The Landcare movement had its genesis in land management groups formed by Australian farmers in the 1930s and 1940s. In the late 1970s, under government agency encouragement, volunteer groups began to form to combat soil erosion at a district scale. In the mid-1980s the Victorian Government introduced a program where community groups were actively involved in planning and implementing natural resource management projects. The approach was to deal with several land degradation issues rather than single issues and the groups were neighbourhood based rather than peer based.
In 1986 this program was registered in Victoria under the name of LandCare. In the late 1980s the Dunecare program was developed in NSW with the formation of community groups along the coast. The success of Dunecare provided a model for developing independent and autonomous Landcare groups in NSW. Although there were some Landcare type groups in NSW before 1989, it was during this year that Landcare started to accelerate. Landcare today is a uniquely Australian organisation that shows how grassroots action, with national support, can help people to look beyond the doom and gloom of environmental problems.