Looking after Mt Evelyn

MEEPPA is the Shires oldest community group, celebrating our 100th year as a Progress Association in 2010.
Our name has changed over the years, starting out as EPA, Evelyn Progress Association, becoming MEPA in 1919 after our town became known as Mount Evelyn, and finally in 1974 we formally became Mt Evelyn Environment Protection and Progress Association after various activities to protect against inappropriate development such as the duplication of Hereford Road in 1972 and the establishment of the disused Aqueduct land as a ‘Linear Park’.

Issues Past and Present
Ever since MEEPPAs creation, we have worked in and with the community on local issues such as:
– Petitioned the Victorian Education Department for a school, which opened in 1910.
– Petitioning for Mt Evelyn’s first policeman in 1912.
– Worked closely with the community in the 1920’s bringing improvements such as the first telephone to the station as well as a post box.
– Promoting the town on the newly opened Warburton Railway Line and later releasing a tourist brochure with the Warburton Progress Association.
– Submitting a plan to purchase land abutting Olinda Creek to the Shire of Lilydale, which eventually became the Recreation Reserve and Camp. This resulted in walks being established in the district, and ongoing beautification to the surrounding bushland.
– Electric street lighting in 1928 along the main street, although it was sparse at first.
– We were instrumental in the mid 1930’s to the early 1950’s in providing a Mechanics Institute, assisting various Churches, a Public Hall, as well organising the first Christmas pageant with carols, Christmas lights in the main street and a public Christmas tree.
– Successfully lobbied for the Main Street to have reticulated water in 1957.
More recently we have helped our town against inappropriate development, stopping a large building at the corner of Snowball Ave and Station St which would have housed a Woolworths supermarket. This resulted in a Design & Development Overlay which now resides over the township precincts in an attempt to protect small businesses as well as preventing inappropriate commercial development. We are committed to the principle that our town should reflect it’s village heritage and atmosphere.
We remain the most potent crucible in this town’s history to continue to value residents and to protect the present for the future.

Funeral for small local shops
Working with the local traders and residents, a funeral for small local businesses was staged during the battle against the Snowball Ave/Station St development.

The Powerful Owl
We have battled developers constantly and managed to save land to the north of the town from development to establish, in partnership with Yarra Ranges Shire, one of only two Powerful Owl sanctuaries in the world to date. From the late 1960’s to mid 1970’s teams of researchers, mainly MEEPPA volunteers, had realised that one of Mount Evelyn’s greatest natural assets was the highly endangered and now rare Powerful Owl (Ninox Strenua). Continuous research and monitoring the 3 to 4 families each year of such magnificent birds is easily tracked back to their core nesting areas as well as the Owl Lands for nearly 40 years.

Baby Powerful Owls
Two baby Powerful Owls, born and raised in Mt Evelyn.

The Environment
In consultation with the Community we will protect our Natural Heritage and work closely with Local Government on matters of environmental enhancement balancing this with sustainable and appropriate development. From footpaths to major capital projects such as new street intersections.
We have continuously monitored, promoted and protected the unique water resources that form part of our beautiful environment. We have continued to seek improvements to the use of Olinda Creek for nearly a century – and our work is not finished yet. We work in partnership closely with ‘Melbourne Water’ and regard Olinda Creek as one of the most Iconic tributaries of the Yarra River with its rich Natural, Cultural and Indigenous History.
We appreciate and protect our rich Flora and Fauna and seek to educate the wider community in our efforts.

Swamp Wallaby
A Swamp Wallaby who lives near the Mt Evelyn Recreation Reserve

All Welcome
MEEPPA has many colourful and community spirited people, we welcome and invite anyone who is interested in our group along to any of our monthly meetings, working bees or to contact us via email, secretary@meeppa.org.au, or our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/meeppa.
MEEPPA meetings are held on the first Wednesday of each month, 7:30pm at the Community Link, Wray Crescent.
Upcoming working bees will be announced on our Facebook page and through the M.E. & You Newspaper.

Tree planting days
We often hold tree planting days and working bees with local schools and the wider community.