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: 08-11-1999


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: November Meeting and Christmas Dinner - Saturday 27th November 1999

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 history and 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 forthcoming presentation. It will be interesting to compare the development of the Mount Lofty Botanic Garden with the development of our own Garden. Noel was director of the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide for 33 years, until his retirement in 1980. During Noel's Directorship, the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide underwent significant growth and expansion to rank alongside some of the worlds best known Botanic Gardens. In retirement Noel's time has been devoted to a wide range of interests including advisory work, writing, caring for his garden at Crafers which includes many rare and interesting plants, especially bulbs; corresponding with overseas colleagues; participating as an active member of the International Dendrology Society, and exhibiting and judging at horticultural show's and exhibitions.
During the afternoon Noel will present a collection of books from his personal library to form the nucleus of a library at the AALBG (approximately six cartons, and he is considering a further donation of books next year as well). He will be accompanied by his wife Vivian, and they will join us for the Christmas dinner in the evening. Our sincere thanks Noel. Light refreshments will be available after the meeting.

Following the meeting on November 27th all Friends are invited to our Christmas dinner which 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 (This is both phone & fax number).

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 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?

It was held on 5th Sept and was preceded by a bird walk in the Garden at 6.30am, organised by the Port Augusta Bird Observers Group in conjunction with the Friends. Morry Vile provided a cooked breakfast for participants after the walk. The Guest Speaker at the meeting was John Smyth of Bushland Conservation Pty Ltd. 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. John's presentation was complimented by excellent slides, video film and albums showing the impressive achievements of this dedicated and practical conservation organisation.

A special welcome is extended to recently joined members of the Friends.

Special thanks to all Friends Guides and propagators and to all others who have helped with Friends activities and further promotion and development of the Garden in many different ways. May all Friends enjoy a wonderful Christmas and prosperous New Year.

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.

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

Following publicity by Secretary Gwen, more people have offered to become Garden Guides. They have commenced training. Guided tours of the Garden conducted by trained Friends volunteer guides have proved popular. More helpers to spread the workload would be appreciated. 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. If you would like to find out more about becoming a Garden Guide, please talk to Fay Poole or Anne Stefanovic - Phone 86436192 for Fay or 8642 6899 for Anne.

AALBG PROGRESS REPORT by BERNIE HAASE, 10.8.1999 to 2.11.1999
Planting has continued in all systems at the Garden, including stage one, screening belts, boardwalk and roadside plantings. Planting records are continuously being upgraded and plant name labels engraved and installed. Seeds and cuttings have been propagated by Friends and site staff. Weeding has been done in all areas including path spraying. The prison work gang has continued to remove buffel grass and weeds along roadsides, and some buffel grass regrowth has been sprayed. They have weeded the boardwalk plantings and spread mulch. A Plant collecting trip to the far west coast mallee area of SA and Nullarbor was undertaken on 16th to 21st August. I accompanied Friends/Board members John, Brian and Morry. The Friends purchased a custom made tandem trailer with shelves, high sides and cover to transport plants. Many species were collected throughout the area; seed, cuttings and plants despite severe drought. We visited the eastern edge of the Nullarbor Plain, Yalata and Yumbarra conservation Park and several other locations with interesting vegetation. Plants collected have been identified and labelled, cuttings processed, seed cleaned and packaged and plants repotted. Plants collected will be an excellent start to the regional planting to be developed in the Garden, representing this part of the state. Friends volunteer tour guides have continued conducting regular daily tours, and occasional extra bus tours. I assist sometimes when volunteer guides are not available. More volunteers have registered interest in being trained as guides and training has commenced. A well attended Bird Observers Club bird watching morning with Friends, and breakfast supplied by Morry was held on 5th Sept. A revised garden development plan has been drawn up with some changes to regional areas being included. The usual vandalism has occurred and repairs have been made. Some mallee trees have been removed from the surrounds of the automatic weather station located in the Research Area to comply with Bureau of Meteorology clearance requirements. A donation box has been installed at the entrance to the Eremophila Garden. This was recommended and followed up by Friend and Board Member Pat Katnich, and the box was donated by the manufacturer in Hawker. An additional propagation and shade house is to be purchased and erected by the Friends in the work compound. This will be used by the Friends to propagate and grow on plants for sale at events such as the Eremophila Festival. Prison labourers are currently building a track through the screening belt plantings. This will link up with the existing track system in the Garden and give easier access for visitors to this section, which is the most established area of the Garden. It will also allow visitors to walk into the Garden without following the main entrance road. Skillshare workers are mulching the Eremophila Garden and removing unwanted vegetation from regional areas awaiting development. Staff from the Cranbourne Botanic Garden near Melbourne recently invited me to participate in a seed collecting trip to the Flinders and Gammon Ranges. Approval for me to join them was given, but I had to supply my own vehicle and fuel and other costs So I regretfully declined the offer. My next report should have developments such as new tracks and the Friends propagation area included.

About 20 Friends & Garden Guides at the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide visited the AALBG on Wed 25.8.1999. They met our Garden Guides and enjoyed the garden tour, and met some of our Friends. In the evening John Zwar joined the group for dinner and gave a presentation on our Garden which some of the visitors had not seen for some years.

Pat Katnich and John Zwar recently provided significant input into a Board application for tourism related grant funding for the Garden. If successful approximately $160,000 will be available to develop the Lake Eyre and mound springs regional section of the Garden.

Friend Horst Weber, resident in Dublin (Ireland, not SA) continues to produce plant profiles of Flinders Ranges species in both English and German, for use at the Garden. Those who receive the Australian Geographic magazine will have noticed in the current issue on page 29 an article by Horst, featuring his Australian Geographic Society sponsored field work on the plants of the Arkaroola -Mt Painter Sanctuary in the Flinders Ranges. He is preparing a guide book of the areas common plants. Horst sends his best wishes to Friends.

EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMME FEATURES AALBG Teachers from Flinders View Primary School at Port Augusta West (near the Garden) have developed a very comprehensive educational package centered around the Garden. It is suitable for wider community use as well.
Addition in webpages: This package is available for download in the educational section)

Members of the Marree Soil Board have asked whether their herbarium collection of more than 800 botanical specimens, and valued at $50,000, can be housed in the herbarium at the AALBG. This has been approved by the AALBG Board Secretary, and the collection will be handed over for safe keeping at the next Board meeting on 24th November. The collection will be available for research if requested, and will probably remain at Port Augusta until appropriate storage facilities are established at Marree. The newspaper article below relates to the role of the State Herbarium of SA in Adelaide. (Addition: Pending a decision on copyright, his article will hopefully be included on this page.)

WMC Resources has entered into a five year agreement with Kings Park Botanic Garden, Perth, and has established the WMC Centre for Urban Bushland Management. The company has provided $610,000 to fund the restoration of the Mt Eliza escarpment at Kings Park, Perth, the site of WA's first quarry site, and to establish the Centre. This site is degraded but is home to rare fauna. Herbicide trials have been conducted to control several weed species. The project is managed by a committee which has pooled expertise from WMC, the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority and the University of WA. WMC Resources has provided significant funding and expertise for the AALBG since 1989. It was this initial injection of funds and expertise ten years ago which resulted in the development of the Garden, to the point where stage one could be opened to the public, almost four years ago. Besides assisting with these botanic gardens, WMC Resources has provided funding for several other major environmental projects in Australia and overseas. Thank you WMC!

WATER SAVING TIPS FOR SUMMER: (and throughout the year)
  • Mulch your garden, preferably with organic mulch to a depth of 100-150mm to retain soil moisture.
  • Direct rainfall run off from roof and paved areas onto the garden, not to a drain, to augment irrigation.
  • Minimize lawn areas and water them at night with sprinklers producing large droplets, rather than fine mist.
  • Consider water efficient lawn alternatives, e.g. hardy attractive ground cover plants, mulches and paving.
  • Install drip irrigation where practical as it is the most water efficient means of irrigating plants.


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