National Trust of Australia (Victoria) planning for a healthy future for both the Victorian population and the environment.
Heritage encompasses the critical elements of history, nature, sustainability and wellbeing in a resilient society. This approach enables the National Trust of Australia (Victoria) to reflect and respect the past while planning for a healthy future for both the Victorian population and the environment.
Since 1956, the National Trust of Australia (Victoria) has fought for the protection of heritage, saved historic properties, trees and cultural collections; and highlighting the importance of Victoria’s Indigenous, social and cultural heritage.
Today, the National Trust is a diverse organisation with both a traditional heritage focus combined with a contemporary focus on environmental heritage and wellbeing, especially important in the face of a changing environment and climate change.
From a historical perspective, the National Trust manages heritage gardens, some of which were designed by forward thinkers like William Sangster and Frederick Sargood over 100 years ago along sustainability principles that have proven their worth over time, and that are regaining awareness and relevance today.
The National Trust is also a steward of nature reserves, including those with endangered flora and fauna, such as the Mackinnon Reserve near Skipton, and the Endeavour Fern Gully on the Mornington Peninsula. These nature reserves not only provide critical habitat for endangered flora and fauna, but also form the basis of environmental educational programs for school students.
As well as heritage gardens and nature reserves, the National Trust farms land, hosts heritage animal breeds, grows heritage produce, and cares for trees and waterways.
Last year, the National Trust received 657,661 visitors to their sites and events, including the 55,000 school children that attended education programs. COVID19 restrictions has unfortunately reduced visitation and income by 85%, however they continue their conservation and advocacy work to protect Victoria’s heritage.
School children at the Endeavour Fern Gully
Located on Boonwurrung land on the Mornington Peninsula, the Endeavour Fern Gully is rich in flora, fauna and habitat diversity. The remnant bushland includes 17.5 hectares of rain forest, a lush fern gully, walking track and boardwalks and endangered flora.
The National Trust education program enables school groups to visit and benefit from the tall trees, fern gully and unspoilt environment, to understand what the natural environment was like 250 years ago.
While walk-in, walk-out groups are successful, a limiting factor to truly enjoying, experiencing and understanding the fern gully is the lack of basic onsite facilities and amenities. This severely restricts access and capacity for school groups and limits experiential learning opportunities.
Excitingly, plans have been approved for an environmental education facility with basic amenities that will allow for on-site education and provide a multi-purpose space for school groups, visitors, researchers and the community.
Although fundraising for construction has been slow, when complete the environmental hub will enable an increased number of school groups and visitors, thus respecting environmental history, assisting to manage climate change through knowledge, and nurturing children and the environment.
This organisation is supported by trusts managed by Equity Trustees.