About us

We are located in East Gippsland with our base in the town of Buchan, approximately 75km north-east of Bairnsdale. We are home to the famous Buchan Caves Reserve and on the edge of the beautiful Snowy River National Park . In 2019-2020 our district suffered through the extreme bushfire event.

The Buchan Gelantipy & Districts Renewal Association (BG&DRA) was formed as a result of the bushfire events of 2019/2020. Our representative group of community members were brought together to voice their community’s needs in recovery. Our purpose is to get individuals and communities back on their feet as a result of the bushfire events by:

  • Providing for and advocating on behalf of the needs of the community
  • Identifying and addressing any shortfalls arising in and from this bushfire event
  • Creating a Community Renewal Plan that strives for the betterment of the community
  • Endeavouring to increase economic activity within the community


The BG&DRA are now supporting the community after a recent flash flooding event in Buchan on the evening of 26 December 2023 has been devastating for the Buchan community and people holidaying in the area.

Reports of 100-180mm of rain was recorded, and almost 70mm in 30 minutes on Boxing Day.

There were two fatalities, and significant local damage to both private and public infrastructure.

Police reported that emergency services were called to Cave Road just after 5pm on the day after reports of flash flooding. Police were told vehicles in the Buchan Caves Reserve campground area were submerged and a number of people were safely retrieved from a nearby bridge.

Council established a relief centre at the Lucknow Recreation Reserve (Bairnsdale) to receive people transferred from Buchan by bus.

The Buchan township is open for business, however, Buchan Caves Reserve remains closed. Due to the closure of the caves there has been a significant downturn in business for our local business owners.

As at April 2023 we have 59 members in our Association.

The Association has recently reviewed it’s Model Rules and will continue in the current format for another year. We are an Incorporated Association known as the Buchan Gelantipy and Districts Renewal Association Incorporated.

Creating the Association and Election of the Committee

Over a five week period during January and February 2020, as a community, we committed to establishing a representative group that would advocate and speak for our community’s recovery priorities. The key steps in establishing our Association and Committee included:

• Calling a meeting with all Presidents/ Chairperson of the existing club network across our District to discuss a proposed way forward including the number of people to be nominated to the Committee (3 February 2020)
• Holding a community meeting to propose recovery approach and seek broad community support (10 February 2020)
• Calling for general membership of the newly established Association (yet to be named) from 10 February to current
• Calling for nominees for the Committee of the Association (10 February – 17 February)
• 24 nominations were received representing a wide geographical spread of the District
• Ballot papers circulated online and in post from 21 February and closed at 5pm 27 February. Each general member was entitled to one ballot paper and could mark up to 11 nominees.
• 92% of the ballots were returned based on the general membership at that time.
• On 28 February 2020, the 11 highest vote nominees were elected to the Committee

The Inaugural Meeting was held on Monday 2 March 2020 at the Buchan Recreation Reserve.

You can get in touch with the committee via our contact us page.

Committee members

Katherine Hodge – Chairperson
Bring knowledge of procedure and practice from extensive experience as a public servant.
Susan Freeman – Secretary
I have many years experience in administration and working as Secretary to Board’s of Management in the not for profit sector. I have worked in Bushfire Recovery since 2020, I hope to use my experience to help the Buchan Gelantipy and Districts not only recover from the Black Summer bushfires, but to come back better than ever.
Kirstie Pearce – Treasurer
Kirstie grew up in Butchers Ridge and has spent most of her life in East Gippsland. She is an Accountant and Human Resources Practitioner with extensive experience in the not for profit sector.  She has a passion for her community and is on a number of local committees.
Donald Graham – Vice Chairperson
Working life with my brother developed a 6000acre Angus breeding operation on King Island. Community Involvement – KI District High School P and F, School Council, Music Program, Chairperson KI Natural Resource Management Group. Moved to Buchan 5 years ago with my wife Bron.
Chris Cooper – I would like to see a fair and even distribution of views from the whole district. I am a grazier and also have extensive experience in project management and construction.
Donna Mraz – I hope to contribute to the renewal of the Buchan District and feel confident that my values/ professional experience will add value to the committee including: experience in working with/ on committees and in workplace teams; understanding issues from different perspectives and incorporating into sound decisions; ability to be goal/future orientated.

Anne Brewer
Anne Brewer, Bush Nurse Centre Manager, Buchan Bush Nursing.  Strategic thinker with range of community knowledge.  Aware of acquittal processes, budgets and the need to maintain professional boundaries. Interested to see the community both recover and renew after the recent fire disaster on top of significant drought.  Prepared to challenge the processes that do not work for the community members for better outcomes.

Suzanne Davies – I have lived in the district of Buchan for 34 years. Kindergarten Teacher in Buchan, then went on to combine both part time roles as Manager of the Buchan Neighbourhood House and the Arts Coordination role for the Buchan Gelantipy District.  In 2005, I completed through Monash University the Graduate Certificate in Regional Community Development. Consultant for the 5 year planning for the district and the LIMP (Local Incident Management Plan). My passion is community development in working to enhance our communities health, wellbeing and recovery across the district.  

How the committee works

Initially when we established the Committee, we met both regularly and on an as needed basis.  We now meet on the first Wednesday of the month. The restrictions enforced during COVID has meant that we have been meeting online (via Zoom) but we have also been meeting in person or a combination of the two.

Given everyone is leading such busy lives, we have limited the meeting length to 1 hour and follow a prepared Agenda to ensure each meeting is productive and structured.  We try to stay strategic in our discussions and thinking but we know that our community needs us to also support individuals through the recovery and rebuild process.  This means that we create small working groups outside of our scheduled meetings and engage with industry and government to find common understanding and sometimes compromise.

Read minutes from our previous meetings here

One of our very first tasks was to develop the rules in which we would work.  We have mostly adopted the standard Model Rules – we just made a few tweaks to suit our needs! 

Read our Model Rules for an Incorporated Association (link below) for more information on how we operate our committee.