Geelong Sustainability 10 years old

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Kathryn McCallum and Vicki Perrett (left) blow out candles and cut the birthday cake


Geelong Sustainability’s 10 year birthday was celebrated with a special event in July 2017. During the celebrations, we listened to reflections by past and present GS committee members about the people, the passion and the projects over the years.

It was both moving and cheerful for old and new members to exchange memories and for everyone to learn how much the group has achieved over the years.

You can see a list which shows some of the highlights below.

Kathryn McCallum, who was the group’s first President, talked in her speech about how it all started with a little group of people who gathered in a lounge room in 2007 – and how impressed she was with what the group has achieved since then.

Dave Campbell, who was the group’s President from 2008 to 2014, showed photos from the decade of events and activities. He talked about some of the group’s first victories, remarkable moments and experiences.

Monica Winston talked about her period as Vice-President 2007-13, and Mik Aidt, committee member since 2013, shared some highlights from his collaboration with Dan Cowdell, who also entered the committee in 2013 and already a year later was elected as GS’s new – and so far youngest – President. Unfortunately Dan wasn’t able to attend the 10 year celebration.

Vicki Perrett, current President, was a committee member since 2012. She gave insights in initiatives and changes that had happened in this period, and what personally motivated her to work with the group.

● Listen to an excerpt from the speech by Kathryn McCallum, GS President 2007-2008.
● See the slides which were shown at the event

Geelong Sustainability 2007–2017
Timeline of activities and milestones

● 5 July – First gathering of group members. GetUp instigated a series of community meetings on climate change in members’ houses throughout the country. Monica Winston volunteered to hold one in her lounge room in Geelong. Those gathered decided to hold ongoing meetings and events.
● 15 July – The group, calling itself Geelong Getup, held its first media action on the steps of Eastern Beach, gaining positive press from Geelong Advertiser and helping to spread awareness of the group.
● July onwards – The group, now calling itself Geelong Climate Action, held meetings on the first Thursday of the month in the Carlton Hotel. Meetings were well attended with many ideas and projects mooted. Working groups were set up on areas such as Renewable Energy, Local Food Production, Solar Schools, and Engaging Government. Some of these springboarded the formation of other groups, such as Transition Towns, Surf Coast Energy Group and Permablitzes.
● September – The group was incorporated as Geelong Sustainability Group, a not for profit community organisation. The website domain, was registered. Kathryn McCallum was the group’s first President and Monica Winston the group’s first Vice-President.
● During 2007 – A parallel youth group, Geelong Youth for Climate Action, works closely with Geelong Sustainability Group.

● During 2008 – The group develops its first discounted deal for solar hot water.
● During 2008 – With support from Geelong Sustainability, Australia’s first two Transition Towns, Transition Bell and Transition South Barwon, are formed in Geelong.
● September – At the group’s first AGM, Dave Campbell is elected as group’s second President.
● November – The group organises Geelong’s first Walk Against Warming as part of a national event in which 300 people take part.
● December – The group participates in the historic Community Cabinet in Geelong, which is attended by the full Federal Government Cabinet. GSG meets with Senator Kim Carr, Minister for Innovation and Industry, and Peter Garrett, Minister for Environment.

● During 2009 – The group runs a successful Geelong Goes Solar bulk buy. About 70 people buy solar PV systems as part of the initiative.
● September – GSG organises Geelong’s first Sustainable House Day, with seven homes open and 1,160 visitors. The group has grown and run this event every year since then. It has now become the group’s signature event, widely respected throughout Victoria.
● December – The group organises a second Walk Against Warming on Geelong Waterfront.

● Throughout 2010 – the group maintains productive discussion with elected representatives including Richard Marles MP, and Darren Cheeseman MP.
● September – GSG coordinates Sustainable House Day with support from City of Greater Geelong (CoGG).

● July – The group buys a $1,000 share in the new Hepburn Wind Community Wind Park.
● September – The group launches the Earth Relay, a huge Earth ball which was to be passed from town to town around Australia.
● September – GSG coordinates Sustainable House Day with support from CoGG.
● September – Group members join with unionists to protest state government renewables policies outside the office of Andrew Katos.

● March – President Dave Campbell dressed in a solar suit greets Tony Abbott when his Pollie Pedal ride commences from Geelong.
● March – The group participates in the Geelong Vision series published in the Geelong Advertiser.
● September – GSG coordinates Sustainable House Day, which has 2,500 visits to the nine open homes.

● February – The group organises Get Growing on the Bellarine – a regional event as part of the Sustainable Living Festival. 12 edible gardens on the Bellarine Peninsula were open and over 850 garden visits are recorded.
● May – Geelong Sustainability Drinks – Green Drinks – was set up in its current monthly format at Beav’s Bar.
● During 2013 – The group runs Green Your Home community courses at Neighbourhood Houses.
● May – The group holds a permablitz to honour Monica Winston, who stepped down from the committee after being Vice-President for five years.
● 7 September – As part of Sustainable House Day, the group runs Smarter Homes MeetUps and Seminars at Deakin Waterfront. Visits to Deakin and the 13 open homes were a record: 3,100.
● August – The group launches the first Geelong Sustainability Directory which contains listings of over 250 community groups and sustainable businesses. Over 3,000 copies are distributed.
● During 2013 – The group assists with Environment Victoria’s reclaim Victoria’s environment awareness raising campaign to change Victoria’s renewable energy policy with grassroots petition and market stalls.
● 2013 Federal Election – The group sets up and publicises a Solar Scorecard based on information about all local candidates in the Federal Election.
● November – At its AGM, the group adopts the new model rules issued by Consumer Affairs Victoria.

● February – The group hosts 11 events at the Sustainable Living Festival, including Get Growing, Cycling for the Terrified, Green Drinks and movie night etc.
● February-November – The group holds monthly Green Drinks events on important local and global themes at Beav’s Bar.
● February-November – The group holds regular campaign events at Beav’s Bar in conjunction with Friends of the Earth’s Yes 2 Renewables Campaign.
● 2014 – The group adopts the ten One Planet Living Principles as its framework for sustainability at the same time as the City of Greater Geelong.
● April – On Earth Day, GSG co-organises a CO2 Walk through Geelong with ‘Renew Geelong’ activities in Eastern Park.
● June – The group simplifies its trading name from Geelong Sustainability Group (GSG) to just Geelong Sustainability (GS).
● July – The group changes its logo from that of a jumping frog to the current design.

● September – A Smarter Living Expo is run at GPAC the day before Sustainable House Day. There are 2,500 visits to the expo and the 13 open homes.
● September – The group undertakes a major survey of its supporters to determine future directions.
● October – The City of Greater Geelong makes a formal unanimous decision to call for a permanent ban on fracking, after a long and active campaign by Geelong Sustainability and other groups.
● November – At the AGM, Dave Campbell steps down after six years as President. Dan Cowdellis elected as the new President.

● February-November – The group holds monthly Green Drinks events aligned to OPL principles at Beav’s Bar.
● April – The group forms a Community Owned Renewable Energy (CORE) task group.
● 27 April – GS’s application to become a Registered Environmental Organisation (REO) with Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status is successful.
● June – Geelong Sustainability in partnership with The People’s Solar launchs the first ever community renewables crowd funding campaign in Geelong: funds raised to put 9.25kW of solar panels on the roof of South Geelong Primary School.
● July – The group decides to sponsor The Sustainable Hour radio program on 94.7 The Pulse.
● September – The group decides to collaborate with the Reenergise Geelong group for a community-led transition to 100% renewables. GS develops an Energise Geelong flyer.
● September – GS releases an expanded second edition of Sustainability Directory with over 500 listings in the 60 page booklet and a print run of 16,000 copies.
● September – GS exhibits at Royal Geelong Show with stand manned by over 30 volunteers over four days.
● October – Sustainable House Day has 11 houses open for 4-hour inspection and many onsite experts across Geelong, Bellarine and surrounding shires with 1,160 visits.
● November – The Hon Minister Lisa Neville MP launches the inaugural Act on Climate Festival,which is held over three days.
● During 2015 – GS liaises with the state government Environment Dept and Future Proofing Geelong (FPG). The group is invited to participate on CoGG advisory panels and makes submissions in relation to relevant environmental strategies.

● February–November – GS holds monthly Green Drinks events on important local and global themes aligned to One Planet Living principles at Beav’s Bar.
● February – A new Strategic Plan, based on the One Planet Living Principles, is adopted after workshop meetings.
● February – As part of the Sustainable Living Festival, GS parades in Pako Festa and exhibits at Makers & Growers area and also at Night Jar market.
● May – GS joins G21 and Geelong Chamber of Commerce.
● July – GS is awarded its first ever VIC government grant: a New Energy Jobs Fund Grant for $48,000 to conduct a feasibility study into community owned renewable energy project. Dan Cowdell is appointed as leader of the project.
● August – The new GS website is launched, developed on the Nationbuilder platform to enhance online offerings.
● August – GS is invited to be first community group to join G21 Environment Pillar.
● October – Sustainable House Day has 14 houses open for 4-hour inspection and many onsite experts across Geelong, Bellarine and surrounding shires with 1,900 visits.
● October – GS is invited by CoGG to be a partner in their Our Future visioning project.
● November – GS continues its sponsorship of The Sustainable Hour radio program on 94.7 The Pulse and creates a new promo clip.
● November – At AGM, Vicki Perrett is elected as President. Dan Cowdell continues as leader of the CORE group and the feasibility study.
● December – The ATO approves Geelong Sustainability as a registered charity.
● December – GS coordinates training session on ATA’s Sunulator solar feasibility toolkit.
● During 2016 – GS liaises with the Environment Dept and Future Proofing Geelong (FPG). The group signs up as partner in the Victorian government’s Take2 Pledge. The group participates on CoGG advisory panels and makes submissions in relation to relevant environmental strategies.

● February-present – GS continues to hold monthly Green Drinks events on important local and global themes aligned to OPL principles at Beav’s Bar.
● During 2017 – GS committee is strengthening its organisational governance, developing policies and procedures, and transitioning finances to MYOB.
● February – GS parades in Pako Festa and exhibits at Makers & Growers area.
● February – GS has large delegation at Community Energy Congress 2017 held in Melbourne.
● March – Launch of ‘Life Learning’ – fun, affordable classes to attract a younger demographic, to continue to build the Geelong Sustainability community network.
● March – GS is shortlisted and interviewed in its New Energy Jobs Fund Round 2 application for VIC gov’t funding for its community solar project.
● March – GS submits its final report to DELWP to acquit its NEJF Scoping Study grant.
● April – GS attends and presents at G21 Future Directions forum on Emissions Reduction and Renewable Energy initiatives.
● April – GS committee meets with the newly appointed Victorian Renewable Energy Advocate, Simon Corbell, during his visit to the Barwon South Region.
● May – GS convenes a public forum about the draft Moolap Coastal Plan attended by 100 people.
● May – GS made a written and verbal submission to CoGG budget planning process to highlight the inadequacy of funding for sustainability projects.
● July – Geelong’s 30-year vision ‘Our Future’ is published with input from Geelong Sustainability, now titled ‘Greater Geelong – Clever and Creative Future’.
● July – CoGG invites GS to participate in a new Project Working Group to develop a Community Zero Carbon Action Plan.
● On 24 July – GS will attend a Round Table Discussion on ‘Protecting our region’s natural assets and reducing the impact of climate change’ organised by the Victorian Government.
● On 15 October – GS will coordinate its 9th Sustainable House Day event across the region.

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