Friends of Waurn Ponds Creek Inc.


Newsletter No. 5

Winter 2003


Friends of Waurn Ponds Creek is an environmental initiative, to preserve the amenity of a largely suburban waterway and its flood plain.

Replanting the Creek

Area F continues to do amazing things each month and will be planting on Sunday June 1st from 9am adjacent to the playground alongside Grove Road (Geelong Info Pages map 18 A2).

Area L (Meadowvale Drive) is getting prepared to plant on Friday June 6th from 10am. Walk through to the creek between houses no. 64 and 66 Meadowvale Drive (opposite Perennial Rise) to find the co-ordinator Silvanna whom you can also contact prior to the day on 5241 4042.(Geelong Info Pages map 17 D5).

Area M Planting day - Sunday June 15th, from 10am. Meet at end of Chenin Drive (Geelong Info Pages Map 17 C5).

The only things you need to take to planting days are appropriate clothing, gloves, drinks and snacks if you need them. Everything regarding the planting the trees and shrubs will be provided including a horticulturist supervisor.

In April there was a good turn out of members at the Barwon Water Community Nursery to transplant the seedlings that had been grown from seed collected beside the creek and propagated a few weeks before. If all goes well these may be ready for planting late this year.

Weed removal to make way for new plants

Conservation Australia have been doing a wonderful job at various sites along the creek, clearing weeds and laying weed mats, and the council are slowing completely removing all the boxthorn alongside the creek to make way for new natives to be planted.

A plant recently found by Silvanna's daughter had small tomato-like fruit. It is a Kangaroo Apple, an indigenous plant, related to tomatoes. It has large dark green leaves that are often shaped like a kangaroo's footprint. It is growing among dead boxthorn and is positively hanging with bunches of bright yellow fruit. They are full of seeds, good for producing more plants. They were a koorie food plant, but often taste bitter.

Kangaroo Apple Kangaroo Apple
Photo. Valda Dedman

The old bridge under the highway

Decoration on the bridge under the highway Do you recognize this?
Photo. Valda Dedman

The old stone bridge over the creek at the junction of the Colac and Anglesea roads was built in 1868. The first bridge was a wooden structure which was so damaged by a flood that the Colac coach became 'wedged in loose timber and caused a traffic jam with no fewer than 20 vehicles of different types waiting to pass'[1].

The stone bridge was designed by Andrew McWilliams, who also designed the Portarlington Mill, and built by Clement Nash. A special grant of 500 was sought by Barrabool Council for its construction. A reminder of the former Shire remains in the bluestone keystone elaborately carved with the Shire's coat of arms. Such keystone ornamentation on a bridge is rare. The bridge is finely crafted and built of local Waurn Ponds limestone and bluestone. There are bluestone pavers on the bed of the creek. Do these mark a crossing place that predates the bridge?
1. Wynd, I. 1992. Barrabool land of the magpie.

Fairies in Mud Bottles,

The way under Hendy Main Road The way under Hendy Main Road
Photo. Valda Dedman

Up in its headwaters, under the shadow of Mt Moriac, our little creek passes under Hendy Main Road. It has to flow through a bluestone doorway and along a corridor before it emerges into a tiny wetland with reeds. Where the roof of the corridor meets the wall there is a row of mud bottles with long necks. These are the nests of Fairy Martins, little swallow-like birds with ginger heads, satiny blue-black shoulders, white rumps and square (not forked) tails.

Fairy Martin nests Fairy Martin nests under the bridge
Photo. Valda Dedman

Fairy Martins very sensibly move north for the winter, but come September they will return to the nest colony and mend any broken bottles before laying 4-5 speckled white eggs. The nest with its long-necked entry tunnel is built by both sexes. Each little mud pellet is a beakful gathered probably from the banks of Waurn Ponds Creek.

They are shy birds but if you keep very still and quiet you may see them hovering at the nest entrance and then darting in with food for the baby birds.

Mandama Primary School MAD Day

Mandama Primary School had a MAD day in March (Make A Difference) and took 120 grade 5&6 students to the creek off Church Street and collected a huge amount of rubbish. A few Friends and Penny from CCMA joined them to give encouragement and tell them of all the other people along the creek making a difference. They are now keen to do something each term and have adopted that section of the creek to maintain.

Planting Days

June 1 Area F
June 6 Area L
June 15 Area M

We really need a volunteer to liaise with the participating schools to get them organised one day each term to work on their section of the creek (currently there are 4 schools involved) - anyone interested??

Jackie and Silvanna will be attending a 6 day course spread over the rest of this year to learn everything about native tree propagation, planting, seed collection, site assessment and preparation. The course is run each year by DNRE and it might be something you could be interested in next year.

Katrina collaborated with CCMA recently to finalise the Creek Management Plan so that it can be available to the community for discussion.

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