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: 23-09-2003


The Society

Current Newsletter

Application Form


John Zwar

Ph (08) 867 0324 ah


Chrissie Hallett

Ph (08) 8641 2937


Geraldine Davis

Ph (08) 8648 6399

Tradesperson / Gardener

Bernie Haase

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

NEXT EVENT:- SATURDAY, 11th October 2003, 1.00pm in the WMC Herbarium/Meeting Room. All friends and others interested are warmly invited to attend.

Our guest speaker for the October meeting will be Roger Grund, who is Chairman of Butterfly Conservation South Australia which has been operative since 1998 and works closely with the SA Museum. He has a lifetime interest in butterflies and is now retired after working in the petroleum exploration business in many parts of the world. Roger’s talk will cover “Butterflies, Habitats and Caterpillar Foodplants in the Port Augusta Area”. During his visit to Port Augusta, Roger will survey the Garden and nearby areas for butterflies and advise us on the possibility of developing a section of the Garden by planting it with plants attractive to butterflies. If Roger considers this is practical and achievable we will prepare a submission for AALBG Management recommending such a development and offering funding (from a bequest left to us in the will of former Friend Margaret Robbins). The committee considers this would be an appropriate project, utilising this money. Roger is also preparing information for our website on local butterflies. He is an excellent photographer and we look forward to his presentation. Those with internet access may wish to look at the very extensive butterfly website, prepared largely by Roger

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 11th October 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 (AGM) at 1.00pm.

This was held on 30 August and was the AGM. Our guest speaker, Nick Bailey who has been employed in National Parks and Wildlife as Senior Resource Protection Officer/Investigator for 22 yrs spoke first, followed by the AGM formalities. Nick is stationed at Port Augusta, working in the Outback and Ranges Region which encompasses more than 2/3rds of the state. He investigates offences under numerous environmental legislation both state and federal. The main area of investigative responsibility is the illegal trade in native fauna and flora, illegal clearance of native vegetation, Aboriginal heritage and natural resources including fossils, and wildlife management especially kangaroos, fire and emergency and fire investigations; a man of many hats. Nick prosecutes offenders in court and conducts training for rangers in natural resource management and other tertiary students. His is the only such position for more than 2/3rds of South Australia, a vast area and he would really appreciate some help! Nick spoke about his role and the work he does. Nick’s enthralling presentation graphically emphasised the need for additional officers to do similar work in this vast region.

President – John Zwar; Vice President – Morry Vile; Treasurer – Geraldine Davis; Secretary – Chrissie Hallett; Council Representative – Bernie Haase; Reference Group Member – Bruce Leane; and the following committee members – Shirley Mundy; Brian Powell; Gwen Leane; Fay Poole; Nicole Sharenberg; Dennis Dobson; Chris Nada.

PRESIDENT’S REPORT to AGM 30th August 2003
Our AGM is normally held in July so this meeting is a little later than would usually be the case. Meetings are arranged to coincide with the availability of a guest speaker.
Since our beginnings in 1984 The Friends group has grown to an organisation of about 500 supporters and fills a valuable role in promoting the Garden, raising funds and helping as volunteers in various ways with the development, maintenance and on-going management of the Garden.

Since our last AGM just over a year ago at which Colin Jennings was guest speaker on the subject of Eremophilas, we have met five times, with interesting guest speakers. In October Barry Wakelin, the local federal MP spoke on “the environment” and changing perceptions of what this is. One of our foundation members, Brian Powell, gave a very well received presentation at the Christmas meeting in December covering his experiences in the north of SA over the last 40 years. This was followed by the Christmas Dinner, held in the Gardens Meeting Room, and once again beautifully prepared by Lyn and the staff of the Bluebush Café. The first guest speaker for 2003 was Sandy Gunter, land management consultant for Rural Solutions SA talking about her work in the SA Rangelands. In May, Steve Forbes, Director of The Botanic Gardens of Adelaide spoke about the role of botanic gardens and then about a recent trip to East Africa and its fascinating flora. His wife Rebecca also spoke about her role, establishing and managing the Environment Department of a large gold mining operation in Tanzania. Our speaker today, Nick Bailey from NPWS spoke about his role as a resource protection officer and investigator over the vast area of northern SA.

Our committee meetings continue to be held on the Saturday morning with the general meeting held that afternoon. This has worked well and I expect will continue. I take this opportunity of thanking all committee members for all that they have done to keep the Friends the vibrant, relevant group that it is. My special thanks to Bob Baird who has ably filled the role of treasurer for the last 4 years and is standing down today. There are individual members too who are not committee members but have done a great deal of work for the Friends. Thanks to all of you as well.

The big event in the last year was our 3rd very successful biennial Eremophila Festival, again very capably organised by Gwen Leane and other helpers. Many plants were sold and the crowd enjoyed displays, stalls, demonstrations, entertainment and food. Thanks to all who assisted. We must decide soon on continuing with this event next year. Gwen is standing down as co-ordinator so we will need a person with good organisational skills.

A group of Friends made an enjoyable day trip to Wirrabarra Forest in May and met local guides who explained the significance of this beautiful area of both planted and native forest.
The Friends propagation group meets most Wednesdays to propagate plants which are sold to raise funds, used to further improve the Garden. They also assist the gardeners with some tasks and help out with occasional school groups who visit to learn about plant propagation. Plant sales at local markets and events as well as at the Garden on Wednesday mornings raise funds also. Trained Friends volunteer garden guides provide a valuable service for visitors to the Garden on week days, but more guides are urgently needed. Others assist with occasional bird groups who visit to see the Garden’s bird life. The Eremophila brochure published by the Garden, features eremophila paintings by Friend Rosemary Pedler.

Signs funded by a Federation Community Grant awarded to the Friends and explaining four of the regional areas being developed at the AALBG have been installed and this was marked in a brief ceremony attended by Barry Wakelin MP, Member for Grey. A series of panels featuring Matthew Flinders voyage of exploration of the SA coast and the work of botanist Robert Brown is on display in the visitor information centre. These signs and panels were prepared by Friends Michele Bain and John Zwar with assistance from Robyn Barker and Dr Lance McCarthy.

Late in 2002 the former AALBG Board was disbanded and replaced by a Reference Group which has met twice since then. I am pleased to report that Council has agreed to re-investigate the offer of Friends funding for appropriate entrance gates to the Garden, after rejecting our offer several years ago. Some members of the Reference Group (also Friends) provided comment and input to a grant application which is being reworked seeking $500,000 of Tourism SA funding which we hope will be successful and allow significant improvements to be made at the Garden.

On the 13th August a group of Friends and others attended a handover ceremony where plants of the previously thought to be extinct, but rediscovered “Spiny Daisy” were handed over to the AALBG and then planted in the Rare Plants section of the Garden. This event received local newspaper and television coverage.`

This is but a brief summary of our years activities. Much more could be said, but I thank all Friends and other Garden supporters for their ongoing interest and support, especially those who are in a position to help at the Garden and with Friends activities. Thanks too to those who have been in a position to make financial donations, both large and small. I assure you that funds raised are spent wisely on Garden development and improvements. We look forward to another interesting year of activities and further development and growth at the Garden. It is very pleasing after almost 20 years to see that the Garden has developed into one of the regions most significant drawcards. It has helped change the image of Port Augusta for the better.

Again, my thanks, and best wishes to each of you. John Zwar, President, FAALBG PA Inc 30.8.2003.

Friends are welcome to participate in these activities.

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

This will be held on Sat Nov 29th with Dr Phil Ainsley from the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide, talking about the Millennium Seed Bank. Our traditional Christmas Dinner will be held that evening at the Garden, catered by the Garden’s Bluebush Café – cost $25.00 per person, more detail next newsletter. Book for dinner with Secretary Chrissie.

NEW MEMBERS: 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!

WEDNESDAY WORKING BEES: A group of Friends meets at the Garden each Wednesday. The main task is plant propagation, but other tasks include label production, educational sessions with visiting groups of students, weeding and assistance with upgrading irrigation systems. If interested in helping occasionally or on a regular basis phone Gwen or Bruce Leane (8643 6191) or Bob Baird for details (8643 6343). Plants propagated by the Friends are available for sale from the Garden on Wednesday mornings only – this is proving very popular, with sales increasing. Plants are also sold at Port Augusta Flea Market in Coles undercover carpark and at occasional events. These sales are good fund raisers, and importantly help 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. 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. Some land holders have made bulk orders of Old Man Saltbush and others have provided seed from their properties for us to grow for them. WMC purchases trees and shrubs from us as well, for their Roxby Downs nursery.

PLANET ARK NATIONAL TREE DAY: Friends volunteer propagators packed a large box of trees and shrubs and freighted them to Mintabie Area School, more than 700 km north of Port Augusta. Students and residents of this remote opal mining community planted the trees in the Town Triangle on National Tree Day, followed by a barbecue lunch. The friends received a letter of thanks from students for the donated plants and 35 pictures of their National Tree Day activities. Trees previously donated to Mintabie School have been well cared for and are well established.

A species until recently listed as extinct now has a home in the AALBG. Rediscovered on roadsides in the mid-north it was received back in the arid zone at the Garden on 13th August at a brief handover and planting ceremony attended by about 40 Friends and interested people. The low growing smokey grey Spiny Daisy, Acanthocladium dockeri, may not look spectacular, but is a plant with a story. It was first located by the Burke and Wills expedition in 1860 on the red sand of “Bambamero” at the junction of a small creek with the Darling River. In SA it was collected at Overland Corner in 1910. Although appearing at such widespread localities repeated later attempts failed to relocate the daisy and it was presumed extinct. In Extinct and Endangered Plants of Australia the writers sagely suggest it may have been overlooked by modern collectors. No surprise then that it took an untrained but interested local, Paul Slattery, to rediscover the species in a patch of native grassland near Laura. Soon two more sites were located in the Laura/Gladstone district and a fourth site near Blyth. Local native plant enthusiasts were stunned that they had managed to overlook it, thinking it was a common saltbush. When the news of the discovery broke in 1999 the AALBG were fast in approaching authorities to request planting material. Now, following the preparation of a recovery plan and initial investigations of its biology using Natural Heritage Trust funding the time has at last come. The Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden has been selected as a prime site to provide public access and education on this little known endangered species. More information on Spiny Daisy will be provided in the next newsletter.

Great news! We have a new Garden Guide, Julie Owen of Port Augusta who has undertaken training and accompanied other guides on regular tours and is about to “go solo”. Thanks Julie. We still need additional guides though. Are you interested in plants? Do you like meeting people? 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 educational and promotional role 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.

The Australasian Region annual meeting of this group was held in Port Augusta from Sept 19 – 21 and attracted members from UK, Qld, NSW, Vic and SA. The society members are leading wood workers and timber craftsmen and besides the AGM they displayed their work, conducted wood auctions, had guest presentations and show and tell segments. John Zwar was one of the guest speakers. The group visited the AALBG and guides Fay Poole, Dennis Dobson, Julie Owen and John Zwar provided guided tours. They were most impressed despite hot windy weather. Western Myall was the theme of the conference. AALBG Friends & Wood Society members Neville Sanders, Brian Fraser and Neville Bonney were participants. A tour of the Flinders Ranges followed their Port Augusta activities.

GARDEN REPORT 20.6.2003 to 19.9.2003
by Bernie Haase.
Friends, spring is in the air and the Garden is full of flowers and visitors think it’s lovely. They often compliment us on our work which is good for morale. There have been many enquiries and plants to identify from the general public. Plant propagation, planting, recording, label engraving and installing is ongoing. The main entrance road into the Garden (1.2 km) has been weeded which took some time.

Vandals have been fairly quiet except for some idiots who smashed up the solar panels at the main entrance and along the main road again. The panels have been removed and will be extended in height to make it more difficult to reach them. Trouble is, what will they attack next? We collected a load of old myall fence posts from Wilkatana Station, just north of Port Augusta recently. These will be used as track guide and marker posts. Peter Langdon organised the approval and assisted us to collect them.

Two rows of bushes which were not growing well, mainly because of frost damage, in the circular courtyard have been removed. One row of Eremophila maculata (purple flowered) and one row of Maireana sedifolia (Pearl Bluebush) have been replaced by Eremophila maculata var. brevifolia and Olearia pimelioides (Showy Daisy Bush), thus retaining the contrasting bands of green and blue foliaged plants in the courtyard. Wild growing and dead bushes along the main entrance path and also the service road to the Visitor Reception Building have been removed. This has allowed us to add more irrigated and mulched areas for denser and more colourful plantings in these focus areas. Some of this planting has been done and more will be added as suitable plants become available.

Ken Warnes, a keen eremophila grower recently supplied us with cuttings of eremophilas and daisies from the Nullarbor and Victoria Desert areas and these are in our propagation house. We received six Acanthocladium dockeri “Spiny Daisy” plants from the Threatened Plants Recovery Group and they are growing and have even flowered in the Rare Plants Section. The presentation and planting day was well attended by Friends. We are still awaiting permission to enter the Pitjantjatjara Lands in the NW of SA for a seed collecting trip. We are also planning a seed collecting trip to the North Flinders Ranges in November.

In the Research Area there have been a couple of quandong grafting demonstrations by the Quandong Industry Association. Greening Australia also tended their woodlot plantation, removed weed growth and placed guards around plants which rabbits had damaged. The Friends have constructed a poly house in the nursery and this is useful for improving growth and survival rates of small plants in cold winter weather. B Haase

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!

The friends offer (which was rejected by council several years ago) to fund appropriate gates at the main entrance to the AALBG is being reconsidered and a proposal compiled by a council planner. Plans are well advanced and we look forward to seeing an impressive set of steel entry gates featuring the Western Myall logo in place by the end of the year.

The committee has decided to revert to the system of making Friends membership subscription due at the beginning of the financial year (July 1st) rather than the present system which has caused confusion and has been difficult to administer. This will bring us into line with the practices of most clubs. If you have paid membership this year, you will not be expected to pay again until July 2004. Please direct queries to Secretary Chrissie Hallett Ph: 8667 5447 ah. 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 23.92003 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