The Friends of the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden Port Augusta, Incorporated NEWS RELEASE: 01-03-1999
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NEXT EVENT :- SATURDAY March 20th 1999 - First meeting for 1999.
Our first meeting for 1999 is on March 20th with Brenton Zubrinich as guest Speaker. Brenton and his wife Carolyn live on a property 7km east of Stirling North, near Port Augusta. About six years ago they commenced planting Quandongs, but as they take some time to reach maturity, followed up with plantings of mainly arid zone native cut flower and foliage species. They now have approximately five and a half hectares planted to Quandongs, Geraldton Wax, Eucalyptus (for foliage) and Limonium (Statice). Plants are drip irrigated with saline bore water. Brenton who is currently studying for a bachelor of horticulture degree will give a presentation on Setting up his property and developing a commercial venture based largely on the sale of native fruit, flowers and foliage. Samples of produce will be displayed at the meeting.
The meeting will commence at 1.OOpm in the WMC Herbarium/Meeting Room (Note the earlier time). Afternoon tea and coffee will be available after the meeting for a small fee.
GARDEN LOCATION 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 Cafe, the Reception Building houses a fine interpretive display, a large range of Australian made gift items and books in the shop (ideal gifts), 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 Cafe before the meeting?
LAST MEETING the guest speaker was Dean Nicole of Flinders University, SA's leading authority on Eucalyptus who gave an excellent presentation which focused largely on species from arid Australia, including mare and recently described species. A fine set of slides illustrated his talk which was enjoyed by all present.
THE FRIENDS CHRISTMAS DINNER was held in the Bluebush Cafe at the AALBG following the last meeting, (Sat 28th Nov). The traditional Christmas dinner was enjoyed by approximately thirty Friends from the local area, Adelaide, Balaklava, Wilmington, Quorn and Roxby Downs. Thanks to the Bluebush Cafe staff who produced a delicious meal and to Morry Vile for looking after the bookings.
BIRD WALK in the AALBG. On Nov 21st approximately twenty people, guided by Bernie Haase, Peter Langdon and Brian Reichelt participated in an early morning bird walk. Overall 25 birds species were identified by sight or call. After the two hour walk Morry Vile rewarded the observers with a sumptuous cooked breakfast. Peter displayed bird skins and talked about each particular bird group, prompting questions and comments of interest from the group. He also explained the move to set up a bird observers group at the Garden in 1999 and suggested at least four bird walks a year along with other activities. (More on this in the next News Release).
BIRD WATERING POOL The new pool, constructed by Port Augusta Bird Society members in front of the Bluebush Cafe is a great improvement over the tiny temporary pond it replaced. It has been attractively landscaped and a dead mulga tree nearby provides a vantage point for birds Coming in to drink. We look forward to the Society's next project, the construction of a bird hide in the Garden. Thanks to all involved for these worthwhile additions to the Garden.
HERPETOLOGIST'S GROUP. Following the success of the Bird Walks it has been suggested that local herpetologists may like to use the Garden as a base and have occasional field days there. It is quite common to see a range of reptiles in the Garden creating interest and excitement for visitors.
CENTENARY OF FEDERATION FUNDING. Friends and AALBG Board members Pat Katnich of Andamooka and John Zwar of Roxby Downs last year prepared a detailed application for funding for further development at the AALBG from the Centenary of Federation Fund. $200,000 has been allocated to the Federal Electorate of Grey which covers about 80% of the state and includes Port Augusta. Recent advice indicates that our application has been short listed for $20,000 from this fund, but this will not be certain until June. We are certainly hopeful. If granted this will be the first Federal funding for the Garden for many years. Friends members on the AALBG Board have for more than a year, been strongly encouraging formal applications for both Coast Care funding and Natural Heritage Trust funding to be made by the Board. Many other environmental projects in the region and Australia wide have benefited by significant funding allocations from these sources.
AALBG PROGRESS REPORT by BERNIE HAASE, 26.10.1998 to 5.21999
Work at the A.A.L.B.G. site has been progressing steadily since my last report. Planting has been continued throughout the area with more plant labels produced and installed and records updated. Plants have come in from volunteer growers or been bought by the Friends. Recently more eremophilas have been purchased by the Friends and some are new species to the garden. I just hope they grow well. The extreme heat we had earlier damaged or killed some plants but many damaged ones are recovering well. Early summer rain encouraged a lot of growth from local native plants, but also some of the weeds which have been controlled by hand weeding & spraying. More areas have been cleared of black bluebush and mulched and extra irrigation lines installed.
The usual vandalism has been occurring and repaired, although the Christmas school holidays were surprisingly almost free of vandal damage. Hi-Feint (a WMC subsidiary) has donated fertiliser which is being applied to the plants as each area is checked for replacement plants. Updated plant lists have been compiled for the naturally occurring plants on site and for plants which have been planted in the gardens. The Advertiser also requested a list of plants which may be suitable for home gardens, and are growing in the A.A.L.B.G., which I supplied for them. Shelving has been installed in our compound sheds for better storage of materials, and more lockable cupboard space made. Our old refrigerator had been replaced with a new one after it broke down.
A shade house for plant propagation has been erected and water connected, and when the benches and spray system are installed propagation can begin. A heat bed with a misting arm will also be included so cuttings will also be grown. The bird walk held on 21st November was another success and enjoyed by all who attended. Thanks to Peter Langdon and Brian Reichelt for helping with the guided walks and breakfast bird talks. The Fiends supplied the B.B.Q. breakfast and did a great job with the preparation and cooking. The Port Augusta Bird Society has built a bird watering pool in front of the Bluebush Cafe, which is attracting many birds where people can see them from a relaxed and comfortable vantage point. Their next project they intend to work on is a bird hide in the sand hill area, where there is already another small bird watering point.
Tour guide training has commenced with about nine people showing an interest and attending training sessions. AALBG Board Member & Friend Pat Katinich from Andamooka, John Zwar and I, have compiled an information kit, and we have had one introduction and two training sessions so far, which have been enjoyed by those attending.
Low security prisoners from the Port Augusta Prison recently commenced working on the site and will provide labour for the next year. They have already removed a lot of weeds from the main entrance road verges, cleared black bluebush from garden areas and then spread mulch. The biggest job will be the removal of buffel grass from the AALBG. site, which they have started on.
Well that's it for this instalment of news from the A.A L B.G.
INFORMATION SIGNS IN GARDEN. Last Year the Friends Committee agreed to provide $6,000 for additional large information signs to be placed in the Garden. In addition the Order of Australia Association offered $1,000 for the signage project. Topics to be covered by the signs include Sturt Pea, Western Myall, Eremophila (these are duplicates of existing signs) and new signs will feature Acacia, Sugarwood, Feral animals & plants and the Visitor Reception Building. Michele Bain from Designhaus and John Zwar have worked on the production of the signs which will be ready for installation in the Garden by mid March. The Order of Australia Association will present their cheque to the Friends at a small ceremony at the Garden at 400pm on Wed 24th March. Members of the Order will take the opportunity to inspect the Garden followed by a dinner in the evening. Friends Committee members have been invited to the dinner. Friends who would like to attend the presentation in the Garden at 400pm on 24th March will be welcome.
GARDEN GUIDES. Friend Pat Katnich (who operates Olympic Dam Tours) has been busy training volunteer guides who will provide guided tours of the Garden. Three volunteers have almost completed their training and others are making good progress. More volunteers are needed so if you are interested in participating in the training and then able to be included on a guides' roster please notify our Secretary Gwen. 80% of the income from guided tours will go to the Friends.
AWARD APPLICATIONS. Neither of the applications for Reader's Digest Environment Awards and National Australia Bank Communitylink Awards on behalf of the Friends prepared by John Zwar with the assistance of Pauline Schiller were successful. However the work of the Friends in promoting and assisting with the development of the AALBG was recognised by the presentation of an Environmental and Education Award in the 1998 Tidy Towns Competition in Adelaide in December. The Award plaque was received by Friends Brian Powell and John Zwar.
BOOK DONATION. Friend Heather Hartshorn from Adelaide, recently donated a carton of horticultural books and publications to the Friends. They will be useful for Garden staff and will be available for Friends to borrow, once a system for this has been established. THANKS Heather!!
FRIENDS LOGO CLOTH BADGES. Morry Vile has had cloth badges made featuring the Friends logo in colour. He is very pleased with the result. They are just over 3" (85mm) diameter and can be sown on shirts, jackets etc. We will sell them for $2.50 each - sales: contact Secretary Gwen.
MAY & JULY (AGM) MEETINGS. Speakers for the May and July meetings will be Katherine Moseby of Roxby Downs and Martin O'Leary of the State Herbarium. Katherine will talk about the Arid recovery Project north of Roxby Downs, a joint project where feral animals have been excluded from a l3sqkm area and locally extinct animals are being re-introduced. Martin, an authority on acacias will talk on Acacias of the Arid Zone with emphasis on the Flinders and Gawler Ranges and new species. More detail and dates will be included in the next News Release.
AALBG WEB PAGE. Friend 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. The AALBG Board has accepted his generous offer to prepare a web site for the Garden. John Zwar will liaise with him to provide information and once content has been approved by the Board, the Garden will have its own web site with links to other gardens and tourism ventures
SUBSCRIPTIONS. Friends will see on the address label of their newsletter a date. This date indicates when their subscription is due. If for instance subs were paid in Feb 1998, the date on the label will show 2199. If two years were paid in advance the date will show 2/00. If though subs were last paid in Feb 1997 the date shown will be 2/98 (indicating subs are a year overdue). Should you have any query about this system or if you find an error, please contact Secretary Gwen Leane.
NOTES FROM BOARD MEETINGS
- Visitor numbers for December 1998 were up 54% on December 1997
- Income from souvenir sales for December98 was up 11% on December 1997.
- Bluebush Cafe takings for December 1998 were up 116% on December 1997.
- Following a request from a Friends Representative on the Board, Council is to investigate extending the town bus service to the Garden.
- The Board has been urged by Pauline Schiller to participate in appropriate ways in the celebrations and re-enactments during 2002 of the bicentenary of the voyage of exploration of the South Australian coast by Matthew Flinders. (Flinders landed at Flinder's Red Cliff, now part of the AALBG to survey surrounding country, and his Botanist Brown walked from what is now Port Augusta to Mount Brown on a plant collecting expedition in 1802).
- The Association of Friends of Botanic Gardens Victoria is holding their annual conference at Warnambool Botanic Garden on 17th & 18th April 1999.
- An attractive new colour brochure promoting the Garden has been produced by Designhaus.
- After being requested many times in the past the Board has agreed that the Garden will be open to the public from 700am, allowing visitors access earlier. Previously the Garden opened 900am weekdays and 1000am weekends. The Visitor Reception Building will still open at 900am weekdays and 1000am weekends. This is a similar arrangement to many other gardens.
- The Garden is attracting a significant number of international visitors. Comments in the Visitors' Book are generally highly complimentary.
SUBSCRIPTIONS: $8.00 single & $10.00 family or institutional membership. If due please forward to Treasurer Alison Daw. Donations (tax deductible) always greatly appreciated.
Issued 1.3.1999 by John Zwar President, The Friends of the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden, Pod Augusta Inc., P0 Box 2040 Port Augusta SA 5700. Ph (08) 8671 0324 ah, Facsimile CI- (08) 8671 0179.
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