Winton Wetlands Newsletters

Autumn 2020

While the Mokoan Hub & Café has been busy raising much needed funds for wildlife, the team at Winton Wetlands have been organising the site’s very own Turtle Pod.

Coffee for a Cause at the Mokoan Hub & Cafe

The bushfire crisis has created a tough time for many residents and visitors to north-east Victoria. The outlook over Winton Wetlands’ swamps have been eerily clouded with smoke, akin the region, which has served as a reminder of the devastation occurring just 50km to the south-east of the reserve and beyond.

Acknowledging the amazing efforts made by our emergency services and the impact to not only human life, but wildlife, has lead the team at the Mokoan Hub & Café to forge ahead with some supportive initiatives throughout the summer months.

“Being able to support a cause the whole team and our customers can get behind, in a situation you can otherwise feel pretty helpless as a bystander, has been really gratifying” says Café Manager Samantha Trevena.

Throughout January, $1 from every coffee sold will go towards the Wildlife Victoria Bushfire Appeal. All February, the hard cover local history publication Winton Swamp to Winton Wetlands, will be sold at half price through the café with all proceeds going towards the charity that distributes funds to fire affected animal shelters.

Mrs Trevena says that “within the first weeks of January, [the Mokoan Hub &Café] has already raised over $600 for the Wildlife Victoria Bushfire Appeal”.

The team hopes that in the coming weeks the number will climb much higher with thanks to the generosity of the local community and visitors from outside the region, interstate and overseas.

Visitors to the region are encouraged to keep an eye on Vic Emergency ( and EPA Air Watch ( services.

World Wetlands Day at Winton Wetlands

Join us at the Mokoan Hub & Cafe to celebrate World Wetlands Day 2020!

Activities commence at 12:00pm, including water bug discovery, meet a scientist and colouring in for kids! Enjoy the festivities and our wetlands themed day in the Mokoan Hub & Cafe.

Live Stream with Dr Lisa Farnsworth | Biodiversity, Ecology, Wetlands + More

If you can’t make it, join us on Facebook for our live stream Q&A session with Winton Wetlands restoration scientist, Dr Lisa Farnsworth. Live stream commences at 3pm AEDT. Have your questions ready to go!

Photo Competition 

Test out your photography skills at Winton Wetlands and enter our World Wetlands Day Biodiversity Photography Competition, beginning on Wednesday 15th January!

Photographs must be taken at the Winton Wetlands site within the last 12 months. We have three categories; junior (16 and under), smart phone and DSLR and prizes up for grabs for each category.

Entries must be submitted to

Your entry must include:

  • Name
  • Phone number
  • Photograph (JPEG or JPG formats only – up to 10mb)
  • Address the biodiversity theme
  • Photograph caption explains links to the biodiversity theme

For more information and T&Cs click here.


| World Wetlands Day at Winton Wetlands |

12pm – 3pm

652 Lake Mokoan Road, Chesney Vale, Vic 3725

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‘True History of the Kelly Gang’ release

A win for regional tourism and the Kelly story.

Filmed in multiple locations in Victoria, including Winton Wetlands, Justin Kurzel’s True History of the Kelly Gang will open in Australian cinemas on January 9, before its Australia Day streaming premiere on Stan.
The bushranger epic is based on the Booker Prize winning novel of the same name by Peter Carey, and stars George MacKay as Ned Kelly with Russell Crowe as his mentor Harry Power, Nicholas Hoult as Constable Alexander Fitzpatrick, Charlie Hunnam as Sergeant O’Neil and Essie Davis as Ned’s mother Ellen Kelly. The cast also includes Thomasin McKenzie, Earl Cave, Claudia Karvan and introducing Orlando Schwerdt as Young Ned.

The film’s release is buoyed by positive reviews at the Toronto International Film Festival and coincides with MacKay’s other starring role in 1917, the First World War movie that is also due for summer release.
Produced by Porchlight Film’s Liz Watts, Daybreak Pictures’ Hal Vogel, Kurzel and Paul Ranford and adapted by Shaun Grant, the film ‘detonates a punk power-chord of defiance and anarchy with this brutally violent and unflinchingly stark tale that unfolds in a scorched, alien-looking landscape’.

That landscape was a combination of the skeletal remnant red gums at Winton Wetlands, the snow-topped rocky outcrops of Lake Mountain and the historically poignant Clunes Town Hall. The sweeping panoramic shots and eery backdrops created a dramatic addition to an already impressive story and cast.

“After filming onsite in winter 2018, we are thrilled to see the film released… and see our site on show for the world to see” said Daniel Basham, Winton Wetlands CEO.
The Location Manager was keen for places that complemented the drama of the dialogue and provided possibilities for the surrounds to catapult the story. After several site visits over the months leading up to filming from Kurzel and his crew, they were able to envisage both the creative and realistic elements, and balance what was feasible.

“The cast and crew were an absolute pleasure to have here – even during some extreme weather they were receptive and respectful to the site, our Traditional Owners, our staff and our neighbours”

“During the filming, all cast and crew stayed in the region, which was a welcome injection into our visitor economy”

“The buzz that was created by the cast being in and around town was wonderful for both Benalla and Wangaratta, and surrounds”

Frog ID Week

This week is the Australian Museums FrogID Week, Australia’s biggest frog count!

Frogs are a sign of a healthy environment, but around Australia frogs are declining and many are endangered. By counting Australia’s frogs we can learn more about where they are and how they’re doing.

There’s no way scientists can count Australia’s frogs on their own. The country’s too big and there’s too many frogs! That’s where you come in. With FrogID, citizen scientists just like you can help us put frogs on the map!

If you’d like to contribute, download the Australian Museum’s FrogID App onto your phone and start recording your frog calls!

Our Restoration Ecologist, Lisa Farnsworth has just completed analysing 3360 hours (1600GB) of frog call recordings collected over 4 years at Winton Wetlands by our local volunteer Rod Sherlock.

The purpose of this analysis was to confirm the absence of Growling Grass Frogs (Litoria raniformis) on the site, a species that has not been recorded at Winton Wetlands since 1970.

In the process of the analyses, the most common frog species detected on the recordings were the Spotted Marsh Frog (Limnodynastes tasmaniensis), the Common Eastern Froglet (Crinia signifera), the Eastern sign-bearing Froglet (Crinia parinsignifera) and the Peron’s Tree Frog (Litoria peronii).

Many thanks to Dr Karen Rowe from Museum Victoria for assistance with setting up the analyser software for this work and to the Wettenhall Environment Trust for funding the work.

Determining the current kangaroo populations at Winton Wetlands

The Winton Wetlands ecology team have recently been carrying out surveys to determine the need for controlling local kangaroo populations.

Eastern Grey Kangaroos and Black-tailed Swamp Wallabies were surveyed using Line Transect methodology from sunrise to 9:30am when the species were more likely to be active. A total of 65km of transects spread throughout the Winton Wetlands reserve were surveyed on three separate occasions.


  • Average of 64- Eastern Grey Kangaroos per survey
  • Average of 8 Black-tailed Swamp Wallabies observed per survey
  • Kangaroo density of 0.33 per hectare (estimated using conventional distance sampling method)

Based on these results, we estimate the reserve currently holds approximately 3000 kangaroos.

“These densities are less that half of the suggested target density of one kangaroo per hectare for grasslands (ACT Kangaroo Management Plan, 2017) and also below the economic carrying capacity of 0.5 kangaroos per hectare (DEWLP), said Winton Wetlands Restoration Ecologist Dr Lisa Farnsworth.

These results will be incorporated into a Winton Wetlands Kangaroo Management Plan that will detail the following:

  • Kangaroo survey methods and results
  • Fence removal to reduce road safety concerns
  • New vegetation monitoring techniques
  • Future student research opportunities

“The survey results, combined with our highly successful revegetation program have lead us to conclude that, from an ecological perspective, active kangaroo control on the reserve is unnecessary at this stage,’ Dr Farnsworth commented.

In addition to the recent survey work, Winton Wetlands, in partnership with the Friends of Winton Wetlands team have commenced the removal of 12km of unnecessary roadside fencing on the reserve. The fencing that is being removed opens the reserve to create a safer path for native species to disperse and will reduce the likelihood of them becoming trapped in the fences or ‘funneled” along the roadway.

On a state-wide scale, the Victorian Government has recently commenced a permanent Kangaroo Harvesting Program to control increasing kangaroo populations. The new programs is administered by the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions, and includes strict safeguards to ensure harvesting is carries out at a sustainable level, that animal welfare standards are met and that the livelihoods of farmers are protected. Landowners or harvesters interested in being involved in the Kangaroo Harvesting Program should visit All enquiries should be emails to or call 136 186


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Image by Matt Devine

Increasing Biodiversity

Media Release | 23 May 2019

World Biodiversity Day was recently celebrated and is in perfect timing with the recent discovery of evidence of increasing biodiversity at Winton Wetlands.

The team of staff and volunteers at Winton Wetlands and the Friends of Winton Wetlands have been working towards natural habitat renewal and recently, two major species, the Squirrel Glider and the Rakali, have been sighted at Winton Wetlands proving the continuing success of the team’s restoration efforts.

The Rakali (Australian water-rat) is an attractive and large aquatic mammal that resembles a small otter and they have just been discovered onsite at the Mokoan Ponds! This sighting is the first at the Wetlands for almost 40 years. It is thought that water-rat numbers have declined in many places in south eastern Australia, particularly since the mid-1990s, and our sighting is evidence of conditions improving for these species.

Similarly, Squirrel Gliders were discovered again at Winton Wetlands late last year, which is another first in 40 years. While the Squirrel Glider is widespread on the east coast of Australia, it is uncommon, and it is very exciting to have a population calling Winton Wetlands home!

In the woodlands, nest boxes are benefiting the population of Squirrel Gliders. ‘The discovery of Gliders points to the very strong value of corridors to allow species to recolonise the site and therefore increase the area’s biodiversity’, said Lance Lloyd, restoration scientist at Winton Wetlands.

‘Likewise, the improvement of habitats at the Mokoan Ponds in terms of aquatic vegetation, carp control and woody debris has meant Murray Cod can thrive’, said Lance.

Murray Cod, a native freshwater fish listed as vulnerable, have declined significantly in numbers across the Murray-Darling basin due to overfishing, river regulation, and habitat degradation. Despite the near absence of water, Murray Cod are present in our permanent water bodies and this shows the obvious importance of habitat improvements as a restoration process. Having rediscovered the species at the Wetlands in the past few years, we are proud to have evidence of prolific breeding and a healthy juvenile survival rate.

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