Spring Bus Trip

Bell rock 3.jpg

A Tour of our Current and Future Projects

The Avon Plains Banyena Landcare Group has a lot to celebrate this year. And celebrate we did  on Sunday, October 13th with a tour of our current and future projects for 2019 and 2020. Our applications for funding have been generously rewarded. 

The success of good crops and pastures lies in the soil, and our tour started the day by inspecting  the latest initiatives of regenerative farming at Bonnie Brae, the McAllister family property. 

Fencing of remnant vegetation, direct seeding, locking up of paddocks for soil improvement via  plant protection and renewal, and an impressive wild life pond inspired all. 

At Walkers Lake, the planting and fencing of both new trees, grasses and understory and the  fencing for protection and renewal of remnant vegetation was discussed. Ongoing protection and planning for the fauna and flora of this very special place are a high priority for all who enjoy the beauty and recreational pleasures here. A tour of the area invariably includes the wetlands that are under our custodianship. So onwards from the Avon Plains Lakes, past beautiful crops towards Lake Batyo. 

Grassy Vale, the Campbell family property, is one of the oldest in the area. Enviable views  overlooking the natural Lake Batyo Catyo swamplands will be enhanced by the tubestock planting of a thousand trees and shrubs around and under previous plantings. Both sheep and wildlife will appreciate the protection from the elements, as well as new home sites. 

The warm spring day drew us to the historic Woolpack Hotel where our thoughtful executive  committee had secured a BBQ and sheltered tables in the smart paved courtyard behind the hotel. An excellent meal and restorative drinks with convivial company marked half time. And the trusty bus turned south towards a new experience for most. 

The Wax Gardens are not a Madame Tussaud’s in the bush. The Wax Garden Flora Reserve is a  floral jewel, six hectares of such colour and diversity of wild flowers carved out of the regrowth bush just out of St Arnaud. It is astonishing and a joy to behold. A must see for all locals especially when led by a guide such as Anne Hughes from the St Arnaud Field Naturalists. Anne met us a the gate of The Wax Garden protected and well fenced site. She explained how the grazing animals, both endemic and introduced, had reduced the wildfowers to rare examples. The kangaroo proof fencing has seen the site blossom, literally. And now the eponymous Fairy or Bendigo Waxflower (Philotheca verracosus) is flowering and regenerating since the fence was installed two years ago. 

Venture in during spring and discover colonies of Blue Dampiera, Goldfields Grevilleas, Silky Tea- tree, Daphne Heath, Common Fringe Myrtle, Rosy Backea, Twining Fringe-lilies, Sun Orchids, Yam Daisies, Guinea Flower, Cypress Daisy-bush, Chocolate Lily, Pink Bells and so many more growing underneath the Box-Ironbark eucalypts. Anne continued to surprise us locals by taking us to our last treat… Bell Rock, what a spot. This ancient rock and surrounding area are part of the oldest rocks in Victoria. The Bell Rock Reserve is via Sivermines Road and the gravelly walk to the top is rewarded by views as well as a complex and fascinating history. Go up there and read about the indigenous heritage, the mining stories, the geology and vegetation, the flowers and the lengthy bird list for yourself from the brochure. And experience the unique sense of place. 

A wonderful spring day trip and a sincere thank you to our organising, hosting and working team of  Prue and Don McAllister, Elizabeth O’Shannessy, Carol Campbell, Anne Hughes and Driscoll Ag, for bus provision. 

For more information and reading please contact the following:

Avon Plains Banyena Landcare Group - Carol Campbell, ccampb12@gmail.com

St Arnaud Field Naturalist Club - Anne Hughes, starnaudfieldnats.org.au