Park News – August, 2017

Update on Last Month’s Pollution Events

  • The Whitehorse Leader of 14th August carried an article about the serious diesel oil spill first reported early on Friday 28th July.  It identified the source of the spill as being a depot near Rooks Road.

yellow waters

  • The Maintenance Team reported that the creek was almost orange first thing on Monday – indicating a serious burst water main upstream. By 11:00, the colour of the water turned greyer and began to strongly smell of diesel again.


  • Iridescence could again be seen on the water surface and on rock/concrete surfaces near the water level. We assume this was due to more of the spilled oil being flushed out – rather than another fresh spill(!).  Our photo was taken from the Laurel Grove bridge – dare we say it? – truly a bridge over troubled waters!

Our Creek’s Catchment

  • The diesel problem commencing near Rooks Road says a lot about our creek’s catchment area – it is certainly much more extensive than the Blackburn Lake overflow that most would think of as being our creek’s “source” – as many people might expect.
  • We’ve highlighted Blackburn’s natural water courses shown on this excerpt from the 1864 Nunawading parish plan:

nunawading 1864

  • It is likely that today’s storm water network services a similar, possibly wider, area.  The water course in red which crosses “White Horse” Road is Blackburn Creek and a tributary that ran more-or-less along South Parade just south of today’s railway station.  The dotted box shows where the Blackburn Creeklands park fits.  

Working Bee Report

Australian Noisy Miners Blacks Walk 10 August 2017

  • We’ve given up lining up the ducks for working bees and have switched to Noisy Miners instead – seeing we seem to have many more of them!
  • Anyway, it worked – attendance was up!  We especially thank new faces Jacinta and Helen for choosing to work with us in the park.  We enjoyed another productive and satisfying working bee on the north side of the Blacks Walk bridge to finish the in-fill planting and weeding there on 9th July.
  • Next working bee will be on September 10th  – weeding and infill planting in the new beds on the northeastern side of the Main Street bridge.

Maintenance Team Report

  • Recent activities have been centred around the Laurel Grove bridge and the area of the park at the end of Sheehans Road – weeding, mulching and planting.  The “soil” near the bridge is going to challenge the young plants – a lot of it being fill – often stone and rubble deposited there in the old days when the creek was used as a convenient dumping ground.
  • Several eucalypts have also been strategically placed – partly to replace older failed plantings and also the diseased pines removed by Council last January.
  • We also want to encourage regeneration of Melaleucas by progressive removal of Tree Violet (Melicytus dentatus – formerly Hymenanthera dentata) shrubs smothering them on the southeastern side.
  • An unusual infestation of 40-50 [Solanum] pseudocapsicum was removed south east of the Laurel Grove bridge) often referred to as ‘Thelma’s Maze’. We normally find that weed near the water line – not above the creek banks.


  • You’ve probably heard if not seen that Corella overflights continue with flocks of up to 150 birds.  A pair of White-faced Herons were spotted on the Kalang Oval.
  • We’ve noted that the tawnies have not begun nesting yet – this should happen in a week or so with hatchings occurring in early October.

white-faced heron and chicks

  • Our marvellous photographer Ruth happened to be in the right place at the right time when the nesting White-faced Heron parents in Linum Street were changing shifts minding their littlies.  Now we know there are at least two chicks.  You might see a parent hunting along the creek.

Plant of the Month

ghania 2

  • Plant of the Month is Ghania (or Thatch Saw Sedge, Gahnia radula) – flowering at the moment.  It is a tufted perennial sedge native to south-eastern Australia.
  • We think our picture, taken in Furness Park, shows residual indigenous vegetation.   The leaves are long, flat and rough with quite sharp edges (beware – they can easily cut you when weeding around them!).
  • It has a distinctive brown inflorescence (a group or cluster of flowers), which darkens to a very dark brown.  It grows up to a metre in height, spreads through rhizomes and is found in eucalypt forest and grassy woodlands.  In the park, it can often be found growing at the base of old eucalypts or along tree root lines.

Weed of the Month

blue periwinkle

  • Weed of the Month is Blue Periwinkle.  It is a species of blue-mauve flowering evergreen perennial plant – native to the western Mediterranean.
  • It grows to a height of 25cm and spreads  enthusiastically – it being a type of trailing vine, spreading along the ground and rooting occasionally along the stems to form dense masses as shown in our picture.
  • The maintenance team has been assiduously weeding it from the northern bank of the creek between Main Street and Laurel Grove for the last 12 months or so.

In the Corridor

  • The 40th Anniversary of Bellbird Dell is coming up on the 16th September. A variety of events are planned to celebrate on the day.
  • Vicroads has requested comment on its proposal for the final Laburnum Section of the Box Hill to Ringwood rail trail.   We understand that the next move is further discussions with Council.
  • Our colleagues at Blackburn Lake are very pleased that the Sanctuary has been chosen as one of three pilot sites for a Melbourne Water Litter Action Project. Other sites are in Maribyrnong and Werribee. Choice of Blackburn Lake is thought to be due to its long involvement in litter management – eg its stenciling of drains in 1995.

Current Noticeboard Display

wattles 2017v2

  • Our current Noticeboard display (thanks Megan!)  features actual samples of most of the wattles we have in our park along with their names.  A great help if you are wondering “What wattle is what?”.

wattle flowers

  • Last Friday was Wattle Day and the park is blooming to celebrate.  It is amazing to see just how many of the plants in the park are wattles and what variety there is – as many flower at this time.



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