Clean Up Australia Day

Clean Up Australia Day in Wimmera Mallee

Clean Up Australia Day is the nation’s largest community-based environmental event held annually to protect our environment from litter and waste. 

This year, on Sunday, 3rd March 2024, residents of Wimmera Mallee will join hundreds and thousands of Australians to lend a hand and help clean up their local areas.

Clean Up Australia Day in Wimmera Mallee Styrofoam cup
Clean Up Australia Day in Wimmera Mallee Styrofoam cup

Yarriambiack Creek Warracknabeal

One of the major clean-up sites in Wimmera Mallee is the Yarriambiack Creek in Warracknabeal. Located at 4 Scott St, Warracknabeal, VIC 3393, this site comes under the administration of the Yarriambiack Shire Council. As a river/creek site, Yarriambiack Creek tends to collect significant waste and litter over time, especially after the flooding rains.

On Clean Up Australia Day, close to 50-60 volunteers gather early morning at the Scott Street entrance to Yarriambiack Creek carrying garbage bags, gloves, and picker grabbers donated by the local councils. Splitting up into groups of four or five, the volunteers get assigned different sections of the creek to cover. 

Armed with endless energy and motivation, they comb through the entire stretch of the creek, picking up any piece of plastic, paper, bottles, cans, etc., they spot around the river banks or floating in the water. Care needs to be taken to avoid areas where snakes may lurk in the warmer months.

The bin Chickens, Horsham

Another significant location where Clean Up Australia Day volunteers meet up on 3rd March 2024 is ‘The bin chickens’ site at the Horsham Racecourse, Bennett Rd. The Bennett Rd entrance, which opens to the vast racecourse grounds, tends to accumulate windblown litter over time near the fence borders.

Around 40 community volunteers driving down from Horsham and neighbouring towns gather here armed with the clean-up gear provided by Horsham Rural City Council. The volunteers pick up waste from either side of the Bennett Rd racing track and the racecourse perimeters. An area is marked out that extends about half a kilometre on either side for the clean-up assignment.

The most common litter items found here include empty drink cans, beer bottles bottle caps from the events held on the race grounds and pieces of advertising signage boards that get dislodged from the strong winds. Volunteers need to wear bright safety vests here and work in pairs for visibility since some areas border the active racetrack.

Cleaning Up Rubbish In Your Neighbourhood
Cleaning Up Rubbish In Your Neighbourhood

Entrance roads and car parks, Horsham

The town of Horsham, being the main hub of the Wimmera Mallee region, tends to see piles of rubbish building up near the town’s key roads and junctions over time. The corner near Hocking Street, just behind the model railway station, sees leftover waste from passerby motorists who consume snacks on the go and dump the packaging out through their rolled-down windows without a second thought!

On Clean Up Australia Day, a group of 30 volunteers gathered at a temporary station set up behind the railway station with equipment donated by Horsham Rural City Council. From there, they fan out towards the Pynsent, Wilson and Hocking street junctions. 

Braving the heat, these passionate locals comb the streets, picking up everything from discarded coffee cups, plastic bottles, and soda cans to leftover takeaway meals. By noon, piles of garbage line the temporary station, ready for council trucks to collect.

A similar clean drive takes place at the car park on McLachlan Street and parking lots near the railway station. Volunteers share interesting stories about the type of rubbish they encounter – punctured footballs, torn kites and broken umbrellas being some of them. However, the most satisfying moments are seeing happy smiles from passersby who wave out words of encouragement which helps the volunteers push through the exhaustion.

Clean Up Australia Day Cleaning Microplastics
Clean Up Australia Day Cleaning Microplastics

Kalkee Recreation Reserve

Another major clean-up location on March 3rd is the Kalkee Recreation Reserve located at the Blue Ribbon Road in Kalkee. Unlike the other sites, this lush 50-acre reserve bordering the Wimmera River sees problems related to both windblown litter as well as people dumping illegal waste like old broken furniture, used tyres, layers of plastic wrapping etc in secluded corners hidden by the trees.

Close to 70 passionate volunteers split up into groups of 7 and set out to scour every inch of the reserve. After 3 hours of backbreaking effort that involved bending, crouching, and even climbing over bushes, the volunteers collected unimaginable piles of waste.

Apart from the commonly found drink bottles and soda cans, the volunteers have uncovered some strange dumping! These include a scratched computer monitor, a broken office chair, pillows with torn covers and even utensils like scratched pans and dented kettles! All these improperly dumped waste items would have posed a significant risk to the families who regularly enjoy picnic dates in this reserve.

Clean Up Australia Day Cleaning Rivers
Clean Up Australia Day Cleaning Rivers

Old Wallup School Plantation Reserve

The fifth clean-up site on the Wimmera Mallee roster for March 3rd is the Old Wallup School Plantation Reserve located along Blue Ribbon Road. Sprawling over dozens of acres, this public bushland is a treasure with its numerous long trees and scenic walking trails that families love exploring over weekends.

Over the last few years, however, increased local traffic and campers have resulted in piles of waste accumulating in certain corners. Clean Up Australia Day is the best opportunity for 50+ enthusiastic volunteers from Wallup, Minyip and neighbouring towns to come together and show their love for the bushes!

Armed with garbage bags and pickers, these passionate locals comb through every single walking trail picking up candy wrappers, water bottles and all types of food packaging waste. Certain volunteers also take up the tough task of going deeper into the bushes, looking for illegally dumped waste like broken furniture or vehicle parts. They even discover piles of plastic packaging dumped behind trees that spoil the area’s natural beauty.

Thanks to the sharp eyes and unrelenting efforts of the volunteers, the plantation reserve gets a new clean lease of life! With every piece of plastic or paper picked up by gloved hands, the natural green cover is restored. By late afternoon the bags and bags of rubbish lined up by the roadside tell stories of citizen dedication. Companies like rubbish removal Melbourne are helping support the community to remove all this waste. Although tired by hours of back-breaking effort under the harsh sun, what keeps them going is the motivation to gift back a clean and green public land for future generations.


Each one of these locations across Wimmera Mallee stands testimony to the power of communities in engineering change. Only when responsible citizens take personal ownership to maintain collective cleanliness can public spaces remain sustainable in the long run. The sheer scale of waste collected also highlights the need for better waste management policies and recycling options.

While councils provide resources like gear and lunch arrangements, such community-led initiatives like Clean Up Australia Day need to be encouraged all year around. Only when citizens start addressing this challenge 365 days a year instead of feeling content having “done their part for the year” can real impact be seen.

The power of the people is massive. Even without expensive equipment or governmental-level policies, small, consistent actions taken by the largest volunteer base in history have tremendous potential. With every empty shampoo bottle picked off the river bank or paper wrapper pulled out of the bushes, Wimmera Mallee moves one step closer to the vision of green.

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