10th Anniversary Open Day & Blues for the Bush

on 02 Jul 2013 

G'day all. Click here for the first flyer for the upcoming Community Open Day at CDR (498kb) on October 5th 2013

I also invite staff to register their interest in this exciting event on the website so you can be kept informed of developments thru email updates – click here to register. Please note this event website will be further developed over the coming weeks.

Please feel free to  distribute the flyer to any networks you feel may be interested.

Below is some detailed information on the Open Day.

The  2013 Charles Darwin Reserve Open Day  will be an exciting event that will showcase many aspects including community based culture, conservation, arts, tourism, history and heritage. The event will be a full day of celebrations held on Saturday October 5th 2013 and will include a range of interactive displays, eco-tours, musical performances, children’s cultural and environmental educational activities and will conclude with a family concert.

This Open Day is being co-presented with The Shire of Perenjori. Perenjori Shire are putting considerable financial resources into this event and as such Bush Heritage Australia and Shire of Perenjori are working together to maximise the success of this regional event.

The Open Day will facilitate broad community engagement with the Reserve, provide events and activities designed to ‘engage, inspire and delight’ a diverse target audience including pastoralists, local businesses, nature enthusiasts, music lovers, children, indigenous people, the aged population and tourists.

Charles Darwin Reserve falls largely within the Southwest Botanical Province, Australia's only internationally recognised biodiversity ‘hotspot'. However, the reserve straddles the boundary with the more arid Eremean Province to the north, creating an interesting ‘melting pot' of plant species. The reserve lies on the traditional lands of the Badimia, Widi and Binyardi peoples. The Charles Darwin Reserve is owned and managed by Bush Heritage Australia who aims to protect the land’s biodiversity, while celebrating its history and cultural significance, for the long term.

The Charles Darwin Reserve Open Day aims at ‘engaging, inspiring and delighting’ the wider community through:

  • Providing opportunities for people to interact with nature;
  • Providing a unique opportunity for the local and regional community to gather and spend time together. This event is being designed so that the local community will participate in the event, not run it.
  • Engaging the community in the cultural heritage of the traditional owners of the reserve -  the Badimia people;
  • Offering the community an opportunity to engage with the Bush Heritage Australia staff and volunteers to become inspired about the  conservation projects being managed at the Reserve and also to gain an understanding of the benefits to the community of the work  Bush Heritage Australia undertake across Australia;
  • Encouraging community participation;
  • Involving the community in artistic pursuits (such as a wildflower photography competition, and poster design competition and musical performances by youth bands, local and visiting artists)
  • Promoting a more sustainable response to the pressure on the local farming and pastoral communities through presentations from experts involved in developing practical solutions to the problems faced by rangelands and dryland agriculture.
  • Educating the community on the benefits of eco-tourism in the region;
  • Building capacity within the community to provide them with a sense of ownership and pride in the Reserve and the natural landscape of the Perenjori district.
  • Stimulating business conversations.

This project addresses several important community needs including:

Engagement with conservation activities

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike.”(John Muir).

Implicit in all Bush Heritage conservation activities is the underlying belief that nature reminds us what it means to be human, what we are connected to rather than what we are separated from. We believe this is as relevant to rural communities as it is to urban dwellers and this underpins our view all communities need more opportunities to gain a greater appreciation of the value of conservation and biodiversity as will be offered on the Open Day. This community event will celebrate sustainable and innovative land management across the region. There will be activities focused on both nature conservation, sustainable agriculture and pastoralism. This event will be inclusive and aims to bring together the full range or rural community members to celebrate our country and lives in the bush.

Celebrating community diversity

The Open Day is designed to both demonstrate and celebrate the diversity – and hence the resilience of the local community - pastoralists will mix with conservationists, children with the elderly, locals with visitors. The celebration of the 10th anniversary of the acquisition of the Reserve by Bush Heritage is an important milestone in the development of private conservation efforts in the region and a reminder of how the community continues to adapt to the challenges of the 21st century. Similarly the participation of the Badimia people will provide an opportunity to engage with the local indigenous community and celebrate their culture and work they have been doing over the years

Building Social Capital

The Open Day will offer a range of entertainment ranging from paddock theatre performers for children to bands for the older members of the community. As a small and regional community, any events that are held in Perenjori are run by the community and volunteers. While this event aims at engaging the community it will attempt to do this without the need of local volunteers. This is because this event seeks to offer the Perenjori community an avenue to relax, socialise and engage without the need to be actively involved with running the day’s program of events. The Perenjori community runs the risk of ‘burning –out’ its volunteers and therefore this event will offer those people (who are usually active in running community events) the opportunity to enjoy engaging with other community members and enjoy the days celebrations without having to worry about the day’s proceedings. Bush Heritage Australia recognises the important role that Perenjori’s volunteers make to building social capital for the community and as such this event will celebrate and reward their invaluable contribution. Initial feedback from locals about this event and their ability to just engage and not work on this community event is being very warmly received.


The Open Day will attract visitors to the region – many for the first time – and will provide a platform for the region to showcase its nature-based tourism and cultural assets as well as the often underestimated tourism value of the rural lifestyle. The event will also offer the local community a sense of the important part in the economy that eco-tourism can play. This will be particularly beneficial as tourism is recognised as being a potential driver for the local economy for the long term and thus the community will be able to engage with Bush Heritage Australia to encourage the development of this industry.

Economic Development

Nature based and event based tourism offer options for economic development in the community. The immediate effect will be felt by local service providers who will provide goods and services to the event patrons (and to the event organisers). Flow on benefits may include enhancing the image of the Perenjori region as a good place to live which may attract new investment in Perenjori. With the traditional industry of agriculture being negatively affected in recent years (due to drought and dry-seasons), the Perenjori community needs to embrace new opportunities to encourage economic diversity. Bush Heritage Australia although primarily concerned with nature conservation  recognise that without engaged and vibrant communities our work is very hard to achieve and the rural landscape needs thriving biodiversity and engaged and stimulated rural populations to be truly healthy and carry regional Australia into a productive and creative future. This event is an important part of the ‘new conversation’ in the region and Bush Heritage believe the bringing together of people will ensure industry’s and social networks across the region continue to work vigorously to develop our environmental, social and economic capital.

Recognising the Importance of Cultural Heritage

The Perenjori region is rich in cultural heritage however many members of the Perenjori community are not aware of many of the areas unique cultural attributes. The Charles Darwin Reserve Open Day will celebrate the important role that preserving and promoting our cultural heritage can have on the community. Heritage and cultural tourism have the ability to become an integral part of Perenjori’s future.  The changing perspective on industry in Perenjori will hopefully mean lead organisations focusing on sustainable cultural tourism as an important area of growth with Perenjori’s heritage as a major selling point.  Also, the event will assist the community to take pride in its heritage which will lead to an increased sense of community spirit. It is expected that over the coming 12 months a regional indigenous land management program will be developed in our region to further enhance and celebrate regional cultural heritage in Badimia country. Community events like the Charles Darwin Open Day are important opportunities to build support for these important initiatives in an informal and personal way.

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