Barung beginnings – where did our name & logo come from?

Header image: The signs you see with their beautiful artwork at the Porters Lane nursery and the Maple St office were hand painted by local artist Lisa Gunton.

Landcare as a movement in Australia is over 30 years old. And as it spread from a small country town in regional Victoria over the decades to more than 6,000 locations and across 25 countries, the identity of ‘care’ groups has evolved in its own way through time too. 

There’s something about seeing a coastcare, dunecare, bushcare, landcare or other ‘care’ group sign when visiting somewhere new, and thinking to yourself ‘I’m part of that movement, that change back in my community!’. It’s a good feeling. A landcarer knows it. 

United by the Landcare ‘caring hands’ nationally (ultimately, we are all caring for the land and water in ways that are relevant to our patch), many groups have also found their own way of expressing what they do, with their own logo and branding that represents their unique offerings and values in their community and landscape. Barung Landcare is one of them.

So where did the Barung name & logo come from? 

Barung Landcare formed in 1989 and its logo was designed by local sign writer and Barung volunteer Matt Davies. 

We recently dug through the archives and found this little gem of an article written in 1999 by Matt at the 10 year anniversary of Barung Landcare. Here he shares a bit about the history of Barung and how he came up with the design. We hope you enjoy this little reflection from the past…

“The name ‘Barung’ comes from a local Aboriginal language word for a species of Rat-kangaroo which was apparently common throughout the area covered by Barung Landcare.

This would have been the Long-nosed Potoroo or Potorus tradactylus. P. tridactylus was one of the first mammals recorded by Europeans in Australia. A description and illustration appeared in Governor Phillip’s account of the settlement at Botany Bay in 1789. 

The Blackall Range region is at the northern extreme of its historical distribution as given by Strahan in the Complete Book of Australian Mammals. Stan Tutt reports that the long-nosed potoroo or ‘Barung’ was once common in the area but may now be locally extinct. They are restricted to areas with an annual rainfall greater than 760mm, inhabiting coastal heath and dry and wet sclerophyll forests. A major habitat requirement is thick ground cover and according to P.G. Johnston (in Strahan’s book) they are heavily concentrated in areas where the soil is light and sandy. There is debate about whether the name Baroon Pocket has the same derivation as Barung with alternative origins having been suggested. Interestingly, since the soil in Baroon Pocket was of alluvial origin, it would have been sandy. Those who knew the area before it was inundated would attest to the fact that it was rich in wet sclerophyll understory and ground cover – just the sort of habitat in which a Barung would have thrived. 

I seem to remember the idea of using a Quandong seed as the central device for the design came to me almost immediately. Living beside a large Quandong I had always been impressed by its majestic form and fascinating dried seed cases, looking so much like a deeply convoluted brain. I liked the idea of using a brain-like image in the logo. It suggested notions of ‘rationality’, ‘reason’ and ‘intelligence’. That had to be a positive image. As I began to play around with some sketches it all fell into place quickly and easily – the seedling emerging from a seed case which is half brain, half globe. After ten years it still looks good to my eyes. As a graphic artist, it gives me considerable pleasure to produce a piece of work that survives in the community space for many years. It is even nicer when the work is associated with an organisation which has a positive and growing profile in our community.”

– Barung Newsletter – 1999 August – September Issue