Park News – May, 2015

Billabong Update

  • Friends will remember that we sent a special alert to Friends showing the day of the first flows into the billabong on the 15th May.
  • The billabong system completely filled for the first time on 20th May following steady rain overnight.   Quite a lot of water  remained in the billabong system for several days.

billabong charged

  • It was fabulous to see the billabong working as intended – justifying the time and effort Committee and Council have put into the project over many years.  In 2007, Council’s engineers told us it couldn’t be done!

northern pond

  • Further repairs to the rather rough track through the ponds are still required.
  • Committee is organising a special working bee to complete the planting out of the billabong area on Sunday, 14th June 09:00-12:00 – so Council and the contractor can sign off on the project completely by 30th June.   Friends are strongly encouraged to participate if you are available.

Main Street Bridge Maintenance

pedestrian refuge removals

  • Work on removing the old pedestrian refuge where Main Street crosses the Creeklands commenced on 27th May.  The objective is to reduce the weight on the bridge and perform other repairs.
  • This work, as well as the new handrails, should see the current program of bridge maintenance projects completed!

Working Bees

  • Our first working bee for the year was conducted on Sunday, 3rd May.  We were disappointed by the low turnout of Friends – with only a couple of our most reliable stalwarts attending.

working bee 20150503

  • However, BCAC Committee itself was well represented – so there were just enough hands on deck to get the job done.  Building on working bees undertaken last year, the northern creek bank opposite the Bowls Club is coming along very well indeed.
  • Our second working bee for 2015 is planned for this coming Sunday (May 31st 09:00-12:00) in the “Southern Corridor” – on the south side of the creek along the main track adjacent to the Kalang Park oval.  Please click here for details.
  • Please don’t forget there is also the special working bee (discussed in the Billabong article) to complete the planting out of the billabong system on Sunday, 14th June 09:00-12:00.
  • Raising the bar for both Friends and the Maintenance Team, the combined Laburnum PS Grade 4s weeded in the park adjacent to the school fence line on the morning of May 28th.  In a successful working bee, students learned weed identification/weeding techniques and achieved some creditable results in “their” part of the park.  Also, a Joeys’ Planting Day is planned for July 26th.  It is pleasing to see that our younger friends are showing every indication of developing into future worker bees who love nature – and their local park in particular.

Blacks Walk Bridge Maintenance

  • The treated pine plank surface on the Blacks Walk bridge is uneven and often spongy.
  • Council has promised to repair it appropriately.

Kalang Oval Pavilion Redevelopment  

  • Temporary buildings for the Kalang Oval Pavilion redevelopment project are in place and the demolition of the old pavilion is imminent.  The planned tree removals were conducted on May 28th.
  • The construction work is scheduled to take about nine months – aiming for completion in February, 2016 (subject to weather conditions of course).
  • During this time, the car park near the pavilion will be unavailable.  Park users are encouraged to use the car park located near the Bowls Club (off Pakenham Street) instead.
  • Normal access to the park will also be restricted around the construction site.

A Load of Rubbish!

bin with usability issues

  • The Kalang Park rubbish bin was initially positioned inside(!) the temporary chain-mesh fence around the dongas recently installed for the Kalang Pavilion replacement.
  • Following e-mails from Committee, the bin has now been wired to the outside of the temporary fence making it usable again…
  • The Blacks Walk rubbish bin (formerly, fairly close to the car park) was mysteriously relocated to the fork of the track near Middleborough Road.
  • It is difficult to imagine a worse repositioning – Committee will ask council to put it back where it was…

Sightings

Fauna Sightings

Interesting bird sightings have been:

  • Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoos
  • Female Golden Whistler
  • King-parrots
  • Crimson Rosellas
  • Eastern Rosellas.

Fungi 

  • Strictly speaking, fungi are not plants – so they could not be nominated for Plant of the Month on that technicality. In biology, they belong to their own “kingdom”.
  • As you’ve probably noticed, the park has a great diversity of fungi at present:

fungi

  •  The current Notice Board display features local fungi – try to use it to help identify the fungi you see.
  • Many fungi are extremely poisonous, even lethal, so park users should not collect, eat or otherwise consume mushrooms and other fungi growing in the park.  Parents should be particularly vigilant in relation to children in this respect.   The Poison Information Centre’s phone number is 131 126.

Plant of the Month

  • Plant of the Month is Australian Dusty Miller (Spyridium parvifolium).  It is a fairly dense shrub with attractive creamy floral leaves, other leaves are green and hairy, though lighter underneath.  It flowers July-November but is looking particularly nice already.  This photo shows a specimen up on the hill of Furness Park:

dusty miller

Weed of the Month

  •  Weed of the Month is Bridal Creeper (Asparagus asparagoides).   It has become a serious environmental weed in Australia and was first introduced from South Africa in the 1850s.  bridal creeper
  • It has small, bright shiny green leaves and pendent white flowers during winter and spring.  It is a scrambler and/or climber and can reach 3 metres in length.   The picture above shows an example in Furness Park where it is commencing to compete with the good, indigenous Mountain Clematis (Clematis aristata) [darker leaves].
  • It tends to smother native vegetation upstairs and downstairs – firstly,with its thick foliage and, also with its thick underground clumps of tubers which restrict the roots of indigenous species.

The Way We Were ?

  • Last month, we briefly discussed McCubbin in relation to Box Hill and Heidelberg.  So who was McCubbin?  Friends tell us that the renowned Australian artist, Frederick McCubbin (1855-1917), lived at Wolseley Crescent, Blackburn after earlier spending weekends camping on David Houston’s farm at Box Hill with other famous artists including Tom Roberts, Arthur Stretton and Tom Conder.
  • Painting en plein air (in the open air) – rather than in the studio – was then a novel way of capturing the landscape!  The artists immersed themselves in their bushland surroundings with many of their compositions taking full advantage of the indigenous trees and grasses which thrive along Gardiners Creek.
  • Whitehorse Council has developed a trail based on well known paintings – including one featuring our own Blacks Walk – please see:
    http://www.whitehorse.vic.gov.au/IgnitionSuite/uploads/docs/Artists_Trail_brochure.pdf
Dewy Eve - Tom Roberts c1888

Dewy Eve – Tom Roberts c.1888

  • In Blacks Walk on Middleborough Road near the junction with Albion Road, there is a sign showing a reproduction of the Tom Roberts painting Dewy Eve (c.1888) with commentary referring to the artists hurrying back to Box Hill Station on Sunday nights after spending their weekends at the Houston property.  The painting is thought to depict the area where Gardiners Creek crosses Middleborough Road.  If so, Blacks Walk would be on the right hand side of the painting and the cattle would be replaced by today’s relentless streams of traffic…
  • Blacks Walk has also attracted modern artists in recent times – for example, please click here for more on our most recent “art installation”.

Elsewhere in the Corridor

corridor Jamieson Res and 1 lake rd

Blackburn Lake Sanctuary

  • The lake’s new regional level children’s playground with its impressive turtle centrepiece is nearing completion.
  • Please don’t forget the Lake always has an interesting schedule of activities – please click here for the May/June schedule.

Seventh Day Adventist Campground Adjacent Blackburn Lake

corridor and SDA

  • The proposal for the development of seven, up to 6 storey, residential aged care blocks on the Seventh Day Adventist campground on Central Road adjacent to Blackburn Lake was rejected by VCAT on 21 May 2015.  The proposal went directly to VCAT (avoiding Council and public consultations) and includes removal of more than 100 trees from the corridor.
  • However, VCAT did not reject the proposal outright – the applicant has been invited to submit new plans by 31/7 that:
    • reduce height and increase setbacks for two buildings
    • break up another building into smaller units
    • possibly substitute an additional building with underground car park for the proposed ground level car park – to compensate for the above reductions,
    • improve the landscaping plans – incorporating more indigenous plants.

Below the Lake

  • The Below the Lake Group needs assistance meeting its target grant hours in the Jamieson Reserve and related areas.  They’ve being doing some great stuff in the corridor between the Blackburn Lake Sanctuary and our Creeklands.  Their  final working bee counting towards their grant will be on Saturday 13th June 2-4PM.   Any Friends who can help out had better get up there!

Your Part of The Corridor

  • What about corridor-compatible plantings in your own garden?
  • The Blackburn and District Tree Preservation Society has very generously allowed us to provide their excellent and highly readable Plant Indigenous guide to indigenous plants in our area for on-line downloading by Friends.  Beware, it is a 20MB file – but well worth the wait!  The guide is invaluable and difficult to find in hard-copy form these days.
  • To buy your plants, why not go to the Bungalook sale on Saturday, May 30th? This author recommends you get there early!  I arrived at the last Greenlink sale a little late to discover many empty spots in the racks – business must have been brisk!
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