Ten of us met together at the home of Alison White and John Fisher at Wartook. Plus we had quite a few apologies.




  • Minutes from last AGM were circulated and passed.

  • Proo gave her presidents report, reporting on our activities of the Clean up Australia Day in March, a visit to Brim Springs with Ben to visit some aboriginal rock art, an evening where Ryan presented some of the findings of the Bioscan, and a working bee at Red Gum walk. The flood recovery work has been completed but there is now the recovery work from the Victoria Ranges fire from February to be done. Zumsteins picnic area has been opened and Dave did a good job consulting with the community. The Park is still facing the environmental threats from government changing policies which have relaxed the rules on firewood collection, increased burning regimes as a result of the Black Saturday royal commission and recently the relaxing of rules to allow commercial developments within National Parks. A recent loss was the passing away of David Thompson.

  • Mabel presented the treasurer’s report which was kindly audited by Ron Goudie free of charge.


Election of Office Bearers


President: Margo Sietsmal


Vice President: Leigh Douglas


Treasurer: Mabel Brouwer.


Secretary: Wendy Bedggood.


Committee Members: Janbert Brouwer, Alison White, John Fisher, Proo Pyke, Noushka Reiter, Ben Gunn .


Webmaster: Frank Vanderpeet.


Newsletter editor: Margo Sietsma



The AGM was closed and we proceeded to a General Meeting.




FEBRUARY 8 Two short walks in Halls Gap, looking at the flood recovery work.

10.30 start (after the jazz festival parade).Meet at the tennis court car park on School Rd to walk up to Venus baths. Return and drive round to Silverband Rd to walk there. Return for picnic lunch near Lake Bellfield. Contact: Margo 0429 201139

MARCH 2 Clean up Australia day. Site yet to be confirmed. Contact Wendy 0429932065 and watch newspaper ads.

APRIL 4? (to be confirmed) Meeting with Dave and Ryan at park office 4.30 pm.

 In MAY or JUNE, PARKS are organising a celebration of 30 years of our Park. Details next newsletter.


 Maybe a presentation by DEPI staff about the decision making behind the ecological planned burns.

Talk by a ranger during July school holidays.

September: AGM

October,November: Threatened Species surveys

December: Social lunch somewhere





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 wide-spreading, drooping panicles and innumerable shining, rose-coloured flowers, which sometimes vary to white, rendering the plant a valuable acquisition in gardens, where it flourishes without any particular attention. Boronia polygalifolia, Scaevola aemula? , Correa aemula?, and Hakea ulicina also grew in considerable quantities along the banks of the stream. It is worthy of mention that in this particular locality several shrubs grew larger and more luxuriantly than as usually met with. For instance, Dillwynia ericifolia attained a height of fully ten feet, whereas in many districts its usual height is not more than three to four feet. It was quite surprising to see Micromyrtus microphylla grown into a large shrub about eight feet in height, this shrub, as a rule, attaining only a couple of feet. Calytrix sullivanii, which is a very ornamental shrub, was unusually large and robust, being about twelve feet in height ; this shrub is peculiar to the Grampians, and grows readily under cultivation. Leucopogon thymifolius, also peculiar to the Grampians, had attained a large size, some plants noted being fully six feet in height, while on Mount William, where it grows abundantly, the average height is about eighteen inches. As the creek emerged into flat country, nice specimens of Prostanthera denticulata were found in different colours— namely, bluish-purple and lilac. Here Restio tetraphyllus made its appearance. The scrub hereabouts was almost a tangle, caused by the twiner Marianthus bignoniaceus connecting all forms of vegetation. From a spectacular point of view it was most picturesque, with its pretty, bell-shaped, orange flowers showing up well amid the different shades of green. Veronica Derwentia, a very graceful shrub, was in full bloom, and its racemes of pure white flowers, a foot in length, were beautiful to behold. Here we left the creek and followed the Serra Range in a northerly direction, travelling through rough country which has seldom been trodden by the foot of man. On the lower stretches of the hills a fine forest of Acacia mollissima was passed through, the majority of the trees reaching a height of eighty feet, and in some instances having a diameter of two feet. Travelling was slow here on account of the dense and tall growth of Banksia marginata, Callitris rhomhifolia, Cassinia aculeata, and Acacia verticulata, while further on Acacia verniciflua and Kunzea parvifolia occupied acres in extent, the crimson flowers of the latter making a gorgeous sight. Amid this crimson mass it was remarkable to find one bearing white flowers. Advancing into more open country we passed through fine patches of the following heaths, viz.: — Styphelia adscendens, Astroloma conostephioides, A.humifusum, and A. pinifolium, in fruit. Several emus were observed feeding on the berries. A little further on we came upon shrubs which had just recently been rooted up (evidently by wild pigs), as the foliage was not at all withered. From this point we struck out for a track which led from the Victoria Valley round the end of Mount Difficult to Hall’s Gap.

To be concluded next issue.






 PlatypusSPOT is an online group wanting to involve more people in reporting platypus sightings. They invite community environmental groups including Friends groups to contribute to their new website. The website will use citizen science to improve our understanding of platypus distribution and occurrence, while at the same time raising awareness of some of the conservation issues facing platypuses. If we want to improve management and conservation outcomes for the platypus we need to know more about their distribution. If you’ve been lucky enough to see a platypus, jump onto the new website ( and let them know.


This website allows you to submit your sightings, upload a photo, viewsightings in your local area, learn about platypuses, and interact with other ‘platypusSPOTters’.


Human activities pose the biggest threat to the long-term health and survival of platypus populations, but with goodmanagement, conservation efforts and community engagement it’s possible for platypuses to thrive in both rural and urban environments.




December meeting

Wendy is our representative on the Round Table, and has prepared this interesting report on the December meeting. The theme was ‘Community Preparedness for Bushfires’. Jenny McGennisken from the CFA gave a presentation on understanding warnings and advice.


  • 80% of people still do not have a Bushfire Plan.

  • Warning messaging is broken into 3 categories; Total Fire Ban Days, Fire Danger ratings (indicates fire behaviour ie. Extreme and Severe), and Warnings & Advice, with 3 levels of warnings, being Advice, Watch & Act, and Emergency Warnings.

  • SEWS-Standard Emergency Warning Signal, usually given on radio.

  • Radio effective media. Social media for younger audiences.

  • OSOM (One Source-One Message) predefined templates-Warnings-Leave now means it is still safe to do so; it is not an order to evacuate. Stay means it is too late to leave safely; shelter indoors!

  • Location-based alerting via telephone now provided by all phone carriers. (The problem is 2/3 of Grampians don’t have mobile coverage.

  • Fire-ready Apps for mobile phones; All hazards approach.


After the Mt Difficult fire in 1999 a study was commissioned to consider tourism industry impacts in case of fire. RMIT did the bulk of the work, and their report is available on Northern Grampians Shire website.




  1. Tourists seek advice from accommodation providers, but providers indicated they would not be confident advising guests.

  2. Most tourists want a warning to tell them what to do

  3. Accommodation managers expect to be advised by emergency managers of what to do.


A recent survey found nothing has changed since 1999. Multiple changes of accommodation managers means little consistency. Shire representation at the meeting said having a written fire plan may become part of the documentation needed for business registration.


Stuart Topless from VicTourism said they have a range of information and handouts available to operators to help with their planning. The use of Fire Danger ratings to trigger certain actions empowers businesses to make good considered decisions. E.g a list of places to visit on days of extreme fire danger.


The roundtable will continue meeting next year and I will keep you updated.


Wendy Bedggood




The Advisory Group has met twice. I’ll try to condense our discussions.


  • We agreed that the Zumsteins heritage day was a great success, 400 attended and was a healing day for many of the locals.

   Environmental issues;

  • There are clear photos of a Quoll in the Rock Wallaby site, which is most exciting but raises some questions.

    • Halls Gap Zoo lost a quoll a few years ago and there are captive quolls near Dunkeld.

    • Quoll males can travel long distances. It could conceivably come from Mt Eccles.

    • Baiting program won’t change after Quoll sighting as they have demonstrated a dislike to Foxoff in previous studies. Also, we bury baits below 10cm which is best practice and space 1km apart which is greater than recommended in quoll country. Foxes compete for the same food resources and in East Gippsland healthy quoll populations coincide with low fox numbers.

  • Rock Wallaby health checks last week 1 female with pouch young.

  • Weeds in the Park and Reserves need to be a priority, particularly the South African Weed orchid.

  • Remote cameras are being used more in the Park.

  • A project has started to put Radio collars on cats and goats to find their ranges.

  • Culture & Heritage

  • Traditional Owners are coming to assess sites in the fire affected area from February 2013.12 new art sites have been found so far.

 Problems with Asbestos

  • Stapylton Campground closure continues due to Asbestos. A full site clean up will cost around $150,000 or more. PV will continue to investigate management options . Asbestos is also a problemat Strahans.

  • Advisory Group Future

  • This advisory group has come to the end of its term. Calls for expression of interest will come in early 2014 after some thought as to whether changes are needed.

  • Traditional Owner Reference Group:

  • Parks Victoria will progress the establishment of a Traditional Owner Reference Group to specifically engage and seek expertise from surrounding Interested communities.

 People and Parks Foundation

  • Margo and Dave to continue to explore whether we can set up a foundation to gain extra funding for our Park.

  • Grampians Peaks Trail

  • Hold up with the master plan with Parks Victoria.

  • Testing for new guidelines for development in Parks.

  • Master plan to consider the element of “On Park” Development” Guidelines.

  • 30th Anniversary of Park Declaration

  • AG in favour of doing celebration in Park, Borough Huts was where the Park was declared. Mid May 2014 a suggestion. Advisory group, Grampians Historical Society and FoGGs to be included in an organising committee.




Major discussion topics.


  • The proposed changes to camping fees and methods of booking. Dave had sent us the information and after emailed discussions I had sent a response on behalf of the AG, which the meeting endorsed. Basically I said that while we liked the idea of online booking, so that people could tell if there was room at a campsite before arriving, we thought the massive increase in fees was unjustified and would cause many newproblems.

  • The Grampians Peak Trail Master Plan is almost complete and then the process of getting planning permits for the camping sites will start. It is planned to have pads for tents, a toilet and a 3 sided shelter at each site. We looked at possible sites near the corner of Silverband Rd and Rosea track, and recommended a site on the Wonderland side, which would have least impact on vegetation.

  • The restructure of PV staff has so far had little impact on our local Park, except that we will be getting two new fulltime staff in fire related positions.

  • We looked at the proposed new format for the next Advisory Group, and how it will relate to a proposed Traditional Owner reference Group and to the Round Table. We were happy and it now goes to senior management and then the expressions of interest for the next AG will be called.






A recent contribution by a team led by Ass. Prof. Susan Moore of Murdoch Uni. to The Conversation discussed the issue of attracting people to parks. I have shortened it a little.

Their argument is that protecting biodiversity is partly about getting public support for parks, which means getting people into the parks. Parks express the values of their time – in the 19th century, they were about recreation for people, now they are more about biodiversity, though some groups want to change parks’ purposes by bringing in cattle, or building upmarket hotels or introducing logging.

Getting people to understand the conservation value of parks will only happen if there are many visitors: people vote. All public institutions, like schools and hospitals, need public support to attract funding. People who go home with good experiences of parks will be strong advocates for their proper funding, and help resist pressures to allow grazing and hunting. Connecting with nature and escaping the urban environment provide positive experiences people will value. Nature tourism is growing fast worldwide and in Australia contributes about $23 billion to the economy annually. Visitor numbers are declining in places such as Uluru, and this matches similar data from USA, Canada and Japan – as a percentage of population, parks are declining as destinations. It might be the relative attraction of playing with computers and other urban pastimes, and migrants’ unfamiliarity with the beauties of parks.


Declining park visitation means reduced knowledge of the environment and reduced interest, along with mental and physical health issues. Potentially more serious than allowing cattle or hunting is loss of political support for real park protection from dwindling visitation. Parks must work with the tourism industry to develop programs which bring in more visitors while protecting biodiversity, so visitors don’t “love parks to death”, but find environmentally friendly activities to engage in. Developing social media apps can help people find parks, follow trails, identify flora and fauna, enter sightings on reporting forms, book camp-sites.


The cohort of park visitors is far larger than the number of people agitating to use parks as extractive resources, and is very diverse in age range and occupation– but they are politically inactive. This can be changed. Park staff need to develop skills to enthuse visitors about the importance of protecting conservation values. People passionate about parks need to work with park visitors to spread the passion.







We have written quite a few letters over the last few months, as well as being involved in the Climate Action day. Wendy has written to parliamentarians about burns, I have written to the Minister on fees for camping in Parks.



Now, not lobbying, but a chance for you to :





  The universities of Queensland and South Australia are currently doing an online survey for Parks Vic on what people value and want in national parks. It would be good if people could do this to give feed back on the importance of the natural values of Parks.  The first part of the survey gets you to mark on a map specific spots and how you value them, I found this a bit cumbersome and time consuming, but the second part of the survey is just ticking boxes and quite quick and worth doing. This survey could have implications on how Parks are run in the future, so please have your say. It concludes on 30 January.


The site is found at  request a code, then submit your code and follow their instructions.








Over one hundred people dressed in hot red, orange and bright yellow gathered together at noon on Sunday 17 November at Zumsteins . They came from Kaniva, Hamilton, Stawell, Natimuk, Penshurst, Halls Gap, Horsham, and  Benellen to register their demand for strong and effective action on climate change.
Concern was expressed that our Parliamentarians say they accept the science on climate change. Yet steps are already being taken to wind back current legislation, with no effective response put in place.
Climate change is too important an issue for the future to become the political football of the political parties. Without effective bipartisan action our children and grandchildren will be facing increasingly extreme weather events.
The group called for  the following strong and meaningful action:
A commitment to cut Australia’s pollution by at least 25% by 2020 as was recommended by the independent Climate Change Authority.
A price and a limit on carbon emissions that can achieve stronger pollution cuts.
A commitment to move Australia beyond coal and gas by shifting investment away from fossil fuels to more renewable energy.



General Meeting Minutes(shortened)

  • Minutes from the meeting at the Parks Office on 24th April were accepted.
  • Treasurer Mabel that in August we donated $3000 to Museum Victoria to help travel costs for two of their post graduate students who are working on projects in the Park.

Business arising

  • Bioscan final report still not out.
  • The Grampians Peak Trail so far has had preliminary approval for camping sites along the way consisting of a pad for a tent, a 3 sided shelter for bad weather and toilets. More luxurious accommodation so far has not been proposed.
  • The proposal to put a chair lift to the top of the Pinnacle has been dropped.
  • Membership forms need to be redone.


  • Wendy has checked on what we need to do re the changes to model rules. We have no need for action at the moment, just to remember that our committee should be Pres, VP, Treas, Sec and at least two ordinary members. We need 3 committee meetings a year and the quorum is 4 members.

  • FOGGs applied for a Healthy Parks Healthy People grant last December to do a planting at McKenzie Falls. We asked for $2800 and we were given $425. After discussions with Parks staff we decided to see if the money can be used to do some planting at a camp ground where sallow wattle has been removed or if it has to be used at McKenzie Falls we may just plant some trees in the car park.
  • Katherine Dyson the Parks volunteers co-ordinator hurt her ankle while out in the field requiring an operation and she will be away from work for several months. FOGGs will send a get well card.
  • Wendy passed round a draft letter to be sent to politicians, from FOGGs expressing our concern at the environmental impacts the burn targets will have on the biodiversity of our Park. Some small suggestions were made and this letter will be sent out shortly.
  • Proo moved that Margo be made a life member, all were in agreement. Mabel suggested that a certificate be made and presented to Margo.
  • Proposed activities for next year, were a meeting in February (probably 3rd weekend), March Cleanup Australia day, April meeting with Dave Roberts July an evening talk at Parks Office, other months to be decided.
  • The meeting was closed and six of us set of to do the new Zumsteins to McKenzie Falls walk