tactile. We want people touching books and opening them up and looking at them, and we’ve spent years telling our customers that they can do that. So then to retract that is hard.’

Having lived in Kyneton for about eight years, Kristen firmly believes the town’s strong sense of community is one of its most alluring attributes.

Makes sense then, that her bookstore too strives to bring people together under the banner of community. COVID or not, this will always be the case.

‘People here care about their neighbours and it’s hard to quantify, but it makes life warm and rich,’ she says.

‘We are taking it one day at a time and thinking a lot about what young people are going to need moving forward and how stories or books might play a role in that.

‘For us it’s not really about selling books, but really about being a community space which celebrates literature.’


WHAT: Squishy Minnie Bookstore
WHERE: 6 High Street, Kyneton

We wish to acknowledge the Taungurung people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.

Vibrant lifestyle precinct to open in the historic Goods Shed, Ballarat

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Just weeks after being crowned Victoria’s Top Tourism Town 2021, the news is out that Ballarat will be home to a major new retail, hospitality and entertainment precinct, The Goods Shed.

Opening in October this year, the project is a substantial redevelopment of heritage-listed goods shed adjacent to Ballarat Train Station and will see a variety of spaces for eateries and local retailers open up, as well as a Convention centre, outdoor plaza and even a Quest hotel, making it the perfect spot for a weekend hangout.

The restoration and revival is being championed by revered building group Pellicano in partnership with Atlantic Group, who have set the intention of creating a warm, thriving hospitality and lifestyle hub. An all-day cafe featuring fresh, local produce is set to star, as well as an Asian grab-and-go kiosk for dumplings and more, while a local brewery and gin offering – Melbourne’s Little Lon bar – will be serving drinks into the night.

Punters who fancy more than just filling their bellies can pop down to the state-of-the-art theatrette for a local play, TED Talk, independent movie screening or conference, or soak up the thriving scene in the landscaped community and events plaza. While the collection of private events spaces curated by Atlantic Group are aimed at weddings, corporate events, social gatherings and parties, if their previous spaces are anything to go by, these venues are going to look amazing.

The Goods Shed Ballarat has been made possible with a $28 million Victorian Government investment in the Ballarat Station Precinct Redevelopment, and from what we can see, it’s going to pay off.

WHAT: The Goods Shed
WHERE: Corner Lydiard Street North and Nolan Street, Ballarat
WHEN: October 2021
MORE INFO: The Goods Shed

Winners of the inaugural Top Tourism Town Awards announced

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Over 23,000 public votes have been counted and the tribe has spoken.

After what has been a highly anticipated and toughly fought battle for the title of Victoria’s Top Tourism Town, the Victorian Tourism Industry Council has crowned their winners and its Ballarat and Port Fairy who have taken the top honours for 2021.

Loved by locals and visitors alike for its thriving arts scene, diverse culinary landscape and award-winning attractions, Ballarat has been named Victoria’s Top Tourism Town for a town with a population over 5,000. The regional town was awarded Gold by both a judging panel and public vote at a ceremony in Bendigo and is certainly a sign of Ballarat’s sensational development as a tourist destination.

In the Top Small Tourism Town category (population under 5000), Port Fairy took the gong – a strong achievement for a fishing village at the end of the Great Ocean Road. Its buzzing local art scene, wide tree-lined streets and stunning natural environment make it a favourite amongst city-slickers looking for an escape, and now they’ve got a trophy to prove it.

Both Victorian Gold Winners will go on to contend for the title of Australia’s Top Tourism Town, which will be announced at Parliament House in Canberra on September 2nd 2021.

As for the other honours, Lakes Entrance was awarded Silver and Bendigo was awarded Bronze in the Top Tourism Town category, while Timboon was awarded Silver and Apollo Bay awarded Bronze for the Top Small Tourism Town awards.

30 destinations were nominated for the prestigious award, which recognises and celebrates towns that excel in providing an outstanding visitor experience. After a difficult year for the tourism sector, the achievements showcase each town’s unwavering commitment to tourism and success at creating a wonderful experience for all travellers.

WHAT: Victoria’s Top Tourism Town Awards
WHERE: Ballarat and Port Fairy
WHEN: July 14th 2021
MORE INFO: Victoria’s Top Tourism Town Awards

We wish to acknowledge the traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.

A new 3 week festival is coming to East Gippsland this winter

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One takeaway from 2020 we’re glad to embrace is the backyard getaway. Amidst the uncertainty of international (and at times interstate) travel, there’s never been a better time to explore your own state. From charming small towns, a vibrant arts scene, local produce the envy of many, spectacular coastlines, excellent eateries and much more, there’s one place that has this all wrapped up – East Gippsland.

East Gippsland Winter Festival (June 18 to July 11) is a celebration of all things art, music, wine, craft beer and local produce. Spread over three weeks there will be a raft of activities including interactive art installations, pop-up events, live music, workshops, exclusive dinners and lavish feasts showcasing the best the region has to offer.

With bushfires, drought and Covid challenging many a local business, festival founder Adam Bloem was looking for a way to attract more people to the region. ’I wanted something that encouraged people to stay a bit longer and travel around and explore all of the little towns and villages.’

We now have over 70 events on our festival program and the majority of these have been devised and organised by local businesses, community groups and passionate locals. The response has been overwhelming and we can’t wait to welcome thousands of visitors to East Gippsland over winter where there will be lots of things to see, do, eat and drink right across the region.

From Mallacoota to Paynesville, north to Omeo and everywhere in between, friendly locals can’t wait to share their special corner of the world with you. Kick it off on Friday, June 18 with the official festival opening in Bairnsdale with live music and roving performers, as well as a bevy of food/wine options and art projections throughout the town.

Pencil in the Pinot Picnic and Masterclass on Sunday, June 20 thanks to the acclaimed Sardine Eatery + Bar and Lightfoot & Sons Winery. This not-to-be-missed event salutes Gippsland Lakes District’s exceptional pinot noir at Lightfoot and Son’s cellar door. The winemaker-guided Masterclass will take place in their barrel room with guests enjoying a Sardine Eatery picnic box filled with cheese, charcuterie and conserves.

This year’s winter solstice on Monday, June 21 just happens to coincide with World Bathing Day. Join bathers from across the globe at sunrise for a live-streamed Global Sound Bath. From the new pop-up bathing area on the future Metung Hot Springs site, drink in the beauty of the natural surrounds for a calm and balanced start to your day.


The Lakes Light Festival on Saturday, June 26 promises to be a festival highlight. Watch a mural painting as it unfolds in both a virtual sense and in reality at the former iceworks factory, and now arts hub, in Lakes Entrance.

Is it time to unleash your inner artist? Then don’t miss the lantern making workshop on Tuesday, June 29 in Swifts Creek. This idyllic town in the Tambo Valley is quickly developing a strong reputation for its arts scene and part in the Great Alpine Arts Trail. Experienced local artists will guide you through the process and shine a light on your creative side. Great fun for all ages!

One of the festival standouts has to be the Sailors Grave Deep Winter Festival on Saturday, July 3. Sailors Grave is a darling of the craft beer scene for good reason. Their complex beers (and idiosyncratic branding) tell the story of their unique region, their terroir. None more so than their recent release Dark Emu Dark Lager, a collaboration with Uncle Bruce Pascoe honouring indigenous culture and knowledge.

The Deep Winter event kicks off at 6 pm at the home of Sailors Grave brewery, a 100-year-old butter factory on the banks of the Snowy River. Music will be provided by post-punk Oz rock band Shepparton Airplane and other special guests, with food by Melbourne butchers Meatsmith. Co-founders Gab and Chris Moore can’t wait to welcome you.

By now you’re thinking it might be a great idea to plan a little exercise and thankfully the area has some of the most scenic trails in the state. Little River Gorge Walk will certainly get the blood pumping but also rewards that effort with a stunning view over one of Victoria’s deepest gorges and the mis-named Little River. Of course, a leisurely stroll around one of the area’s many lakes might be more your pace. Check out some of the options here.

So many activities – both day and night – means you’re going to need somewhere to stay. With accommodation options from traditional B&Bs, luxe glamping or maybe a waterside retreat complete with mooring for your boat, there’s no excuse not to head east this winter.


WHAT: East Gippsland Winter Festival
WHERE: Various locations around East Gippsland
WHEN: Saturday 19th June – Sunday 11th July 2021
MORE INFO:  Register for program updates at the East Gippsland Winter Festival website.

Learmonth Cider branches out

Images by Café Sidra & 321 Cider

With this year’s bumper harvest, it’s all happening for Learmonth Cider. Maybe it was something to do with Covid-19’s enforced dormancy but this year is already bearing plenty of fruit.

You’d think they’d be busy enough with this season’s cider production. Well, they’re also about to launch classes in orchard management and cider-making. Sign me up!

Kingston Black, Michelin and Yarlington Mill are only some of the genuine cider apple cultivars grown at the nearby picturesque Spring Vale Farm. These apples are then picked, juiced and processed into three different cider styles. It is these UK and European traditional varieties, as opposed to reconstituted apple concentrate used in some ciders, that gives the finished cider its complex flavour profile.

‘The fruit will now go through processing, that is juicing and cider-making, to produce our Cuvée, Traditional and Heritage products,’ explains Philip Comrie of Learmonth Foundation, the organisation that governs Learmonth Cider. ‘The other thing that’s happening is we’re also doing community cider.’

Local residents can also bring in their own homegrown apples to receive the cider treatment and raise funds for local projects along the way. This ‘community cider’ is only part of Learmonth Cider’s commitment to the region.

Words like innovation get thrown around too easily but this is one time it sticks. Plans are afoot to transform the old primary school and surrounds into a multi-use destination featuring an education, research and training centre, brewing facility, plantings of experimental varieties of apples and pears as well as an upgrade of buildings and gardens.

Pretty soon you’ll be able to visit their cider hall for a tasting, a slice of pizza and a game of pétanque. What better way to spend a Sunday afternoon.


WHAT: Learmonth Cider
WHERE: 322 High St, Learmonth
WHEN: Tuesday to  Saturday 8:30am – 2pm
MORE INFO: Learmonth Cider


The Great Nillumbik Picnic is here!

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If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s the value of a picnic. Friends and family gathered under shady trees, setting up checkered rugs on the grass, sharing snacks and other delicious goodies… Maybe even some music and fairy lights, if you’re feeling fruity.

The Shire of Nillumbik, the home to some of Melbourne’s lushest parklands, are keeping the family-friendly outdoor gathering vibes going with one epic day of picnicking. This Sunday, March 28th, they are hosting The Great Nillumbik Picnic (say that three times fast); a day dedicated to everything we love about the humble picnic, and then some.



In partnership with Nillumbik Council, we are giving away a fully catered picnic in a location of your choice within the Nillumbik Shire. A professional photographer will also attend to ensure your big day out is captured forever.

To enter, simply leave a comment on Facebook or Instagram.


Punters – whether local or from further afield – are encouraged to celebrate the amazing parks and open spaces throughout Nillumbik while supporting local businesses hit hard during COVID-19. The idea is simple; pack a picnic rug or a couple of camping chairs, pick up a grazing platter or takeaway pizza from a shop nearby and set up camp in one of the stunning parks within the community.

There are four key parks/outdoor spaces picnickers can choose to set up, with each of them featuring roving entertainers throughout the day and a COVID-safe setup. In Hurstbridge, Wattle Place is the place to be. Plenty of picnic tables and close proximity to Hurstbridge train station as well as restaurants and local cafes make it ideal for those catching public transport.

Diamond Creek Regional Playspace (in, you guessed it, Diamond Creek) is both a child and adults dream location. There are playgrounds, flying foxes, walking trails, an off-leash dog park, barbecues and even a tram café. Ample shaded areas and parking space mean you’ll be picnicking in ultimate comfort.

Eltham has two main hangouts during the day, Eltham North Adventure Playground and Eltham Lower Park. The adventure playground is also home to Edendale Farm where kids can pet an alpaca, while Eltham Lower Park has a miniature railway because why not. You won’t be fighting for space either; these parks have ample space and facilities.

As for the entertainment, the council has pulled together a talented lineup of local musicians and performers who will be popping up between 11:00AM and 5:30PM. There’ll be children’s entertainment to keep the little ones happy, and some acoustic numbers for the grown-ups looking to kick back, relax and enjoy the vibe.

Nillumbik Mayor Peter Perkins says the event will help bring the community together as we find our feet after the pandemic.

We have fantastic public spaces in Nillumbik and our Shire is home to so many talented artists and musicians. These events will give us the opportunity to showcase some great local talent and support the regions businesses as we continue adapting to a COVID normal way of life.

The Great Nillumbik Picnic is a part of a series of outdoor community events the Shire is hosting in March and April. Funded by the Victorian Government and delivered by Nillumbik Shire Council, the Outdoor Dining and Entertainment support package, as it is known, is designed to bring people together while enjoying beautiful outdoor spaces, delicious local produce and fantastic entertainment.



Discover the huge variety of picnic locations across the region with this printable map. Download here.



Earlier this month the Shire hosted an outdoor movie night and an afternoon of live music at ANZAC Memorial Park. But the fun isn’t all over yet! On Saturday 27 March, Council and Diamond Creek Traders Association will be hosting a free movie night at Rotary Park, Diamond Creek. Kicking off at 4:30PM, the family-friendly event will play Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon (Rated G) and then later A Star is Born (Rated M).

If you haven’t ventured to the Shire of Nillumbik before, you’re in for a treat. The vast area, situated on the northern outskirts of Melbourne comprised of Eltham, Diamond Valley and Hurstbridge was named the third most liveable area in Melbourne in 2008. We couldn’t think of a better way to check it out than mingling with the locals under the shade of a eucalyptus.

All events are free and no tickets or registrations are required. All you need to do is BYO best mate or family member – and don’t forget to support local on the day!

WHAT: The Great Nillumbik Picnic
WHERE: Eltham Lower Park, Eltham North Adventure Playground, Diamond Creek Regional Playspace, Wattle Place
WHEN: Sunday, 28 March | 11:30AM – 5:30PM
MORE INFO: The Great Nillumbik Picnic


A new food relief service is planned for Bendigo

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We love a good opening here at One Hour Out, but this one is pretty special. The state government has just announced a $400,000 grant for a brand new food support hub to open in Bendigo.

Bendigo Foodshare, a charitable organisation which collects food that would otherwise go to waste and distributes it across Central Victoria, is moving into part of the former Ice Works on Garsed Street in the Bendigo CBD, breathing new life into the vacant industrial building.

The new home for Bendigo Foodshare comes after almost five years of searching and planning, in which time demand for food relief has been on the rise – particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year saw the organisation’s activities overflow from their Long Gully premises into the car park, and local small businesses have been donating storage space to help operations continue. It brings home to roost that in times of need, communities band together to get the job done.

Despite the need for food services rising 40 percent since the start of the pandemic, chair of Bendigo Foodshare Cathie Steele says there is a silver lining; their work has been put firmly on the government’s radar. 

“We are moving very fast, and the government wants it to move very fast,” Ms Steele said.

The site is set to be redeveloped pro-bono by local business Y2 Architecture, and will include space for food storage – from dry to frozen – as well as meeting spaces, amenities and offices. The public won’t be directly served food from the premise (that’s not Bendigo Foodshare’s practice), but it will be an integral HQ to their food relief service to various communities. 

If you want to find out more, and how you can get involved or donate to Bendigo Foodshare, head to their website. 

WHAT: Bendigo Foodshare
WHERE: Ice Works Building, Garsed Street, Bendigo
WHEN: July 2021
MORE INFO: Bendigo Foodshare