South Eastern Centre for Sustainability

The Broad Concept: To establish at the proposed Mt Eliza site in Melbourne's south east. A community and educational centre aimed at promoting environmental sustainability through its design, its operation and the content of its programs and exhibits


This page gives you the information you need about the South Eastern Centre for Sustainability. Environmental concerns have become increasingly important over the past decade as community awareness of climate change, biodiversity, drought and related environmental issues has increased dramatically. The science underpinning our concerns about climate change is now well established and the consequences for sustainability increasingly understood. The need to increase community understanding of the risks inherent in continuing as we are and the facilitation of solutions will be of paramount importance over the next decade. Australians have one of the largest per capita ecological footprints in the world and this is both unsustainable and difficult to change. Yet change it we must.

The understanding of the risks, and the opportunities, at a community level, will require a wide variety of learning situations, activity incentives, local research and the demonstration of effective solutions. One major way to engage the community around these issues is to establish a centre where the problems and opportunities can be readily observed and understood and where a range of potential solutions are provided. This should include experiential learning as well as more traditional forms of education, such as expert presentations and exhibits.

The Broad Concept
To establish at the proposed Mt Eliza site in Melbourne’s south east.:
A community and educational centre aimed at promoting environmental sustainability through its design, its operation and the content of its programs and exhibits
A Centre managed by a community committee/trust
A restaurant and other commercial activities to add to the appeal of the centre and to provide a small but regular source of funding.

The Site
The site is at the Western gateway to the Mornington Peninsula and sits between the major population centres of Frankston and Mt Eliza/Mornington. It is accessible by public transport.
The site has a 160m Nepean Highway frontage, enabling a highly visible profile and ready access.
The site backs on to a the Kackeraboite Creek and adjoining reservation providing access to a valuable natural environment and enabling a range of educational and recreational activities as part of the Centre’s programs.
The area is recognised as providing access to an “outstanding example of a fault to show stratigraphic displacement and shearing of the fault zone. The geology is complex and the site is an excellent one for advaadvanced earth science teaching”
¯ (
The habitat in the creek and reservation area includes significant bird populations. The Friends of Kackeraboite Creek has been formed under the auspices of the South Eastern Centre for Sustainability to assist with the protection of this valuable habitat. Several working bees have been held to date..
There is strong support for the from many of the neighbours as well as a growing number of key organisations in the region.
The area has important indigenous heritage values, including middens and extensive cultural heritage. This site will provide an opportunity to substantially increase linkages with the land and indigenous heritage: a sense of place. Educational programs for indigenous children are currently undertaken in the region and the Centre may be able to provide a valuable resource as part of this program.

The Centre
Fully sustainable and stand-alone (as much as possible) with a long life-expectancy and low maintenance requirements, e.g.:
Alternative construction materials to be considered including alternative eco-cement; compressed earth/adobe; straw-bale construction, etc.
Water capture through tanks, lake/dam
Water recycling, grey water use, etc.
Roof gardens on car and bicycle parking facilities
Water conservation gardening.
Carbon Neutral including the use of solar energy for electricity (possibly wind also, even if only as an exhibit) and advanced energy efficiency measures.
Established on a thematic approach utilising (amongst other things) the Ecological Footprint metaphor and methodology as a means of bringing together the broad range of environmental and social concerns. This should occur in conjunction with a clear recognition of the indigenous cultural heritage of the area, displayed throughout the Centre and in its design (suggestions include the tracing of inhabitantsā€™ ecological footprints, pre and post white settlement).
Able to conduct educational programs to raise awareness of sustainability issues and solutions.
Able to engage visitors in experiential learning projects.
Able to provide assistance to groups to utilise the centre’s facilities to promote their own environmental concerns (and thereby assist with group networking and the building of community cohesion around environmental sustainability concerns).
Provide a range of facilities for both Centre and community use, including office space, conference (and video conferencing) facilities, meeting facilities, exhibition/display opportunities, etc.
Ensure facilities are easily accessible for people with disabilities (especially important in view of the relatively steep grades), probably requiring several stairways and inclines.
Willing to work with surrounding residents to assist them to become more sustainable and possibly to work with the 100 or more surrounding homes to create a ‘sustainability village’¯ in the region.

Onsite Rehabilitation of Flora
Xanthorrhoea Gardens has been associated with the management of Kackeraboite Creek since September 2008. Although, there are isolated remnant patches of indigenous species, the area under management has been highly degraded as a whole. The focus of works to this stage has been along the creekline, being quite unique with exposed granite boulders. The remnant flora along the creekline belongs primarily in (EVC 053) Swamp Scrub, with some indications of the presence of (EVC 902) Gully Woodland and (EVC 175) Grassy Woodland. The presence of mature local canopy trees scattered along the length of the creek is encouraging as are the remaining understorey species which have survived two centuries of neglect. The process over the period has involved staking indigenous species prior to initiating an intensive spray regime (combined with hand weeding to protect isolated species and remnant patches). Most of the creekline was literally dominated by blackberry and weedy grasses. The middle storey and canopy were been impacted by Sweet Pittosporum and introduced tree species. Follow-up spraying and hand weeding to deal with the weed seed bank in the soil has been ongoing to the present day. We have arrived at a stage of preparation where initial plantings are about to occur through the southern section of the creek. Swamp Paperbark generated from the area will be intensively planted on the creek flats and Black Wattles and Blackwoods will be utilized to help stabilize the sloping banks. Melbourne Water has funded these works through their “Stream Frontage Management Program”. The property owner has complemented our works by maintaining a targeted mowing and brushcutting regime on the flats above the watercourse to minimize seeds from the grassy weeds reinfesting the creekline.

It is vital that works continue consistently so as not to lose the initial achievements. As time progresses, further plantings will occur, as well as sowing seeds in situ and before too long natural recruitment will begin to reflect the positive changes. In association or partnership with the local authorities/groups and governmental organisations, the South Eastern Centre for Sustainability also intends to rehabilitate the extensive remnant bushland north, south and adjacent to its location to create a significant wildlife corridor in the heart of Mt Eliza. In the longer term, improving the habitat for our native decapod crustaceans, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals is the reward we are aiming to achieve. Click here for Contact details. The following report of the immediate area was completed by leading Australian ecologist, Mal Legg.

Note: This descriptive text was copied from the Group's website. Some website links may no longer be active.

More Information


Group Status:

Years Active: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Geographic Range of Activity:





Federal Electorate:


Website: South Eastern Centre for Sustainability