"Town Crier" Articles

Berry Landcare is a regular contributor to the "The Berry Town Crier" - a widely read local monthly paper delivered free into 2,300 letterboxes in and around Berry. Currently Harvey Blue collects the information and writes the articles. Earlier Town Crier pieces can be found in Resources and Documents Section of our page.
#68 March 2017: Coachwood Escarpment display

Over the recent holiday period many Berry people have noticed and commented on a display of soft pink colouring in a band along the slope of the escarpment just below the base of the sandstone cliffs. This is an annual phenomenon but this year it has been very noticeable. This part of the escarpment is classified geologically as “Gerringong volcanic” laid down 250 million years ago at the end of the Permian as volcanic deposits. This forest type takes its name from the tree responsible for the display - “Coachwood Warm Temperate Rainforest”. The species dominates at high altitudes on the benches and steep slopes of the escarpment. Smaller stands of the tree can be found in forest remnants further down the escarpment. One beautiful specimen is on the corner of Berry Mountain Road and Tourist Road. Coachwood (Ceratopetalum apetalum) is in the same genus as the popular Christmas Bush (Ceratopetalum gummiferium). Their floral displays are similar. Coachwood usually grows to a height of 25 metres, with a trunk diameter of 90 cm. However exceptional specimens can reach 40 metres and live for centuries. The trunk has distinctive horizontal marks, or scars, which often encircle the trunk. Larger trees have short buttresses. Its timber is light and easily worked. It is used for flooring, furniture and cabinetwork, hence its name. Courtroom number three of The High Court of Australia is beautifully furnished with coachwood timber. The flower petals are white but the pink colour comes from the calyces that remain after the petals fall. One feature of this marvellous tree is the fawn carpet of fallen detritus under the mature trees in late summer. There are many of these floral displays taking place in our beautiful landscape throughout the year, from native orchids to Turpentine trees. Surely one of the rewards of living here in the Illawarra is the understanding where and when these miracles of nature take place. Join us at Landcare. Weed of the Month: Sacred Bamboo (Nandina domestica). This popular garden plant is regarded as an environmental weed. It is listed as an environmental weed by the Blue Mountains City Council, and it is occasionally found in bushland edges and along drainage lines in that region. It has recently been found growing wild on the south coast. Its distinctive red berries while attractive are poisonous to birds. Some of the modern cultivars do not produce fruit, or produce fewer fruit, and are therefore not as invasive. Working Bees for March 2017: Alexandra Street Parkcare: 9-11 am Friday 17st March: Gail Paton 44487915. Bong Bong Road: 9-11am Sunday 12th March: Julia Woinarski 4464 2084. Bundewallah Bushcare: 2-4pm Sunday 26th March : John Clark 44643911. Camp Quality: 9-11am Sunday 19th March: Hugh Sheil, hugh.sheil@realtimecom.com.au or Jeanne Highland 4464 1271. Moeyan Hill: 3-5 pm Saturday 18th March: Bill Pigott 44643241 or wpigott@bigpond.net.au. Mount Coolangatta: Nola Barker. Mobile 040944-6418, nolajbarker@live.com.au. Time to be advised. Meet at end of Roxbrough Rd, Far Meadow. Mark Radium Park: 9-10am Friday 24th March: Rodney Cole 4464 1475. Princess St. Parkcare: 9-11am Monday 26th March, Terry Oades 4464.3654. Tindalls Lane: 3-5pm Sunday 12th March: contact Jim Jefferis 4464 2988. Plant identification service: Please contact Harvey Blue 4464 1880 or Ian Parker, 4448 6359. Visit our pages at: http://www.landcare.nsw.gov.au/groups/berry-landcare for more on Berry Landcare and late changes to working bee details. Information can also be found on Facebook.

# 69: April 2017: Roadsides as Habitat (contributed by Kelvin Officer)

The rich wildlife of the Berry district is no accident. Our native birds and animals rely upon the habitat provided by patches of native vegetation, and their inter-connectedness along creeklines and roadsides. Roadside vegetation is particularly valuable for providing these connections because roads often cross catchments and traverse landscapes that were otherwise cleared. Movement along these corridors is critical for the sustainability of flora and fauna populations. Corridor connectivity helps maintain genepool diversity, sustainable territories, and seasonal migration. In the future, changing climate will shift the location of habitats and necessitate the movement of the plants and animals dependent on those habitats. A nationally important wildlife corridor, known as the ‘Berry Corridor’, occurs in our district and links the Coastal Plain (Seven Mile Beach NP), with the escarpment and plateau (Barren Grounds Nature Reserve). A number of roadside environments provide important linkages within this Corridor, including Agars Lane, and the Beach, Gerroa and Boundary Roads. Boundary Road is a notable example. This road runs east-west and marks the northern boundary of the Berry Estate lands (from 1829). It was formerly known as Cedar Lane. By the late nineteenth century the road boasted five timber bridges. Sometime after 1948, a number of these crossings were destroyed, resulting in a 600m section being impassable to vehicles. Revegetation commenced from this time onwards. Now used as a walking and horse trail, this easement section is known as ‘The Link’ and displays a range of native vegetation communities. It is valued as a wildlife corridor and recreational asset. It is a long running Berry Landcare bush regeneration site and responsibility for its management was transferred by the Crown Lands Authority in 2013. A 1949, aerial photograph reveals only a handful of mature trees within the Link, with the majority of the easement cleared and grassed. A native canopy now extends across more than 70% of its length. The management of roadsides as wildlife corridors presents a multitude of challenges, particularly when the safe function and maintenance of roadways must also be realised. These include weed control, replanting, regeneration, and the minimisation and mitigation of disturbance. Everybody can play a role in caring for our native roadside vegetation by not dumping garden waste on road verges and caring for your own frontage where appropriate. Why not participate in maintaining our local wildlife corridors? Along with our regular monthly working bees, Berry Landcare is holding a Berry Wildlife Corridor fieldwork weekend at the Link and some other Berry Corridor regeneration sites on the weekend of the 5 and 6 May 2017. Contact Jim Jefferis for details 4464 2988.

# 71 May 2017: Barry Virtue, A Quiet Achiever: A tribute

Barry Virtue, the previous site co-ordinator for Broughton Vale, is leaving the Berry district. Barry and his friend, Dave Johnson set up the Plant Propagation Nursery (affectionately known as Plant Prop) at Berry Public School in the mid 1990s. Barry was a teacher at Berry Public School at that time, and he and Dave prepared a program to give children opportunities to gain practical skills in plant propagation, as an extension to the more formal classroom Environmental Science lessons. Barry had always wanted to encourage young children to have an appreciation and understanding of the natural world around them as well as an understanding of the principles of conservation. The school nursery provided the means and the solution for real and practical experiences to achieve this still very necessary aim. Under Barry’s guidance, and as joint ventures with the community, the children entered Environmental Competitions, and in 2007 Berry Public School won The Regional Landcare Education Award. Over the years Barry’s pupils grew and supplied thousands of plants for Landcare sites, National Tree Planting Days, Camp Quality, Berry Sport and Recreation Camp, Conservation Volunteers projects in Berry as well as Gerringong, Shoalhaven Heads and Albion Park. More recently, Plant Prop has been supplying plants to Fulton Hogan for the Foxground Berry Bypass, Illawarra Conservation Volunteers and Berry Bushlinks projects. Barry’s knowledge and expertise about plants and birds have been greatly appreciated on seed collecting forays with Plant Prop and the Berry and Illawarra Landcare volunteers. The seeds collected are either stored in The Seed Bank or planted out in The Living Tree Bank. This has resulted in the Plant Prop’s having over 6000 plants of known local provenance including a range of ground covers, shrubs and trees that are available to anyone who wishes to grow them. Barry has always had the education of the children in mind, and, most recently, he initiated an article in The Town Crier to promote the activities of the children at Berry Public School Plant Propagation Nursery to the local community. Barry has been a facilitator at 2 community workshops for Leon Fuller’s project “Growing Illawarra Natives”. The community website will provide information and planting guides for local gardeners to know which local plants will best suit the specific requirements for their gardens. Barry’s local knowledge of the flora and fauna of the area has been of great value to Berry Landcare and he will be greatly missed.

#72 June 2017: UTS - Big Lift’s Big Weekend Out:

"Big Lift" is a University of Technology Sydney initiative for students and others connected with the UTS to go out into the community and engage in civic and communal activities. On the weekend of May 6th and 7th Berry hosted a group of 21 young people in “BIG LIFT” tee shirts who together with several Berry Landcare members and other Berry locals worked on four Wild Life Corridor sites. Three of these sites were private contracted to the work being carried out as part of the Berry Landcare Wildlife Corridor Environmental Trust grant. The fourth site was the Crown Land corridor on Boundary Road. They planted over 450 local native tube-stock plants provided by the Berry Public School Nursery. Much removal of Lantana, Wild Tobacco and other weeds was also carried out. The weekend was not all work however. Berry Landcare members and landowners provided salads and local grass fed beef for a BBQ lunch each day and a marvellous dinner on the Saturday night. Jo Jorgensen made curries for Curries by Candlelight on Saturday evening, with cakes contributed by Barbara Armitage and Leslie Pigott. For the barbeques, meat from the farm of Jim Jefferis, Saturday salads from Caroline Ridge and Jill Farrar and Sunday salads from Sophie Bouris, Mayumi Yokoyama and Jill Farrar. The Berry Forum and Chamber of Commerce members organised the accommodation at the Berry Showground so everyone from the students to the local community and landowners had a role to play. This was a ‘win-win’ event as the students partook of work in Landcare and viewed the wonders of our native environment while we at Landcare witnessed the initiative and hard work of these young people who represent our future.

July 2015

Berry Landcare Works with RMS and Fulton Hogan to achieve landscaping with locally indigenous species for the Princes Highway re-alignment. Working Bees for July 2015

March 2016

Harvey Blue's article on the Coomonderry Swamp for the Berry Town Crier

October 2015

Berry Public School Plant Propogation Unit Working Bees for October 2015

# 82: April 2018: Native species for fire-prone areas:

As a follow up to the February article on bushfires in our locality, we looked again at information available on what to plant in fire prone areas. It is interesting to note the terms used, such as“fire prone”, “fire resistant” and “fire retardant”. All plants, whether they are exotic or Australian, will burn when subjected to sufficient heat. However, those with leaves that have high levels of moisture or salt and lower levels of volatile oils are considered to be fire resistant. Such species can be planted as a wind break which can deflect heat and act as a barrier to flying sparks and embers. Species most frequently mentioned in the various lists are Acmena smithii (Lillypilly), Corymbia maculata (spotted gum), Elaeocarpus reticulatus (Blueberry ash), Ficus species (including Port Jackson, small leafed and sandpaper figs), Pittosporum undulatum, (Native Daphne), Myoporum species, Brachychiton acerifolius (Flame tree), Brachychiton populneum (Kurrajong), Glochidion ferdinandi (Cheese tree), Rapanea howittiana (Brush Muttonwood), Rapanea variabilis (Variable Muttonwood) and Pittosporum revolutum (Rough-fruiting pittosporum). Also included in these lists are Acacia mearnsii, Alectryon subcinereus, Banksia integrifolia, Cassine australis, Casuarina cunninghamia, Casuarina glauca, Ceratopetalum apetalum, Diospyros australis, Doryphora sassafras, Guioa semiglauca, Melia azedarach, Eupomatia laurina, Podocarpus elatus, Stenocarpus salignus and Streblus brunonianus. These species are all on the Berry Landcare Tree list and Berry residents are encouraged to plant them. Understory plants such as Lomandra or Dianella retain moisture and can retard fire. Plants to avoid are also listed and these include conifers, especially Cypress species and trees with rough fibrous bark, such as Turpentines, which are all regarded as ‘fire-prone”. Further information from Berrylandcre@gmail.com. One useful reference is the Australian Native Plants Society (www.anpsa.org.au/gallery.html).