2 Minutes with Ray Richardson

Ray is the coordinator for the North Lawson bushcare group that has recently partnered with the home school network.

What brought you to Bushcare?

I was concerned with the amount of weeds in public areas and I have environmental concerns. I also have a love of indigenous vegetation.

 What are the challenges (if any) you find both positive and negative?

Getting enough people coming along to bushcare to keep the group going was always a concern and the size of the site and the weed population on the site.

The positives are seeing the differences we are making and seeing that the plants we have planted have taken off. I also appreciate the public who comment on how good the site is looking.

What is your favourite/most hated plant and why?

My Favourite is any Grevillea as there is such a variety of shape, form and habit and they are hardy.

I also claim to have the largest Grevillea Bronze Rambler in the mountains as the trunk has a girth the size of a dinner plate.

My most hated plant is Blackberry as it is difficult to remove and reinfests so easily. You also need to be well equipped to deal with it due to the thorns.

If you could invite four of the people who inspire you to dinner, who would you pick?

I would pick Barry Humphreys and his various characters, Gough Whitlam, Bruce Beresford and Robin Williams the presenter on the ABC science show.



Factors influencing deoxygenation following an unintended whole of water body herbicide treatment of aquatic weed cabomba in a natural wetland in the Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

This Paper was presented by Aquatic Systems Officer Christina Day at a National Conference

 Christina Day 1, Ian A. Wright2, Amy St Lawrence1, Robert Setter1, Geoffrey Smith1

  1. Environment Branch, Blue Mountains City Council, Locked Bag 1005, Katoomba, NSW, 2780. [email protected]
  2. School of Science and Health, University of Western Sydney, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith, NSW 2751. [email protected]

Key Points

  • The recently registered SharkTM Aquatic Herbicide (240g/L carfentrazone-ethyl) was used at Glenbrook Lagoon to treat an infestation of cabomba, one of the first applications of this scale in Australia.
  • Water quality and ecological effects were monitored to determine the impacts of the herbicide on a large natural water body.
  • One year later, monitoring programs show a return to healthy dissolved oxygen levels; a healthy population of native fish and turtles; and no evidence of cabomba or weed water lily.
  • This case study highlights the challenges involved with planning and implementing a large scale aquatic weed control program and the importance of understanding and careful consideration of the current physical, chemical and biological conditions of the individual water body being targeted.

Download the full Glenbrook Lagoon paper at:



Bifenthrin pesticide contamination: impacts and recovery at Jamison Creek, Wentworth Falls

BMCC Council’s Aquatic Systems Officer Amy St Lawrence presented this paper at National Conference.

Amy St Lawrence1, Ian A. Wright2, Robert B. McCormack3, Christina Day1, Geoffrey Smith1 and Brian Crane1

  1. Blue Mountains City Council, Locked Bag 1005, Katoomba, NSW 2780. Email: [email protected]
  2. School of Science and Health, University of Western Sydney, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith, NSW 2751.Email: [email protected]
  3. Australian Aquatic Biological Pty Ltd, PO Box 3, Karuah, NSW 2324. Email: [email protected]

Key Points

  • Jamison Creek in the Blue Mountains was contaminated by a pesticide, Bifenthrin, in July 2012
  • The pesticide caused a mass crayfish kill and severe, adverse effects on aquatic macroinvertebrates
  • Eighteen months later, the macroinvertebrate community (including crayfish) has recovered well
  • The incident highlights the potential hazards of urban pesticide use and the risks associated with direct stormwater connections between urban areas and natural waterways.

Download the full Jamison Creek paper at:



The Depot’s New Arrivals

In the recent moving of the furniture around the depot we have disturbed the yearly nesting of our local Masked lapwing (Vanellus miles) they have a clutch of three eggs and are guarding their territory like their chicks are about to hatch. Staff meticulously and very slowly moved the stone block nest so as not to disturb the nesting birds.


Since we took this photo two little chicks have hatched from three eggs.


Photo courtesy of Sharon Huxley

Website News

 Your new websitewww.bluemountainsbushcare.org.au is open for each group to have their own page. The idea behind this is that you can add your own information to these pages. For example you could upload a photo or two from your workday using your smart phone or put your plant list up from your site. Its your choice. The weeds website is in the process of being updated and there is an opportunity for volunteers to be involved. If you would like to be part of the process please contact Erin Hall at the Bushcare office.


Farewell, Kerry Brown

Kerry Brown was the wonderful coordinator of the Medlow Bath Bushcare group from the beginning in 2005 ’til this year. She passed away in June. Kerry was warm, kind, calm, generous, always positive, always looking to see how she could help others while making light of her own difficulties. She personified the Adam Lindsay Gordon lines:

life is mostly froth and bubble, two things stand like stone, kindness in another’s trouble, courage in your own.

Kerry is greatly missed, not only in Bushcare but in the larger community, to which she contributed in many ways.


by Jill Rattray

Vale, Boz Brooks

Boz was one of the founding members of both Tree Fern Gully and Marmion Swamp bushcare groups. She was an active and pivotal member. We remember her as hard working, cheerful, full of fun and ideas. We are greatly saddened by her death.

Boz will never be forgotten. She had a keen intellect, and worked with dedication and determination to make a positive difference through her strong commitment to Bushcare, and to our North Leura environment and community. Council recognised her efforts with two Bushcare awards at this year’s Picnic. She is a local legend: her name and her work will live on.

The Welsh poet Dylan Thomas wrote in a poem for his dying father:

Do not go gentle into this dark night
But rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Boz raged — and raged! Good on you, Boz!


Farewell, Roger Nethercote

Roger was one of the foundation members the Linksview Landcare Group. He had just completed 10 years of Landcare volunteering and was on long service leave from Penrith City Council before retiring in July this year. Unfortunately,  he was struck down with a sudden, unexpected illness and passed away in February. Within days, we had lost a man who was not only a valued member of our group, but a man whose talents and dedication will be missed by the Blue Mountains and Penrith communities.

Roger’s service to the people of the Blue Mountains and Penrith Councils over the past thirty-five years has been recognized by both councils. Roger provided leadership in the area of city and environmental planning, as well as  dedicating time to Landcare and Springwood Athletics.

Recognition of his value to Springwood Athletics as, Team Manager and Equipment Manager, is indicated by a Life Membership and Volunteer of the Year award granted in 2010. The club has now introduced the Roger Nethercote Perpetual Trophy for  the most improved athlete for the year, in recognition of his many years of dedicated service.

Roger was a relaxed, easy going, cheerful member of our group whose natural modesty hid the extent of his abilities and achievements in both his volunteering and his career. His love for the environment was obvious and his wide range of experience and interests made for very enjoyable conversations both during our bush regeneration and over our breaks for a cuppa.

Roger’s wife Jenny has continued to work with our Landcare group, while their children, Kristy and Andrew have continued with their new careers despite the ravages and disruption to their lives by the recent bushfire and loss of a very special husband and father.

Roger will be proud of them.

by Chris Gorman


How to Compost your weeds

None of your bushcare weeds need to go to landfill – they can all be composted, including seeds & tubers. The exception is corms (Montbretia and Watsonia) which we will cover soon.

This hot composting method will enable you to compost down all the weeds from your bushcare site in about three months to use on your veggie garden. It is a method that is best done in a   garden rather than bushcare sites because of the concentration of   nutrients which leach into the soil. Nothing needs to be purchased except maybe the steel mesh when you first set up.

Here are the steps:

  1. SELECT A LOCATION  choose somewhere that will benefit from the nutrients that will leach into the ground; eg under a fruit tree, upslope of your vegie garden, NOT near bushland or a creek. It is useful to have at least 2 going at once.
  2. CONSTRUCT A FRAME The minimum size of compost needed to generate sufficient heat is 1 cubic metre; ie 1 m x 1 m x 1 m high. The larger it is the better. Steel mesh with 50mm X 50 mm squares is an ideal material and comes in sheets of 2000 x 1200. Cut 2 sheets into 1/2s giving 4 panels of 1m X 1.2m. Then wire 3 sides together using tie wire, leaving the front one open for now. This will allow you to start filling the bin easily without straining your back.
  3. BASE LAYER Lay down a layer of sticks or loose material that will provide aeration.
  4. PROP A BARRIER IN FRONT OF THE BIN  about 500 mm high to keep the contents in place. This temporary low ‘front door’ will allow for ease of piling till it is about ½ full. Some props will be needed to hold it in place – bricks, rocks or full kitchen scraps buckets.
  5. BROWN LAYER – CARBON Add a layer of dried vegetation about 250mm thick.   This can be – dried weeds, and also shredded paper, dried leaves or wood shavings. To dry out weeds from site they will need to be stored off the ground and in containers/bags that don’t trap the moisture.
  6.  GREEN LAYER – NITROGENAdd a layer of green material about 150mm thick – fresh weeds and vegetable scraps. These will be the weeds mostly recently collected which are still green, such as weed grasses. Green kitchen waste needs to be stored carefully to ensure it doesn’t attract animals. Do not include meat or fats in this.
  7. ACCELERANT LAYER Add a layer of accelerant materials about 50mm thick – chook manure, grass clippings, comfrey, yarrow, urine, dolomite, seaweed.
  8.  WATER After each accelerant layer, add water in any of the following ways (or just water is also fine)Weed tea – made by soaking weeds in water for at least a few days, but longer is better; Comfrey tea – same as weed tea, except more potent, particularly if soaking for weeks; Seaweed mix;
  9. REPEAT steps 5, 6, 7 & 8 until the bin is about ½ – 2/3 full
  10. WIRE FRONT ‘DOOR’ ON When bin is about ½ full wire on the front panel and remove the temporary barrier
  11. ADD A LID Continue to repeat steps 5, 6, 7 & 8 until the bin is full – finish with the carbon layer. It is best to overfill it as the contents will pack down within a day or two.   It is useful to have something to stop the top layer from blowing away and to let the rain in. This is only needed for a short time. Old cotton clothes, coir mats, old carpet or shade cloth can work.
  12. WRAP IT UP Whilst your bin needs good air flow, it works best if the heat can also be retained. Shade cloth or sediment control fabric works well to cut down the cooling effect of breezes. Alternatively you may locate the bin where it is protected from winds by shrubs, a fence or some other semi-solid barrier.
  13.  HANG OUT THE WEED BAGS & CLEAN UP It is important to hang out the weed bags to dry for about a week, then store for reuse.   Allow time to clean out and dry kitchen scraps buckets. Next is you – you will be a bit smelly too! The bin may be a bit smelly for about a day but it soon goes.
  14.  USE COMPOST ON YOUR OWN GARDEN  You do not need to do anything more for about 3 months – no turning to aerate the bin etc.After about 3 months it should be ready, except there will be some materials at the edges that need to be put aside to go in the next bin. Take off the front panel, so it is easy to get at. You can then keep the bin in this location or move it – it is easy enough to move with the 3 panels connected. When you have collected enough material you can start again