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Friends of the Bannockburn Bush

Bush Dumper: Quick to dump, slow to clean up.
The alleged illegal dumper, despite being directed by EPA and DELWP to remove the dumped material last month had yet to commence work by Friday October 28.

This is very disappointing as the smothered plants are less likely to recover and weeds are already spreading from the heaps. Our disappointment in this zero progress has been conveyed to the EPA.

Why can’t Bannockburn have a Hard Rubbish collection?
It has often been suggested that a periodic Hard Rubbish collection as conducted in many other shires would prevent or reduce illegal dumping in the bush. Within a two weeks of the bush gates being erected a heap of old tyres and furniture appeared on the golf-course side of the Bannockburn-Shelford road and some plumber dumped a load of PVC fittings along Mason Road.

This did not look good for the people visiting for the Battle of Bannockburn!

We reckon it’s time the council stopped outsourcing waste disposal to the environment and took a more positive approach by providing hard rubbish collection days or a periodic waste transfer skip.

Is it fair for the Bannockburn and Lethbridge Scouts and FOBB to be the main waste disposal organisations?

This Reserve is Protected
The Bannockburn Reserve is now better protected from illegal activities such as rubbish dumping, car dumping and burning, unloading of home hydroponic materials and stealing of firewood. Gates have been installed at the key entry points and keys have been provided to those with a legitimate need to bring in a vehicle. Access for walkers, cyclists, horse riders etc has been facilitated at key points. 

We did have one group of young unregistered riders break in on Wednesday October 19 but they were quickly flushed out and “helped local police with their enquiries”. They also had to push their bikes all the way home!

Security cameras in operation
Please be advised that FOBB maintains a number of motion sensitive cameras in the bush. Don’t do anything in there that you would not want your mum to see.

Weed watch
While the lovely wet spring has been great for wildflowers, it has also encouraged some rank weed growth which could be a fire hazard if not reduced very soon. Please make sure long grass is slashed to reduce seeding and fire hazard.

South African Weed Orchid alert
Different seasons tend to encourage a different suite of weeds and we all need to be alert for the highly invasive South African Weed orchid which has been observed in native grassland in the area. 

It is quite easy to spot, looking like a short fat asparagus spear with a green spike and many small yellow flowers. It is a pest species because the fine pepper-like seeds can be blown many kilometres to colonise a new site. The best control method, if rather tedious, is to dig it out.  Unfortunately, it has a pebble-like tuber than breaks off easily when disturbed and if this is not dug out as well, a new plant will develop from the tuber.

Firewood Collection.
To buy firewood, contact Bryan Cartledge 0412 746 868 who delivers Sustainable Sugar Gum harvested legitimately from the Bannockburn Bush plantations. Royalties flow back into maintaining the bush.

We still have a need for a few areas to be cleared of felled timber where we wish to replant so contact Stuart on 0438 904 961 if you wish to help with this work. We can issue you with a permit.

Positive progress with the Dirtbike community 
Through some very polite, tactful (and opportunistic) lobbying FOBB and BEN are investigating the feasibility of providing riders of registered bikes, an opportunity to apply for a Green Rider permit. This would be similar to that provided to our group of volunteer firewood collectors. In return for carrying out certain works needed for fencing or revegetation, they are permitted to keep the wood removed.

The Green Rider permit could work in a similar way. Riders would agree to restrict their riding to particular areas and times and assist with management works, such as possible track construction on the old tip site, fencing, and peer monitoring. Riders who failed to comply would be excluded and could suffer the wrath of their peers. 

One possibility that we have put to Golden Plains Shire is to use their ugly, weedy, soil dump material along Harvey Road (which they keep saying they will remove!) to construct a track or tracks on the former tip site in the South-west corner.

Note that as some areas are active logging sites, appropriate notice would need to be taken of safety signs. 

If you would like to be involved in discussions on this project, email Stuart at:

Working Bee Report Sunday October 23.
Thanks again to the ever reliable Scouts who fronted up and helped load all the junk we had accumulated at the south end of Old base Rd. Thanks also to Brian Simpson from DELWP Ballarat who funded the skip. We filled (overfilled) a 6 cubic meter skip. We also collected several tyres, broken glass, hydroponics waste, building waste and the usual beer and energy drink cans. 

Special thanks to Cate, Arlene, Kate, Molly, Jemima, Abi, Lilly, Samantha and Harvey for donating their day to this not very pleasant task. Thanks also to the two strong blokes who helped lift the slabs of concrete into the skip.

Hopefully this will be our last skip day as it will be much harder to cart large objects in by hand. Locals and security cameras are also on the lookout.

We would also like to thank the Venturer group, who on their weekend camp in the bush on 14-16 October, weeded out a big load of Serrated Tussock for the southern triangle section.

Coming Events: 
Sunday November 27, 10 – 3 Working bee come wildflower walk.

If you have not been in the bush to see all the wildflowers this is a great chance to come along and join in some FOBB activities.

Stuart McCallum,    Friends of Bannockburn Bush