Launch 2014-2015 Hugh Williamson Foundation Project – Tragedy of the Commons

Littering and dumping of rubbish in public spaces (the “Commons”) impacts flora, fauna and waterways and spoils the beauty of these important areas.

Rivers and Ranges Community Leadership Program 2014 -2015 participants conducted research into environmental issues affecting the region incorporating the Local Government areas of Mitchell, Murrindindi, Nillumbik, Whittlesea and Yarra Ranges. They found that rubbish dumping and littering was a significant issue, impacting on the amenity of the area, on flora, fauna, waterways and biodiversity.

Using funding through the Hugh Williamson Foundation under their Bug Blitz program, the group set out to tackle the issue and highlight its importance to the community. Over the course of less than a month, program participants collected and photographed over 100 kilos of rubbish in the region.

With the assistance of artist Liz Walker, and steel fabricator Adam Hoss Ayres, a forest of fifteen sculptured trees was created from the rubbish collected. Participants spent many hours preparing the rubbish to enable the wider community to be involved in three community workshops to construct the trees.

Inspired by the project, Broadford Cubs, Epping North and Kinglake residents created beautiful trees made from a variety of materials including cans, plastic bottles, cigarette boxes, balls and thongs, and foam. Rubbish was threaded onto the steel frames and the participants named their completed trees. These groups are part the campaign’s original ambassadors. The trees have a most striking visual appearance when all fifteen are displayed together as a forest.

Using many hundreds of images taken by the participants, Liz Walker also created a patchwork quilt made of 5 separate panels depicting the five local government areas in which the rubbish was collected and where the issue is of major community concern. It is created using 375 individual squares made from printed matt photographic paper. The base of each square is made from recycled cardboard. The overall impact on the environment is depicted when the panels come together to show the effect of dumped rubbish from top to bottom transforming a beautiful, vibrant and colorful environment to one of grey and black when rubbish has accumulated. A river is depicted in blue but gradually turns to grey as rubbish accumulates. Fauna is affected as can be seen by the number of dead birds, fish and insects in the quilt.

The art pieces have been displayed at a number of public events but are also being used to brand a social media campaign against rubbish dumping and littering, inspiring change and creating community discussion and action.

The campaign will focus their Facebook page on:

  • Increasing awareness of illegal dumping and littering impacts and promote better ways to deal with end-of-life products and materials,
  • Providing key partner organisation contacts with tools so they feel more supported to address this issue in our community through the website
  • Engaging people in creative and positive ways, empowering like-minded people to connect and take action on this issue across the Rivers and Ranges municipalities.

To launch their campaign participants have organised a photo and caption competition, which you can find out about on their Facebook page.  Please find below their Terms and Conditions.

Facebook Terms and Conditions RRCLP


« Back to News