The Friends of the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden Port Augusta, Incorporated NEWS RELEASE: 15-07-1998
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NEXT MEETING :- SATURDAY JULY 25th 1998 - ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING.
Our guest speaker will be Professor Dr Ursula Ewald from Schriesheim in Germany who will be visiting South Australia for about six weeks to undertake research at the Adelaide Botanic Garden Library and elsewhere. Dr Ewald will give two presentations on the day. The first,"Horticultural Exhibitions in Germany" will commence at 11.00am and will be followed by a break for lunch in the Bluebush Cafe or BYO picnic and then a walk in the Garden. The AGM will commence at 1.30pm and the usual reports will be presented followed by the election of officers. Dr Ewald's second presentation, "Colonial Heritage and Horticulture: the case for the Americas", will follow at approximately 2.30pm.
Dr Ewald was born in Germany and studied in Germany, England and the USA with Ph.D degrees in history and geography. Since 1970 she has been professor at the Department of Geography at Heidelberg University, with guest professorships in Mexico and the USA. Her publications are chiefly on Latin America and particularly Mexico (3 books). Her interest in horticulture began as a child when she grew vegetables on a steep hillside for her family. She has recently published a book on all aspects of the salt works of Mexico - the world's largest producer and exporter of salt. Dr Ewald is 'crusading' for preserving some unique Mexican salt plants. She has spent time in Botanic Gardens and reserves in Mexico and western states of the USA and visited Australia last year. Dr Ewald's present research interests include food and beverages in Latin America - 16th to 20th centuries, and divergent development in horticulture since the 16th century - a comparative view. She has visited many botanic gardens, worldwide. Her presentations promise to be most interesting and quite different from other topics we have covered over the years. Make a special effort to attend and take the opportunity to inspect progress in the Garden and the impressive building extensions as well.
NOTE MEETING VENUE:-The new WMC Herbarium Meeting Room at The Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden, Stuart Highway, Port Augusta West. Parking and disabled access is available.
LAST MEETING: Instead of the usual Friend's meeting, a visit to the Middleback Research Centre, located between Whyalla and Iron Knob was arranged for Saturday 23rd May and attended by approx 24 Friends. Those who attended and took the opportunity to visit a 'sister' organisation which has been established in the region for many years, found it most interesting learning about the range of arid zone research which is undertaken there. They met a number of staff and inspected various parts of the property. Local vegetation including less common species was a feature of this part of the tour. Research scientists provided a commentary on their research projects. The visit was enhanced by the excellent morning and afternoon teas and lunch. Those who participated came away with a fascinating insight into the secrets of the bush which characterises the region.
SUBSCRIPTIONS become due at the AGM in July. To maintain Friends membership please forward these to the Treasurer when convenient, with details of any address changes. If you are aware of problems or errors with our mailing list, please advise Alison so these can be rectified. We really do appreciate and value the support of Friends who in many cases cannot attend meetings or help at the Garden because of distance and other commitments. We hope that the News Release helps keep these valued members informed of developments at the Garden. A reminder too that donations to the Friends are tax deductible, should you be in a position to assist the further development of the AALBG. Our grateful thanks to those who have been able to assist in this way.
VOLUNTEER GROWERS: If you would like to join other Friends from all over SA and assist by propagating seedlings for the Garden, we can provide seed, growing kits including soil and containers and advice. To date almost all plants in the garden have been propagated or purchased by the Friends. Please contact Bernie Haase if keen to be involved or for more information.
REPORT BY TRADESMAN GARDENER AT THE AALBG, BERNIE HAASE, 27.4.1998 to 30.6.1998 ALICE SPRINGS DESERT PARK WORK EXPERIENCE.
Those who read the last news release will recall that Tradesperson/Gardener, Bernie Haase was seconded to the Alice Springs Park for two months to gain experience and fill a casual vacancy. He recently returned to Port Augusta and is back at work at the AALBG.
I left Pt. Augusta on Monday 27th April and drove to Kulgera on the first day, collecting seeds and pieces of plants which I didn't recognise for future identification. The species and variety of plants in the north of S.A. was gradually changing, to ones I had little contact with down south. As I left Kulgera the species variety increased in numbers, and so did stops to check them.
I arrived in Alice Springs in the afternoon and went directly to the 'Desert Park' where I met the nursery staff and unloaded some plants that I had for them from Port Augusta. The next step was to find some accommodation and a room in a catering college student block was suggested to me, so that is where I ended up.
I later moved into a Territory Parks Commission unit. Real estate in Alice Springs is as expensive as in Sydney and rental accommodation reflects this.
The Desert Park nursery has all the things most other nurseries have and more. The nursery consists of an office, potting area, cutting processing area, soil sterilisation unit, soil mixer and soil potting and holding benches, storeroom, seed processing and storage area. A new larger seed store is to be built soon. In the same building they have a records department which has two full time staff, and a label engraving room (with a computerised engraver of course).
Then there is an air conditioned glass house, a tunnel house and a large shade house area and hardening off area and another glass house is to be built soon. They have a selection of vehicles ranging from a four wheeled motor bike, a 'Gator' which is a small open topped utility, a twin cab ute and a Toyota Landcruiser Troopie at their disposal. All this for 2, soon to be 3 permanent nursery staff. Then there is the gardening staff and their equipment, the garden guides, the herbarium, maintenance section, administration and the largest section, the zoology section.
The souvenir shop and restaurant areas are operated by contractors. As you have probably gathered the place is not quite like the A.A.L.B.G. They have a multi million dollar budget for the construction and maintenance of the park, which has just been increased because construction of new garden areas and aviaries is about to begin.
In the nursery I was placed in charge of the hot house area and maintained the heat bed watering system, fertilising, pest controls and kept propagation records. Seeds and cuttings were regularly planted, pricked out and tubed. Sometimes plant material was bought in by herbarium staff, but usually the nursery staff was sent out into the field to collect material. Whenever this was done detailed provenance records were kept and plant specimens pressed for the herbarium to positively identify and given a collection number. This number then stays with that plant when it is propagated and planted out.
I worked with the gardening staff for a while and installed irrigation, planted, recorded plant locations with a global positioning system, weeded and cleared areas of the worst problem weed in the Alice Springs area, buffel grass. We have buffel grass in the A.A.L.B.G. and from seeing what it does in the Alice Springs area, I think total eradication in our area is the only way to treat it.
While I was there I did a lot of sight seeing throughout the central N.T. area, and everywhere I went I collected seeds when I could. Unfortunately most plants were just staring to flower, so seed was not
always available. There is plenty in the Desert Park seed store though and the nursery manager, Peter Horsfall and the botany administrator, Mark Richardson, both kindly allowed me to take seeds suitable for the A.A.L.B.G. I was also able to get some plants from their nursery.
The A.S.D.P. herbarium also supplied slides to be used in the A.A.L.B.G. display of the Acacia peuce trees. Connie Spencer from the Olive Pink Botanic Garden also supplied slides and photos for the A.A.L.B.G. display.
I gave talks and showed my slides on the A.A.L.B.G. at Olive Pink and at the A.S.D.P. while I was there. On my return journey I continued to collect seeds and plants and arrived back in Pt Augusta late on the 30th June.
The trip was a real upward learning curve for me in how a nursery and botanic garden is developed and maintained. I was also able to see plants, growing in their natural environment, which I had only read about, which will help with planting them in the A.A.L.B.G.
Bernie Haase, 13.7.98
OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE WMC HERBARIUM MEETING ROOM
The Friends were well represented at the opening of this fine facility, funded by WMC. The opening ceremony was performed by WMC Chairman Sir Arvi Parbo, on Wednesday 27th May, commencing at 11.15am. The room and walkway linking it to the main Visitor Reception Building look most impressive with furnishings in natural tones complimenting the rammed earth walls. Large urns of native plant foliage, and striking new permanent interpretive display panels add to the effect. The Friends contributed $5,000 towards furnishings in the new facility. Wood artist John Hayward has manufactured a lectern which includes local native timbers and features the Garden's Western Myall logo inlaid into the front, in Myall and Native Pine. This fine piece of furniture was funded by the Friends and echoes the stunning timber paneling incorporating inlays of local native timbers and bush artifacts which forms the front of the herbarium cupboards on one wall of the meeting room, also made by John Hayward. The local timbers used for these items and for the wood sculptures at the Visitor Reception Building main entrance comes from Roxby Downs, where any trees which have to be removed for construction work are salvaged and timber made available to craftsmen, with excess being mulched for use in landscaping projects, rather than being burnt or dumped.
During his opening speech Sir Arvi paid tribute to Friends who had promoted the AALBG since it was proposed, and been instrumental in the development of the Garden. He described the Garden as a special place and a project which WMC was happy to support.
Copies of newspaper reports (used with permission) in this News Release cover the opening in more detail. Following the opening invited guests including Friends representatives enjoyed lunch at the Highway One Restaurant.
EREMOPHILA FESTIVAL: AALBG Saturday September 19th , 1998.
Planning for the first Eremophila Festival to be held at the AALBG on Saturday 19th September is well advanced. This initiative of the Friends is aimed at promoting the Garden and attracting more visitors. The day will include videos on arid zone gardening in the WMC Herbarium/Meeting Room, wood turning displays and demonstrations (by Friend Neville Sanders), sale of Eremophilas and other hard to find arid zone plants, guided tours of the Garden, Eremophila Garden walks, some Arid Growers stalls and produce, food stalls and more. This event will take the place of our usual September meeting. The next News Release will give full details. If you have ideas for the Festival or are keen to assist the organisers in any way, please contact one of the committee members.
This has been tentatively set for November 28th with Dean Nicolle of Flinders University as guest Speaker. Dean has recently published an excellent book "Eucalypts of South Australia", describing and illustrating in colour the 95 Eucalyptus species native to the state. He is also owner/curator of Currency Creek Arboretum, a specialist eucalypt research centre south of Adelaide, where approximately 750 eucalypt species are in cultivation, including every species from South Australia.
THE FRIENDS CHRISTMAS DINNER in the Bluebush Café will probably follow Dean's presentation.
VOLUNTEERS IN THE GARDEN: Some Friends volunteers continue to assist Bernie with a range of tasks in the Garden, including weeding and label making. If you are in a position to offer occasional or even regular assistance, contact Bernie. He will be delighted to accept help. If you have special skills tell Bernie so that they can be used to advantage to further develop the Garden. Should you be able to help on a regular basis, you may like to be allocated an area as yours to maintain.
ADDRESS AT THE AUSTRALIAN ARID LANDS BOTANIC GARDEN
PORT AUGUSTA, 27Th MAY, 1998.
Sir Arvi Parbo, AC
WMC Chairman until 1999
Thank you for inviting me to perform the opening of the Herbarium and Meeting Room here today.
Everyone here recognises that the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden is a special place. WMC Ltd. regards it as a privilege to be associated with it.
In March this year WMC celebrated its anniversary. In the 65 years that have passed since our foundation, we have operated almost exclusively in arid lands. Our people have come to know and respect the arid environment, and most of them live there. I have often been impressed by the deep knowledge of many of our people concerning the birds, trees, reptiles, plants and many other aspects of the Australian outback. So we have become sensitive to how arid ecosystems work, and how important it is to better understand them, for our own benefit and for the benefit of the wider community.
I don't know what it is about dry and remote country, but it grows on you after a time. I speak from personal experience in my early years with WMC Ltd. As you come to understand the subtleties of it you begin to appreciate the beauty, diversity and wonder of what many city dwellers see as desolate and forbidding.
WMC's Olympic Dam project is an excellent example of how we learn more about such environments and how to care for them. In their regular monitoring of climate, vegetation, fauna, hydrogeology and waste management at Olympic Dam, our environmental staff have collected some of the most comprehensive data on arid Australia ever.
Their work has now developed to the point where three doctoral theses are being worked on, on fauna ecology, vegetation ecology, and mound springs ecology.
The original Environmental Impact Study published for Olympic Dam 15 years ago recorded 138 species in its flora survey. The current list for the same area records 730 species.
Our environmental staff have identified several species of animals not previously recorded in the area, including some that were previously thought to be endangered or rare.There has been a huge increase in their knowledge of the habitat requirements, distribution, and movement of individual animal species.
I was also pleased to learn that the Olympic Dam environment section was able to provide a wide selection of the herbarium specimens which form the nucleus of the Garden's collection. The Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden is a window through which all Australians can come to appreciate some of the splendour of much of this great continent.
WMC became involved with the Garden first through the dedication of some of our people, and second because of its proximity to the Olympic Dam operation just a few hours drive along the Stuart Highway which bisects this site.
John Zwar, an environmental scientist at Olympic Dam, initiated the concept in 1981 when he was Superintendent of parks and gardens for Port Augusta Council. John was also one of an enthusiastic group of "Friends" who lobbied for funds and talked to anybody who would listen to keep the idea alive in its early years.
My fellow WMC director and then long time Head of Exploration, Roy Woodall, was another member of the "Friends" group and from around 1989 I remember he would slip through all sorts of minor but important support for this special project. John and Roy consistently maintained an active involvement, and over time interested many of our environmental and operational staff in supporting it in various ways. They even enlisted Lady Jean Brodie-Hall, the wife of one of our former directors and one of Australia's leading landscape architects, to review Grant Henderson's master plan. George White, WMC's Group Environmental Advisor was also involved closely as a member of the Garden's Advisory Committee for several years.
My colleagues on the Board and I were left in no doubt that WMC was going to be involved in this Port Augusta project, whether we liked it or not. Fortunately, we liked it and we found the enthusiasm of our colleagues infectious. Too often companies are tempted to limit their support for worthwhile projects to sending a cheque. Here we had people personally involved in a project of great merit, it was close to a major operation, and it had the potential to contribute to our understanding of that part of Australia's natural environment where we mainly operate.
In 1995, WMC agreed to make a substantial contribution over five years to fund the construction and fit out of this Herbarium/Meeting Room and a number of other projects associated with the maintenance and development of the Garden. I'm impressed by what this assistance is helping to create, and the enthusiasm shown by the Garden's many supporters.
Sponsoring the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden is also a way that WMC can express its appreciation for the support we get from the people of Port Augusta. This is the nearest major service centre to Olympic Dam, and Port Augusta's facilities and skilled workforce make a strong contribution to our activities. At present we are spending over $ 1,600 million to more than double the production capacity of Olympic Dam, and this is currently one of Australia's largest engineering projects.
To reduce congestion at the site we have built many of the major plant components in Port Augusta and transported them to Olympic Dam for final installation. I understand that the six story high waste heat boiler was quite a sight as it passed by here. The project's off-site work may eventually total one million manhours, and much of it has been at Port Augusta. I'm pleased to report that this strategy is working very well and the expansion is currently several months ahead of schedule.
The Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden should make us all proud. Proud of the vision shown in its establishment; proud of what has been achieved to date; and proud of its undoubted progress in the future.
The logic of Australia having a centre such as this seems so compelling that the obvious question is why have we waited until recently. In my experience, there are too many brilliant ideas that never happen because none is prepared to work for them against great odds. As an Australian, I thank and congratulate the many people who disregarded the odds and made this dream possible. You have had the faith to persist and create a very special resource for present and future generations.
With facilities like the Visitor Reception Centre and the new Herbarium/Meeting Room, we are beginning to see the tourism and educational potential of what will be one of the world's significant centres for arid zone botany display and research. I understand that visitor numbers have climbed sharply in the last two years.
The Garden will become an important focus and resource in the management and conservation of arid zone plant biodiversity. It will be of particular value to pastoralists, miners, and others accountable for the responsible use of our land resources, and I'm impressed by the many new programs I understand you are planning.
Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my privilege to declare this Herbarium/Meeting Room open for business. May it serve its many users with distinction.
The Press ReportsNORTHERN SUN, Friday, June 12, 1998
Sir Arvi pays tribute to WMC employees
WMC chairman Sir Arvi Parbo paid tribute to Olympic Dam environmental scientist Mr John Zwar and WMC director and former Head of Exploration Roy Woodall at the official opening of the $250,000 WMC Ltd Herbarium/Meeting Room at Port Augusta's Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden on Wednesday, May 27.
During his opening speech, Sir Arvi described the garden as a "special place", and one which should make everyone proud.
"Proud of the vision shown in its establishment; proud of what has been achieved to date; and proud of its undoubted progress in the future," he said.
"The logic of Australia having a centre such as this seems so compelling that the obvious question is why have we waited until recently? "In my experience, there are too many brilliant ideas that never happen because nobody is prepared to work for them.
"As an Australian, I thank and congratulate the many people who disregarded the odds and made this dream possible.
"You have had the faith to persist and create a very special resource for present and future generations.
"With facilities like the Visitor Reception Centre and the new HerbariumiMeeting Room, we are beginning to see the tourism and educational potential of what will be one of the world's significant centres for arid zone botany display and research.
"I understand that visitor numbers have climbed sharply in the past two years."
Sir Arvi paid tribute to several WMC employees who had been instrumental in the development of the garden.
"John Zwar, an environmental scientist at Olympic Dam, initiated the concept in 1981 when he was superintendent of parks and gardens for Port Augusta (City) Council.
"John was also one of an enthusiastic group of 'Friends' who lobbied for funds and talked to anybody who would listen to keep the idea alive in its early years.
"My fellow WMC director and then long-time Head of Exploration, Roy Woodall, was another member of the 'Friends' group, and from around 1989 I remember he would slip through all sorts of minor but important support for this special project.
"John and Roy consistently maintained an active involvement, and over time interested many of our environmental and operational staff in supporting it in various ways.
"My colleagues on the Board and I were left in no doubt that WMC was going to be involved in this Port Augusta project whether we liked it or not.
"Fortunately, we liked it and we found the enthusiasm of our colleagues infectious.
The Advertiser, Thursday, May 28, 1998
A HERBARIUM opened at Port Augusta yesterday will be home to various pressed native flowers and plants, as well as a centre for native flora research.
The $220,000 WMC herbarium and meeting room complex is part of the AustralIan Arid Lands Botanic Garden.
The official opening was conducted by WMC chairman, Sir Arvi Parbo.
Issued 15.7.1998 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. Fax C/- (08) 8671 0179
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