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Friends of the Bannockburn Bush


Harvey Road soil dumps finally sorted!


Thanks to some great teamwork from Golden Plains Shire’s Bram Muller and Dale Smithyman, an offset deal from Michael Peel at Vicroads, some keen labour from Brooke Studham with the Lethbridge Cubs and Bannockburn Scouts and some healthy trees from Kate at Treehome Nursery Teesdale, one of the major soil dumps on Harvey Road has now been replanted with Manna gums, Yellow gums and Sheoak. 

The site was muddy and compacted after a lot of heavy traffic from earthmoving machinery but the keen crew managed to get holes dug with a combination of a power auger from Greening Australia and crowbars from the scout leaders. 

We all got very wet and muddy but were happy with the morning’s work. We will have another working bee shortly when Vicroads supplies more mulch. We plan to do more planting of the site with understorey shrubs and grasses next year when more weed control has been completed.

Geelong Field Naturalist’s Survey.
On Friday August 25th we completed another disappointing round of trapping and tile-checking in the reserve. There was nothing of any vertebrate significance in any of the Elliot traps (just millipedes), nor under the habitat tiles (only spiders and ants). It does look like we will need to conduct a more thorough cull of feral cats, rats and foxes. To date we have removed 3 feral cats but many more are present and several foxes have been sighted. A black rat is the prime suspect for having chewed through and disabled one of the cables from the solar panel to the security camera.

Gate Update
With help from students at The Gordon TAFE (and the MILL grant) we made a start on the fencing and gating of the Northern section of the reserve last week. This is the section to the north and east of the golf club. We plan on installing more attractive gates with some artwork featuring local flora and fauna. We hope that locking gates will not be required here as those using this section of the bush have respected the area with very little dumping or vandalism and virtually no driving off the tracks. Naturally we will have to review the situation if things change. Please let us know if you see anything untoward.

Meanwhile, congratulations to the community this month for the way they have used the reserve sensitively. No damage has occurred this month and our cameras show many people enjoying the clean, quiet, bushland ambience and the extended flowering season of the Yellow gums and Ironbarks. The EPBC protected Swift parrot has been sighted in the Northern block and Rainbow Lorikeets in the main block.

The wildflower display is also looking very promising with promise of a carpet of purple chocolate lilies and a host of golden Common Everlastings. The Sticky Everlasting population is looking good. The area in which we have been coppicing will soon be a carpet of Scarlet Running Postman. Right now the Golden wattle and Hedge Wattle are not only a blaze of gold but are also providing a delicate perfume.

If you have not yet got one of our indigenous flora and fauna brochures, you can get one from Sharon in the fruit and veg shop. I also try and leave a couple at the notice board at the main entrance off the Teesdale road.

Rock update.
We are reviewing or plan to place rocks and large logs in the sections that have been rammed by careless drivers. The frequency of this sort of behaviour has finally declined and we would rather use our limited resources on other projects. 

Free Firewood and coppicing program
Thanks to our crew of willing workers we have now completed 75% of the first sugar gum coupe, Gatty1. The whole site is around 48,000 square meters and we have only about 12,000 to go.

Several households have been kept warm over winter, we have all enjoyed each other’s company in doing the work and the next rotation of trees is growing well.  The frosts did take out some sections but we will wait and see how they recover.

There is still plenty of coppicing and firewood to go. If you are happy to help managing these Sugar gum coupes for the next rotation, please contact Stuart on M: 0438 904 961 or better, email; stuartmccallum@westnet.com.au, to do a deal. Dates and times depend on your own availability. We usually start at 10am and after two hours coppicing, you are welcome to collect a trailer load of Sugar Gum firewood.

BEN Landscape Alliance Proposal
Media Release: Proposal for a new landscape alliance for the Ballarat region.
The wider Ballarat region is host to a number of individuals and organisations working to better the local environment. Their efforts range from landholders addressing weeds, vermin and revegetation on their own lands; to community groups caring for lands within their local neighbourhood; to larger organisations taking a bigger picture view across the wider landscape.

All the organisations share a common desire for healthier landscapes alive and flourishing with native flora and fauna. We’d like more people, more funding, and greater collaboration across sectors to minimise the diverse range of threats. And we’d like to know the effort we put in today will secure a future for generations to come.

What if we could establish a landscape alliance to harness the collective energy of the people and groups that are environmentally active, as well as attracting new participants, through a shared vision for our future? A vision that can inspire people to get their hands dirty; a vision that can shape the imagination of our children; a vision that is significant enough to attract substantial funding from philanthropic organisations and other sources so the vision can be achieved.

Inspired by the idea of an alliance, a working group comprising representatives from the Ballarat Environment Network, Leigh Catchment Group, Moorabool Landcare Network and the Friends of Canadian Corridor compiled a short on line questionnaire to seek the views of local residents about the idea of establishing a landscape alliance.  The survey closed on August 28 and we are now waiting for the results. The results will be collated and the Alliance working group will provide feedback on the survey results so the next steps can be finalised. 

Railway Reserve flora
The warm, wet, early spring is leading into a superb flowering season for our grassland species. Take a drive, walk or ride along McPhillips road towards Scanlon road and check out the mass flowering of Billy Buttons just past the Telecom tower.

The Murgheboluc Railway reserve is also a nice place to check out wildflowers in spring. You can usually fine Blue pincushions, Blue Devils, Scaly buttons and Running Postman.

A spot of thoughtless vandalism.
Last month a couple of young lads, about 13-15 years old, showed up a few times on the cameras with backpacks, water pistols and hand axes. Coinciding with their appearance, there was some graffiti on a few trees and a couple of smaller trees had been hacked at or felled. One of their backpacks contained a small trenching shovel with a green handle. If you know these lads please help them to join the rest of the community in caring for the reserve. 

Coming Events.
Sundry Coppicing and firewood gathering by appointment.

Sunday September 17. Bushcare Major Day Out.  Check our facebook page for details.

Sunday September 23, working bee from 10 -2. All welcome. Meet at the main entrance initially.

Stuart McCallum

Contact: 
Email: stuartmccallum@westnet.com.au  
Mob: 0438 904 961

Friends of Bannockburn Bush