Park News – March, 2015

Update on Main Street Bridge Maintenance

Melbourne water sign

Melbourne Water sign in Furness Park near Main Street bridge

  • “Blackburn South Drain” sounds a rather less than affectionate description of our beloved creek doesn’t it!
  • Committee met with Council, Melbourne Water and contractor representatives on Monday, 2nd March to work through the next stage of the Main Street bridge maintenance – likely to commence shortly (30th March).
  • The work will include significant excavation work to restore the bridge’s culverts to operate correctly – one has badly silted up and erosion needs to be corrected with extensive rock work.  This will be quite a big job.
  • Equipment access will be from the north-eastern side of the bridge from the park – a temporary ramp down to the creek bed will be installed.  Unfortunately, some vegetation will be lost and the silt from the excavations will need to be stored on the grass in the park for 5-6 weeks while drying out.
  • No doubt there will be disruptions to park access/paths and also to Main Street traffic.  A temporary walking path diversion will need to be installed from near the existing rubbish bin to Main Street.
  • The bridge’s pedestrian refuge and its asphalt will be replaced.
  • Replacement of the handrails will be budgeted for next financial year.

Malcolm Street Billabong Reinstatement Project

  • There has been a delay getting the pit cover, weir and control valve manufactured.
  • Once the planting-out matures, we are hoping and working for a success like the Waratah Wetlands on the northern side of the creek that have become such a successful wetland environment – especially for frogs, birds and wetland plants (see below):
Waratah Wetlands - March, 2015

Waratah Wetlands – March, 2015

Land Adjacent to 60 Main Street

  • The final round of woody weed removals in the land adjacent to 60 Main Street will soon be completed by Council.  This will improved the boundary with Main Street in particular.
  • Temporary fencing may be needed if park users do not keep to the path while the new plantings get going.

The Way We Were (1920s)

  • The document below advertises the subdivision of a jonquil farm for housing in the Boongarry Avenue/Laurel Grove/Hill Street area on the northern side of the creek.
Jonquil Farm Subdivision - Boongarrys Street Area

Jonquil Farm Subdivision (State Library of Victoria – Haughton Collection)

  • A block of land in that area for $10 deposit and $2 per month seems like rather a good deal in the light of current prices in Blackburn doesn’t it?
  • In those days, the creek gracefully meandered quite a distance from its current concrete encased self and landowners owned the land right down to the creek which formed part of the property boundary for some.
  • The barreling of the creek between Main Street and Laurel Grove was performed in the 1950s.   The former Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works compulsorily acquired land along the creek on both sides as part of its waterway and flood management program.
  • Another point of interest (from the locality plan) is that Linum Street stopped at a right of way – the road continuing its line westwards was called View Street.

Plant of the Month

  • Plant of the Month is Hop Goodenia (Goodenia ovata). This is a tough bright green shrub with small yellow flowers in spring /summer though is still flowering well at the moment.  There are several good examples around the Furness Street bridge.
goodenia

Hop Goodenia (Furness Park)

  • It’s easy to grow – a good garden plant that responds well to regular clipping. It also offers good protection for small birds.

Weed of the Month

panic veldt

Panic Veldt – Blacks Walk

  • Weed of the Month is Panic Veldt grass (Ehrharta erecta).  It comes to us from Africa and is an invasive, perennial grass with both profuse and rapid seed production.
  • The inset in the picture shows the tell-tale ‘inflorescences’ – the term used for the flowering and seed-producing part of any flowering plant.  As they dry out, they become white – a good way to identify the weed from good grasses.
  • It is opportunistic – quickly invading newly disturbed areas, seeds all year round and quite possibly rates as the Number One weed in the park.  It usually grows 30-50 cm high and older plants can spread a metre or more.  Unfortunately, it tends to out-compete indigenous ground covers in most soil conditions.
  • The good news is that its roots are weak – so the pest is quite easily pulled out.

Fauna Sightings

turtle

Eastern Long-necked Turtle – Furness Park

  •  Sorry we’re a little late getting this to you, but Friend Paul snapped the turtle above last November.  It is an Eastern Long-necked turtle (Chelodina longicollis ) – also called the Eastern Snake-necked turtle – both names due to its relatively long neck.  Another less flattering name is “Stinker” – it can let loose an offensive smelling liquid from its musk glands as a defence.  Notice too that another defence is camouflage – it is growing the same sort of algae on its back as does the nearby rock.
  • Richard, one of our Friends, is a very keen turtle spotter and has been quite concerned that he hasn’t seen any turtles for a long time.  Turtles are far less common in the Creeklands than they used to be – it is good to have a fairly recent sighting.
  • The creek in Furness Park is the best place to look for them.  They like swamps, billabongs and slow-moving creeks; they eat tadpoles, frogs, molluscs etc and grow to about 20cm in our environment.   Occasionally females migrate overland  – they’ve been seen crossing Main Street!

Bird sightings have been:

  • Noisy King Parrot young, with raucous young appearing to harass their parents, Corellas,  Bronzewing Pigeons and Currawongs.
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