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

HISTORY CORNER

Episode 3 of NATURE IN THE SERRA RANGE.

By J. W. AUDAS, F.L.S., F.R.M.S., Assistant, National Herbarium, Melbourne.

(Read before the Field Naturalist’s Club of Victoria, 15th Jan., 1919.)

As noted previously the spelling of some plant names is erratic, due to the difficulty the OCR programme had with Latin words. And some names of course have changed in the last 90 years.We left our group camped beside Rosea Ck, some distance below Calectesia Falls.

Making an early start in the morning, and following the stream downward, rough country was encountered for four or five miles. The water in the creek became much iron-stained, and presented quite a brown appearance. Hereabouts Humea elegans (now Calomeria sp or Incense bush. ed) grew abundantly, but no flowering specimens of it were available, as it blooms later in the season. When in full bloom it is a very fine sight, its Read the rest

Posted in 2014 Summer Newsletter, Articles, Nature Notes

QUOLL SIGHTING

 

NEWS FLASH – QUOLL PHOTOS

 

You may have heard or read about the exciting news that there is photo confirmation of at least one live quoll in the Grampians national park. One of the remote cameras set up near the Brush-tailed Rock Wallaby release site has captured a clear image.

 

Among the many questions is: is this a lone male come from a known population to the south (eg Mt Eccles) in search of a female, or is it part of a local group? The former seems possible, but unlikely, as it is over 100km. The possibility of a local group is great news, and there’ll be more camera work of course. By the way, they did check whether the local zoo had had any escapes.

It is also good to have it confirmed that the fox baiting programme does not affect quolls.

 

quoll image002 quoll image001

So many congratulations … Read the rest

Posted in Articles, Natural Values, Nature Notes, Threatened Species Group

Nature In The Serra Range

By J. W. AUDAS, F.L.S., F.R.M.S., Assistant, National Herbarium, Melbourne.
(Read before the Field Naturalist’s Club of Victoria, 15th Jan., 1919.)

[In our March edition we left the botanising group on the top of Mt Rosea on the first day of their two day trip in early November.]

As the country began to dip towards the Victoria Valley a fine patch of Melaleuca squamea in full bloom was met with, and in the gullies below Bauera sessiliflora was a magnificent sight. Grevillea rosmarinifolia, with its pretty rose-coloured blooms, and Trymalium Daltonii were also growing in the gullies ; the latter is a very early blooming shrub, and is at its best in July. The four Brachylomas native to Victoria were also found growing in this locality ; they were B. ericoides, B. daphnoides, B. ciliatum, and B. depressum. Following the creek which flows towards the Victoria Valley, we passed large … Read the rest

Posted in 2013 Spring Newsletter, Grampians Gariwerd History, Nature Notes

The missing fauna of the Grampians – Quolls By Mike Stevens with Eric Barber

 

Official wildlife database records are poor when attempting to understand the historic habitat ranges of many wildlife species. This creates difficulties when investigating the potential for large-scale fauna restoration opportunities across landscapes such as the Grampians. Common questions arise; What species used to occur in the landscape? How abundant were they? What was there habitat preference? Why did they go extinct?

My search started when comparing the data of previous small mammal captures by Seebeck1 in the 1970’s, or Cockburn2 in the 1980’s with recent small mammal trapping in the Grampians3. It is clear that species such as Long Nosed Potoroo, Southern Brown Bandicoot and Smokey Mouse have declined. This is in addition to the species already locally extinct such as White Footed Rabbit Rat, Southern Bettong, Western Barred Bandicoot and New Holland Mouse found by Wakefield4 in the 1960’s in Grampians cave deposits Read the rest

Posted in 2013 Winter Newsletter, Articles, Grampians Gariwerd History, Natural Values, Nature Notes

June 2013 Natural values updates from Ryan

 

Research Projects: There is an impressive list of projects being undertaken at the moment: birds, aquatic creatures, small mammals, importance of unburnt patches, Chytrid fungus survey of frogs, cinnamon fungus research, impact of sallow wattle infestations. To take just one of the research projects that has been borne out of the 2012 Grampians Bioscan, demonstrating the direct management benefits of our Museum Victoria and Parks Victoria partnership/relationship. It will assist us to understand the re-colonisation of Smoky Mice after a significant disturbance event such as the February 2013 Fire Complex.  The research provides us with a unique opportunity to learn and adapt our fire regimes and predator control program to help protect this species. The project is funded by Museum Victoria with in-kind and material support from the Grampians Ark program. There’s some great pictures and further information on: 

http://museumvictoria.com.au/about/mv-blog/may-2013/smoky-mice-in-the-grampians/

Brushtail Rock Wallaby update

Autumn health check 
Read the rest
Posted in 2013 Winter Newsletter, Natural Values, Nature Notes

POETRY AND HISTORY CORNER

FOGG member and keen internet surfer Kornelis Sietsma has passed on a fascinating site which I’m slowly exploring:
http://www.archive.org/search.php?query=publisher%3A%22%5BMelbourne%5D+Field+Naturalists+Club+of+Victoria%22

A group in the USA has digitised all the early editions of the Victorian Field Naturalists Club newsletters, from 1892 onwards. There’s a lot of useful observations on the Grampians there, plus insights into the biodiversity of our State 110 years ago. The accounts are often long and chatty, so for this issue just an introduction.

May 1892 :
President: PROFESSOR W. BALDWIN SPENCER, M.A.
This Club was founded in 1880 for the purpose of affording observers and lovers of Natural History regular and frequent opportunities for discussing those special subjects in which they are mutually interested; for the Exhibition of Specimens ; and for promoting Observations in the Field by means of Excursions to various collecting grounds around the Metropolis.

There followed a list of invertebrata obtained during “the excursion … Read the rest

Posted in Nature Notes

BOOK REVIEW ‘The Victorian Bush its ‘original and natural’ condition’ by Ron Hateley

Wendy Bedggood

I recently purchased a copy of ‘The Victorian Bush its ‘original and natural’ condition’ by Ron Hateley. It is an extremely interesting book and I urge all who are interested in conservation and history to read it.
Ron was brought up in Kiata where his father Keith was a prominent field naturalist. Ron went to Creswick and trained in Forestry then later was a lecturer there. His book was published some time in the past 12 to 18 months, and sadly he died earlier this year.
He questions and discusses widely held views of ‘the original and natural’ condition of our bush. He looks at issues such as
6. The extent of pre 1788 tree cover.
7. The extent and frequency of fire stick farming and was it as broadly used by aboriginals as some experts imply?
8. The effect of native fauna in the dynamics of the … Read the rest

Posted in Nature Notes