Working Bee Reports
- Our Sunday, 3rd July working bee achieved very similar results to the June working bee. 267 plants went in just north of the Garie Street bridge in Blacks Walk on either side of the track. The weather was great considering the time of year and our recent experiences. After the planting was completed, we had time to do some weeding around some indigenous grasses a little further north of the main planting areas.
- It was nice to meet Paul who attended his first working bee and to see Friends Nicky, Geoff, Ruth and Di returning again to work along with a strong showing from Committee. Once again Ruth had an opportunity to take one of her fascinating close-up photographs:
- We are reliably informed that our accidentally unearthed subject is the larval form of a member of the Scarabaeoidea family. This is a superfamily of beetles often called scarab or stag beetles. Scarabs are stout-bodied beetles, many with bright metallic colours, measuring between 1.5 and a monstrous 160 mm. Beetles in the Scarabaeoidea have short, thick larvae described as “scarabaeiform”, but more commonly known to the rest of us as “grubs”. Maybe, it will become an attractive beetle like this one reported in last November’s news:
- July was unusual in that we had two working bees for the month! The second working bee was on National Tree Day (Sunday, 31st July). It proved to be a great day – the weather treated us extremely well given recent experiences. The target site was one of our project grant sites on the northern bank of the creek below Waratah Crescent opposite the billabong.
- Our photo shows Alan starting work planting wetland plants near the water’s edge. The debris in the Paperbark above Alan’s head shows how high the water level has been there. Some of the older-timers know the area as “Yellow Island” – this name comes from the yellow mudstone(?) on Alan’s right in the water – significantly more of this rock was visible some time ago.
- A very impressive 487 plants went in – that silty spot made for very easy digging. Unfortunately, our planting has already been tested by the 35ml of rain we had the day after (1st August). We’ve probably lost some and others have been flattened – because the area goes completely under water during significant flows. The photo below shows a male Chestnut Teal surveying the damage:
- One of Committee’s obligations is to produce an Annual Report for Council – to summarise our environmental and educational activities, account for our funds and document our volunteer activities for the past Financial Year.
- Highlights from this year’s 2015/2016 report include our spending more than $5,000 on plants for the first time in one financial year – planting 3,267 plants!
- This achievement has only been possible due to the participation of many Friends at Working Bees and due to additional funding provided by Melbourne Water through our project grants and by Council.
Maintenance Team Report
- The team has been busy weeding out and infill-planting below Kalang Oval and preparing working bee sites. Planning for next year’s projects is also well underway.
- Our next working bee (Sunday, 21stAugust) is planned to be at Main Street enhancing the areas around the new bridge railings.
- You may have noticed that Council has also provided a considerable amount of mulch at various sites. Some of this will be spread by a team from Burke and Beyond, a disability service located in Blackburn.
- Construction of a two metre high black chain-mesh fence on the Laburnum Primary School’s Blacks Walk boundary was completed during the school holidays.
- The fence, being black, is a good example of a “non-intrusive” fence that tends to “disappear” against vegetation. Subject of course to your plantings and privacy needs, park neighbours might like to consider this style of fencing when paling fences need to be replaced.
The Way We Were – Baseball at Kalang Oval
- Do you see the vague square shape with a circle near its centre in this Google satellite photo of Kalang Oval – between the cricket pitch and the northern goal posts ? It’s not a crop circle (or crop square either!) – but rather the last vestiges of a baseball diamond that was on the oval in the 1970s and 1980s.
- Blackburn Baseball Club played there from 1971-1976 and then relocated to Billabong Park in Vermont South soon after it was built in the mid 1970s.
- Our Blackburn Creeklands Chronology records that the Nunawading Baseball Club (in winter) and the Doncaster Baseball Club (in summer) then became the resident clubs. We haven’t been able to locate much information about the latter’s tenure.
- Nunawading Baseball Club folded in 1988 to merge with the East Burwood Baseball club creating the Forest Hill Baseball Club which had its first season in 1989 – also at Billabong Park where the Blackburn club went 12 years earlier. We therefore think the last game of baseball at Kalang Oval must have been in 1988.
- The diamond was oriented the way it was to maximise the hitting distance in the park and to try to keep balls out of houses and the car park [nevertheless, the children’s playground was in its current position…]. Kalang Oval is quite small and the playing surface is close to neighbouring housing. The downside of all this is that balls could go over fences particularly when mishit… and we note that baseball players wear helmets for good reason. The sides of the diamond would be 90 feet long (a little under 30m). A baseball can be hit 500-600 feet (~180m) – that would be over Kalang Street! At the time, there was a large wire back net structure known affectionately as “The Igloo” to provide some protection. This was a pipe and wire construction and was dismantled after the last club moved out. Ultimately, a campaign by neighbours to Council resulted in the baseball being relocated.
- We thank Craig from the Forest Hill Baseball Club and Marilyn who was associated with the Nunwading club for helping us fill in some of the gaps in our knowledge. Marilyn had three sons playing baseball for Nunawading, scored for many years and was on our park Committee (then called the “Linear Park Committee of Management”) representing the Nunawading club (along with a representative of the Bowls Club) in 1985. Craig started playing Under-13s for Nunawading which wasn’t played at Kalang Oval but did attend a few Senior games there. However, he did play at Kalang Oval in the Under-15s and Under-17s in winter for the former Nunawading Baseball Club.
- Other than baseball in the 1970-80s and today’s cricket and Auskick football, Kalang Oval has hosted a variety of other sports including gridiron and horseshoe throwing.
OK – What was it?
- In last month’s news, we instituted a competition to identify this picture of an object found in the park submitted by our Friend Bob:
- Suggestions included “a petrified pelican skull” and the somewhat more obscure answer of “the unknown creature depicted in the watercolour of a Venice Carnival goer with mask” below:
- However, Friend Nicky correctly identified sharp-eyed Bob’s supposed “petrified pelican skull” as a piece of bark! Luckily for us, she re-gifted the fabulous prize (a first edition of the Indigenous Gardening Guide for Whitehorse) because she already had a copy – having edited the handbook prior to its publication!
- As we’ve said before, the Creeklands is a little too narrow to form a viable corridor by itself – we rely on nearby properties to provide a buffer between the park and housing to effectively extend the park a little for people, fauna and flora.
- To illustrate, Friend Mike from Acacia Avenue has provided this photo of one of our Tawny friends roosting in his garden:
E-mail Address Changes
- People often change their e-mail addresses when they move, change jobs or change Internet service providers. Don’t forget to let us know – so your flow of news from the Creeklands is not interrupted!
Plant of the Month
- Plant of the Month is Australian Dusty Miller(Spyridium parvifolium). It is a fairly dense, smallish shrub with attractive creamy floral leaves with other leaves being green and hairy, though lighter underneath. It would be a good fit for many local gardens and flowers from July-November. Our photo shows a specimen up on the hill of Furness Park – there are other good examples in the park’s boundary along Heath Street towards Blackburn Road:
Weed of the Month
- Weed of the Month is Oxalis or Soursob(Oxalis pes-caprae). It is indigenous to South Africa and is an invasive species here. Our photo shows it trying to crowd out indigenous grasses planted in the area adjacent to 60 Main Street.
- It has clover-like leaves and raises a yellow flower from winter to summer. It spreads rapidly from underground bulbs which are often unwittingly left intact when the top parts of the plant are “weeded”.
- A lone Buff-banded Rail has continued to be spotted. Other interesting sightings have been a Kookaburra enthusiastically joining in a weeding session, Wood Ducks in abundance (those are the ones calling from trees at the moment) and Red-rumped Parrots just over Middleborough Road in Sparks Reserve.