FOGGies gathered on Saturday 21st March for our contribution to Clean Up Australia.
A nation this big needs more than one day a year to keep it clean, so our dedicated group gathered on a day of our own choosing to do our bit. 7 of us met at Wonderland car park, left a few vehicles there and shuttled on to the Sundial carpark. Armed with packed lunches, sustaining fluids, garbage bags, gloves and various tools for picking up any unpleasantness we were yet to learn of, we set out. A beautiful morning, good company, on a very picturesque walk. What a great way to spend an autumn day.
We dawdled along to The Pinnacle, picking up the occasional can and bottle, tissues and other small items. Along the way various plants and flowers were spotted, to be photographed and discussed. As were several friendly rock skinks. The views were enjoyed, and the conversation was great. We soon approached the top. The area around the Pinnacle and the now unmarked Nerve Test had a much higher concentration of rubbish.
We found a space among the hordes to sit on the rocks in the sunshine and break bread. After lunch a brief chat about issues relating to FOGG grew into brain-storming about a need for a new guide to Grampians flora and its possible formats. A quick look at the world class view, and the break was over.
Then the hard work began. Innumerable water bottles, cans, discarded clothing, food wrappers and other items had been hidden or blown into the tea tree and down into the multitude of rock crevices on top of the mountain. My home made rubbish spike that had been ridiculed earlier, was in demand. Calls of “Rodney, Where’s the stick?” echoed from all quarters. We rapidly filled several bags, and then continued towards Wonderland carpark. The walk down Silent Street is tight and strenuous, more so when carrying rubbish bags. It was also a location with much discarded waste, but eerily beautiful all the same.
The general public we saw throughout the day offered encouragement and said it was great to see us cleaning up and how disgusted they were that people would make this mess. We were thanked for our efforts by many, and even aided by some.
The problem that dismayed us the most was the toilet paper, alternated with hankies, and even jocks used for the same purpose, discarded everywhere. This is a real problem. Do we need to educate the public to go before they set off, like children on a car journey? Or set up dispensers to provide doo-doo bags for people to take on the walk to pick up after themselves like dog owners? Between this issue and the rampant (and slightly evil) bottled water industry we filled 6 garbage bags by the time we got back to the carpark.
The rubbish bags were tied, piled into the back of the ute, and photographed for posterity. We then reversed the earlier shuttling duties, and a few of us had a cuppa under the watchful eye of a Scarlet Robin. I’m sure I heard him whistle strains of “My ol’ man’s a dustman..” in appreciation of our work. The rubbish was dropped into the skip at Brambuk, and another great day out with FOGGs was over. Time for an ice-cream!