I gave an economics class today at La Trobe University, Bendigo – to a highly motivated group of students – on carbon pricing. I felt a reasonable compensation for this assignment was the opportunity to head out into the Whipstick Forest around Bendigo. They were in great condition given the recent rains – wildflowers everywhere and plenty of dry-country birds. These mallee-like forests are a quiet resource. Their beauty is unobtrusive but nonetheless very real. There are stands of box and ironbark as good as anywhere in Victoria and low scrubby “whipstock” size eucalypts that are distinctive. The wildflowers were remarkable and I optimistically restocked supplies of various plants for my Melbourne home from a local nursery. The birdlife was fantastic and just so different from coastal Victoria – on arrival a Sacred kingfisher perched in a tree and, while having a farewell lunch a Bendigo suburb, I saw Blue-faced honeyeaters. A great environment.
On a sour note I noticed the nibbling at edges of this remarkable forest resource by commercial land development interests. This is inexcusable – 98 per cent of the Box-Ironbark forests of Victoria have been destroyed by development. Leave the few remnant areas alone.