History in the making

Passing the torch: Corangamite Shire mayor Jo Beard (third from right) and fellow councillors joined former landowner Eve Black (second from right) at the base of Mount Noorat during the official handover to the council.

DESPITE Mount Noorat’s dormant volcanic status, the life of the historic peak is far from over.

Members of the Black family, who have owned the mount for a number of generations, officially gifted the mount to the Corangamite Shire Council during an intimate ceremony last Friday.

Shire mayor Jo Beard thanked the wife of the late Niel Black, Eve, as well as his sister Gina for fulfilling his wishes.

“Mr Black’s great grandfather, who he was named after, was one of the early white settlers here in the 1840s and Mount Noorat’s connection to Noorat’s farming history makes it a symbol of the community’s heritage,” she said.

“This generous gift to the people of Corangamite is a testament to Niel Black’s dedication to the community.

“Mr Black was a key figure in the south-west dairy industry, working with many dairy groups and community organisations over more than 50 years.”

Council accepted the gift of Mount Noorat from the estate of the late Niel Black at its September 26 Ordinary Meeting of Council.

Council formally received the title at the beginning of the month and is in the process of forming a new Committee of Management.

Cr Beard hoped the shire could maintain the Black family’s legacy and ensure the Noorat population would be an integral part of the mount’s management.

“We are very honoured and grateful that Mr Black has trusted Corangamite Shire to manage Mount Noorat on behalf of the people,” she said.

“This generous gifting is an everlasting legacy to be enjoyed by the people as he had wished.

“We want the community to be a part of this for forever and a day.”

A new era: (From left) Corangamite Shire councillor Helen Durant, mayor Jo Beard, former landowner Eve Black and councillor Lesley Brown made the trek up to the historic crater last Friday.

Mrs Black said her husband had always wanted to transfer the mount’s ownership to a public authority, but did not specify which one before his death.

However, she said she had a ‘light bulb moment’ one day to gift the mount to the Corangamite Shire Council.

“Neither of us dreamt this would come to pass so soon,” Mrs Black said.

“It’s wonderful that the council and shire has embraced this.

“May the mount be with all of us.”

Noorat-based councillor Helen Durant said the mount would always act as a sign she was close to home.

“People in Noorat hold the mount very dear to their hearts,” she said.

“I’m really excited about the future.”

The area gifted to the council included 145.9 hectares (360 acres) of land and a community walking track.

Once established, the new Committee of Management will establish an outline of the mount’s future and help the council develop a management plan.

Council will appoint 10 committee members at its Ordinary Meeting of Council on February 26, 2018.

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