Your Hornsby Shire Council Bushcare Newsletter for volunteers.
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Welcome to the digital edition of the Bushcare newsletter. From now on, we'll be emailing out enewsletters, and once a year we'll print a bumper edition with loads of pictures, stories from your sites and interesting articles.

Table of Contents:

  1. Hawkesbury Community Nursery Tour
  2. Newsletter Announcements
  3. Stump Seats for Bushcare Groups
  4. Tom Hickman Joins the Bushcare Team
  5. Christmas Party 2014
  6. Bushcare at Bradleys Bushland Reserve
  7. Fearnley Park
  8. Native Australian Bees
  9. General Environmental Information
  10. Events - Bushcare
    Other Organisations

Hawkesbury Council Nursery Tour

On Wednesday 28 January 2015, community nursery volunteers from Hornsby, North Sydney and Willoughby, together with assorted staff, travelled to Mulgrave for a guided tour of the Hawkesbury Community Nursery.

We arrived just in time for morning tea and happily settled in to meet the local volunteers and demolish home-made treats. Bushcare Officer Marty Gauci and Nursery Coordinator Jutta Hamilton then took us for a walk around the grounds, pointing out features of interest along the way.

One of the aims of the nursery is to increase the use of local native plants in 
residents' gardens. The nursery grounds are designed to demonstrate how native plants can be used in garden situations, with unexpected bonuses. An example is the hedge of densely planted and carefully shaped prickly Bursaria spinosa (Blackthorn) near the site entrance that has become a safe haven for Fairy Wrens and other small birds. In the home situation it would also provide added protection against unwanted intruders.

The climate in the seedhouse igloo is successfully controlled using the passive thermal qualities of its concrete floor, fine- tuned by a retractable insulation cover under the polycarbonate roof. Rather than battle with winter frosts, Jutta's philosophy is to emulate nature, and hold off planting in the coldest months. In spite of taking this time out, the nursery produced some 19,000 plants last year.

The nursery is thriving, and in very good hands. Two other visitors, from Hills Bushcare, took pointers to consider for their trade nursery in Dural which they plan to open in the near future. We wish them and our hosts for the day all the success they deserve. ​


Who do I contact at Council?
If the matter relates directly to your Bushcare site, please contact either Leanne (Monday to Wednesday) or Meron (Thursday to Friday) on 9847 6362 or email

If you want to report an issue unrelated to Bushcare, such as a blocked drain, roadside that needs mowing, fallen tree blocking access, or an act of vandalism, you need to contact Council on 9847 6666 or email . This will create a Customer Service Request and will provide you a reference number to track its progress. This is the best way to get your request logged and directed to the person or team best able to deal with the problem and for the best response time.

Vegetation under power-lines
If you are concerned about trees or vegetation under power-lines or you think there are some tree or wire problems in your area please contact Ausgrid and log your request on the "Customer services" page at (or

Emergencies: Where there is an imminent threat to the power lines or public safety or if a tree is in contact with the overhead mains, are to be called through to 13 13 88 and not reported through the website.

New Email Address for Natural Resources Administration Team
Recently our administration team have consolidated a number of their email inboxes. If you want to book into a workshop please use the following email only The phone number for bookings remains 98476832.

Staff Movements Update
Jane Gye and Virginia Bear have reluctantly but officially resigned from Bushcare. Virginia had two sites (Rosemead Ave and Carrs Bush) and Jane had one site (Binya Close). They have both really enjoyed Bushcare but due to very busy schedules have had to say a final farewell as Bushcare Trainers. However, you may see them for the occasional training sessions when needed.

The Bushland Community Programs Coordinator (Danielle Sutton) and Bushcare Officers (Meron Wilson and Leanne Johnston) have been relocated to the Hornsby Council Administration Building (Level 2) next to Council Chambers. The aim of the move is to facilitate greater interactions between Bushcare and other Natural Resource Programs being undertaken by the Branch. We plan to still do one day a week each at the Earthwise Cottage to continue to be available for our volunteers at this location. You are welcome to visit us at the Administration Building should you need too, just ask one of the friendly staff at reception and we can pop down.

The current schedule is
  Administration Building, Hornsby Earthwise Cottage, Pennant Hills
Danielle Monday,Wednesday, Thursday Tuesday
Leanne Tuesday,Wednesday Monday
Meron Thursday Friday

Sonny and Ross will continue to work from the cottage. Due to these new arrangements, if you want to meet with us, it’s best to contact us beforehand.

New Database - Update
We have been using a new database system for our volunteer programs. The new system is web-based and allows for easy communication with our volunteers. You may have noticed your emails are now directly addressed to you.
If you do any changes of email address, home address or phone number, please forward on your new contact details to the Bushcare team on In addition, if you do have any special dietary needs, e.g. wheat free, vegetarian etc. please contact the Bushcare team with your needs.

NSW Fines for Publicly-Reported Litter from Vehicles
On 1 February 2015, the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) launched a new system for public reporting of littering from vehicles.

From Sunday 1 March 2015, the new system will allow fines to be issued for reports submitted by the community.
EPA social research shows there is strong community support for litter fines and that people will think twice before littering if they think they are being watched
Through the new reporting system, a person can register and report either directly through the EPA Reporting website or through a mobile app that can be downloaded from the website.

The system includes checks and balances to ensure penalty notices are only issued if all the necessary requirements have been met. Victoria and Queensland have similar systems in place which have proven effective.

Community reporters must be 18 years and over and are required to register their personal details, agree to the EPA terms and conditions, and declare an understanding of the responsibilities associated with reporting.

Online information


Stump Seats for Volunteers

stump seatsIn January 2015 an offer went out via the Bushcare group leaders to supply stump seats to add comfort of their groups' mid-work tea breaks. Well did that hit the spot! Orders for over one hundred seats were received. Orders for forty five hollow logs for ground habitat were also taken.

The seats are on their way. Staff from Council's Parks section helped move logs out of the "to be mulched" pile. An obliging contractor cut them up and loaded them on to the back of the work utility and field crew from the Bushland team delivered to a few lucky sites.

As this is an operation that relies on the goodwill and availability of a number of different teams within Council it will not all happen at once, and some of you will have to be patient.

However the results will be worth it, according to the Kirkham Street group. They were lucky enough to receive a table as well, and enjoyed their cuppa in great style at their February meeting.

Tom Hickman joins the team

My interest in natural area restoration began in the Scouting movement, where I had the opportunity to explore some of Australia’s most beautiful terrain. This led to me obtaining my Certificate III in Conservation and Land Management, which was followed by a job as a contract bush regenerator. At the beginning of 2013 I started a Bachelor of Biodiversity and Conservation, which has given me a more detailed understanding of biological and environmental interactions and processes.

I look forward to sharing and developing my interest in native flora and fauna with the passionate and dedicated volunteers involved in Hornsby Council’s Bushcare Program in my role as Bushcare Trainer.

Christmas Party 2014

What a great way to celebrate 25 years of Hornsby Bushcare at Asquith Golf Course with floor to ceiling windows looking out onto the magnificent bushland in the distance. We celebrated many achievements, particularly those volunteers who were there from the beginning. Observatory Park was our first official Bushcare group, established in the triangle of trees on the corner of Beecroft Road and Pennant Hills Road at Beecroft; they have achieved so much in their iconic patch. Many of the original group are still active; some sadly have passed or had to retire.

Our first speaker of the day was Jenny Lewis. She was one of the very first Bushcare volunteers in Hornsby and had plenty of tales to tell about the early days, and what inspired Council to get involved with the residents to create the Bushcare program. Officially retired from Bushcare Jenny still meets with a team of botanising volunteers regularly to explore our bush and add to the fantastic resource that is the Native Plant Herbarium, which she helped establish and available on-line through Hornsby Council library services.

Robin Buchanan spoke about how the professional side of bush regeneration emerged from the community need to protect our local bushland and how the industry was born. Robin was at the forefront of the education program and was instrumental in designing and setting standards for us all to follow.

As team manager of Natural Resources at Hornsby Council, Diane Campbell spoke about the current year’s achievements in bushland across the Hornsby Shire and the contribution that Hornsby Bushcare volunteers have made in restoring the bushland this year.

Lastly Malcolm Hugman, of Berry Park, Mount Colah Community Centre and Hunt Reserve Bushcare groups spoke about his personal experience as a Bushcare volunteer with Hornsby Council.

Everyone present at the Christmas party was given a special gift, a copy of the 2015 Bushcare Calendar and new Bushcare pen. Should you need a calendar please contact the Bushcare team or your Bushcare Trainer to arrange a copy to be sent to you – limited stock. With some sadness we would like to announce the retirement of some of our longstanding volunteers:
  • Clyde Cox and John Lilly both from the 3 Blokes at Bambara. This group needs two men or willing to change the name to suit otherwise.
  • Peter Reefman who has left Clarinda Street, Hornsby for a tree change, and
  • Malcolm Hugman who is moving to New Zealand and this is his last day with the Hornsby Bushcare Program. Thank you all for your assistance and passion for the natural environment in our local shire.
We also had a special performance of the volunteers from Alan Avenue Bushcare Group. The Group composed a Bushcare song. It was a delightful cappella style; although not a true Barbershop quartet we all had loads of fun and look forward to the following single to be performed at the 2015 Christmas Party.

The lunch was fabulous and the string trio chose some great music for the lunch service. Thank you to everyone for making 2014 a memorable year for Bushcare, particularly for 25 years of volunteer service. We hope to see you at the 2015 Christmas Party.

Award Winners:Nursery Volunteer of the Year
This year the nursery volunteer of the year award went to a very hard working individual who often goes beyond the realms of just working in the nursery every Wednesday. This volunteer even takes work home!
Silvano Lucietto has been pretty remarkable in applying his handyman skills to a number of items at the nursery including repairs. Well done and Thank you Silvano.

Bushcare Awards
In 2014 we celebrated the efforts of volunteer groups which have worked for 15 years. That’s longer than most Sydney Council’s Bushcare programs. Congratulations to everyone who has been involved in these groups over the years including the new volunteers who allow the program to continue for the next 15 years.
  • Bedford Road/Cooper
  • Berowra Oval
  • Carr’s Bush
  • Cassia Grove
  • Cedar Street
  • Galston Road
  • Midson Road
  • Oakleigh Park
  • Seale Close
The Golden Trowel Award
The 2014 Golden Trowel winners were chosen because these groups work in a much urbanised catchment and their achievement in greater than the sum of their parts. This riparian area is part of the upper Devlins Creek and colloquially known as the Bambara Corridor. The winning groups are:
  • Roselea Bushcare group
  • The Three Blokes Bushcare group
  • Bambarra/Darmanin Bushcare Group
  • Calool Corner Bushcare group
  • Ray Park Bushcare group
  • Little Ray Park Bushcare group
  • Magnolia/ Casben Close Bushcare group
  • Habitat Haven Bushcare group
  • Bambara Bushcare group
  • Bambara Binning Bushcare group
  • Midson Road Bushcare group

Competition Winners
Our Photographic competition continues to have two categories, Hornsby: Our Beautiful Bushland and Bushcare Sites: Before and After.
We have over 70 photographic entries this year. The competition was fierce.
The winner of the e-votes was Ted Angelo’s Good Morning Sunshine – Banksia spinulosa.
The Winner of the Bushcare People’s choice was: Ron Watts’ Goldilocks.

Poetry and Prose
The winner of the Poetry and Prose competition for 2015 was Rae Litting’s poem, Knees

By Rae Litting, of Roselea Bushcare Group
Bushcare provides wonderful exercise
As every bushcarer agrees.
It builds up the muscles and strengthens the lungs,
But it’s awfully hard on the knees.

Though I’ve past my three score years and ten,
I will take on the honeysuckle,
I’ll tackle the privet, lantana and trad,
But my knees are starting to buckle.
I can wield the mattock, the trowel and knife,
I can pull down the vines from the trees,
I can wade down the creek in my rubber boots,
But I do need a new pair of knees.

Bushcare at Bradleys Bushland Reserve, Mosman
By Noel and Rae Rosten

Bradley's Bushland ReserveOn Sunday 25 October 25th, there was a celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Bushcare using the "Bradley Method" at the Bradley Bushland Reserve. The event was hosted by the Mosman Parks and Bushland Association and was very well attended. Guests included some who had actually worked with the well known Bradley sisters all those years ago, and they must be pleased to see the results of their work and the legacy of their passion. .

Fearnley Park

Beecroft’s Fearnley Park Bushcare group has been hard at work regenerating and revegetating their local reserve for the past 10 years.

The reserve has a long history and was once part of a bigger estate. First established as an orchard in the early 1900’s, the area was home to the Fearnley family until the land was subdivided in the 1950’s. Rivington, the Fearnley family home still stands facing the park.

Local residents opposed the redevelopment of the park in the early 2000’s. The community’s attachment to preserve the passive recreation purpose of the park was followed by the establishment of the Fearnley Park Bushcare group in 2005.

The group has been active in successfully controlling and eradicating Madeira Vine, Wandering Jew, Morning Glory and other invasive weeds. Long term group members such as Richard Shields, Hillary Butters and George Gourlay have been recently joined by local residents Kerrie King and Monique Herman de Groot.

The group’s hard work and tenacity have returned the reserve to a resilient condition which contributes greatly to the preservation of Hornsby Shire’s endangered Blue Gum High Forest.

Native Australian Bees

honeycombDid you know that flowering plants and bees coevolved throughout the ages? Bees separated from the wasp family about 120 million years ago. At this time the bees began using pollen to feed their young instead of insects. Most plants today have specific floral structures due to the relationships with bees.

Social or solitary: what's the difference?
One obvious difference between bees is whether they live in hives and feed their young with honey, or whether they each build individual shelters for laying their eggs.

The most common social bee along the east coast of Australia is the small black stingless Tetragonula carbonaria. Stingless bees build nests inside the trunks of both living and dead trees. The most striking feature of these nests is the horizontal spiral of hexagonal cells in the centre of the nest, where the eggs are laid.

Most of the Stingless bee hives commercially available in the Sydney region originate in southeast Queensland.
By far the greater number of Australian bees are solitary. But that is not to say they shun company. Quite the opposite in fact. While they might differ in their housing requirements, most build their egg nests in close proximity to their own and other species. Blue-banded and Teddy Bear bees seek out tunnel like cavities in which to lay their eggs. They are often found in mud bricks and weak mortar (but never mud). After laying an egg in the base they manufacture a pellet of “bee bread” which they place next to the egg, seal the open end, and repeat the process until the tunnel is full.

Other solitary bees are more singular in their nesting habits. Some burrow into the ground. Others cut leaves to create a nest while resin bees chew tree bark mixed with resin to plug the egg cells. Reed bees look for plants with a pithy centre to hollow out (Lantana is popular, and Bamboo). They can be identified by the flattened abdomen which they use to block the hive entrance.

Carpenter bees create their own cavities in dry grass tree (Xanthoraea spp) stems or in fungus damaged wood with water repellent properties. The females of this species are gorgeous iridescent bottle green and peacock blue, while the males are a more subdued ginger.

Bee food Just as there are horses for courses, there are bees for flowers. Bees of different species also forage for food together, depending on the length of their tongues which can be short or long, depending on the flower shapes they have evolved to feed from.

Short tongued bees are sometimes associated with a particular plant species, such as
 Persoonia and Banksia. Long tongued bees can feed on deep or shallow flowers. Stingless bees are attracted to the mint family (Lamiaceae). Blue-banded bees are also attracted to blue flowers and are excellent pollinators of the Solanaceae family, as they buzz to release the pollen. Carpenter bees are good pollinators of the Fabaceae family, while Reed bees love Acacias. The list goes on.

Note on Native Bee Sting
Bees are related to wasps but not all bees sting. If they do, it is only the female of the species. Australian bees that sting, can sting repeatedly, unlike the European honey bee which dies after giving one sting.

What’s wrong with European bees
European bees occupy 80% of natural hollows, depriving native fauna of breeding sites. They will be an uncontrollable vector if the Veroa parasite reaches Australia and that’s another story completely. Hothouse tomato growers want to import Bumble bees to buzz pollinate their crops. Why not use the home grown variety?

If you would like more information:
Aussie Bee and Australian Native Bee Research Centre

Native Bees in the Sydney Region, A Field Guide (out of print)
Martyn Robinson, Australian Museum

Native Bee Seminar (presented by Megan Halcroft of Beesbusiness)
Hornsby Council library
28 March 1 -4pm
Bookings Essential at 9847 6614 or
Cost $10


General Environment Information

Bushcare Events

Native Habitat Workshop
When: Saturday 7 March
Time: 10am -2pm
Where: Venue provided on booking
Booking essential: 9847 6832 or
Limited places and exclusively available to our fully registered Bushcare volunteers only.
Designed to help Bushcare volunteers evaluate, identify and create native habitat on their Bushcare sites.

Floating Landcare
When: Saturday 14 March
Time: 8:15am - 2:00pm
Where: Meet at Taylors Point Wharf, Clareville
Booking essential:4725 3055 or
Bush regeneration with an adventurous twist. Visit great locations you can only reach by boat.
Floating Landcare
When: Tuesday 17 March
Time: 8:45am - 1:30pm
Where: Deerubbin Reserve Boat Ramp, Mooney Mooney
RSVP: or 02 4725 3055 
RSVP essential as places are limited.
Join us for a great Bush Regeneration Day.

Save Your Energy Workshop
When: Wednesday 18 March
Time: 1pm
Where: Hornsby Library 28-44 George St, Hornsby
Information: 2015 Hornsby Healthy Living Festival
Handy tips and hints on how to save money on your energy bill whilst still living comfortably.

Free Native Plant Giveaway
When: Saturday 21 March
Time: 1pm-3pm
Where: Community Nursery, 28 Britannia Street, Pennant Hills.
Information: 9847 6832 or
Ratepayers can select free native plants for their gardens from selected suburbs. 

Native Bee Workshop
When: Saturday 28 March
Time: 1pm-4pm
Where:  Hornsby Library 28-44 George St, Hornsby
Cost: $10
Bookings Essential
Information: 98476832 or
Importance and benefits of Australian native bees. Identify and attract them to your backyard.

Volunteer Expo
When: Wednesday 15 April
Where: Hornsby Mall
Contact: Danielle / 9847 6360
Bushcare stall (volunteer helpers welcome).

2014 Bushcare Photo and Prose Winners
When: 30 March -10 April
Where: Pennant Hills Library (cnr Ramsay and Yarrara Roads, Pennant Hills)
See exhibition of winning entries in the 2014 Bushcare Photography and Prose competition on display in the library.

Get to Know Your Grasses
When: Saturday 18 April
Time: 2pm-4pm
Where: St Benedict's Monastery, Arcadia
Information: 9847 6832 or
Bookings essential, places limited.
Practical workshop to help you identify the common weed and native grasses in your local area.

Save Your Energy Workshop
When: Tuesday 7 April
Time: 7pm
Where: Hornsby Library 28-44 George St, Hornsby
Information: 2015 Hornsby Healthy Living Festival
Handy tips and hints on how to save money on your energy bill whilst still living comfortably.

Bushcode workshop
When: Tuesday 28 April
Time: 6pm - 9pm
Where: Function Room 2, Council Chambers, 296 Peats Ferry Rd (previously known as Pacific Highway), Hornsby
Bookings: 9847 6832 or
A course designed for those existing volunteers requiring their registration to be refreshed.
Light supper will be served.

May - The Mushroom Month
When: Day to be determined by weather. Dependent on recent rainfall and subsequent fungi growth
Time: 5pm - 7pm
Where: Earthwise Cottage, 28 Britannia St, Pennant Hills
Bring photos and samples of fungi found in your local patch for an informal show and tell.

Volunteer Week Morning Tea
When: Wednesday 13 May
Time: 10:30am - 11:30am
Where: Earthwise Cottage, 28 Britannia St, Pennant Hills
Bookings Essential: 9847 6832 or by 11 May
Celebrate Volunteer Week by joining Nursery and Bushcare volunteers at the nursery for a delicious morning tea.

Free Native Plant Giveaway
When: Saturday 16 May
Time: 1pm-3pm
Where: Community Nursery, 28 Britannia Street, Pennant Hills.
Ratepayers can select free native plants for their gardens from selected suburbs. 
Information: 98476832 or

Bushcode workshop
When: Monday 25 May
Time: 8:45am - 3pm
Where: Earthwise Cottage, 28 Britannia Street, Pennant Hills
Bookings: 9847 6832 or
An introduction to Bush Regeneration principles and the Bushcare program for new and returning volunteers.

World Environment Day CRR Site Tour
When: Friday 5 June
Time: 10am - 1pm
Where: Earthwise Cottage, 28 Britannia Street, Pennant Hills
Bookings Essential: 9847 6832 or
See how catchment remediation devices and wetland plants are working alongside Bushcare sites to improve water quality and flow in our bushland.

World Environment Day
When: Friday 5 June
Time: 10:30am
Where: Hornsby Library 28-44 George St, Hornsby
Get environmental tips from Council staff on recycling, energy & water efficiency, composting, what to do with your food leftovers, Council’s Community Nursery, and how to become a Bushcare volunteer.
No Booking required.

Termite Talk
When:Saturday 13 June
Time: 2pm - 4pm
Where: Hornsby Library 28-44 George St, Hornsby
Bookings essential: 9847 6614 or
Information session with Dr Margot Blues to learn about the good and bad of the termite world.

Non Toxic Cleaning Workshop
When: Wednesday 8 July
Where: Earthwise Cottage, 28 Britannia Street, Pennant Hills
Bookings Essential through the Waste Hotline 9847 4856

2014 Bushcare Photo and Prose Winners
When: 30 June - 20 July
Where:Hornsby Library 28-44 George St, Hornsby
See exhibition of winning entries in the 2014 Bushcare Photography and Prose competition on display in the library.

Other Organisation Events

Australian Plant Society – North Shore Group Monday Walks and Talks Program
At the Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden, 420 MonaVale Rd, St Ives. Meet at Caley’s Pavilion at 9:45 am for a 10:00am start. Information sheets are provided. Walks conclude at approx. 12.30pm. Please wear suitable footwear, and bring a hat and water. No prior knowledge required - just an enquiring mind and a love of the bush! There is a fee of $5 per person per session, $3 discount for APS members.
2 March - Introductory Talk and Walk at Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden
9 March - Plant Kingdom
16 March - Parts of the Plant – Flowers
23 March - Parts of the Plant – Stems and Leaves
30 March - Banksias (Proteaceae)
27 April - Introduction to Fungi
4 May - Parts of the Plant - Fruit
11 May - Longer Walk east Mueller Track (bring lunch & water) return about 3pm
18 May - Eucalyptus, Angophora and Corymbia (Myrtaceae)
25 May - Plants, You & Climate Change
1 June - Ferns
15 June - Rainforests
22 June - Longer Walk to Showground (bring lunch & water) return about 3pm
For more details see:

Australian Association of Bush Regenerators
Tour of Mt Annan's woodland restoration and plant bank
13 March 2015
10am - 2.30pm
Dr Peter Cuneo will host the day. Learn about the broad scale removal of African Olive and using an approach to bush regeneration that involves machinery and direct seeding. The day will also include a ‘behind the scenes’ tour of the Australian PlantBank facility, which provides valuable expertise for seed conservation and ecological restoration work across Australia.
Cost: $20.00 per person for the PlantBank tour
BYO lunch or buy on the day at Melaleuca House café.
Enter off Narellan Rd, Mt Annan.
Meet at the main visitors car park.

Tour of Scheyville National Park trials for rehabilitation using fire
Saturday 18 April 2015
9 - 11am
Join AABR member and NPWS Area Manager Jonathan Sanders for a field tour in Scheyville and Cattai National Parks. The tour will look at research trials for using fire in the rehabilitation of altered native grasslands and integrated weed control of species such as African Love Grass and African Olive.
Bird enthusiasts bring your binoculars!
Meet at the car park in front of the Scheyville National Park office, Scheyville.


Copyright © 2015 Hornsby Shire Council, All rights reserved.

Hornsby Shire Council Bushcare
Phone: (02) 9847 6362

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