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: 11-05-1999

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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.

Tradesperson / Gardener

Bernie Haase

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

NEXT EVENT: SATURDAY May 22nd 1999.

The May meeting features Katherine Moseby as guest speaker. She is Project Coordinator of the Arid Recovery Project north of Roxby Downs. Katherine has been closely involved with this exciting project since its inception and along with a range of volunteers and casual assistants has achieved a great deal in a short time. The Arid Recovery Project is a joint initiative of WMC, National Parks S.A and the University of Adelaide. The project aims to restore up to 50 square km of arid land to a semblance of its pre-European state. Since European settlement the arid land around Roxby Downs has been severely damaged with over 60% of local mammal species now extinct in the region, most ground dwelling birds have all but disappeared and regeneration of arid shrubs and trees has been severely limited. Threatening processes include predation by cats and foxes and overgrazing by rabbits and stock. The ARP aims to gradually fence the project area and eradicate all cats, foxes and rabbits. Re-introductions of species formerly present in the area will also be initiated. At present a 14 square km exclosure has been declared rabbit, cat and fox free and the endangered Stick-nest Rat has been re-introduced. Research by university students is commencing into the diet, home range and habitat preference of the Stick-nest Rats. Future re-introductions will include the bilby, burrowing bettong and western barred bandicoot. Come along and hear more about this project which has some interesting similarities to the AALBG.
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.

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 Brenton Zubrinich who with his wife Carolyn lives on a property 7km east of Stirling North, near Port Augusta, where they grow Quandongs and mainly arid zone native cut flower and foliage species for sale locally, in Adelaide and for export overseas. We heard about establishing the plantings and the problems of drip irrigation with saline bore water, and the establishment of markets. Specimens of produce were displayed at the meeting and were most impressive. This was a very interesting local story of a venture which with a great deal of hard work has become a success! Thanks Brenton and Carolyn and congratulations on what you have achieved.

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Next Meeting: AGM July (Date to be finalised)
The speaker will be Martin O’Leary of the State Herbarium in Adelaide, who will give a presentation on "Acacias of the SA arid zone with emphasis on the Flinders and Gawler Ranges".

BIRD WALKS in the AALBG for the next year.
The Port Augusta Bird Society in conjunction with the Friends have set the following dates for bird walks in the Garden:

  • Sunday July 4th 1999 at 7.30am
  • Sunday Sept 5th 1999 at 6.30am
  • Sunday January 2nd 2000 at 6.00am
  • Sunday April 2nd 2000 at 600am

Enquiries: Bernie Haase.
Sundays were chosen for the walks rather than Saturdays as a number of interested people have work commitments early Saturday mornings.

Volunteer Tour Guides are still needed. Guided tours of the Garden have commenced with trained Friends volunteer guides. The tours have proved popular and the few trained guides have been kept very busy, so more helpers to spread the workload would be a great help. Visitors pay for the tours, with 80% of the money going to the Friends. If interested in finding out more you may like to talk to Fay Poole to find out what is involved - Phone 8643 6192. If registering interest in being trained as a guide please phone Bernie Haase at the Garden.

AALBG PROGRESS REPORT by BERNIE HAASE, 5.2.1999 to 30.4.1999

Quite a bit has happened since my last report in February. More areas have been mulched throughout the Garden, weeds removed from garden beds and buffel grass removed from the sandhill area. Prison labour has assisted with this. A large patch of carrion flower was also removed from the screening belt plantings. Prison labourers have also collected rubbish from Redbanks Beach, sandhill area and along the Old Tarcoola Road as part of the Clean Up Australia Day effort. Planting, labelling and recording has continued with winter plantings about to commence.

The pump for treated sewage irrigation has been replaced and the irrigation system modified. The bird watering pond has been vandalised several times by children playing in it as their parents watch from the adjacent cafeteria! Appropriate signs are to be installed. The boundary fence has been breached by kangaroos and emus and holes dug under it by foxes and vandals. This problem is likely to continue until an improved vermin proof fence is built. Some plantings near the main road are being upgraded with new irrigation pipe and drippers installed to replace the original faulty pipe and drippers.

The Research Area plantation has been inspected and trials utilising Acacia species as host plants for Santalum, "Quandong" and "Sandalwood" are soon to commence. The existing Santalum will have host acacias planted immediately, and the rest of the trial will proceed in spring when suitable plants have been propagated. A new path has been pegged through the original screening belt to link with the existing track network over the road in the main body of the Garden. This will be developed when funding is available. A new bed for displaying annuals including everl2stings is being prepared, with irrigation installed. Once weeds have been controlled both seedlings will be planted and seed sown direct.

More information signs have been installed in the Garden, donated by the Friends and the SA Branch of the Order of Australia Association. New information panels have been installed in the Boardwalk Interpretive Lookout and I hope vandals leave them alone. The propagation house has been completed with benches and spray irrigation installed. Power has been connected and a heat bed is in place. Seed has been sown in punnets and seedlings pricked out into 70mm tubes. Seed treatment and germination records are kept with some interesting results already. The propagation house is full and the holding enclosure is filling rapidly. The heat bed will be soon be in use.

A branch of the Bird Observers Club of Australia has been formed in Port Augusta and will use the Garden as its base. The group will hold four bird watching walks in the Garden over the next year - dates above. The cost will be $5 which goes to the Friends who will supply a BBQ breakfast. A bird list for the Garden, compiled by the group is available at the Garden Shop.

More voluntary tour guides are needed to lead daily tours which have been advertised. Many visiting groups are requesting tours and this impacts on the work of the two gardeners when a Friends guide is not available. The few trained volunteer guides are not always available for daily tours and extra tours which are requested. New tour guides are trained and assisted until they are confident to lead groups. They are supplied with a hat and shirt with the AALBG logo. The Friends receive 80% of the income from Friends guided tours.

That’s it for another episode of the AALBG development story.

Order of Australia SA Branch Visit.

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 The Order of Australia Association SA Branch presented their cheque to Friends Treasurer Alison Daw at a small ceremony at the Garden in the WMC Herbarium/Meeting Room at 400pm on Wed 24th March. The day was hot and very windy so the inside venue was used. Members of the Order were impressed by the Garden and Visitor Reception Building. Some of the Friends Committee joined the visitors for dinner in the evening. Our sincere thanks to Members of the Order for their generosity and for assisting the Garden in this way. Newspaper clipping right from "The Transcontinental" 31.3.99.

Friends cloth badgeFRIENDS 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. They sell for $2.50 each –sales: contact Secretary Gwen.

Plant Portraits. Friend Horst Weber from Dublin, Ireland who has visited the Garden and spent time in the Flinders Ranges has produced Plant Portraits in English and German (for international visitors to the Garden), on some of the plants in the Garden. The first of these featuring Quandong is included in this News Release, unfortunately not in colour. The original colour versions are most impressive. Horst is also working on producing a Web Site for the Garden, with input from John Zwar. This assistance from one of our overseas Friends is remarkable and we greatly appreciate his involvement.
(addition: The revised version of this article will be available within these webpages, soon.)

SUBSCRIPTIONS. Friends will see on the address label of their newsletter a date. This date shown indicates when their subscription is due. If for instance subs were paid on Feb 16th 1998, the date on the label will show 2116/99 (This American system of month first, day in the middle and year at the end may be confusing so hopefully this note is helpful). If two years were paid in advance the date shown will be 2/16/00. If though subs were last paid on Feb 16th 1997 the date shown will be 2/16/98 (indicating subs are a year overdue). Should you have any queries about this system or if you find an error, please contact Secretary Gwen Leane.

CooIibah Club Trip. Friends have been invited to join with members of the Coolibah Club on Wed & Thurs 19 & 20th May to visit tree plantings in the southern Flinders Ranges. Meet Wed 19th May at Apex Park Crystal Brook at 1100am. BYO lunch. Visit Milkowie Reservoir (Beetaloo) then Laura, Wirrabarra Forest and overnight at Wilmington. Meet at 900am Thurs in Wilmington, proceed to Willowie, Horrocks Pass and Nectar Brook. For full details contact Gerald Moore, Phone 8849 2068 or John Freebairn on 8528 6209.

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NOTES FROM THE BOARD

  • Collection boxes are to be placed in the Garden for donations.
  • Resolved to maintain free entry to the Garden.
  • Resolved that the next sections of the Garden to be developed will feature plants of the Nullarbor, and a section featuring Mallee vegetation from the Far West of South Australia.
  • A plant and seed collecting trip to these regions was authorised.
  • The matter of corporate sponsorship for the Garden was discussed.
  • Visitor numbers from 1 July 98 to 31 March 99 have increased 40%. Revenue from the Bluebush Cafe has increased 76.3% and from souvenir sales 27.3% for this same period.

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NEW DISPLAY AT INTERPRETIVE BOARDWALK

Impressive new display panels have been installed in the interpretive lookout. These were prepared by Michele Bain of Designhaus with input from John Zwar and Dr Brian Morally. If it is some time since you have visited the Boardwalk Lookout, call in to see the new display and inspect plantings around the car park.

SUBSCRIPTIONS: $8.00 single & $10.00 family or institutional membership. If due please forward to Treasurer Alison Daw. Donations (tax deductible) are always greatly appreciated.

STATE FLORA

The remaining State Flora nurseries at Murray Bridge and Belair are to be sold by the SA Government and were advertised for sale in last Saturday’s "Advertiser". These nurseries provide probably the largest range of native plants available at any nursery in Australia. The history of the nurseries goes back 114 years. State Flora employees provide sound advice on appropriate species for various regions of South Australia, have produced a wide range of fact sheets and publications and are leaders in direct seeding, land rehabilitation and revegetation projects and the domestication of a wide range of our native plants. This organisation has provided a great service to the people of rural South Australia. Regular sales trips to more than twenty towns in South Australia take appropriate species and advice to these regions. Probably the last country sales trip to rural areas by State Flora will be in the week of May 24th to 29th when plant sales will be held in Cleve, Cowell, Whyalla, Port Augusta and Roxby Downs. The sale of State Flora will mark the end of an era for the horticultural industry in Australia.

Issued 11.5.1999 by John Zwar President, The Friends of the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden, Port Augusta Inc., P0 Box 2040 Port A Augusta SA 5700. Ph (08) 8671 0324 ah, Facsimile CI- (08) 8671 0179.

(addition: This newsletter included a newspaper text: "Arid Lands Donation" source: "Transcontinental)

 

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