We Have Moved!!!!

After 25 great years at Balwyn, the Jackaroo 4wd Club is now on the move.

Yes, starting with our first meeting in 2016, (January 20) the Club will hold all regular monthly meetings not at North Balwyn RSL, but at our new home at the Fairfield Bowling Club situated at 125 Gillies St, Fairfield. Melway Ref: map 30, K9 Map

The move to Fairfield will bring our meeting place into a more central location that is easily accessed from the Eastern Freeway.

As well as greater accessibility our move to Fairfield Bowling Club will offer members improved amenities and options for a greater range of activities.  An added bonus for those who like to grab a bite to eat before the meeting, is the almost endless variety of dishes available at the many eateries in Fairfield Village, just a block away from the bowling club.

An email will be sent to members prior to the January meeting with detailed directions and further information about our new home.

In the meantime, if you would like to help with the movement of our material from Balwyn to Fairfield please contact Dave Dobson.

The down side is that unlike North Balwyn RSL the Fairfield Bowling Club does not provide artillery – so we will have to take care of our own defence.


Redcastle Cemetery – Annual Maintenance Saturday 6th September 2014

Linda McElhenny reports:
On a beautiful sunny, but cool, Saturday morning we all met at Gaffneys Bakery in Heathcote for coffee before setting off at 9.30am for the Redcastle Cemetery.
Although, some were torn between manual labour and the Heathcote Market, which looked to be of a considerable size, complete with local produce, craft items, etc.
The area had had a fair amount of recent rain and on a track not far from the cemetery gates, in true 4×4 fashion we had to traverse water. (Well, maybe a big long stretch of puddles). It was enough though, to put a nice grey slick on the 4by.
With great enthusiasm, we got out our various pieces of equipment – chain saws, whipper snippers, rakes, weed sprayers, etc. There were saplings to be cut down, weeds to be snipped from around
the graves, fallen trees to be cut up and lots of fetching and carry- ing of debris to either the fire, or the green waste pile.
Glenda’s sharp eye and spotted some small agave cactus, which would have filled a bucket. This find piqued interest in others who also found more cactus.
They were so small they were hard to spot. All our years of tending the cemetery have paid off with such a small regrowth of the agave. Graeme recalled in the early years, the cemetery was quite overrun with it.
With everyone working diligently, we had most of the work done before lunch. A great bonfire, lit to get rid of the dried wood, pro- vided us with some lovely coals for our sausage sizzle.
Graeme and Gayle prepared and cooked the sausages and supplied salad, cheese bread and rolls. A pumpkin and sultana cake and chocolate biscuits followed. Yummy!
After a final look around and a clean up of the last of the debris, it was time to head home. We left after a great day, tired but happy with what we had achieved.


Phytophthora cinnamomi – Can you help?

Phytophthora cinnamomi, or Cinnamon Fungus as it was once commonly called, is a foreign plant pathogen. The pathogen is a microscopic water mould that attacks the root systems of susceptible plant species.

Phytophthora cinnamomi (pronounced: fy-TOFF-thor-ah) does not spread quickly by itself across the landscape. Instead people are the prime movers of the pathogen. Numerous activities can lead to the inadvertent movement of infected water, soil and plant material. Overtime, the pathogen has been widely dispersed across Victoria and as yet there are no means to eradicate it in the field.

A Grass tree (Xanthorea australis) that has been killed by Phytophthora.

A Grass tree (Xanthorea australis) that has been killed by Phytophthora.

Heathlands and heath forest communities have been significantly impacted by the pathogen. A key indicator of the pathogen is the iconic Austral Grasstree which is highly susceptible and sadly whose ultimate existence in Victoria is threatened by the pathogen.

In some ecosystems the impact has been dramatic, leading to the loss of many plant species and native animals that depend upon them for food and shelter.

Research into the resistance of some species may provide a key to long-term management. Presently however the aim is to curb further spread. Collaborative efforts are needed to focus on protecting significant public land assets from inadvertent introduction of the pathogen. This requires improving hygiene procedures and appropriate planning of area usage.

A Strategy has been published to help coordinate and direct public land managers in managing this threat in key areas. Victoria’s Public Land Phytophthora cinnamomi Management Strategy was developed in consultation with major stakeholders. It states the objectives, management principles, legislation, priorities and proposed management approaches.

The full report is available for download from DSE. Hard copies are available on request to the DSE Customer Service Centre on 136 186.

(Article Reproduced with permission from DSE)


Easter 2013 – Newsletter 3


Easter 2013 – Thurs 28th March to Tues 2nd April.



Welcome to our third newsletter. The planning committee has been up in the Pyrenees once a month during winter, and we are working on finalising all the many things that make up a tri-state gathering. We plan to send out further details with the Registration Forms in late November.


We plan on having 4WD trips that range from difficult to easy, plus some social and historical trips, a winery trip and a walking trip. We will supply directions for a number of DIY trips to surrounding attractions, such as the underground caves at Seppelt’s Great Western Winery, where the sparkling wine is stored in three kilometres of tunnels, or Aradale, the 1867 historic former Ararat Lunatic Asylum (yes, they will probably let you go at the end!)

Another trip planned is a Fossickers Trip. The Victorian Club will obtain a fossickers’ Group Licence that will enable us to take out groups along 4WD tracks to look for Pyrenees gold. We will supply training and some metal detectors, but if you have your own, please bring it along.

Gold! Gold! Gold!

Moonambel was first settled in 1844, and gold was discovered there in 1860. Signs of the mining years are still to be found in the bush, with some deep mine shafts for the unwary walker. At some places in the bush you might even stumble upon a Chinese oven. Modern day prospectors using gold detectors can uncover coins and other artefacts from places as far apart as China and England. The transportable lockup used on the Moonambel Goldfields can still be seen behind the old police station. Much of the gold mining was alluvial but there were many deep mines.

Today, Moonambel’s population is about 270, but in 1866 there was a moving population of about 30,000 living in tents near the mines, but many more permanent buildings were also established. Moonambel had five hotels, butchers, general stores, at least one blacksmith, a local newspaper, a police station and a court house.

Saturday Night Entertainment

Weather permitting, we plan to have a big campfire for everyone to sit around, and a barbecue. A local bush poet and teller of tall tales will entertain us.

Sunday Dinner and Theme

The theme for Sunday night is ‘GOLD’, so put your imagination to work and create something clever. We have contracted a group of local caterers to provide Sunday evening’s meal in the main pavilion and verandah at the recreation reserve. Please BYO drinks. (You might like to buy some wine from one of the 15 nearby wineries).


To register your interest and join our mailing list for future newsletters,

send an email to: [email protected]


Easter 2013 – Newsletter 2


Easter 2013 – Thurs 28th March to Tues 2nd April. NEWSLETTER NO.2

The Victorian Jackaroo 4WD Club invites you to join us for a Pyrenees Parade!


Welcome to our second newsletter. The tri-state committee has been hard at work checking out the Pyrenees 4WD tracks and developing local contacts for next Easter’s event. This newsletter gives you some background on the region.

Our venue

Rising nearly 800 metres, the Pyrenees Ranges consist of box-ironbark forests on the foothills, changing to mixed species stringybark higher up. In Spring, native wildflowers abound and the wattle trees make spectacular viewing. Over 200 species of plants and 100 species of birds have been recorded in the forest. The ranges are mainly sandstone with many granite intrusions, which make spectacular formations. The Pyrenees have a dissected surface with moderate to steep slopes and many gullies and narrow to medium valleys – ideal for 4WD exploration.


So far, we have planned a medium to difficult 4WD trip through the Pyrenees State forest to the south and west of Moonambel; an easy to medium 4WD trip north to the St Arnaud National Park with spectacular lookouts; a “Ladies’ trip” to Castlemaine/Creswick and surrounds; a Goldfields and Ghost Towns 4WD historical trip, and a wine tasting trip with lunch at a winery restaurant. Given the popularity of the walking trip at Whyalla, we are working on two trips with a bushwalking component. One of these travels through private property to some ancient Aboriginal rock art sites. And more to come……

A little bit of history

The Pyrenees and St Arnaud Ranges were inhabited by Aboriginal people from at least 13,000 years ago. Most of the native occupants were driven out or died from the effects of grazing and the gold rush which began in 1851. Resettlement in the 1870’s then reduced the native population to almost none.

The explorer Thomas Mitchell travelled through the district on his 1836 journey of exploration. The ranges reminded him of the Pyrenees in Spain where he had served as an army officer. He found the area more temperate in climate and better watered than inland New South Wales, and he encouraged settlers to take up land in the region

he described as "Australia Felix". Mitchell’s glowing report on the grazing land in the Western District resulted in squatters from Sydney travelling south using his wheel tracks as a guide, and squatters from Tasmania came via Geelong looking for new pastures.


Autumn is a good time to stay in the Pyrenees. It certainly is not as cold overnight as Tolmie!





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To register your interest and join our mailing list for future newsletters,

send an email to: [email protected]


Easter 2013 – Newsletter 1


Easter 2013 – Thurs 28th March to Tues 2nd April. NEWSLETTER NO. 1

The Victorian Jackaroo 4WD Club will be hosting next year’s tri-state gathering.

Join us for a Pyrenees Parade!


The Pyrenees Ranges are located in western Victoria, about 180 kms south of Kerang and 70 km west of Ballarat. Avoca is the main town in the ranges and we will be based just west of it, at Moonambel.

The Pyrenees are a southern extension of the Great Dividing Range, with altitudes from 300 metres to more than 750 metres (980–2460 ft). Main peak is Mount Avoca (747 m). There are numerous excellent 4WD tracks, ranging from easy to challenging and some first-rate lookouts over the surrounding countryside.

Melbourne to Moonambel (via Ballarat) 195 km

Adelaide to Moonambel (via Bordertown & Stawell) 560 km

Sydney to Moonambel (via Deniliquin, Kerang & St Arnaud) 990 km

The Pyrenees are central to several good four wheel driving areas. The St Arnaud Range National Park, an excellent 4WD venue, is about 50 km north of Avoca. Nearby Kooyoora State Park has spectacular granite formations, as does Langi Ghiran State Park, south west of Avoca. South of the Pyrenees are the Grampians Ranges, a striking series of sandstone mountain ranges with good 4WD tracks and stunning scenery. The highest peak is Mount William, 1167 metres (3828 ft).

Other regional attractions include the historic Golden Triangle towns, site of Australia’s richest gold rushes of the 19th century, plus a renowned local wine region.

Our base will be the Moonambel Recreation Reserve, in a bush setting just outside the town limits. Once a bustling Gold Rush town, Moonambel is now a quiet village with a population of approximately 270 people, a pub and a general store. It is only a 15 minute drive to Avoca, a town with a range of services. We will be camping on and around the football oval. The Moonambel Recreation Reserve has some powered sites and modern facilities, including toilets, showers, a hall/dining room and a commercial kitchen.


To register your interest and join our mailing list for future newsletters,

send an email to: [email protected]