Welcome to the Macedon Ranges Sustainability Group  (MRSG)







2016 Annual Report

President’s Report by Ralf Thesing

This is the 6th Annual Report I am collating as President and I keep observing that each year is bigger and busier than the one before. The most challenging project this year was getting the $100,000 Community Solar Park up and running at the Woodend Black Forest Timber Mill Site. This certainly stretched the Committee and all volunteers involved. But it will be a great asset and income stream for many years to come.

As part of our Macedon Ranges Renewable Energy Fund (MrRef) we provided guidance, project management and an interest free loan to the Woodend Cricket Club for their Solar Project.

There is a lot happening in the Renewable Energy space with the Woodend Windfarm being the biggest item on the board. You can view the position of the wind mast on google earth here

Our Sustainable Living Festival in February took on a new format over two days.                                  Instead of the “Ride for Renewables” we helped organise the Sustainable House Day in the Macedon Ranges.

The Woodend Community Farmers Market is now well established with the new layout and the central marquee.

Too many initiatives to mention, I encourage you to read the reports of the various active groups which are part of this report. Go to mrsg-annual-report-2015-2016-full-version


Visit by Professor Kate Auty

kate-auty-20161011_190027-3Professor Kate Auty speaking at the AGM

Professor Auty, Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment in the Australian Capital Territory toured the Macedon Ranges on October 11 with members of MRSG to view renewable energy projects accomplished by the MRref Scheme. Professor Auty was “blown away” by the scope and innovation of what has been achieved and what is being planned. The projects include the proposed community run wind turbines near Woodend, solar panels installed for the Woodend Cricket Club at the Gilbert Gordon Oval and Woodend Primary, a wind turbine at Heskett Primary School,  and the solar project at the Woodend Black Forest Timber Mill. Professor Auty enjoyed an informal dinner at the Vic Hotel and then on to give her talk at the AGM. More news about her talk will come soon.



More Australian Solar Homes

Macedon Ranges Sustainability Group is proud to support MASH. MASH is a community solar bulk-buy scheme that helps make rooftop solar and storage easy and affordable. The MASH team does the legwork of finding high quality solar and battery systems that you can trust and consolidates the buying power of MASH participants to negotiate heavily discounted bulk-buy prices.

There are many information sessions rolling out in central Victoria right now!

Kyneton’s Session was on October 4 at The Albion Hotel.

Gisborne, October 27, 6 pm – 7.30 pm at the Gisborne Senior Citizens Hall, 8a Hamilton St

Sessions for Bendigo and Mount Alexandra Shires are: Maiden Gully October 7, Maldon October 11, White Hills October 12, Newstead October 12 (solar battery storage), Kangaroo Flat October 18.

Find out much more about MASH at http://mash.org.au/. Register now or to find more information go to events.

MASH inquiries: Phone: 1300 466 274 Email: info@hubfoundation.org.au  Address: PO Box 311, Castlemaine, Vic 3450




 Movies that Matter feature a broad number of topics related to sustainability from alternative agriculture to modern day challenges across environment, economic and social dimensions.

Screenings for the rest of the year include – November 8 – Sherpa (2015), December 13, Minimalism - a documentary (2014)

___________________________________________________________________Sustainable House Day

Finding Inspiration, Ideas and the Key to Sustainable living

There were over 19,000 visits to the inspiring 154 homes which were opened for this event around Australia (4 in the Macedon Ranges) . Organised by the Alternative Energy Association. Supported by the Macedon Ranges Sustainability Group, The Federal Department of Environment and Energy Your Energy Savings and Bank Australia

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MRSG Annual General Meeting

Tuesday 11 October 2016

Speaker: Professor Kate Auty

ACT Commissioner for Sustainability and Environment

Many people make for change

Time: 6.30 pm

Woodend Neighbourhood House

47 Forest St Woodend

 Everyone is welcome.

Kate Auty Speaker




A Forum for Democratic Renewal presented its last one for the year at Gisborne Masonic Centre on August 21 with special guest speaker Iain Walker, Executive Director, newDemocracy. He spoke about the ‘not for profit’ organisation which aims to introduce democratic reform and how they are doing it.

If you missed it then you’re in luck – video and photos will be placed on the website soon.

Go to: A forum for Democratic Renewal website or call Rob 54 22 1808.




On Sunday 12 June Mark Butler MP Shadow Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water visited the Macedon Ranges Sustainability Group with Lisa Chesters MP (Member for Bendigo) with the intention of talking with the group and visiting the renewable projects that the group has supported over the last 2 years. He is seen here looking over the site of the planned community owned wind turbines. He also visited Woodend Primary School, Cricket Club on the Gilbert Gordon oval and Blackforest Timber Mill. He is seen here at front wearing scarf with Lisa and MRSG members.


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MR VEG blog is here:  https://mrvegblog.wordpress.com/ for all information about vegetarian eating and recipes.


“As long as the general population is passive, apathetic, diverted to consumerism or hatred of the vulnerable, then the powerful will do as they please and those that survive will be left to contemplate.”                                                                    Noam Chomsky


The Great Debate


Has democracy failed us or have we all failed democracy?

What can we do about it anyway?

These questions will be debated around the Macedon Ranges at five forums for Democratic Renewal.

April forum speaker was Adam Jacoby from MiVote at Riddells Creek Primary School.

May forum speaker was Professor Lyn Carson from Sydney University at Lansfield

June forum speakers: Annie Bolitho (facilitator of “participatory budgeting at Darebin Council) and Sebastien Klein (President Victorian Local Government Association) at Woodend Primary School.

August Speaker Steb Fisher at Kyneton Secondary College

You get a chance to have your say about local issues that are important to you in group discussions after hearing from the keynote speakers.

A forum for democratic renewal will give more information or call Rob on 54 22 1808.




 The 2016 Macedon Ranges Sustainable Living Festival was held on February 27 & 28. Thank you to all the volunteers who helped on the day. You were fantastic! Thank you to our supporters. Your support is important to us.

Some photos of the 2016 Festival – Thank you to photographer Bruce Hedge


Click here to go to the SLF website.


by Jim Sansom

Myth 1: That fossil fuels are the cheapest form of energy.

They’re not. They are only regarded as cheap when the full cost of using them is not accounted for. Up till now humans have not costed the rubbish that is put into the atmosphere by the burning of fossil fuels.

Myth 2: That substitution of gas for coal burning eliminates emissions.

It doesn’t. Gas like coal is a hydrocarbon and when burnt produces CO2. It is true that less emission results from the burning of gas for the same useful energy output when compared with coal, but it still produces emissions.

Myth 3: That carbon dioxide (CO2) is the biggest green house gas.

It isn’t. Water vapour is far more prevalent in the atmosphere but its amount varies with temperature. The warmer the atmosphere the more water vapour it can hold and this warmth depends on green house gases trapping energy around the Earth. This is known as a ‘feed-back loop’ and is the cause of great concern for climate scientists. A relatively small increase in a green house gas (eg CO2, N20, CH4) leverages a proportionately larger atmospheric absorption of water vapour thus boosting the temperature even further and so the cycle goes on. ‘Runaway’ temperature increase is the result.
Read more


Renew your Membership Online

                             Click here to join or renew your membership online -


Paris Pledge for Action Boosts Paris Climate Agreement

L’Appel de Paris, or the Paris Pledge for Action, is a call to action in support of the Paris Agreement which brings together a multitude of voices on an unprecedented scale.




 Peoples Climate March 2015


A successful  2015 march was held in Kyneton to show the local support for a definite and lasting global response from the Paris talks for combating climate change. People want change now.  A picnic lunch with community singing their very own climate songs was held at Quarry Reserve and  climate marchers headed off along Piper Street and Mollison St to the Kyneton Mechanics Institute in the centre of town, where many speakers were heard.  Further details at: https://www.facebook.com/Macedon-Ranges-Green-Energy-Coalition-299880123541228 Contact Rob 54 221 808 or Marcus 54 235 254 or email robbakes(at)mudbrickcircus.com.au if you want to join the movement for change.


Riding from the Sun to the Wind – Ride4Renewables

The second ever Ride4Renewables was held on Sunday 31 October 2015 and was a great success. Despite the wet start … more




MACEDON RANGES SHIRE COUNCIL CLEAN ENERGY PETITION with a whopping 3,537 signatures was presented to the Macedon Ranges Council meeting by Mayor and Councilor Jennifer Anderson in November 2015

For more information go here


My Green Home Program

We are proud to announce MRSG collaboration with ecoMaster’s My Green Home Program and we invite you to get involved too.

As official partners of the program, we have our own dedicated page where you can register FREE. Visit: http://my-green-home.ecomaster.com.au/macedonrangessustainabilitygroup/ to sign up!

The My Green Home Program is a brilliant initiative designed to empower communities like ours to take the expert approach to making our homes as energy and thermally efficient as possible. –  Enjoy education resources offered by trusted industry leaders –  Learn about the best energy saving solutions, tested and approved by experts –  Take advantage of exclusive special prices –  Watch instructional videos for ease of installation –  Take meaningful action to achieve lasting carbon reductions As a group, we encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity as we work towards a greener future. Visit: http://my-green-home.ecomaster.com.au/macedonrangessustainabilitygroup/ to register today.


Marching for Action on Climate Change

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Announcement of funding for solar project at Woodend Mill

2015 Festival pictures

Festival volunteers celebrate a great festival

Food Forum report

MRSG Committee meeting

Latest News

Announcement of funding for solar project at Woodend Mill

MP Lily D’Ambrosio, Minister for Energy and Resources for the State Government announced a $100,000 grant for a 30-kilowatt solar farm to be constructed at the old timber mill situated just outside Woodend. Ralf Thesing, president of the MRSG said that it is terrific to receive this funding as it will create a “perpetual fund” […]

2015 Festival pictures

Making wooden pledge tree plaques Mosey   Bark painting

Festival volunteers celebrate a great festival

Fifty people enjoyed a night out at the Vic Hotel with great food and company.  The message was that all should be congratulated for producing a terrific Macedon Ranges Sustainable Living Festival 2015. Below is Alastair who has coordinated the last 3 festivals. Bruce offered thanks to Alastair for all his hard work, blood, sweat […]

Food Forum report

  Macedon Ranges Vegetarian Eating Group or MR VEG presented a Food Forum on November 1 which was a great success. 50 people attended and heard two very interesting talks; the first by Patrick Hodgson (myths and truth about soy) and then Pam Ahern (founder Edgar’s Mission,a sanctuary for rescued farm animals). Afterwards a scrumptious  […]

AGM Report

The highlight of our AGM held on Wednesday August 6 was a talk given by Professor John Thwaites, Chair of  the Monash Sustainability Institute and another group called Climate Works Australia. Thank you John for a very informative talk. The President of MRSG, Ralf Thesing, gave a report of the years activities. You can find […]

Home Produce Exchange

To find out how to join in the Home Produce Exchange: It is held at 10am at the MRSG stall at the Woodend Community Farmer’s Market first Saturday of the month, 8.30am – 1pm you can bring your own produce to the Home Produce Exchange Table and exchange for something else you can meet others […]

MRSG Committee meeting

Committee meetings are held on the first Tuesday of each month at the Woodend Neighbourhood House 47 Forest St Woodend, 8 pm. We welcome all members to attend. A meeting is coming up this Tuesday 1 July.

Zero Waste Challenge

The 2014 Towards Zero Waste Challenge has now finished. The quest to reduce your waste has only just started. The 3 challengers were Macedon Ranges and Swan Hill Shires and Bendigo City.  The winner is the shire or city who registered the most participants. The winner will be announced soon. You can start your waste […]

New Market Manager

Sharon Kittson has been appointed the new manager  for the Woodend Farmers Market, many of you might already know her from Luckwood Organics or the Foodbowl project. We had a number of very strong applicants and it was not an easy decision for the small committee, but we are very happy with Sharon taking on […]

Treasurers Old and New

This is a farewell to ‘leaving’ Treasurer Rob Were who has performed as Treasurer with great zeal and diligence. Thank you Rob for all your hard work and impressive financial charts.  Rob will continue as a committee member. Welcome to our new Treasurer Terri Dentry who has volunteered to take it on. Thank you Terri. […]

Hanging Rock Picnic

Hanging Rock is saved! There will be no commercial development in the future  planned by the Macedon Ranges Shire Council. The Victorian State Government will provide funding of $1 million to protect the East Paddock from any development. The funding will be used to maintain recreational facilities and other costs of the reserve. Funding of […]


Now is the time to  consider joining or renewing your membership. Go to Joining MRSG for the membership form and more information.

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