Your Hornsby Shire Council Bushcare Newsletter for volunteers.
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Welcome to the January 2017 edition of Bushcare enews.

In this edition:

  1. Year in Review
  2. Comings and goings
  3. Wattles ‘n’ Boronias at Muogamarra Walk and Talk
  4. Bird Surveys
  5. Christmas Party 2016
  6. Seed Collecting
  7. Risky Business!
  8. Changes to the Biodiveristy Laws
  9. Events

Year in Review

Hornsby Shire Council’s Bushcare Program

When it comes to staff, 2016 was an extraordinary year. Firstly, Council’s Manager Natural Resources, Di Campbell resigned in January, by March, Sonny Armstrong (the ‘face of Bushcare’) retired, Jean-Philippe Kecman (or ‘JP’) joined the team as the Bushcare Field Officer in May and sadly our adopted guard dog, Poa passed away. We also had a small restructure with the Environmental Scientists overseeing bushland regeneration contracts joining the newly formed Bushland Programs Team. The new Coordinator – Bushland Programs, Gareth Debney, was appointed in July this year. That’s the main changes to our team. We also underwent changes of a different kind.

In May, as part of the State Government’s amalgamation reforms they declared boundary changes to a number of local Councils. As a result the area of Hornsby Shire Council south of the M2 motorway became part of the City of Parramatta. In October, our 20 groups south of the M2 officially joined the City of Parramatta Bushcare Program, including 120 of our Bushcare volunteers. While it is sad to see them go, we do wish them all the best and are confident the City of Parramatta will provide them with the level of service they expect from Council.

While we are now a smaller program we will continue to support and promote our program as we always have. This year we had 60 new applications to join Bushcare. Ten volunteers have completed their training and are full members of the Bushcare Program. A further 35 of our trainee volunteers have completed their Bushcode workshop or on-site training and 15 volunteers have completed their first step to become official Bushcare members. We hope you enjoy your time in Hornsby Bushcare and we wish you a safe and happy holiday season. See you in 2017.

Leanne Johnston

Comings and goings


Tony Gorman

Tony has had a 15 year long association with Hornsby Bushcare program as a volunteer at New Farm Road Bushcare site in West Pennant Hills. Alongside volunteers Jacky Bryant and Louise Rowston, Tony has been a driving force behind the rehabilitation of this important Blue Gum High Forest site. Tony also spent 12 months volunteering at Council’s Community Nursery where he strengthened his native plants identification and propagation skills.

Following a demanding professional career in IT working long hours, Tony decided that a change in career was needed. For him it was ‘a no brainer’ that his job would be in the Natural Resources industry. Tony enrolled in a Certificate in Land Management and Conservation course through TAFE. On completion of the course, Tony was employed as a professional Bush Regenerator by the National Trust. His knowledge and personal skills led to him been given a supervisor role. His current responsibilities as a contractor involve supervising staff and volunteers and implementing bush regeneration works to maintain and improve the condition of various Asset Protection Zones and Stormwater Quality Improvement Devices around the Hornsby Shire.

Tony is currently supervising four Bushcare sites from Epping to Mount Colah. The Bushland Programs Team is extremely pleased to have Tony on board.

Tanya Mein

Tanya has been a wonderful member of the Bushland Programs Team. She made a great impression in a (too) short period of time. Many of you would be aware of all the popular projects that Tanya was heavily involved with, the EcoGarden at Fagan Park, the Crop and Swap. Not to mention the numerous workshops she ran for Council’s Waste Management Branch over the past 8 years. More recently, Tanya set up the Hornsby Community Gardens at Neal Park, which officially opened in October 2016.

Tanya’s expertise and talents also extend to plant propagation. It was a great help for Ross to have Tanya help out at the Community Nursery during the extremely busy first 6 months of 2016. Tanya was involved with our Friday Bushcare sites for 6 months. After relocating to the Blue Mountains mid last year, Tanya accepted a position with the Blue Mountains Council as a Waste and Resources Project Officer. Despite having to say goodbye to many work colleagues, who have become friends over the years, Tanya is now able spend more time with her family, with work now just a 5 minute drive from home.

Many people who got to work with Tanya from both the Natural Resources and Waste Management Branch are already missing Tanya’s friendliness, kindness, knowledge and the list goes on and on. Tanya, you will always be welcome back!

Vale: Gordon Limburg

Gordon Limburg, late of Mt Ku-ring-gai, passed away on October 3rd, 2016. Gordon was a keen activist in all things environmental. It was a measure of the esteem in which he was held that, at his memorial held at the Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden, St Ives, there were so many representatives of the various organisations in which he was involved.

Gordon began his service to the community around 1960 when he was a Scout Master and a Sailing Master with the Woollahra Sailing Club. His concerns for the environment led to him being a Bushland Management Consultant for Gosford City Council and he was involved with the Blackwall Mountain Reserve POM. Moving back to Hornsby Shire saw him become involved in various organisations where his meticulous attention to detail in report and letter writing was appreciated. He spent fifteen years as a community representative on the Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Bush Fire Management Committee, only resigning in August last year. He will be sadly missed by many in the community, including members of several committees in which he participated. He is survived by his two sisters and their families.

Rae Rosten

Back row: Gordon Limburg, Leanne Johnston, Alex Fraser, Barry Lees, Noel Rosten, Rod Kavanah
Front row: Rae Rosten and Pat Pike

Wattles ‘n’ Boronias at Muogamarra Walk and Talk – August 2016

Seventeen visitors gathered under a canopy of sinuous limbed Angophora costata (Sydney Red Gum) and stringy barked Eucalyptus umbra (Broad-leaved White Mahogany) to spray their boots for Phytophthora mould and learn about the flora of Hawkesbury Sandstone country.

We passed shrubs of Boronia ledifolia (Sydney Boronia) covered in deep pink, four petal flowers and their cousins, pale pink five petal Eriostemon australasius (Pink Wax flower).

Small white tubular flowers of Woollsia pungens (Snow Wreath) filled with fragrant nectar were surrounded by dense, spiky leaves. Hardenbergia violacea (False Sarsaparilla), in the Pea family, twined its narrow leaves and deep purple flowers amongst the groundcovers.

Grape-with-a-tail fruits were turning purple in the Persoonia pinifolia (Pine-leaved Persoonia), while the Lasiopetalum ferrugineum (Rusty Petals) flowers were discreetly budding.

We admired the tenacity of Eucalyptus haemastoma (Scribbly Gum) to survive fire and the patchwork bark of E. punctata (Grey Gum) whose leaves are so favoured by koalas. We looked down over the legacy of weeds left by George Peat who cleared and farmed the rich volcanic soils of Peats Crater.

And the wattles! Acacia ulicifolia (Prickly Moses) was in full bloom with little yellow pom-poms, as was the red stemmed A. myrtifolia (Myrtle Wattle). A. oxycedrus (Spike Wattle) was a taller plant with stiff pointy leaves and deep yellow spike flower heads. They filled the air with their scent.

Our morning tea was taken while enjoying the extensive views west over the oyster beds of Berowra Creek and beyond. On our return walk we passed stands of E. piperita (Sydney Peppermint) with long strands of bark peeling from their branches. And then we were back at the car park.

Meron Wilson

Bird Surveys

We had another great bird survey in October 2016. We enjoyed ourselves so much the Bushland Programs Team joined the Great Aussie Bird Count, counting birds in Pennant Hills Park, below the nursery. In the end we had four sites; together our volunteers identified 57 different bird species. A full report will be in the next edition of the Bushcare News.

For those of you who love your birds, 2017 is the Year of the Parrot. That will be our special category in the 2017 photo comp. So get out your cameras. We will host a parrot evening later in the year, the date to be determined. In addition we have moved our annual bird survey to Saturday 28 October to coincide with Bird Life Australia’s Great Aussie Bird Count.

Image: King Parrot by Noel Rosten

Bushcare Christmas Party November 2016

The 2016 Bushcare Christmas Party was the 27th of its kind and was held at Roselea Community Hall on Saturday 26, November. More than 100 Bushcare volunteers and staff attended and made the most of this celebrative occasion. This was the first time we had a sing-along. The lovely Tanya Mein arranged for some of our Bushcare groups to sing a rendition of the 12 “Christmas Weeds” of Hornsby.

Thank you to Ron and Herta Watts from the Bedford Road Bushcare Group for taking photographs.

Talks and Presentations

Natural Resources Acting Manager, Peter Coad (pictured right) introduced himself and delivered a review of the Branch’s achievements over the past year. His informative presentation was a precious reminder of the importance of every hour contributed by volunteers and the implications of such commitment at the local reserve level as well as at a broader scale. The new Bushland Programs Coordinator, Gareth Debney, outlined the benefits of the new structure, whereby Bushcare and bushland management are now within the one team.


Community Nursery

In line with last year’s theme, once again it was a quiet achiever who took out this year’s coveted ‘Nursery Volunteer of the Year’ award! Ingrid has been volunteering at the Community Nursery for over 3½ years. During this time she has done countless hours of hard work, often undertaking the less glorious jobs within the nursery. And so, it is Ingrid’s efforts that keep the nursery looking a million dollars. Congratulations Ingrid Liermann!


Fifteen year Service

Bushcare groups who have been active for fifteen years and still going: Cherrybrook Technology High School, Denison Street and Quarry Road Bushcare groups. All awards were presented by Councillor Robert Browne. Congratulations to all of you!

Golden Trowel

This year, the theme for the ‘Golden Trowel’ award was a farewell to our Bushcare friends. It was only fitting that we celebrated the efforts of all our volunteers who have moved into the City of Parramatta’s Bushcare program. The groups awarded the Golden Trowel were: Bambara, Bambara/Darmanin, Bambara/Three Blokes, Bambara/Magnolia, Little Ray Park, Lynbrae Ave, Ray Park, Abuklea Road, Burnt Bridge, Donald Ave/Coates, Donald Ave/Glanfield, Gloucester Road, Pembroke Street and Stanley Road. We wish you all the best for your future with the City of Parramatta.


Christmas Hat Competition

Once again we had a fabulous selection of hats for the Christmas Hat Competition. Our volunteers collected, created, reused, repurposed, recycled and remodelled. The popular themes for the year seemed to be based on owls, Christmas or materials from nature. We had a fabulous selection of finalists and look forward to seeing how clever the Bushcare volunteers are next year.

From left to right:

Margaret Cruikshank (Castle Howard): This hat represents the common themes of Christmas with a Powerful Owl asleep with Santa hanging from its claws, one of the more visceral entries but entertaining nonetheless.

Judi Choat (Landra Steps): Judi’s hat was a crafty collage of mixed material to create a Bushland-themed hat. The crowning glory, a bird nest, was an opportunistic edition to the millinery masterpiece, found only a few days before the party. Great editing eye!

John Blundell (Landra Steps): John created the great Aussie Bushcare hat, where the baubles help to keep the flies away.

Anita Howard (Carrs Bush): A beautiful creation of Christmas star decorations from around the world, a truly inspiring celebration of diversity.

Winner - Pam Chambers (Roselea): The winning hat was a beautiful knitted nativity scene with three wise native animals. There were owls and an echidna and a little manger with a native baby Jesus.

Marilyn Guyot (Bambara): Marilyn was also clever and constructed a hat of considerable height. I’m not sure if the bird represented a partridge in a pear tree or maybe it represented a Rose Robin.

Erik Andersen (Wareemba/Tyas): We love a man who can work with tinsel. The height was something to be admired and of course the star on top was memorable.


Photo Competition

The high standards of the photographs we received this year were truly outstanding. The burden and responsibility of choosing a winner were far too great for us to bear, so we decided to go democratic and let the general public decide.

Congratulations go to:

  • First place: Noel Rosten, Female Satin Bower Bird
  • Second place: Herta Watts, House Hunting – Corymbia ficilifolia
  • Third place: Helen Smith, Where’s Breakfast? Fledglings in the sun

Orchid photo category:

  • First place: Petra Holland, Copper Beard Orchid (Caloghilus campestris)
  • Second place: Daniel Burkhardt, Dotted Sun-orchid (Thelymitra ixiodes) and Petra Holland, Bonnet Orchid (Cryptostylis erecta)

Bush poetry

We had three excellent submissions for this year’s Poetry and Prose. Thank you for another great year, Rae Litting and David Swain from Roselea (Beecroft), and Michelle Mabbot from Florence Cotton (Hornsby) for your contributions. Read the poems online.


Special Guest Presentation - Australian Wildlife Conservancy

If you're at all like me, your involvement in Bush Regeneration would have grown out of a love for being surrounded by a natural environment that is clean, native, healthy and thriving. In short, we seek to actively restore, create or preserve an environment that we have chosen and can enjoy in the future instead of letting our natural bushland be overtaken by weeds, pests and other non-native invasive forces.

This means we have a lot in common with the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) who have made their mission the protection of Australia's endangered native wildlife in managed sanctuaries around Australia. So I was delighted that at this year's Bushcare Christmas party and sumptuous lunch to be educated by a very interesting and informative presentation from Dr Rod Kavanagh, a Senior Ecologist with the AWC (pictured right). As he explained, on the AWC's 26 properties across the country they protect more than 500 bird species and over 200 mammal species. Those sanctuaries cover a phenomenal 3.8 million hectares (9.5 million acres), making the AWC the largest non-government conservation estate owner in Australia.

Rod showed us some beautiful slides of their glorious sanctuaries, many of which are world heritage listed and cover an extraordinary diversity of habitats from hot desert to the wet rainforest and eucalypt woodlands. Aerial photos showed us the beauty of these places while Rod explained how they are managed. The species they protect include the Bilby, Numbat, Gouldian Finch and Bridled Nailtail Wallaby. A lot of the AWC work consists of making the protected areas cat and fox-free by erecting state-of-the-art fences around the perimeter and removing predators and feral herbivore (ex-farm stock left to roam wild). This gives protected species a safe environment in which to recover and thrive. The AWC also run a large fire-management program (the largest such non-government program in Australia).

Image: Greater Bilby, supplied by Australian Wildlife Conservancy

As scientist and Ecologist, Rod (also an owl expert) helps the AWC to implement ground-breaking approaches to conservaion which combine world-class science with sound business strategies as well as building innovative indigenous partnerships. I very much enjoyed the talk and slides and applaud the courageous work the AWC have undertaken. Just like the excellent Bushcare program, the AWC relies on public support. If you feel you would like to know more or wish to support the AWC, volunteer with them or donate by visiting their web page at

You could also look for similar initiatives in your own neighbourhood, for example I've had the great pleasure of volunteering at the privately owned Waterfall Springs Wildlife Sanctuary in Kulnura just north of Sydney, which is also a non-profit organisation dedicated to saving endangered species such as the Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby. See

Thanks to Rod for the presentation and for the hard-working Bushcare team and the generous and talented volunteers for making the lunch such a yummy and entertaining occasion.

Joe Vandermeer (Berowra Community Centre Bushcare Group)

Seed Collecting

With the past 10 weeks hovering around 2 degrees Celsius above long term average seed collection for the community nursery has been a tad more urgent this year. Seed has ripened a lot earlier than in previous years as a result.

Nonetheless we have managed to collect some good quantities and diversity this year. This includes plenty of Pultenaea spp. from the newly acquired council land at Westleigh where there is a fantastic parcel of bushland with a mosaic of fire history. This previous fire management has allowed a broad range of plant ages to exist thereby creating ideal seed collecting opportunities.

Grasses are another group of plants that have shed seed much earlier than the norm (see photo), good collections of Kangaroo Grass, Poa affinis and Spear Grass have all been sampled.

Anyway enough talk for now it’s time to get back out there and collect Lomandra seed before it drops!

Risky Business!

Risk and Insurance – Bushcare volunteers working when scheduled only

As many of our Bushcare and Nursery volunteers would be aware, legislation around Work Health & Safety (WHS) changed in 2012 to become nationally consistent. Since this time, Hornsby Council has continued to refine its comprehensive WHS systems to ensure compliance with the regulations as well as fulfilling its obligations to workers.

What you may not realise is – in the context of WHS – volunteers are considered to have the same responsibilities for adhering to WHS policies and procedures as Council staff and likewise Council has the same responsibility to ensure a safe work place for volunteers as it does for staff. As you can imagine, this presents some challenges for staff managing volunteer programs as we seek to balance WHS compliance with maintaining volunteer interest, enthusiasm and a safe work environment.

Part of our approach in achieving this balance is the Bushcode. The Bushcode outlines the essential elements of Council’s Bushcare Program and establishes a baseline for how we address WHS. While we are always seeking to embed flexibility and practicality in to our program, there are a small number of conditions that, in the interests of safety, must be adhered to. Chief among these is the requirement that volunteers never work alone in bushland. Similarly, it is a requirement that all Bushcare Groups are supervised and work to an annual site plan. While the vast majority of volunteers and groups do work in accordance with the Bushcode, there are a small number who don’t. Early next year the Bushland Programs Team will be working with these groups/individuals to help them transition across to the Bushcode requirements.

Glyphosate Update

Recently, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) concluded a review of all available research in to the possible adverse health affects posed by glyphosate use. The report concludes that there is no evidence to suggest that glyphosate – when used in accordance with the label directions – poses a significant carcinogenic/other health risk to users. This position is welcomed by Hornsby Bushcare as it reaffirms our current risk-based approach to glyphosate use by volunteers outlined in the Bushcode.

Changes to the Biodiveristy Laws

On 17 November, the NSW Parliament passed the Biodiversity Conservation Bill and Local Land Services Amendment Bill. The Bills will be supported by regulations and other detailed planning instruments, such as a new SEPP and guidance notes. The NSW State government will continue to engage with stakeholders and the community as these are prepared over the coming months. The new scheme is anticipated to commence from mid-2017 and will significantly influence how Bushland areas are managed.

You can view the legislation on the parliamentary website and read more about the reforms at



Crop and Swap

When: Saturday 11 February, 10am - 11am
Where: Normanhurst Uniting Church Neighbourhood Garden, 2 Buckingham Ave, Normanhurst

Grow it, make it, brew it, bake it, bunch it, and bring it! Do you find yourself with an excess of fruit, herbs, flowers or eggs? Perhaps you love to make bread or relishes?

Why not join in one of our swaps. No money exchanged, it’s simply an exchange of excess food items that you have. (Non-alcoholic items only. No refrigerated items or pre-cut fruit and vegetables).

All items will go on display with a viewing before everyone has the chance to take something they need. We ask that you bring at least one quality item, pre-bundle and label your items and a blanket/basket to display on.

Register by email to or simply come along on the day.


Sensation Spiders - Talk by Helen Smith

When: Saturday 18 February, 10am - 12pm
Where: Hawkesbury Room, Hornsby Shire Council, 296 Peats Ferry Road, Hornsby

Learn fascinating facts about our local spiders. Dr Helen Smith, Bushcare volunteer and Research Associate with the Arachnology Section at the Australian Museum, will talk about her great passion, spiders. This is your opportunity to learn more about creepy crawlies and the beneficial role they play in the natural environment. Book online or phone 9847 6362.


Going Solar and Save

When: Saturday 18 February, 10am - 12pm
Where: Hornsby Shire Council Chambers, 296 Peats Ferry Rd, Hornsby

Sick of paying high electricity bills? Thinking of getting solar panels? Come along to this free workshop to find out more. For Hornsby Shire residents only. Book online or phone 9847 6362.


Bushcode Workshop

When: Saturday 18 March, 9am - 3pm
Where: Earthwise Cottage, 28-30 Britannia Street, Pennant Hills

The Bushcare Training Workshop is a requirement for your complete membership, for new and renewing volunteers. Lunch is provided. Book online or phone 9847 6362.


Catchment Tour

When: Wednesday 22 March, 9am - 12pm

Celebrate Works Water Day and join us on a three hour bus and walking tour exploring local creeks, catchments and stormwater quality improvement devices. This is part of Council’s Guided Bushwalks Program.


Earth Hour Family Fun Day and Free Native Plant Giveaway

When: Saturday 25 March, 2pm - 5pm
Where: Thornleigh Community Centre

Join us to celebrate Earth Hour. Lots of family fun, live wildlife displays, face painting, kids’ corner, and much more. Select your four free native plants for a selection of over 70 different local species (for Hornsby Shire residents only). Conditions apply, see website for details.

Copyright © 2017 Hornsby Shire Council, All rights reserved.

Hornsby Shire Council Bushcare
Phone: (02) 9847 6362

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