This large and very interesting exhibition will transform the restaurant at the Mercure Geelong during the Wildlife Tourism Conference in Geelong on 30 September to 2 October 2015. This display is well worth a really good look with plenty to see and read about this special region.
The 12 metre x 2 metre series of panels were designed to bring attention to the precarious existence of one of the world’s most endangered ecosystems, the wildflower grasslands of the volcanic plains that stretch from Melbourne, across most of southern Victoria almost to the border with South Australia.
Since the arrival of the Europeans in the early nineteenth century, this natural landscape has been transformed dramatically, extinguishing much of the original flora and fauna on these expansive western plains.
Some animals and plants have been driven to extinction, while the existence of many others is marginal and severely under threat.
Many individuals, groups and organisations are making efforts to study, protect, conserve and regenerate many of these threatened animal and plant species, and better understand the ecosystem complex that has nurtured them.
This exhibition aims to show you something of the original world of Melbourne’s western plains, what has happened to it, what is being done to help preserve what remains of it and what you can do to help.
Thank you to Hume City Council for loaning this special exhibition to us. Hume City Council, Melton City Council and Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Authority funded three of these exhibitions which are being used for environment and education purposes in their areas.
Volcano Dreaming includes photography by many of our locals – Trevor Pescott, Brian Bainbridge, Reto Zollinger, Liz Fenton, Debbie Reynolds, Bev Woods, Melissa Doherty, Chris Tzaros and the artists at Inherit Earth, Kerrie Poliness and Peter Haffenden.
Animals on the Victorian Volcanic Plains
[an excerpt from panel 7]
“Australia has the highest number of animal extinctions for any country in the last 200 years and eight of those have been marsupials from the Victorian Volcanic Plains, including species of wallabies, bettongs and quolls.
Others not quite extinct, like the Eastern Barred Bandicoots, are critically endangered. You can still see kangaroos on the plains, not far from Melbourne, but removal and change of habitat, guns, and the introduction of sheep, cattle, dogs, foxes, rabbits and cats have squeezed out or decimated most of the other smaller marsupials.
Anything under knee-height has been particularly vulnerable to foxes. Other former residents of the plains, not technically considered endangered, like emus, dingoes, wombats, koalas in the woodlands and brush-tailed phascogales, are certainly few and far between, if they can be found at all.
The activities of the soft-footed grazing animals and their native predators had evolved with the ecosystems of the plains flora, and their foraging, digging and excretion patterns contributed to the health and existence of the plants”.