Victorian Serrated Tussock Members

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.


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.



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.

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 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.


Rob joined the VSTWP as a community representative in February 2016. Rob was the manager of the family farming business Yadin Pastoral Co, which operated two wool growing properties north east of Ararat. During the thirty four years of farming, Rob gained extensive knowledge in pastures, hill country management and soil conservation.

Since leaving farming in 2009, Rob has been employed as the project manager of the farmer group Perennial Pasture Systems and he and his wife Debbie are the coordinators of the Ararat Bestwool/Bestlamb Group.

Rob has been on advisory committees with the Wimmera CMA and has been on the committee of the Upper Hopkins Landcare Group.

There is increasing awareness of the potential spread of serrated tussock into the Wimmera and Western District and Rob was approached to become involved in its control programs.

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.