From the Editor

Welcome to this Winter issue of the FOGG newsletter. An unusual one in unusual times. The Covid rules plus the pressure to complete the GPT means that  local park staff are under a lot of pressure, our FOGG committee needs to communicate at a distance, and as Leigh reports in Prez Sez we are having problems with Park Connect and the need for us all to have working with children certificates. But we have managed to put together an interesting newsletter I hope. My thanks to member Neil Marriott for contributing an interesting article on burning. Do remember that we welcome articles from members. So don’t be shy!

It is always a dilemma how many photos to put in. We realise that some members’ internet is limited so we don’t want to make the document too big. But what to leave out. I’m hoping to revive the FOGG facebook page and use it to show the photos that didn’t make it here. Volunteer help very welcome.

Here are our hoped for activities for the rest of the year, but note that Covid may cause problems. (The official opening of the new track the Walking Track support Group group constructed at Golton Gorge was cancelled four times!). So please contact the person organising an activity closer to the event for more information, and check for it on Park Connect.

There will be a newsletter coming out before the November meeting, maybe even before the October one.

From the Editor

Welcome to our Autumn issue. Apologies that it is a bit late and has very short notice of our event next week, and it has no timetable of future activities. We may be doing so well against Covid compared to the rest of the world, but that certainly doesn’t mean smooth progress. Rules, rules. Plus, the pressures on staff with the management plan being due out soon, some illness in our committee and here we are!

In addition to group meetings, we are hoping to help Parks with some individual projects. Some of us have committed to updating some of the visitor information sheets, and we hope to assist in digitising the herbarium samples that were mostly collected by Ian McCann and the Stawell Field Naturalists. If you are one of those who volunteered to do these, how are you going? Do let Hannah know.

We would love to have more of your voices in our newsletter.

Margo Sietsma

From The Editor

Welcome to a summer edition of our newsletter, the first December one since 2012! I hope it finds you surviving all the Covid stuff and send my best wishes for Christmas and the new year. It’s quite short but there are a few fairly urgent items, and then another one will follow in January.

What an extraordinary year it has been, and it has not been an easy time for our committee, particularly our president Catherine and secretary Bill. As well as trying to organise activities with constantly changing restrictions on volunteer activities, we have also been following the progress of the Grampians Peaks Trail. Committee meetings have had to be via Zoom. It has also been a very difficult year for our Park staff, mainly working from home. We thank them for their dedication and perseverence. Particular thanks to our contact ranger Hannah, and as you will read later, she managed to help us finally install a seat beside Fish Falls, a project literally years in planning.

I have found it quite fascinating to read again the newsletter I sent out in December 2012. (I looked it up to copy the headings and the season’s information). Our president Prue and secretary Wendy were busy writing letters on our behalf objecting to private development in the Park, we were co-operating in Threatened Species surveys, Parks were getting school students to help in cleaning up the Park and attack the sallow wattle and more.

As you will read in the minutes of our committee meeting, I received a Highly Commended Award from the Victorian Friends of the Environment Network. I am deeply appreciative that the committee nominated me for this award.  That means more to me than the award itself. Another local, Matilda Venn, also received the inaugural youth award for her work with orchids. Well done Matilda.

From the Editor

Welcome to this issue of the FOGG newsletter. An unusual one in unusual times. No reports on excursions, no photos of us out in the Park, but plenty of reports on meetings held mainly online. I don’t know about the rest of you but I find they work alright, if not brilliantly, for small groups who know each other, but are most frustrating for larger groups.

One positive result of being in lockdown is that both Leigh and I have been able to look back at history and the contributions to the environment of some of our quiet members. I hope you enjoy these.

What activities we’ll be able to do over the next few months is hard to forecast. We will need to have an AGM in November but it may have to be on Zoom. There will be another newsletter before then.

At the very last minute of putting this newsletter together there is an announcement of temporary changes to access to several rockclimbing sites in the Park and near Arapiles, due to new discoveries of important cultural sites. These are causing quite heated discussions and there will be more on them in our next issue. The PV announcement can be found on—aug2020.pdf

From The Editor

Welcome to our Autumn issue.

Despite the Covid 19 lockdown we have been able to get you quite a bit of news and interesting reading. Those of you who get the newsletter by email will have already received two quite lengthy articles, one on art sites by Ben Gunn, Jake Goodes and Leigh Douglas, and one on gnammas by Prof Brian Timms. If you are getting only a hard copy of this newsletter and would like to read either or both of these, do let us know and we can mail them out to you. But be aware they are both quite long. But most interesting.

Just today we learnt that the Park is now open -sort of. We have no idea of course when normal activities will be able to be restarted, but we will let you know as soon as we can. In the meantime, why not do some reading about our Park? Buy one of the new books which are mentioned in the newsletter, reread stuff you already have, research the internet for interesting stuff. For example, the journals of the Field Naturalist Society are online and I can recommend say Dec 1969 which has a description of an August visit to the Roses Gap area, or January 1973 “the Wildflowers of the Flat Rock area” covering a whole year of visits.

Keep safe and we hope we can see some of you in the not too distant future.

Margo Sietsma

From the Editor

Welcome to our late summer bulletin. And apologies for the long break between newsletters. It has been such an incredible summer and although we have had no serious fires here, many of us have been affected. I myself got caught up in Kosciusko National Park, evacuated in plenty of time, but ended up spending much longer in Canberra than I had planned.

Our Park staff have been, and still are, flat out. They are in turns working in the fire affected areas, which means those left in the office are taking their roles as well as their own. So you will understand that there is nothing from either Rhonda or Hannah this time. We need to give them some time to relax, as there are still some difficult months ahead with the ongoing rock climbing issues and the Peaks Trail nearing completion. However we do have the general community update from the team and will be incorporating some of that into this newsletter.

I have a problem. I have far too many photos to use in this newsletter, I will send more to our patient website manager Frank van der Peet, but we do also have a barely updated Facebook page. I am currently the person supposed to be doing that, but it would be great if I could hand that over to someone else.

Editor’s Piece

Once again there’s been no shortage of contributions to the newsletter, which is good news to an editor. But unfortunately there’s little room for the many photos which came with them. So there are just a few here, but we’ll get more up on our web page and our Facebook.

I myself am just recently home from visiting family in England and the Netherlands and had an interesting day in the World Heritage National Park in the extremely shallow Wadden Sea, puddling in the mud flats with a volunteer guide. She gave me a copy of their magazine (48 pages, out four times a year) and even with my rusty Dutch it was clear that her group was the equivalent of our Friends Group, and that we face some very similar challenges particularly “how to make tourism a blessing not a curse”.  They state their aim as:

“to protect the area and keep it for future generations. We do this by political lobbying, influencing businesses, using the law, and educating the public.”

Here are some of what they want to lessen the impact of tourism on their precious environment.

  1. The whole package needs to be considered (transport to get here, where people stay, what activities are offered).
  2. Tourism businesses primarily look to attract visitors wanting peace and space.
  3. Activities offered should strengthen the central qualities of the area: quiet, space, dark nights, rich biology.
  4. Noisy activities should be kept to a minimum.
  5. Travel to the islands should be sustainable, not disruptive and match the core qualities of the area.
  6. Continuing monitoring of the impact of tourism and recreation activities on the core qualities.
  7. No buildings for tourism in protected areas.
  8. Buildings etc for tourism to be sustainable, energy and water efficient, and produce a minimum of rubbish.

I’ll try to remember to bring it along to our next meeting. Some fascinating activities on their programme. In the meantime, relax and enjoy our Grampians Gariwerd news.

From The Editor

Welcome to our summer newsletter.  Please note that our first activity for the year is on Sunday March 3, We are having our annual cleanup activity followed by a BBQ lunch. See the poster.

We have a mix of familiar and new faces on our committee which is very healthy. A big welcome particularly to our new President Catherine Pye, and thanks to Rodney for his work over the last couple of years.

Some years back our dedicated volunteer webmaster set up a system that allowed us to have email addresses for President, Secretary, Treasurer, Editor etc @friendsofgrampiansgariwerd. We are finally starting to adopt them and as Rodney wrote last year “The legitimacy it lends us as an organisation when communicating with government departments, filing grant applications, and press releases etc is useful. It also is helpful for continuity when people change roles.”

After a quiet few weeks over the Christmas break I am being bombarded with emails and newsletters, and I’ve selected some to share with you. Then, just as I was trying to get the newsletter finished, comes a media storm over planned restrictions on rock climbing in the Grampians. This had been discussed at the Advisory Group meeting last week (see the Advisory Group Report), It was good to see in PV’s response in this statement by the CEO Simon Talbot.

“Our main priority is protecting the natural and cultural values of this precious landscape that is the Grampians National Park. We are working to support climbers and other park users to find alternate locations in the Grampians to climb. We’ll also work with local businesses and Licensed Tour Operators over the coming months to clearly identify where climbing can continue.”

Enough of my soapbox. I have run out of space.

Editor’s Piece

Welcome to our late late Spring edition. The last couple of months have been a very busy time for many of us, and I do apologise for the lateness of this issue. There’s only one important date as we head towards the summer period and that is our AGM on Friday November 30. We won’t have a December meeting, but will let you know in plenty of time how we will start the 2019 programme. I do want to emphasise the importance of our AGM where we will be electing office bearers, hoping to continue with mixing newcomers and longer term members. It is vital that we ensure that we remain relevant to both our long-term members and newcomers.

We have good news about Park staff, and funding, as you will read further in. We particularly welcome our new Ranger in Charge, Rhonda McNeil, and our new Volunteer Co-ordinator Hannah Auld. We look forward to continuing our good relationship with our staff as we work together to look after and protect our Park.

Please note that if you have not renewed your membership your period of grace has expired and this will be your last newsletter. Our Park needs Friends in so many areas. We always have advocated on behalf of the Park, we have given feedback to management, we have sought to educate the public. But there are always new challenges and new opportunities and your membership is important in our advocacy role, even if you find it difficult to come to our activities.

From The Editor

Welcome to the newsletter, whether you are receiving it in the post or by email. Remember that you can also access previous newsletters via our website .

First of all I need to let you know that our Ranger in Chief Dave Roberts has resigned from Parks Victoria to work for DELWP in the Otways area. We all want to thank him for his leadership and vision over the last very challenging eight years. At this stage there is no news of who will replace him – or when. His farewell letter can be found here.

Next, an apology and an explanation: We have disappointed some of our members by not sticking firmly to a regular monthly time for activities, which has made it hard for some of you to get to things they would have liked to join in with. We’ve also had a request for some Sunday activities, particularly when we join with other groups, but this in turn inconveniences those of us who are churchgoers. Decisions, decisions. Plus we have been late telling you the dates and putting them up on the website. Some of this has been due to negotiating with outside speakers, such as Dr Nick Clemann, as to when they could come to the Grampians; some where we want to combine with other groups, and some just poor organisation.  Your editor has been over-committed and our webmaster has had a couple of operations. We will try to improve, we promise.

When I was visiting family in England and Germany in July, I visited several nature reserves with Friends Groups. I didn’t actually get to join in any friends’ activities but I’ll put a couple of photos up here if there’s room. Once again there are interesting articles I want to make room for.

Finally, please note that it’s time to renew your membership, via the form here.

Please check if we have your correct email address so we can contact you with late news.