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- Yes, but where was the summit? 22 May, 2023
- The gradual changes, the shifts in tones 1 May, 2023
- Exploring Kalimna during COVID 1 May, 2023
- Bird photography with Geoff Park 20 April, 2023
- Perfect walking weather!..Almost 17 April, 2023
Responding to Country Greeting Cards
Responding to Country
Twenty Bushwalks in the Mount Alexander Region
Native Peas of the region book
Wattles of the region book
Eucalypts of the region book
Mosses of Dry Forest book
Geology Excursion with Clive Willman
Acknowledgement of Country
Friends of the Box Ironbark Forests would like to acknowledge the elders of the Dja Dja Wurrung community and their forebears as the traditional owners of Country in the Mount Alexander Region. We recognise that the Dja Dja Wurrung people have been custodians of this land for many centuries and have performed age old ceremonies of celebration, initiation and renewal on their land. We acknowledge their living culture and their unique role in the life of this region.
Photo galleryView our full gallery on flickr...
Downy Grevillea (Grevillea alpina)
Coliban river upstream of the Gibbons bridge
Coliban river upstream of the Gibbons bridge.
Coliban river upstream of the Gibbons bridge.
Sailors Gully ruin
Loddon River near Vaughan
Common Brown Butterfly
Pingback: Muckleford Gorge: a privileged excursion | Friends of the Box-Ironbark Forests
Frightening. I know I’d never realised how much the DSE were relied on to do such things. I’m only pointing the finger, really.
This was a wonderful walk. Nioka accidentally deleted the photos she took from her camera. So we’ll have to go back and take a photo of Charles Sanger’s hut.
The photos tell a good story: Walkers in the fog makes it look like it will be a damp, dull day. But the view and the purple pea show that there is no need to let the weather hold you back. The fog add dramatic atmosphere and makes the clematis shot into a winner. I think I missed a good walk.
I really enjoyed the latest newsletter. It looks fantastic, the photos are superb, and the content is excellent. Keep up the great job.
Your moss photos turned out extremely well Bronwyn. They look like much larger plants than moss, when in fact, they have been greatly magnified. Moss, it turns out, is incredibly beautiful.
Dear fobif folks – great to see this article about proposed burns. I’m in Green Gully and extremely concerned with the scale of what is proposed. A few of us have put in objections and we are keen to hear from DSE to explain what they propose, how they will do the burn so as to protect significant areas and why exactly they think our forests need a burn. I appreciate the political pressures officers of DSE are under, and I think we all need to stand up strongly and protest. I just can’t really believe that at a recent Connecting Country talk I heard that our forests don’t need fire for regeneration and that fire frequency has actually increased since white folks arrived – and so we need to burn more? Surely this is crazy. We need to reduce burning and move our forests back to a more stable and less fire-dependent state. That will make us all safer and enable out forests to again become places where wonderful biodiversity exists alongside people and our settlements.
I grew up in Strathfieldsaye in a mud brick house and I have never stopped loving the Box-Ironbark Forest! I am studying Natural Resources Education at La trobe and would love to get more involved in protecting and educating about this beautiful forest of ours.
I am gobsmacked! I live in Strathfieldsaye just at the bottom of the forest and cannot beleive that DSE intend a 90-100% burn of this area. Legalised environmental vandalism does not say it stronger enough. Outraged and disgusted.
I have always called them wooly bears.
Has anyone attempted to take an aerial photo of the formation?
I would be very interested to see that.
Please keep me posted if any further information is revealed.
excellent response to the draft COP…thanks for doing such a great job on behalf of our public lands!
Another excellent program, again showcasing the wonderful diversity to be found in our environs.
Ecological vandalism is exactly what we would call it, thank you for expressing our views so clearly. Living in this area (Tarilta Creek runs through our property) we also expressed our concerns to DSE about the gorge to no avail. The reason given for burning this area was for the protection of Glenlyon as bark from this area during a bush fire could travel 28 kilometres ahead of a fire front, or so were told – we pointed out that this was not a blue gum forest!!!!
We have contacted NWCCA and Prof Andrew Bennett with our concerns and photos of the resulting damage.
We intend following this up with the local member Geoff Howard and encourage him to do a walk of the gorge and take up the matter with the minister as we feel we are only getting the bureaucratic response from the departments.
You may be interested to know that the southern front was not monitored from 6.00pm on Saturday until 10.00 am on the Sunday, and that the fire did jump the Limestone road boundary near Sawpit Gully road.
I agree with Rob and Anne Simons who live in and care for the Holcombe forest.
I was visiting the forest during the burn and have since seen the Tarilta Creek massacre. I understood the fire was not monitored; was concerned about the native animals; and had dicomfort from smoke inhalation.
I agree with you Anne & Rob. All this smells of politics. DSE has to be seen to be looking after private property by burning-off public land. Even when the land doesn’t require burning or when any environmental gains are outweighed by the resulting environmental losses. I love this part of the world and I’m really upset by what has happened. I still think that this section of the Upper Loddon State Park should have been included in the Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park.
Here is a short video on our Open Spaces blog showing a little bit of the gorge immediately before the ‘controlled burn’. http://osp.com.au/?p=3232
The only trees that were raked around were on the perimeter of the burn and after extensively walking the whole gorge area there is no evidence of any large trees being protected .
Having observed flows of both the Tarilta and Hunters creeks over a period of 35 years , the hunter creek always flows at least 3 to 4 days before the Tarilta creek because the Hunter flows through a lot of open farmland. The rain we had after the burn was about an inch,the hunter only just flowed whereas as can be seen in photos the Tarilta had enormous runoff which would never have happened if it was not burnt resulting in devastating erosion. One wonders how this is GOOD ecological management!
Every March we hear the powerful owl calling from the Tarilta Gorge area, but this year we haven’t heard a HOOT. This is the very top of the food chain and is a great indicator of ecological health. Approx 2 months ago we were lucky enough to photograph a pair of fledged powerfuls, let’s hope they return.
We hope that the people responsible for this burn will be man enough to face the people who love this most beautiful part of Australia and explain their actions . I would love to see the Minister walk this gorge to see the damage caused by this reckless act.
I am very interested in DSE’s response about mapping of the ‘fire intensity’ and ‘burn coverage’. The same issues are of concern in the Muckleford Forest – as those who came on the FOBIF walk recently can attest. And the eological objective seems empty of real purpose – why introduce burning – just because it is long unburnt? What is the fire history of this forest – pre 1788 and since?
And tree raking – in the Muckleford it was only along tracks. In many places we walked in off the track just 20 or 30 metres to large trees and found them unraked. And we found dead trees and stumps raked (perhaps for good habitat purposes) and trees with bridal creeper growing at the base also carefully raked – and the bridal creeper left intact (grrr). And of course the nature of past timber getting means many trees have hollows at their base – and these form a fireplace of extended burning – knocking down what are quite old trees. It really makes me mad!
Here are pictures take at the top end of Tarilta which clearly show the lack of protection of both mature trees and top soil on steep slopes
Every picture tells a story “Don’t It”
It’s interesting to note that when we walked through only a week before the burn we didn’t see any raking around any of the old big trees. There was about half a dozen trees raked around along Limestone Track and a few along Porcupine Ridge Road. I would be very surprised if any DSE people actually walked down the creek in that week prior to the burn. We have a few more images on our latest blog: http://osp.com.au/?p=3278
Keep up the good work FOBIF. DSE should be accountable for their actions….and their statements too.
This crossing, about 25 years ago, was only a stone crossing and never gave a problem after many floods . DSE in their wisdom decided to construct the current ford which never copes with a flood and requires expensive clearing of the beaver dam with heavy machinery. We couldn’t believe it when about 5 years ago DSE added yet a higher barrier with the addition of armco railing which caused even greater blockages which at times were impassable and cleared at even more expense. This armco railing ending up being twisted and partially ripped off the concrete bridge and was then carted out on the back of a truck!!! The erosion caused required loads of imported rock to be trucked in. When we asked them to restore the crossing to its original pre-concrete state they said oh no we can’t do that, we have to have a working group go out to assess the situation and work out what needs to be done…….enough said!!!!!
Imagine if the money wasted on this ford was used to produce detailed investigations into the results of their CONTROLLED burns .
Some year past I worked for DSE and assisted their fire operations. It is my understanding that the raking around the base of trees with basal bark damage (regardless of age) is strategic and aimed to avoid those trees burning and falling across the track (break line) and thus burning more bush. It is only practiced 20m or so from a track so the suspicions (mentioned about) are, perhaps unfounded. I would like to see this practice of raking implemented around the base of ALL significant trees in each planned burn area to avoid more pointless habitat loss by DSE fire.
Something we should consider in relation to this article is that research shows animals and birds spend most of their time in gullies and along creeks and rivers so it’s not normal to see large numbers of birds on ridge lines.As there has been an abundance of rain in the last 2 years that has resulted in much growth and an increase in food supply its easy to understand why birds wouldn’t bother to fly up to the top of a hill to search for it where as in the drought years they would be searching far and wide.I have noticed that large numbers of birds gather on north facing slopes in winter for shelter from the cold south winds.This could explain why there are few birds on Porcupine Ridge which is very exposed to the south,also lack of under storey plants in that area could be another reason.I have noticed large numbers of birds south of Castlemaine this year and in the evening flocks of birds fly in from the north to shelter.
Thanks all for the theories on this. I’ve seen several lerps infestations over the years in this Porcupine Ridge area, but none to compare to what is currently happening. As i look from our place on Italian Hill over the Fryers Ranges and back to Porky Ridge, I can see swathes and patches of seriously browning forest in many directions. It’s distressing. And it’s hard to tell from a distance whether this is the red-brown of some juvenile foliages or yet more destruction. I also noticed another patch of infestation on the Midland Hwy heading down to Daylesford near the Chocolate Mill. With the past lerps, although they mined the leaves, they never seemed to take the whole trees to the point of stress where it looked like they were really dying (like now) – this arvo i noticed bark starting to come off some of these trees in a way i hadn’t seen before. Oh i am worried.
There was a major outbreak of Cup moth caterpillars around 10 years ago when they defoliated large areas of forest in this area they could be heard chomping away on the leaves there was so many of them,they are locally known as” stinging joeys.”They have almost disappeared in recent times but could be building up for another infestation.
Walkers on FOBIF’s Middleton Creek walk today saw lots of the caterpillars on leaves and even crawling around Great Dividing Trail sign posts. Apparently they’re also called Chinese Junks, because of a vague similarity to the ship.
We live in Guildford and are surrounded by native bushland including many trees on our property. I’ve only recently noticed the cup moth caterpillars after being ‘stung’ by one whilst cleaning up outside, the burning sensation subsided after an hour or so. Now I have realised that these caterpillars have been eating many trees and are quite destructive indeed. I didn’t notice them at all last year but there seems to be thousands of them at the moment…I spent yesterday listening to them chomp away at leaves on the ground and in trees, they are everywhere! We are considering spraying them, but not sure how effective this will be considering how many there are.
[FOBIF note: Infestations of these moths are not well understood. We’ve heard that recovery of trees can be rapid [possibly from spring to autumn]–but that’s under good conditions, and general forest health [which includes good biodiversity] can be a factor. That’s why FOBIF is interested in DSE’s plans to burn infested areas.]
Great summary of the recent DSE FOP meeting … thanks.
Some prescribed burns will start soon no doubt. It would be great to push hard on ‘prescriptions’ for particular species where we know they have been established by DSE – or push even harder where there are no prescriptions!
Habitat trees were a focus at Muckleford Forest community discussions last weekend, noting that the DSE approach of raking around large old and habitat trees is the WRONG approach. Raking around reduces the nutrient cycle of these trees – and they are so important in the nutrient cycling in the forests. Instead we shoud, advocate that DSE don’t light up near such trees as in most conditons the flames will die out before getting to their base. How far away? I’m not sure but others will know.
This is a prescription we could demand – identify and protect such trees. Yes it would mean pre-burn survey and marking of such trees (physically and with GPS) and then controlling the burn pattern. At least we could ask that they trial this in some selected areas and do pre and post burn evaluation. And perhaps comunity members might even contribute a bit of time towards tree marking?
What do others think – and what should we be advocating for inclusion in ‘burn plans’?
I am interested in the Planned Burning Exclusion Zones shown in the above table. 56,716 hectares, or roughly one sixth of the land in all the zones, totally protected from fire. I wonder what is necessary for land to be classified in this way, and what is lacking about the land that has not been. I also wonder what proportion this is of all the land in the region – including private land. I’m sure it is much less than one sixth. Is it even one sixtieth?
I note that in his reply to FOBIF on behalf of his minister, LeeMiezis, Executive Director, Fire (what a wonderful title!) for the Minister for Environment and Climate Change, wrote:
“Planned Burning is excluded from identified zones (Planned Burning Exclusion Zones) mainly to protect the environment – for example fire sensitive ecological communities.”
In his letter, this statement sits, rather oddly, immediately after a passage that states:
“it is important to recognise that fire is a vital part of our environment – in fact Victoria is one of the most fire prone areas in the world and many of our plants and animals depend on fire for their ongoing survival. Planned burning can help the environment to regenerate and maintain health, while having benefits of reducing the risk of bushfire causing significant change to natural ecosystems.”
I wonder if the “Executive Director, Fire” is conscious of the contradiction in what he has written, or if perhaps the ecological communities within the planned burning exclusion zones are in fact so different from those in other zones that there is no contradiction. In either case it would be good to know more. I wonder also if the Minister, whom the Executive Director serves, has a better understanding of this than I do.
But, if such contradictions really do lie (un-noticed) at the heart of our statements about fire, I wonder if our faith in our knowledge of such things, and in the benefits (or potential benefits) of the monitoring and science that is applied to them, is well founded.
Re. the Cup Moth caterpillars (aka Bondi Trams, Chinese Junks, Doratifera oxleyi!) – I think a virus (not unusual where there’s an overpopulation of insects) has wiped them, or most of them, out, perhaps helped by a parasite. No adult moths at all have come to my MV light this year. Last year scores of them did. From 2000 – 2010 I only saw the odd one.
plantations are certainly fire hazards – check out photos 5 and 6 on this page:
hancock lost 10,000ha in one day in feb 2009
hancock also attempted to rezone land in strathbogies in late 2010 to general farming zone. http://hancockwatch.nfshost.com/directory/benalla/LEGL93-60.html
[FOBIF NOTE: it’s also of interest that the Kentbruck fire presently raging in South Western Victoria started and quickly spread through a pine plantation]
This is a natural decay, and a natural decay of an introduced, alien entity. Let nature take over again, I say.
Thanks for the comment Faisal. The interesting thing about those pipes is that they were part of a destructive process–and now they’re part of the recovery. In a way, they’re part of nature too.
I think that it’s possible that we are going to have another infestation of Doratifera oxleyi (The Painted Cupmoth) next spring. Although not as numerous as in 2012, I have noticed dozens of the adult moths round lighted windows here in Vaughan for the past ten days. Their caterpillars (Stinging Joeys) will be defoliating eucalypts again. The trees seem to recover quickly but after this recent prolonged drought they will be under extra stress, which may be of concern.
It’s very bad news if this is an area to be ‘control burned’. Already this suspect activity has resulted in a Castlemaine Copper site being mistakenly burned in the Bendigo area. If this area too is burned in Autumn, it’s possible than the early stages of the butterfly might escape, as it is thought that the larvae will be in ant’s nests underground, but it is a risky thing to do when an endangered insect is involved.
We are trying a modified habitat hectares approach in the Muckleford forest (Maldon Historic Reserve) as it includes large trees. Results so far are that this forest lacks the number of large trees defined in the EVC benchmark – making these ‘almost large’ trees critical as they are the large trees of the future. Will post more details on the Muckleford forest blog soon.
Strange but true. Here’s a link to more information than you ever wanted to know about Moss Man! http://he-man.wikia.com/wiki/MossMan
Perhaps the ant was intending to use the piece of moss to line the entrance to a nest? In the handbook ‘Ants, their biology and identification’, it states for Rytidoponera that ‘when in the open, nests range from low and messy mounds to large mounds decorated with stones and small twigs or leaves.’
Have planted many long leaf box trees last Spring and find now that lots have been almost completely devoured by a caterpillar (greenish with a small amount of red and often a single white band) Is this the cup moth caterpillar and how do you stop them from eating your trees up??
Meg, it looks like you’ve got the moth that’s currently chewing its way through lots of local bush for the second time in a couple of years. Trees do recover–as long as they’re not subjected to repeated attacks. We’re not sure about control. For what it’s worth, DEPI offers the following advice [http://www.dpi.vic.gov.au/forestry/pests-diseases-weeds/pests/cup-moth-alert]: ‘Cup moth larvae have several natural enemies. They are often parasitised by flies and wasps and are susceptible to a virus disease. Predatory insects such as shield bugs also attack the larvae. Chemical control, although it is likely to damage some natural enemies, may be necessary to protect young trees from complete defoliation.’
Castlemaine Landcare Group started to plant Banksia marginata along the Happy Valley walking track a number of years ago. We utilised silt extracted from Forest Creek during willow removal to assist in planting – they benefit from moister conditions in their early years of growth. The initial planting is now well established and we planted more on a nearby site this winter.
Much overlooked is the effect of frequent fire on the leaf litter biota, particularly invertebrate species. The absence of such specialised biota contributes to the big litter problems in Spanish and other plantations
Thanks for highlighting this issue. I am one of a small group of landholders in Green Gully who have also been working on this issue for a couple of seasons as there is a significant infestation here on the highway and local roadsides as well as on private land: and it has really expanded with the rain this year prompting us to develop a local plan in place. Thanks to locals, VicRoads and the Shire we have been able to take some extra control measures this year. Now our next challenge is to get more locals involved. It would be great to link up with other groups and share knowledge and success stories.
We live half an hour south of Castlemaine. We have established a seed production area [SPA] for a range of species in order to supply seed to a range of people (indigenous nurseries and private) in order to reduce the amount of seed being taken from the natural environment. We collected seed from 5 different populations of the Tree form of Silver Banksia and we now have over 300 plants in our SPA and we are collecting heaps of seed. We have to separately bag the cones with cloth bags or the beautiful Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoos take them all before they are ripe.
The local nursery tells us that our seed grows faster and better and grows lovely plants compared to all the others they have grown. We would like more people to grow our seed and include it in their plantings as it may help people to form more sustainable populations over time.
We went to so much trouble because we want to see this species returned to all the areas where it used to be (we make very little money from our seed – this is not our motivation). Our seed is from Baynton and Tooborac and Spring Hill and we grow them on a property near Daylesford on mostly red volcanic soil. If you have time to look at our website: http://www.victoriannativeseed.com.au/ you can see what we are doing.
Rode past these magnificent specimens this morning and stopped to admire the handy work of Castlemaine Landcare
In our small ephemeral creek, I have tried to mitigate the erosion and gorging away of soil that floods can create by strategic planting and placing of logs to slow the run-off of water. This has had the added advantage of allowing water more time to soak into the soil and improve our soil quality. Floods are a natural way to replenish soil fertility. On our property we ensure some protection by keeping infrastructure off potential flood sites. So some adjustment to planning regulations that secure housing by preventing building on floodplains, could free up these areas for use as public amenity in non-flood times, such as strategic wetlands for holding excess water, walkways, passive recreation and maybe even community gardens that may benefit from the soil and silt brought in by floods.
I wonder what others think?
We have seen a pair of Red-capped Robins at our place in North Castlemaine this week [March 25, 2014]. I’ve not been aware of this breed here before, although last year we had frequent sightings of Scarlet & Flame Robins and the occasional Mistletoe Bird during winter and spring.
Aboriginal use of fire is a complex subject and you are dead right to recognise that fire was used very differently in different landscapes. The notion of ‘fire-stick farming’, coined by Rhys Jones and popularised by Tim Flannery, does not have universal application, however this half-baked theory has been extrapolated to country where it was never used. Google ‘Phil Zylstra’, who has studied this topic extensively, and read everything you can find by him.
Aboriginal culture has been co-opted by organisations such as the Mountain Cattlemen’s Association to support their political goals, with no regard for the truth. Zysltra’s work shows that fire frequency in the high country increased after white settlement.
From Easter, Bendigonians can get an alternative, quality firewood product from wood4good that is 100% plantation-grown – plantations that are managed to help protect our farmland, our biodiversity and our future. Don’t say NO to firewood – it’s a fantastic source of renewable energy. Say NO to firewood sourced from woodlands and forests!
I reguarly prospect the Wellsford State forest in the search of gold and relics, its a great state forest and a fantastic place to be in, my concern is that if it is turned into a NP, i may loose some of my rights as a prospector, eg sluicing with a small highbanker, could someone please clarify this for me.
You’re right: prospecting is generally not allowed in National Parks. You’ll find more info on this, and FOBIF’s position on prospecting, if you put ‘prospecting’ into the search box on our home page.
What is the adress of VEAC to send submissions?
Doug, you can write to VEAC at PO Box 500, East Melbourne 3002, or email them at email@example.com Closing date for submissions is September 8. There’s a guide on the terms of reference of the investigation at http://www.veac.vic.gov.au/documents/VEAC-Historic-Places-Notice-of-Investigation-Info-Sheet.pdf
There is one VERY LARGE burn that is new in the Muckleford Forest – it is shown in the FOP as “already approved” but I think this is not correct and I have alerted DEPI to this mistake. The burn is called MGFCASO24 and it is called Gower-Cemetery Road and it is 672.1 ha and again in an LMZ! There will be more on Muckleford Forest burns on the Muckleford Forest blog – see the link under Blogroll in the sidebar or go to http://mucklefordforest.wordpress.com/
Q.2 I think it is very shortsighted to reduce spending on animal health but especially on biosecurity. But like many people I believe that there are far too many shiny bums on seats and not enough out in the field. Less bureacracy and red tape and more hands in the field.
Q.3 To prevent devastations like Black Saturday it is IMPERATIVE to have an ongoing regime of slow cool burns. Our bush requires constant burning to reduce fuel loads and for regeneration. You only have to read early exploreres and setttlers accounts of what it looked like, pre white settlement – very different to the overgrown and or scrubby bush of today. I have watched my area change from open grassland dotted with trees, grasslands with spring flowers, to an impassible jungle fire hazard because no-one will touch it. The kangaroos now have to graze on the side of the roads and on private properties that have pasture. That’s what landcare and the national park have created – deprivation.
Q.4 Some commercial development but it has to carefully done.
Q.5 I prefer ‘natural climate variation’
Q.6 I think prospecting should be allowed – after all the National Parks are supposed to belong to everybody for their use not just an elite select few. As it is access to parks is severely restricted for those who are not ablebodied ie there are not enough roads and carparks. I disagree with the policy of ripping up roads in parks which I know has been occurring. At the very least there need to be maintained fire tracks.
Q.7 Landcare is a very good program – providing it keeps its nose out of politics and sticks to its ORIGINAL remit on this basis I would like to see it continue to get funding.
Seems like a rerun of the Astroloma debacle in the Muckleford forest where almost
the entire stand of conostephioides was destroyed in a burn, and this as far as I know
was the only stand of this plant in the district.
Don’t they do a survey of an area before they set light to it, or have experts have a look
for special plants ?
It’s amazing that two people can look at the same landscape and see completely different things [I assume that Anne White’s talking about Box Ironbark forests, since that’s what this website is all about].
Readers might want to consider this, and make their own decisions about who’s seeing the real world:
Q 3: ‘Impassable jungle fire hazard’. Anne White might like to point out where these are in our region. I’ve walked most of the country from Mount Franklin to Mount Alexander. Apart from a few isolated patches the only impassable jungles I’ve seen are areas of dense gorse [definitely needs clearing], and dense regrowth around the Loop track, entirely caused by DSE fire—it was grassland before the ‘fuel reduction’!
Q 6: Anne could also point out where roads have been ‘ripped up’. As far as I can see, DEPI and Parks have spent an enormous amount of money ‘upgrading’ roads in recent years. Here’s a simple exercise: look at a good map—say, Hayman’s Forest Activities map of the area—and see if any of the roads marked on it have been ‘ripped up’. How many roads does Anne want? There’d scarcely be an inch of bush in this region more than 500 metres from a track.
On prospecting, the question is: where’s the monitoring the Government has promised us?
On the other questions, it’s a matter who you believe: botanists tell us box ironbark bushlands don’t need constant fire to regenerate, for example. And as for ‘shiny bums on seats’, I’d like Anne to offer some hard info on this, but I’d bet none of them are scientists. These are being laid off, as Governments of both sides prefer to accept ‘advice’ from people who only tell them what they want to know.
According to Tourism Victoria, by the way, Victoria’s national parks have nearly 30 million visitors a year. I don’t think they’re just for ‘elites’.
Great article on this beautiful snake.
I live on 75 acres at Glenlyon and I see quite a few when I’m out riding and they are so shy. I was opening a gate on my property one day and I looked down and there was one sunning himself within a few inches of my foot. We both leapt backwards like helicopters in opposite directions and I thought it was amazing that his first reaction, like me, was to get away. He did not attempt to strike. I hope people will begin to think more compassionately towards them.
Swift Parrots use that area opposite and near the Gowar School. Seen them there a few times.
I’m interested in hearing more and perhaps representing Muckleford Landcare, can you please let me know details of 5th February info session. Thanks.
It is so easy to fan the flames of fear to gain political points.
Fire is part of our life. And we can use tame fire to control wild fire. We are starting to re-learn what was known for thousands of years. Some of our “tame burning” is wrong and is just promoting fire loving species to encroach further. We need to use knowledge and science to truly use the word “prescribed” for our “fuel reduction burn”
Meanwhile we need to hear the voices teaching about our plants and creatures. Engage the community in the learning of basic cycles of life in our local forests , heath and Mallee etc.
Doug loved walking, and philosophising, he knew the ground beneath his feet intimately. This verse is in memory of his walking:
Walking, I am listening to a deeper way.
Suddenly all my ancestors are behind me.
Be still, they say.
Watch and listen.
You are the result of the love of thousands.
(Linda Hogan, 1947)
Thank you Doug
What a lovely poem, which describes Doug to a “T”
I was so shocked when I heard of his death…
His contented smile and earnest spirit moved me many times over the years I knew him.
His dedication to our beautiful Earth will be remembered for as long as all of us are still around.
Bless his family with the joy he created for so much of world in which he lived
Thank you for giving us the chance to put our thoughts into words.
Life sometimes brings gifts that often cannot be described by our human words as the depth that those gift carry, expands way beyond our human ways. Doug was one of those gifts… he touched so many hearts with his contagious love of nature. His memories will always remain…in the heart of our bushland, in the mosses and lichens filled with moisture on a cool wintery day, in the majestic clouds swiftly moving across our skies.
Your are loved and always will be Dear Doug. xxx
Wishing you well on your Journey.
A room full of sound sculpture and photography by artists interpreting Fryerstown magpies. Ros Bandt sound Marion Williams photography Liz Walker Sculpture http://www.hearingplaces/news
Birdsong CDs for sale at the Tate gallery Fryerstown school the next two weekends.
A visit to Glenluce Springs the day after the bog blow revealed some awful destruction there; the massive gum which stood in the river above the swimming hole on a raised island has been felled by the winds onto the rocky outcrop which was a popular picnic and lookout over the Loddon there. We noticed bees had taken up residence amongst the exposed roots.
There was a bit of radio coverage given to the loss of a giant poplar in Guildford with quite a lot of community concern. They were discussing potential ways to try and stand it back up and save it. If it couldn’t be saved, people were suggesting a plaque or statue. Seriously? I wasn’t at all interested in the poplar, but was keen to hear about how that beautiful Red Gum fared – they didn’t even mention the Red Gum.
There is now an article on Wikipedia devoted to Doug at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doug_Ralph
There was one Wikipedia editor, working from a politics perspective, who wanted the page deleted because they considered Doug not ‘notable’. No consensus on this was reached however, so the article remains, and awaits any improvements you may have with extra information on Doug. In line with the status of Wikipedia, all information must be verifiable (referenced). Anyone may contribute to Wikipedia articles, even without registering. Please help.
I like your bush creatures, some look like insects and some look like fairies.
As of today May 4th, the burn is still smouldering and is causing a great deal of ‘collateral damage’ to large trees, due to lack of care in ‘blacking out’, and not helped by our lack of any significant rainfall.
Trees with hollows at the base, or deep burns to bark and exposed roots, are crashing to the ground. In some until recently picturesque little gullies, many of which harboured plants rarely seen elsewhere, are now actively alight.
By contrast, areas of blackberry infestation below the northernmost bend of Lawson Parade are untouched. Several tracks have been irreparably widened and levelled enough to encourage – even invite – off-roaders, 4WD enthusiasts and firewood harvesters. Given the last FOBIF post, on weeds spread by machinery, one wonders what we’ll see emerge along the verges of these tracks!
Thanks for that info James. We did report to DELWP in Bendigo yesterday that there had been a flare up, and it seems that they did go back and deal with it pretty promptly.
On the blackberries, we were intrigued by a large infestation which had apparently been protected from the fire: we subsequently found that it conceals a heritage ruin! We’ll report on that in more detail in the next few days.
Very good points especially re ban on plastic bags and green waste collection. Let’s get some real targets/outcomes in the document.
Excellent news. Well done. Is there some lessons to share for us battling prescribed burns elsewhere?
Having this shire as a plastic bag free area came up at the Mount Alexander Sustainability Group’s Community Forum a few months back. A proposal was put to Councils some years ago from MASG (I was involved in this) which didn’t get accepted.
The only way this concept works is if it comes from the businesses themselves. I’ve seen some towns go plastic bag free, and yet still hand customers plastic bags with their purchases. When I challenged this in one central Victorian town, the woman said “We’re not allowed to give out shopping bags, but I can use garbage bags…”
We must not rest on our laurels yet- our area(Western Goldfields) has not had any burns removed from the FOP list despite almost all being remote and without any possible justification. We need to keep pressure on the politicians to move to the risk based approach otherwise we will still face disastrous and unnecessary burns come Spring.
Well done guys, looks like fun!
Interesting that there is little regeneration as Ian Lunts talk at Newstead talked of vast regenerating areas in our region for shrubs and trees. I wonder if it is related to having soil intact and not washed off from land management like burning, mining etc?
It would be great if DELWP were able to spend more effort and resources collecting comprehensive fuel data from our region (rather that meeting burning targets) so that more accurate fire response modelling can be done. In lieu of data the Phoenix model does not include actual fuel loads for different vegetation types or burn history, but assumes a maximum fuel load everywhere. This must limit the results of this information to worst possible scenarios under worst possible fuel levels in a different vegetation community.
Independent monitor and Prof Auty stated that the government need rigorous fuel and vegetation response monitoring to reduce fire risk. This has not been done in last five years so we are still flying relatively blind. Monitoring response to burning and fuel levels was a which was an uncompleted requirement of the Royal Commission.
I have recently purchased Sarah’s book, “life changing!” I live in Eaglehawk and study, photograph and collect fungi (from the dry country) for the herbarium. This year has been very dry which has caused me to ‘look harder’. In doing so I have noticed a lot more slime moulds, this and Sarahs book have changed me foray habits. Thank you so much for inviting Sarah to speak on the 27th, I will be there bringing Ray Wallace and possibly Joy Clusker with me.
Even from the point of Best Practice Unsealed Road management practices and procedures this is extremely poor quality work. There are best practice documents available from ARRB – UNSEALED ROADS MANUAL Guidelines to good practice
3rd edition March 2009. The purpose of the Manual is to provide local government,
national and state road authorities and other agencies responsible for the management of unsealed roads with guidelines on ways to better manage these roads, and to
achieve cost-effective outcomes.
DELWP should be role models of best practice. If Mount Alexander Shire and all other municipal councils and VicRoads have to comply with Best Practice so should DELWP.
Thanks to FOBIF for hosting such a great evening.
A week or so before the AGM, I was scrounging through a local op-shop and came across some old copies of the Australian Natural History magazine – a now defunct and sadly-missed publication of the Australian Museum. The lead article highlighted on the cover of the Autumn 1991 issue particularly grabbed me – “SLIME MOULDS -A Reflection of Ourselves?”. Being the nerd that I am, how could I resist doing some background reading before Sarah’s talk!
However, during her presentation I became increasingly confused. How could the scientific understanding of Slime Moulds have changed so dramatically in a ‘mere’ 24 years? Very little of what Sarah said and showed matched what I’d read. Then, right near the end, it hit me. The magazine article was about ‘cellular’ slime moulds, and Sarah’s research has been on the ‘acellular’ or ‘plasmodial’ slime moulds. Related to each. Still interesting. But quite different beasts. Serves me right for being a smart-aleck!
For those that are interested, I have uploaded a scanned copy of the 1991 ‘cellular’ slime mould article by Sussanah Eliott and Keith Williams onto the Connecting Country website (http://cdn.connectingcountry.org.au/press/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/slime-combined.pdf).
It is not just parks that condone this trashing of roadsides. Muckleford Landcare have reported two complete clearances of signed significant roadsides one on Sth Muckleford rd near Meins lane with almost total removal of remnant veg on property as well, and another on the corner of Muckleford- Walmer rd near the Newstead rd. The response from the shire was no action to be taken. So much for the statement that council will lead by example in the Enviro plan.
Yes David, I was really dismayed to see the south end of Muckleford-Walmer Rd roadside cleared. Only mown exotics there now where once were Sweet Bursaria, Running Postman, Flax Lily, Gold-dust Wattle etc. Good on you for reporting it. Didn’t there used to be a “significant roadside flora” sign there? and it would be marked on Shire’s maps as significant in work done by Ben Goonan. About 2 years ago big circular patches of this same remnant veg area had been poisoned to get rid of the eucalypts under powerlines, when they could have been gotten rid of by cut and paint method, leaving the other flora intact. Now this.
No mystery as to who is responsible, the answer is on the sign on the corner of Muckleford Walmer rd, all those pesky sticks and leaves have had a good clean up along the same property boundary on Muckleford school road as well.
Frances is right it was a nice bit of remnant on this roadside, and to make it even sadder the significant roadside sign is still there. Check out the roadside opposite, another signposted significant roadside that has been burnt over most of it removing ground cover and habitat understory.
Last week we drove out Eureka Street Chewton towards the Dingo Farm, the road along there has also been damaged
Tarilta Gorge was so good I told my friends at another bushwalking group about it and that they should go there also. thankyou.
I just saw that Fobif have joined Facebook – next week the Maldon Neighbourhood Centre is running a workshop on Facebook and social media for community groups and small businesses. There is a follow up session the following week on how to capture email addresses and keep in touch with your supporters through Mailchimp newsletters. If anyone is interested in coming along, sessions are from 7pm on Monday. I can’t remember the cost but our website has more details.
I have been told that weekend patrols on two wheels will be a thing of the past. The results seem set to get worse sadly. The highway patrol that ride with the rangers all need to go two-up now too. I know only of one officer that rides in this area.
We’ve also heard that the rule that police have to operate in twos has paralysed their capacity to patrol in the bush.
As a nature loving trail bike rider, I can sympathise with the destruction some riders cause. In the forests where I ride legally, we come across rubbish, camp sites and other destruction, caused not only by trail riders but by other forest users. I know a lot of bike riders and the majority are decent respectful people, it is only a few, like most things, that spoil the name for all, I think the key to change is with people like myself that are out there in the forests on bikes that can talk to other (bad) riders about why there is the need to protect certain areas with vulnerable biodiversity, educate to ensure their bikes are clean of weed seeds from one forest to the next etc, utilising the good riders to exert peer pressure on others is a good place to start.
You might be right Catherine: we’ve seen plenty of riders doing their thing legally on bush roads, with minimal disruption to anyone else. But given the aggressive language used against John Ellis’s Facebook post, we’re not sure we’d like to tackle illegal riders…
This was a wonderful walk. I learned so much and was completely impressed with Elaine and Damian’s wealth of knowledge. I can’t wait until the next walk. Thanks so much!
My partner and I really enjoyed the walk. Damien and Elaine’s knowledge of the plant life and animals in the forest was amazing. Hope to have another walk with them in the future.
Seeking the advice of an arborist re a heritage tree is the most dangerous course of action possible. In order for these people to practice they must not only have a licence but they must also INSURANCE.
Therefore they can give only two sorts of advice: A). severe pruning and mutilation in order that it be made safe, for purpose of safeguarding their own insurance; or B). complete removal of the tree in order that it be made safe, for purpose of safeguarding their own insurance.
In either case you will pay twice, and severely, for the destruction of your ( our) beloved tree which must be the best part of a millennium old.
There is only one way for the Community to save its tree – immediately form a Big Tree Protection Group, construct a telephone tree and have Guilford locals act as Cockatoos to summon us angry ants to form a ring around the tree if the execution squad shows up…
My no. is 0431 429 254 and I can be there from Newstead in less than 10 minutes.
Start now, there is no time to lose – we must save our tree! BTW, leaving the limb-fall in place makes a lot of environmental sense to me.
This is the only way to get the Council to back off. And perhaps we should stand a suite of Community Independents at the next council elections?
I am gobsmacked at the thought that EPBC approval for work done in the goldfields heritage area could be considered as merely the goldfield RUINS while ignoring the landscape context. Its difficult to ignore how each hole, hole after hole after hole, effect the landscape and were influenced by it.
I suspect that our cultural concept of “heritage’ is urban & monument in origin. The interest in “monuments” in the English landscape in the 18th century and the classifying of human occupation buildings for their “heritage” values has continued in Australia. Even though we have moved our perspective to include indigenous sites our culture still cannot see or consider the totality of a landscape as significant heritage needing protection.
How do we get those with the power to embrace a broad view of landscape, after over 150 years??
The best thing to do would be to leave it alone, past attempts at canopy reduction have been not best practice for veteran trees and the tree is optimising its self to compensate for the large basal area it has to support, all veteran trees are in the process of dying and a good aeration and mulch [cool compost] would help as well as an exclusion zone around the base. If consultants are engaged they should have extensive experience in veteran tree management.
Our 100 hectare property at Walmer has taken a tremendous hit from these nasty creatures in the last few months. It is difficult to estimate accurately, but I reckon up to 60% of trees of all species have been pretty well stripped bare leaving the ground (and us) exposed to what is certain to be a long, intense period of summer heat. The place looks desolate. Frances Cincotta assures me that the trees will recover, that ravens will do their part in accelerating their demise and it is true that large mobs of ravens have also invaded the place and seen off the resident population of choughs in the meantime. Many of the trees are now showing signs of normal summer leaf growth but it is unlikely to change the situation in the short term.
The emphasis on strategic burning around assets is good news for malleefowl. The previous practice of burning large tracts of mallee forest to achieve targets did nothing to make people safer in risk-prone areas. It is also disastrous for many species in particular the malleefowl which is the focus of our research.
I just made a big fuss with PV and with the help of Maree Edwards , also writing to various organisations, relevelent – about the state of Heron’s Cottage – Fryerstown Diggings and the Welsh Village, Nimrod. From which I have been given assurances by PV my concerns will be attended to.
I know all about their budgetry constraints, but if some of us (especially if we are not aligned with a group) don’t make a fuss, nothing will change.
Regards, Brian Stant
Yes, the cuts continue … since the 90’s. When I worked at what was then Melbourne Water, services in the Parks were cut until, in the words of one prominent manager, ‘the public screams – then we will know that we’ve gone far enough’!
What an awesome photo! Looking forward to viewing the whole show at Togs!
There is some interesting analysis of prescribed burning in this article from the Tasmanian Times website:
thankyou for your vigilance!
If the VicRoads plan is as described I fully support it. Don’t want to see any ‘scope creep’ though.
Often cost is stated as a reason for not adopting alternative, less destructive plans. Perhaps an argument can be made to apply a ‘real replacement value’ on these trees, which might make alternatives such as safety barriers or road realignment more attractive. An interesting paper here , but alternative valuation methods are available. Essentially they calculate the volume of the tree canopy that is to be removed, cost a small replacement tree (usually advanced nursery stock) and calculate a cost per volume of the small tree, then calculate the value of the larger tree. Big trees can come out at $50000 replacement value. Yep, count the noughts. Ten big trees could be worth half a million dollars. Just a thought.
Sorry, the link didn’t work. google Burney Method Tree Valuation – but there are alternative methods.
Beautiful photo of the group Bronwyn. All those smiling faces in such a lovely setting convey the success of the excursion so well.
Please note that the trees along the highway between Castlemaine & Newstead are a fantastic corridor for swift parrots.
This is a great find and the record needs to be formally added to the Victorian Biodiversity Atlas (https://vba.dse.vic.gov.au/vba/#/). If Damien or a FoBIF member could advise of details (date, specific location, photo of species) I can assist in this.
This rubbish appears to be the aftermath of irresponsible partying. Do you really think that free tipping, hard rubbish collection, or free disposal of green waste will change this behaviour?
These changes are a way of rewarding those that don’t care about the environment in the first place, but little reward to those who do. They already go to the trouble of doing the right thing.
Perhaps a response to reports of this behaviour (often heard by residents adjacent to Kalimna) is what is required.
You’re right about the rubbish in the picture, Ross–but the couch dumped up near the bicentennial plaque doesn’t seem to be part of the ‘party’ stuff. Maybe a lesson on this is that easy vehicle pullover areas seem to be magnets for ‘irresponsible partying,’ as well as straight out rubbish dumping.
Do the proposed solutions to the dumping problem favour the lazy and the irresponsible? Maybe–but is there a better way?
A look when you zoom up the image appears to show a local fast food shop, so just gather it all up and take the rubbish back to them.Then they can pay to dispose of it not us. They have to take some responsibility for where their packaging ends up. It is not uncommon for piles of discarded food and drink containers from them appearing at more places around the bush and roadsides than Kalimna.
It was a fantastic walk. Thanks very much!
Congratulations on the submission FOBIF made to the water discussion paper. Every point made is valid and important. No grandiosity either.
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Indeed. We’ve had similar conversations with our local DELWP, who were also telling us “there are lots of people in the community who want us to burn more, so we have to listen to their concerns too”. Who and where were these ‘lots of people’ and were they making informed decisions, or just just responding to the irrational fear of fire, largely perpetuated by DELWP. It turns out that there was no informed community opinion urging DELWP to burn! There was concern and there were questions, but little attempt by DELWP to present a balanced, informed view of fire in the landscape. Keep asking questions and don’t let them scare and bamboozle you with models of ‘worst case scenario’. Regards.
I have been chasing Parks Vic for some remedial action on 2 heritage sites,, in the HERITAGE national park, for 2 years now, still waiting. My opinion is you’re more likely to get action on tracks and infrastructure, than fragile irreplaceable heritage.
Few years ago was told that a multicoloured bug, Kaleidoscope Bug? (quite attractive little thing) has horns about the size of a thumb nail, was the culprit. Live in Castlemaine by Campbells Creek and we had a massive infestation of the things and the gums were almost eaten bare. They seem to have disapeared last year, but the leaves are still being eaten this year, although not badly here at least. Hope that helps.
It sounds like you’re referring to the Cup Moth, which ate its way through a fair bit of our bush a while ago? I’m pretty sure this isn’t the same problem [not so many of the pretty grubs around, for a start]–Bernard Slattery
Here in Buckley Falls Park (Barwon River, just upstream of main Geelong) we have had the oxalis for several months and it still shows no signs of ‘finishing’ its season. One early morning of 0 degrees C frost did not slow it down this year. Yes, a problem in disturbed ground – and can understand that it is hardly affected by fires in the sense that so many tubers remain.
Does anyone know if the flowers of soursob throw seeds? A friend of mine says to pull the flowers off. Can’t think any other reason for it to suddenly pop on disturbed soil away from flowering patch.
The link in this article (Yes we do, no we don’t) to The Conversation website does not seem to be working.
Thanks Alex–not sure what happened there. It should be OK now: but if it isn’t, just Google the title of the article with ‘the conversation’ and it should come up.
the link to The Conversation web site in this article does not seem to be working.
May well it be be lack of vegetation, but the reality is that the soil washed down to the flood plains of our creeks and rivers is what created the fertility long before any clearing for mining or agriculture, that is why they were the choice places for agriculture pre dredging,etc. We should rejoice that the flood plains are still making an attempt to behave as flood plains, there is a perception amongst some they should just function as drains to suit our idea of what a waterway should be. We all make choices as to where we live and accept the risk, if you live on a flood plain then it may flood.
JUST WONDERING IF I CAN BUY ONE. IM IN MELBOURNE AND CANT GET TO THE LAUNCH THIS SATURDAY
Details about mail orders will be on the FOBIF website next week. In the meantime I will email you an order form for the book.
Can I buy a couple of copies of ‘Eucalypts of the Mount Alexander Region’ on line?
Is so, how?
How HOT are you ???!!!!!! You’re post might not be so wordless, but it’s certainly left me speechless Great photo ! Looks like your holiday has done you the world of greatness ! xGrace recently posted..
Am really looking forward to Bells Swamp on 17th. December.
A ce que j’en sais l’aloe vera n’est pas trop recommandÃ© en cas d’anÃ©mie puisque Ã§a fluidifie le sang. Par contre moi qui fait des anÃ©mies rÃ©guliÃ¨rement la spiruline me remonte bien d’autant plus que j’attends un enfant et elle m’a d’ailleurs Ã©tÃ© conseillÃ©e pour cela par mon medecin car riche en fer (et vit B9 je crois)
ArthurPlease stick to talkng about “the Journey” , and stop referencng your friends in this blogJust because you dont care about all the hatred your generatng (more like,instigating) with this , doesnt mean teh people you know dontIts not funny , and tey dont need to be your collateral damage!
Trzymaj siÄ™ i nie daj siÄ™ Panno Radomska.JeÅ›li masz siÅ‚Ä™, Å¼eby rano wstaÄ‡ z Å‚Ã³Å¼ka i do tego wykoncypowaÄ‡ taki tekst, to powinno byÄ‡ tylko lepiej i tego Å¼yczÄ™
Microsoft has this nag for reducing everything to spoon feeding. It has done it again with ASP.NET. When it comes to support, of course, open source rules. I kind of like the community spirit. I’m working with ASP.NET this semester, after which I’ll have a fair idea of its pros and cons. My leaving comment, however, would be: Long Live Opensource!
will FOBI be making a general comment on the review that relates to all three sites? I hope to attend the one near me but is there anything in particular FOBI would like us to comment on that is a general concern?
If you wrote an article about life we’d all reach enlightenment.
… og siden jeg jobber omtrent bare med menn tillater jeg meg rÃ¸pe at det jammen ikke bare gjelder damer gitt…;)Flott macro!
We have registered to undertake the walkover at Vaughan Springs on Thursday 17 November. Are there other FOBIF members also planning to attend? Any comments, issues, concerns that we should raise?
I object to the revision of the fire management zone surrounding expedition pass near chewton. The proposal to burn extensively in this area of bushland every five years will deplete valuable heritage forest and a natural habitat for a large number of flora and fauna.
Pleas do not proceed with this damaging proposal
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La Trobe Uni Bendigo has had a long association with this area with outdoor & environmental education students. I’ll be attending to have input and participate from the educational perspective. Not sure how it will unfold but would like to be sending consistent feedback aligned to key concerns and issues.
What a great newsletter. Reflections photo very nice….
The best thing about Bells Swamp was going in to the swamp. I loved walking around
there in the swamp. I was surprised that Damien was only wearing sandels as the
rest of us had gumboots. It was all a very good experience.
Since when is the eastern side of a town a major fire threat? Maybe you could see if they’ll do an experiment; leave it alone – encourage healthy biodiversity and see how much more effective some natural composting is with small digging mammals, scratching birds, fungi, insects and leaf eating grubs etc etc…
As you are aware, I have invested a lot of time, over several years, into consultation with many stakeholders from both sides of the fence regarding this burn. I can confirm with you I have done everything within my means to ensure it has the least impact on this area as possible. This includes but is not limited to, removing other scheduled burns in the area, excluding known Eltham Copper Butterfly sites and mulching areas targeting weed infestation, which is predominantly the culprit in contributing to the overall fuel hazard (e.g.Parker St).
The answer to your question “when is the eastern side of a town a major fire threat?” your understanding of fire behaviour is correct, however in this instance our local fire experts, supported by our risk modelling technology, clearly shows the purpose of this burn is to reduce the impact of fire to the SW of Kalimna Park. Given the terrain slopes up to the tourist road, a fire that occurs on a high fire danger day could easily spot to one kilometre, which creates a major fire risk for places like Forest Creek & Chewton.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you would like further information on this or any fire matter.
Simon Brown – DELWP Senior Forest Fire Management Officer
Thank you for this reminder of that day and the man.
Who will ever forget the birds coming in to circle around overhead as if to give their voice to the days events. They brought a sense of wonder and joy.
Well isn’t that just great, so when a few of us in Muckleford reported that not one but two landowners had knowingly cleared signposted significant roadside areas council bottled it and took no action.So another strategy is just a paper tiger document.
Stellar work there evneyoer. I’ll keep on reading.
My hat is off to your astute command over this to-oipbravc!
We co’udlve done with that insight early on.
Stellar work there evoenrye. I’ll keep on reading.
This is a fantastic course! I did the 3 day course last year and found it very informative. Damian and Elaine have got a mindboggling knowledge of wetland ecology.
thanks so much for the lovely words Craig!
Great … I’ve already been spruiking it at the EnviroShop in Newstead
Hi is it possible to chat to who is organising this as I have also recently written to the major, the environmental officer and a councillor regarding this issue and unsealed road construction generally and had a very poor response (not even sure they knew what I was referring to from their responses). Specifically council undertook a number of great initiatives following the Mount Alexander Roadside Management plan. They consulted with road, planning and managment staff and did a training needs analysis, a gap analysis on best practice road management versus what they are currently delivering, from this they developed training for the road crew, contracts for Telstra etc, posters, development of standard operating procedures, mapped turnaround points, mapped vegetation quality and hot spots and many other great tools. However apparently there has been a large staff turnover so what I wanted to know if this great work was being implemented both for the job satisfaction and professional development of the operators, the cost of road construction and management as well as the the health not only of our roadsides but of the waterways to which they drain.
Jeremy was the leader and we all had a very good walk. Excellent in fact. A bit steep
at times and going through the tunnel under the channel was a bit strenuous but we
all made it.
I wholeheartedly support this submission. We do not need to sanitise our history or worry about making it attractive, simple and untroubling to all who come.
To allow, and even to encourage people to become aware that our heritage is not “just a nice lot of old stuff we can look at and be nostalgic about” but is, in a continuing way “something more challenging” and something that, unless addressed, will continue to impose it’s blindnesses and practical limitations on our imaginations and our actions.
What might the landscape in which we live be like, both in itself and for us, if we allowed ourselves to understand, and to wonder about, it’s history and its future differently?
I totally love the professionalism and efforts put in by the key players in FOBI. Thanks so much and very well done on a great submission.
I wish I’d gone on the walk. The photos look fantastic. I had hot water probs. &
did want to go without a shower.
Looks great. Would’ve loved to have gone but…..hope you have it again next year.
For those who missed this important documentary it is available on YouTube
Today, while I was at work, my cousin stole my apple ipad and tested to see if it
can survive a 30 foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My
iPad is now broken and she has 83 views. I know this
is totally off topic but I had to share it with someone!
I have had to dig into my records but I recall the FNCV conducted numerous excursions to this site dating back to the late 1800’s and a “Reserve” was later established. Members caught the train to Taradale then walked out the Old Coach Road for a day of botanising. The FNCV also had several spin off groups including Winifred Waddell’s Native Plants Preservation Society established n 1951. This group was instrumental in the establishment of a number of sanctuaries around the state. The sanctuaries were fenced to exclude rabbits and stock and ranged in size from 18 acres to small plots of 1/2 an acre. Their Annual Report for 1956 (I have a copy in front of me) describes the following under the heading New Sanctuaries.
“Taradale.- The Taradale-Fryerstown district is rich in colourful flora of the goldfields. The sanctuary provided by the Forests Commission on the Fryerstown Road protects a rare Beard-heath, Leucopogon biflorus. The census lists an attractive north-central plant association, also the Common Heath of Southern Victoria growing beside the Bendigo Wax-flower.”
I know the site well but do not believe the rare species remains but it does still exist in a gully to the south. It is now named Leucopogon fletcheri subsp. brevisepalus, the Twin-flower Beard-heath. The original name was incorrectly applied and is a NSW species
Many thanks for that info John. That’s a great piece of cultural history–and it shows how intrepid those field nats were.
congratulations and many thanks for your input on our behalf
Sounds just a lovely walk that Richard led.
Sorry we were away and unable to join the grou.
Jules and Rex.
I probably should have heeded the (unintentional?) hint of scepticism and world-weariness in this blog post. The only nice thing I can say about my visit to the ‘open house’ was that the two staff at the front desk were friendly and helpful. I found the rest to be an insulting experience. First, a fire officer told me that my area of concern was to be slashed, until I pointed out that my area of interest was a different location and that it was to be burnt. I attempted to express my particular concerns about this burn, but was quickly cut off and talked over before finishing. Well sort of – the officer started to tell me how he planned to address what he thought were my concerns until he received a mobile phone call that unapologetically needed to be taken. He didn’t return. While I then wandered around for a few minutes trying to make head or tail of the other maps, another 4-5 fire officers stood around on the edge of the room chatting among themselves. (The other member of the public there at the same time was discussing fire issues with the two staff at the front desk.) I left disappointed and angry.
Mmmm…Thanks for this account of the session. We thought our post was strictly neutral…but we’ll definitely take up your experience with DELWP fire officers as soon as we can.
Beautiful walk & beautiful people.
I HATE those ads, and completely agree. Some pressure brought to bare on the practice would be good – obviously ads like this help sell the cars or they wouldn’t do them.
So impressed you acted on your revulsion of those ads and wrote about it. I just did it in my head! I also find them sexist and horribly stereotyping. Makes me want to drive over my TV in my SUV.
A very nice relaxing walk. Bernard’s sense of humor was greatly appreciated.
The weather was hot and I love the goldfields forests.
Not looking good for old man Red Gum. If they can survive lerp and caterpillar attack they may still fall foul of the Roads Board who are happy to fell them up hill and down dale. They want to knock over old giants at Beaufort in the n ame of a speedy highway. Not far as the crow flys over near Bendigo an entire woodland bit the dust for the Ravenswood interchange and still cutting and bulldozing as I write. I haven’t mentioned the “planned” burns that take out many mature trees and of course trendy Melbourne suburbs need a log fire in in the worlds most liveable city.
You’re right about Vicroads, Lon: the destruction at Beaufort and Ravenswood speak for themselves. Fire officers tell us they never conduct planned burns in Red Gum woodland, but if you know of any such exercises, let us know.
We’ve found that a tree heavily laden in mistletoe and struggling slightly, can’t recover if they get a cup moth infestation. It’s too much for them.
The hyperlink to the Earth-to-Pardalote event tickets doesn’t seem to work.
December 11th is a Monday. Do you mean 10th?
It’s going to be a fantastic 2017 break up. Am looking forward to it very much.
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To Friends of Box-Ironbark,
I want to bring some attention to whoever can control a noxious botanical pest growing on Mt Tarrengower. It is African Bone Seed. The You Yangs, between Melb and Geelong, has been devastated by it. Over the past 20 years I have seen it spread to a point where treatment is now pointless. I am a painter, mostly of landscape, and the You Yangs has become unpaintable, from a bushland point of view, for some time.
I suspect the threat on Mt Tarrengower originated from the You Yangs, as there are a few granite sand mining operations there, and Mt Tarrengower has what looks like granite sand as road construction. But wherever the seeds came from the plants are becoming well established now. The only treatment the rangers from the You Yangs told me was to hand pull each plant from the ground. I would be more than sad to see Mt Tarrengower go the way of its southern cousin.
Could this communication be passed on to those who may be able to help. They can contact me for more information if necessary; firstname.lastname@example.org
I have also sent a copy of this to Connecting Country.
To Connecting Country,
I want to bring some attention to whoever can control a noxious botanical pest growing on Mt Tarrengower. It is African Bone Seed. The You Yangs, between Melb and Geelong, has been devastated by it. Over the past 20 years I have seen it spread to a point where treatment is now pointless. I am a painter, mostly of landscape, and the You Yangs has become unpaintable, from a bushland point of view, for some time.
I suspect the threat on Mt Tarrengower originated from the You Yangs, as there are a few granite sand mining operations there, and Mt Tarrengower has what looks like granite sand as road construction. But wherever the seeds came from the plants are becoming well established now. The only treatment the rangers from the You Yangs told me was to hand pull each plant from the ground. I would be more than sad to see Mt Tarrengower go the way of its southern cousin.
Could this communication be passed on to those who may be able to help? They can contact me for more information if necessary; email@example.com
Fantastic work by all.
Noxious weeds seems to be a neglected area or deemed too hard by government in recent years. This leaves property owners who are in a war with weeds (which compete with their crops and livelihood) financially stressed as they try to manage their properties alone whilst surrounding neighbors and public land weeds flourish and re-invade them. Not to mention the impact on our biodiverse and amazing roadsides.
Mount Alexander Shire undertook a review of roadside management in 2013 including slashing (there is a report) and they developed standard operating procedures etc for the road crew. I am doubtful as to whether this is being put in place ……might be good to follow it up. Kyle Stafford, the environmental officer put a huge effort into making it happen but without all of council support, especially senior management then it falls over (despite these standards also saving council money as the review also indicated that better unsealed road management will last longer, thereby saving money) .
Am looking forward to the first walk of 2018.
Are burns necessary ?Are they an attempt to calm the public ?
The burns at Solomon Reserve in Quarry Hill and Wildflower Drive in Strathfieldsaye has resulted in creating more potential fuel with a mass seeding of the likes of Acacia Pycnantha etc resulting in dense regrowth .Does it take away the humus layer on dry rocky ground of The Goldfields making a drier forest.
In The Strathbogies and other areas planned? burns burn hollows of Greater Gliders etc .The flammable material is only taken away from the base of some hollow nest sites -not distant off walk tracks .Ps old growth in The Strathbogies has been blockaded as loggers attempt to take them for FIREWOOD News Flash timber industry wants access to our Parks and Waterways .
Where was the Blackwood located in relation to pathways etc anyway ?
The Council doesn’t work with Groups like you that are involved in restoration/revegetation of local area even though they claim to be supporters of same?????
As in Bendigo do the council workers lack basic skills in native species ,let alone indigenous species and their habitat .?
They have planted European trees and Gazania(locally declared weed ) out front of art gallery .The new supposed botanic gardens for future drier climate in White Hills feature Cypress -no area of the array of local flora with its wildflowers ,wattles ,and wildlife habitat .
Just to say I was nearly there but chickened out and then it seemed to stop raining so I missed out. Photos great.
Thankyou FoBIF and Ron for leading a wonderful walk through some beautiful forest. The timely rain seemed to just enliven the bush. With so many new plants to get aquainted with, particularly the peas and wattles, it was definitely worth the trip up from Melbourne to visit and hoping to do some more walks this year.
How come no response ?
I am about to propagate a lot of blackwood seeds for public land.
Who cut these?
Is there anyone that I know well & that I’ve gone on a number of walks with that
could have me at their place on the night of Saturday 19th. May to watch the
royal wedding with them on their T.V. If you can is it possible for you to contact me asap. The broadcast commences at 7 p.m.
Unfortunately I live without a T.V. & also without electricity. I also don’t have my own transport.
I had planted a Red Gum I grew from seed on the edge of Forest Creek. It was cut down leaving many exotic species like Silver Poplars and Ash untouched. where was the sense in that? It was only a sapling and unlikely to pose any danger for at least 100 years
It was excellent. I love my wattle book & it’s good there’s two pages about Ern Perkins in it too. The food was delicious & Bernard and Bronwyn were nice enough to sign my book. George gave a very interesting talk. Thankyou.
So pleased that the butterfly’s habitat is saved for the moment. Maybe fluke reduction can happen by employing people to remove undergrowth and timber that could be good fire wood.
Despite our input and alerts to government agencies many years ago, it looks like this failure to check the lists for endangered and protected species has been continuing for more than 5? years. We noted this serious problem in the Whipstick and the mallee state managed forests from the time they started the massive burning regimes after the Royal Commission. The Whipstick and mallee state owned forests were targeted brutally by ‘old school’ staff who had limited understanding of burning and its impact on our protected environments. Staff have changed and I am shocked to read that adequate protection of endangered species is still being overlooked.
In the Whipstick (Greater Bendigo National Park) we found it necessary to include those in the federal government department who are responsible for the EPBC to liase directly with the state govt departments responsible for the protection/management plans for the protected species in our local forests. This made a real difference. While tax payers monies (state and federal) are allocated for these tasks, much ‘pollies lobbying’ still needs to be done currently by locals.
Congratulations to the ever vigilant fire wise ecologists and community naturalists! A disaster postponed. This wonderful butterfly can continue it’s complex life cycle in peace for the moment. A stark and sad example of the impacts of continuing funding cuts to our Environment Departments.
If anybody wants to start up a commune – there is 62.7 acres for sale at present on the side of Mt. Franklin. Several good house sites. Jellis Craig (Castlemaine) has details.
Hope the ideas in this report/plan actually get some action!
Hopefully a new era in shared conservation of our forests and living creatures.
During the walk there was lots of discussion about fungi. This old TED talk is fascinating and promotes the need to save old growth forests.
Thanks everyone who expanded my knowledge on this walk.
Thanks for the article on the walk into the Tarilta Valley. I am an artist, and a staunch landscape painter. The photos you sent of the valley excited me and I wonder if you could possibly send directions (or even a map!?) of how to get there, to me. I live in Elphinstone and am constantly searching for sites to paint.
Yours in hopeful anticipation,
More recent article on Fungi.
Great day Jeremy. The very damp bush was carpeted in verdant green mosses, lichen crusts and fruiting fungi accompanying some healthy plant communities just waiting for spring to show their wares. On our ‘approx’ 8 km trek, we walked along tracks and creekbeds, diverted across country, up and down gullies to trickling waterfalls and a quietly spectacular rocky gorge.
Birdlife was noticeably absent but fungi were everywhere – White Punks and other look-alikes, Ghost fungi, Rooting Shanks, Yellow Brain, Scarlet Brackets, Rainbow Brackets, Pretty Horn, beautiful little ‘bonnets’ or Mycena spp., robust Amanita and Agaricus spp. as well as lots of LBMs. What a gem of a place! Thanks Jeremy.
Did anyone look up the exotic native Hakea we chanced upon? Was it Hakea salicfolia?
So apt are the remarks about signage in our bush.
Having walked up, down, around and through natural bushland of the Shire I too feel that dilapidated, tired signs suggest it’s a place of little importance.
A sign for some that it is just ‘scrub’ and can be abided ir dumped in and no one will care.
Hello! I was wondering where in the region we can purchase a copy of this book? Thank you!
We hope to have copies for sale at the upcoming FOBIF AGM [see our post for details]. Otherwise contact the authors at firstname.lastname@example.org It’s not available in bookshops at the moment.
It’s a terrific book–well worth anyone’s $20.
Nice to see the welsh village. One day I hope to get there
An excellent walk. I’m just about to go over to the market building a purchase one of those $1 maps of the area where
we were. Then I can go back there again. Thankyou Lionel.
This sort of soil disturbance leads to the proliferation of massive growth of species like Cassina arcuata [ Coffee Bush] along the sides of these tracks, making them severely overgrown and highly flammable. Wildlife carry the seed further into the bush and over the years change the character by increasing the density of the understorey.
Having observed the bush over 40 years in our area we see far greater fire risk and no evidence of follow up work after track UPGRADES.
It’s also where weeds spread to, likely brought in by vehicles. Similar road grading messes appear in places like the Brisbane Ranges, where on the downhill slope where it’s less exposed there used to be Corybas orchids. Now the graded soil/rock and vegetation debris covers some of the road-edge sites. I don’t have a solution. Just complain I suppose. Seems to be happening in so many places.
I’m imsesperd you should think of something like that
A prooacvtive insight! Just what we need!
A terrific exhibition to be involved in. Bronwyn has done a great job of adjusting and having all photos printed and then mounting and framing them. Well done Bronwyn.
Well done FOBIV for putting in a submission. I did read the draft strategy and also wondered about the value of damage to agriculture, surely must be a concern to farmers? One wonders how many deer could be supported in box-ironbark country during a hot and dry summer but no doubt they will do damage. Haven’t seen any behind Elphinstone yet but keeping an eye out for them. One would expect they will get more public attention if they start featuring in road accidents. Mike
I agree with reducing speed to save lives. I just noticed the calculation was incorrect – reducing from 100kph to 80kph over a 200km journey would add 30 minutes to the travel time, over 20km it would add 3 minutes.
You’re right Phil. We took the stat from US figures, and there’s an obvious typo: 200 should read 20–a common journey on our local roads. The 2 minute figure rather than 3 allows for uneven speeds on local roads.
lots of yummy food and interesting people to talk to
also beautiful surrounds with a sunset
thanks to bronwyn
I am sick of the 4WD freaks.
They demand access to forests so they can trash them, knowing if they trashed any freehold land in the same manner they would have to pay for repairs.
I don’t know how to manage the issue, maybe cameras etc and reporting by others. It seems a pity people just cannot be sensible about it. I live in the forest, 4wd and others will always stop their vehicle on a nicely vegetated patch rather than the bare earth 2 metres away, thereby extending the bare earth. I love motorcycles, but the ones near my place always have some of them who take the muffler off!!, and never repair the damage they do to channels etc. I see flora lovers park in the patch rather than walk 40 M from a bare earth parking area.
Exampⅼе of a knife with a Mіcarta handle.
Maybe we could have a demo outside Lyal’s in Castlemaine? I’m serious. Get the press there or take a photo and submit to Express with text…
I’m feeling flummoxed, thwarted and rather pissed off by this process of being told “what is going to happen” under the guise of “consultation” … I personally do not see the need for any changes, but would find it quite acceptable to continue the 90km limit out to the Muckleford Creek bridge (which they will widen in due course?!).
As I tried to explain at the meeting, we are all licensed to drive – under all conditions – and we do so responsibly on a minute by minute, hourly, daily or seasonal basis according to road, traffic, weather and diurnal light conditions. And when we approach oncoming vehicles we pass within a metre of them at varying aggregate highway speeds from 180 up to 220kmh.
So I ask, with our modern highways – 2 lanes each way, no sharp bends or steep gradients – is “safety” the real reason why so many $Millions are being spent on wire strainers and metal bouncing barriers ?? Or is it simply a political spaghetti junction of major Party rivalries clashing with Bureaucratic Empires and their principals striving to develope their CVs?
Living in this thoughtful Newstead Community, the idea which satisfies me most would be to take these issues out of their hands by electing our own Community Independent Representatives in Local, State and Federal elections. Shall we get started?
I began to watch tonight’s re-run episode of UTOPIA … and got some prickly skin thinking about our VicRoads meeting – had to turn it off!
Works are scheduled to start almost immediately it seems – perhaps 29/1! A petition with 500 signatures will be presented to Maree Edwards tomorrow thanks to the efforts of some dedicated locals.
Could you please give us the live active URLs for the 2 PDFs above – they do not work…
The ONE issue which VicRoads has NEVER mentioned is:
how Fire Brigade Vehicles gain access past the wire rope barriers which VicRoads insist is suitable for our section of the Pyrenees highway.
Four CFA Captains in 2017 said that the “wire rope barriers along country roads is forcing firefighters to take life-threatening risks to carry out their duties.” https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/road-safety-barriers-leave-no-margin-for-error-country-fire-captains-warn-20171226-h0a434.html
Drive along the Calder and look at the breaks in the barriers – the terrain of some makes emergency vehicle access impossible – try the next break? No!
Emergency vehicle access should have been FIRST priority in the rope barrier design. The current rope barrier design is totally unsuitable for the Pyrenees Highway where Emergency Vehicle access is a safety imperative.
“Towards Zero” is spin. Its the local CFA who save lives in our communities.
VicRoads are irresponsible in the manner in which they cut down mature trees to build over engineered road fencing. I congratulate the Newstead community in standing up to this heavy handed destruction as was demonstrated with Ravenswood Calder roadworks. I think the objection could be extended beyond the Newstead community so that more of the community can voice their objections.
I also agree that the fencing is a hazard for emergency services who are fighting bush fires
It has been suggested that the curve in the freeway to avoid the reserve should be named ‘Doug’s Bend’ after Doug Ralph. Maybe we could put up a sign on the corner of the reserve visible from the freeway so that every time we go past we are reminded of Doug’s work.
Yes, the objection should be for whole of Victoria. Are we going to see these dreadful fences everywhere in the name of “safety”. Letter in paper about years ago the fire on Geelong highway and surrounds- Lara maybe? The writer was driving toward Melbourne and faced the oncoming fire so had to U turn across the diving bit of the highway and drive back to where he’d come from to avoid the fire. If those fences had been there they would’ve died in the fire…..plus Allie’s point re access for emergency vehicles.
I mentioned the Elphinstone road speed reduction when I went to the “consultation” and they said they couldn’t really put the fences there because of the terrain and many high edges on the road…..so they had to go with speed restrictions. OI reckon too bad if locals don’t want it. People living along the highway leading out of Castlemaine to the north actually wanted 80 kms….?
I did find that when I was negotiating with VicRoads in the past that they tended not to be very honest in their statistics. Their labels for “black spot” or very dangerous roads often would have one death over a ten or fifteen year period. And even that one death would have had so many other factors that the role a tree might have played was very small. I hope they are being more honest now, but I still get the feeling that they select an area for tree chopping and the evidence base for that decision is hard to find.
Yes, as a member of the local Newstead/Green Gully communities, our engagement with VicRoads has been time consuming and frustrating. VicRoads failed to engage with our communities during two years of planning while achieving EPBC approval. And then we are expected to jump when they decide to consult again. We have saved a few trees, and we hope we have added to the community pressure on VicRoads to change how it operates … maybe.
Fantastic walk in fact I’m my way at this very moment to climb to the top of Elephant hill.
don’t be fooled into thinking that you’re at the top when you get to the two humps (or old mullock heaps) with another one closeby with a well-established pine tree growing on top. walk along the ill-defined old jeep track for a few minutes and you’ll get to the highest point of Elephant Hill. not really worth the effort – go to Burns Hill instead which is a lot better.
The Govt survey on Moolap Wetlands included areas of residential and industrial ,recreation etc etc not just leave it alone for nature conservation even though it is a puddle in an urban sea of Geelong and its expanding boundaries
The supposed survey on Horses in Belfast Cove had been nobbled by Darren Weirs threat to take his money and leave town (300 million =crime pays) it was so weighted (ha ha ) in favour of horses .The survey mentioned the naughty dogs that are off leash at times and the vehicles that get into the area but NO mention of the negatives of the tonnage of horses proposed to frolic in an environmentally sensitive public area But it spoke of the financial wonders for the area ( no mention of existing sandtracks at Ballarat and Warnambool ) No mention of the Cup winning horse being so Knackered after Race that stops a nation was fit for the pet food mill .
Unbelievable! Species can disappear from an area prior to and during lengthy surveys. Do we not worry until things have been proved to have changed? Might be too late. The time to take action is now, otherwise we will just be left with the more common species in an area, with less biodiversity overall.
Very disappointing that small species aren’t considered prior to Burns it appears it a don’t worry till these have been affected approach and this maybe to late .Maps produced for surveys are very badly made now and very hard to read both with surveys and submissions clearly not good for anyone wishing to comment on these .Lance Breguet.
I also made a submission as a private individual, and heartily concur with the FOBIF submission!
Here is how I responded to the beautiful pictures ..
“Write your vision inspired by an image below.
These images are all very well but I also see damage done by historic indiscriminate logging and mining, idiots dumping and trail bikes riding off-track down ‘roo trails. What I would like to see is management that is a bit more proactive – especially with climate change and an ever-increasing population. By the way, there are no flowing rivers where I live – it is very dry box-ironbark country. The upside of this is of course – less fuel load.”
I thought there was going to be a picture. We are extremely lucky having such beautiful forests here where we live. Live is easy and incredibly easy when you’re going off for a nice bushwalk.
I would love to be involved in the Easter Health Check but will not be in the area for the workshop on Friday as I am returning from NSW on Friday evening.
Is it possible to be involved without the sorkshop guide to participation? Very exciting event.
That should be OK: just email Ivan at the address above to organise the details.
Hi Julie and Rex
My partner Genevieve have been members for a while but have never made it for a walk. We would like to join this one and my daughter (28) visiting from Port Macquarie will also join if that is OK?
Maybe I have missed it but what time does it start?
We meet outside the old Continuing Ed building in Templeton Street at 9.30.
Thanks Bernard for your walk comments and a great photo from days past.
What a site to see again!
Which part of the forest is this application for?
You can find the company’s statement with a map of the proposed area here.
Incredibly excellent walk. Bronwyn had us as doing 9 kms.
Let me know who to contact at DELWP and we will see if we can arrange a replacement panel from the EnviroShop Newstead.
Using glyphosate is a crime against humanity. It will not be long before anyone using it will be successfully sued for millions of dollars.
If you go to Greenmedinfo you can find hundreds of clinical trials of the toxic effects of glyphosate.
This one is particularily disturbing, finding that glyphosate is carcinogenic at the minutest concentrations. It can be found at these concentratins in every part of the world, including the aquafiers.
The silver lining is that once it is banned throughout the world, the only alternative will be organic farming.
Vic Roads now have an excuse for roadside tree clearing for the environment to provide logs for waterways to create native fish habitat (.A firewood company in Balranald proudly promotes how it removes old eucalypts from the Murray etc to create firewood ) so trees aren’t wasted .
Posters in Vic Roads offices promote their supposed environmental road design whilst at the same time cutting/threatening age old trees etc at numerous sites ie Mernda ,Bulla ,Newstead, Ararat, Beaufort ,Ballan etc etc Their spokesman on ABC radio talks of the platings they supposedly proposed to repair the swathe of vegetation removed across the state -but still continue the swathe.Vic Roads even held an international conference on environmental road design last April????????????????
The car ads are stupid in many ways -smashing thru the areas you have supposedly come to explore -you don’t camp on riverbanks re flood ,mosquitoes, cold off the water ,You don’t smash your way up a mountainside -proper 4 wheel drive clubs hate these type (RACV doesn’t answer to rolled vehicles on hiilsides ) You don’t drive to or park on the edges of cliffs -something to do with health and safety ?You don’t drive beyond your capability nor your cars capability -some vehicles promoted are heavy ,oversized tubs .You don’t speed thru forests on dirt roads other suckers may be coming the other way and you may hit a tree or two when you hid the gravel.
So glad word of the petition I presented to Council and their decision to continue using Glyphosate has spread. Even a bit in the Castlemaine Mail re petition, Council decision and noting the big compensation cases in the US. I have a letter in this week’s C Mail re this. Someone said if we can send a legal letter to the Council re if any of the people who signed the petition… were “injured” by the use of Glyphosate/Roundup then they could sue the Council due to their decision on this…..Anyone know a legal person who could/would do this?
No wonder they stopped calling them “control burns” – totally out of control; they don’t even pretend to know what they are doing to the whole ecosystem.
Planned burning while useful in some ecosystems is an ecological disaster in others. opening up the forest, drying it out and promoting species that like fire and ironically maybe making it more prone to fire. More concerning to human life is that DELWP have not been collecting data on fuel loads and vegetation response in each different vegetation community, hence there has been little improvement of their strategies. I live in the forest and have read all their reports and I dont believe that the current planned burn regime in the Box Ironbark will make me safer. there is no control of weed infested gullies or weed infested high fuel roadsides near me as these works are more laborious and less of an Adrenalin rush than ticking off 600 hectares in areas further from town with little assets at risk.
Wouldn’t it be good if this “celebration” went ahead, but not as simply a lure for tourists and yet another acting out of the story we all know and that many still find comfort in – the transformative event, GOLD ! Who wouldn’t be excited by it?
Through that event: prosperity, population, democracy, grand buildings and wide streets. And more: property for many, possession of country in a more widespread and deeper way, confidence. A colony well on the way to becoming a nation, as grand as any nation in the world.
But what if instead we were able to be more thoughtful and dig a little deeper. What if, on the basis of its extensive and dedicated attention to this country FOBIF’s voice was heard and respected alongside the voices of the Dja Dja wurrung, and other thoughtful voices. Voices able to put the events of that brief time into a longer and a broader context, a context that is not only about the past and what is now unchangeable, but a context that allows us to see our past and all our possibilities differently?
Hi I highly recommend the Australian Museum Frog ID app. It is so easy to use, you just record frog calls for 30 sec and send them off at a press of a button. This would be so useful for example for when Bibrons Toadlets are calling next Autumn as there are few records of where they are and they are very rare. Its also fun to use and helps you learn your local species.
I do hope that te improvements won’t disturb the wildness of the creek and its immediate surrounds.
We’re pretty confident that the reserve is in good hands at the moment.
Thank you so much for doing that! What wonderful work you have done for all of us. We all saw what was happening with those ads, but didn’t know how to complain. So thank you for leading the way.
I have personally been trying to fight a growth in the Tobacco Industry influencing smoking in television programs, especially those coming from the U.K. So if you can offer any advice on this, I am happy to listen!!
Beautiful photo Frances. Win
Excellent. Thank you so much for putting in that plant objection that so many of us would not have had the skill to do. The only real flaw I was able to pick up was the lack of an Aboriginal Management Plan on the basis that the ground was all turned over in mining. But they missed the site of Castlemaine’s possibly-oldest cottage that sat up opposite the motel. That cottage was in the oldest photos of Castlemaine and most likely sat up on the mound thrown up from centuries of Forest Creek flooding in its original alignment. The supermarket group pulled the cottage down quickly, but the site should have had an Aboriginal/Heritage investigation.
So, why are you objecting the supermarket, rather than simply trying to amend the planting schedule?
These appear to be rather different issues to me.
And if your objections are successful, that would mean ….what?
We figure that an objection is the safest way to draw attention to the planting problem. We can’t amend the plan–it’s already in.
When the objections are considered, we believe the proponent would have the chance to amend the planting plan, which in our opinion should be a straightforward matter.
I agree with your objection to the plants being suggested . I’d like to know who the landscaper is!
Wow very impressive FOBI team! Who else would read that level of detail and pick up on a detail that would potentially cost our community money by having to remove them as they spread around the landscape.
I’m a bit surprised by their lack of landscaping awareness! These are mostly all weeds throughout Victoria, not just Castlemaine.
Thanks! But the map seems to be still based on public land only?
That’s right. One of the other maps they supply shows ‘priority fuel management areas’, which seems to include private land, but it’s very hard to read. It’s probably the same as one they supplied some years ago: see https://www.fobif.org.au/2014/10/risky-business/
It seems DELWP is still very shy about tackling fire risk on private land.
I worry so much about the increasing removal of trees by VicRoads and Councils with the inevitable justification of the risk of trees to the public. With two tree-falling deaths over the weekend, the tree-felling will only be ramped up. I wish we could all put our tree defences into words to establish a good and ongoing argument that we will need for these continuously risk-averse, tree-felling groups.
Ten days ago the above-reported Muckleford herd crossed our track in front of my car. I slowed down, watched and counted them. There were indeed 11. And they were all juvenile. I have observed the steady growth of numbers in our locality over the past twenty years but nothing like this mass sighting before.
Just wondering if this is the correct identification – wondering if it may be Dillwynia phylicoides Bushy Parrot-pea? Dillwynia glaberrima flowers are usually on long stalks at the end of branches.
Take two – that should have read
Just wondering if this is the correct identification – may be Dillwynia ramosissima / Bushy Parrot-pea Parrot-pea? The flowers of Smooth Parrot-pea are usually on stalks?
It was a good walk. Fantastic photo too. I know Jeremy loves Wewak Track, I love
Morgan’s Track, after Frank Morgan.
Don’t forget about the C.F.M.M.E.U.
Andrew Daniels doesn’t fart without permission from the C.F.M.M.E.U.
That’s why we don’t have a Greater Forests National Park.
All those surveys are so the Government can tell us they are doing something and tell their masters they are doing nothing.
tick for Ben
We live in a binary world. For every person devoting their energy to get us to drink bottled water, there is another person trying to convince us not to drink bottled water. What we need is a unified universe. In the unified universe each distinct peice of matter has a matching peice of anti-matter. When they collide they both disintegrate.
What we must do is match up all the polar opposites and convince them that if they both do nothing at all, it will be the same as both of them competing with each other. They can take the day off and smell the flowers, have a chat, have sex, fall in love……
We can call this game ‘Match Up’. Lots of people can play it. If you drive from Castleemaine to Bendigo every day to work as a shop assistant, we can match you up with someone that drives from Bendigo to Castlemaine every day to work as a shop assistant. Then you can both sleep in a bit longer and walk to work.
That’s funny, i will use that on my radio show
So sad I can’t make this amazing talk. Wish it was videos! Well done to Newstead landcare for organising such fantastic talkers. I bought the book.
Someone said a couple weeks ago that there was going to be some controlled burning at Elphinstone….when it was getting warm? Not sure if it went ahead. Sounds very last minute and a real worry at this time of year. maybe this week with winter type weather…..
Every cloud has a silver lining. The more devestating the fires become, the more people will feel the urge to do something about climate change. We ozies are a complacent lot: droughts, floods, cyclones, no worries, but bushfires? Bushfires scare the living daylights out of us, and so they should.
The first comandment of the Xtinction Rebellion Gospel is:
Tell the Truth about Climate Change, so l have gone to a lot of trouble to distill the vast amount of data on the subject into a few pithy paragraphs:
Be great if you included Mount Alexander Shire in your roadside management observations – they seems to grade roads wider and wider to the detriment of roadside vegetation and resulting in marker posts being knocked over or removed
This is very interesting and the comparison is made over long enough period that the result is probably significant. I would like to see a BOM comment on them.
Just a small point: the unit for rainfall is millimetres (mm) , not millilitres (mls).
As a resident of spring gully the planned burn was very stressful to the whole community and we were very lucky that it did not go pear shaped. This planned burn I feel is an example of DELWP being forced to burn in the few days available to them. An article by Dr Andrew Bennett stated that there are on average only 10 days per year where planned burns can occur. Did this force DELWP’s hand to burn on Monday when the forecast was for hot and high winds the following thursday? Or was it to achieve targets which they still have?
My question is why did this planned burn happen? What is the reporting requirements for a near miss? What did DELWP learn from the Lancefield fires they started in 2015 (https://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-19/lancefield-fire-poorly-planned-under-staffed-report-finds/6952528)?
When we called on Monday to express our concerns about lighting this fire, DELWP said they would have the fire out by Tuesday. DELWP’s local fire manager said their forecast that they use was not that bad for the thursday. We were all pretty concerned and many people evacuated as the fire was not out by Tuesday and in fact took some time to put out (and after Lancefield and a number of other fires caused by DELWP we were not taking any chances).
Not only was a fire hazard created but three units and one bulldozer we were told would not be leaving the area and be monitoring it continually putting fires out night and day, these units would not be available to any other fires that may have happened. Thereby increasing the risk to others in need in the area.
My wish is that there was more science to support the effectiveness of planned burns in reducing wildfire risk, as every scientific study I have read says otherwise. I appreciate that some planned burns are not to reduce fuel but to prevent spotting etc in other areas or so they can reduce the spread of wildfires. I would like to see more strategies to protect local communities who live in high risk zones like community fire shelters, bushfire awareness training etc that will upskill communities to expect a wildfire at some point rather than hope planned burns work at reducing spread of a wildfire. Too many eggs in one basket.
Either way rigorous science and adapting the fire strategies to the very different vegetation communities ie Box Ironbark versus Tall Wet Forest should be a critical component. Sadly I do not believe from what I have read that this is happening. Every strategy needs adaptive management based on good data. Rather than appealing to people demanding for more planned burns based solely on what they have read by Andrew Bolt etc . Lets look at facts and results and adapt.
The CFA can do jeep tracks in bushland if you live close to bush like I do. (Therefore
the Fire Brigade can get in there.) I tell you what seeing these new jeep tracks
in the bush where I live is like incredibly wonderful-make me feel a million percent better. Extremely grateful to the CFA.
Oh! I am feeling guilty. I first saw a Bindii plant last year in the middle of Barker St. on my way to the Post Office, but when I crossed back I couldn’t find it. Coincidentally, I then saw it last week and immediately went out with my trowel in peak hour traffic and dug it up!
Burning is burning and dressing it up with the word cultural doesn’t change a thing.
IOO’s of species live and are dependent on ground cover and middle story plants and they are going to cop it because we have declared war on the eco system, using a system of land management that while it may have some use in grasslands and savanna is just going to increase species/habitat loss.
It is interesting that before I finished reading the first sentence of this post AND before I read the title of the report I knew what it was. I had picked up a copy from the Bendigo TAFE library as I browsed the shelves a week ago. The list of attendees at the workshop is impressive and the opportunity to read this Literature Review is exciting. I’d be really interested in finding any followup work that has been done on this as I’m in the process of completing Diploma in CLM and am looking at having fire as a broad topic of the unit Conduct Field Research into Natural and Cultural Resources.
The current Local Laws are completely useless to affectively address lazy land owners who do nothing about THEIR weeds and then create fire fuel.
It appears that the track needed a little thinning out in case of fire to allow fire trucks and the like to pass safely.
DELWP’s stated reason is that the trees were ‘hazardous’–ie, they could fall across the road. This has been a standard reason in some other clearances. Our case is that lopping is often a better way–and that in any case the criteria are not clear.
Great post. Why doesn’t DELWP appreciate that fire is an intervention and the land/forest/ecosystem responds to heal itself. Burns need objectives – a clear statement about what is intended – is the aim to “disrupt” – which it might be in some circumstances? And what ecological response is desired? And then does it happen – i.e. monitoring!
They have done a mish mash hack on One tree Hill track Bendigo They dig around trees near the track .Why don’t they use mosaic burning in winter like is to be used at Kalimna Road Castlemaine etc Past burnoffs at Wildflower drive and Salomons reserve Bendigo resulted in thicker than usual re growth of native grasses and Golden wattles etc .
It is not as though forest managers are not aware of the problem of massive regrowth after prescribed burns. For years they have been shown photo evidence and taken on tours to show the catastrophic results of burns in our area.
Unless there is public education of the terrible effects of prescribed burning in our area I believe change will not happen . It would be great to have 4 Corners come and do a documentary on this subject……there are many examples
Yes I’ll much miss the scheduled FOBIF walks for the year or most of it seems.
Was looking forward to Clive’s walk and an excellent season of good walks.
It would be great if we were able to enjoy a couple of Soribg walks as it could be a good year in the bush.
I’m walking every day and look forward to joining FOBIF friends again.
I actually think it’s totally inappropriate to cancel FOBIF walks. I lot of people
need those bushwalks to keep ones mental normalness. (I actually wasn’t going
on the April activity either.) Can we have a private little group doing walks?
I’d like to be part of it if possible.
We understand this objection: there’s no doubt the current restrictions will have an impact on people’s mental well being.
But the brute fact is that medical experts are telling us the restrictions are necessary to contain the spread of COVID 19. Further, we’d be legally liable if we organised any gathering of more than two people.
Our local Rotary Club has a “feel goods” list every week for members, and I put Andrew Skeoch’s virtual bushwalk down for mine this week. At first I thought, “hmm, this is pretty slow and quiet,” but then he started picking up and identifying more bird calls, until he finally zoomed in on the Scarlet Robin. That was a moment of pure joy!
Just a few points: if he could always identify each bird call, even after the 3rd or 4th time heard, it would ingrain the sounds a bit better for us learners. And if he knows any other of the trees or plant species, his identification would be most welcome. Thank you so much Andrew. I last had this experience when doing walks with the Deniliquin Field Nats back in the days when they had a CSIRO branch in Deni and all of the staff belonged to this rare Field Nats group!
I think the idea is to spin the bottle to decide which way to go!
That idea is more fun than the other possibility: gross neglect!
When will the cards be available again & where from?
The cards are sold at out FOBIF Jan, but Buda has a limited number of sets still available. https://budacastlemaine.org/shop/greeting-cards/
If you are in the postcodes 3450 or 3451 you can choose in store pick up, but during this time they will be delivered free to you.
Yes, a good idea. If only it could be seriously considered as the highly desirable and well balanced proposal that it is, and not brushed aside, corrupted or crudely distorted.
I wish Andrew could organise unofficial bushwalks for anyone.
I live for bushwalking and am missing it very much.
I also don’t have a car therefore can’t go far. I live in north Castlemaine.
Oh, please not the Green Army again. Huge amounts of $$$ going to admin with little positive outcomes. The best model to spend this amount would be a payment for ecosystem services. Targeted and measurable.
I think it’s worth putting a hand up for the above. Not only will it be good for our natural environment areas but is good to give otherwise unemployed folk a purposeful task. Who knows what negative issues such work can be helping to avoid.
These photos also provide evidence of an increase in the number of bush tracks (note the new track on the right). Perhaps bewildered walkers are going off route without decent signage? Or perhaps roos are expanding their network as human civilisation crumbles?
You know, I really don’t think it is the “Collapse of Civilisation” (unless we consider Civilisation as “the bad guys”). I think I could really get used to this no cars, no cruise ships, no gaming venues, and (apologies to football fans) no football.
Very pretty, ta.
The ‘creek’ running beside Cruits Lane Muckleford (off Rilens Rd) is 20 feet deep & wide for much of the way, & dead straight – an ecological disaster. But where Cruits Lane becomes Tear Rd the creek seems to have been left alone. It becomes a foot or so deep, and meanders wildly through verdant undergrowth.
These questions are valid.
Unless people in the community value our natural ecosystems then they will not be prioritized for protection and enhancement. Environmental managers too often have focused on rare species and communities as legislation demands whereby the social connection to a place is an after thought.
Yes if you are interested in biodiversity and have been sometime it may tell what you already know however this survey may capture what is important to people and volunteer groups …… today and where.
Values change over time, these are influenced by learning, awareness and connections. Values can lead to action and each persons value or attraction is different and it is helpful to know.
Show some positivity FOBIF.
That’s great! I’ve only ever seen it in the northern forests of Bendigo around Ascot/Bagshot, I have two plants growing in my back yard in Spring Gully. They are a curious plant.
Well it should be an argument against fuel reduction burns. The science is they seldom are effective. And are a continuation of the war/fear against the bush that has been going on since first human settlement in this country.
Thank you everyone for your efforts towards revising and reprinting this guide and for now making it available online.
Perhaps you folks have seen this resource.
Thanks Miles–Yes, the map in that link gives a very good idea of the existing trails, all set up informally. We are not clear at the moment how the park proposal relates to these and other possible trails.
The greeting card form says “GC for Code”…….am I the only person who doesn’t know what that means?
I loved it enormously, last Sunday. Thanking you a lot. XXXX
Yes this was a really beautiful walk, and to explore an area I’d not seen before, thank you. It was especially wonderful to turn up and see so many familiar faces fro previous walks, Mary
GC stands for Greeting Cards
We’ve just bought 3 packs of FOBIF cards.
They’re impressive and as well as keeping some to use ourselves they make a great gift.
We paid by direct debit into your account.
You should look at the Castlemaine Golf Course, they have or are clearing all native veg. They have already wiped out the Grey crowned babbler by clearing ground cover, wonder what will be next.
Absolutely well done to all those concerned with the making of the Kingdom of fungi video.
Excellent work indeed, with quality images backing up the storyline that left me – wanting more.
This is a gentle yet wonderful video ! I watched it – stopped and thought about it – then watched again.
As I watched, it felt attentive and true – not only to what I commonly see and know of the world around me – but also to the still beyondness of it: the way that, as our living/dying home, it encompasses and exceeds all that we customarily find ways to acknowledge or approach.
If only there was less presumptiveness in the world, and more attentiveness such as this, I think we would all (as time went by) feel more at home.
we are pretty sure that we have heard a barking owl on several occasions in Kalimna forest, Castlemaine.
This area is so diverse in both flora and fauna it’s hard to believe it’s in Cadtlemaine suburbia. It is an extraordinary place. I visit there weekly. I wander around, pulling up weeds and taking photos.
I’d like to go on the October walk too.
However, I obviously can’t. Therefore please register me for the November walk,
and any Christmas party, like usually use to occur at Bronwyn Silver’s house in Muckleford.
I don’t remember saying obviously I can’t.
I merely expressed interest in joining the walk.
That’s ok please put me on the November walk wish list.
I share FOBIF’s surprise that the new supermarket application hasn’t considered many of the former objections. I had asked that they have a covered walkway around the street frontage that could eventually join up with other covered walkways as Forest St. develops. Currently it is one of the most impossible streets to walk along for six months of the year as it is blasted by the summer sun. It seems odd to have no objections considered at all.
Hello. I have in the past been a member of fobif but have somehow lost contact. I am keen to resume my involvement in the walks.
The 2021 walks program will be mailed out to members in January and posted on the fobif website soon after this. The first walk will be on the third Sunday in March 2021. All welcome unless of course there are government regulations in place restricting gatherings to a limited number of people.
Nice to see Parks Vic putting out strategically placed couches for the oldies
A new magazine, ‘Get outdoor with places we go’ is there in our newsagent’s,
very nicely written, interesting articles esp. the one to do with the West Macdonnell Ranges, also the Kimberleys, it’s the first edition, and is $12.95. Really worth it I thought.
Bea utifulllllll cover photo
Cant wait !
Thank you to the walks programmers!!
As previously the walks are enticing and we’re looking forward to joining our Fobif friends.
We think we’re very fortunate to have Fobif to watch out for our forest, reply to various proposals and policy shifts, oppose often ridiculous suggestions and explain the whys and wherefores of changes in our bush to us.
Thank you. We’re much looking forward to the newest publication – another one for the gold bound box of books!
Hello, can you tell me what the time frame for this walk is? thank you
We can’t be sure exactly but we think the event will finish at approximately 1pm. We meet at The Community House at 9.30 to start the tour.
Could we get some copies to sell at the EnviroShop Newstead please
Yes! Thanks for the prompt, Frank.
March 18th is a Thursday? Maybe 15th?
Looks beautiful – keen to see it ASAP.
I’m interested in the geology walk on 21 March. Where will it be held?
Details of the geology tour are on the walks page. Unfortunately it is booked out for this year. We could possibly repeat the tour in 2022 but it depends on whether Clive Willman who is leading the tour will be able to.
A mistake was made with the dates for the launch. It is on Thursday March 18, not Monday.
Here is a copy of an email I sent to Paul Bates and his reply.
OFFICIAL: RE: Planned Burns
Paul G Bates (DELWP)
Mon, 15 Mar, 10:46 (22 hours ago)
to me, Adrian, Steffen
I hope you are going well.
The two planned burns you refer to are scheduled for the 22/23 and 23/24 seasons.
They are bushfire moderation zone (BMZ) burns, as identified in the Loddon Mallee Region Strategic Plan. The purpose of the BMZ and these burns is to slow the speed and intensity of bushfires. The modelling used to develop the strategic plan has identified these areas as sites where planned burning will reduce risk to the community by reducing the overall fuel hazard.
I know we have talked about these matters before and compared thinking and science on effectiveness of planned burning in reducing risk.
Planned burning is a major part of the states fuel management program and is a priority for government to deliver when conditions are suitable.
While I know you may not agree with our planned burning program, I hope you are able to understand why this work is undertaken and delivered by DELWP Regions and Districts.
Paul Bates | Acting Regional Manager – Forest and Fire Operations – Loddon Mallee Region
Forest, Fire and Regions | Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
T: 0409 407 697 | E: email@example.com
From: Robert Simons
Sent: Friday, 12 March 2021 4:53 PM
To: Paul G Bates (DELWP)
Subject: Planned Burns
EXTERNAL SENDER: Links and attachments may be unsafe.
Your department has asked for feed back on future planned burns.
I notice that there are 2 planned burns in the upper Loddon forest , one at Helge track LM MGF0245 and the other near Wewak track LM MGF 0244.
History of previous burns in this forest has shown that the bushfire risk after 2 to 3 years is FAR worse than if left unburnt.
This is the very same area we toured a few years ago and it was agreed that previous burning was a disaster.
The Department has a duty of care to residents to reduce risk, so why is this area being burnt ?
Appreciate your reply
Rob & Anne Simons
I would like to organise a tour of old planned burns in my area of Tarilta and show how dangerous the regrowth is.
I’m interested in the geology walk please!
This whole burning attitude has become an industry, and like any other disturbance has consequences for succession to undesirable outcomes. The myth that cultural burning will somehow ” restore” an eco system should be challenged for the evidence, especially in brittle highly modified environments such as the box ironbark country. Nowhere is there a mention of just leaving it alone to self regulate. The facts are that exotic grasslands are the the most flammable and act as vectors to move fire through the landscape very fast with catastrophic outcomes.
Perhaps i will be corrected but i have always been told by historians and indigenous peoples alike that local first nations gained nothing from burning the forests – in particular the box ironbark forests, and therefore traditionally have never done this. This idea of burning it back to health is something I would find difficult to support or have any confidence with.
I recently had a look at 3 current burns:
Wattle track burn at Drummond North another at Eyles Lane Drummond. Both these burns were extremely well executed, the lower bark was burnt and patches of undergrowth left unburnt. I was impressed. If all burns were kept to low intensity and well below the canopy there would be no complaints .
The third burn at Hepburn Back road was the extreme opposite. Here the canopy has been burnt and I’m sure this will result in epicormic growth and regeneration of thick undergrowth with increased fire hazard.
How can we be assured that the Helge and Wewak Track burns will not result in excessive regrowth and fire hazard?
Thank you for the sober work FOBIF do, bringing the facts to light, on the fuel reduction burn issue.
It is hard to get someone to understand something when their salary depends on them not understanding.
I wish I had been there for Clives presentation. I hope Clive will do another one in the future.
I would like to come on Sunday. HOW long does the walk last?
It’s not an exact calculation, but I’d allow about 4 hours, including breaks.
Thank you Cassia for this informative record of the first Fobif excursion which we unfortunately missed out on.
We were sorry to miss the on site history lesson so well researched by Clive.
Jules and Rex.
The final points here are extremely important. But how do we get the agents of our governance to give specific answers to specific questions ? The usual answers, being wordy, generic and deflective, are, it seems to me, intentionally obfuscatory and lack integrity.
We saw 11 of the 18 local Acacias featured in FOBIF’s book, “Wattles of the Mount Alexander Region” namely Acacia acinacea, A. aculeatissima, A. aspera, A. dealbata, A. genistifolia (flowering), A. gunnii, A. lanigera (flowering), A. mearnsii, A. mitchellii, A. paradoxa (flowering way too early), and A. provincialis!
Unfortunately the government response for the Wellsford State Forest on the doorstep of Bendigo is inadequate to protect it into the future, or ensure biodiversity maintenance.
The area has been declared Regional Park only, thus allowing mining and continued firewood cutting until 2029. The response ensures us that outfits like Fosterville Mines and Outback Mining (Canadian) will only be allowed to cause “minimal damage” to the surface of the mines. But there is no definition of “minimal damage”, and no stated provision for Special Protection Zones. Whilst the Regional Park will be administered under the National Parks Act, and thus have more sympathetic management than with DELWP, it is still open to the damage that firewood collection does. Vehicles rolling over the fragile undergrowth, chain saws removing habitat, unsupervised illegal taking of trees both within and without designated firewood collection coupes, no permit system, no monitoring of populations of endangered flora and fauna either before or after coupes are exhausted. This is a very poor outcome for the last large block of Box and Ironbark forest in good condition, right on Bendigo’s doorstep. If left as is the government decision will diminish the values that made VEAC recommend the National Park in the Wellsford.
You’re right Wendy: that was the gist of our ‘on the whole’…There are other problems, too. But ‘on the whole’ the decision was a positive one.
Dear fobif organisers,
Can Ian’s talk be recorded or written up with members having access to this after the event. I am sure Ian’s talk will be most informative with much to digest afterwards. I found the write-up of the initial motorised geology excursion earlier this year most interesting and appreciated it was recorded for some of us who were unable to participate.
I too would appreciate a video if Ian’s talk for Monday next.
I rarely drop you a line but – I really do look forward to Fobif on line posts.
Your coverage of a wide range of topics of interest to those of us interested in our earth has educated me and provided much interest.
Thank you very much to researchers writers and all involved.
Please could I register for the AGM on Monday next.
A walk on the high side sounded like something I would love to do. Is there a map reference you could give me for this walk. Thank you. Lyn
There isn’t a really useful map of the area we’re talking about, and most of the walk was not on marked tracks, so we can’t be really helpful, sorry: and there’s a lot of negotiating with private owners involved, which is an extra complication.
Your walk on the high side sounded like a walk I would like to do. Is there a map reference you could send me? Thanks, Lyn
Thank you for this transcript as I missed the AGM. So inspirational! I will definitely be sourcing some of these species for the Newstead Community Garden.
Thanks FOBIF for that excellent summary of Ian’s talk. Ian provided insightful historical and contemporary challenges and opportunities. The extent and depth of Ian’s research and knowledge, and his time to prepare such an excellent presentation of great educational value is deeply appreciated.
So sorry to have missed this talk. We have been looking for a way to regenerate the bushland on our property and this seems like a good direction to move in. We do have a number of native peas already. Can anyone suggest where to find the seeds for these plants?
Our go to person on these matters is Frances Cincotta at Newstead Natives: check it out here: https://newsteadnatives.wordpress.com/
You can also find Frances on Facebook and Instagram.
This is a very serious concern. As the FOBIB has written, the creation of fire breaks has the potential to harm floral biodiversity, and I can at least point to one taxon: the prostrate Fryerstown Grevillea (Grevillea obtecta).
Three Honours students from La Trobe (including myself) have worked on this endemic species a decade ago, and we have surveyed Porcupine Ridge and Fryers Ridge NCR areas in some detail. We have recorded several populations of the grevillea on road embankments, particularly along Porcupine Ridge Road north of Middleton Creek, and along Dearden Track west of Taradale.
I have also surveyed the area bound by Porcupine Ridge Road and Wewak Track that was back-burned some time ago, and I found that the population size of the Fryerstown Grevillea was drastically reduced, possibly from the dense regeneration of wattles and Daphne Heath (Brachyloma daphnoides) that cast deep shade over what was once a healthy population of Fryerstown Grevillea.
How the fuel breaks will be created will affect the viability of the species. Thinning of roadside trees may prompt the growth and recruitment of the species, but soil disturbance (e.g. track widening or mulching) will surely extirpate those individuals on road embankments, and I believe that there are already not too many left of the species.
In my opinion, we don’t know enough of the ecology and biology of the Fryerstown Grevillea and many other species to justify major fuel reduction exercises.
Totally agree with Gerry. Fire may not be as important to some plant species as it is for others in germination. Others may need different environmental opportunities like soil disturbance.
When I’m observing many Grevillea species in the wild, I find them near previously disturbed ground, like near roadsides and tracks, as if seeds have needed soil disturbance in order to propagate. I imagine that species like Grevillea obtecta, with close to the ground flowers were in some symbiotic relationship with small kangaroo marsupials like bandicoots for example. I wonder if anyone else comes to similar conclusions?
Thank you to Christine for a lovely walk on Sunday, a fitting finish to a varied year!!!
And also to Bronwyn, Jeremy et al for offering great walks when able.
Congratulations are certainly in order for the talented team who researched and compiled ‘our’ Walks Booklet’.
We’re so fortunate to be part of Fobif.
Appreciation to all.
Interesting post Clive.
Amazing what’s around us in plain sight that we never even gave a thought to.
Absolutely fascinating stuff. Thankyou
Thanks to Clive for the stone appreciation article. It opened my eyes to what is around us everyday.
Is this pamphlet available from the Shire ?
No, not yet: but we’re hoping it might be available through Shire channels soon.
…And what of the mistletoe that may be living in Cootamundra Wattle, or the wildlife that depends on that mistletoe that will suffer if every Cootamundra were removed? I say this because often I notice that for miles and miles around it is only Cootamundra that is hosting Amyema preissii and Amyema quandang. I would rather a longer-term strategy that includes thinking about all the wildlife that now use Cootamundra Wattles as a home, or a food source, or as a place for nesting for example be put forth. Plants considered weeds often have biodiversity value also and may be supporting local wildlife. A better strategy would be to remove the weeds only after local native restoration plantings are old enough to provide similar biodiversity functions. This way weed removal doesn’t add to the devastation of other species already doing it tough and possibly only surviving locally because of the weeds. Cutting down all the Pinus radiata in an area that has no banksia or sheok is a sure fire way to impact negatively on Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoos for example….so plant first and remove later.
Good points Duncan. Mistletoe flourishes in other wattles too, which is why some people have the strategy of steadily replacing Cootamundra with, say, Silver wattle. ‘Scorched earth’ in general, might not be the way to go.
I would encourage everyone to read this article on prescribed burns in today’s Conversation.https://theconversation.com/coming-of-age-research-shows-old-forests-are-3-times-less-flammable-than-those-just-burned-179571
Sure does! Keep up the debate – and let’s open it up. And where does climate change fit.
Thank you Mike for a most enjoyable first walk for this year.
And yes to Frances for enlightening us on many plant queries.
Gathering for a welcome cuppa at Mike’s made for for a pleasant end to our walk.
Well it is simple really. Once government creates a department to burn as much public land as they can rationalise in the name of protecting communities then that is their only reason for being. and that is what they will do, and get paid for regardless of more science coming out on the misguided belief that this simplistic solution does nothing more than trash even further whole eco systems and in all probability encourage massive regrowth of woody flammable understory which means further burning in the future. thereby guaranteeing further funding and on it will go. The real irony is that down the corridor another dept is paying big money to private landowners to protect the same remnant vegetation.
Rather than waste money on more totally unnecessary signs cluttering up the bush an informative booklet would be more appropriate for people interested in local features. People who are interested and enthusiastic enough to walk the Goldfields track will probably already have one of the existing booklets and would not appreciate more signage. Who is promoting this and what are they getting out of it?
I wonder if they will be putting up signs on the previous prescribed burns,explaining the huge fire risk they have created with impenetrable regrowth. LOL
Let’s hope they didn’t burn any of the extremely rare Acacia sporadica only found close by in 2021. Did they even know there were new finds of sporadica there?
Re Council budget
I’m happy to put in a short submission. Do you have a few more points I could make please?
Well as the photo reveals, it is a drain not a creek.
Any works will be just a failure and gross waste of landcare funding for what is urban beautification, and so beyond what landcare was originally set up for.
Plastic tree guards could end up downstream after flooding also.
Right through a Nature Conservation Reserve! Will they let us know exactly when it’s happening?
Yes, conservation groups were notified about the works, which took place this week. We’ll do a report on the results in the next couple of weeks.
They look like deer scats and there’s plenty of wild deer in the Tarilta area..
Looks like you’re right. We haven’t seen deer in the actual valley, but as you say, they’re all around…
Protecting nothing but their jobs with h/a of burning forest habitat.
I would like to join the 5km walk on Sunday, joining the group at Taradale.
This will be my first walk with FOBIF.
Could I have a chat to someone ahead of the walk, please?
Sure Janet, you can ring me on 0448751111 to talk about the walk.
This is such an important topic. Thanks.
VicForests are a criminal organisation.
I visited Monument Hill in Kilmore last Sunday (7th August) and yes, Hardenbergia was too in flower. Also blossoming: Hovea heterophylla, Leucopogon virgatus, Drosera aberrans, Acacia mucronata, Acacia aculeatissima and Daviesia latifolia. I don’t have historical data on phenology, yet it does seem that Spring has sprung earlier this year.
I would very much like to come along to the FOBIF walks but, unfortunately, they all clash with walks organised by the Great Dividing Trail Association. https://www.gdt.org.au/news-and-events
Would it be possible for FOBIF and the GDTA to discuss these clashes and have them organised on consecutive, instead of the same Saturdays?
Appreciate this series of potted geology posts.
Maybe they have replaced all human workers with robots programmed to make an automatic response? Burn the robots, not the forests.
Maybe the University of Melbourne could ‘endeavour ‘ to protect the Box Ironbark Forest from the FFMV ! It’s my opinion that only political pressure on local MPs and Ministers will change the political will . Inundate every MP constantly with emails, phone calls , meetings and face-to-face appointments to highlight this I’ll-considered burning regime
Hi, I would like to contact Bronwyn Silver to discuss possibly printing some books of maps. She was suggested by Bernard Slattery.
Have just bought current edition of Great Walks, and photocopied the article on the Murray River walk for you. Saw Joy yesterday also, it was good to see her. The Kakoda Trail wouldn’t be bad either. I have the recipe for Kakoda Fish if anyone would like it.
That is just a list of what we saw out in flower! I missed the gnat orchid – that makes 8 species of orchids out in flower on our route.
I have seen the aquarium at Bendigo Library. An impressive model of how Bendigo creek originally was and could be. Also impressed with the work that North Bendigo Landcare Group are doing to help restore the creek.
Great to have your special patch of earth
The wait was like a geological epoch of its own! Very excited about this.
A lovely Tribute.
Will Muckleford books be there?
Just wondering if it would be possible to pick up a copy of the geology book.
Where can l obtain the work.
To be effective these breaks need to be managed on an ongoing basis, and some ongoing commitment has to be funded into the future.
When we complained about extreme regrowth along Cox track in Guildford a fire break was created using a mulcher, only to be neglected and is now useless.
It would be great to see these breaks created in areas where fires are most likely to be created by human activity eg powerlines, cigarettes, arson, flat tyres etc . In our case along the Midland highway rather than a hit-and-miss approach as proposed.
Oh Patrick, The Choughs have made a similar impression on us! As I write, one is precariously balancing on a fence wire and the rest of the group are vying for space on a birdbath better suited to wrens!
Still enjoying your posts Clive. Mudstone is so Castlemaine! Much thanks
It’s wonderful to receive in the mail the list of walks for 2023. Also to know that Bernard and Deirdre are still around. Looking forward to the walks this year enormously. This year also am hoping to commence a Pharmacy degree (not at Bendigo though!) Also a 3-day birding trip to PNG. A very good deal-they pick you up at your accommodation every morning, then off to look at the different birds, lunch provided, and dropped off at your accommodation in Port Moresby, about 5 p.m. and the third day Mt. Hagen is included. But my neighbour tells me you have to go at the right month, when all the beautiful colourful babies are there and you can see them. (I have a large Bird of Paradise tattoo on my left leg-national bird of PNG!) Still
continue to be a bit of a major political problem too for Australia. Things changed though on the 1st. January, this year.
If you sight feral deer please load that sighting onto DeerScan https://feralscan.org.au/deerscan/default.aspx or iNaturalist https://inaturalist.ala.org.au/home Both databases allow you to obscure the location from the general public however those working on the deer problem will have access to the location. As well as the website there are phone Apps for both databases.
It is important to record sightings as this is the only way that the authorities will learn how serious the deer problem is. If there is no data there will be even less chance of action being taken.
Hi – I just want to know how long the walk is. I don’t have the book.
The walk is approximately 6 km. There are more details on the walks page.
You can only hope that over time the people running the Forest Fire Management will take on board at least some of the values of cultural burning in terms of maintaining biodiversity and moderate the current practices of burning on an industrial scale.
It is a shame that the FFM does not consider whether it could look at actually planting species that are fire resistant rather than just using the one method of management. It would also be great if they followed up the burns by managing flammable species that seem to thrive in the fire grounds afterwards (like Coffee-bush) and this would be a good time to consider what could be planted. It’s not as though they don’t have the human resources.
That area they want to burn is already full of plants that are not in any serious way flammable and will not spread fire to an ill defined area for myth of asset protection. Planting infill is an impossible and expensive task doomed to failure.The best thing is to just leave it alone, and not drink the Kool Aid of cultural burning as a trojan horse just to get the burned h/a’s.
Let em go and burn some grasslands that are where the real threat is and where cultural burning was principally practiced around late summer and see how that goes.
what is missing is the *wealth* that is inherent in having a viable, natural, self-sustaining natural enviroment for both humans and other animals to live in for the duration of their relatively short lives. i’m sorry, but i’m very tired of having to accept ‘development’ as something positive, especially when it is linked to population expansion and ‘wealth’ – golden or otherwise. this is a type of ‘wealth’ which is linked to degraded and/or crowded habitats. imho.
Whenever i see photo’s like the above i am reminded that the legacy of mining is not so distant and continued up until the well into the mid 20th century. Old mate Ray Bradfield was proud of his almost single handedly achievements with hydraulic sluicing and the destruction is still to be seen today at various sites around the district, so much so that FOBIF could do a tour of them. I for one do not attend any function in the room named after this symbol of such a greedy self interested individual. May i take the opportunity to at least get the conversation going and suggest re naming this space after not only a descendant of the gold rush miners but someone who cared and worked passionately for the environment. Yes i am talking about Doug Ralph.