2020 October Newsletter

The AGM went well with 26 people attending and 15 shareholdings represented. It was particularly good to see some of the next generation there. Thank you all for your interest and the chance to catch up both before and after the meeting. We had a few campers on Friday and Saturday but only Denzel braved the forecast rain and stayed on Sunday night. He estimated about 10 mm of rain fell overnight. Thank you to all the experts among our membership who so freely lead walks and help others learn about the area in general and plants in particular.

Directors

Alison , our current Chair, thanked Bren for his years of service on the Board. Bren retired to have more time to rehabilitate their Harrogate block burnt out in the fires earlier this year but will continue in his role as Property Coordinator for Rockleigh. He is replaced as a director by Denzel . Thanks Denzel for taking on the challenge. Graham and Alison were re-appointed. The Directors continuing are Steve , David , Marg  and Bill .

Surrender of Shares

A number of shareholders have expressed an interest in leaving their shares to the Company.

I reported that our best advice to those wishing to do so is to either have a clause in the will stating your wish is to surrender your shares to the Company in which case the shares are cancelled, or to instruct the executor to sell the shares and give the proceeds to the Company. The former gives the Company an extra shareholding which could be used to raise money to purchase new land or perhaps split a large shareholding that is for sale. The latter gives the Company cash to be used as required or as stipulated in the will.

The Constitution

Unfortunately, the new constitution was not ready for discussion at the AGM. Draft 2 should be available next week. This will be distributed, for comment, to those who have expressed an interest in helping with it. Should changes be suggested, the Board will then deliberate on them before forwarding to our lawyer for a final draft. This will then be distributed to all shareholders and a vote to adopt it will be held at either a special general meeting or the next AGM, depending on the time taken to reach that point.

Rare orchid – thanks to Denzel for the following:

Hello members,

Early in September I helped ecologist Jerry Smith search for Caladenia gladiolata “Bayonet Spider-orchid”. This orchid is critically endangered in the Southern Lofty region with just a few plants hanging on in Scott Creek Conservation Park.

Historical records show it did occur in the Tothill Ranges. There are a few records from the late 1970s to early 80s. Another known location was from Hornsdale in the early 1900s, now well cleared.

Having seen the habitat at Alligator Gorge where a few hundred plants still survive it still seems a possibility it might be in the Tothills. It prefers hillside woodlands with grassy/herb understorey where it can get some sunshine during the day to warm it to release its strong scent. Flowering time is from August to early October.

 

Capture.PNG alligator gorgeCapture.PNG denzel Capture.PNG 3

The first 2 images are from Alligator Gorge. Note thick calli. The smaller form is from Scott Creek CP.

To anyone interested in helping find this orchid, please take a photo of any orchid which looks to be this species anywhere in the Northern Lofty region and record the location. This would be a great break through if this species could be rediscovered in this region.

Thanks for keeping an eye out for special plants.  Regards  Denzel

 

Property Reports – Highlights

Andrew had cameras, recently purchased with grant money, on display, as well as some of the photographic results. These will be used for monitoring a variety of things eg roo numbers, occupants of burrows and users of tracks. It was also suggested they could be used to determine the pollinators of various plants, especially orchids. Andrew pointed out the need to explore data storage for all the data produced by the cameras. This could be valuable information for researchers in the future.

Peter  outlined his ideas for a more rapid revegetation of Rockleigh using Heritage Agreement Grants. With his valuable help the management group has applied for a $10,000 grant this year and, if successful, we will apply for the larger grants available next year. A key point in the application is to plant with the aim of helping tide the Diamond Firetails over winter as recommended in Grace Hodder’s research on the bird. Another element to the grant is using outside expert help and, to this end, Peter has been in discussion with the Goolwa to Wellington Local Action Planning Association (GWLAP). This group has a good reputation in revegetating in many types of environments.

On KI, the problem with the use of the bike track that had been carved out along the coast east from Black Point appears to have been solved with police intervention. Our thanks to Tom  and Deb  for their input.

All the best

Graham

Editors note: members family names deliberately removed.

2020 September Newsletter

Hello everyone,

AGM

As previously advertised, the AGM this year is to be held at Webb Gap in the Tothills on Saturday 3rd October at 1:30pm. Three directors retire by rotation. They are our current Chair, Alison Bullock, Bren Lay and myself. As reported at last year’s AGM, I will accept another term, but we are looking for a replacement secretary by the end of 2021. If anyone would like to nominate as a director please let me know. Alternatively you can nominate on the day.

The Board has discussed a draft of our new Constitution with Fraser Bell, the lawyer advising us. We believe that we are almost “there”. In the next few months we will send the possible final draft to those who volunteered to help with rewriting. An item for discussion at the AGM will be whether we call a special meeting next year after the “final” draft has been distributed to all shareholders so that a vote on its acceptance can be held.

I have attached the Profit and Loss and the Balance Sheet for your information by email. That of course has to be voted on at the AGM. The main point of difference between this year’s report and previous years’ is the positioning of the $65,300 of Commonwealth money we received to buy Rockleigh. Rather than being a loan and listed as a liability it now appears under shareholders equity. This is a result of it being confirmed that the initial grant now has no strings to it.

We hope to see as many of you as possible at the AGM. I guess social distancing will still be a factor of life to consider when greeting each other. Please feel welcome to make a camping weekend of it. I will be there from Friday to Monday as I am sure will others. If you need directions, please let me know.

Grants

Both John and Andrew have been reimbursed for mileage travelled in the work they do in the Tothills, with more available for next year’s expenses. Andrew has already purchased some motion sensitive cameras and is familiarising himself with their operation.

Peter Vincent has invigorated the Rockleigh management group and is assisting us in applying for the newly available Heritage Agreement grants. The aim will be to revegetate some of the Rockleigh land specifically to help the Diamond Firetails survive each year. We will be using Grace Hodder’s research and recommendations to help in the application. (Grace has recently finished her PhD studies on the Diamond Firetail in the Mt Lofty Ranges and our property was one of her sites)

All the best

Graham

2020 August newsletter

A very successful working bee was conducted in beautiful weather over the weekend. My sincere thanks to John, David, Andrew, Barbara, Michelle, Janet, Marg, Tom B, Peter, and Neil for all their hard work and good company. We managed to construct and install 100 large mesh guards. This involved weeding around the plants first, perhaps removing old guards and in the case of the smaller old mesh guards, installing them on other needy plants.

David and I also managed to spray the false caper along the roadside and where it had impinged on our land adjacent to the road. A couple of bridal creeper plants and the odd boxthorn were also removed.

Amid all the hard work there were many flowering shrubs to admire, with the Senecios covering broad areas of the land. A bird list of some 60 species was also compiled. Most interesting among the birds was the presence of 4 different cuckoo species and a spotted nightjar. Peter was also witness to the mating flight of a pair of Australian Hobbies (Little Falcons).

 

senecio rockleigh   Senecio                         rockleigh Pimelea strictaPimelea stricta

Friends of Private Bushland

A couple of weeks ago 20 members of this group arrived at Rockleigh for a morning tour and lunch. Bren Lay led a very informative and interesting walk around the property. It was a very pleasant way to meet the dedicated members of this group. One thing I learned, though unfortunately a bit late, is that kangaroos will latch onto the base of a plant and rake their teeth up the stem. If they don’t uproot it they effectively ring bark it. And so, the demise of what had been some lovely young callitris from which the corflute guards had recently been removed, was explained.

As of today, 10 members have yet to pay their annual fee. Many thanks to all who have paid.

AGM reminder

Covid19 permitting, the AGM will be held in the Tothills at 1:30pm on Saturday October 3rd.

All the best

Graham

2020 July Newsletters

Newsletter July 10th

Hello everyone,

Working Bee

The working group for Rockleigh have set aside the first week-end in August (1st and 2nd) for a working bee. There are a number of tasks to be done:

  1. Many plants need weeding
  2. Many corflute guards need to be replaced with larger mesh guards
  3. False caper and box thorns need to be sprayed

I hope to camp  on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights and would welcome any others who wish to stay a night or two. A long drop loo will be in place.

The plan is to work on the Saturday, official start 10am, and leave Sunday free to bird watch, botanise, walk or whatever, but you are welcome to come on the Saturday just to be social, at a distance of course, or just to enjoy the environment. If you arrive before 10am, meet at the current campsite for a cuppa, or go to the old campsite where much of the work will be done.

Equipment that would be useful if you have it is:- Back pack sprayer, mattock, trowel, hammer, pliers and gloves. We hope to see you there.

Grant

Largely due to some excellent record keeping by Andrew Wurst, we have won a $5,000 grant to fund Andrew’s and John’s travel for soursob and fox control as well as to purchase 3 motion sensitive cameras.

This Sunday

On Sunday 12th July, Friends of Private Bushland are holding an outing which starts at our Rockleigh property at 10am. Bren Lay will outline the history of the place, talk about its geology and vegetation and lead a walk if required. All welcome.

Fees

As of this morning, 25 members have paid their annual fee, some with a generous donation. Many thanks to you all and a reminder to everyone else that the $100 is now due. Payment details are repeated here.

( Please note: I try to send an email acknowledgement of all payments so you know it has been received. For those on ordinary mail I send the acknowledgement as a note on the next newsletter.)

Methods of payment are in the emailed newsletter.

All the best Graham

Newsletter July 1

The recent news from KI about bandicoots and dunnarts is interesting and heartening as is the sale of lot 4, adjacent to our property, to KI Wildlife Network. The cat eradication on Dudley Peninsula is underway and it will be great to get some information on how it is going.

Reports from the western end of the island indicate pockets of unburnt vegetation harbouring a variety of birds and mammals. The problem is insufficient food to see them through to the recovery of the burnt area. Some translocation of species (eg emu wrens) is being done (and cats removed!)

In the meantime, Rockleigh has received a reasonable amount of rain and some of the eucalypts are flowering brilliantly.

 

Several things have happened at Rockleigh over the last few months. Bren has engaged a well qualified “deer stalker” to sort out our deer problem. He walks around on a moon lit night but has so far seen none although he has reported many kangaroos. Nic and Angela have solved the silting up of the pipes under the ford. They have also planted out a variety of seedlings raised from seed collected on the property. If you are visiting Rockleigh you will notice that the wood pile at the campsite is very neat, also thanks to Nic. Angela, Nic, Peter Vincent. Marg Brown and I have also weeded a number of the seedlings planted out over the last few years.

There is much more weeding to be done. More substantial guards are required for many of the trees and shrubs. False caper is once again appearing on the roadside and on our southern edge. There are a few box thorn bushes that need to be removed. So there is plenty of work to be done with the possibility of a weekend working bee in the next month or two

 

 

 

In the Tothills, John and Andrew have just completed the spraying of sour sobs and Andrew is now able to relieve John of that annual task in the future. Our thanks to you both.

 

Now before I forget, the main purpose of this newsletter is to remind you that the annual maintenance fee of $100 is now due. With Covid19 and the issues involved, this could be a financial strain on some. Please let me know if this is the case

2020 February Newsletter

Greetings All,

After a successful watering day a few weeks ago at Rockleigh we have been fortunate to have received at least sufficient rain to dampen the soil and put some water in the creeks. Dodoneas that were hanging their leaves in thirsty depression a few weeks ago are standing tall and green. There is a tinge of green and your feet no longer “crunch” at every footstep.

The crimson chats and woodswallows seem to have departed but the rainbow bee-eaters are still around. A pair of white fronted chats, pipits, whiteface, 3 hooded robins and a group of yellow-rumped thornbills made up the ground feeding contingent on the far side of the creek.

For those of you who helped on the watering day you may recall that the guards on the trees hillside of the old camping ground were missing. Once again they were all gone, possibly due to the wind but in some cases certainly helped by the roos. Marg Brown and I watered them again, replaced the guards and placed dead branches around them to deter the roos. This method is used in Turkey where Marg visited a few years ago.

I spoke to the roo shooter for Rockleigh this morning and he reported seeing a koala on his last visit back in November. That is now 2 sightings of a koala on Rockleigh. I know some of you are very much against culling roos and none of us like the idea but see it as a necessity if we are going to maintain a healthy ecosystem. We had a permit to shoot 30 western grays and in their 2 visits the shooters managed to get half that number. From what we saw yesterday the population is still very healthy. However, we are left with the question of what to do about the feral deer on our property as the shooters never saw them.

A bit more veldt grass destruction was carried out around the current campsite which is looking remarkably veldt grass free until closer inspection. Persistence must eventually pay off.

Best wishes,

Graham

2020 January Newsletter

The Rockleigh watering day was very successful. There had been very few “deaths” as a result of the recent hot weather although some were distressed. With a workforce of 12 people, all the watering, and the removal of guards where necessary, had been accomplished by lunchtime. All in all it was an excellent day with the work accomplished, new people met, old acquaintances renewed and conversations had. Special thanks go to my brother for delivering 2000 litres of water and helping out on the day.

waterre

 

 

Capture

Many thanks to the Vincent siblings, and everyone else, for their untiring help on the day.

Thanks also to those of you who, for a variety of reasons, were unable to attend on the day but sent supportive emails. Much appreciated.

A final reminder to anyone wanting to comment on whether or not to change the Bushland Company structure, to please do so by Feb 14th.

best wishes

Graham

2019 July Newsletter

Since the company that became Bushland Conservation Pty Ltd was formed over 40 years ago many things have changed, including the cost of living and the value of land. We have two important documents that guide our Company. The first document is our Charter, a document that sets out our guiding philosophy and principles. The second is a formal Constitution, required by law under the Companies Act.

Our Charter, emphasising our fundamental principle, states “the sole object for which the company is established is to purchase and/or lease land in its natural state in order to secure the same from agricultural exploitation and to protect and preserve existing landscape, flora and fauna.” This is our fundamental guiding principle. We are not a regular company trading for profit.

At present Item 5 of our Charter states that we aim: “To seek no gain from the investment in the company other than maintaining the value of shareholder investment through linking the share price to the Consumer Price Index.” This CPI link was adopted by members at foundation and reaffirmed in 1991 and it is currently used to determine the value of our shares when they are sold and purchased.

We can no longer assume that CPI gives “fair value”. Legal advice we have received (advice that is in accordance with our Constitution) states that the price of a share should be fixed by the member selling the share, and should represent the “fair value” of the share. We have also been advised that the Company (Bushland Conservation Pty Ltd) must not itself value the shares. 

So how should a seller value their shares? Apart from our dedicated and generous shareholders our only asset is the land. There is no official schema for valuing land held for environmental heritage.  As we cannot use it to produce an income it could be said to have little dollar value. Or it could be argued that our land is of exceptionally high value because it is rare and because natural habitat is ever diminishing.

A guide to fair value could be gained from recent similar sales of heritage land. In this case the value depends on the condition of the trees and scrub, the amount of restorative and maintenance work required and the convenience of the land for visiting and camping etc.  There are some of our members who have knowledge of recent such sales but these are not common and not definitive. In reality, as in any other market transaction, shares are only worth what a buyer is willing to pay. So a member who is selling shares needs to set what they think is a fair asking price and negotiate with the buyer from there.

The Directors therefore strongly believe that it is essential to rescind the CPI link. At the 2019 AGM on October 12th we will, as an interim measure, propose that our Company NOT adjust the share price according to the CPI for the last financial year (+1.3%). We will set aside time for members to present their views concerning the general issue of the CPI link and the concept of the fair value of our shares. Our present intention is to convene a special General Meeting of our Company at a time and place to be decided at the AGM. At this special meeting the Directors will propose that the link between the CPI and our share price be abolished.

We ask that you think about these issues with some urgency. We hope that members will contact our Secretary (Graham White- email gandkwhite@iprimus.com.au  or mobile 0404 038 852 or land-line 8370 7951) to share your thoughts.

2018 October AGM newsletter

The weather was fine, the campsite a delight, the company excellent and the AGM went well too. 17 shareholders attended and it was quite inspirational to have Doreen Matheson there. Julia, Daniel and Brodie from our youngest generation took the initiative to supply us with afternoon tea during the meeting. Well done and thank you. We had 2 visitors camp with us and 6 guests on the day.

The Chair, Bill Blessing, welcomed all present and spoke briefly on the recent death of Jeanine Vincent who has been a strong supporter of our Company and a dedicated environmentalist for many years.

Our first guest, Karleah Berris, attending with her family, spoke of the planned cat eradication program for Dudley Peninsula. She demonstrated how the “Felixer 3” trap worked – basically it uses video recognition software and 4 sensors to determine if an animal is a cat. If it is, it is hit by a globule of 1080 poison which it will then ingest by grooming itself and consequently die. At this stage no poison is being used and the software is being tested and upgraded to improve its recognition rate as it currently would only target 50% of cats which approach it.

Our second guest was Pat Hodgens who spoke about “Land for Wildlife” and their work in trying to establish the number and distribution of the KI Dunnart and the Southern Brown Bandicoot on KI. He is very passionate about protecting these animals and keen to set camera traps on our property to determine whether they are present though it is not expected. Permission to do this was granted.

Bill Blessing and David Smyth were elected as Directors and retiring Director, Janet Pedler, was thanked for her valuable input over the many years she has served on the Board.

The property reports highlighted the lack of rain on the mainland, the excellent turnout for Bill Matheson’s memorial planting day at Rockleigh and that TERN (Terrestrial Ecosystems Research Network) had revisited the Tothills and had permission to set up sites on our KI property. One of our KI shareholders, Dr Richard Glatz, will meet with them when they visit. One worrying aspect for the management of our KI property which was mentioned by John in his recent newsletter is the tracks being forged by trail bike riders.

The next AGM will be held at Rockleigh on a date yet to be determined. This will be followed on the Sunday with an open day to which neighbours and other environmental groups will be invited.

Graham

AGM report

The recent AGM (7/10/2017) in the Tothills was a great success with 25 people at the meeting and a really good feeling of friendship and “belonging”. Seven people camped on the Friday and they were joined by a further five on the Saturday night. Some interesting conversations were had amid the smoke around the campfire.

John took those interested on short walks to see orchids and to investigate the differences in the two Pultenaea species and many other species came under scrutiny as well.

Our guest speaker for the day was Denzel Murfet, Company member and botanist extraordinaire. Denzel outlined the history behind the establishment of the website saseedbank.com.au. He then talked, with the use of charts, on how to navigate through the website for the information it holds. After 5 years of dedicated work by some very keen volunteer botanists (including Denzel), the website now has some 2800 of SA’s 3500 plants listed with detailed information/ photographs of each, maps of distribution and links to other useful botanical sites. This site is well worth a look.

New members, though absent, were welcomed to the Company by the Chair (Bill Blessing) who later gave a brief summary of events over the past year. Among things mentioned were the death of Bill Matheson and the generousity of the family in naming Bushland the beneficiary of any donations (which came to $845); the possibility of fossil footprints on our KI property after they were found 2 km west of Mouth Flat; the successful working bee held at Rockleigh and the completion of the update of the management plans (though still at the printers).

In his property report for the Tothills, John mentioned the completion of a cull of kangaroos and the need for a further cull as numbers are still damagingly high. The Rockleigh report included information on the memorial planting for 2018 in Bill Matheson’s honour. We have had an excellent response to the appeal for growers, many thanks to all concerned, and hope for an equally good response next year when a working bee will be called to plant the trees and shrubs.

In general business the Board wanted to inform the meeting of its decision to set a minimum entry into the Company of $10,000 when a spare shareholding is used to split a large sale, but otherwise the entry price is that of the shareholding being sold. The Board also gained the endorsement of the AGM for the following

. “that access will not be granted to Bushland properties for commercial ventures except under exceptional circumstances as approved by the Board”.

This motion had arisen as a result of Bushland being approached by a private concern for permission to film a commercial at Black Point and was arrived at after much discussion.

July 2017- Working Bee at Rockleigh notes from Graham and David

Weather wise it was a miserable weekend with very strong winds and quite a bit of rain. Cosequently, campers were at a minimum but much was achieved.

On the Saturday we had 11 people present, Bren and Elizabeth, John and Reiko,    John S, David, Tom R., Tom B., Barbara, Margaret and me.

The overgrown track leading to the old campsite was cleared and the track itself repaired. (The problem with the track is water running down and eroding it. Banks have been formed to direct the water away from the track.) Lots of false caper was pulled up from the roadside and in our property nearby and the northern fence line was repaired and kangaroo “runs” blocked where they gave access to sheep. Some 40 odd plants were put in the ground, some guards removed and others replaced. Several of the young Casuarinas had been damaged by kangaroos as they grew above the smaller guards. Larger guards, those made by Ross several years ago, were put over these. Lots of veldt grass plants were removed at and near the campsite. This is an area where the veldt grass is not so prolific and provides an opportunity to manually remove it. Marg’s wish is that everyone who goes to Rockleigh makes a point of removing at least 6 plants in this area each visit. The campsite area is looking really good with native grasses now predominant.

Andrew had 14 Accacia argyrophylla plants which we put in on the sandy rise at the back of the old camp site. We spent the rest of the morning removing the remaining false caper plants from the roadside.

Many thanks to all who helped out. Despite not being able to do the spraying of the Veldt grass as planned because of the inclement conditions, I think everyone was pleased with just how much was accomplished.

Graham

e-fasciculosa

Figure 1: E. fasciculosa (pink gum)

 

Those of us who helped at the working bee at Rockleigh on the wintry weekend of July 29-30 were well rewarded by seeing the results of all the hard work that had gone before. In particular, the sustained revegetation of the previously cleared cropping land along the road is now a delight. The range of species planted over many years, their recovery from the bushfire, and the appearance of spontaneous seedlings show how worthwhile it has been. Two standouts were eucalypts in full bloom, the pink-flowered blue gum (Eucalyptus leucoxylon ssp.leucoxylon), and the white-flowered pink gum (E. fasciculata). The blue gum drops a carpet of pink blossoms from mature trees along the roadside just to the east of our block, and it is great that it is natural in the area. Such coloured forms are sold in nurseries as E. leucoxylon ‘Rosea’. The pink gum is close to the northern limit of its range at Rockleigh. It is “almost” a South Australian endemic, with a few stands in the Little Desert of western Victoria, just over the border from the South East population. Its name E. fasciculata comes from the bundles (“fascicles”) of terminal flowers so prominent when it is in flower (see photo). The lack on anthers on the outer long stamens is also characteristic of this species.

David

pittosporum-2

Figure 2 : Pittosporium ‘invading’  the veldt grass