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: 24-02-2004


The Society

Current Newsletter

Application Form


John Zwar

Ph (08) 867 0324 ah


Chrissie Hallet

Ph (08) 8641 2937 ah


Geraldine Davis

Ph (08) 8648 6399

Tradesperson / Gardener

Bernie Haase

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

NEXT EVENT:- SATURDAY, 27th March 2004, 1.00pm in the WMC Herbarium/Meeting Room at the Garden.
All friends and others interested are warmly invited to attend.

Our guest speakers for the March meeting will be Friends members Bernie Hasse and John Zwar, with a presentation on recent AALBG seed and plant collecting expeditions to the North Flinders Ranges in November 2003 and to the Anangu PitjantjatjaraLands in North Western South Australia in December 2003. These trips resulted in a significant increase in the number of species now in the Gardens collection and will help expand regional plantings in the Garden as new collections are propagated and planted out. The presentation will include video, slides and overheads, showing the country, plants and collecting process.

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, 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, gift, souvenir and book purchases 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 27th 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.

Our guest speaker in November was Dr Phil Ainsley, the Germplasm Research Coordinator at the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide Seed Conservation Centre, where he has been responsible for establishing the Seed Conservation Centre and developing the Centre’s research program. Phil gave an excellent presentation on his role and on the Millennium Seed Bank project in the UK in which he is also involved.
Following the meeting our annual traditional Christmas dinner was held in the evening on 29th November in the WMC Herbarium/Meeting Room. It was catered by the staff from the Garden’s Bluebush Café and once again was a most enjoyable meal and a fitting end to our year of activities. Thanks to the ladies from The Bluebush Café at the Garden for a fine meal.

Mory VileFriends Vice President Morry Vile died in Port Augusta Hospital on 14th November 2003 following a prolonged illness. Morry’s willingness to take on many tasks and his cheery nature and funny stories are missed by all who knew him. He was a regular helper in the plant propagation group, a member of the Garden’s Reference Group, the mainstay of the Sunday market days in Port Augusta selling plants for the Friends, he participated in seed and plant collecting trips for the Garden, helped with catering on numerous occasions, helped with Eremophila Festivals, particularly providing guided bus tours in the Garden and was closely involved as a volunteer in many other aspects of the Garden and in the wider community. Morry’s funeral was held in Port Augusta on 20thNovember and was attended by many Friends, some travelling considerable distances to pay their last respects. Friends member Bruce Leane spoke at the Funeral and Friends President John Zwar read the eulogy. Betty, Morrie’s wife who had been seriously ill in hospital in Adelaide returned to Port Augusta. Her condition has improved since returning home. Our sincere sympathy to Betty and family. Morry was buried in the Port Augusta West Cemetery, just a short distance from the Garden.

Vale Kath O'DonnelLong term Friend Kath O’Donnell died in Adelaide on 14th November following a short term in hospital. Formerly a Wilmington resident, Kath and her sister Moira had a wonderful native plant garden around their home which attracted many visitors. They were also very keen bird watchers and strong supporters of the Garden. Several years ago they moved to a unit at Largs Bay to be closer to medical and other facilities and continued to grow native plants, including a number of arid zone species in their small coastal garden. Kath enjoyed occasional return visits to the Garden at Port Augusta. Her funeral was held at Largs Bay, also on 20th November. The Friends were represented by members Pauline Schiller and Ron Zwar. Our sincere sympathy to Kath’s sister Moira, and other members of their family. Kath was buried in the Brighton Cemetery.

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. They provide a valuable educational and promotional role in the Garden, and 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

Following the loss of Morry Vile these stalls at the Sunday market where we sold plants propagated by the Friends, and promoted the Garden and Friends group, have been discontinued. Morry transported plants, trestles and equipment from the Friends nursery at the AALBG to the market and back in his van, and helped man the stall. If though, we find a volunteer with a ute or van, who could assist on a monthly basis on Sunday mornings, please contact Shirley Mundy on 8642 4013 for more information. Market organisers have reserved our place in case we are able to continue with this fundraising and promotional activity.

Friends are welcome to participate in these activities.

Sunday 14 March 2004 Bird Lake – Meet at Gun Club, Old ETSA Road – 8.00am
Sunday 18th April 2004 Alligator Gorge – Meet at turnoff, south of Wilmington – 8.30am
Sunday 23rd May 2004 Bernie’s block – meet at Mambray Creek Roadhouse – 8.00am
Sunday 20th June 2004 AALBG – meet in carpark – 8.00am
Saturday 24th July 2004 Dutchman Stern camp out – meet at Quorn Swimming Pool Sat 1.00pm
Sunday 25th July 2004 (subject to booking confirmation)
Sunday 15th August 2004 Wirrabara Forest – Meet at Wirrabara Hotel – 9.30am
Sunday 12th September 2004 Bernie’s block – Meet at Mambray Creek Roadhouse – 8.00am
Sunday 17th October 2004 Port Patterson – Meet at weighbridge Highway One – 8.00am
Sunday14th November 2004 Whyalla Conservation Park – meet at turnoff to park – 7.30am
Sunday 12th December 2004 AALBG – meet in carpark – 7.30am
Sunday 14th December 2003 AALBG – meet at car park, 7.30am
(Christmas lunch after walk at Reichelt’s residence, 74 Dartmouth Street, Port Augusta).
For further information contact Peter on telephone (08) 8642 5723 or Brian on (08) 8642 3314

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 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 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.

Those attending Friends meetings are invited to bring unusual or interesting 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!

GARDEN REPORT 22.9.2003 to 31.10.2003 by Bernie Haase.
I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. November and December have been hot and dry, but January was quite mild though still dry. So far February has been very hot and humid, hard to work in.
There have been numerous enquiries from the public ranging from plant identification and plant sales, to why plants are dying in home gardens.
General weeding has been done in garden areas and along paths. Plantings to increase showy displays has occurred along entrance paths and the courtyard perimeter. Eremophila Garden plantings and some regional areas planting has been done. Plant label engraving and installing has followed.
Minor vandalism has been repaired at the boardwalk, boundary fence and plant labels pulled out have been replaced. The solar panels for the main entrance lights and along the main road have been raised on poles to be out of reach of vandals, but they still managed to put holes in some. Now extra plates have been added to protect the bottoms of the panels.
The scale insect which have been attacking the eremophilas, myoporums, sarcozona and some prostrantheras has been identified by a Biological Services entomologist at LoxtonI It is Pulvinaria dodonaea. The recommended treatment is for the insecticides Applaud ($182 / litre) sprayed on the plants, Confidor ($245 / litre) used as a soil drench and Regent ($353 / litre) mixed with honey for the ants which farm the scale. This is an effective and biologically safer way of controlling the scale than previously used – Rogor. It was hoped to use commercially farmed natural predators such as wasps, ladybirds and lacewings, but there are no suitable species for controlling this scale, available commercially. Other pests being regularly controlled are rabbits, foxes and kangaroos. A new boundary fence would be a great help but is not likely in the short term.
Our Suzuki work vehicle has had gear box troubles but has been repaired. Several water pipe leaks have also been repaired.
The Trees for Life group at Willunga has asked us to supply 41 plant labels, which we have done and this will raise $143 for the Friends.
The big job which is happening now is the removal of black bluebush from along the guided walk. Then extra irrigation is installed, and the areas mulched and planted as plants become available. This will thicken up the garden bed edges and bring more showy plants into view for visitors. Two Skillshare workers have been most helpful with this work.
A new GPS (Global Positioning System) – Garmin GPS 2 Plus, as recommended by Botanic Gardens of Adelaide staff was purchased by the Friends and donated for use on seed and plant collecting trips, and has already been used. This device records exact locations where plants are collected.
Two field trips have occurred since the last newsletter report. One to the northern Flinders Ranges and the other to the north west of South Australia. Reports of these trips are included in this news release. I expect many more developments to be reported in the next news release. B Haase

Pay PoolFay Pool is a foundation member of the Friends of the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden. She has been a committee member for many years and latterly a volunteer garden guide. When first approached about becoming a garden guide by John Zwar, Fay said, ‘A gum tree is a gum tree,’ that was about all she felt she knew about plants, ‘but you soon learn,’ she says. Fay has lived in Port Augusta all her life and because of this she believes, ‘You learn a lot about the area.’ Fay, a retired teacher, now trains prospective guides, taking them with her on tours until they are confident to lead a tour on their own. Fay uses a book compiled by Anne Stefanovic, on arid plants as her guide. She has found this publication very helpful in plant identification. Several years ago, she attended a three-day school organised by TAFE and led by Ray Cox on Wompinnie Station. Fay enjoys being a guide because she meets people from all walks of life. Perhaps the most interesting person she met was another guide from the Melbourne Botanic Garden. They found much in common. The Melbourne guide offered Fay a free tour but as yet she has not taken up the offer.


Eremophila philipsii (c) Rosemary Pedler
Eremophila phillipsii
by Friend Rosemary Pedler

This popular biennial event will be held at the Garden on Saturday 4th September, from 10.00am – 4.00pm. Mark this date in your diary now. A small team is planning the festival and if you have any suggestions or ideas, or can offer assistance with planning and on the day they would be pleased to hear from you. Contact Gwen Leane , Co-ordinator on 8643 6191. The Eremophila Festival seeks to showcase the Garden at its best. Besides plant sales by Friends propagation groups and nurseries specialising in Eremophilas and other arid zone native plants there will be entertainment – singing and music, environmental displays, speakers and presentations in the WMC Herbarium Meeting Room, guided garden tours, food in the Bluebush Café and at stalls and more. A promotional brochure has been produced – contact Gwen if you would like one or more to display and publicise the event. The brochure will be added to as the programme for the day fills out. Phillip Moore, a retired botanist from NSW has written a book “Travellers Guide to Plants of the Outback” to be published in June. He has been invited to attend a book signing and be a guest speaker on the day.

Interstate VolunteersInterstate Volunteers Help At Arid Lands Botanic Garden. Laurie and Lynda Solly are opal miners from Rainbow in the White Cliffs area of New South Wales. Their love of plants has taken them all over Australia, as Laurie explains, ‘not to the cities but off the beaten track. That’s where the good stuff is.’ They first heard of the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden by reading a brochure at Rainbow and Lynda says, ‘we decided to come and see what it was all about.’ They ended up being volunteers and working in the Gardens propagation shed between plant forays. Orchids are Laurie’s passion and he has spent twenty five years researching orchids through out Australia. He discovered a Pterostylis (Greenhood orchid) in the Mootwingee area of NSW, a new discovery for that location. Lynda is a school teacher but shares with Laurie a love for plants. She remembers about thirty four years ago while on a visit to the Grampians, discovering a plant, but so did another plant enthusiast about the same time. Both of them submitted the plant for examination and naming but the other person’s specimen was examined first and Lynda lost the naming rights. Laurie has been President of the Arrarat Field Naturalist Society and Vice President of Stawell Filed Naturalist Society and has worked in the Little Desert Park in Victoria. They have four children one of whom is Chantalle who joined them on this trip. Chantalle has gained a degree in Environmental Management and is about to follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a secondary school teacher in 2004.

NORTHERN FLINDERS RANGES FIELD TRIP, 10/11/2003 to 14/11/2003:
by B Haase

Monday 10th November – Jimmy and I left Port Augusta and drove to Quorn where we met Brian Powell at his home. We all left Quorn in Brian’s four wheel drive, leaving my vehicle there. We also had the tandem trailer, fitted with shelves and a canopy, in tow to carry plants we may collect. This was donated by the Friends some years ago. We travelled to Hawker, then on along the Leigh Creek Road. We collected seed at Ilka Creek crossing and had our lunch stop at Copley where the area looked very dry and it was getting hot. We then drove on into the Ranges towards Nepabunna, stopping at Finke Creek where there was a variety of plants, to collect seeds. With more stops on the way our seed collection was building up. At Nepabunna we had a cool drink and I noticed many changes since I was there last. More roads, houses, administration buildings and a big outdoor sports shelter shed. Then it was on to Balcanoona, collecting seed on the way. We travelled past Balcanoona on to Arkaroola Village, where Brian had arranged for us to stay in rooms at mates rates and have meals with the staff. Thanks to Doug Sprigg, the owner and Rod Miller, the Manager. After freshening up and having tea, the seeds collected were identified and packed away. Then we headed for the bar for a couple of iced red wines which went down well.

Tuesday 11th November – Next morning, Anne Turner, who has worked at Arkaroola for several years, joined our group to help us find certain plants and to learn more about the local flora, with a view to growing more local plants in the village. We headed out to Balcanoona National Park headquarters and got the OK to collect seeds and plants in the area. Then we headed off back towards Nepabunna, crossing a plain and then rising up onto a rocky escarpment. Here we collected seeds and dug up eight species of plants. Then we drove back to the plain and collected Mitchell Grass. The soil was very dry and plants were dormant, but this seems to be a good time to dig plants because they handle the root disturbance better, and respond quickly to the water given to them. The plants are dug up, potted, watered in and then placed in foam boxes and go into the trailer. In areas where water had gathered and in creek lines there were some plants flowering and others with green (unripe) seeds. We did get more seed on the way back to Arkaroola. After leaving the trailer at the village we headed along the Arkaroola back track where there are some stands of Acacia arenosa in seed. Some other seed and plants were collected. Back at the village the plants were all unloaded and watered again. Then they and the seed collected were identified and labelled. It was then tea time followed by iced wines!
Wednesday 12th November – All four of us headfed off to Wooltana using a short cut following Munylana Creek. Seeds and plants were collected. Brian had to meet the people at Moolawatana Station to check on plants he had planted there, so we headed off. It was a long drive but in Brian’s comfortable air-conditioned car it did not seem long before we arrived. After looking at the progress of his plantings, which was surprisingly very good considering the harsh open area they were in, we turned back and stopped at Hamilton Creek to collect seeds and have lunch. Travelling along the road we dug up plants and collected more seeds. In a tributary of Arkaroola Creek Capparis mitchellii and Swainsona formosa seed was collected. We came back through the short cut from Wooltana to Arkaroola, picking up my plants and seeds. On arrival at Arkaroola the same routine of unloading, plant identification and labelling followed.

Thursday 13th November – Anne and another staff member were to drive Jimmy and me up along the Ridge Top tour track to collect seed and plants. Our thanks to Rod Miller for approval for this. Brian went off to look for more Capparis trees. Several species of plants were collected along the bed of Radium Creek. Then it was on and upwards to Split Rock Lookout where we collected more seed. We then descended into Armchair Basin where Acacia confluens seed which was green, but ripe enough to collect was picked. Then it was upwards again to Siller’s Lookout where we had lunch with a view. More plants were dug up and seed collected. From there it was back to the village collecting more seeds on the way. While we were on the Ridge Top Track, Brian had gone to Stubb’s Waterhole with a tourist couple he met at Arkaroola. He found the Capparis tree he was looking for but could not reach the fruits, even with one of the tourists sitting on the others shoulders, so he climbed the tree and reached the fruits and whilst picking them fell out of his tree, winding himself and scaring the tourists. That evening he was a little stiff and sore, but happy to have collected his Capparis fruits. The usual routine followed after our return with a few extra wines and some ports for our last night in Arkaroola.
Friday 14th November – After saying our goodbyes and thanking the Arkaroola people for all their help, we left, driving towards Wertaloona. We stopped a few times to collect seed and then went into Chambers Gorge, which had water flowing gently between water holes. Some seed was collected and we saw our first feral goats here after travelling through areas for the past few days which used to have heaps of goats. It shows that goat controls are working in the Flinders. From here we continued to Blinman, collecting as we went. In Blinman we stopped for lunch and met Lorraine Edmunds who was going to come with us on the trip but couldn’t make it. She helped us earlier with locations of certain plants in the Arkaroola area. After lunch it was off to Wilpena, stopping on the way near Willow Springs to collect seed. We drove past the Wilpena Pound turnoff and went into Arkaroo Rock to find some other seeds. A quick pit stop in Hawker and then out to Jarvis Hill Lookout to collect Eucalyptus flindersii seed. After that it was straight back to Quorn and Brian’s place where we unloaded his car and loaded up my car, hooked up the trailer and said goodbye to Fay and Brian. Being late afternoon I left the trailer at Jimmy’s place at Stirling North and headed home.

Monday 17th November – The following Monday, Jimmy unloaded the trailer back at the AALBG and sorting, identifying seed, cleaning and packaging continued for the rest of the week. Most of the plants dug up recovered well and most have already been planted in the Flinders Ranges Section at the Garden. Seeds for winter growing plants will be sown as soon as we empty our propagation houses. Many species we had hoped to collect were not in seed but were flowering and Anne Turner will try and collect these for us. A total of 67 lots of seed and 20 species of plants were dug up, with hopefully more to come. All in all, a very successful expedition!

by Bernie Haase

After several months and several resubmissions of our application to enter and collect plant material in the AP Lands, it was approved and we were able to enter the lands in early December 2004. Originally it was only going to be Jimmy and me, but as more people found out about the trip several different groups wanted to join us. Finally it was narrowed down to permission given to us, Adelaide Botanic Garden – Dr Phil Ainsley from the Seed Conservation Centre, John Zwar from WMC and Rieck Shine, Manager of the Port Augusta Council’s Parks and Gardens Department. Gaining permission to enter the AP Lands was greatly assisted by the Land Management Department Co-ordinator, Alex Knight and his assistant, Garry McWilliams. They convinced the permit office that it would be useful to them to have us collect plant material with them. They could learn what is involved with collecting, recording data, identifying plants and storing seeds. It was agreed that when we propagate, any excess plants would go to them. They will also be collecting seed of plants which we could not collect on our trip.

Sunday 30th November 2003. Jimmy and I in my old vehicle, and Phil Ainsley in a flash new government vehicle started out, with John and Rieck to follow on Wednesday. We left Port Augusta and headed north along the Stuart Highway with our first stop at the Mount Gunson turnoff. Here we collected Acacia ramulosa seed and helped Phil collect bulk seed for the Millenium Seed Bank, half of which is stored in Adelaide, the other half in England. We travelled on to Coober Pedy, stopping near Lake Hart and at Bon Bon Station to collect seed. More was collected near Coober Pedy. We stayed at Coober Pedy that night and played around with our new GPS device, donated by the Friends for recording locations of plants and seed collected.
Monday 1st December – Next morning we spent some time looking around the Breakaways area because we were not expected at Umawa in the AP Lands till Tuesday. Some Eucalyptus coolibah and Senna was found. Then it was off to Marla. Lunch stop was at Pootnoora Channel No. 2 where it was quite green. We collected some seed for the AALBG and Eucalyptus camaldulensis for Phil. Just south of Marla more seed was gathered for us and Acacia murrayana for Phil. That night was spent at Marla.

Tuesday 2nd December – After contacting Land Management at Umawa (the administrative centre of the AP Lands) we headed off into the Lands. We turned off the Stuart Highway near Chandler Rail Siding, drove on past Indulkana and Mimili and stopped at Fregon. Jimmy knew an old man there and we also met Alex Knight who was attending a community meeting there. Then it was on to Umawa where we met Garry who kindly showed us around the local area and set us up with accommodation. We climbed the nearest hill, looked at the plants and collected seed. Garry who is a nurseryman is most interested in the local flora and is planning to grow plants for the communities. The weather was hot and dry but Hakeas were seeding, Acacias just flowering and the Triodia had opened their seeds. This was pretty well the case for the rest of the trip.
Wednesday 3rd December – Garry was given the approval to show us around the AP Lands and was even going to bring one of the local elders with us to see what we were actually going to do. We left Umawa and headed west to Amata. On the way we had several seed collecting stops, collecting 11 species ranging from grasses to trees. While Jimmy, Phil and I had lunch, Garry drove to Rocket Bore, just over the NT border to pick up Ray Khan, the local Elder who was going to travel with us. When he returned we all headed west again for Kalka in the far north west corner of South Australia. So far we had been following the base of the Musgrave Ranges. These are high, rounded rocky spinifex covered hills with a few scattered trees and shrubs. The gorges and creek lines are where the most diverse plant life is found. We travelled over a sandy plain with a different flora including Desert Oak. It was then the Mann Ranges we followed until some more sand plain till we arrived at the Tomkinson Ranges and Kalka where we had a contractors house to stay in. Here we met Madeline Hourihan from the Warburton Community Land Management unit, 300km south west into Western Australia. She was keen to join us and observe our collection procedure and to see how we may be able to help her with similar work with collecting and propagating plants in her area. We collected 30 lots of seed during the day so I had to identify and sort them out that evening.

Thursday 4th December – Four vehicles left Kalka to refuel at Pipalyatjara. As we drove towards Pip we drove through a sea of introduced buffel grass which had been sown in the area for dust suppression, but it was now taking over the area and the land management group had a problem controlling it both here and in many other areas. From Pip we headed south east to Watarru leaving the Central Highlands region for the northern Great Victoria Desert. Herds of feral camels crossed our path as we passed through sand plains and sand ridge areas with mainly Spinifex cover, some mulga and mallee. Five species were collected before arriving at Watarru community at the base of Mount Lindsay (Watarru Rock) which is an isolated rocky hill with a diversity of plants. We drove several kilometres around the base of the hill collecting seed and admiring the landscape. Eleven species were collected before we set up camp at the Watarru Camp Ground. We had a campfire tea and hit the sack. During the night we were awaken by the arrival of John and Rieck at 1am after a 14 hour drive from Marla which had included a couple of wrong turns and subsequent backtracking.

Friday 5th December – Next morning the pied butcherbirds woke me up and we had breakfast and headed off to climb Mount Lindsay to look for Eucalyptus gillenii and Acacia symonii. It took a few hours before we all got back to our vehicles. We found 8 species but Acacia symonii was flowering and not in seed. After lunch at Watarru Madeline left us to return to WA. Garry and Phil picked up some local passengers and we drove east into sand ridge country, after first crossing a limestone area where we collected Allocasuarina helmsii. We saw desert kurrajongs but found little seed, and lots of plants typical of sand dune country, mallees and spinifex being the commonest. Near a small community called Kunamata there were miles of Native Poplar, but very little seed. We drove over one section of very corrugated road. The flash newer cars left me behind but we caught up later. Before we got to Kanpi on the main road we collected seeds of the Desert Grass Trees. At Kanpi some of our passengers were dropped off and Garry left to return Ray to Rocket Bore. Phil and Rieck headed for Port Augusta and Adelaide. This had been a quick trip for Rieck who was keen to see how these trips work. John acquired a passenger who he dropped off at Amata, leaving Jimmy and me to return to Umawa. It was evening and as we drove along we came across a broken down vehicle which we then towed to the next community. As we drove through the night we came across two more broken down vehicles which we were able to repair so they could move on. Then just before Amata another break down and we towed them into Amata and from there to Umawa had only to dodge a few feral donkeys and stray cattle and arrived back about 1am. Twelve lots of seed were collected on the trip back from Watarru.

Field Trip - Watarru Rock
Picture: L to R. Elder Ray Khan, Rieck, Jimmy, Madeline, Garry, Bernie, John, at Watarru Rock

Saturday 6th December – After a late start the seeds collected during the last two days were sorted and identified We had clothes to wash and some car repairs. In the late afternoon we collected seed, mainly grasses near Umawa.Sunday 7th December – Being the weekend Alex was able to take us to a popular picnic and swimming hole in an area called Al Alka, north of Ernabella. A fire had been through the lower parts and there was little to be collected so we climbed the ranges to about 900 meters. Here we found plants not seen so far and were able to get seed of an Olearia, Plectranthus, Goodenia glabra, Wedelia stirlingii, Acacia basedowii and we found Ironwoods seeding on our way out. On our return we stopped at Ernabella and looked at a local art shop. Twelve lots of seed were collected that day and were processed that evening.
Monday 8th December - Garry had organised for us to go to a homeland called Walalkara to meet the local Elder there called Robin. On the way we collected a few seed lots at various places. After arriving at Walalkara and meeting Robin who kindly gave us the OK to travel west on his land into the Great Victoria Desert, we looked for Acacia aneura var. conifera and some other mulgas and found some but no seed. Back at Umawa we processed several lots of seed collected that day.

Tuesday 9th December – We drove south again to Fregon where Garry had to leave us, then on to old Fred’s place, a family friend of Jimmy’s and he led us through some back roads that joined the main road to Mimili. It was very hot and dry with little seed to be collected. We drove on to the Ererard Ranges and it became very dark and thundery with lightening and then rain came pouring down, so we headed back. We stopped at Fregon where we watched a huge dust storm approaching which made the sky look purple. On the road to Watinuma we were hit by a heavy hail storm which made the area look like a snow scene. Of course it didn’t last long and a few kilometres on it was dry and dusty again. What a land of contrasts! Only two lots of seed were collected this day.

Wednesday 10th December – This was to be our last day in the AP Lands so we travelled west to a waterhole in the Musgrave Ranges, Aly Wunya Wunya. A fire had been through the area and it was heavily overgrazed by feral donkeys and camels as well. There was solanum in seed but in a good season it would be well worth a visit. We packed our gear at Umawa saying goodbye to Alex and Garry and headed off into Kenmore Park following the base of the Musgrave Ranges. There had been rain and this area was quite green in places. We collected some seed and passed Kenmore Park onto the old mail road which eventually brought us out onto the Stuart Highway well north of Marla. Six lots of seed were collected. We stayed at Marla that night.
Thursday 11th December - We left early and headed south. John left us and visited Mintabie and then the Painted Desert area before returning to Roxby Downs. Jimmy and I collected seed near Coober Pedy, Glendambo and again at Mount Gunson turnoff. We reached Port Augusta late in the afternoon and went straight to our homes.

Friday 12th December – Back at the Garden we unloaded the vehicle, did our usual rounds and checked the site. Then we began sorting, cleaning and packaging the seeds and this continued for the next week. A total of 124 seed lots made up of 104 species was collected along with 6 lots of cuttings. As a result of this expedition our Central Highlands Region and Great Victoria Desert Region plantings in the Garden will by the end of this year display a good selection of plants. Bernie Haase

All volunteers working at the Garden (Guides, propagators and others) 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.

Though dates have not been finalised it is likely that Lorraine Edmunds of Blinman will speak about the Wheel Cactus problem in the Flinders Ranges in May and it is hoped overseas member Horst Weber who developed and maintains our AALBG web site from his home in Munich will visit and be our guest speaker in July.

Field Guide to the Plants of Outback South Australia by F Kutsche and B Lay is now available. For details phone Frank on (08) 8204 1244. It can be purchased from level 6, 101 Grenfell Street Adelaide. This excellent glove box sized publication has a wealth of information and numerous colour prints.

With a new editor last year, Port Augusta’s newspaper, The Transcontinental, now prints news items relating to the AALBG and Friends group. The items are prepared by Gewn Leane and John Zwar and sometimes include photos taken by Bruce Leane. This helps create awareness of the Garden and Friends activities in the wider community.
New plantings at Mintabie

Mintabie PlantsLast year the Friends donated a consignment of arid zone tree and shrub seedlings to the Mintabie opal mining community about 850 km north of Port Augusta, for their National Tree Day planting project. John Zwar called in and inspected the plants on the way home from the AP Lands plant collecting expedition. They are establishing well in the centre of the town around the new tourist information bay. Morry Vile organised the donation of trees

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 in 2003, you will not be expected to pay again until July 2004. Please direct queries to Secretary Chrissie Hallett Ph: 86675447 ah.
New members: 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 24.2.2004 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 e-mail Friends Secretary, Chrissie Hallett. E-mail


© 2012 Friends of the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden