2023 Tidy Towns & Cities Finalists:

Indigenous Culture

Beechworth – Indigo Shire

In northeast Victoria, “manipulated” red gum trees known as Aboriginal Ring Trees hold significant historical value. These trees, over 200 years old, were marked by Aboriginal groups to define boundaries and signify important sites. Scar Trees are protected, but Ring Trees are not yet safeguarded. Collaborating with Dhudhuroa Waywurra Nations, efforts to formally register and preserve identified Ring Trees are underway. Raising awareness is crucial, as many are unaware of their existence, risking the loss of these historically important sites.

Violet Town – Strathbogie Shire

The St Dunstan’s Hall Film Society in Violet Town is an active group that offers a true cinema experience with state-of-the-art equipment. Celebrating NAIDOC Week, they screened “Wash my Soul in the River’s Flow,” honoring Aboriginal culture. This year, they supported a North East Arnhem Land community by showcasing “A boat with no Name,” providing an authentic experience of remote Australia. Free screenings and post-film discussions create a social and educational gathering for all.

Horsham – Rural City of Horsham

HAND UP, a mental health awareness campaign by Goolum Goolum Aboriginal Cooperative, unites the Mob living on Wotjobaluk Country and off-Country residents with regional connections. Through an annual community event, they celebrate their connected strength by offering and seeking support in times of need. Together, they demonstrate resilience and unity, reinforcing that they are strong when they extend a helping hand and stand together. HAND UP celebrates the collective inner power.