What we do

Our community is the custodian of the skills, resources and commitment we need to care for our environment. We achieve our goals by leveraging this community strength wherever our community is – among residents, visitors, workers…even friends we’ve never met.
We do this through flexible planning and activities, around a strong core team and in partnership with government, statutory bodies and supporting organisations.

Our Mission


Our mission is to help restore ecological function and climate resilience to this highly degraded and altered part of Melbourne’s most important waterway.

We aim to help our floodplains community embrace custodianship of country along the lower western Birrarung Yarra, through simple, powerful actions in their daily lives.

We aim to honour its ancient and complex heritage:

- its geological significance at the eastern edge of Victoria’s Great Western Basalt Plain.
- its place in the lands of its traditional owners the Wurundjeri-willlam people of the Kulin Nation; and
- its place at the heart of Melbourne’s pastoral and industrial beginnings, its contemporary life and a healthy future, benefiting residents and wildlife alike.

Our Team

Anna Ridgway
Leadership Team Leader

When not Riverbanking on hands and knees and managing the group, Anna runs a consultancy helping businesses improve how they communicate and manage business relationships across cultures.
Anna’s worked and volunteered in local conservation, migrant English, employment support and anti-slavery programs in Australia and El Salvador.

Salvatore is one of those quiet legends we all know – they bring down the tools you forgot (often doing more than one trip), transport stuff, haul weed bags, bring coffee and food…then assert seriously, ‘I don’t really do anything.’

As Treasurer, Salvatore brings a super methodical approach, financial smarts and an eagle eye for detail.

Salvatore is also Careers Practitioner at one of Melbourne’s large private schools, as well as being a business and (being Sicilian born) Italian teacher.

Jennie Irving
Leadership Team member

Jennie brings powerful governance and communications experience to support our strategic oversight and stakeholder management.
As co-founder of Boroondara Hard Rubbish Rehomers, she also supports river health through productive redistribution of rubbish.
Jennie’s gone from corporate law to language teaching to specialist education performing arts teaching. She is also a musician, craftswoman and mother of 4 great young people, 3 with ASD.

Margaret Blakeney

Margaret is a key member of Abbotsford Riverbankers’ leadership team, supporting the smooth running of our operations. Margaret helps keep track of our governance obligations, contributes to logistics operations and brings local knowledge and connections as a long-term Abbotsford resident. Margaret is often first to report conditions and changes along the river, so the team can respond promptly.

Breanna Butera
Leadership Team member

With a combined background in retail and applied science studies, Bree brings tough pragmatism and deep intellectual curiosity to our care for country along the lower western Birrarung.
Bree currently works with an environmental consultancy that specialises in contaminated land and water.
In her spare time, Bree explores and assesses remnant bushland with similar ecological characteristics to our area of operations, and compares them to improve our understandings, actions and advocacy. This has been vital in helping us rebuild ecological function and resilience to extreme weather.

Become an Abbotsford Riverbanker member

Help transform the Yarra River in Abbotsford into a thriving river corridor