Dimboola is a finalist in six categories of the 2021 Keep Victoria Beautiful Sustainable Communities - Tidy Towns Awards and is in line for the title of Victoria’s Tidiest Town.

These awards will not be presented in person for the second year running, with the traditional gala function again being replaced by an online event.

The announcement this year was to be held at Hastings, the winner of the Tidy Town of the Year 2020 title, but with current COVID-19 restrictions affecting much of the state, the decision has been made to move the Awards online, with winners now to be announced on Saturday 16 October 2021.

Wimmera communities have featured strongly in these awards over recent years, with Dimboola having earned the major prize in 2018 and Horsham holding the honour in both 2015 and 2016.

Horsham also has eleven finalists this year.

These Awards celebrate initiatives and positive actions taken by community groups, educational institutions, businesses, and councils in regional areas in Victoria and recognise the work done by countless volunteers to better the environment and communities.

Community Finalists

Dimboola Bowling Club - Synthetic greens and upgrade surrounds

The Dimboola Bowling Club has been trying to replace the grass B Green with a synthetic surface to reduce the maintenance of the facility for many years.

Through a government grant, a contribution from Hindmarsh Shire Council and $110,000 from the club, the B Green has been transformed into an all-accessible green for disabled players.

The synthetic green will reduce water usage and be less of a maintenance burden to the Club’s aging membership. In addition, the C Green will be transformed into a native garden to enhance the environment of the club.

Wimmera Cancer Centre, Horsham

Wimmera Cancer Centre, Horsham was founded by Wimmera/Southern Mallee communities with State and Federal Government funding. Approximately $1.6million (and counting) has been donated to the project.

After three years of fundraising, the centre was opened in January 2019.

Don Johns OAM, former Chair Horsham Tidy Towns Committee, was the key campaigner and is responsible for coining the slogan ‘Give where you live’.

His passion and vision was a building in which to deliver cancer, dialysis and hospice care services.

The Community fundraising campaign ‘Rachael’s Wish’ was named after Rachael Littore, who was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2013. Rachael wrote to the Federal Member for Mallee requesting support for a new centre, and Prime Minister Tony Abbott visited Wimmera Health Care Group (WHCG) and committed $1 million to the project.

Horsham Rural City Council - Public Art and Horsham Heritage Trail

The Public Art and Heritage Trail activation projects involved the decoration of a Powercor Box near the NAB Bank in Pynsent Street and completion of artwork on walls in Jos’ Lane in the CBD. The Powercor Box was painted by two young residents.

A further project – ‘BIN Spiration’ – was developed during the COVID-19 lockdowns of 2020, with paint and materials being provided to locals to design and colour their household rubbish and recycling bins, to give life and colour to the streets of Horsham on rubbish collection days.

These projects are devised and driven through the Public Art Advisory Committee of Horsham Rural City Council, with a further proposal to decorate 16 NBN boxes around the area.

Horsham Agricultural Society - Virtual Horsham Agricultural Show

Victoria’s first Virtual Agricultural Show was created to keep Horsham’s Community connected through lockdown.

The Virtual Agricultural Show was launched on 1 May 2020 on Facebook, with competitions running until Show Day on 27 September 2020.

Education Finalists

Horsham Tidy Towns Committee - Facebook Page

Horsham started its own Facebook page as a tool to provide education and bring awareness to the Tidy Towns ideals of a sustainable life.

The committee uses this page to share environmental messages and invite followers to join in programs such as Boomerang Bags working bees, Clean Up Australia Day and the Tidy Towns Awards. It is also a means to share other programs such as recycling and minimising waste with the broader community.

Energy Finalists

Horsham Rural City Council - Horsham Regional Livestock Exchange (HRLE) Roofing

In 2020, Horsham Rural City Council implemented a project to roof the HRLE Saleyards.

This project provides significant energy and environmental benefits, including solar energy panels, water conservation, animal welfare and environmental safety.

Environment Finalists

Hindmarsh Shire Council - Dimboola Visitor Node

The landscape transformation at the new Dimboola Library has been developed by the Hindmarsh Shire Council as the Dimboola Visitor Node and is part of the Wimmera Discovery Trail.

What was once an asphalt carpark, the Node has been transformed into a community space that will be a refuge during the hot summer months. In addition, this has provided a green link between the Dimboola business district and the Wimmera River environs.

Snape Reserve - Land Restoration for future generations

Snape Reserve was a farm for over 100 years, but a committee of volunteers has managed the property since 2003, with their biggest challenge being managing weeds.

Every week, work on eradication is carried out with over 1,040 hours of spot spraying the thick areas and hoeing the rest, leading to reasonable control of these problem plants.

A project to reinstate stringybark trees on the site was undertaken with Greening Australia purchasing and planting 12,000 seedlings, and volunteers constructed a kangaroo proof fence to protect the trees before planting.

The Committee of Management purchased and planted another 300 Willow Wattle trees.

The Wimmera River Improvement Committee - Langland’s Track, Horsham

The Wimmera River Improvement Committee has completed the sealing of the Langland’s Track, a 2.5km loop from Horsham’s Anzac Centenary Bridge to the Weir.

The project has meant that people with wheelchairs, mobility scooters and families with prams have been able to enjoy this beautiful part of the river for the first time.

The track has already been well used, particularly through the lockdowns of 2020, when outdoor recreation took on new importance.

The project has had a significant environmental impact and resulted in the re-introduction of water to an ancient billabong that had been blocked off from the river for more than 70 years.

The Committee has also acted to preserve the unique vegetation, including Aboriginal scar trees, and is engaging in ongoing works to re-vegetate the area.

Heritage & Culture Finalists

Saving the Dimboola VRI

The Dimboola VRI is a remarkable story of saving the Dimboola VRI Hall after it was set for demolition.

A group of railway workers resurrected the Dimboola VRI, and following negotiations driven by the VRI head office, the hall was returned to the Branch.

Since then, the members cleaned up the hall, which is now being used for institute functions and is hired out for community use.

The funds for restoration were raised through golf days, fishing competitions, family days and in-kind support from the local hardware store.

Horsham Rural City Council - Horsham Botanic Gardens - English Elms

Horsham Botanic Gardens, established in 1873, feature the ongoing maintenance and protection of a plantation of English Elm Trees planted as part of the 1883/1890 masterplan by William Guilfoyle.

The current Gardens staff have undertaken a proactive program on the Historic Elm trees to reduce the canopy, remove dead wood, and establish a preservation watering application program.

As a result of the ongoing care by eight successive curators and Horsham Council staff, eight of the eleven original Guilfoyle plantings are still a feature of the Gardens.

The Gardens are now a regular venue for weddings, school excursions, the annual Horsham Garden Show, and always offering botanical information/examples for study/research.

Indigenous Culture Finalists

Robyn Lauricella, Dimboola - Language and cultural learning centre

Dimboola has a strong Indigenous history, with many Traditional Owners living along the Wimmera River.

Over time, their language that was commonly spoken in the Wimmera for tens of thousands of years was lost but now has the chance to be found and revitalised.

Wotjobaluk woman, Robyn Lauricella, has opened a Language and Cultural Learning Centre in Dimboola and plans to recover her native tongue, the Wergaia language.

Wotjobaluk Traditional Owners and First Nation organisations have been restoring the Wergaia language over the past two decades.

Barengi Gadjin Land Council, Wail - Dalki Garringa - Good Growing

The Dalki Garringa, meaning ‘Good Growing’ in the Wotjobaluk language, was originally established in 1946 as part of the Wail State Forest.

Today, the clear focus of the nursery is to grow the plants that are native to Wotjobaluk Country, with the view to providing plants for revegetation projects, redevelopment of the Wail Arboretum as a botanic park, a retail and online nursery, café and a new native foods business.

The aim is to develop a long-term employment and business future for Traditional Owners.

Litter Finalists

Horsham Tidy Town Committee - Clean-up Australia Day 2021

Twenty-six volunteers came together to participate in a ‘Clean Up Event’ as part of the ‘Clean Up Australia Day’ National initiative, organised by the Horsham Tidy Town Committee.

Volunteer helpers included representatives from Horsham Rotary Club, Haven Market Committee, CFA Headquarters Brigade, Wimmera River Improvement Committee, together with Community Members and Tidy Towns Committee Members.

Eight sites and highway entrances to Horsham were visited, collecting eight cubic metres of rubbish, litter and recyclables.

Bunnings Horsham was generous enough to contribute buckets, gloves and hats for volunteers. Rural Roads Victoria also provided signage, hi-visibility jackets and collection bags.

Waste Finalists

Dimboola Lions Club - Recycling the Wimmera

The Dimboola Lions operate the Recycle Centre where they manage initiatives to reduce waste and litter in the community.

The major function of the centre is to bale cardboard that is bought in from around the Wimmera, which is then sold on to be recycled.

The Hindmarsh Shire Council supports this initiative.

Another major project is the monthly collection of newspapers where volunteers collect papers from the curb and store them at the centre for recycling. The program asks the community to save their papers for collection and place them on the curb on the first Saturday of each month.

The club’s interest in recycling goes further, including car batteries, scrap metal, small batteries, plastic bottle tops, and those annoying plastic bread tags.

While the movement of freight around the world has almost halted due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Dimboola Lions are stockpiling the recycled material until better times and better pricing.

Horsham Tidy Towns Committee - Polyrok Soft Plastic Reuse - Coles Carpark Horsham

The Horsham Tidy Towns Committee were concerned about the untidy, poorly drained, poor landscaped and the general presentation of the Coles Carpark, which needed an upgrade.

The Committee wrote to the Manager of Coles Horsham and requested action to improve the carpark to ‘Tidy Towns’ standards expectations. Coles responded with a redesign and commenced a major rebuild that included using ‘Polyrok’ as a carpark base and in the footways in place of conventional concrete.

Polyrok is a construction material that uses recycled plastic aggregate made from soft plastic waste to replace the usual mineral aggregate.

Coles has been an agent for the collection of soft plastics through a program run by REDGroup. It was the REDGroup in association with Replas who then provided the Polyrok for use in the carpark.

Some 900,000 pieces of plastic went into the Polyrok used in the car park works.

Young Ledgends Finalists

Bart Turgoose, Horsham

Horsham Tidy Towns Facebook photo.

Bart is a sixteen-year-old Horsham College student and is a school-based trainee studying Certificate III in Business.

Bart is very involved in many community-based activities and is held in high regard within many associations in Horsham. In addition, Bart has founded his own businesses, “Worm King”, selling worms and “Barts Clay Target Adventures”, which encourages young people to join in clay target shooting.

Bart has an interest in social media and photography. He reported the competition activities for the Horsham Show on their Facebook page over show week. He is employed as a casual at Business Horsham and also works as a retail assistant at Horsham Electronics.

Overall 2021 Tidy Town Finalists

Nine towns are in the running for the title of Victoria’s Tidiest Town, including local candidates Dimboola and Horsham.

Crib Point
Little River
Mt Martha