On Sunday 15th July five Friends of Eastern Otways left Anglesea at 9.30 for an excursion to Geelong. We were to meet up with the Friends of Buckley Falls on the Barwon river. It had been decided because of wet weather and the walking tracks in the Otways being in bad shape that this excursion would be an interesting alternative, and would widen our knowledge of work being done by another similar group of Friends.
The Friends of Buckley Falls are a small but dedicated group ably led by Tony Woodford for over thirty years, reclaiming the steep river valley and banks badly neglected, overgrazed and abused for 150 years, infested by Boxthorn, Briar Rose and numerous atrocious groundcover weeds – ideal home for rabbits.
Initially this reclaiming work had been done on the northern side of the Barwon approximately from the ring road to the old paper mill at the falls. This area is a huge success and well worth a visit. So work in recent years on the south side, the area from the ring road at Scenic Rd. Highton down to the old Flour Mill site, has been a much harder challenge indeed.
Our group joined the morning work planting and then following lunch we were led on a descriptive tour of work done so far.
Species planted were River Red Gum for talls with understory of Hopbush Dodonaea viscosa, Treeviolet Hymenanthrea dentata, Kangaroo Apple Solanum vescum, Small-leaved Clematis Clematis microphylla, Golden Spray Viminaria juncea, Prickly Moses Acacia verticillata, Black Wattle A. mearnsii, Silver Wattle A. dealbata, Drooping Sheoak Allocasuarina verticillata, Common Correa Correa reflexa and grasses Poa sp. amongst others.
The work this group has done over the years is quite astonishing and should be shouted from the rooftops. It goes to show by chipping away at a large problem great results can be achieved by a few dedicated people that no one thought possible. It would be good to visit again and possibly invite Friends of Buckley Falls to visit one of our projects and return their hospitality. A truly memorable day.