Please bear in mind that changes may need to be made, and some dates couldn’t be settled before going to print. Changes will be emailed to those who have provided us with a current address and also put up on the website. But please also ring the listed contact person to find when it is on and to let them know you are coming.

MAY Tuesday 27th at 12 noon: We are having a joint tree planting at Zumsteins with the Stawell Secondary College. Katherine Dyson has arranged for our ‘Healthy Parks Healthy Peoples’ grant money to be shifted to works at Zumsteins, since the McKenzie Falls area was so badly burnt. Contact or further information from Wendy Bedggood phone 53825830 or 0429932065 or Katherine Dyson 53614063 or 0428553040

JUNE 6 – 9 Long Weekend Fauna survey. This replaces the activities which were planned for the Australia Day weekend and had to be cancelled because of the fires They are adjusting their activities in the light of the fire damage. The Field Naturalists Fauna Survey Group have asked if any FOGGs members would like to participate. The aim is to ascertain the presence of the endangered Squirrel Glider at sites with historical records and provide species lists (and relative abundance where possible) of nocturnal mammals and owls in poorly-surveyed areas. If you are interested in participating please contact Margo by email or Wendy by phone.

JUNE Wednesday 11th 4 to 6 pm Mural Room Halls Gap Parks Office. Presentation by Glen Rudolph and other DEPI staff on the background and decision making around ecological and fuel reduction burns. Contact Wendy Bedggood 53825830 or 0429932065.

Also, Project Platypus Plantout at Pomonal Saturday 5th of July.


The celebration of 30 years of the GNP, and of FOGG will be held in September. The postponement is due to the workload on park staff after the fires.





This year’s show will be a weekend only event, and will focus on getting people out to look at the flowers, rather than bringing the flowers to the people. To emphasise the change we will be operating out of a marquee in the Botanic Garden rather than in the hall. We will still have some named specimens at participating venues along a “wildflower trail” of paintings, photographs, workshops through the town. We still will need help from FOGGIES. OCTOBER (Same weekend as Pomonal’s native garden show).


Have you heard about the ambitious scheme to build a world class museum and botanic garden in Halls Gap to celebrate wildlife art? “WAMA is a visionary concept. It is a project of national importance that will recognise the works of outstanding Australian wildlife and natural history artists. Their artistic work will be displayed in an iconic purpose built gallery set in native botanical gardens and wetlands in the foothills of the spectacular Grampian ranges in Victoria.”

They have a large site on the Halls Gap Pomonal Rd, an energetic committee of artists, conservationists and business people seeking more funding and support. Work has already started on planning the garden, with Master’s students from the University of Melbourne working on concept plans for the site under the supervision of their professors. More information is available from or email .


FOGGS have not been asked for support, but some of our members are heavily involved, and I am sure many of us will be very interested in seeing its progress.



This year will celebrate 20 years of operation with a tour of past works and a celebratory dinner to be held in early October.

This years Plantout will involve four community plantings, four schools plantings and one corporate/group plantings. The community plantings will again be held through the months of July, where local and visiting volunteers will be encouraged to come along and lend a hand. The planting activities will again be themed with the aim of involving a wide range of volunteers in this important work. The first to kick off will be a site near Pomonal on Saturday 5th of July, where volunteers will plant 2,500 plants. With assistance from Jallukar Landcare Group in hosting the planting day, backpackers and other visitors to Halls Gap will be encouraged to come along and help, with a minibus running from the YHA.


The Grampians to Pyrenees Biolink Project continues again this year with funding received from the Australian Government which was announced late last year. The next phase of the project is more targeted with works confined to specific geographical areas between the Grampians and Pyrenees Ranges. This project will again be delivered in partnership with the Wimmera CMA, but this next phase has brought in other partners including Glenelg Hopkins CMA, Parks Victoria, Trust for Nature, Conservation Volunteers Australia and Central Victorian Biolinks Group.


The project will work with private landholders to fence remnant vegetation, including that on waterways, strategically-selected areas of land will undergo revegetation and large areas of public land will have increased rabbit and weed management works to reduce the risk of the improved connectivity contributing to the spread of these species. The Grampians to Pyrenees Biolink is a significant link between two major visionary Bio-links ‘Habitat 141’ which straddles the Victorian/ Southern Australian Border and the ‘Great Eastern Ranges Corridor’ which follows the Great Dividing Range right through to Far North Queensland. It provides habitat through a combination of stepping stones and wildlife corridors enabling ecological function to be maintained through a myriad of farmland and public conservation areas. An exciting component of this project is to develop a 10 year strategic Grampians to Pyrenees Connectivity Plan which will further refine priority works and areas to assist in achieving the aim of “improving the ecological connectivity between the Grampians and Pyrenees Ranges”. It has been well recognised that this plan will need to optimise ecological needs while considering farming and community priorities.


More information: 03 5358 4410




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 last few issues we have been publishing Audas’s description of a Spring excursion to Halls Gap. We conclude his story as they do the last leg of their 2 day walk. Please note that the botanical names are sometimes hard to decipher. The library who have made this available on the web has used character recognition software to get into a text document and it has not always coped with Latin vocabulary. And of course some plant names have changed as well.


Having reached a large, swiftly-flowing creek containing good water, we decided to boil the billy and have lunch, and enjoy a short respite from travelling. Feeling refreshed, we


pushed on and negotiated a high ridge, from the top of which a splendid view of the Victoria Valley was obtained. The head waters of the Glenelg River could be traced, running in a northwesterly direction at the start, and finally turning southward after making a circuit of the northern end of the Victoria Range. The principal point of interest from here is the “Asses’ Ears” a bold prominence on the Victoria Range. Continuing from this spot in a northerly direction, some deep and rugged gullies were encountered, the walls of sandstone in some places being almost perpendicular ; however, after much difficult climbing, we eventually reached Scrubby Creek. The vegetation along the creek was very luxuriant. Splendid specimens of Prostanthera lasianthos and Pomaderris apetala attained a height of fully thirty feet, and Pimelea spathulata, an elegant shrub in full bloom, made a very effective display with its pretty heads of drooping greenish flowers. The Acacias, A. melanoxylon, A. verniciflua, and A. retinodes, looked particularly well, the foliage being very regular and ornamental, and of a much lighter shade of green than is usually seen. A great variety of ferns flourished along the banks of the stream ; splendid masses of Gleichenia dicarpa were


observed, and G. flabellata was particularly fine. Todea barbara grew in profusion, and in some places formed close thickets, while Lomaria discolor, L. capensis, Aspidium aculeatum, Pteris incisa, also the tree-fern, Dicksonia antarctica, with its stately heads of fronds, added beauty to the scene. Leaving Scrubby Creek, we soon struck the track we were in search of, and started on our homeward journey. Proceeding now under more comfortable circumstances, along the track was seen a nice display of Brachycome diversifolia growing in a grassy flat, and gleaming gold and white in the sunlight. It was noted that in this particular part of the mountains Grevillea alpina and Styphelia adscendens assumed trailing Jorms. Journeying along the slopes of Mount Difficult, Burchardia umbellata, Helichrysum apicilatum, and H. Baxteri were met with in great profusion. The beautifully cerulean blue flowers of Brunonia australis made a splendid show.


Under cultivation this plant should make an uncommon and very pretty border. As the day was bright and sunny, Thelymitra antennifera (one of the sun orchids) was showing to the best advantage. Passing the saddle on Mount Difificult and descending towards Hall’s Gap, nice clumps of Euphrasia collina (a graceful flower, varying in shades from white to deep lavender), Stylidium graminifolium (with long spikes of magenta flowers). Patersonia longiscapa (with rich purple blooms), Hibbertia densiflora (with yellow blossoms), and Dianella revoluta (with bluish flowers) presented a charming effect with the blending of the various colours.


After this long and interesting trip through partly unknown country, and having covered about thirty-five miles of rough, trackless parts in the two days, we arrived home safely, heavily laden with specimens collected and highly pleased with the results of our undertaking.





The agenda items for the roundtable all focused on the January fires. DEPI, CFA, Parks and Local government perspectives were all discussed.

January 15 was the 3rd day of temperatures above 400 C and thunderstorms had been predicted so all available crews and plant were in full readiness to deal with fires from lightening strikes. The thunderstorms started in the late afternoon. Predictions for 16th were for extreme weather conditions and although 10 aircraft and the aircrane were attacking several fires by 10 am in the morning, they were not having a great impact because of the already extreme weather conditions. Two fires in the southern Grampians and one of the northern fires were put out by ground crews but a couple of the northern ones in more remote locations were unable to be put out and it was unsafe to drop crews in to fight them. Fires in the Mallee and other areas across the state meant that limited resources were available to help us. The two northern fires joined up and rapidly spread. With Friday 17th predicted to be close to a code red day and the Phoenix model showing the fire could reach Halls Gap by Friday night, Parks staff spent Thursday visiting camp grounds to evacuate people and Halls Gap people were advised to evacuate. Fortunately the wind change predicted for Friday came early and the fire did not reach Halls Gap. Weather conditions over the weekend eased and a lot of back burning and work was done to contain the fire by the 20th. It took several weeks for crews to mop up and declare the fire out, in this time we had more severe fire warning days and events which brought crowds to Halls Gap, causing worrying times for fire managers.

Dave Roberts outlined the asset losses and recovery plans as described in the Advisory Group article. Some key points Graeme Parkes mentioned in his summing up of our meeting were:-

  • Landscape fires seem to becoming a common occurrence
  • The importance of local knowledge and community centres e.g Brimpaen

  • Collaboration between organisations has become stronger but there is always room for improvement

  • Need for collaboration between public and private landholders on fuel management.

  • 3 major fire events in past 8 years is it something that is changing or do we need to change.




Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby

        The Moora Creek colony population has been stable for almost a year (touch wood), the last mortality was in April last year. The population is currently 7 animals. Images are retrieved weekly from a series of remote cameras that have been deployed through the release site. Image attached, female 82 who is our longest surviving wallaby (close to 8 years old!). Individual wallabies can be identified from the colour or pattern of their radio-tracking collar antennae and ear-tag.


      Further remote camera images have been obtained of a spotted-tail quoll. The quoll has now been detected on four separate occasions, all at the Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby colony location. Parks Victoria is attempting to gain a hair-follicle sample from the quoll in order to determine where it has come from. To achieve this rangers have established cage-traps adjacent to the rock-wallaby colony and will trap periodically, will establish hair-tubes within the rock-wallaby colony at locations where the quoll has been detected, and will work with the Otway Dog Conservation program ( to see if their specially trained dogs can sniff out a quoll scat.

 Grampians Ark fox monitoring

        Ranger Ben Holmes has been busy setting up close to 160 remote camera locations within the Victoria Valley and upper Wannon River area in order gain a precise understanding of the Grampians fox populations. This project is a research partnership between Parks Victoria and the Arthur Rhyler Institute for Environmental Research. While reviewing images from the cameras Ben has observed a myriad of animals, including a Koala (image attached), southern brown bandicoots and even more exciting, a Long-nosed Potoroo. In the last 10 years potoroos are only known from 2 locations within the Grampians, both of which are long-unburnt. This recent find is exciting because the potoroo was detected in a new location that is within the Mt Lubra fire-scar, just east of Moora Moora Reservoir.

Ryan Duffy



ADVISORY GROUP REPORT Monday 18th March 2014



Advisory Group Meeting Minutes


Much of our meeting was of course fire related as we came to terms with the intensity of the fire and the damage done. But we first had a few items of business arising from the December meeting.


1. Recruitment process for Advisory Group:advertisements will go in local papers very soon, calling for expressions of interest. Procedures for forming a Traditional Owner Reference Group are nearing completion.


2. Camping:Asbestos at Staplyton campground is being cleaned up this week. Staplyton will be included in the Online booking system being rolled out. However Staplyton campground doesn’t easily align with the Grampians Peak Trail. A second campground in the Northern part of the Park would be desirable. Coppermine could be changed from an informal campground into a formal one or a private sector could run a campground on the edge of the Park whether it is roofed accommodation or just basic camping. There is some interest in this but the Northern Grampians Shire would need to rezone the farm land.


Strachan’s will be opened next week.



We then turned our attention to the fire.


Dave had taken those available (not me) on a drive through the fire affected areas, the rest of us had looked at what we could see from the opened roads. In many areas the fire was extremely hot.


Discussion on the 3 cottages at Zumsteins. The central one is in a reasonable state but the other two are badly damaged. Our suggestion was to fix the one and protect the others from further deterioration, but this will depend on Heritage Victoria’s recommendations.


Action: Dave to seek advice from Heritage Victoria ASAP before the winter regarding protecting the cottages from damage.


Fish Falls will be open before Easter.


MacKenzie Falls will stay closed until after Easter. MacKenzie Falls precinct is badly damaged – the Lookout needs to be re boarded. The house is gone and may be difficult to replace with the bushfire overlay. Should the kiosk be replaced? Winfield’s still have a 3 year lease. Discussions with them are continuing.


Investigating using solar and hydro for energy which would mean being able to get rid of the 5km power line from MacKenzie Falls to Zumsteins


Funding is not as good as we would like it. $250,000.00 has been allocated for the clean-up.


Insurance will cover replacements


Summer Day Valley walk can be realigned. There is $80,000.00 for Summer Day Valley and Hollow Mountain clean up.


Tree risk is not covered by insurance.


Heatherlie Quarry has had some assets burnt.


Golton Gorge will move to the back of the list. (it was due for an upgrade).


Roses Gap has houses burnt and the Education Centre lost 6 cottages.


Cooinda Borrong Scout Camp didn’t burn. However the Exclusion plots were burnt. The yearly lease needs to be tightened up to stop unsuitable user groups using the camp.


Most roads will be opened at the end of the week. But we will keep some roads closed as the landscape needs to rest before people are allowed in.



Environmental and Cultural Heritage Recovery:


Ryan showed a map with the dozer lines in the fire affected area.


Cultural team, Traditional Owners and AAV are looking for new cultural sites and scar trees in the dozer lines before they are rehabilitated.



Natural Values


Sallow Wattle had been mapped before the fire and will be a major problem after the fire.


A researcher from Melbourne Uni is looking into a gall wasp to destroy Sallow Wattle.


Parks are looking for grant money for Sallow Wattle work on Park boundaries. There’s a need for both short term and long term strategies for Sallow Wattle.


Deakin Uni Students are doing research into small mammals in the fire affected area. Small mammal trapping 36 sites in the Grampians National Park. 4 sites were burnt in Mt Lubra and The Northern Grampians Complex fire.


The Borea mirabilis reintroduction site near Plantation Campground was burnt and is being closely monitored. (This extremely rare plant is known from only one natural site near Halls Gap)


BTR Wallabies are still okay, no mortality since April last year.


There are now 3 photos of the Quoll in the Brush Tailed Rock Wallaby site. The team tried to trap the quoll for 7 days but had no luck.


Hair tubing is also being tried in the BTRW site, no cage traps can be used.


Local landowners talking about quoll sightings


There are now quite a few remote cameras in the Wannon Fan and Victoria Valley with interesting results, including an image of a potoroo in the Mt Lubra fire scare. Species are in the fox baited area of the park


Daryl is using soft jaw traps and changing his bait in the hope of catching cats as well..


Stone cairns being erected by walkers at the Balconies are not actually injuring lizards or beetles, but should be discouraged.


Katherine’s money will run out at the end of the year, and Dave and Ryan are looking for ways to fund her position. PV funds her 3 days a week and CVA does 2 days a week. Katherine has made important relationships with schools etc. and it is important not to lose her.



APRIL 3: Meeting at Parks Office



About a dozen people met in the Mural room and Mike Stevens and Ryan Duffy gave us an update on park activities.


Mike explained in much detail the events of the January Northern Grampians Complex fire. On Jan 15 several lightening strikes started fires across the Grampians, Parks, CFA and DEPI staff worked hard to put these fires out, but inaccessibility and bad weather lead to a couple of fires in the Wartook area not being able to be controlled. Mike described to us how events unfolded and showed us a program called Phoenix Rapidfire which illustrated how the fire progressed. The program had been used during the fire to predict the fire behaviour and to give people warning of the likely path it would affect. Phoenix Rapidfire was developed after the 2006 bushfires and has been improved each year as more information from each fire season is fed into the model.


On the extreme weather days planned burns 3 years and older had no effect on slowing the fire front.


Ryan Duffy cultural and natural values ranger updated us on animals which have been captured on cameras around the park, the Brush tailed Rock Wallaby program and the use of trained dogs to sniff out Quoll scats. See Ryans article for more details.


After the meeting we had a meal together and made a few decisions: FOGGs will put in an application for ‘Communities for Nature’ grant for a fence around the Caladenia audasii site in the Ironbarks.


We have run out of FOGGs membership application forms and will start looking into getting them reprinted. We allocated up to $2000 dollars and a print run of 1000 to 2000.


Wendy Bedggood.



MARCH 4th FOGGs Working Bee – Our contribution to Keep Australia Beautiful

Leigh and Proo
Leigh and Proo


Have you heard of Therma-Gel? Thanks to David Thompson’s foresight and planning, including research into this product, and Judith and Rodney’s hard work, their house was saved from the Wartook fires; a thorough spraying with Therma-Gel kept it from burning, even though unsprayed objects on the verandah were melted and burnt.

Once on, it has to come off! 6 of us met to remove the dried coating from windows, door frames and whatever, and to help in any way possible. To remove the Therma-Gel from windows, it was found easiest to wet it first with a broom, then scrape it off with a window-cleaner squeegee. Lots of rehydrated gooey stuff was disposed of around the garden. Thanks to Will and Proo bringing a tank of water this was achieved, to the welcome accompaniment of birdsong from the considerable number that have returned to the area.

Unfortunately there was nothing we could do at this stage for Rodney’s home or car, both completely burnt.

Sundry burnt items from the yard were loaded onto the trailer – there is such a lot of work after a fire – before we gathered round a table for lunch on the verandah, a valuable time of talking and sharing. Wendy produced a cake! This was to celebrate the presentation to Margo of a certificate of Life Membership of FOGG (well deserved).

Then it was round to Neves’, Judith, Rodney and Ellie as well. Bill and Hennie also lost nearly everything except their house. Here we shifted a pile of rocks, cut back burnt plants, helped with some fencing ……..

At the end of the afternoon we all gathered on a log in the garden, sharing stories, jokes and friendship.


Leigh Douglas


See photos