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: 28-04-2003


The Society

Current Newsletter

Application Form


John Zwar

Ph (08) 867 0324 ah


Chrissie Hallett

Ph (08) 8641 2937


Bob Baird

Ph (08) 8643 6343

Tradesperson / Gardener

Bernie Haase

Ph (08) 8641 1443 ah
Ph (08) 8641 0711w

NEXT EVENT:- SATURDAY, 10th May 2003, 1.00pm in the WMC Herbarium/Meeting Room.
All friends and others interested are warmly invited to attend.

Our guest speaker for the May meeting will be Stephen Forbes, Director of the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide. His two part presentation will cover “The Role of Botanic Gardens” as well as “A Glimpse of the Flora of East Africa”. Steve will provide an insight into the contemporary role of botanic gardens as both gardens, and as cultural and scientific institutions. He will talk about the directions he's taking the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide, and their focus as both a garden and an institution exploring our relationship with our environment. This future is highlighted in the Garden's by-line 'Plants, culture & environment', and is consistent with the fundamental concern for the type of place we want our society to be in the future. Steve has returned from living and holidaying in East Africa, and will not be able to resist showing some of the astonishing plants and scenery of the region including Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and the Ruwenzori (Mountains of the Moon) in Uganda.

Stephen began his career working on botanical surveys in south eastern Australia and later in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. After experiencing systematic botany at the National Herbarium of Victoria he decided to pursue his interest in the relationship between plants and their environment. He completed a Masters degree exploring ecological approaches to landscape management at Bath, and returned to Australia where he worked as Superintendent for the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne. After a stint as Business Manager for the Forests Service nurseries in Victoria he moved to Western Australia as Director Living Collections and Natural Heritage at Kings Park and Botanic Garden where he was responsible for revitalisation of the Botanic Gardens and taking Kings Park to Chelsea Flower Show for their first Gold Medal.

In 1998 he took the position as Director, Botanic Gardens and Public Programs at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney and was responsible for significant upgrading of programs and infrastructure in the lead-up to the Sydney Olympics. Following the Olympics he left to join Rebecca (his partner) in Tanzania where he worked on a floristic inventory, forest management planning and post-mining restoration of the Geita Forest Reserve near Lake Victoria. He stepped off a flight from Mwanza to take up duties in Adelaide on 2 October 2001.
Stephen has published widely in plant systematics, floristic survey, landscape management and urban nature conservation.

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 Café, the Visitor Reception Building houses a fine interpretive display, a large range of Australian made gift items and books in the shop (ideal gifts with 10% discount for Friends), 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? (Café purchases also attract 10% discount for Friends – show membership card).
Stay & talk with other Friends over afternoon tea following the meeting.

Committee members, please note there will be a committee meeting held on Saturday 22nd March at 10.00am in the WMC Herbarium/Meeting Room at the AALBG, followed by lunch in the Bluebush Café at 12 noon, before the meeting at 1.00pm.

Sandy Gunter, a consultant for Rural Solutions S.A (which is the commercial consultant group of PIRSA) was guest speaker at our March meeting. Sandy is based in Port Augusta and has worked in the Rangelands for 7 years. Her main role currently is to provide support and advice to Soil Conservation Boards and pastoralists about land and vegetation management. Sandy spoke to us about the following aspects of her work:

  1. the monitoring of vegetation and land condition in the perpetual lease country.
  2. the plant identification course which she and Merri Tothill run for pastoralists in the rangelands.
  3. the Rangelands Action project which is a big community National Heritage Trust funded project that operates through out the Rangelands and aims to encourage land holders to protect biodiversity and increase pastoral productivity. This includes activities such as feral animal control, land rehabilitation, protecting threatened species of plants and animals.

Sandy’s talk and discussion with Friends gave a most interesting insight into her role and some of the fascinating work currently being undertaken in the SA rangelands.

A special welcome is extended to all recently joined members of the Friends. We look forward to your participation in our activities if distance allows!

A very attractive colour brochure featuring Eremophila is now available at the Garden. Text was provided by members of the Australian Plants Society, SA Region Inc with beautiful illustrations by AALBG Friend & artist, Rosemary Pedler.

A group of Friends meets at the Garden each Wednesday. The main task is plant propagation, but other tasks include label production, occasional educational sessions with visiting groups of students, weeding and assistance with upgrading irrigation systems and possibly other garden maintenance work depending on interests and skills of volunteers. If interested in helping occasionally or on a regular basis phone Gwen or Bruce Leane (8643 6191) or Bob Baird for details (Phone number on front of News Release). Plants propagated by the Friends are available for sale from the Garden on Wednesday mornings only – this is proving very popular, with sales increasing. This is a good fund raiser, and importantly helps distribute appropriate arid zone native plants for growing in the wider community. If you wish to pre-order plants to be propagated by the Friends please discuss this with Bruce Leane. It is appreciated if plant purchasers can provide their own locally collected seed for propagation. Friends from other areas who can not normally participate in Friends activities are welcome to call in and meet our volunteers if passing through Port Augusta on a Wednesday.

The Friends sold plants at the April Port Augusta Flea Market. Fay Poole, Margaret Hancock and Shirley Mundy sold approximately $160.00 worth of plants propagated by the Friends. Bruce & Gwen Leane helped with loading and unloading. Gwen reports that Wednesday morning propagation sessions are well attended by enthusiastic helpers and that we are running out of room for plants! Gwen is collecting seed for propagating and other Friends who may be in a position to collect seed of appropriate arid zone native species are encouraged to do this also and forward seed to her. Shirley Mundy has also produced labels and information sheets on plants for sale. The efforts of all helpers are greatly appreciated.

Friends are welcome to participate in these activities.

Sunday 11th May 2003 Bernie’s block – meet at Mambray Creek Roadhouse, 8.00am
Sunday 29th June 2003 AALBG – meet in car park, 8.00am
Sunday 20th July 2003 Telowie Gorge – meet at Mambray Creek Roadhouse, 7.30am
Saturday 15th August 2003 Corunna Station overnight camp out – Meet at Tanks car park, Lincoln Gap 1.30pm
Sunday 16th August 2003 weekend camp out
Sunday 21st September 2003 Bernie’s Block – meet at Mambray Creek Roadhouse, 8.00am
Sunday 26th October 2003 Bird Lake – meet at Gun Club Port Augusta, 8.00am
Sunday 16th November 2003 Port Patterson – meet at weighbridge Highway One – 7.30am
Saturday 13th December 2003 Christmas Social – Reichelt’s residence, Port Augusta, 8.00pm
Sunday 14th December 2003 AALBG – meet at car park, 7.30am

For further information contact Peter on telephone (08) 8642 5723 or Brian on (08) 8642 3314

Whilst details of this trip (departing from Port Augusta) are not likely to reach most readers beforehand, those who live locally and attend meetings are aware of it. The first pick up point is West Side Supermarket (Car Park off Caroona Road) at 8.00am. The second pick up point is at the Ampol Station on the Highway, opposite Barnacle Bill’s at 8.15am, third pick up is 7 Wastell St Stirling North at 8.30am and 4th pick up is at E & K Hipp’s Wilmington at 9.00am. Morning tea will be at Melrose, at Bluey Blundstones, cost $6.00 (optional) or bring your own. The tour guides will be picked up in Wirrabara at 11.00am before proceeding to Block 9 in the Forest where there will be a guided plant walk. Lunch will be about 12.30pm – BYO lunch and afternoon tea. Afternoon tea 3.00pm, and leave for home about 4.00pm, arriving back in Port Augusta about 5.30pm.
COST: $20.00. Enquiries: Gwen Leane, Ph 8643 6191 or Nicole Scharenberg, Ph 8643 6900

We have several trained garden guides who meet tour groups and individual visitors for guided tours of the garden. We urgently need more volunteers to be trained as guides to spread the load for our existing guides. The guides provide a valuable service in the Garden, and they meet interesting people from many places. Training is not difficult and is quite comprehensive. If interested in this please contact Fay Poole, Ph: 8643 6192. You may like to accompany a guide on a Garden tour to see what is involved, before making a decision. Visitors pay a small fee for guided tours and 80% of this goes to the Friends.

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 management (council) within the AALBG site. Each volunteer, please check with Bruce Leane, Bernie or with Pauline Hedger to ensure you have signed the appropriate paperwork, to provide coverage in the event of accident or injury.

Recently advice was received that approximately $500,000.00 of state tourism funding has been allocated to the AALBG. This funding will be used for various tourism related aspects of AALBG site development including additional information signs, tracks and roads, development of the Flinder’s Red Cliff area with look out, and possibly beach access and mangrove board walk. It is not known over what time frame the funding will be available or when the grant funding will be formally announced, allowing this new work to begin.

GARDEN REPORT 18.2.2003 to 28.4.2003
by Bernie Haase
Hello Friends. Since the weather has become milder we have planted throughout most of the Garden areas. Each area is checked for dead plants which are then replaced, and new plantings added where appropriate, followed by mulching. Many eremophilas have been planted, most of them grown by Friends propagators. Records are then updated and plant label lists drawn up, labels engraved and installed. Planting records are currently being computerised. This will take some time, but once complete I will be able to update records directly onto the computer data base, making it easier to trace information on plants in the Garden. Jimmy has been propagating both seeds and cuttings for winter plantings and some are almost ready to plant out.

The usual weeding is continuing but as it has been warm and dry much of the weed growth which germinated after the last summer rain in February has died off. Buffel grass enjoyed the summer rain and we are getting rid of it from garden beds, although there is still a lot along the Stuart Highway which cuts through the Garden. Some carrion flower was removed from the screening belt plantings and boxthorns pulled out of the sandhill area. Rabbit and fox control continues and the kangaroos and emus have moved on. Scale insect problems have reduced since the application of the new granular insecticide.

Vandals have destroyed some solar panels and roadside reflectors and broke into both our donation boxes. The damage has been repaired. I have attended to the usual public enquiries, plant identification and assisted with some tours. We had a work experience student from Urrbrae Agricultural High School help us out for four days. The display area in the Visitor Reception Building has been altered to allow more seating for Bluebush Café patrons.

Some small logs were collected and strategically placed in the Eremophila Garden and Car Park Garden to prevent people from taking short cuts through the garden beds. The plant and animal lists for the site have been updated. I am getting a manual plant puller made to make it easier to remove unwanted bushes from garden areas. The Friends trailer has been modified to allow access to plants being transported from either the back or front. Well that’s it for now. B Haase

Some readers may recall previous news letter articles about a proposal to develop a regional botanic garden at Mount Isa in NW Queensland. Friends Noel Lothian (a former Director of the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide) and John Zwar have both visited Mount Isa in the past and met locals working to promote and develop the project. The Mount Isa Committee was impressed by achievements in establishing the AALBG in Port Augusta and we provided advice and offered suggestions on many aspects of their proposed garden. Correspondence was recently received from Di Waters, the Co-ordinator of the Friends of Mount Isa Botanic Gardens in which she stated:

“Last night we held a meeting at the Buffs to decide the future of the Friends of the Mount Isa Botanic Gardens. Unfortunately, it was resolved that we close the group down as there is not enough community interest and support to bring the project to fruition. A small committee has worked over the past 2 years to create reality from our vision but it doesn't seem possible. This is extremely disappointing. If, at some time in the future, interest in the project is rejuvenated by an organisation such as the City Council or the Water Board, then this group will be more than happy to reform and support the project. A report released this week shows that many of our native habitats and ecological systems are being destroyed with the resultant loss of plant and animal varieties. This was an opportunity to protect an area around Mount Isa and to preserve it for future generations. It would also have provided tourists and visitors alike with the opportunity to learn more about this wonderful area in which we live and would have improved the liveability of the area. But it is not to be! I wish to express my sincere thanks to those people who shared my vision and worked with me to try to make it happen. The positives from this process include the friendships we have formed over the time. I know that they will continue. In case the project is rejuvenated in the future, all of our documentation will be held by Annie and Al Cameron of Endemic Plants. Sincerely and with disappointment, Di Waters”

This group will hold its Australian annual meeting at Port Augusta from Friday evening, 19th Sept to Sun 21st. The meeting will be followed by a 4 day tour of the Flinders Ranges (already fully booked). Guest speakers during the meeting will include Neville Bonney, Jennifer Barker and John Zwar. There will also be a guided tour of the AALBG. Those attending will come from various Australian states, with strong representation from Queensland and SA, and also overseas, mainly from USA. Anyone interested in finding out more about this event and perhaps attending can get more information by phoning Ron Allen on (08) 8264 7414.
ANPC CONFERENCE, GEELONG: John Zwar attended the fifth National Conference of the Australian Network for Plant Conservation in Geelong in February along with 150 other delegates from Australia and overseas. The theme of the conference was “Recovery: A Decade Towards a Biodiverse Future” and some excellent papers described biodiversity studies, rehabilitation of degraded areas, rare and endangered flora and related issues and some case studies described successful projects in Australia, Norfolk Island, New Zealand and Indonesia. It was a good opportunity to visit the Geelong Botanical Garden, an outstanding and very well maintained heritage garden, 151 years old, but with an impressive new addition opened last year. This is the Water Efficient Garden and now forms the main entrance to the Garden. Geelong Botanical Garden has an active and supportive Friends group and I met some of them. They run the Tea House (café) in the Garden, propagate plants for occasional plant sales, provide guided tours, and they also helped run the conference amongst other activities. If in or passing through Geelong, take time to visit this Garden. It is well worth it.
SHOW AND TELL: Those attending Friends meetings are invited to bring unusual plant specimens and other relevant items of interest to meetings for a show and tell segment, which we expect will be educational for us all!

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. New members: Please clearly print name and address on membership application form. Some recent forms have not been legible.

Show your membership card in the AALBG shop for 10% discount on all purchases - including meals. Contact the Secretary if you are a financial member and do not have a card.

Issued 29.4.2003 by John Zwar, President, The Friends of the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden, Port Augusta Inc., PO Box 2040 Port Augusta SA 5700. Ph (08) 8671 0324 ah, (08) 8671 8558 w, Facsimile C/- (08) 8671 0179 or by email Friends Secretary, Chrissie Hallett – Email

© 2012 Friends of the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden