Archive:  Landscapes

Last Updated:  12/11/18


NEW  Action Required  Macedon Ranges Draft Landscape Assessment Study On Exhibition (Submissions Close 18 November)

(12/11/18 - P)  There's some good in it (expanded Significant Landscape Overlays) but it makes the fatal mistake of saying delete Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 from Macedon Ranges planning scheme (reminiscent of the Brumby government's attempts to get rid of it), and doesn't do a damned thing for landscapes except the most significant ones.  Nice going - not.   MRRA won't be supporting it.

The draft Macedon Ranges Landscape Assessment, prepared by consultant Claire Scott, is currently on exhibition.  Some aspects are positive (it applies new Significant Landscape Overlays and policy to the most significant parts of the Shire), but the Association won't be supporting it,  for the following reasons:

As Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 (a) has underpinned strategic planning in Macedon Ranges for the past 45 years and (b) addresses other important issues as well – additional to landscape – its deletion is not a matter for a landscape assessment to recommend, and would leave a policy vacuum in the planning scheme. 

All other landscapes and views are not addressed, and no recommendations are made for their protection (including Jacksons Creek escarpment).  This leaves the "rest" open to the argument that they are not significant and therefore not to be protected.  Stop Press - this has just happened at VCAT (the area involved wasn't on the list, wasn't as important as Mt. Macedon, so go ahead).

It instead relies on the  draft Statement of Planning Policy (and the draft 2017 Localised Planning Statement put out by the State government last Christmas at that).   And of course, the draft Statement of Planning Policy that the State government wants us to accept only requires protection of State significant landscapes.  On the other hand, Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 recognises all of the area as a place of natural beauty and special significance.

The Order identified “Threats to NATURAL landscapes and landforms…” across the entire declared area (the Shire), but the need to protect these isn’t recognised in the Assessment. 


The Assessment did not come before Council for endorsement prior to exhibition.  



  1. Recommendation to delete Statement Of Planning Policy No. 8 (Clause 22.01), and
  2. Failure to address and protect the Shire’s overall landscape values, as Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 does, and
  3. Failure to recognise and address both the natural landscape values and threats to them identified in the Order making Macedon Ranges a “declared area” under the Distinctive Areas and Landscapes legislation.

For more information from Council’s website:


MRRA Says:


 This unsubtle attempt to get rid of Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 - and in a Landscape Assessment Study - is not on.  The draft Statement of Planning Policy (aka Localised Planning Statement) is another example where SPP8 is being tossed out by a government that promised to base legislative protection on it. 


So here we go again.  A State government trying to get rid of Statement of Planning Policy No. 8, just as the Brumby government tried in 2008..  That move backfired when MRRA's petition to keep Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 attracted 3,000 signatures (and by a change of government).  


Also iffy is that the Assessment relies on current planning scheme Environmental Significance overlays for environmental values (one ESO is applied to a piggery); current heritage overlays and Victorian Heritage Register listings for heritage values (hells bells, we all know most of those are still missing!), and to top it off, information from Tourism Victoria and Tourism Australia to sort out social and economic values.  If all of this is protection, we'd hate to see no protection!



 (28/4/15 - P)  MRRA Submission (Round 2) : Central Victoria Landscape Assessment Study


Central Victoria Landscape Assessment Study:  Community Help Needed To Get This Right.  Comments Close 19th April.

(13/4/15 - P)   Macedon Ranges and its long-recognised landscape values are barely recognisable.  Whoa - a whole lot of improvement needed here re both landscape types, and significant features!   Dear Department, can we talk?  We need direct community consultation, right here in Macedon Ranges.  

The State government's Landscape Assessment Study documents currently on exhibition - describing landscape character TYPES, and significant landscape FEATURES - are very disappointing, and very confusing


First off, it is quite difficult to understand what the purpose or role of this Study is.  There are gaps, mistakes, generalities, tangents and what look like contradictions that leave you wondering what this Study is really about, and what it is going to be used for.  It doesn't seem to be an assessment of landscapes and landscape values as much as a report on geology, views, soils, aboriginal cultural values and tourism opportunities. 


Secondly, the landscape character types assigned to Macedon Ranges ("Victorian Volcanic Plains" in the Shire's east, and "Rolling Foothills" in the rest except a small area of "Goldfields" in the northern-most reach) are also applied elsewhere in Victoria, so are defined/described fairly generically in the Study.  


The Victorian Volcanic Plains landscape type relates to flat volcanic landscapes mainly without trees and with numerous lakes, yet it is also applied to the more elevated and undulating (lake-less and different) Lancefield to Gisborne area.  The Study's generic  "landscape type" descriptions can leave you wondering what this has to do with Macedon Ranges and our location on the Great Dividing Range.  Confusingly, photos, features and towns from the adjoining Hume study area are included in this Central Victoria (Loddon Mallee) region Study's comments about Volcanic Plains, even though they aren't in the Central Victoria (Loddon Mallee) region.


It's also a mystery why Mount Macedon and the Ranges are called the "Rolling Foothills" type, which again overlooks this area being part (the top) of the Great Dividing Range.  The difference between rolling foothills, rugged foothills, ranges and river valleys isn't being articulated, nor are the volcanics in the Rolling Foothills landscape type, or differing geology/terrain in the west of the Shire.


Overall, there is an impression of something akin to one size fits all.  Already-available generic landscape character types have been awkwardly applied, instead of landscape types that truly relate to this area - square peg, round hole.  At a minimum, the reader should at least be able to recognise Macedon Ranges in the character types applied.  That's not happening.


Landscape types applied to Macedon Ranges Shire need review (if not separate landscape types that more accurately reflect what's on the ground).


Thirdly, the identification of significant landscapes and views raises very important issues. 


Although Study shows key features on a map, it only assesses and rates some of those.  For example, Mt. William is shown on maps as a State significant area but is not included in the Study's text assessments, and we may never know why two viewing locations at the reservoirs in Kyneton, or a forested area near East Trentham, are important. 


The Study maps show a few significant viewing locations, but don't identify the views from them (i.e. what you are looking at), or anywhere else.  


Additionally, apart from the relatively few "key" features identified, the rest of the landscape (that is, everything in between key features) isn't addressed, assessed or apparently considered significant.  


Melbourne-Lancefield Road is an important road for views, but not the Calder Freeway or other main roads that provide breathtaking views (e.g. Tylden Road, Wallan Road from Darraweit), or the railway.  


The Avoca and Loddon Rivers are mentioned, but missing are Jacksons Creek (and its magnificent escarpment) and Deep Creek, as well as the Coliban and Campaspe Rivers in the north.


Although the Study seems to think most of the "Rolling Foothills" area is mainly cleared for agriculture, it says this landscape type has low sensitivity to change because of "the scattered vegetation" and hills.  Why, oh why, haven't they consulted the Macedon Ranges Cultural Heritage and Landscape Study and Statement of Planning Policy No 8 (neither are included in the bibliography), or climbed Hanging Rock and seen the "Hardwick" house?  


Assessment of social values is confined to Aboriginal cultural heritage (which warrants its own category) - and tourism.  The Study's deviation into tourism and tourism opportunities is fascinatingly inaccurate - seems the small reserve atop Mt. Gisborne could be a magnet for tourists;  Mount Jim Jim has long been a key recreation area, and you can camp in Macedon Regional Park - all of which is probably news to local residents.


 Finally, we don't understand this Study - what it is doing or what it is intended to achieve - and it definitely doesn't seem to understand this place.  It's not only unspecific and inaccurate about Macedon Ranges, unless it is corrected, it will go forward as an unspecific and inaccurate but authoritative State-level document that carries a lot of weight.  And that would significantly disadvantage Macedon Ranges because then just the few bits will be important, instead of all of it.  It is in fact reminiscent of Macedon Ranges Council's failed Localised Planning Statement last year - just the middle bit was important, the rest up for grabs.


Note:  This Landscape Assessment Study is a spin-off from the Loddon Mallee South Regional Growth Plan - you will remember it as the the long-term growth plan this community wasn't consulted about - which also had significant inaccuracies.


Action Required:  What this Study lacks is local community consultation, knowledge and input.  


Send a message to the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning by April 19 that we are unhappy about the landscape character types it has given us, and about what is, and is not, considered 'significant'.   We want them to come up here and talk directly with us, then correct the Study to get it right.  


Here are the link and contact details:


Link to the Central Victoria Landscape Assessment website:


Documents Relevant to Macedon Ranges:

Landscape Character Types – Part 1, 2 and 3

Landscape Significance and Views – Part 1 and 2


There is also an online submissions form at the above link.



Phone: Victorian Government Contact Centre on 1 300 366 356 - ask for the Landscape Assessment Study section


Although comments officially close Sunday 19th April, they must also be accepted on Monday 20th April (the next business day).



State Government Wants Photos And Comments On Landscape Values By March 1, 2015

(6/2/15 - P)   Your chance to confirm the National and State significance of Macedon Ranges' landscapes, and the urgent need to protect them from development that damages them

The State government is currently calling for residents of six landscape assessment areas in regional Victoria to provide input into landscape assessment for each area. 


Macedon Ranges Shire falls within the larger "Central Victoria" assessment area. 


The studies focus on non-urban areas and are mapping and assessing existing distinctive elements, features, character, visual quality and extent of landscape, as well as their value and importance to regions.


The major importance of Macedon Ranges landscapes in the south and central parts has already been recognised in documents like the Macedon Ranges Cultural Heritage and Landscape Study (1994) and Statement of Planning Policy No. 8 (1975).  Landscapes in the north of the Shire are also of major importance.  All are fundamental contributors to the enjoyment of the Shire by residents and visitors alike, and are a primary reason why people are attracted to the area.


This phase of the study is seeking community input about perceptions and values you have about landscape character, to help identify significant landscape areas.


You are invited to contribute by submitting your photos and feedback of landscapes in your area via the Community Photographic Exercise online form by the 1st March 2015. Specifically, you are asked to consider one or more of the following questions:

You can find out more by going to


MRRA Says:


The outstanding landscapes of Macedon Ranges Shire reflect the land's complexity, if not its soul.  They aren't just a backdrop to what we do, their sheer beauty entices - and strengthens - us. 


This landscape study is terribly, terribly important, because it is an opportunity to refresh and reconfirm the towering importance of our Shire's landscapes, and also provide additional information and justification for protecting Macedon Ranges with legislation.  Get those cameras out, put on your thinking caps and send in your views on what's important, what contributes, and what damages.  


An added bonus of this study is that it will be a State, not Council, document which carries a lot of weight.  We owe it to ourselves to do whatever it takes to make sure this document gets it right, because it's going to be around for a long time.   


An added bonus of this study is that it will be a State (not Council) document which carries a lot of weight.  We owe it to ourselves to do whatever it takes to make sure this document gets it right, because it's going to be around for a long time.   




A Landscape Perspective:  "Scene From The Air" Exhibition In Castlemaine Until March 12

(24/2/08 - E)  A look at landscapes - comparison photos from the 1940's and today

Click here for more information.



Norman Wettenhall Annual (Environmental) Lecture 2007:  22 November

(29/10/07 - E)  "Creating Landscape Resilience For The Long Haul"

The Wettenhall Lectures are always high class events, and this looks set to be another.  The Wettenhall Foundation is an environmental organisation and a registered charitable trust.  Lectures are held in association with Museum Victoria, Birds Australia and Trust For Nature. Click here for more information about the lecture and how to purchase the $20 tickets.



"Landscape Restoration: Creating Long-Term Resilience" Workshop  19 Oct

(26/9/07 - E) Norman Wettenhall Foundation and Trust For Nature present an all-day workshop at Buda  RSVP 10 October

Be quick, only 50 places are available, and they are certain to be snapped up  Click here for more information.



Environmental Photography Workshops (3),   2nd to 9th September

(13/6/07 - E)   Introduction and advanced nature photography (for digital and film), and all-important Photopoint Monitoring

Fascinating subject.  Click here for more information.



Neville Rosengren - The Wizard Of Volcanic Landscapes - Is Coming To Town Again On September 8

(7/8/06 - E)  Don't miss it!!!

If you didn't get to the evening run by Newham & District Landcare Group in May, where Neville Rosengren explained how unique, important and vulnerable Macedon Ranges' volcanic landscape is, where he held the enthralled audience in the palm of his hand, you don't know what an amazing night you missed.   Grab this opportunity with both hands.  Click here for details.



Lecture: “Preventing the Globalisation of Australian Landscapes”, 9 November

(5/10/05 – E) Initiating cultural change to ensure the Australian environment is preserved rather than globalized.

For more information call the Norman Wettenhall Foundation on 9650 3188 or email    Click here for details and Ticketing Details