In 1980 Norman purchased a 90 acre grazing property in Llowalong. That’s when he first heard of Serrated Tussock, but some years passed before he had it correctly identified. In 1997, having retired from the Uniting Church parish ministry in Rosedale, he became permanent residents of Llowalong and joined the Avon Landcare group. For some years he was involved in the African Lovegrass eradication effort, hoeing it out and erecting signs across Gippsland. But that all came to naught when the D.P.I. delisted it. His efforts were then transferred to Serrated Tussock. In July 1999 the local Landcare Facilitator, Erlina Compton, took Norman to Geelong to meet David Boyle and Joe Walkarden (from the Victorian Serrated Tussock Working Party). They highlighted the invasive nature of tussock by showing him around Inverleigh’s flourishing S.T. pastures, stretching from horizon to horizon. Nineteen years later he still carrys a hoe and jump neighbours’ fences in an effort to rid the district of Serrated Tussock.Norman joined the VSTWP at the most recent AGM in 2018, and is the community representative for the Gippsland region. He has a wealth of knowledge regarding farming, landcare and invasive plants, and has been battling serrrated tussock for a decade or so on his property at Llowalong. Norman plays an important role of advocating for better management of serrated tussock in Gippsland, and has seen the damage this noxious weed has done west and north of Melbourne. The VSTWP are excited to have a community representative from the Gippsland Region and looks foward to better engaging with the reigon and ensuring this part of the state is engaged and informed about the threats and impacts of serrated tussock.
Laurie Watters - COMMUNITY REPRESENTATIVE
Commencing her career as an educator, Laurie has extensive experience in a variety of fields such as HR, organisation development, emergency and risk management. Operational management of volunteers during major events and disasters within North East, Metropolitan and Gippsland regions saw Laurie provide essential leadership to community members and other emergency services. After retiring Laurie returned home to her property at Lima to resume management of the 16 hectare small holding. The founder of Laurie Watters & Associates specialising in emergency management advice Laurie has consulted to private and public sector clients. Board member of Latrobe Valley Village Aged Care since 2005, she chairs the Governance Committee. Laurie is also a member of Mansfield District Hospital Board of Management and serves on its Finance Committee. Her interests include amateur theatre, alpacas and involvement in her local community.
John Burgess - Chair- Community Representative
John Burgess is a resident of Sunbury and has lived there since 1975. He and his wife Veronica, a past member of the VSTWP reside on a 25 acre property set up for viticultural purposes. Over that time he has seen the devastating effect that Serrated Tussock has on native grasses and pastures in the Sunbury, Diggers Rest and Bulla region and the result of its infestation if left unchecked.
John is a retired Flight Engineer and a Past President of the Australian Airlines Flight Engineers Association of which he was a member for forty years. His community involvement in Sunbury is vast having served on many community committees. He was a member of the Shire of Bulla Weeds Committee until Council amalgamations took place in 1994.
He was also a member and Deputy Chairman of the Sunbury Water Board, Deputy Chairman of the Macedon Ranges Water Board and was the Chairman of the Western Water Feasibility Study Group which resulted in the formation of Western Water.
His involvement in yachting covers a period of some 65 years and after a long and successful sailing career he continues to be involved in the administration of the sport serving on many committees of the peak yachting body, Yachting Victoria. At present he is a delegate to Yachting Australia where he a member of the National Trailable Yacht & Sports Boat Policy Committee and is Chairman of the Trailable Yacht & Sports Boat Technical Committee.
Johns aim is to have Serrated Tussock treated in the core infestation areas of Sunbury, Diggers Rest, Bulla and surrounding areas by establishing a solid, working relationship with the City of Hume and developing an ongoing program of education for rural land owners, hobby farmers and, in particular, land speculators and developers.
John Webb Ware - Vice Chair - Community Representative
John has been a member of the Victorian Serrated Tussock Working Party since 2005 and served as Treasurer from 2008 to 2010.
In 2000 John purchased a 550ha property in Clarkefield, with serrated tussock infestation to run sheep and beef cattle. John has increased the productivity and carrying capacity on his property by using an integrated approach to managing serrated tussock using perennial pastures, spot spraying and manual removal. He says "serrated tussock would be a disaster by now if I did nothing, we've kept on top of it and now it’s not an issue but I continue to stay vigilant."
John has been a Veterinarian for over 20 years and currently works at the University of Melbourne in Werribee working on the McKinnon Project which is a livestock consulting service. John consults with landowners to increase productivity and profitability of sheep and beef cattle on farms in South Eastern Australia. He is also involved in research and the training of Veterinarian and Agricultural students.
Lance Jennison - COMMUNITY REPRESENTATIVE
Lance Jennison is a resident of Bacchus Marsh and joined the VSTWP in 2016 after 11 years as a volunteer and Deputy Chair of the Grow West implementation committee with responsibilities for creating major bio links, establishing healthy soils and waterways in the Upper Werribee catchment. Grow West continues enhancing the farming landscapes to reduce the spread of noxious weeds, improve landholder skills and protect profitable farm land. Lance continues leading volunteer planting teams within Grow West and across the Victorian Mallee.
Lance is a member of Werribee Gorge and Long Forest Friends group and is responsible for managing their native plant nursery and supports weed removal programs; he is also a volunteer with the Friends of Werribee River. He was the inaugural Chair of Friends of Lerderderg Gorge. He is a Director on the Board of Bacchus Marsh/Bendigo Community Bank and Chair of the Governance and Audit committee.
He is a consumer representative on a Western Health steering committee. Lance has held Director positions on Port Phillip and Westernport Catchment Management Authority Board and has been a member on two State Environmental Advisory Councils.
Lance manages a family property business and supports a family farm in East Gippsland.
Peter Lindeman - Community Representative
Peter has been a member of the Victorian Serrated Tussock Working Party since 1998 and was Chair of the group from 2005 to 2008 and again in 2015.
He has lived in the Barrabool Hills for 24 years, currently residing on a 70 acre property which has been set up for breeding horses.
Peter is a rural property consultant for RT Edgar and was the manager of the Roxby Merino Stud and South Roxby property of 3500 acres at Gnarwarre from 1989 to 1998 which ran 10,000 fine wool sheep.
He is an inaugural member of Barrabool Hills Landcare, Chair of Barwon Recreational Motorcycling, and Life Member of the Geelong Agricultural and Pastoral Society.
Wendy Bitans - Community Representative
Wendy has been a member of the Victorian Serrated Tussock Working Party since 2008.
She owns and manages 170 hectares in the Shire of Melton using this land for grazing and growing trees. Wendy has been aware of serrated tussock on her property since 1981 when it first appeared and actively manages the problem.
Wendy became involved with local landholders and the Shire of Melton when serrated tussock first appeared to combat the problem. They worked with Greening Australia who encouraged and assisted with the planting of trees in dry land areas to assess the viability of control. They determined that Sugar Gum was the most effective species. Truganina Landcare members including the President, John Mortan provided practical assistance with deep ripping prior to years of planting various species supplied by Landcare in an 800m East - West corridor on the Northern Boundary to catch seeds spread by northerly and southerly winds. From their efforts planting trees to reduce serrated tussock seed spread in green corridors they have been able to control serrated tussock.
Wendy is also a member of Truganina Landcare, VFF Balliang & District Branch Hon. Secretary, VFF Geelong - Colac Council Secretary, Truganina Progress Association Inc Hon. Secretary, Truganina Rural Fire Brigade Auxiliary, Truganina Mechanics Institute, Boral Quarries Deer Park Environmental Review Committee, Boral Waste Solutions Deer Park Community Advisory Committee, and Dry Stone Wall Association of Australia (Vic Div).
Alan Morton - COMMUNITY REPRESENTATIVE- TREASURER
Alan Morton has been a Community Representative on the VSTWP Committee since February 2016. Alan has lived in Bacchus all his life and has been involved with farming activities in the lower Pentland Hills on the banks of the Korkuperrrimul Creek. According he has had plenty of experience with weeds and vermin and working with the local Pentland Hills Landcare group, Grow West and Melbourne Water Stream Frontage projects. He has worked off farm in the artificial breeding of cattle business and fruit grading machinery industry where both enterprises were based in Bacchus Marsh. Alan is currently a Community Representative with Grow West and President of Pentland Hills Landcare Group Inc. and a long-term member of the Rotary Club of Bacchus Marsh.
Mandy Coulson - COMMUNITY REPRESENTATIVE
Mandy has worked constructively and collaboratively with growers, farming system groups, industry and government to help build productive and sustainable farming systems. Since 1997, she has worked extensively on Serrated Tussock research and extension throughout the Corangamite and Port Phillip regions.
Mandy originally comes from a farming background and continues her passion for farming, now running an irrigated farm near Tongala with her husband and two children. She has completed tertiary studies in science, agriculture and agribusiness.
Mandy looks forward to providing strategic direction to Serrated Tussock control and management in Victoria and beyond.
Margot - Community Representative
Margot has been a community member of the VSTWP since November 2014. Having lived in rural Bellbrae, Margot Galletly shifted to Modewarre in 2001 to provide an increased acreage for sheep and more room for a growing son, and an elderly father. She values the beautiful landscape, especially with its creek frontage and views of rolling hills. Margot has first hand experience in managing serrated tussock and has been successfully controlling some infestations on her land and the adjoining property over the past decade. She is also a landcare facilitator and an active member in the local landcare groups and networks around the surf-coast and inland plains area. Recently Margot has established a five row 900 metre tree plantation on the western boundary with the absentee neighbours, to try to reduce the weed inflow and to deal with a fence “issue” at the same time. As an optimistic landholder, Margot still believes that if the hard work is put in, and by being vigilant she can get on top of serrated tussock.