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: 05-11-1998

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President

John Zwar

Ph (08) 867 0324 ah

Secretary

Gwen Leane

Ph (08) 8643 6191

Treasurer

Alison Daw

Ph (08) 8642 2748 ah.

Gardener

Bernie Haase

Ph (08) 8641 1443 ah
Ph (08) 8641 1049 w

NEXT EVENT: SATURDAY November 28th 1998 - Last meeting for 1998

Christmas Dinner.

Our last meeting for 1998 is on 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. Dean's presentation will focus on eucalypts from the arid zone. He has discovered a new species of eucalypt and is regarded as South Australia's foremost eucalyptus expert. The meeting will commence at 1.00pm in the WMC Herbarium/Meeting Room (Note the earlier time). Afternoon tea and coffee will be available after the meeting for a small fee.

FRIENDS CHRISTMAS DINNER will be held in the Bluebush Café at the AALBG that evening (Sat 28th Nov). The traditional Christmas dinner will cost $20.00 per person, and will commence with drinks at 6.00pm, meal commencing at 6.30pm. Drinks will be available, but no alcohol as the Café is not licenced. Last year all were most impressed by the magnificent meal.

Please book for the dinner with Morry Vile Ph 8642 2021, by Tues 24th November. Contact Morry with any enquiries.

A BIRD WALK on Saturday 21st November will commence from the car park in the Garden at 6.30am. The main entrance gate from the Stuart Highway will be opened just before 6.30am. Following the popular bird walk in March this year there was a call for another. The walk will be led by Peter Langdon, noted local bird authority and artist and Bernie Haase of the AALBG. Walkers will be briefed and assigned to guides, and move off from the car park at 6.30am. A barbecue breakfast will be served by the Friends, following the walk. The cost of the breakfast (eggs, bacon, tomato, onion & bread, tea & coffee) will be $2.00 per person. Bring binoculars, field guides, pen & note book, water bottle, walking shoes and snacks.

Please notify Vice President Morry Vile, Ph (08) 8642 2021, of numbers intending to participate (for catering purposes) by 18th November.

THE EREMOPHILA FESTIVAL

This event was the first of its type, held by the Friends at the Garden on Saturday 19th September. Several growers of arid zone plants including eremophila were kept very busy and at least one had to bring more plants for sale to replenish stock. Craft and produce stalls, and food stalls attracted many customers too. Demonstrations of wood turning organised by Friend Neville Saunders and displays by Arid Growers and Trees for Life attracted interest too. The crowd was entertained by local singing group The Desert Voices. The Bluebush Café had its busiest day ever and a number of volunteers assisted regular staff. It is estimated that more than 1,000 people attended on the day, and many were first time visitors to the Garden. There were numerous favourable comments.

Some of the visitors, many of whom had travelled from other parts of the state for the Festival joined in guided tours of the Garden. A newly produced video showed the Garden site ten years ago and developments to date. It was on show in the WMC Herbarium/Meeting Room, along with herbarium specimens donated by WMC. The friends stall, selling plants did well raising more than $600.00. The Eremophila Festival was an outstanding success, which was a great relief to Friends organisers. We achieved our aim of promoting the Garden and encouraging first time visitors. It is likely that the Festival will become a biennial event, alternating with the Arid Growers Fair also held in Port Augusta. Thanks to all who were involved and assisted in any way. A job very well done!

CONTINUED LACK OF GOVERNMENT SUPPORT FOR AALBG

At the last AALBG Board Meeting it was resolved that the Board would apply for Natural Heritage and Coast Care funding in the new year in an attempt to help fund continued development in the Garden. The Coast Care application will focus on the development of an interpretive lookout featuring coastal vegetation at Flinders Red Cliff, steps to the beach and a boardwalk in the mangroves. Unfortunately neither State nor Federal Governments have provided any funding for the developing Garden for several years, despite making supportive comments in recent years.

PORT AUGUSTA BIRD SOCIETY

Brian Reichelt of the Port Augusta Bird Society addressed the last Board Meeting. The society plans to construct a rock pool in the Eremophila Garden in front of the Bluebush CafÇ to attract birds to this location where they are easily seen by many visitors. This will replace the small temporary pond which had been placed there, and proved very attractive to birds. The Society members will provide all materials and labour. This project is expected to be completed within the next few weeks. In addition the Society has designed a bird hide structure which they will build in the garden adjacent to a hollow in an area of bushland where a small water feature will also be developed to attract birds. Their members, some of whom are carpenters and builders will build the structure, with materials being provided at cost by the local Mitre 10 store. The friends recent offer of $5,000.00 for shelters in the Garden will more than cover the cost of materials needed. Mr Reichelt mentioned that more than 150 ornithologists had visited the Garden in recent months and that the Society was intending to produce a small hand book describing birds found in the local area. This would be available from the Garden.

The Society's generous offer of assistance was accepted by the Board.

OTHER BOARD NOTES

  • Visitor numbers for July & August 1998 are up 53% on the same period in 1997.
  • Income in the Visitor Reception Centre is up 66% on the same period last year.
  • Trevor Christianson of the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide who recently attended a Botanical Conference in Cape Town and took and mounted a display featuring the AALBG was thanked for his support.
  • Following correspondence from the Australian Taxation Office the AALBG has applied for designation as a Public Museum (of living plants) so that donations paid to it are allowable tax deductions for donors. This follows an enquiry from a person interested in donating a collection of books. Perhaps other Friends have un-wanted books which would be appropriate additions to an AALBG Library. If so please make contact with a committee member.
  • John Zwar is involved in discussions with staff from the Australian Museum about a model mound spring display which they have developed at the Museum, to investigate the feasibility of a realistic model mound spring being built near the WMC Herbarium/Meeting Room. This would feature the unique plants and fauna of the mound springs.
  • Work for the Dole Scheme labour will be available and utilised at the AALBG from late November. It is also likely that Port Augusta Prison Labour will be available to assist with maintenance in 1999.
  • The Australian Quandong Industry Association has been granted approval to undertake research on various Acacia species as host plants for Quandongs in the AALBG Research Area in 1999.
  • Additional propagation facilities for the AALBG have been ordered.
  • The Order of Australia Association will donate up to $1,000 for the provision of additional interpretive signs in the Garden.

 

REPORT BY TRADESMAN GARDENER AT THE AALBG, BERNIE HAASE, 6.7.98 to 23 10.98

It has been a while since I reported on the Gardens progress, because of my trip to Alice Springs. A shelter belt of trees and shrubs has been planted along the Old Tarcoola Road, which will eventually screen the view of truck yards and industrial areas from parts of the Garden. A reconditioned motor as been fitted to our work vehicle. Power and phone have been connected to the work compound so we now have an old fridge, airconditioned lunch room, lights and can use power tools and the plant label engraving machine.

Vandals have been busy smashing boardwalk lookout gates. Lookout fixtures, cutting the boundary fence and irrigation lines. Visitors using the main car park have often driven onto garden areas so extra guide posts have been installed to help prevent this. Rabbit numbers were increasing in the Garden but with warmer weather Calici virus effectively reduced numbers. Control measures in sandhill areas continue. Kangaroos occasionally enter the Garden and are chased out Some hide in scrubby sand hill areas. The winter season has favoured weed growth so regular weeding and spraying has been necessary.

Board member Pat Katnich has compiled a tour guide training course and I have assisted her with plant information and locations. When complete, Friends volunteer garden tour guides will be trained, giving us more time for other jobs in the Garden. Planting continues as plants become available, including those I brought back from Alice Springs, from Friends volunteer growers and from commercial suppliers. Records are continually updated and labels engraved and installed.

Strong winds have damaged some old Western Myall trees as well as young garden plants including some eremophilas. Frost damage has killed some plants and burnt others. Black bluebushes are being cleared from some planted areas to reduce competition and cleared areas mulched. Propagation equipment has been ordered and when all has been received it will be possible to grow the majority of plants for the Garden on site. More seed has been collected and purchased. Equipment for raising cuttings is also on order which will expand the range of species able to be propagated.

The Eremophila Festival in September took some time and effort to set up and clear up, but was a great success, with stall holders having a good day and visitors turning up in a constant stream through the day. The Friends raised almost $1,000 and some stall holders had to get more stock in on the day and made good profits. The souvenir and CafÇ outlets did a brisk trade all day. Many people now know more about the Garden and we hope will return.

In September I presented a well received talk on the AALBG with slides and overheads at the Society for Growing Australian Plants State Conference at Waikerie. Later I returned with two Friends, Joan Laister and Morry Vile to a nearby SA Water salinity control area about to be cleared, and collected 150 plants of 22 different species, along with seed. Hopefully most transplants will survive in the Garden.

The Port Augusta Bird Society has designed and offered to build a bird hide in the sand dune area and a rock pool in the Eremophila Garden. Eleven Green Corps members will be working at the Garden for two days in early November, concentrating on Buffel Grass removal. In future we hope to utilise prison labour for this task.

Well that's it for another instalment on the Gardens progress. I hope there will be much more to report next time. See you at the Christmas function.

Bernie Haase

 

AALBG WEB PAGE. Horst Weber from Dublin, Ireland who has visited the Garden and spent time in the Flinders Ranges has produced a draft web page featuring the AALBG and sent it to the Friends. It will be presented at the next Board meeting for consideration. He is also writing a book on his experiences.

AWARD APPLICATIONS. With the assistance of Pauline Schiller John Zwar recently completed detailed applications for Reader's Digest Environment Awards and National Australia Bank Communitylink Awards on behalf of the Friends. Both Awards carry major prize money of $15,000.00 for winning applicants.

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.

SUBSCRIPTIONS NOW DUE, $8.00 single & $10.00 family or institutional membership. If not already paid please forward to Treasurer Alison Daw. Donations (tax deductible) always greatly appreciated.

Issued 5.11.1998 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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