Crafted by hand - Story by Genevieve Barlow, Photo by Matt Miegel
In time-honoured traditions, a small and dedicated crop of craftsmen and women are still creating practical and beautiful objects by hand. Some of these artisans may be the last exponents of their bushcrafts.
In a clearing high on his home block in Victoria’s High Country, Jimmy Findlay approaches a 13-metre, plumb-straight peppermint log with a chainsaw. All around is birdsong, towering trees, grass and the sweet fragrance of spring’s flush. Soon the timber is in five bits. Jimmy swings a pickaroon. It digs into a cut end and sticks there – an instant handle.
Click on the link above to read our most recent newsletter. Find out about all our upcoming events, recent programs, the 2016 team member's reflections and more. It's a goodie! We hope you enjoy reading it!
Liz Leyshan has decided to stay a 4th year as Mittagundi Director!
The future is looking bright at Mittagundi as long staying Director, Liz Leyshan, has taken on the commitment of staying a 4th year as Director at Mittagundi!
The role is usually a 2 year and occasionally a 3 year term, so Liz's commitment is extra ordinary! Liz said she still had some goals to achieve at Mittagundi before she departed and her passion for improving the place is obvious in everything she does.
Over her term, Liz has overseen a marked improvement in numbers of young people on programs, overseen the restoration of a Winter Hut. Managed to secure new partnerships and funding and successfully maintained existing ones. The future of Mittagundi is in good hands for another year!
Thanks Liz for your commitment!
In July this year a group of young people from Deaf Children Australia joined a group of other young people from around Vic to embark on a 7 day Mittagundi winter adventure.
Read about their experience and watch the video they have created!
Read all about the wonderful projects happening on the farm, hear from the young people and staff about what Mittagundi programs are like and get the latest updates on Mittagundi events and programs. We hope you enjoy this read!
Check out the article written in the Ovens & Murray Advertiser, June 1st 2016.
Mittagundi hoe-down in town hall
BEECHWORTH Memorial Hall was alive on Saturday with bush dancing, a barbecue and auction to raise more than $4500 for Mittagundi alpine youth education camp.
About 150 people attended the dance with toe tapping music supplied by The Remnants, a bush band made up of local musicians.
Mittagundi business manager Claire Peck said the Glen Valley camp off Omeo Highway depended on donations and volunteers to enable it to continue to offer up to 200 North East students opportunities to build bush and self-reliance skills.
“The money will help more people attend the camp and assist with the running costs,” Ms Peck said.
The dance was organised by local volunteers, many of whom have spent time at the camp when young.
Mittagundi offers three programs including a 10-day trek that takes 22 young people accompanied by two Clydesdale horses walking in the high country away from electricity and modern comforts.
There is a winter program teaching snow survival skills, cross country skiing, snow camping, cooking and eating in pioneer huts.
There is also a follow-up program for camp alumni.
AdventurePro Video Film Festival 2016 Winners and the Future?
CONGRATULATIONS TO BEN COOPE FOR 'MY SNOWY MOUNTAINS' . . . . HE WON A 4 NIGHT STAY AT MITTAGUNDI!!
May 4, 2016
The AdventurePro Video Film Festival 2016 presented by the Australian Camps Association had two premiere screenings on April 30 and May 1 at the Mansfield Armchair Cinemas and it was generally agreed that 2016 is the best so far.
"We had consistently positive feedback from the audience, including sponsors and film makers, and the quality of the entries was better than ever," said Tony Barnett, AdventurePro's Project Manager.
"Thoroughly enjoyed it," said one audience member. "A well deserved overall winner. Great job!"
"I'm super stoked that Australia finally has its own adventure film fest," said one film maker.
"I think it’s a great thing that you are doing for adventure film makers and really appreciate it. It’s got me really excited for next year’s entry," said another.
Although the weekend was a success, audience numbers were down on last year.
"We seem to have been unlucky with the timing of this year's premiere being on the weekend between Anzac Day and Mother's Day," said Mr Barnett.
"A lot of people indicated that they would have liked to come along but needed a weekend at home or had existing commitments."
"That is one of the issues we face by holding the event in Mansfield. Most people feel they need to take a weekend away to attend."
"We will be exploring the option of holding the premiere, or follow up screenings, in Melbourne and possibly other state and territory capitals for future festivals," continued Mr Barnett.
The team at AdventurePro feel that the festival's concept has proven itself over the last three years and that it's now time to re-assess every aspect of how the festival will operate into the future.
"The last three years have seen the birth and first steps of Australia's only family friendly adventure film festival," said Mr Barnett.
"Everyone loves the AdventurePro Video Film Festival and it keeps getting better every year."
"But, as several of this year's audience members noted, it needs to be seen by more people to grow and develop further."
"Not only to spread the positive messages and good feelings being showcased by the short films on offer, but also to secure the event's viability. We need to increase the scale of the festival to further benefit everyone involved."
"But, AdventurePro will need support and assistance from other organisations to make this a reality."
"Which is why we would like to invite anyone with an interest in being involved into the future to contact us. Exciting times and big opportunities lie ahead!" concluded Mr Barnett.
Thanks to the presenter, the Australian Camps Association, along with all the film-makers, adventurers, sponsors, supporters, prize-givers, judges and the audience from everyone at AdventurePro for making the event possible!
And, without further ado, the winners are...
'The Fly Program' by Michael Fardell (https://vimeo.com/150873521)
Open Category Winner
* $1,000 CASH prize from AdventurePro!
* gift voucher of $300 value towards a World Expeditions trip!
'Cradle Circuit 2015' by Todd Blackhall
Schools Category Winner
* accommodation to the value of $3,000 from AUSCAMP!
* gift voucher of $300 value towards a World Expeditions trip!
'Agent of Cool' by Simon Madden
The Tin Shed Cider 'Wickedly Enjoyable' Prize --- one dozen 750ml bottles of mixed variety traditionally crafted apple cider OR $150 CASH!
'Re-Establishment' by Lachlan Humphreys
Family Weekend at Howmans Gap Alpine Centre courtesy of YMCA Camping.
'My Snowy Mountains' by Ben Coope
The Mittagundi Prize --- The prize includes a 4 night stay at Mittagundi.
'Skiing South West Tasmania' by Mark Oates
The Cradle Mountain Canyons Prize --- Cradle Mountain Canyons is offering an action packed canyoning tour for two in Dove Canyon with complementary photographs.
'Twenty Fifteen' by David Lennon
Schools Category Runner-Up
CAMPLIST Prize --- CAMPLIST is providing $200 of Outdoor Equipment as well as a tour of the One Planet Factory!
Wild is also providing a 12 month Wild magazine subscription to all finalists, including...
'This Is Queensland' by Matt Raimondo
'Behind the Seen' by Matthew Rott
'SLACK' by Jono Blake
'The Book of Laughter and Forgetting' by Simon Madden
'A Life Beyond the Breakers' by Rodney Pacitti
'Light Therapy' by Riley Blakeway
'Gaula River - bigger than on Google Earth' by Adrian Kiernan
'Grand Canyoneering & Packrafting' by Mark Oates
'XPD' by Paul Gruber
We hope you're already thinking about next year's entry, sponsoring or getting involved with the event and coming along to a screening.
Please keep an eye on the festival website at www.adventurepro.com.au/videofestival for festival news and information, including announcements for the event's future coming soon.
We hope you enjoy reading our Autumn Newsletter. In it you will find out who our new staff are, the exciting news with the horses and cows and how some of our events over Summer went.
Mittagundi recently received a grant from Freemasons Victoria Foundation to support some young hard of hearing people to attend our Open Winter Program these July school holidays!
Click here to read the full article.
Spring is in the air and life has been buzzing like the bees at Mittagundi.
Inside our latest edition you'll find our outgoing staff's reflections on the year, inspiring stories and news about some wonderful programs, info on how you can get involved with Mates of Mittagundi (MOM), lots of great photos and jokes and more more more!! It's a big one - so print it off and stick it in the loo for some quiet reading time!
18 teenagers, who have siblings with life-threatening conditions, escaped the city to Mittagundi for a week of challenges and fun this Winter.
Very Special Kids Family Support Worker, Jess, talks about how it all went . .
After uploading her original song to the competition Sarah May is up for a $30000 prize pack to kickstart her musical career!
Sarah May is now in the TOP 12 in the Bank of Melbourne Music Competition, selected down from 500 applicants!
Sarah May came has been to Mittagundi 4 times and her song "Trapped" emerged after growing and developing here at Mittagundi.
Voting has begun for the top 4 finalists! You can show Sarah your support by registering your vote below . . .
Good luck, Sarah May
Check out the Winter Newsletter! See the snow dumps, the smiling faces and hear all about what Phil, Sampson, the rooster and the crew have been up to this busy Winter!! This edition also includes wrap ups of the City Hop, NE Hop and Alpine Walk! So what are you waiting for?? Get reading!
June 13, 2015
A BEECHWORTH bush dance has raised $20,000 for a youth education camp.
Mittagundi, in the Glen Valley area on the Omeo Highway, assists about 200 North East students a year.
About 350 people attended the first Mittagundi dance at Beechworth Memorial Hall.
Mittagundi spokesman Matt Grogan said people came from as far away as Melbourne for the dance.
“Mittagundi runs on donations and volunteers,” Mr Grogan said.
“That amount of money exceeded all our expectations. It will help more people attend the camp and help with the running costs.”
He said the event, organised by Denis Ginnivan, “went off” with a bush barbecue dinner, much dancing and music, an auction and “some wonderful speeches of appreciation”.
WITH each swing of her axe, Olivia Worrell hacked further into the wood that would be used to fuel the fire for warmth on her first night isolated from society.
It was hard work for the 15-year-old from Wodonga who helped stack the pieces into an old wheelbarrow.
She remembers it began to snow that night; she stood there with her head tilted back and stared at the sky in amazement.
Olivia, now 18, had no phone, no power and no running water at the time, but she was happy being in a world away from the technology and Facebook which consume today’s youth.
“I wish so many times that I could go back,” she said.
Read the Autumn Newsletter and you'll discover who the 2015 staff are, what's been happening on the farm and news from events such as fruit bottling, the Walk In, Sweet Valley Sounds, Mittagundi Festival and Folk Rhythm Life Festival. Wow a lot's been happening!
9th & 10th January 2015
Friday Jan 9th kickstarts the events with a Bush Dance followed by our Open Day with demonstrators showcasing pioneering skills.
Come play traditional games with us and buy something from our auction.
Spring is done and summer is here! – as the saying goes “another one bites the dust”. Can ya sing it? Louder! But we “can’t stop the music” and Mittagundi has a lot of it as the Noisy Camp attracts young people to the banks of the mighty Mitta Mitta! So we keep rolling out our sleeping bags and socialising with a great bunch of kids.
I just love watching the staff work with these young people – growing confidence, skills and patience. So in my sadness to let the staff team of 2014 go, I would like to say “Thank you Sandon, Aly, Jesse, Claire, Toby and Michael,” your contribution to Mittagundi has been extraordinary. Not only has the team devoured the year with learning and fun, they have also followed my visions and values all the way through. They have continued to clean up the property from winter storms, look after the animals, build toilets and fences, revamp the garden, make stuff, while providing quality programs. I wish the team the best of happiness and recommend a holiday before working or studying hard. (The staff’s reflections have been added to this newsletter). I do get to keep two other staff we employed during Spring - Claire Peck (Business Manager ) and Sal Kimber (Communications Officer). Together we have been Spring cleaning our marketing materials and developing action plans. SO! Watch out 2015 here we come with renewed energy and purpose. Our vision is to accelerate our bookings and get out there talking about Mittagundi. If you are involved with groups, education institutions, service clubs, schools and youth groups, we would love to talk to your group about what we do. Another interesting opportunity for all you lot out there wanting to help fundraise or support Mittagundi . . . we are creating Mates of Mittagundi. Yep MOM! Because Mom’s support what we do right? You will need to register with Sal Kimber when we have our systems ready to run.
THERE’S no power, no technology, no mirrors and no watches allowed, yet teenagers willingly apply to stay.
Welcome to Mittagundi, a 160ha not-for-profit farm and outdoor education centre at Glen Valley, in Victoria’s remote High Country.
And according to director Liz Leyshan, the centre is all about changing young people’s lives.
“There are plenty of kids who don’t want to come here when they find out there’s no electricity,” Liz says. “But those who do come do so because they want to challenge themselves.
“When they come here they are given an experience that connects them with a simpler way of living and with a group of peers.”
Mittagundi was established in 1978 by Ian Stapleton, who is now retired in Harrietville, but at the time worked for adventure organisation Outward Bound and later Geelong Grammar’s Timbertop.
He later added another property in 1989, Wollangarra, at Glenfalloch near Licola, which is today run along similar lines to its sister centre, Mittagundi.
“Ian realised a lot of rich kids had experiences of being in the outdoors and he wanted to create a place for those who came from a low socio-economic status,” Liz says.
So today Mittagundi — like Wollangarra — is run for kids aged 14 to 17, some of whom pay the $425 fee to stay in the rustic quarters, manage the farm animals and take part in outdoor activities.
Throughout the year the centre runs ten 10-day programs, starting out with a two-day hike from Falls Creek to the 160ha property.
What follows is a combination of activities, including milking the cows, feeding the pigs, chooks and horses, working in the blacksmith forge and in the woodworking joinery, as well as abseiling, rafting on the Mitta Mitta River and hiking around the foothills of the Bogong high plains.
“Because we don’t have watches, we use the sun for our activities, getting up at dawn, eating at dusk,” the 40-year-old says.
“And with no mirrors here, it’s OK for them to get dirty. It’s all about fostering self-confidence and independence.”
Mittagundi runs largely on donations and sponsorship and is managed by a staff of seven, who are paid an honoraria of $6000 a year.
Wow what a Winter! Snow down to 500m’s at times, multiple severe frosts, cold days, some warm days, clear days and windy days. Yep! Its Winter in the Valley and the wood is burning fast. Since our last newsletter in April we have had an Alpine Walk lead by Foss and Casey with 10 students from Wollangarra and Mittagundi. We would like to thank them for completing this epic walk and the fundraising is much appreciated. After finishing a couple of programs over the Easter holidays we helped Tess and Graeme Payne host the first ever ‘DO Lectures’ in Australia. Much is to be said about this event. It was an inspiring event and we made some new friends and opportunities for Mittagundi. In May we had a mix of programs, planning for winter jobs and cleaning up around the property.
David Gibbs has been very keen to have a Mittagundi Dinner in Melbourne and this year in May we launched the new Mittagundi promotional video at this dinner, it was attended by about 40 supporters. It was such as success, the plan is to have a Melbourne dinner each year. David has announced his resignation to the MG Council. David has been on the Council for over 30years and has made a valuable contribution to Mittagundi – thank you David! Fortunately, David will still be in his role this year. With such a long history of supporting MG, I think Gibbsy will continue to keep an eye on what is happening and support us as needed.... Read more