our Committee

The BEAM Committee is a habitat that supports a wide-range of skills, life stories and areas of expertise. Like all BEAM members, the Committee is engaged in supporting sustainable outcomes in government projects, advocating for our local region, supporting green initiatives and generally causing a fuss about the environment when no one else seems bothered.

BEAM Committee 2019-20

These profiles are meant to introduce the committee and publicise our credentials (or lack of them), but it is far from exclusive and far from exhaustive. As members of BEAM, the Committee wants to represent your views and you can talk to any one of the Committee members to have your interest, concern or event raised.

Peter Lockyer, President

BEAM President for a record-breaking five years, Peter is a registered architect and builder, and has worked on energy efficient building design and construction for decades. He was a Councillor with the City of Geelong for two terms before moving to the Mitchell Shire. His interests in this field are local opportunities and working with one’s context. He has worked for years in Aboriginal communities creating competence in building skills, and more recently in India (Punjab) building a ‘sustainable’ demonstration house for regional consideration of what an energy efficient house might entail (in this case, rice straw bales, tin roof, bamboo structure and water collection). Peter has been a BEAM member for 15 years, and sees local communities as having enormous capability to secure a durable future through local action. He lives in the Tallarook Ranges with his potter partner Sandra.

Richard Telford, Vice-President

Richard is a former BEAM President, and has a background in visual communications. After a short-lived stint in advertising, he discovered an interest in peri-urban permaculture and its promotion. He built (with Peter Lockyer) and lives in Abdallah House (https://www.abdallahhouse.com) with his partner Kunie and two sons, which is a case study in RetroSuburbia (https://retrosuburbia.com/case-studies/abdallah-house-case-study/). The house aims to demonstrate what anyone can do with an urban block and live with less impact. Richard has an interest in connecting with the broader community, reaching to through BEAM and beyond. He believes in the power of (local) food, eating together and having fun. One initiative he’ll be pushing is for more bike paths.

Clare Daly, Correspondence

Clare’s background is in migrant education and TAFE teacher training. As a freelance instructional designer, she wrote resources for various industries and educational organisations including Sustainable Development and Environmental Issues training modules for the Commonwealth – Diploma in Youth in Development Work. In 1994, she and husband Vitto Oles, jumped the Great Dividing Range from Emerald to 40 acres in Whiteheads Creek, so that they could “grow things”. Knowing little about being on the land, they undertook a Permaculture Certificate course and immersed themselves in learning about organic and biodynamic farming. They established a six acre vineyard, practising what they had learned. Clare became involved with BEAM during the Cherry Tree Wind Farm planning stage, preferring renewable energy to coal-fired energy production “in her backyard” and because of her interest in sustainable development and concern over the climate emergency.

Irene Telford, Treasurer

Irene has worked as a primary school director, and throughout her life practiced resourcefulness and community inter-dependence. She has built a community in Seymour after moving to join her son. She coordinates and collects events for The Seymour We Want (http://theseymourwewant.org.au), which distributes a newsletter. Irene’s role as Treasurer of BEAM is linked to her belief in the power that money can have in effecting social change. She is interested in our society putting its money where its values are, and thinks we should take a more active role in what our money does, and how we invest.

Peter Mitchell, Newsletter and other roles

Peter has a PhD in zoology (ask him about the social life of koalas), and is BEAM’s resident ecology expert. He was also a Landcare coordinator, and has had various roles advocating for the environment in government departments. Since retiring, Peter is involved in too many committees, environmental and activist groups to list, including the Broadford Land Managament Group, the Seymour Revitalisation Committee and the Biolinks Alliance. Peter writes many of BEAM’s submissions such as the responses to the Seymour and Kilmore Structure Plans, sometimes behind the scenes, but it is work for which we are very grateful.

Marie Gerrard

After graduating from RMIT, Marie spent her working life as a medical laboratory scientist working first in diagnostic pathology laboratories and then in infectious diseases diagnostics. She did some consulting  work with the WHO in biosafety and biosecurity. Marie also has qualifications in immunology. Biological sciences led to her interest in the environment. Marie’s other long term interests have been in Human Rights and public health. She is currently on the board of Nexus Primary Health and an active member of the Rotary Club of Southern Mitchell as the International Director and as the club Environmental representative.

James Bramwell

James’ background is in climate change not-for-profits, and now works as the Hume Regional Coordinator for Sustainability Victoria. Through his work, he has developed connections to the network of community energy and environmental groups in the region, and wants to draw on the example of long-running groups such as that of Euroa. James is interested in activism through local government, community working groups and making sure government funds are directed to beneficial, sustainable projects. Although working full-time, James is an invaluable contact ‘on the inside.’

Vanessa Malandrin

Vanessa’s Italian roots have not stopped her becoming quickly attached to the Seymour area, and she wants to see it improved both materially and through the bonds of community and identity. After a Masters in Agriculture (Botany), Vanessa worked as an academic, teaching courses in sustainable food consumption, food security and agroecology. She wants to see Seymour heartily adopt its ‘green soul’, supporting a network of activities and events about sustainability. With her experience in education, Vanessa would like to see BEAM outreach more, and advocate for information centres to encourage engagement and spread knowledge to both locals and visitors about our natural environment. Vanessa believes in including the whole community, and enjoys networking and sharing knowledge.

Peter Gaffney

Peter works as a nurse at Nagambie Hospital, and is applying for registered status. After growing up in Kilmore and working for some years in the horse industry, Peter found is way to Edgar’s Mission in Lancefield before moving to Nagambie. At Edgar’s Mission, Peter helped develop a new water management system. He believes in promoting our natural assets more widely and was excited to revisit Kilmore Creek and find discover the benefits of the work of community groups.

David Clarey

David is a born-and-bred local to Seymour, and having retired from a position in IT specializing in software quality in the aviation industry, has become more involved in various community groups. David enjoys outdoor activities such as kayaking, and is involved with the Scouts. He ran the Repair Café initiative in Seymour and hopes to do so again pending location changes and guarantee of turnout. With Peter Lockyer and Marie Gerrard, David runs EarthChat on 103.9 FM. His outlook is ‘spiritual atheist’, and combines it with a practical mindset, and enjoys BEAM for its network like-minded people.

John Stares

John moved to Seymour six years ago with Irene, and has worked as a labourer, in forestry, and sold insurance. He writes and publishes poetry, and works with Men’s Groups. John is interested in contributing to BEAM’s Show stand, restarting the Repair Café and plenty of other causes, along with his business sharpening knives from Seymour to Melbourne and all the markets in between.



Scott Robinson

Scott moved to Broadford in 2019 with his partner Lenni who took up a role at Berry Street. He is writing a PhD in philosophy, and prioritized the environmental cause after teaching a course in environmental ethics. He writes for Melbourne-based journal Overland and edits a journal called Demos. He enjoys research, writing and editing as well as whatever non-competitive outdoor activity is available.