Not even a fallen Eucalypt blocking the road could stop more than 50 people coming along to an event celebrating Turton’s Creek on Saturday.
The tree had fallen in the morning and blocked traffic in either direction.
Undeterred, attendees sat up their deck chairs up on the road around the tree and hosted their meeting looking over the creek.
South Gippsland Landcare Network coordinator, Jenny O’Sullivan said 53 people attended the roadside gathering, sharing stories and experience of the history of the area and their future ideas for looking after Turton’s Creek.
“Turton’s Creek is a stunning waterway and waterfall north of Foster,” said Ms O’Sullivan. “It is set amongst a spectacular forest of giant eucalypts, wattles and ferns.
“The creek is hardly known outside South Gippsland, but to locals and those who grew up in the area, the creek is a secret gem,” continued Ms O’Sullivan.
The creek and surrounding area also has a rich history, and was the site of a gold rush in the 1870’s.
Many of the attendees, such as Maurice Pyle, grew up in the area and spoke on the day about this history.
“We always worked hard clearing the land and took great pride in removing bracken. They used bracken hooks and cut by hand working up the steep hills,” said Mr Pyle.
“Things were very tough after the war, many farmers walked off the land and the banks took over. Not much maintenance was done and properties went backwards”
“I first saw a rabbit in 1914 and caught it and wanted to keep it as a pet. Shortly afterwards there were thousands of them!”
Mr Pyle also commented on the change in the community dynamics.
“There used to be a much higher population density. Before we’d have five farms up one road, but now those five farms have become one farm.”
Today the creek is impacted by vegetation loss and weed infestations. The Friends of Turton’s Creek was formed with the aim of protecting and restoring the creek.
Friends of Turton’s member, Peter Gannon, spoke to the gathering about the works the group have already undertaken on the creek including removing willows between falls and little falls and upgrading the neglected track 600 metres between the falls.
Peter also spoke of future works planned. “DEPI has done a great job spraying blackberries in 2014 and more will occur this year.
“There is also funding from the South Gippsland Landcare Network to support landowners along the waterways to tackle weeds.”
There will be another session on Saturday, 28 March looking in more detail at the flora and fauna of the area. For further information or to join the Friends of Turtons’s Creek Group please contact Jenny O’Sullivan on 0419153377 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Peter Gannon on 0410564139.