Park News – September, 2015

Parks Forum – 2015 Plants in 2015 !

  • One of the perks associated with being on our park’s Advisory Committee is that Council invites the committees of all the parks and both indigenous nurseries in the municipality to an annual function called the Parkland Community Forum.
  • It is an excellent opportunity for us to network with the members of other committees and to hear about Council’s plans for the coming twelve months – as well as its responses to issues raised by Committees such as the perennial dogs-on-lead issue.

parks forum page

  • A booklet is produced for the forum with contributions from each group highlighting achievements and challenges for the year.  Our page is reproduced above – it records:
    • the restoration of The Billabong with Friends and the community as being our greatest achievement for the year
    • our challenge being to plant ‘2015 plants in 2015’ using our grants to plant up two corridors of vegetation along the Creek.
  • Thanks to our Maintenance Team, Friends and other help from the community, we’ve well and truly beaten the 2015 target.  Our count to date is well over 2,700!

Bird Survey Coming Up!

Life's a hoot!

Be there – or be square!

  • Our Spring, 2015 Bird Survey is planned for at 07:30 on Saturday, 24th October. Friends are most welcome and no experience is necessary.  We meet at the Scout Hall in Pakenham Street – near Laburnum Primary School.
  • You should wear sensible clothing/footwear and bring cameras and binoculars if you wish.  Also, please join us for a morning cuppa afterwards at the Scout Hall for the consolidation of results.
  • Please visit our Bird Counts page for further information and links to all survey results to date.

Park Vandalism

hoon damage

  • An evidently challenged individual decided to take his/her (or more likely, someone else’s!) 4WD on a bush-bash in the Kalang Oval surrounds in the first week of September.  Fortunately, no major damage was done to the park, vehicle or driver.
  • Now we know why Council installs those removable barriers to vehicle access along the tracks in the park!

Kalang Oval Projects
cricket net posts

  • No – it’s not a hybrid of Aussie Rules and Rugby! – supports for the cricket nets have gone up in readiness for the cricket season.  The nets will be black.  Expect those white posts to also turn black shortly!
  • kalang pavilion2The new pavilion is also going up apace with its brick walls now rendered and its low-slung design ensuring a low profile in the park.  
  • There seem to be plenty of workers there as our photo shows – and they appear to be a very dedicated team.  One Friend says “I observed them pouring the verandah at 6.45pm last Friday … They were working under floodlights. It was quite dramatic. Not only working so late …but on a Friday! I wonder if the workmen are mates of the cricketers!“.

Working Bee Report

  • The working bee on 13th September – weeding and mulching in Furness Park was successful though poorly attended by Friends – so half of the mulching phase could not be completed on the day.  Perhaps it was the absence of planting or, alternatively, the wonderful weather that dissuaded people from working with us on the day?
  • More weeding and mulching in that area has been completed by our Maintenance Team on Mondays and Thursdays since. Fill-in planting and mulching on the south side of the creek in Kalang Park towards Main Street area has also been completed by the team.  Our new emphasis on mulching is an experiment to test its effects as a weed suppressant and in soil moisture retention.
  • The next Sunday community working bees will be:
    • 18th October:  Blacks Walk – areas adjacent to the Laburnum PS school fence to be weeded and mulched.
    • 8th November:  to be advised – possibly more of the same.

Council Maintenance Works

  • A small path realignment in Blacks Walk along the path just south of the creek will be done by contractors soon to improve maintenance vehicle access.
  • Minor path maintenance works elsewhere (filling pot-holes etc) have already commenced.

WWW – The Way We Were (1938)


  • The plan above is excerpted from an MMBW survey plan from 1938.  It shows a small section of Gardiners Creek in our Furness Park in the vicinity of Gardenia Street.  Interestingly, it also shows the Open-air School with its verandah facing Gardiners Creek (though its actual State School number was 3850 for the pedantic).
  • One point that Professor Ian Rutherfurd raised in his recent interesting talk presented by the Below the Lake Friends is that all the streams in Melbourne were either channelised or put underground – excepting parts of the Mullum Mullum Creek and our Gardiners Creek between Blackburn Road and the lake.  Although our creek still has its twists and turns, they are nothing like its original meandering – and the open tributaries have disappeared too.

Corridor News

Blackburn Bushland Corridor

brochure cover

  • As reported last month, the Blackburn Lake Sanctuary and the Blackburn Creeklands Advisory Committees have jointly produced a new brochure called the Blackburn Bushland Corridor.  
  • The brochure is targeted at local people who may not know our parks yet and has proved to be quite popular.  Please let us know of new people in the area and we’ll drop a copy into their mailbox.
  • We would especially like to acknowledge assistance from Ms Samantha Dunn – State MLC for Eastern Metropolitan – and her office in printing the second edition for us.
  • We’ve also attached a temporary brochure holder to the noticeboard for passers-by pick up a copy.

Build it and they will come!

spoiled for choice

  • The photo shows a pair of wood ducks spoiled for choice when looking for habitat at the newish ponds at McCubbin Park (at 1 Lake Road) near Blackburn Lake.


  • The next Below the Lake Friends working bee will be Saturday, 10th October from 3-5PM.  For further information, please contact Lynette on 0416 178 945.
  • The VCAT hearing for 60 Main St has been confirmed to be 10:00AM Monday, 14/12/2015 for one day.  Six objectors including the Blackburn and District Tree Society and Blackburn Village Residents Group will oppose the Applicant.
  • You may be interested in a Building Homes for Wildlife talk at Yarran Dheran on 12th November.

Plant of the Month


  • Plant of the Month: Indigofera australis (Austral Indigo)  This is a slender shrub with blue-green leaves reminiscent of some ferns and can grow to 2 metres high.  It is flowering now with soft purple/pink hues which contrast strongly with the yellows of the wattles.
  • In good time for Wattle Day on September 1st, our second-last noticeboard display contained samples of most of the park wattles to help you identify them.  The current display also features plants now flowering – including some of the wattles and our Plant of the Month (Austral Indigo).  If you like the look of a plant currently flowering for your garden, check the noticeboard and race off to one of our local indigenous nurseries (Bungalook or Greenlink) to grab some tube-stock.
  • Because its foliage is sparse, we tend to plant this species in groups of three for a denser effect.

Weed of the Month

annual veldt grass

  • Weed of the Month: Annual Veldt Grass – Ehrharta longiflora.
  • This is one of the infamous veldt grasses that are serious environmental weeds – being very invasive and disruptive to indigenous ecosystems.  This particular variety is an annual – very prolific, setting large amounts of seed.  Native to South Africa, it is now widespread and common particularly in coastal areas and along creek lines.
  • A particularly bad infestation is present to the south of the Furness bridge.


ducklings 2015

Proud Mum and Dad (right) keeping a watchful eye out!

There have been several interesting bird sightings in the park:

  • The first ducklings for the season have arrived over the past fortnight!  First were the Pacific Black Ducks and, since then, the Wood Ducks and Chestnut Teals have also been seen.
  • A butcherbird with a duckling (!).
  • Four pairs of Tawny Frogmouths nesting.
  • Long-billed Corella in Furness Park.
  • A pair of Black-faced Cuckoo-shrikes – they often seasonally nest in Furness Park.
  • One of our Bird Survey guides, Pat Bingham, has recently spotted an Australian Hobby (no – not beer drinking or pie eating – a small raptor like a Sparrowhawk!) and also remarked on the prevalence of King Parrots.
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