Editor’s and President’s Piece

Welcome to our Petyan edition of our newsletter. My apologies for a late and rather brief newsletter. Time has run away from me yet again and you need to get it in time. Between going to England for my son’s wedding , having the newlyweds here on a visit and preparing for the Wildflower Walkabout in Halls gap this weekend this newsletter has had little priority. Better luck next time.

We have had three group activities since the last newsletter, and the committee made a submission to Ararat Council on an application for a commercial helipad in Pomonal.

Our next activity is coming up very soon, October 17 is our AGM. Details are on the calendar page, but I do want to reiterate the importance of electing officebearers, mixing newcomers with the longer term members. FOGG has been in existence for 30 years by now and some of our committee … Read the rest

Posted in 2015 Spring Newsletter, From the Editor, President Report, President's Report

From Our Ranger In Charge

Spring has sprung in the Grampians following a cold but surprising dry period. The Parks Staff have been steadily working on a number of initiatives that are worth updating you on:

  1. Fire recovery projects continue to be rolled out, with works complete and openings occurring at Smiths Mill camp ground and the day visitor site at Hollow Mountain. Both sites bore the full brunt of the Northern Grampians fire in January 2014 and following a period of asset renewal and environmental recovery, the areas are now accessible to visitors once again.
  1. Goat Control. The environmental team have been placing some priority on targeting goats along the Mt Difficult Range, Mt William Range and Black Range State Park. Remote cameras have been deployed along with increased surveillance which targets the shooting program and creates efficiency. The program will continue for the next 4 months.
  1. Asset improvement program. Capital upgrades to Lakeview
Read the rest
Posted in 2015 Spring Newsletter, From Parks Victoria

Orchid Protection

You may remember that this time last year we were successful in our application for a grant to fence off an area in the Ironbarks state Park near Stawell to protect a very rare orchid, and later, we hope, a reintroduction of this orchid.

With Parks help we engaged a contractor, but the very dry weather that Stawell has endured this past year means that it is only now that the fence is going up. The soil has been iron hard.… Read the rest

Posted in 2015 Spring Newsletter, Activity Reports

Dead Bullock Falls Walk (August 22)

Dead bullock falls 1

Six FOGGs members met at the Dead Bullock Falls camping ground on Roses Gap Road. Present were Will and Proo, Alison, Rodney and Jan-Bert and Mabel. We followed the very pretty creek with numerous small waterfalls until we reached the first escarpment where a large waterfall dropped into a sandy pond. From here we followed the southern branch of the stream up two further escarpments and passed two more very beautiful high waterfalls. From the third escarpment we could have walked to Mount Difficult to the south, however we chose to walk to the north and climbed further to reach a lovely little cave perched above a spectacular rock wall. We ate our lunch here before returning to the cars following the northern arm of the creek back past further water falls.
Dead bullock falls 2
Unfortunately the area had been very badly burnt during the fire but it was lovely to see the … Read the rest

Posted in 2015 Spring Newsletter, Activity Reports

Camping and Fishing at Jimmy’s Creek – 1939

I received a most interesting article from one of the long term members of Stawell Field Naturalists.

“Black Friday”, the 13th January 1939, saw the Grampians burnt  from the northern end to the southern end. Although there was utter devastation, one bright side as far as my family was concerned was that now the Wannon river at Jimmy’s creek was now accessible from the Dunkeld Rd without having to bash through the thick undergrowth of bracken fern, titree etc.

In those days the Grampians were far different from today. Most people didn’t have a car and so very few of the visitors to the Grampians went further south than Myrtlebank on Dairy Creek. About the only people to frequent the area south of Myrtlebank were the forest workers/ sawmillers and those who had grazing rights. It was virtually an isolated area of peace and beauty.

Late summer 1939 Dad decided … Read the rest

Posted in 2015 Spring Newsletter, Nature Notes

Tree Clearing

Most VNPA members will be aware of the recent appalling loss of around 880 large old eucalypts as part of the duplication of the Western highway between Ballarat and Stawell. The trees were felled in the section between Beaufort and Ararat. Many of the trees had hollows used by birds and other animals.

VicRoads had approval only for the removal of the 221 trees they estimated would need to be cleared. But this did not include many more ‘scattered’ trees in the path of the road, which were felled for debatable safety reasons. Pressure from a local group, Western Highway Alternative Mindsets (WHAM), forced VicRoads to admit the mistake and revise plans for the next section to be widened, between Buangor and Ararat. The VNPA applauds WHAM members’ energy and persistence in the face of a powerful bureaucracy. The revised plans include using concrete and wire rope barriers to stop … Read the rest

Posted in 2015 Spring Newsletter, Nature Notes

Technology Supports Data Collection

Graeme Johanson reports on new ways of Collecting and sharing information about Nature.

Two new portable technologies – the digital camera and the smart phone – have changed the way in which volunteers can collect data in the field. Both technologies are used regularly by Dr Russell Best of the Australian Plants Society Victoria (APSV). When interviewed for our research project, he said that the digital camera had made a huge difference. He went on: “The other big technical

change has been the iPhone. The amount of information you can collect is phenomenal.” The phone also gives him a GPS location. More and more digital repositories collect data about nature for public use via the internet. A large group of people can collect and collate much more information than a single dedicated group of employed specialists. Every year the ‘Birds in Backyards’ survey collects data for the Birdlife Australia … Read the rest

Posted in 2015 Spring Newsletter, Nature Notes