President’s Report with Gariwerd Access Update – September 2019

Originally published in the September 2019 issue of Argus, but republished here for the benefit of the wider climbing community.

Dear Members,
Time marches on toward spring and like the weather, my spirits seem to be lifting. I had the incredible privilege of attending Joanne Harrison Clarke’s Yanng Ngalung Malingundidji Cultural Training in Horsham with a few other climbers in early August. Jo was raw and real, generously sharing her personal journey with us, to help us learn about her culture and her people. I encourage anyone who has the opportunity to attend this training. I’m also very hopeful that as we build our relationships with Traditional Owners we will be able engage many of the Traditional Owner Corporations across the state to facilitate cultural awareness training sessions on Country at some of our favourite crags as a benefit for members in the future.

The climbing community (with reps from VCC, ACAV, Sport Climbing Victoria, Sport Climbing Australia, Outdoors Victoria, RMIT Outdoor Club, Latrobe Uni Mountaneering Club, Alpenverein Melbourne, Climbing QTs and WVCC) had a really positive meeting with Parks Victoria on 20 August about moving forward regarding Gariwerd / the Grampians access issues. To encourage open and frank conversation, PV has requested that attendees at the ‘rock climbing round table’ refrain from sharing the detail of conversations until meeting notes can be approved by all parties. I feel it is fair to say it was productive and we will share notes with you as soon as they are available. Some organisations from the Founding Council for a Climbing Federation were unable to send reps at short notice, but notes will also be shared with them, and a second meeting will held later in September.

Parks Victoria’s Grampians Landscape Management Plan (GLMP) development process is in full swing. I attended the first Stakeholder Reference Group meeting as the representative of the climbing community on behalf of the Founding Council. This session was mainly to introduce the members and provide background context. Again, Chatham House Rules apply until formal meeting notes are provided and approved by all members for us to share with our communities. Community consultation workshops have been advertised and I encourage you all to attend a session—this is a great way to make a contribution to the planning process and get your voice heard. Throughout this process it’s important for us to remember that the GLMP is not all about climbing—we are one of many user groups and this collaborative development process is aimed at delivering the best possible outcomes for the environment, cultural heritage and access for a broad range of user groups.

Finally, I’m excited to announce that we’re launching a whole new CliffCare website—it has a wealth of information and resources and I would like to make a big shout out to Brett Williams for delivering this project with an enormous amount of passion and effort, including reaching out to the Traditional Owners to seek their input on the cultural heritage content, and engaging Taungurung Land and Waters Council on our behalf as a first point of contact in our consultation process. Thanks Brett! Please check out the new site at and do let us know if you spot any issues whilst we are trouble-shooting in the early days of launch.

Steve and I are excited we’ll be leading the September EOM Djurite/Arapiles trip along with a working bee to move more rocks for Walter to keep the Upper Central Gully Track project on track… no pun intended. Now, we’re off to Norway for some hiking, fishing and climbing… Hope to see you at the AGM.

In the meanwhile, get out there and enjoy some spring climbing.