Friends of Mount Gambier Area Parks

This group looks after a number of parks in the Mount Gambier area. Usually we have our working bees on the first Saturday of every month.

Please call Kevin 0447 792 601 about the day before to check on times and venues.

Saturday 4th May 2024 A crew of four members headed to Piccaninnie Ponds Conservation Park to cut coastal wattle out of native grassland on exposed limestone.

Saturday 6th April 2024 Four members visited Ewens Ponds which was a hive of activity with Victorian school holiday groups busy snorkelling. We ventured into the park to be pleasantly surprised by the low numnbers of Coprosma and Cotoneaster but some Pittosporum and boxthorn were treated.

Saturday 2nd March 2024 Five group members met with Nelson locals Cassie and Jono to venture into the small area of Lower Glenelg National Park which is nestled between the border and the Glenlg River to treat an area of Polygala which has skipped across the river from nearby Donovans. Good inroads were made and a large Pittosporum undulatum was also chainsawed by ranger Joe. Another visit to this site will be required soon. We also bade farewell to Debbie (and Jim) as they headed off on their sailing adventure.

Tuesday 6th February 2024 Nine members met for the Annual General Meeting at the National Parks and Wildlife Service Office on Jubilee Highway, Mt Gambier. This was an opportunity to plan the coming year's working bees.

Tuesday 5 December 2023 Ten members met at the water tank at Penambol CP and took off tree guards, sprayed around the trees and grasses, cut down a few sallow wattles and had a lovely Christmas break-up lunch.

Saturday 4 November 2023 We met at Penambol CP to check on new plantings, remove pesky South African orchids, clean up the walking track and remove more feral pines.

Saturday 7 October 2023 Catriona, Jim and Des met at Penambol CP and removed feral pines along the southern boundary. Jim accounted for 65 pines and, although Catriona and Des didn't keep a tally, it would be safe to say that around 150 feral pines met their end on that day. The vegetation is thick so spotting the pines and removing them was difficult. It was a good sign that most pines were fairly small due to previous pine removal efforts; only one pine was large enough to require ring-barking. More work needs to be done here.

Saturday 2 September 2023 was the working bee at Penambol CP. Meet at Caroline Sink-hole at 9.30. We will be removing wilding pines. Bring saws and clippers, boots, lunch and chairs.

Tuesday 15 August Another "extracurricular" working bee  was held at 0930 at Pic Swamp for planting. About 15 people helped plant 1260 plants.

Saturday 5 August 2023 Penambol working bee is set to maintain the walking tracks.

Friday 21 July A small team removed an itchy pod tree, a coprosma, a garden daisy and a western bridal creeper.

Congratulations to Kevin Mott and Ross Anderson for winning the Rotary Club of Burnside Leadership in Conservation and Volunteers of the Parks Awards. Kevin won the Volunteer of the Parks Award; Ross won the Leadership in Conservation Award. Two photos from the ceremony are attached below.

We have been busy these last couple months! We helped with the effort to collect the algae from Piccaninnie Ponds in March and in April we visited Dingley Dell to note aspects that might be affected in the proposed development.

1 July 2023 We visited Carpenter Rocks CP to clear the track.

3 June 2023 We returned to Penambol CP to put proper, sturdy tree guards and stakes around the newly planted trees.

6 May 2023 At our working bee at Penambol, we checked and cleared the Wombat Walk, cleaned up some more coastal wattle regrowth and checked the plantings we did last year. We removed some of the bracken around the plants and replaced some of the guards. We counted the number of tree plantings that might need more resilient guards against kangaroos.

10 December 2022 We met at Telford Scrub CP for our annual Christmas break-up. Lovely weather, productive chats, plans for the future.

5 November 2022 We worked at Cape Douglas, clearing some rubbish. The bristle bird count didn't take place.

24 September 2022 (This is October's working bee scheduled early to avoid the Labour Day weekend.) We will meet at Penambol Conservation Park to check on recent plantings in July and to clear the tracks from recent winds and possible hail.

3 September 2022 (Saturday) We met at Gower Conservation Park and with about 8 volunteers, cleared more sallow wattles and wilding pines. We also saw one African box thorn and need to watch for a possible infestation. We welcomed a new member, Catriona.

4 July 2022 (Sat) We met at Penambol CP for planting with the largest group yet! Five areas had already been staked out and so we cleared, dug holes, planted about 350 natives, placed tree guards and mulched - and had lunch! We will check on them during subsequent months.

11 May 2022 (Wed) Four members and one Millicent Field Naturalist member attended the Chainsaw Safety Training Day with Andy Cusack from Cusack Training and Safety Solutions.

7 May 2022 (Sat) We met at Penambol CP and prepared the planting area and spot spray sallow wattles.

27 April 2022 We met at Pick Swamp to assess previous revegetation efforts and select new planting areas with Claire Harding and Peter Feast. Members of Port MacDonnell Landcare group are grant partners. Pick Swamp restoration property (200 ha) was added to the Piccaninnie Ponds Conservation Park in 2009.

12 April 2022 (Sat) We worked on the Butterfly Walk at Penambol CP to remove coastal and sallow wattle, particularly in areas that will be re-planted in June. Claire Harding was successful in applying for a grant to re-vegetate Pick Swamp in conjunction with FOMGAP and Port Mac Landcare Group.

6 March 2022 The Douglas Point working bee coincided with Clean Up Australia Day.

13 February 2022 (Sunday) AGM, 7PM 11 Helen Street. Enter from the rear car park. Please come and add your suggestions.

The following are the parks that this group has some responsibility for:

  • Calectasia Conservation Park
  • Carpenter Rocks CP
  • Dingley Dell CP
  • Douglas Point CP
  • Ewens Ponds CP
  • Gower CP
  • Lower Glenelg CP
  • Penambol CP
  • Piccaninnie Ponds CP
  • Piccaninnie Swamp
  • Pick Swamp
  • Tantanoola Caves
  • Telford Scrub CP

We have also won a grant for 6 working bees to remove coastal and sallow wattle and plant butterfly-friendly vegetation at Penambol CP.

6 November 2021 (Saturday) Our working bee is at Penambol CP, maintaining the track that we didn't get to last month.

2 October 2021 (Saturday) A couple teams were removing wilding pines on the track at Penambol CP and another removed South African Weed Orchid from the Butterfly Walk.

4 September 2021 (Saturday) We worked at Penambol CP maintaining the track and removing sallow wattles - easy to spot while in blossom.

15-16 September 2021 (Wed and Thurs) These days were spent finishing up the Cape Banks Lighthouse steps. They are being used and are standing up to languishing seals and high tides. Well done, crew!

7 August 2021 (Saturday) There were 10 volunteers today. We went to Gower Conservation Park and cleaned up many of the younger sallow wattle and pine trees. After lunch 5 of us walked down the "corridor" adjacent to Gower and checked out the plantings that had been done 1.5 - 2 years ago (not very many dead or missing plantings) and took out young pines. There were not so many sallow wattles here. All up we probably put in about 35 person hours.

6 July 2021 (Tuesday) - The normal Saturday working bee was delayed due to bad weather but we ended up continuing the work at Penambol CP - cutting down pines. At least one member of the team with chainsaws either cut down or ringbarked 43 pines by lunchtime. After lunch we started cutting down coastal wattles close to the entrance of the Butterfly Walk for about 200 metres. All up we spent about 17 person-hours.

5 June 2021 (Saturday) we went to Penambol CP and tried to pinpoint the exact location of some large wilding pines. Many were found but a lot are still standing. It started to rain at lunchtime. It was also noted how pervasive the sallow and coastal wattles are. This must be the focus of future working bees.

1 May 2021 (Saturday) the working bee was at Carpenter Rocks Conservation Park (for those who aren't tired out from building steps at Cape Banks Lighthouse). We met at the telephone exchange on Pelican Point Road at 9.30AM and cleared the track. We also went back to Cape Banks Lighthouse and measured for an observation deck.

The Cape Banks Lighthouse working bee was from Tuesday 27 through Thursday 29 April 2021. The steps look great and they are sturdy. After this week they should be ready to try out!

13 March 2021 (Saturday) at Penambol Conservation Park was cancelled.

14 January 2021 (Thurs) at Pick Swamp, west of Piccaninnie Ponds, we cut more stringy bark for the steps at Cape Banks Lighthouse.

We celebrated 25 years of membership on 15 November at Telford Scrub Conservation Park. See the photos below.

7 November 2020 (Sat) at Cape Douglas for the Bristlebird count at 7AM at the car park and beach clean-up at 9.30 AM.

6 October 2020 we continued to lay the steps with the help of members of The Junction.

28 September 2020 we met at the Cape Banks Lighthouse at 9.00 and started installing the steps.

8 September 2020 some hardwood timber at Pick Swamp was cut up to use for risers for the steps at Cape Banks Lighthouse.

5 September 2020 - Penambol CP where the group cut down wilding pines.

1 August 2020 at Penambol CP.  The group split in two with one party removing South African Weed Orchid from the Butterfly Walk.  The other party head to the southern boundary to undertake pine tree removal.  Thankfully the large ones had already been felled but there were plenty of smaller ones to be felled or ringbarked.  As usual a number of small pines were seen lurking along the north boundary so these were summarily dealt with.

Picture Gallery