Buninyong's natural environment

Surrounded by a precious band of bush and farmlands with natural springs and creeks, Buninyong's natural environment is one of its greatest assets. Along with several public parks and gardens in the town, it provides shelter for wildlife in a beautiful setting. However it is also very vulnerable to destruction by over-development and various forms of degradation.

Several groups have been formed in the district to care for the natural environment and try to preserve the remaining parks and bushland areas, safeguarding their existence for future generations.

dry gong
Our beautiful Gong reduced to a muddy puddle, for the first time in living memory. (April 2007)


EV Charging pointEV Charging point now in Buninyong

Free EV charging is now available at the two-vehicle EV station installed in Warrenheip St in January 2020. It is conveniently located in front of DeSoza Park, next to the Information Centre, opposite the BP garage. The charger also has a 1.5 amp power point for charging electric bikes and scooters.

Environment protection groups

Bunanyung Landscape Alliance

Bunanyung Landscape AllianceThe Bunanyung Landscape Alliance advocates for our environment on behalf of the community. A non-profit association, it aims to protect and/or enhance our land & waterscapes. It is an alliance of community members, Landcare and Friends groups, networks and associations involved in promoting the health of biodiversity for the urban and rural catchments of the Moorabool, Leigh and Woady Yaloak, all which form the northern part of the Corangamite Catchment Area.

For more information, visit the Bunanyung Landscape Alliance: website or Facebook page or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Friends of Buninyong Botanic Gardens

Website: Friends of Buninyong Botanic Gardens

Enquiries: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Friends of Royal Park-Buninyong Sustainability

planting at Royal Park This group was set up to save Royal Park from threatened housing development. It has converted the former Buninyong Football Oval to an area for environmental education with a thriving community garden and extensive revegetation. Many willing hands planted 500 indigenous shrubs and trees in banks around Royal Park on 21st June 2009. You can see the results on the eastern and western sides of the old football ground and enjoy watching them grow into handsome garden areas.

The old Football clubhouse is now used as an environmental resource centre and can be hired out for suitable functions while the playing area is now shared with the Buninyong Redbacks Soccer Club.

The Friends of Royal Park-Buninyong Sustainability also organise annual Sustainable Living Festivals here in Buninyong, at Royal Park, cnr Hedrick and Warrenheip Sts Buninyong.

See Friends of Royal Park-Buninyong Sustainability for more info and updates on their activities.

Friends of the Union Jack Reserve

Enquires: Ken Nicholls ... 0437 942 064

Landcare

Leigh Catchment Group Landcare Office
407 Warrenheip Street, Buninyong
PO BOX 167, Buninyong
Enquiries: Nick McKinley, Landcare Coordinator
Phone: 03 5341 2364 or 0455 147 398
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Web: Leigh Catchment Group
or Victorian Landcare-Leigh Catchment Group
and Leighway - Local Landcare newsletter

Williamsons Creek Landcare Group

Landcare Tree Plantings

Community Tree Plantings are held regularly and several thousand trees have been planted by Landcare groups, often with assistance from pupils in local schools on School Tree Day.

tree planting tree planting

At Garibaldi Bridge Reserve, tree planters of all ages got together on what turned out to be a lovely morning in the midst of some heavy rain over that weekend. Over 250 trees, shrubs and small smaller plants were carefully planted , quarded and watered in. The ground had been prepared beforehand and the species carefully selected by the Garibaldi Environment Group who have been turning this area of woody weeds and shifting waterway into a wonderful habitat and picnic area for nearly ten years.

Upper Williamson's Creek Landcare also planted selected trees at the very top of Mount Buninyong, making sure they are protected from grazing wallabies.
If you are interested in the work of these groups or you want advice on planting indigenous plants on your property while the ground is good and wet, contact Nick McKinley in the Buninyong Landcare Office near the Post Office on 5341 2364 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

tree planting tree planting
Planting native seedlings on the N-E slopes of Mount Buninyong, National Tree Planting Day

 

Animal Welfare Services

BADGAR (Ballarat and District-Greendale Animal Rescue) ... Emergency wildlife rescue operates 24/7 ... 1300 223 427 (emergencies only) ... Web: BADGAR

Leigh Valley Hawk and Owl Sanctuary ... Martin Scuffins ... Hardies Hill Rd, Garibaldi ... 5341 4623 or 0417 279 868 or 0427 414 623 ... E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. web: www.hawkandowl.com.au

Koala Rescue Australian Koala Foundation ... 5342 8141 ... Rolph Schlagloth ... PO Box 655 Ballarat www.savethekoala.com/ or www.ballarat.vic.gov.au/sh/native-wildlife

Possum Paws Wildlife Shelter ... Ballarat ... 0424 579 736 ... Facebook page: Possum Paws Wildlife Shelter

Wildlife Victoria Emergency Rescue ... 0417 380 687 or 03 8400 7300 ... web: wildlifevictoria.org.au ... email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sustainable Living

Smart Building and Living Expo

Smart Building and Living Expo

Held annually at Royal Park, this local event is part of Australia’s biggest Sustainable Living Festival. The Buninyong Smart Building and Living Expo showcases local sustainable building and lifestyle services and products for those planning to build or retrofit sustainable home solutions, and those interested in sustainable lifestyle and food choices.  For more information visit: Smart Building and Living Expo or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

BREAZE

BREAZE logoBased in Ballarat, BREAZE - Ballarat Renewable Energy And Zero Emissions Inc., is a locally formed group of energetic, forward thinking people who believe that there are more sustainable ways of living on our patch of the planet.
See their website: BREAZE for more information about environmentally-friendly lifestyles and solar energy.

Boomerang Bags Buninyong

Weekly workshops held Tues 9-11am and 5-7pm in the Anglican Church Hall, Scott St, and bi-monthly at the rear of the Community House, Warrenheip St
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Facebook: Boomerang Bags Buninyong

Boomerang Bags Buninyong

Buninyong Community Collective

A food-based co-op selling locally-produced foodstuffs bought in bulk. Bring your own reusable containers. Open weekly on Thursdays, 9:30-11am and 5:30-6:30pm
Anglican Church Hall, 405 Scott St Buninyong. 
Web: buninyongcommunitycollective.org.au
Facebook: Buninyong Community Collective
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Wind Farm Enquiries

Like to know more about wind farms? Tracey Ward, Community Engagement Manager of Lal Lal WindFarms, is located on site at 24 Duggans Rd Lal Lal and is happy to answer questions or concerns, and explain everything about windfarms..

Call the community hotline 1800 187 183 or see the Lal Lal WindFarms website for more info.

Local environmental resources

Buninyong's plants

An excellent inventory of native trees, shrubs and plants within a 10 mile radius around Buninyong, including their Aboriginal uses, has been compiled by Neil McCracken. It is available for viewing or downloading as pdf: Buninyong Plants

Lost Waters - A History of a Troubled Catchment

An historical study of the West Moorabool River catchment by local author, Erica Nathan. This insightful book may be purchased online from Melbourne University Press where you can read Erica's introduction to the book online for free or you can purchase the book from the MUP catalogue: Lost Waters

Parks, Playgrounds, Picnic areas & Sports grounds

Parks and Reserves

De Soza Park
Rotundas in De Soza Park

Buninyong Botanic Gardens

Gravel paths with gentle gradients wind amongst lawns shaded by mature trees and over small bridges crossing a small stream and ponds in Buninyong's atmospheric Lower Botanic Gardens. Facilities such as a rotunda, children's play areas, barbecues, and toilets make this restful place popular for picnics.

In the Upper Gardens, another level path skirts The Gong, with steeper tracks leading up to the Catholic Church and to Mt Innes.

De Soza Park

A level gravel path runs through Desoza Park for about a kilometre along both sides of the Union Jack Creek. It is suitable for prams, wheelchairs and bicycles.

The eastern end of the park, next to the Information Centre, has a rotunda, children's play area, barbecues, and toilets.

James Reserve

Mount Buninyong Reserve

Union Jack Reserve

A maze of bush tracks wander through the old gold mining area of the Union Jack Reserve on the north-east corner of Buninyong. The Reserve has several plaques describing points of interest, including the site of the historic Locomotive Mine Disaster in the northern section.

A free self-guided map from Parks Victoria is available from the Buninyong Information Centre or is downloadable here

Children's Playgrounds

Safe play areas with swings and climbing equipment can be found in:

Picnic areas and Barbecues

Picnic tables, chairs, barbecues and toilets are located in:

Sports Grounds

An array of sporting facilities are clustered around Forest street, between Inglis and Cornish Streets:

  • Football/cricket ground
  • Swimming Pool
  • Tennis courts
  • Netball court
  • Parkour circuit
  • Skateboard rink
  • BMX Pump track

Mount Buninyong

snow in the crater of Mt Buninyong

A rare snowfall in the crater on Mt Buninyong.
Photo by Barry Grewcock, 8th July 2008

Mount Buninyong is an extinct volcanic mountain 745 metres above sea level. A great landmark of the district, it stands out from the vast Western Plains next to its northern sister Mt Warrenheip and is visible from the high-rise towers of Melbourne in the west and the Grampians in the east, providing a welcome sign of home to countless generations of local people.

Mount Buninyong was long the spiritual home of the Keyeet Balug clan of the Wathaurang (or Wada Warrung) people who occupied this area for thousands of years before new waves of settlers arrived in the early nineteenth century. An aboriginal burial site was located in the 1860's and stone tools have been found there but no archaeological survey has yet been carried out.

Walks through the crater and up to the lookout tower are a popular recreation and if snow falls in the district it will always be best on the Mount.

The Mt Buninyong Walk is covered in detail on the excellent map of the Wallaby Track (Mt Buninyong-Daylesford) section of the Great Dividing Trail published by the Great Dividing Trail Association. This map and others showing the road to the summit and walking tracks on the Mount are available from the Buninyong Information Centre

Mt Buninyong panorama
Mt Buninyong seen from the distance (taken from the Ballarat-Melbourne train)

History of Mt Buninyong Reserve:

In 1837 a party of seven men travelled up from the fledgling settlement of Geelong and became the first European people to view the country to the west and north-west from its summit. Mt Buninyong Reserve, an area of 90 hectares (217 acres) was set aside as a Public Park in 1866. The road to the top was completed in 1926. There have been three lookouts, the most recent was completed in 1979.

In the 19th century the area was a very popular scenic attraction. Walks meandered from the foothills up through the crater to the summit and a simple wooden lookout platform. Later additions included a rotunda-style shelter, toilets and barbecue facilities.

General information (historical)

1837    First exploration by white settlers
1866217 acres reserved for Public Park with early settlers having grazing rights.At this time the only access was by rough tracks, nevertheless the Mount was always a popular picnic and viewing site, New Year's Day having the special appeal of witnessing the sun rise for another year.
1884 Celebrations for the proposed extension of the railway line to Buninyong. Construction of a carriage drive to the crater, zigzag path to the summit, and the Mount levelled to provide picnic and camp sites.
1926 Road to the summit completed and a low platform lookout built.
1932 Bell Memorial Tower (an old mine poppet head) replaces platform lookout. Picnic rotunda built. (Bell was a prominent local figure and State politician.)
1980 Present Mount Buninyong Tower opened.
1982 New works included: Information board, painting the rotunda and water tower, construction of picnic seats and barbecues, formation of nature tracks, new parking area (lower), erection of bollards and gateway (upper)
1983 Scoria path to lookout tower. Picnic seats at various view points. Tree planting (unsuccessful) on bare north face.
1988 Bicentennial obelisk constructed. Bicentennial Flare display to tie in with the Bicentennial Beacons Project.

Information on the history of Mount Buninyong Reserve was supplied by Derick Leather, Buninyong & District Historical Society.

Buninyong Town Hall & Court House

 

Buninyong Town Hall at night
The Town Hall flood lighting was turned on in 2015

The Town Hall complex is divided into three sections with the Hall in the centre. On the west are the Supper Room, Kitchen and Meeting Room which were originally designed as the Borough Offices, Council Chamber and Mayor's Room. All are now available for hire: see Town Hall Hire. On the east, now occupied by the Buninyong and District Historical Society, are the former Court House, Judge's Office and Clerks' Office.

History

The handsome Victorian Italianate style building was started in 1886. The foundation stone was laid by the dynamic Mayor David Mortimer Davies who was also the local state MP who had successfully lobbied the government for a $1000 grant. The building cost $2,600 and replaced a wooden structure on the same land as well as the original sandstone Court House.

In 1915 the Borough and Shire amalgamated and the Shire moved from its offices in Mr Clear and took over the Borough Offices and Hall.

By 1963, with urban rural population growth and the expansion of council services, the Buninyong Shire Offices could no longer be accommodated in the Town Hall so new offices and a Council Chamber were constructed on the land between the Town Hall and the Fire Station.

A little over twenty years later, in 1988, the Shire had once again outgrown its premises and at considerable expense ($1,000,000) the existing offices were gutted and extended at the rear of the sixties building. A new entrance and foyer were constructed on the roadway which separated the Town Hall from the Offices. A reception area and toilet block, kitchen and staff rooms on this same road reserve then linked the enlarged offices to the Town Hall via the Court House which became the new Council Chamber. The old Judge's Room became the President's Room and the Clerks Office a committee room.

Over the years the Town Hall complex had deteriorated and during the conversion central heating was installed and the building repaired and redecorated using the original colour scheme and stencilling.

In 1994 the Buninyong Shire was amalgamated with the City of Ballarat and the offices, new toilets, kitchen and staff room were sold privately. The Reception area was retained jointly owned and was leased until 2007 to the Lions Club with services from the Town Hall.
In 1995 the Court House and associated rooms were leased to the Buninyong & District Historical Society.

The Town Hall today

The Town Hall is now managed by a Town Hall Special Committee appointed by the City of Ballarat.

The Hall and adjoining rooms on the west are available for hire for special events and are regularly used by community groups such as the Senior Citizens who have their own small private room and store in the annexe adjoining the kitchen. The hall is also a popular venue for private functions.

For information about hiring these lovely facilities see: Buninyong Town Hall Hire

Buninyong Cemetery and Old Cemetery

Unusually for a town its size, Buninyong has two cemeteries: the "Buninyong Old Burial Ground" and the Buninyong Cemetery. The Buninyong and District Historical Society has published an informative booklet documenting both cemeteries. It is available for sale for $3.00 from the Buninyong Information Centre and the Historical Society.

The Old Burial Ground

Buninyong's Old Burial Ground is a narrow strip of land running between Learmonth St and the Union Jack Creek, near Cathcart St. Early settlers from the 1840's and one aboriginal person are known to be buried here but unfortunately their graves are not marked and their actual location is no longer known. A Bunya Bunya pine was planted by the CWA in 1988 with a commemorative plaque to mark the approximate position of Buninyong's first graves. The historic burying ground was abandoned in the 1850's when the current cemetery was established further west on the outskirts of the town.

Buninyong Cemetery

Visit the Buninyong Cemetery website: buninyongcemetery.com.au

All enquiries about burials in the Cemetery should be directed to the Cemetery Trust on: 0415 929 571

History of the Buninyong Cemetery

The Learmonths first settled in the Buninyong District in 1838 and there were a number of burials in the Old Burial Ground in Learmonth Street. Ballarat City Council now manages the Old Burial Ground with the adjoining reserve Desoza Park. A Cemetery Trust manages the Cemetery.

A preliminary survey of the Township of Buninyong by Surveyor Smythe in 1849 shows the present cemetery on the map divided into four denominational sections. It is therefore possible that the Cemetery began to be used in 1850 although it was only officially recorded in 1856. The earliest recorded burial with a headstone is Presbyterian 411: Margaret Gullan, aged 45, who died 3 December 1852. The numbering of the plots has been changed since the first survey and all the earliest burials are on the central high ground away from the creek.

In Buninyong's prosperous gold mining days there was a large local population of approximately 10,000 and there were many deaths due to unhygienic conditions, women dying in childbirth and men being killed in mining accidents or from miners disease. Burials were averaging more than 100 a year and a full-time Sexton was employed. A report in the Buninyong Telegraph, 22 October 1872 gives great praise to the Sexton of the time, a Mr Bull:

There were well-maintained flower beds, shrubs and trees along the main East-West Drive, the banks of the creek having been alternately planted with willows and elms.

Gold mining began to decline and by the beginning of the First World War the last deep lead mines had closed and Buninyong's population continued to dwindle and so, in 1968 the last permanent Sexton retired. His role has been taken over by the Cemetery Trust Secretary and the gravedigger.

With income continuing to fall, the cemetery became overgrown and neglected until in 1991 the Cemetery Trust Secretary, Alan Bath, approached the Buninyong Shire Council seeking their assistance to restore the cemetery. A Shire Councillor was appointed to the Cemetery Trust and the Shire drew up a comprehensive Capital and Maintenance Works program covering mowing, the control of noxious weeds, the identification and assessment of existing trees and shrubs, the construction of new roads, a dam and reforming the creek bed. As a result of the Shire's efforts, various unemployment schemes and volunteer assistance from a group known as "Dad's Army", the Cemetery is now in a presentable condition.

Information on the history of the Buninyong Cemetery was supplied by Derick Leather, Buninyong & District Historical Society.

Buninyong Cemetery Trust

The Buninyong Cemetery is managed by a Board of Trustees which has is responsible for operating, maintaining and developing the cemetery and for setting rules and policies for its use.

Contact the Buninyong Cemetery Trust on: 0415 929 571
Web: buninyongcemetery.com.au

Cemetery Trust Executive, 2019

  • President - Barry Fitzgerald 0432 877 439
  • Vice-President - Gerard McCarty
  • Hon. Secretary - Frances Winnell 0415 929 571

All enquiries about burials in the Cemetery should be directed to the Cemetery Trust on: 0415 929 571

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