Friends of the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden Port Augusta Incorporated


The Friends of the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden Port Augusta, Incorporated

NEWS RELEASE: 21-07-2000


The Society

Current Newsletter

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John Zwar

Ph (08) 867 0324 ah


Gwen Leane

Ph (08) 8643 6191


Bob Baird

Ph (08) 8643 6343

Tradesperson / Gardener

Bernie Haase

Ph (08) 8641 1443 ah
Ph (08) 8641 1049 w

NEXT EVENT: AGM & August meeting - Saturday 19th August 2000

AUGUST MEETING - AGM: Our AGM will be held on Saturday 19th August, at 1.00pm in the WMC Herbarium Meeting Room at the Garden. The usual reports will be presented, followed by the election of officers for the next year. The Guest Speaker for this meeting will be Neville Bonney, Manager of Field Operations with Greening Australia. In this role he provides oversight and technical advice to revegetation areas, to the farm forestry support programme and helps institutions with revegetation works, especially by direct seeding. Neville has had a strong empathy with understanding and creating natural landscapes and has been involved in growing native plants for many years. He is also an author of a number of books including "What Seed is That", "Economic Native Trees and Shrubs for South Australia" and "Plant Identikit Common Plants of the Flinders Ranges" which I had the pleasure of launching at one of our Friends meetings held in Adelaide in 1993.

Neville's talk will include two topics, 1. Opportunities for Arid Lands Farm Forestry, and 2. Eucalyptus cladocalyx (Sugar Gum), its origins, distribution, and uses, along with other information on this South Australian tree which is found in the Flinders Ranges near Port Augusta on ridges, slopes and around the bases of mountains from Wirrabara to Dutchmans Stern. Neville is an excellent speaker and these topics will be of interest to many of our members, so please make an effort to attend.

GARDEN LOCATION The AALBG's main entrance is off the Stuart Highway (Woomera Road) approx. 1.5km north of the junction with the Eyre Highway at Port Augusta West. Follow the entrance road into the garden to the car park (about 1.2km). Besides the Bluebush Cafe, the Visitor Reception Building houses a fine interpretive display, a large range of Australian made gift items and books in the shop (ideal gifts), and toilet facilities as well as the adjoining WMC Herbarium/Meeting Room. Why not arrive early, visit the Garden and enjoy lunch in the Bluebush Café?

LAST MEETING: Michael Wigg, a National Parks Ranger for the South Flinders District was the guest speaker. Michael, who is based at the Mambray Creek Head Quarters spoke about management of parks in the area; Alligator Gorge, Mount Brown and the Dutchman's Stern Conservation Parks. Michael's illustrated presentation covered national parks operations in the South Flinders Ranges. Michael is a former teacher having taught at schools in Port Augusta and Quorn for seventeen years before joining National Parks five years ago. His presentation heightened our awareness of the wealth of natural resources, preserved in parks close to Port Augusta.

NEW MEMBERS: A special welcome is extended to recently joined members of the Friends.

COMMITTEE MEETING: Committee members please note: A brief committee meeting will be held in the WMC Herbarium Meeting Room at 10.00am on Saturday 19th August before the meeting at 1.00pm. There is much to discuss, especially planning for the Eremophila Festival to be held at the Garden on September 9th.

TREASURER: Our Treasurer for the last few years, Alison Daw has resigned from the position and moved to Mount Gambier to live. Alison did an excellent job as treasurer for which we are most appreciative as this is always a difficult position to fill. Some of the Friends Committee farewelled her at a morning tea in the Bluebush Cafe at the Garden before she left Port Augusta. Alison said she had enjoyed working with the Friends, but is looking forward to a much cooler climate and becoming involved in community activities there. We all wish Alison well in her new home in Mount Gambier and say THANKS for a job very well done. Our New Treasurer is Bob Baird who has been a keen volunteer at the Garden for some time, and was formerly involved in small business. We welcome Bob to the position and thank him for filling this role.

Friends are we/come to participate in these bird watching outings.

Sunday 6th August 2000 - Pichi Richi Tourist Camp - meet at complex 8.00am

Sunday 3rd September 2000 - AALBG 7.30am

Saturday 23rd & Sunday 24th September 2000 - camp out - Carriewerloo Station

Sunday 15th October 2000 - Mambray Creek - Meet at Mambray Creek Roadhouse 8.00am

Sunday 12th November 2000 - Port Patterson - meet at weighbridge Highway One 7.00am

Sunday 10th December 2000 - Bird Lake Port Augusta - meet at Pistol Club Old ETSA Road 7.00am
For more detail and further information contact Peter on telephone (08) 8642 5723.



The second Eremophila Festival to be held at the AALBG will be held on Sat 9th Sept, beginning at 10am. Following the success of the first Festival which was a Friends initiative two years ago, it was decided that the Eremophila Festival would be held biennially. Gwen Leane in particular has put a great deal of effort into organising this years event, with help from other committee members. Several nurseries specialising in arid zone native plants, including eremophilas will be present along with cottage crafts from the region. The Friends stall will be well stocked with eremophilas and other plants propagated by Friends volunteers. Jeff Cook, entertainer, poet, speaker and author will be MC for the day and provide some entertainment as well. Jeff, from Minleton is well known to ABC Radio Country Hour listeners for his weekly poem, relating to aspects of life in the bush. Desert Voices will entertain with their unique blend of voices and a local cultural dance group will perform. Besides the excellent fare at the Bluebush Café, there will be supplementary food stalls. Friends Garden Guides will provide walking tours of the Garden, and a mini bus has been booked to provide bus tours, which will include some of the 11km of tracks developed in the Garden, and other features not accessed by the shorter walking tours. The local Naval Cadets will be assisting at the gate with a visitor survey for local tourism purposes, issuing free raffle tickets and helping in other ways too.

This is an event not to be missed so do try to attend if possible and let others who may be interested know about it. The Garden should be looking its best in early September. Entry to the Garden and the Festival is free. If you want plants, including species which are rare in cultivation, be early for the best selection. The first Eremophila Festival attracted about 1,000 people, many of whom were first time visitors to the Garden, and we expect more to attend this year.

If you are able to help on the day, or beforehand, please phone Gwen Leane on 8643 6191 to find out what is needed and how you may help. Thanks to Gwen and others for all the effort to date in organising the Festival!

GARDEN DONATIONS: Last Year, tourism representative on the AALBG Board (and Friends member) Pat Katnich organised the donation of an "Iron Ranger", a secure donation collection box provided by Hildabuilt of Hawker. They manufacture these for National Parks and we were keen to try one in the Garden as entry to the Garden is free, but of course donations from visitors are always welcome. The box was eventually located in the Eremophila Garden. At the last Friends Committee meeting it was agreed that the Friends purchase and donate to the Garden a second "Iron Ranger". This has been received and is currently being painted and prepared for installation near the entrance path to the Garden from the car park where it will be very obvious! It should be installed later this week.

AALBG WEB SITE: Work on this project continues with Friend Horst Weber of Dublin, Ireland, preparing the site with input from John Zwar and others. The site will be large and cover many aspects of the Garden and it is probable that it will go live (as a trial) by the time you receive the next News Release. The AALBG Board members who saw the work which has been undertaken to date at the last Board meeting were most impressed.

AALBG BOARD MEMBERSHIP: The AALBG Board of management is in effect a sub-committee of the Port Augusta City Council, the organisation responsible for running the Garden. Following Local Government elections shortly before the last AALBG Board meeting, protocol demanded that the positions of Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson be declared vacant. Councillor Chris Pycroft was nominated and me elected Chairperson, with John Zwar me elected as Deputy Chairman for the current term of the Council. Friends members on the Board are Brian Powell and Morry Vile, with Bruce Leane and Bernie Haase as alternate members. John Zwar is also the WMC representative, Pat Katnich represents the tourism sector. Port Augusta Mayor, Joy Baluch is also a member with City Manager Ian McSporran filling the role of Board Secretary.

AALBG PROGRESS REPORT by BERNIE HAASE, 22.5.2000 - 14.7.2000

It has been only a month and a half since the last report, but it has been a very busy period. Extra planting, labelling and recording has been done in the Stage one area.

Plastic covers have been placed over about 50 plants, known to be frost sensitive, in an effort to protect them from frost. There have been several heavy frosts already this year. Other plants have been sprayed with "Envy" which is a polymer substance which coats the plants and hopefully protects them from frost - it will be interesting to see how effective this product is.

The heat beds are now both fitted with frames which support a clear plastic cover for winter propagating. These can be covered with shade cloth in summer. Propagation of seeds and cuttings is continuing and seedlings are regularly being potted up.

New tracks funded by an Austrails Grant have been cleared, base laid, gravelled and rolled. Once signage is installed they will be complete. Boundary tracks have been graded and some new tracks cleared in the Research Area and to the north of the main building. Weed control on tracks has included spraying and hand weeding. Removal of rabbits and boxthorns from the site has continued. Buffel grass has been cleared from the adjacent areas to the garden beds and regional planting areas.

The rock wall under the railway bridge near Flinders Redcliff has been rebuilt to prevent motorbikes from entering the beach. The first bird hide has all but been completed and a track laid to it.

At the last Board meeting, Board members went for a tour by mini bus to inspect the Garden, check progress and look at areas for future development. This was the first time the Board had used a mini bus to inspect a large area of the Garden, and highlighted the value of such tours, which it was considered would be popular with older people and those not able to walk long distances.

We have an extra worker, Bob Starkey for two days a week for six months, from Skillshare on work experience.

A water main extension has been laid to the clay pan areas and quick release sprinklers installed. Walking paths will be built in the near future. The West Coast regional planting has had irrigation installed and plants growing in the nursery, collected last August by Friends on a collection trip to the far West Coast and Nullarbor have been planted. This area will be continuously added to as more suitable plants become available. Recording and labelling of this collection is the next job for this area.

Well, as you can see, it has been a busy month and a half, and there will be more very busy months ahead.

Bernie Haase


MEMBERSHIP: Would members please check the date on their News Release address label to see if their subscription is due? Renewed subscriptions are very much appreciated! Receipts are normally attached to the next news release to save on postage.

MEMBERSHIP CARDS: Don't forget to show your membership card in the AALBG shop to receive 10% discount on purchases - including meals.

FRIENDS REPRESENTATIVES on the AALBG Board, Morry Vile and Brian Powell are both making good progress following major heart surgery earlier in the year. It is good to have them both back on deck. Morry and Brian are active volunteers and have assisted with many significant developments in the Garden.

MAIN ENTRANCE: Transport SA is at present constructing a slip lane (passing lane) for northbound traffic on the Stuart Highway at the main entrance to the Garden.

ADELAIDE BOTANIC GARDEN FRIENDS TO VISIT: A group of 25 members of the Friends of the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide will visit the Garden on Tuesday 15th August. The morning will commence with a barbecue breakfast organised by Morry Vile at the Garden, followed by bird watching and a presentation on local birds by Peter Langdon and Bernie Haase. Our Friends Garden Guides will give our visitors a guided tour of the Garden, followed by a morning tea in the Bluebush Café hosted by the AALBG Board. The visitors will also inspect local gardens in Port Augusta and undertake a guided tour of the city, with lunch provided by the Port Augusta Garden Club. The group is staying overnight at the Stand pipe Motel. Our Friends are invited and encouraged to attend any of these functions to meet and socialise with our visitors, (on the basis that they pay for their own meal, or activity) as the visitors have pre paid. There will be room on the bus for some of our members to join the visitor on their town tour and inspection of local gardens. If interested in participating in the breakfast, bird walk and presentation, guided tour of the AALBG, morning tea at the Bluebush Café, town and local gardens tour on visiting bus and lunch, or dinner at the standpipe Motel in the evening, please register your interest with Bob Baird Ph: 8643 6343 for catering purposes, and to ensure that we do not exceed available places. This will be an excellent opportunity to meet Friends from a sister organisation so please make them welcome and join them for at least part of the day.

Following the visit to Port Augusta, the visitors continue to Woomera, Roxby Downs and Andamooka where they will meet Friends Pat Katnich and John Zwar visit gardens and environmental projects. On the return journey the group will visit Friends Fay and Brian Powell and inspect their impressive garden Endilloe, near Quorn, so their tour will show them the AALBG as well as other developments of interest with the opportunity to meet many of our members.

SEED BALLS TO THROW - AND GROW: News item from Friend Robin Faulkner of Pichi Richi Park.
Pichi Richi Park, situated in Pichi Richi Pass between Quorn and Port Augusta, has been awarded a grant towards the revegetation of the Park. The grant of $900 was awarded by WWOOF Pty Ltd. (Willing Workers on Organic Farms) of which the Park is a host member. Of the 7 awards made in Australia, Pichi Richi Park is the only recipient in SA. The Hon. Graham Gunn, MP presented the award to Gordon and Robin Faulkner on Saturday 27th May at 10.30am at a small meeting of supporters and well wishers at the Park. Our Friends group was represented by Brian Powell Bill Daniels, Julie Franks and Alison Daw. Members of the Flinders Christian Fellowship attending a spiritual retreat at the Park also joined in. Pastor Margaret Smith of Quorn closed the presentation with a blessing of the project.

Gordon and Robin Faulkner, owners of the Park are WWOOF hosts. WWOOF hosts provide accommodation, food and a family life for travellers, in return for 3 to 6 hours work for each night of accommodation. WWOOFers come from within Australia and overseas and are expected to help or do whatever there is to do - in the Park's case - grub out boxthorn, cook, paint, clean, garden, pick rocks, cut out mistletoe and make seed balls.

The grant is to set up the infrastructure to revegetate the Park using clay seed balls. The balls are designed to hide the seed in the clay and so stop ants and other insects from "stealing" the seed, keep the seed safe until conditions are right for it to germinate, and provide an opportunity for bushwalkers at the Park to participate in the revegetation of the Park by casting the clay balls as they walk.

WWOOFers prepare the seed balls - they mix a bit of fertiliser and mineral mix with the clay and add one or two seeds to set into a hard ball. This is not too scientific - and is heaps of fun. (Laughter is an essential WWOOFing trait). WWOOFers will also build a little propagation house to raise seed and cuttings for planting out by other WWOOFers. It will be irrigated using precious Park rain water supplies as the Park has very salty bore water and minimal soil - mainly clay and rock. Rather than dig rocks and irrigate with salt water, we prefer to broadcast seed and let nature take its course If scattered widely enough, there is sufficient growth to outgrow the rabbits, kangaroos, sheep and goats that range over the Park. Seed balls are a slow method, but very dependable, lots of fun and cheap. No ripping or irrigation.

All guests at the presentation were given a seed ball to cast before they left. More balls have been distributed by members of the Society for Growing Australian Plants from Kadina an Saturday when they visited for a botanical survey. The revegetation project is on the way!

If you want to learn more about seed balls, contact Robin Faulkner on (08) 8648 6075.

VOLUNTEER INSURANCE COVERAGE: All volunteers working at the Garden are covered by Council's insurance coverage, but each MUST sign a statement which indicates the work they are undertaking on behalf of the Garden Board within the AALBG site. All volunteers please check with Bruce Leane, Bernie or with Pauline Hedger at the Garden to ensure that you have signed the appropriate paperwork to ensure coverage in the event of accident or injury.

Issued 21.7.2000 by John Zwar President. The Friends of the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden, Port Augusta Inc., P0 Box 2040 Port Augusta SA 5700. Ph (08) 8671 0324 ah, (08) 8671 8558 w, Facsimile C/- (08) 8671 0179.


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