Thursday, 12 November 2015

Socially celebrating twenty years of local’s landcaring.

Thursday 12th November was the 20th anniversary of the very first landcaring event held by the Progress Association at Gurranba reserve in 1995. 
It was the beginning of an amazing community effort that continues to shape the natural landscape of our peninsula and bring neighbours together in a common cause. 
Some landcarers give their time on the public reserves, many landcarers look after their own bushland blocks. 
Caring for the land is something that seems to go hand in hand with wanting to live in a bushland suburb. 
Landcaring is founded on a philosophy of stewardship and local community action.
To celebrate our local achievements there are two events planned.

The 20 years on Trivia Tournament

Come one come all to Progress Hall to this year’s social event on Friday 20th November between 6-9pm. A local get-together that will offer laughter, frivolity and friendship in the form of quirky questions and questionable answers. 
There will be prizes generously supplied by our local sponsors, there will be coffee, tea and an anniversary cake to share. There is no cost, but if you’d like to make a donation there’ll be a donation box on hand.
The trivia tournament will run from 7-9pm, the hall will be open from 6pm so you can gather and chat beforehand. BYO nibbles and drinks.
If you’ve ever been to the hall when it’s full of locals catching up and connecting faces with places you’ll understand why the Progress Association continues to exist.
There are still tables available, numbers need to be confirmed by Wednesday 18th November, which is very soon.

On Thursday 19th November at 12:30pm a BBQ at Gurranba Reserve is on offer.

If you’ve ever lopped some Lantana, fiddled with Asparagus fern or been overcome by Ochna this gathering will put you amongst those who have shared your efforts and know the satisfaction that only a bag full of Formosa bulbs can give. 
The local landcare team and the extended support network from Lake Mac Landcare and Trees In Newcastle will be sharing in the celebration.  
If you’ve landcared locally over the past 20 years it would make the day very special if you were there.  

For these two events please RSVP to  so we know how big a cake to cook.

Looking for a new name in the neighbourhood.

There’s a 4ha parcel of land without an official name in Carey Bay. 
At some point in its history it was Hale’s dairy and The Pony Club. It is currently a leash free area for neighbourhood fidos, carries stormwater from the surrounding hillsides into Puntei Creek and some parts of it have regenerated into the Endangered Ecological Communities, Swamp Oak Floodplain Forest, Swamp Schlerophyll Forest on Coastal Floodplain and Coastal Saltmarsh.
The map on the sign at the gate says Hampton Street Reserve but the Council does not have an official name. Some locals are keen to give it a moniker, so what are your suggestions? 
The Geographical Names Board prefers names of an Aboriginal origin or historical background. Names associated with people are normally only given posthumously.
Lake Mac libraries has some great local history pages where you can search suburbs and get ideas. There’s also a webpage called Forgotten place names of Lake Macquarie .There are several names mentioned associated with the Toronto-Coal Point peninsula including 
  • Bundee, Bondee: Shown on early maps, Bundee is the Toronto-Coal Point peninsula. Bundee means a narrow place, any narrow point of land. It is a corruption of the Awabakal word punte or puntei.
  • Dereh-bambah: The Aboriginal name given to the Toronto Coal Point Peninsula. Also called Punte.
  • Ebenezer: The name of Lancelot Threlkeld's second mission at Toronto.

You can post, email or hand deliver any suggestions to any of the committee contacts, we’ll then compile the list of suggestions for community comment and put the preferred recommendation to LMCC next year.

What’s on your block?

Are you interested in having someone who knows a lot about local bushland sharing their knowledge with you on your block? Planning is underway for the next round of Backyard Habitat Health Assessments.
One of the goals of the Threatened Species Last Stand on the Coal Point Peninsula project is to support landholders with the resources they need to better understand and implement on-ground actions that will ensure the long-term survival of the local flora and fauna.
The Backyard Habitat Health Assessment aims to provide local landholders with a picture of the current condition of their bushland block. An onsite survey is conducted with you and a detailed report is produced that provides information about how to maintain your land for vegetation diversity, health and structure. This in turn will enhance the habitat values and strengthen the green corridor along the Coal Point-Carey Bay peninsula and support the local wildlife.

The document contains hyperlinked text to assist with plant identification and weed treatment methods and is a summary of the good, the bad and the beautiful on your block. Contact Suzanne to arrange for a visit or for more information. (


Over the next 12 months the Toronto Area Sustainable Neighbourhood Group (TASNG), in conjunction with Toronto Tidy Towns and Toronto Workers Club, will be running a campaign to address fast-food rubbish littering public roads and areas around Toronto and its impact of the lake environment. There is provisional approval for the campaign from all the fast-food operators in Toronto-McDonalds, Henny Penny, Dominos, Subway and Pizza Hut.
A sign for the times
TASNG is calling on artistic Toronto High School students to design a sign for the Tossers Can Be Binners campaign. The aim is to raise awareness of the impact of fast-food rubbish in the Toronto area.
TASNG will offer two $50 shopping vouchers to the best designed signs to be used as part of our fast-food litter campaign which will be launched at Clean-up Australia Day, March 6, 2016, at Toronto McDonalds.
 The signs need to have a slogan like “Don’t be a Tosser” or “Tossers can be Binners”. They will be converted into metal signs with an anti-graffiti coating and mounted at the various fast-food restaurants or nearby metal bins around Toronto.

For more information contact Steve Dewar at

What weed is that?

Mickey Mouse plant is not a Mickey Mouse weed. It’s a truly tough one!
Ochna, unripe seed

Ochna with ripe seed, the birds love it.
Ochna serrulata has been introduced from South Africa. It is a hardy shrub to 2m high, commonly seen along Coal Point and invading our fragile bushland. It is dispersed into bushland by birds and through dumping. 
Its yellow flowers and attractive bright red and black berries are eye catching, but belie its noxious status and the struggle required to uproot it. It has an extended taproot that breaks easily when hand pulled. Pruning off spent flowers before they
form seed will slow dispersal. However, the most successful control is by scraping the stem near the base for 6-8cm and painting immediately with undiluted glyphosate (Round Up). 
Hairy Clerodendrum is a great substitute,
the birds like this one too, and so does the bushland
Some native alternatives are Native Fuschia (Correa species and cultivars), Christmas Bush (Ceratopetalum gummiferum), or Hairy Clerodendrum (Clerodendrum tomentosum). If you “go local” you will notice that your garden blends into the local environment better, it will be lower maintenance, should require less water and will provide habitat and food for local wildlife. 

For a European style garden roses, camellias, azaleas and hydrangeas have been in used for a long time and shown no inclination to escape or compromise our bushland beyond the back fence.

Triennial Bird Survey Summary

Following is a snippet from the 17 page Triennial Bird Survey Report produced by avian aficionado, Tom Clarke. The fullreport can be viewed online.

It is well regarded that birds are wonderful indicators of environmental health and observed changes in birdlife (species mix, population sizes, breeding behaviours etc) can mark the changes to those ecosystems that support the birds.

The bird monitoring effort for Coal Point aims to support the various on-ground restoration works (regeneration, revegetation) as well as add to the knowledge and skills of the local community. Over time the benefits of monitoring long-term changes in habitat and the effect of these changes on the birds will help us understand the nature of the area as well as improving the way we restore and care for the land.

Two years ago a preliminary report was written to satisfy a requirement of the project funding. That report included discussion on the first three rounds of surveys and offered some direction for future investigation. This report now confirms several aspects of the nature of Coal Point and argues for various priorities with regards the ongoing restoration of the natural areas.
The first official survey (Summer Survey) was carried out 15th January 2013 over the 7 established survey sites and a subsequent 11 rounds of seasonal surveys have followed.

Common at all Sites

The species seen frequently at all sites are Rainbow Lorikeet, Noisy Miner, Grey Butcherbird and Australian Magpie; this was quickly established at the beginning of the surveys and has on every occasion since been confirmed. Next on the list of most frequently reported are Laughing Kookaburra and Australian Raven that appear at all but one site each followed by Pied Currawong that misses from regular sightings at only two sites.

Common at Southern Tip

Four of the commonly recorded species are mostly encountered at the southern tip of Coal Point in Stansfield and Threlkeld Reserves. The Little Pied Cormorant is regularly sighted along the shoreline of the lake, a feature not seen at any of the other project sites. Three hollow nesting types, Sulphur- crested Cockatoo, Eastern Rosella and Dollarbird appear to prefer this area over the others. Note that Eastern Rosella does also occur commonly at isolated Norumba Reserve.

Common around Carey Bay

Naturally there are several common birds that prefer the wetland habitat of Carey Bay; White-faced Heron, Superb Fairy-wren, Yellow Thornbill, Willie Wagtail, Magpie Lark and Welcome Swallows are regularly encountered here. The Satin Bowerbird that keeps its bower here is a permanent fixture but does well dining out on the fruit trees in neighbouring back yards.
Including its two satellite reserves, Norumba and Burnage, the remnants of Carey Bay are all completely surrounded by a built environment. The borders of these three reserves are made up of roads, housing and parkland. Taking advantage of this situation we find Spotted Dove, Crested Pigeon, Galah and Little Corella being regularly recorded at these sites. It should be noted that a revegetation exercise (native plantings) that eventually will provide a link between Carey Bay Wetland, Norumba Reserve and the remnant at the end of Hampton Street is a planned component of the project.

Common along West Ridge

In keeping with the healthy bushland found along West Ridge, small bush birds such as Spotted Pardalote, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, Golden Whistler and Grey Fantail are most frequently recorded here. The original view that these sites had the most species rich vegetation and strongest ecosystems is confirmed by this aspect. Also in its favour for diversity of avian fauna is the depth and low edge to area ratio of the West Ridge central parts. This core area is less frequented by Noisy Miners that patrol the edges of the forest throughout the study area and constantly drive smaller and less aggressive birds away.


Over the course of three years, these bird surveys have produced a strong data set that when analysed tell many stories. This report is based on several of these stories selected for their relevance to the project and our general understanding of the Coal Point environment.

Spring Bird Survey

The 2015 Spring seasonal bird survey was also recently conducted and the report can be viewed on TheAnimals in our Bigger Backyard page of the CPPA website

Progress patter

The conscientious committee of the Progress Association have been enthusiastically pursuing a variety of projects of late. These include
Applying for charitable status which if successful may reduce some of the ongoing costs associated with maintaining the hall

Scoping out a range of hall based projects that will improve energy efficiency, provide secure storage, possum proof the roof, reduce water consumption and improve access to the hall.