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: 19-08-1999


The Society

Current Newsletter

Application Form


John Zwar

Ph (08) 867 0324 ah


Gwen Leane

Ph (08) 8643 6191


Alison Daw

Ph (08) 8642 2748 ah.

Tradesperson / Gardener

Bernie Haase

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

NEXT EVENT: Bird Walk & Meeting SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 5th 1999.

The September meeting will be a change from our normal practice of meeting on Saturday afternoons.

BIRD WALK The reason for the change is to fit in with the next bird walk which will be held in the Garden that morning, (Sunday 5th Sept) at 630am, organised by the Port Augusta Bird Observers Group in conjunction with the Friends. Morry Vile will provide a cooked breakfast after the walk, (cost $5.00). Meet at the Visitor Reception Building in the Garden to commence the walk at 6.30am. For further information, phone Bernie Haase.

SEPTEMBER MEETING, at 1.00p.m. on Sunday September 5th will feature John Smyth of Bushland Conservation Pty Ltd as Guest Speaker. John is Company Secretary and a Director of this company which has 45 shareholders who do not expect financial rewards, but instead get the satisfaction of knowing they are taking a practical step towards conserving high quality remnant vegetation. This group has successfully purchased and preserved high quality remnant vegetation on Kangaroo Island and in the Tothill Ranges in the Mid North. This promises to be a very informative presentation describing this innovative and effective approach towards conserving remnant vegetation. Slides and a video will illustrate John’s presentation.
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. As the Garden closes at 400pm at weekends the afternoons activities will finish by that time.

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 Visitor Reception Building houses a fine interpretative 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 on the 17th July was the AGM which was very well attended with about 45 people present. Reports were presented by the Treasurer, President and a Garden update provided by Bernie Haase, before all positions were declared vacant and nominations for the new committee called. Those elected are:

President: John Zwar Committee: Fay Poole
Vice President: Morrie Vile Bernie Haase
Secretary: Gwen Leane Julie Franks
Treasurer: Alison Daw Bill Daniels
    Bruce Leane

Foundation member and Life Member, Pauline Schiller, who was the Friends first Secretary and a committee member since inception of the Friends in 1984, declined a committee position. Her outstanding efforts along with those of Foundation Treasurer Wally, her late husband were acknowledged by President John Zwar and those present. Pauline who moved to Adelaide some years ago and who has had some health problems, will continue her interest in the Friends and attend meetings when she is able, and no doubt continue to promote the Friends and the Garden whenever the opportunity arises. Thanks for a magnificent effort Pauline! (original news letter includes photograph of Pauline)

The Guest Speaker at the last meeting was Martin O'Leary, a Technical Officer at the State Herbarium in Adelaide. His presentation on Acacias of the SA Arid Zone including some undescribed species from the Gawler and Flinders Ranges was of real interest. Martin also explained the role of the State Herbarium. In addition we had a brief presentation from Christian Birkle, (a student of Dr Ursula Ewald of the University of Heidelberg in Germany who was our Guest Speaker at the AGM last year). Christian is spending the year studying at the University of Melbourne, Geography Dept. and enjoyed his visit to the AALBG following a period of voluntary work at Bookmark Biosphere Reserve near Renmark, and at the Arid Recovery Project near Roxby Downs.

NEW MEMBERS: A special welcome is extended to recently joined members of the Friends. We hope you enjoy your involvement, and thank you for your support, and look forward to your participation in our activities where this is possible (although distance precludes active participation for some Friends). We hope that you find the News Release informative and welcome contributions from Friends, which will be printed at the editor's discretion. Local Friends are encouraged to attend meetings and other activities and help at the Garden with propagation, weeding, label making and so on. Phone Secretary Gwen for details if you are in a position to assist.

FUTURE BIRD WALKS in the AALBG. The Port Augusta Bird Observers Group in conjunction with the Friends have set the following dates for bird walks in the Garden: Sunday Sept 5th 1999 at 6.30am, Sunday January 2nd 2000 at 6.00am, Sunday April 2nd 2000 at 6.00am. Enquiries: Bernie Haase. (Sundays were chosen for the walks rather than Saturdays as a number of interested people have work commitments early Saturday mornings).

COMMTTEE MEETING: Committee members please note: A brief committee meeting will be held in the WMC Herbarium/Meeting Room at 10.30am on Sunday 5th Sept. before the meeting at 1.00pm.

NOVEMBER MEETING: The final meeting for the year will be held on Saturday 27th November, at 1.00pm in the WMC Herbarium Meeting Room at the Garden, with Mr. Noel Lothian, former Director of the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide as Guest Speaker. Noel will speak about the development of the Mount Lofty Botanic Garden which commenced during his period as Director. Noel last addressed the Friends in the mid 1980's and we look forward to his presentation. It will be interesting to compare the development of the Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens with the development of our own Garden. (Noel is also donating six cartons of books from his extensive personal library to the AALBG). Our sincere thanks Noel.

CHRISTMAS DINNER: Following the meeting on November 27th the Friends Christmas dinner will be held in the Bluebush Cafe at the Garden with drinks at 6.30pm and dinner at 7.00pm. The last two dinners at this venue have been excellent and extremely good value at $20.00 per person. Please book for the dinner with Morry Vile on 86422021

SEED COLLECTION TRIP: Next week, Brian Powell, Morry Vile, Bernie Haase and John Zwar will be visiting the far west of SA to collect seed (with appropriate permits) for regional plantings to be established in the AALBG. Although that part of the state is experiencing severe drought, many native plants retain seed for long periods. In addition it will be an opportunity to identify areas of interesting vegetation to revisit in better seasons, to collect a broader range of species. Also seed from some WMC operations in arid regions of WA has been donated for regional plantings in the Garden. Bernie recently received seed of Acacia peuce, "Waddy Wood" from Andado NT & north of Birdsville QId from a Victorian Friend. If any Friends are travelling in arid regions of Australia, or have family or friends there, we would always be grateful for seed of arid zone native plants collected in the wild, with details of where they were collected and a sample of foliage, flowers & seed pods to aid in identification if names are unknown.

FRIENDS TRAILER It was resolved at the last committee meeting that the Friends purchase a suitable trailer for seed collecting expeditions and for use in the Garden. After investigation various options Morry Vile had the 8 X 5 tandem trailer made at Cowell Welders & Mechanics. The trailer has high sides and sliding shelves to transport boxes of plants. A canvas canopy was fabricated at Arno Bay Tarp & Upholstery. Total cost of trailer & cover $2,042. Thanks Morry for your efforts in seeking quotes & seeing this project through & for collecting the trailer which will be used next week on the seed collecting trip to the Far West.

FRIENDS DISCOUNT AT GARDEN GIFT SHOP Last Board meeting Pauline Hedger, Manager of the Bluebush Cafe and Gift Shop at the Garden agreed to allow Friends 10% discount on gift shop purchases. A Friends Membership Card will be prepared for all financial members. We hope to include this with the next News Release. This will need to be shown when making purchases. This gesture is greatly appreciated, and is in line with policy at many other botanic gardens with Friends support groups. Thank you Pauline. NB This is an excellent venue for Christmas shopping for special gifts. All are Australian made and many are hand crafted in the region.

VOLUNTEER TOUR GUIDES are still needed. Guided tours of the Garden conducted by trained Friends volunteer guides have proved popular and the few trained guides have been kept busy, though visitor numbers have dropped slightly in winter. More helpers to spread the workload are needed. Visitors pay for the tours (Adults - $4.50, Seniors -$3.50 and Children - $2.50), with 80% of the money going to the Friends. Daily tours are offered with two to fourteen visitors participating most days. Groups who book tours generally arrive by bus and visit in the afternoon, with one to three such groups visiting most weeks. Most participants of tours have been impressed and guides have received very positive feedback. If you would like to find out more about becoming a Garden Guide, please talk to Fay Poole or Anne Stefanovic - Phone 8643 6192 for Fay or 8642 6899 for Anne.

AALBG PROGRESS REPORT by BERNIE HAASE, 23.6.1999 to 10.8.1999

In the seven weeks since my last report, routine work has continued, with some new things happening. More plants have germinated and have been pricked out into tubes. Planting has progressed throughout the garden beds, car park and boardwalk areas. Additional screening plants have been planted along the Old Tarcoola Road, using Prison labour. Prisoners have also weeded along the main entrance road, and continued removing buffel grass along the Stuart Highway. Records are continually being updated and plant labels made and installed. Weeding continues throughout the Garden and weed spraying along paths is undertaken when ever possible, time and weather wise. Garden Seats have been raised to an appropriate height and termite proofed. A new screen planting on land outside the Garden fence, to screen houses visible from the entrance road has been undertaken. Prison labourers helped with rubbish removal, drip irrigation installation and extra planting. Council staff and local residents also assisted with planting on "Planet Ark" day. A faulty solar irrigation timer has been repaired. Vandalism is still occurring at the Flinders Red Cliff and boundary fence and is repaired as quickly as possible.

I recently gave a talk about plants to students at Caritas College which was something different for me and the students. I have had to fill in for tour guides on several occasions when they were unavailable. If we had more guides I would not have to stop what I am doing to take tours at short notice. (This is a subtle hint that more tour guides are needed). Friends have been propagating eremophila cuttings which are in the mist unit and hopefully will soon be producing roots. The Friends also conducted a plant stall at the local agricultural show. 680 plants were provided by members from Roxby Downs, Cowell, Quorn, local growers and the Garden (surplus stock). Not all sold so some will be planted in the Garden and sold elsewhere to raise funds. That’s about all since the last report. ~

FRIENDS TOUR A Friends tour is being organised to inspect Brenton and Carolyn Zubrinich’s cut foliage and flower farm near Stirling North, and then to Brian and Fay Powell’s garden at Endilloe on the 11th September. Full details at next meeting or phone Bernie Haase on 8641 1443 (ah).

ADELAIDE BOTANIC GARDEN FRIENDS GUIDES TO VISIT. About 20 Friends & Garden Guides at the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide plan to visit the AALBG on Wed 25.8.1999. They are keen to meet our Garden Guides, see the Garden and meet our Friends. Our Friends are welcome to meet the visitors at the Garden and join them for lunch at the Bluebush Cafe. For further information phone John Zwar after 21st August on 8671 8558w or 8671 0324ah.

CENTENARY OF FEDERATION FUNDING. Late last year President John Zwar and Friend Pat Katnich completed detailed application forms seeking Centenary of Federation funds for further development of the Garden. Recently we were advised that $15,000 will be provided from the fund for this work, which will include the development of regional plantings in the Garden. This was very encouraging news after many years with no government funding of the Garden, despite numerous promises of assistance. Friends will be advised of progress.

PORT AUGUSTA SHOW. The first ever Port Augusta Show was held last weekend. Friends volunteers sold plants and promoted the Friends and the Garden. Approx $230 was raised and new members gained. Thanks to all who helped.

FAALBG AGM 17th July 1999, President’s Report

The Friends have enjoyed a year of consolidation and growth with some new initiatives being introduced. The major event was our first Eremophila Festival at the Garden, attracting Approx 1,000 visitors. It was a real success and will become a biennial event, alternating with the Arid Lands Growers Fair in Port Augusta. Congratulations to all involved! A video showing progress at the Garden was locally produced for the Friends and shown during the Festival

A number of Friends have continued as volunteer growers, with one helping on a regular basis in the Garden with tasks such as propagation. The Christmas Dinner held in the Bluebush Café was again very well done and enjoyed by those who attended. A number of popular and successful bird walks have been held in the Garden, with Morrie Vile providing a cooked breakfast for participants after each walk.

The ongoing lack of both state and federal government support for the Garden, despite promises of help has been an ongoing disappointment. The Port Augusta Bird Society constructed a very attractive bird watering pond near the Bluebush Café, which is popular with both birds and visitors. With training provided by Friend Pat Katnich, Friends volunteer Guides now provide guided tours of the Garden and although early days, these are proving popular with visiting groups. Pat Katnich and I also applied for Centenary of Federation Funding for the Garden and last week were advised that we have been allocated $15,000 of this to further develop the Garden! I also applied for a Readers Digest Environment Award, NAB Communitylink funding, an SA Great award and entered the Friends involvement in the Tidy Towns Competition. Only the last mentioned was successful - we were presented with a Certificate of Merit.

Friend Horst Weber from Dublin, Ireland is helping us prepare a Web Page and has produced some fine Plant Portrait sheets on plants found in the AALBG. Drafts of these are being checked before final printing. His efforts from such a distance are greatly appreciated. The Order of Australia Assoc. SA Branch and Friends jointly funded a series of interpretative panels in the Garden, and members of The Order visited in March to see the Garden, present their cheque and meet Friends. Morry Vile had Friends logo cloth badges produced in colour and these are on sale as a fundraiser. I recently provided advice to the Friends of the proposed Gold Coast Botanic Garden and have asked to be informed of progress.

We have had a most interesting series of presentations by Guest Speakers at meetings - Dr. Ursula Ewald, Dean Nicole, Brenton Zubrinich, and Katherine Moseby and Dr John Read in the last year. It is pleasing to note that visitor numbers to the Garden continue to rise each year, and that following contact with the Friends another research project is about to commence in the Research Area - Trials of Quandongs on various Acacia host plants. use of prison labour has greatly reduced weed growth in the Garden and this programme is likely to continue.

This then gives a brief summary of our last year of activities. My special thanks to committee members and to all who have assisted in any way to promote the Friends, the Garden and to help further develop the Garden. We can all be proud of what has been achieved to date, and though progress has been very slow, developments in recent years have really put our Garden on the map and it is rapidly becoming the showpiece of Port Augusta. We look forward to growth and new developments in the Garden in the next year.

John Zwar, President, 16.7.1999

Issued 19.8.1999 by John Zwar President, The Friends of the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden, Port Augusta Inc., P0 Box 2040 Port Augusta SA 5700. Ph (08) 8671 0324 ah, Facsimile C/- (08) 8671 0179.



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