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: 07-05-2004


The Society

Current Newsletter

Application Form


John Zwar

Ph (08) 867 0324 ah

Secretary/ Treasurer

Geraldine Davis

Ph (08) 86486399ah

Assistant Secretary/ Treasurer

Shirley Mundy

Ph (08) 8642 4013

Tradesperson / Gardener

Bernie Haase

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

NEXT EVENT:- SATURDAY, 22nd May 2004, 1.00pm in the WMC Herbarium/Meeting Room at the Garden.
All friends and others interested are warmly invited to attend.

Our guest speaker for the May meeting will be Lorraine Edmunds who has lived and worked in the Flinders Ranges for 20 years. She first visited Arkaroola in 1983, on a bushwalking holiday and was immediately captivated by the wild beauty of the Northern Flinders. Twelve months later she began work at Arkaroola where she remained for 6 years. Whilst at Arkaroola Lorraine documented much of the sanctuary's flora, compiling several folders of photographs, specimens and botanical notes that were shared with many visitors. Lorraine moved to the Central Flinders Ranges in 1992 where she worked as a tour guide for the Rasheed family for several years before joining the South Australian National Parks Service. For 3 years she was the on-ground manager of the ecological restoration project “Operation Bounceback”. Lorraine co-ordinated feral animal and pest plant control programs both on the Flinders Ranges National Park and in partnership with pastoral neighbours. Lorraine is now self-employed and is currently working with the Blinman community on an ambitious project to control Wheel Cactus and Prickly Pear in the district. The subject of her presentation will be "When Gardening Goes Feral - Implications for the Flinders Ranges".

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 22nd May 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.
Mrs Vivienne Lothian, Noel Lothian & John Zwar with some of the donated books at AALBG


Vivienne and Noel Lothian and John Zwar
Mrs. Vivienne Lothian, Noel Lothian, and John Zwar with some of the donated books at the AALBG

In March Mr Noel Lothian, a long term Friend and former Director of The Botanic Gardens of Adelaide, made a further donation of books to the AALBG from his personal library. The books are in many cases rare, and in some cases irreplaceable and were selected by Noel as being useful to form the nucleus of a library for the Garden, along with the original collection of books which he donated several years ago. The two book collections donated by Noel are valued at more than $20,000. They are housed at the Garden, but are officially recorded as part of the Port Augusta City Library collection. The books can be accessed at the library by contacting library staff and arranging a time to go in and read selected books. Because of the value of the collection these books cannot be borrowed. The Port Augusta Council arranged a reception at the Garden on March 30th to thank Mr and Mrs Lothian for their generous gift. Mrs Penny Horne, the book valuer who valued the collection attended along with Mayor Joy Baluch, councillors and guests including several Friends committee members. Following the reception, the guests of honour were taken on a guided tour of the Garden by Senior Gardener, Bernie Haase. Noel commented on the growth and development since his last visit several years earlier. He is planning to select more books from his personal library, for our Garden, later in the year. Thankyou Noel and Viv! We are so pleased you could visit, see the Garden and be thanked in this way.

Friends member and AALBG Senior Gardener Bernie Haase gave 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 included slides and photographs, showing the country, plants and collecting process.

  • A sculpture exhibition is to be hosted at Port Augusta and will be on display at the Garden during the Eremophila Festival (Sept 4th 2004).
  • We have some new volunteer garden guides and propagators following advertising and requests and they are doing good work, but more (guides especially) would be greatly appreciated.
  • A laptop computer is to be purchased for the Secretary/Treasurer.
  • Agreed to send two committee members, Chris Nayda and Nicole Scharenberg to the Association of Friends of Botanic Gardens 2004 Conference in Canberra in April and to cover their basic costs.
  • The Propagation Group is thriving. It was agreed that they should arrange occasional “Saturday Sales” to clear excess stock, as required.
  • The Eremophila Festival was discussed at length. Planning is well advanced. Some excellent sponsors have been found and there will be many activities, stalls, Garden tours, displays, music and food.
  • Secretary Chrissie Hallett has resigned because of work and travel commitments. Geraldine Davis has taken on the role of Secretary/Treasurer, ably assisted by Shirley Mundy. Thanks ladies!
  • Occasional articles in the Port Augusta newspaper “The Transcontinental” by Gwen Leane with pictures by Bruce Leane and input from John Zwar have helped raise the profile of the Garden locally.
  • Bruce Leane has been appointed Vice President, a position formerly occupied by Morry Vile.

Friends committee members Chris Nayda and Nicole Scharenberg attended this event, representing our Friends group. This was the first time we have been represented at this conference. Here are their impressions.
Our visit to Canberra was the 2004 Conference of the Association of Friends of Botanic Gardens entitled Gardens for Pleasure, Plants for Survival. It was organised by the Friends of the Australian National Botanic Garden. On Saturday 17th April we listened to six guest speakers. All were very interesting in their own right.
The Keynote address was presented by Dr Dennis Saunders entitled "Biodiversity: can we do anything about halting its decline". Ian Fraser; Naturalist, writer, and broadcaster spoke on, “Fire recovery: not magic but 2 million years of practice". Dr David Horn, palaeoecologist and writer, “Attitudes to indigenous people and the environment in Australia”. Brendan Lepschi, curator, Center for Plant Diversity Research, “Why plants change their names - blame the botanists”. John Knight, manager Eurobodalla Regional Botanic Gardens, "Can regional botanic gardens survive without volunteers”? Dr Helen Hewson, Honorary Associate of the Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, “First find your plant”.
I found the last two speakers very interesting. The trip was very worthwhile. We were made welcome and when we said where we were from, people were very pleased we could participate. About half of the people there [about 70 plus] said they had been to our Garden and just loved it. One, I had even taken on a tour of the garden two years ago. Everyone was very impressed with it.
"The Association of Friends of Botanic gardens Inc" has members from every state except Western Australia and Queensland. They meet every two years for their conference followed by their AGM. The next conference is at Cranbourne in Victoria in 2006. Cranbourne is a new garden still in stage one and is due to be open in spring next year. Their budget is pretty measly (haha) $3.5 million! The Association puts out a newsletter twice yearly called Campsis named after the trumpet flower. Very informative newsletters from each garden tell what is happening in their area re Volunteers’ activities for friends etc. Things like friends insurance was a very big issue and working together with whoever runs the garden another. All things relevant to every garden.
ANBG at Canberra has 55 guides, 150 volunteers and 50 working in the herbarium. They have two tours a day in winter and three per day in the summer.
Saturday started with a welcome by Dr. Croft then four different speakers during the day with a lunch time walk through the garden which wasn't long enough. At the Saturday evening dinner the guest speaker was Jennie Churchhill from ABC gardening on her walking trip in Nepal. She had only arrived home three days before...The slides and talk were great.
On the Sunday we were taken on a bus trip to Canberra's Sculpture Park and a private garden belonging to Polly Park. She has written a book about it. We finished up with a barbecue at ANBG followed by the AGM and then caught plane for home. Chris Nayda
Nicole’s comments:
The trip was very enjoyable not so much educational but I will talk to you in more detail regarding this matter at our next meeting. The Australian National Botanic Garden was fantastic and a real credit to their gardeners and volunteers. The garden is set up to also accommodate wedding ceremonies, with a wedding happening while we were there.
A few people attending the conference had been to The Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden and those who have not are making a special point to do so. The highlight of my trip was most definitely visiting the private garden display on the Sunday morning and the talk given at our dinner by the inspirational Jennie Churchill, 'Flora and fauna of Nepal'. Jennie had only been back in Australia for 3 days!
I took loads and loads of photos on my digital camera (before I ran out of batteries) and have put together a small presentation to deliver at our next general meeting, if this suits your agenda. We also saw where the bush fires came through Canberra and the bus tour took us past all the embassys. Nicole Scharenberg

Several years ago the Friends offered to fund appropriately designed gates for the Garden’s main entrance, but the offer was rejected by Port Augusta Council. The matter was raised again by the Friends last year and this time council decided to proceed. The gates were to be installed in March. The project is being handled by Hayden Hart of the Council who has advised that the gates will be fabricated in Quorn in the next few weeks and following treatment with an epoxy will be installed at the Garden’s main entrance, where landscaping is to be improved also. The metal gates will feature the Garden’s Western Myall emblem. The project is likely to cost $6,000 and will be funded by the Friends.


Eremophila philipsii (c) Rosemary Pedlar
Eremophila philipsii
© Rosemary Pedlar

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 Chris Nayda , Co-ordinator on 8642 4684. The Eremophila Festival seeks to showcase the Garden at its best. Entry is by gold coin donation. The event is also being promoted in the Open Garden Scheme section of the ABC Radio web site. Besides plant sales by the Friends propagation group and nurseries specialising in Eremophilas and other arid zone native plants, there will be entertainment, activities for children, environmental displays, speakers and presentations in the WMC Herbarium Meeting Room, guided garden tours, food in the Bluebush Café, sculpture exhibition and more. A promotional brochure has been produced – contact Chris if you would like one or more to display and publicise the event. The brochure will be altered as the programme for the day fills out. We have excellent sponsors and some great prizes for a fund raising raffle (drawn at the Festival). These include: Two nights for 2 people at Spear Creek Tourism and Training Centre, including provision for cooked breakfast and a guided tour; One nights accommodation for 2 people at Wirrabarra Heritage Bed and Breakfast; An evening cruise for two people to the head of Spencer Gulf with Augusta Water Cruises, including supper. Other sponsors include SA Housing Trust, Vipa Enterprises, Home Hardware Port Augusta, Plants Plus Augusta Garden Centre, and Skillshare Buses Port Augusta. A tear off slip for raffle tickets is attached below for this significant fundraiser. Please note the closing date.


Member's name....................................................................
Member's address.................................................................

I am willing to of 10 tickets at $1 each.
Alternatively, I enclose an amount of $.......... for tickets at $1 each.
Closing Date for orders by mail is Friday 20 August 2004. Return of money,
raffle books and unsold tickets requested by 1st September 2004.
Please make Cheques and Money Orders payable to Friends of the Australian
Arid Lands Botanic Garden Inc. and send to "Raffle Tickets", PO Box 2040,
Port Augusta SA 5700

GARDEN REPORT 23.2.2004 to 23.4.2004 by Bernie Haase
Hello Friends; is it dry where you are, because it’s very dry here? There has been very little rain since October. All the plants in the area that is not being irrigated are either dead or completely dormant. There is quite a contrast between the natural areas and adjoining watered areas in the Garden.
Planting has continued with much more to be done in the near future. Drippers have been checked and those blocked by ants, replaced. If anyone knows of an ant proof dripper, please let me know because it is a major problem here. Mulching cleared areas along the guided tour walk is almost complete and has been greatly assisted by our two ‘work for the dole’ helpers, currently assisting at the Garden. Rabbits are almost non existent in the Garden, but foxes, cats and kangaroos are having a good time. All our dirty pots, tubes, trays and labels have been cleaned and sterilised for reuse.

Jimmy has spent a month working in the Council’s Parks and Gardens Section for further experience and for a change. While he was away trainees and apprentices from Parks and Gardens were given one or two weeks experience here.

The pressed plant specimens collected on our collecting trip to the Anangu Pitjantjatjara lands in the north west of South Australia have been mounted and stored in folders and are now in the Garden’s Herbarium. Seed collected on our North Flinders Ranges and AP Lands trips has been treated and planted. Treatment and germination records have been maintained. Pricking out and potting of seedlings has been in full swing for several weeks and the nursery is quite full of young plants. When ready to plant out they will significantly increase our collection of plants from the Central Highlands, Victoria Desert and North Flinders regions. Many of the more colourful species will also be planted to beautify the edges of entrance and guided walk paths.
Rubbish was picked up along Flinders Red Cliff beach. This included a smashed, very solid park bench, and an air conditioner, thrown down the cliff from the car park. The beach access gate was vandalised and has been repaired.

Dead plants were removed from the Eremophila Garden and along entrance paths. A census of Eremophilas in the Garden has been completed, and more will be planted, based on the species known to do well. The Eremophila Garden is to be extended, and sub surface irrigation will be trialed in this area.
A long awaited grant of $600,000 from Tourism SA was approved and Garden development planning has been finalised. The internal road to Flinders Red Cliff Lookout and a car park are being built and should be completed soon. The boundary fence has been realigned to reflect the actual boundary of the Garden, blocking off the old road from McSporran Crescent to the lookout. An internal track to the Garden’s Interpretive Lookout has been pegged and work on this walking track through the sandhills should commence soon. Work on other Garden tracks to be developed and at the main entrance has yet to begin. There have been the usual enquiries from the public to answer, and also tours by university students and inspections by various contractors prior to working on site.

A collection of books on plants, animals and arid areas was donated to the Garden by Noel Lothian, a former director of the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide. Following a presentation at the Garden to thank him for his gift I took him on a guided tour of the Garden and nursery and received favourable comments on the Garden’s progress.

The next report will include information on developments undertaken with the Tourism SA funding which will improve the Garden’s accessibility and overall appearance. B Haase

Bearded Dragon DragoFor people who have recently taken a tour of the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Gardens, Port Augusta, on Fridays, their tour would have been co-hosted by Drago. Drago is an Inland Bearded Dragon and co-hosts the tours from the shoulder of Mrs Jenny Broadwood of Port Augusta.
Jenny and Drago teamed up thirteen years ago when Jenny was living on a farm near Quorn. Mr Ron Hilder knew of Jenny’s love for all things wild and brought her the young lizard with a broken back. ‘Do you want to try and bring him back?’ he asked Jenny. ‘He’ll die otherwise.’ With tender loving care, Drago survived, although one leg is slightly impaired Jenny envisaged returning Drago back to the wild but with a back leg out of action, she realized he would never make it alone.
Jenny cites a recent incident when a couple, members of a camera club in Victoria booked a tour. When Drago arrived on her shoulder, he instantly became a film star. The Garden was forgotten. Likewise, a family with five children were fascinated by Drago. They clustered around Jenny and wanted to know, ‘Does he bite? Can we pat him?’
Every inch the gentleman, Drago seeks out Jenny when he needs the toilet, she takes him outside and soon everyone is happy. Drago’s diet consists of meal worms, bits of liver and kidney, mushrooms and squash. The times he loves most is being able to hunt slaters and other crawlies when Jenny goes out and tends her many plants and pot plants. But Drago didn’t love it when he swallowed a black wasp. It bit him on the way down and he had to be rushed to the Vet. ‘It was the first lizard the Vet had ever treated and had to look up his books.’ Jenny says with a smile. Drago received an injection in his tail. Recently Jenny wrote to Doctor Harry to prove that Drago is the exception to the rule. Dragons are supposed to have a life span of ten years but Jenny thinks, ‘He’s good for a few more years yet.’
bearded Dragon DragoJenny has recently become a volunteer guide at the Garden. She loves being a guide. ‘It’s the best thing I’ve ever done. I love it. It’s wonderful out there’. Gwen Leane

The Australian Arid Lands Garden will be host to a sculpture exhibition from 4 – 30 September, 2004. Country Arts SA and the Port Augusta City Council Social Vision Unit have been working towards organising for the exhibition to be placed at the garden and collaboratively with a sister show at the Fountain Gallery in Port Augusta. 15 artists will be employed to create the sculptures and the opening will coincide with the Eremophila Festival on 4 September. For more information you can call Fountain Gallery on (08) 8642 4557. S Yates

Comments made by John Zwar at the reception held for Noel Lothian, Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden, Port Augusta, 30 March 2004.

Mayor Joy, Councillors, Mr & Mrs Lothian & Guests,

I am delighted to be able to attend the reception this morning in honour of my former boss, mentor and friend, Noel Lothian. It is fitting that his generous donation of a fine collection of mostly rare and in some cases irreplaceable books for the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden is recognised in this way. The two donations of books which Noel has made have a value of more than $20,000 and he is planning to select more books from his collection for a third donation of books to the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden, probably later this year. Such a generous gift is wonderful for our young Garden and will prove of inestimable value in years to come. Thank you so much Noel and Viv. We really do appreciate these books!

I will now give a little background on Noel and his long and outstanding career in the field of horticulture.
Thomas Robert Noel Lothian – This is your life! (Well not quite, but an important part of it). Mr Noel Lothian, who was Director of the Adelaide Botanic Garden, Adelaide from 1948 to 1980 i.e. for 33 years, was born in Melbourne, Victoria. He obviously had excellent taste though and later moved to South Australia!

Vivienne and Noel LothianAfter completing the Horticultural Course at Burnley Horticultural College, Melbourne, he spent some years with the Melbourne City Council, principally at the Fitzroy Gardens. He received further training at the Christchurch Botanic Gardens, New Zealand, and the Royal Botanic Gardens. Kew, England. He was carrying out further study at the Munich Botanic Gardens when World War II was declared, and left Germany just as international borders were closing, an interesting story in its own right. During the war years, Mr Lothian was in charge of a group of Army Farms in New Guinea.

Following the war, he gained the National Diploma of Horticulture (NZ.), for which he was awarded the Cockayne Gold Medal. He was appointed Senior Lecturer in Horticulture, University on New Zealand (Lincoln College), where he established the horticultural diploma and degree courses.

He is a Past President of the Royal Australian Institute of Parks and Recreation, also of the South Australian Division, and is an Honorary Life Fellow of this organization. He is a Past Chairman of the South Australian National Park Commission; Royal Society of South Australia and Field Naturalists’ Society of South Australia and was Editor of the “South Australian Naturalist” for 22 years. He was a Council member of the University of Adelaide. Noel was a member of several Government committees over many years dealing with topics including conservation, tree planting and roadside vegetation.

He has been a regular contributor to horticultural journals in Australia and overseas, and made many broadcasts and television appearances. He has published three books on general gardening and Australian native plants. From May to September 1974 – he visited the UK, Europe and the USA, inspecting many botanic gardens and other horticultural establishments on behalf of SA Government.

During May and June 1975, he spent three weeks in China with an Australian Cultural Mission looking at parks, gardens and urban open spaces. He revisited that country again in 1977. This was when China was just beginning to open up to westerners and I recall fascinating talks by Noel of these visits all those years ago.
In 1961, Mr. Lothian was awarded the O.B.E. for his services to horticulture, and in 1975 the Royal Horticulture Society, London, awarded him the Veitch Memorial Gold Medal in recognition of his work and writings, radio and television activities. Noel was a judge and council member of the Royal Agricultural and Horticultural Society for many years having only recently given up judging at shows.

Some of the landmark developments at Adelaide Botanical Garden during Noel’s term as Director 1948 to December 1980 include:

  • 1949 Experimental Plantations. Several Landowners agreed to set aside small areas of their properties for the use of the Botanic Garden. The first plantation commenced at Giles Corner and within several years’ plantations were established at Stansbury (1956). Lameroo (1953), Kulpara, and Meningie. I recall working at some of these as a Trainee at the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide. These plantations demonstrated to local people, species of plants which would grow on natural rainfall and with minimal care in their area, a worthwhile extension of the botanic garden’s role into country areas.
  • 1952 Mt. Lofty Botanic Garden. Land for Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens obtained. 40 hectares of the Backhouse Estate was purchased for the development of this Garden, displaying plants from cool temperate areas. The site has since been expanded and the Garden open to the public for many years. Noel and Viv live in retirement at Crafers, adjoining this Garden.
  • 1959 Schomburgk Range of glasshouses. Opened on 24 May, 1954 by the then Premier and named in honour of the second director of the Adelaide Botanic Garden. The cost was borne by the government but there was a generous donation of $2,000 from the Orchid Club of S.A.
  • 1965 Wittunga Botanic Gardens. Mr. Ashby gave his property “Wittunga” to the State of South Australia to form a botanic garden displaying primarily Australian and South African flora at Blackwood which was officially opened in 1975.
  • 1966 S.A. State Herbarium. Finally housed in a building specifically designed for the purpose – since demolished for the National Wine Centre.
  • 1970 Horticultural Garden. The garden was designed by the then Landscape Architect, Mr Doug Field.
  • 1974 Administration Building. The second and final section of this fine building completed, and research staff and advisory staff shifted in. This building has also since been demolished to make way for the National Wine Centre.
  • 1974 Display Garden (Italianate Garden). What had been the Dahlia Garden was redesigned as a Display Garden by the then Landscape Architect, Mr. G. Jones.
  • 1977 Class Ground. This area was redesigned by the then Horticultural Botanist, Dr. B. Morley.
  • 1978 Friends of the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide. Inaugural meeting February 1978, inaugural President – Dr Collin Robjohns. This was the first “Friends” group in Australia and served as the model on which many other “friends” groups have since been established, including The Friends of The Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden at Port Augusta.
  • 1979-80 Pavilion. Pavilion in Italianate Garden refurbished.
  • 1980 Staff. Mr. Lothian retired in December 1980.

Noel has a long-term relationship with the SA Outback having been involved in plant collecting expeditions in remote areas over a long period. He was an annual visitor at Leigh Creek for many years, judging the home garden competition and providing advice on planting and landscaping in this outback mining community. I spent time with him there in the early 1970’s. Because of Noel’s relationship with Leigh Creek management, Adelaide Botanic Garden trainees worked there each year for short periods to gain further practical experience. I was one of these trainees and this is where I was introduced to arid zone horticulture, eventually gaining a permanent position there after I completed my training at the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide. Noel also judged annual Port Augusta garden competitions which I organised in the 1970’s and once the AALBG was proposed and the Friends of the AALBG was established he became a strong supporter for this project, and a foundation member of our Friends group. He has been guest speaker here at Port Augusta on a number of occasions, accompanied and supported by Viv, his wife.

I am thrilled that Noel and Viv can revisit Port Augusta at this time, to be publicly thanked and to see how our young garden has developed. Noel has not enjoyed good health in recent years, so it is especially pleasing that he could make this trip with Viv and with Mrs Penny Horne, the book valuer who has valued his collections of donated books.

I am sure you will enjoy hearing Noel speak and meeting him this morning. Again, our sincere thanks to Noel and Viv. Enjoy your stay and have a safe trip home. Thankyou. John Zwar, President, Friends of AALBG.

The letter below was written in 1975 by the late outback identity, Fred Teague, formerly of Hawker to long term Friend and pioneer tree planter in the Willowie district, Des Foulis, now of Wilmington. It details the amazing drought tolerance of some Eucalyptus species found in ephemeral creek beds in inland Australia (Eucalyptus camaldulensis “River Red Gum” – the species common in Brachina Creek, and Eucalyptus coolibah, “Coolibah”, the species growing in Cooper Creek where the Birdsville Track crosses this normally dry water course).

Dear Mr Foulis,
Hawker 10/8/75
You no doubt have read in the newspaper of the trees in Cooper Creek taking on a new growth of foliage after having been apparently dead for many years. I drove the Birdsville Mail 1936-1937 and carted into Marree many loads of supposed dead wood from the cut down trees in the Cooper. The Cooper having run a flow of water in 1916. However again in 1950? And 1960? and 1974 the creek flowed again. I went up to the Cooper last October and was amazed to see the Cooper trees looking as green as the Murray Gums. About 42 miles north of Hawker is the Brachina Creek, and about 14 years ago the then leasee turned the water out of the creek by banking it from Brachina Creek into a nearby creek and in a short time most of the lovely gums in Brachina Creek died, and they were huge gums, possibly several thousands of them.
About 2 years or so ago the property lease changed hands and the new leasee cut the bank and allowed the water to flow down the Brachina again. Last week (July 1975) when I drove down the Brachina for several miles I was amazed to see a large percentage (almost all) of these lovely old gums were clothed in small green shoots and leaves, a wonderful sight after many years of being a ghost like scene. As soon as possible I will send you a photo of the regrowth, truly amazing.

Yours sincerely, Fred Teague, Hawker

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 Rieck Shine to ensure you have signed the appropriate paperwork, to provide coverage in the event of accident or injury.

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.

Friends are welcome to participate in these activities.

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

Overseas member Horst Weber from Munich who developed and maintains our AALBG web site from his home will visit and be our guest speaker on July 17th, our AGM. He will be in Australia for work and is keen to revisit the Garden and the Flinders Ranges. There will be no September meeting as our efforts will go into the Eremophila Festival. The October 9th meeting will be an opportunity to meet and hear Phillip Moore, botanist and author from NSW who has written the “Travellers Guide to Plants of The Outback” which is to be published next year after a long delay. Readers may have heard him talking on ABC Radio’s “Australia All Over” last year.

Field Guide to the Plants of Outback South Australia by Frank Kutsche and Brendan Lay is now available. For details phone Frank on (08) 8204 1244. It can be purchased from level 6, 101 Grenfell Street Adelaide. This high quality glove box sized publication (more than 300 pages) has a wealth of information and numerous colour prints. It will be available at the Eremophila Festival where you will also be able to meet the authors!

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.


Plant propagators Una Baird, Julie Owen, Jason
Plant propagators (from right) Una Baird, Jason, Julie Owen

The propagation team of about 6-8 workers is very active each Wednesday morning. Door sales have increased and larger quantities are being asked for as people look to revegetate small acreages and hobby farms, and to save water . So the team is challenged to grow larger quantities and keep larger quantities in stock. Salt Bush is proving very popular for gardens as a wind break, fodder, and texture in foliage and colour to the garden, though the very dry spell is a deterrent to large plantings on station properties. We have come to the point where we have a certain stock of Salt Bush on hand to meet demand. At the same time we are striving to built stock for the Eremophila Festival in September. Experience shows us that with some plants there is only small window of opportunity in getting cuttings to grow, so we now use that experience to plant large quantities. The team also supplies Bernie Haase, head Gardener, with plants. Plants that have died in the Garden or special variety that we have grown, Bernie draws from out stock. It is very good to know that we can have real input into the Garden in this way. PICTURE: Una Baird is on the right and Julie Owens is on the left and Jason is in the middle. Gwen Leane

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 Geraldine Davis Ph: 8648 6399 ah.

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!
New members: Clearly print name and address on membership application form. Some recent forms have not been legible. Please indicate if you would prefer to receive your News Release by email, as we hope to be able to do this before too long, but will of course post it in the normal way for those without email.

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.

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!

Issued 07.05.2004 by John Zwar President, The Friends of the Australian And Lands Botanic Garden, Port Augusta Inc., P0 Box 2040 Port Augusta SA 5700. Ph (08) 8671 0324 ah, (08,) 8671 8558w, Facsimile C/- (08) 8671 0179 or by e-mail;
Friends' Secretary Geraldine Davis, e-mail:


© 2012 Friends of the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden