Lake Pillans Clean Up Australia Day

Fire affected Lithgow Community coming together to clean up a much loved local Landcare site

Lake Pillans Clean Up Australia Day

Fire affected Lithgow Community coming together to clean up a much loved local Landcare site

Community Participation -


The issue

Lake Pillans is a popular reserve in Lithgow that has been transformed over the past 25 years from an industrial wasteland to a much loved wetland that feeds into the upper catchment of the Cox's river, a part of Sydney's drinking water supply. A dedicated group of local Landcarers have weeded, planted and attracted funding for boardwalks and other onsite remediation work. However, the recent fires destroyed the boardwalks and burnt out the maturing plantings and following that the area was inundated with floodwaters, requiring not just a clean up but a community get together. Contractors cleaned up dangerous burnt out trees, but a lot of rubbish had been washed into the area. 

Furthermore, due to the level of the fires and the flooding, local Land managers had not been able to access the site to determine the level of fire impact on native bushland. Clean up Australia Day presented an opportunity to clean up the site and determine the level of damage, and plan future planting and weed control events.

The solution

Due to the level of devastation from the fires and disturbance from flooding, Clean up Australia Day came at a time that allowed native bushland to recover enough for people to work in the area without compromising sensitive bushland. Contractor arborists removed dangerous trees. 

Lithgow Oberon Landcare Association registered with Clean up Australia Day organisers and organised Lithgow City Council to pick up rubbish following the event. Grab sticks, rubbish bags and gloves were organised and pre existing Landcare networks were utilised to advertise the event.

On the morning of Clean up Australia Day, 8 volunteers and the Local Landcare Coordinator met in the morning and spent half the day cleaning up 10 bags of rubbish that had washed into the wetlands, surveyed damaged and dead trees and understorey and observed natural post bushfire regeneration and weed encroachment.

The impact

The group managed to clean up 10 bags of mixed rubbish. Mostly plastic rubbish like chip packets and drink bottles, some burnt plastic, glass bottles and other rubbish exposed by the burn.

The group also removed barricades and barricade tape that had been thrown into the wetland area.

The clean up also allowed the Local Landcare Coordinator to undertake a more thorough survey of fire damage to the native bushland and of the weed invasion.

Key facts

  • 8 people cleaned up 10 bags of rubbish over 4.5HA
  • The event, following on from recent burns and flood, was timed to be long enough after the damage to allow some regeneration so the area could be surveyed for fire damage to native bushland and weed encroachment.

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