Category Archives: News

Farewell John Hollis

It is with a very sad heart that we say goodbye to John.  He was dearly loved by his family, cherished by his many friends and his dedication to the community is a loss that will be felt by everyone who had the privilege to know him.  I can only imagine part of the loss that his family is feeling and pass on our sincere condolences and support.

I met John many years ago when we teamed up to walk our dogs.  I say “our dogs” but really, John was walking his neighbour’s dog as the neighbour did not have time and the dog needed exercise. It was a classic example of the help that John gave without fuss or any strings attached. During these daily walks I not only marvelled at his fitness but also his pride in his family and commitment to the community.

He was a long standing and well regarded member of the Warrimoo Bushfire Brigade.  He held many positons in the Brigade and at all times provided non-judgemental support and wise counsel to all members.  Many of the members referred to John as “father” as a mark of their respect.  The Brigade recognised him as a life member, an award that must be earnt by at least 10 years of meritorious service. John was a more than worthy recipient of this award.

John was an inaugural member of the Cross Street Bushcare and the Long Angle Landcare groups. He regularly attended work days for many years while he was physically able. His dedication and concern for us and the protection of the bushland was appreciated by all. He had a sense of humour that lifted our spirits and we enjoyed his contributions to our conversations at the afternoon tea. We have missed him at the volunteer BBQs held in recent years but still remember his joyous company of past times. I am sure we will continue to contemplate the “good old days” of John’s company of past times for many more years.

There were many other groups that John generously gave his time to. These included the Warrimoo Citizens Association and Warrimoo Tennis Court and Hall Committees. John was also a proud volunteer for the Sydney Olympics. It gave him great satisfaction to reflect on the time that he was the driver for the Israeli athletes and officials. This was a demonstration of John’s character as he enjoyed helping others in need without any expectation of personal reward; the opportunity to help was reward enough.

John and one of his many friends

Many probably do not know that John was also a skilful negotiator. On two occasions, as a result of John’s manoeuvring, I ended up owning dogs that I had not bargained for. On the first occasion after waiting for his chance (it was a well-timed manoeuvre) , John suggested that I take a rescue dog home to see if it would fit into the household.  Of course the rest of the story was predictable.  On the second, we were at a BBQ and were trying to convince John and Doreen to take on a dog that a family reluctantly had to give up.  John was too wily a negotiator for us and when my wife Joan, in frustration said that if no one else wanted the dog we would take it on, he made his move.  Before we could change our minds John arranged for the dog to be delivered to us.  Of course he knew we were dog lovers and that they would be well looked after.  He also knew we were in need of the dogs and so, while he was quick to strike, he also knew that both the dogs and us would benefit from his match making.  These ordinary examples of John’s insightful and compassionate nature are a tribute to his character and my fond memories of him.

I have treasured memories of the afternoons that Joan, Doreen, John and I spent relaxing on his porch in pleasant conversation while watching the happenings in the street.  John would occasionally greet passers-by and some would call in to catch up.  John loved Warrimoo and was surrounded by many dear friends who have had the good fortune to have a shared the life of a modest, genuine, caring man.

To respect John’s legacy, we should strive to continue with his high standards of commitment, compassion, practical help and loyalty that was at all times willingly volunteered. This is the very least that we can do to honour a very dear mate.

Vale John Hollis.

 

Bushcare Awards 2016

The view of the Megalong Escarpment provided a fabulous backdrop for the annual Bushcare Picnic

As always, the Bushcare Team had a very difficult time deciding which of our very many fabulous volunteers should be recognised with a Mayoral Award this year but after much deliberation (and next year’s short list already drawn up !) the following dedicated, hard working, committed and all round wonderful people were chosen:

HARD YAKKA 

Helen Rose and David Churches Leura Park 

John Hill accepted the Hard Yakka Award on behalf of Helen Rose David Churches

Members of both Leura Park Bushcare and Prince Henry Cliff Walk (attending twice month). Since discovering Bushcare by attending a bird walk and talk organised by Gordon Falls Bushcare several years ago, David and Helen have regularly attended and actively participated in bushcare in the Leura Falls Creek catchment. David and Helen are also strong advocates for Bushcare involvement at Springwood Bushwalking Club and frequently contribute to submission writing and often plan their holidays around Bushcare commitments !

MASTERS AWARD

Alan Dean (left) with Mayor Mark Greenhill and Chris Watson (right)

Chris Watson & Alan Dean, Jackson Park Faulconbridge   

Chris Watson Chris is a long-term member of Jackson Park Bushcare Group, but he undertakes a lot of additional work and monitoring in his own time.  His tenacity, stoic approach and excellent strategies keep this site looking fantastic!

Alan Dean – Alan is a founding and long-term member of Jackson Park Bushcare Group (almost 20 years).  He is extremely dedicated, hard-working and has been pivotal in transforming this site over time.

Both Alan and Chris undertake any work required on site, despite most weather conditions and difficulties of the terrain or weed infestation challenge.  They don’t even bother with an afternoon tea break!

JUNIOR BUSHCARE LEGEND

Liam Booyens 12 years old –  Garguree Swampcare

Liam Booyens with Jasmine Payget and Mayor Mark Greenhill

Liam is a young and enthusiastic Bushcare member who has been involved with Garguree Swamp care for 7 years. He has spent these years connecting to country in many ways by watching and listening, playing and working to restore country.

He has a great sense of place at Garguree and his confidence is growing as he does.Liam has also spent 3 weekends wrangling sycamores at Jenolan

He has been involved in making Bee Homes and has attended a habitat workshop in Bilpin and the night before the Bushcare Picnic he spent the night camped out enjoying the bio blitz and spotting arboreal mammals.

All of these experiences enhance his natural ability and love of the natural world around him and we hope he is involved with Bush care for many years to come.

LANDCARE LEGEND: Karleen Waldron

Growing up in the lower Blue Mountains helped develop a love which has inspired this person to both advocate , volunteer and work for protection of our bushland and all the creatures that live in it. This passion has led to volunteering over many years with Bushcare, Landcare & WIRES.

Karleen started Long Angle Landcare group & is a core member of the Fitzgeralds Creek Catchment group. She has strongly advocated for the protection of the Sun Valley / Fitzgeralds Creek catchment over the past two decades.

Karleen’s tireless advocacy has paid off over the years, with her work together with the Long Angle Group being instrumental in convincing Sydney Water not to proceed with plans to discharge sewage outfalls into Fitzgeralds Creek, and leveraging multiple grants to target weeds from their source points in Sun Valley all the way down the catchment to the confluence with the Nepean River.

Working in the bush regeneration industry for over 15 years, she has also extended herself to transfer her considerable skills to volunteer groups and to many Blue Mountains TAFE students, teaching Cert 3 Conservation & Land Management. She is well beloved and respected by many students & volunteers she has worked with over the past 10 years and through them has made a significant contribution to the local bush regeneration industry.

           

BUSHCARE LEGEND OF THE YEAR: Shirley Brown

Shirley Brown, Bushcare legend of the Year

Shirley first started Bushcare  over 30 years ago with the National Trust at Middle Harbour (Roseville), in the early 1980s when living in Sydney.  She then worked occasional days in the Blue Mountains with ACTV (Australian Conservation Trust Volunteers).

Shirley Brown is a true Bushcare legend … she is currently a consistent member of 5 Bushcare Groups as well as many swampcare events.  Her commitment extends well beyond those individual sites through her contribution to catchment coordination and a myriad of other small but important tasks.  Most importantly Shirley has introduced many people to bushcare, bringing them along to one of her many groups – she has been involved with 10 groups over the years (at one time it was 8 concurrently).

After moving to the mountains, Shirley joined up with the Friends of the Blue Mountains which began in 1989, to weed around Echo Point, Jamison Creek, Darks Common and the lantana in the Lapstone Tunnel area.

She became a regular member of 2 local groups from their beginnings in the mid 90s – Lindemann Rd in 1995 and Valley of the Waters in 1996.

After her family commitments reduced she became more involved from 2004, joining another 5 groups, (2 of which she was a founding member):

  • MINNE HA HA BUSHCARE
  • GOVETTS ST BUSHCARE
  • KATOOMBA CREEK BUSHCARE
  • BRAHMA KUMARIS, and
  • UPPER KATOOMBA CREEK BUSHCARE
  • LEURA PARK

Shirley is always keen to get stuck into the bush, and is always the first to head off and start work while the rest of us faff about getting ready and chatting in the morning. She keeps us Bushcare Officers in check, making sure we are aware of any significant weed or native species present in the work area, and letting us know if anyone in the group needs to get a lesson or reminder about plant id.

Whilst not keen on meetings, Shirley does recognise the importance of planning and coordinating and has contributed to the Govetts & Katoomba Creek Catchment Coordination Group since  Sept 2006. Shirley has been untiring in promoting Bushcare and sustainable living. For many years she assisted with editing our newsletter and she has been an instrumental advocate for disseminating the Safe & SustaInable Gardening booklet she helped to develop.

Bushcare Legends Steve Barratt and Shirley Brown hand on the Golden Trowel

GROUP AWARDS:

10 Years

  • Everglades Landcare Group
  • Coates Park Bushcare Group
  • Woodford Glen Bushcare Group
  • Mount Irvine Landcare Group

15 Years

  • Explorers Reserve Bushcare Group
  • Cross St and Rickard Rd Sports Common Bushcare  Group
  • Bellata Court Bushcare Group

21 Years

  • Katoomba Creek Bushcare Group
  • Sublime Point Bushcare Group

30 Years

  • Centenary Reserve Bushcare Group

    David Coleby and Rae Druitt with Councillor Chris van der Kley

How healthy are our waterways?

Beautiful creeks and waterways are a wonderful part of our City – but how healthy are they?

Since 1998, Council has regularly tested waterway health at up to 50 waterways across the City. As a result, we now have one of the richest water quality data sets in Australia, and Council uses this data to inform its catchment improvement programs.

Council has published detailed water quality reports on its website since 2006. From July 2016, Council has also produced a summary ‘snapshot’ report, with the aim of making waterway health information more available to the community. The snapshot reports are mailed to all ratepayers in July.

The full waterway health reports, as well as the summary “snapshot” reports, are also available on Council’s website at www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/waterways.

The ‘snapshot’ report shows each sample waterway in the Blue Mountains, the catchment within which it flows, and its state of ecological health (rated Excellent, Good, Fair or Poor). In the 2017 report, 52% of tested waterways are in good condition or better, while 48% of waterways are in fair to poor condition.

Our city is lucky to have some of Australia’s best waterways, but as these results show, they are also vulnerable to pollution – especially due to stormwater runoff from urban areas.

Urban runoff is consistently identified as the number one environmental threat to our World Heritage listing and presents challenges for local drinking water catchments, Endangered Ecological Communities, threatened species and the City’s tourism reputation.

Everything that goes into our gutters and streets ends up in our creeks.

Try these few simple actions to help protect our waterways from urban runoff:

  • Keep these pollutants out of drains: litter, soil and sand, fertilisers and pesticides, detergents, oil, animal droppings and garden waste.
  • Install a rainwater tank to capture rainwater from your roof and use it regularly.
  • Design your garden to allow stormwater to soak into the ground.
  • Control invasive weeds on your property.
  • Don’t dump fish or plants in waterways.

To find out more about local waterways, visit www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/waterways

Leura Falls Creek Catchment 2017 weed blitz morning

Scouts help out at Leura Falls Creek photo by Jenny Hill

The 27th May 2017 provided us with perfect weather for our annual get-together in the Leura Falls Creek Catchment. This year it was at Vale St and we were joined by students from Katoomba Primary School SQID Squad and children from the 1st Blackheath Scouts and Cubs. The children planted 434 plants along the creek line and Vale St. They were helped by Ed and Adrian from the Bush Doctors, Eric Mahony, scout leaders, Katoomba Primary teacher Sally Dare and parents. All up we had 42 volunteers come to the morning. Work also included removal of woody weeds , follow-up weeding and mulching.

The morning was organised by Council’s bushcare. Big thanks go to Karen Hising, Tracy Abbas and Eric Mahony and of course to everyone who came. At morning tea we had a presentation by the SQID Squad, and updates from the Leura Falls Creek Catchment Working Group and National Parks and Wildlife Service. We also had a small presentation to Frances Dutton who started the Vale St bushcare group and Lynne Carson who has worked with the Vale St and Cumberland Walkway groups for more than 10 years. Frances and Lynne are leaving the mountains and we wish them all the best.

The morning was highly enjoyable and productive. We can’t wait for next year’s get-together.

Little end note: If you didn’t know … SQID stands for Stormwater Quality Improvement Device and the Katoomba PS SQID Squad are an environmental group who are involved in a number of projects as part of their stewardship of the catchment.

Bushcare Office News

The past couple of months has been full of change in the Bushcare Team. We have welcomed Stephanie Chew and Jane Anderson as permanent part-time Bushcare Officers – some people would know Jane and Stephanie due to their work as casual Bushcare Officers over the past few years. We have also welcomed back Nathan Summers to the team. Nathan worked for 12 years within the Bushcare Team before joining the Recreation Team so he brings with him a wealth of experience. Nathan will be responsible for looking after the groups when your Bushcare Officer takes holidays and will work on projects and events to support your Bushcare Officer.

There has been changes afoot with legislation as the Biosecurity Act replaces the Noxious Weeds Act. This brings to us new suite of language as listed weeds are now classified as Biosecurity Risks and the control measures now called outcomes. More information can be found here http://www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/index.cfm?s=C576E07E-3048-1075-63533E928C097BE8 

Council has been reviewing asbestos management procedures on all its sites which brings me to remind all volunteers that if you see asbestos on your site leave the area and mention it to your Bushcare Officer. The process is the officer will lodge an incident report and it will be assessed by a relevant council officer.

In conclusion the changes for the team leader role. I have resigned from the position to take on a Project Officer role within the Bushcare Team. I am delighted for the new challenges that lay ahead and will share this position while my kids are little with Tanya Mein. She brings a wealth of knowledge working with community gardens and Bushcare with Hornsby Council. I am looking forward to learning from her and delivering projects and events.  I would also like to thank Monica for the fantastic job she has done filling in working with parts of the Bushcare Team Leader position.

Nature Based Recreation Tourism Licenses

Notice of intention to issue Licences for the use of BMCC managed lands for Organised Nature Based Recreation and Tourism activities for the 2017-2018 Licensing Year

This process will legitimise the ongoing use of these lands. The term of any such licence will not exceed one year and renewal is only available through reapplication.

Submissions need to be made by 5pm Wednesday 2 August 2017.

blue mountains have your say here https://www.bluemountainshaveyoursay.com.au/NBRT with an online submission form.

With a link from our council website as well here http://www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/yourcouncil/publicnoticesexhibitions/nbrtlicencerenewal20172018

Film Celebrates South Lawson Bushcare’s Values and Achievements

South Lawson Park Bushcare photo by Vera Hong

Last year marked 20 years for this stalwart group of volunteers and they have successfully confronted just about every issue a Bushcare group can face – not just weeds but serious erosion and the ongoing impacts of urban development. To celebrate this achievement the film Blue Mountains Bushcare: South Lawson Park has been produced by Peter Ardill and Vera Hong. Directed by Vera Hong (Seconds Minutes Hours Productions) the film examines bushland values, the ongoing threats that urban bushland faces and how the bushcare group has managed these challenges. The film contains some beautifully filmed scenes of the Lawson Creek catchment and is available for viewing at https://vimeo.com/verahong/south-lawson-bushcare Thanks to Greater Sydney Local Land Services, the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program and Blue Mountains City Council for project support and funding.

The South Lawson Group first started in mid-1995 with the then only Blue Mountains City Council Bushcare officer, Virginia Bear. Our aim was to regenerate and maintain the health of the upper catchment of Lawson Creek, which flows into Bedford Creek and the Nepean River.

The early years were spent mostly at the top of the Waratah St/Honour Ave section of the reserve (see map below) where Japanese honeysuckle, Privet, Montbretia, Blackberry and Broom were major invasive weeds. Some seed collecting, planting and track work were done, the latter with help from TAFE students under the guidance of a Bushcare Officer/TAFE teacher.

We expanded our weeding to the creekline and over the years to the surrounds of the BMX track and soccer field. In more recent times we have been extending the riparian buffer zone along the creek and swamp of the former golf course area by planting and allowing the bush to regenerate naturally. Some of us are also actively involved in Streamwatch and this process has been both informative and complementary for our Bushcare work.

Extending the buffer to the riparian corridor by planting with local natives.

The main vegetation communities along the creek are Eucalyptus woodland, Blue Mountains Swamp and a riparian strip of assorted native plant species, including rainforest species. The threatened species Persoonia acerosa and the endemic species Acacia ptychoclada are also present.

Our group is very committed and we are fortunate to have a few bush regeneration practitioners amongst us. Our website is also worth a look at: http://southlawsonpark.bushcarebluemountains.org.au It has some interesting photos and excellent educational material.

Bushcare News April 2017

Swampcare logo kindly designed by Scott Marr

Dear Bushcare, Swampcare, Landcare and others interested in caring for our bushland.  This issue of Gecko is being prepared in the midst of incredibly wet days so it is only fitting that it be full of swamp-related news! We’re celebrating ten years of Swampcare this year, and so a big thank you to Lyndal for the articles and for the immense amount she has contributed to developing our Swampcare volunteer program. Lyndal’s passion, skills and experience are a large reason for the success of the volunteer program and her ongoing commitment to making sure the Blue Mountains Swamps get the protection they so rightly deserve is to be congratulated.

Also to be congratulated are our BMCC Senior Citizen award winners— Erst Carmichael, Paul Vale, Roger Walker and Rae Druitt. Those of you who know them will not be surprised that they have been recognised in this year’s Senior Citizens Awards, and those who don’t can find out more inside.

And while we’re on the subject of awards, this year’s Bushcare awards will be announced at our annual “Thank You Bushcare” picnic in the Megalong Valley on Saturday 29 April. The bus will be available for those requiring transport, there’ll be food, good company, congratulations and for the first time this year we are adding on a Biodiversity Camp and Survey. I hope to catch up with you there, or at Bushcare!

– Monica, for the Bushcare Team