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Friends of the Bannockburn Bush

Bush Dumper: Glacial progress.
Our dumping guy has at least made a start on cleaning up at one site on Mason Road but he still has a lot to do (ten more dumps!) and it is difficult to get an update from him.

Hard rubbish collection is even more necessary.
Hopefully, the new council will be more open to the needs of the growing community and provide a suitable system for the less well educated or resourced to dispose of their waste. Bannockburn needs a Hard Rubbish Day. This will take the pressure off our roadsides and bush areas.

Unfortunately the ugly and weedy soil dumps under council control on Harvey Road are setting a very poor example and continue to attract further junk. The latest addition is several bags of dog food debris and dope growing fertiliser. Why does the bush cop so much hydroponic Cannabis paraphernalia?  We have had to clean up several loads of this sort of material in the last couple of years. 

Threatened Species Grant comes to a fruitful conclusion.
FOBB would like to express thanks to all the people and groups who have given their support to our work through the Threatened Species Initiative Grant from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, DELWP. 

The $20,000 provided has enable us to do much more than protect a fragile section of bushland, remove some weeds  and clear out tonnes of junk. 

In order to carry out the project, we have had to engage with co-operative local landowners to develop strategies, work with Select Solutions and Ausnet who maintain the High Voltage Power easement, work with Golden Plains Shire, work with Barwon Water, find more volunteers to help with the heavy lifting and importantly, engage with the dynamic young Bannockburn and Lethbridge Cubs, Scouts and Venturers who have massively boosted our on-ground numbers in jobs such as rubbish removal and tree planting. 

Brian Simpson from DELWP, Ballarat has been wonderful in providing extra financial support for rubbish skips and also in providing crucial technical and legal advice. 

The National Tree day event conducted on Sunday July 31 was a major drawcard for many new volunteers from local schools, the Scouts and new community members. 

The local Police have also been invaluable in supporting our message to the community that this important section of threatened remnant vegetation, home to many Threatened Species is now PROTECTED.

We would also like to thank the Leigh Catchment Group for managing the funds for us as we are not yet incorporated. This has not been a simple task as we have made several cost and work-saving changes to the original grant application. 

Reserve protection is effective.
The new gates and fences remain a soft target for some, but thanks to local support and our security cameras we have been able to put the perpetrators in contact with the very supportive local Police.

The latest series of fence and gate damage included a couple of vehicle rammings which bent the gates off Mason Rd.  We obtained a very clear photo of one vehicle at a damaged gate and the police are currently working through the evidence which includes a series of before and after photographs, confiscated bolt cutters, pieces of cut chain, paint scrapes, registration numbers, bull bar imprints and tyre tracks.

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, or at the gates, that you would not want your parents or the police to see.

Geelong Field Naturalists visit,
Sunday November 20.
Last month the Geelong Field Naturalists visited both the Bannockburn and Inverleigh reserves. They wrote to thank us for the guided tour of interesting sites and sent a list of birds and plants that were identified.

Not bragging but at Inverleigh they recorded 26 Flowering plant species but 33 at Bannockburn.

They sent this thank you note:
“The Bannockburn Reserve has been known to the GFNC for many decades and it continues to be an extremely valuable ecological site, with a large assortment of wild flowers, birds and fauna.

Congratulations to Stuart, BEN and the Friends of BB for all the work you have done to limit or stop damaging activities (such as hooning around in 4WDs). The Reserve is in good hands.

Thanks for leading us to some special places with interesting flora Stuart - nice to have a "warm" day too!”

Regards, Bernie and Barry Lingham.

No cats.
You are all reminded that cats are not welcome in the reserve. They are a major cause of the decline in native fauna; birds, mammals and reptiles and they must not be allowed to enter the Reserve. Two cats were sighted while servicing the security cameras last month and their days are numbered if they return.

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.

Firewood Volunteers
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 (but slow) progress with the Dirtbike community 
Last month I was optimistic about being able to work with the better behaved members of the trail bike community to provide a riding site they could enjoy without damaging native vegetation or creating a noise nuisance. 

While this is still possible, there are a lot of Rules and Regulations that need to be worked through. If it is to happen we will need the riders to get together and demonstrate their willingness to co-operate. FOBB is happy to facilitate but the drive has to come from the people who want it to happen most.

It also needs to be recognised that the more illegal damage and entry that occurs, the less likely it is that a riding site will get support.

Junk Dumping Update
Since our last FOBB article and bush clean-up at the end of October we have unfortunately found more dumped junk. Some that we missed from our previous collection (plumbing and asbestos along the old tip road) but also another big, heavy analog TV and a battered brown cabinet.

VVP Biosphere Spring Grasslands tour around Camperdown.
By all accounts, this event was a resounding success. Despite the weather which was very wet and windy we all enjoyed visiting interesting wetland, woodland and grassland sites, we enjoyed great food, great company and conversation and interesting talks from people who really knew their topics. 

The highlight for me was a walk into the Pomborneit North Nature Conservation Reserve on the west shore of Lake Corangamite. It is rugged, beautiful country with many remnants of original aboriginal occupation such as stone huts.

We are already looking at plans for next spring, probably in the Hamilton area.

Coming Events: 

Every Saturday morning at 8am a group of runners gathers at the south end of Old Base road to do a 5km run through the bush. You are all welcome to join in. Just front up, ready to run before 8am.

Working bees.
We have no scheduled working bees in December but there is always something needing doing. Just contact Stuart McCallum or Kate Constance if you want to volunteer some time.

Stuart McCallum
Friends of Bannockburn Bush