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.



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.



Figure 2 : Pittosporium ‘invading’  the veldt grass

2017 July

As many of you will know, Bill Matheson, one of our greatly respected shareholders passed away in May. Bill was instrumental in the management of our Rockleigh property and a Director for 14 years. Our thoughts and best wishes go to Doreen and family.

John Smyth recently organized the filling in of the well near the ruin at Webb Gap in the Tothills. The well was collapsing and a potential risk for youngsters in particular. Our thanks to shareholder Greg Schmall and son Jared for carrying out the work.

2017 February newsletter

 I hope you have all been coping with our new weather system. While it has been excellent for some people regarding crops and hay some I know have had their hands full coping with fly strike on sheep and clearing fallen trees. Rockleigh has had above average rainfall which has possibly helped furnish us with new weeds, certainly helped the veldt grass to a bumper season and hopefully helped our seedlings and established vegetation through the summer. Whether the weather had anything to do with it or not I don’t know but a koala made a brief appearance on the property back on 20th December which adds another species to the mammal list.

The Rockleigh Management Group has been busy. We have carried out a trial mistletoe removal taking all the mistletoe from 5 E. porosa and 5 E. fasciculosa trees, all very heavily infested. Five similarly infested trees of both varieties have been marked and will be observed as a control. There are many reasons for not doing this and some previous trials (not on our property) have proved ineffective, but such is the prevalence of mistletoe we thought it worth a trial. We have also poisoned the veldt grass in the slashed area north of the ford. We have done this in a series of blocks trialling 2 chemicals at different concentrations. The other slashed area (below the old campsite) will be treated in winter as recommended by the chemical manufacturers. How we go about revegetating these blocks will depend largely on the outcome of the poisoning. Seeds have been collected of various native grasses and suitable plants for revegetating.

The Tothills have also received good rains. Thankfully fences at creek crossings have not been affected but John has been kept busy keeping other fences clear of fallen trees and branches. John also successfully applied for a grant from the Northern and Yorke NRM’s Burra to Kapunda project which covered the costs of volunteers’ travel and fencing materials when 1.2 km of fencing on the western side had to be upgraded.

The grant also included money for soursob and fox control. An appreciable part of the grant was donated back to the company by our generous volunteers and shareholders and this can hopefully be used to reduce John’s work load.

The update of the Tothill Management Plan is near completion and will hopefully be delivered to you as an email attachment in April.

The AGM Weekend

The Al1120528GM went very well with the weather being very kind until late Sunday morning when it blew us out of the place. Eight people camped on Friday and Saturday nights, 14 helped out at the working bee and 25 attended the meeting.

A display of photos courtesy of Bren and Elizabeth Lay and Kerry White showed various aspects of Rockleigh taken before and after the 2013 fire. Kerry  threw in a mystery photo of several white splodges in the creek with a prize for the best explanation of the situation. There were many interesting ideas but the actual scene was the Adelaide Hunt Club’s hounds on an outing with their brightly clad followers. And “No”, they should not have been there and “Yes”, the Hunt Club did receive a follow up letter.


 The working bee group managed to remove a large number of guards and weed many young plants while Bren, Elizabeth and Marg found a couple of pre Bushland photo points and re-photographed the scenes. This very interesting comparison between 1997 and 2016 will hopefully appear in the revamped Management Plan.

Our guest speaker at the AGM was Grace Hodder who is doing her PhD on diamond firetails in the Mt Lofty Ranges and has 2 sites on our Rockleigh property. She gave a very interesting talk on her methods and possible findings. Grace is investigating the finches food sources and how this affects their survival. Unfortunately many firetails at Rockleigh do not survive the winter and her study suggests at this stage that by encouraging native perennials we may be able to help them.

Grace addressing the AGMl1120580


  l1120567Our Relaxed Chairperson, Bill


We have a new director in Steve White who has a lot of practical experience in environmental matters . He replaces Tom who has given Bushland valuable service and will no doubt rejoin the Board at some future stage. Marg Brown, the other retiring director, was re-elected.

In an endeavour to increase the participation of members in working bees we are calling on anyone with an interest in helping to send me their name and phone number (mobile if possible) so we can call people up at very short notice to inform them of a working bee. Possible options at this stage are seed collection, removing guards and / or weeding within guards, summer watering and fence repair.

After the AGM John attempted to clear debris from the fence where it crosses the creek on the eastern boundary but due to the depth of water was unable to do it all.Meanwhile another group tackled the blocked pipes under the ford. With the help of much shoveling and a plumbers snake both were cleared with a consequent large drop in the water level over night. This will limit erosion of the ford from over flowing water.

On the Sunday morning 8 of us tackled the invasion of False Caper on our southern boundary. It was a much bigger job than anticipated and took a good 15 volunteer hours with the north wind increasing all the time. Many thanks to all involved, particularly Denzel who made a very early start and to the youngsters, Kimberly and Brodie, who worked tirelessly throughout.

 l1120542 Rockleigh -Looking good .

Newsletter March 2016


     54 Fairlie Dr, Flagstaff Hill SA 5159

Ph 83707951 email gandkwhite@iprimus.com.au

Greetings All,

New shareholder

We welcome Scott Hartshorne to the Company. Scott is an artist who lives on KI. He is very keen on the bush and conservation and will be a great help to Deb Sleeman and others in the management of the KI property. Many of us were fortunate to meet Scott, and sample his scones, at the open day on KI after the last AGM. Scott recently purchased Geoff Rowett’s shares. We thank Geoff for his support of the Company over the last 22 years.


Congratulations to Janet Pedler and Lynn Pedler. Janet received a much deserved Pride of Australia Medal in the Environment category. Janet’s work in conservation and the environment has been ongoing for almost 40 years both privately and in conjunction with many environmental organisations. One particular contribution that stands out to me because I have attended one of the many courses she has conducted, is her association with the Nature Conservation Society of SA and the consequent development of the Bushland Condition Monitoring Method. Lynn received Birds Australia’s J N Hobbs Medal “…in honour of his extraordinary field skills and tireless efforts to locate and manage some of South Australia’s most elusive and threatened birds” We are probably all familiar with Lynn’s work in protecting Glossy Black Cockatoos on KI.


Newsletter December 2015

1.  Calls

Thankyou to all who have paid this year’s levy. There were 2 shareholders who had credit from last year and 1 shareholder who has yet to pay, but I am sure that will happen at some stage. That leaves us with enough in our 3 accounts which should cover any emergencies should they arise.

2.  AGM

After enjoying a weeks good camping on KI for our recent AGM, it was recommended by those present to hold the next one during the school holidays and if possible at the time of a full moon. This makes it the weekend of October 15th and 16th with the AGM on Saturday 15th. By rotation the 2016 AGM will be at Rockleigh. This is somewhat later than usual and could put us in a spell of hot weather. Let me know if you think we have got it wrong!

3. Property Coordinators

Each of our properties has a Property Coordinator:-

Tothills: John Smyth,

KI: Deb Sleeman

Rockleigh: Bren Lay

The following people have agreed to work with those coordinators as able and when required:

Tothills; Andrew Wurst, Tom &Alison Bullock & Steve White

KI: James Doube, John Matheson & Reiko Hosokawa

Rockleigh: Graham White, Elizabeth Lay, Tom Reeves & Marg Brown

Each group becomes a Local Management Committee to work closely with the Board of Directors in helping to make decisions and see that work is done. There are many other shareholders who are happy to help out on special projects, eg tree planting. If you would like to be a part of any of these groups please let me or any other Director know and I will add your name. It is hoped that whenever some work needs to be done that I can get an email out to all shareholders inviting you to help. That brings me to the next topic.

4. Emails

If you do not have an email you will miss out on some notices as mentioned above. You may like to organize with a neighbour or relative to have such messages sent to their email address. If you do, please let me know the address so I can see that you are informed. Newsletters will still be posted where required.5New Member

5. New Members:

We welcome Jennifer Shaw as the newest member of our group, having bought Sonia and Tim Croft’s shareholding. We hope she and husband John Lyon enjoy their association with us.

If anyone wants to increase their shareholding please let me know as it may give an option in the sale of a large shareholding.

6.Web Site

The possibility of a web site for Bushland was mooted at the AGM in the Tothills some 4 years ago. After a good deal of preliminary work by Janet and lots of help from Pam Robinson, Alison Bullock offered to take on the project and is at the stage where she is looking for photographs.

Alison is looking for any photos of good resolution with an indication of where it was taken, what the subject is and if possible when it was taken. If it is a people photo please identify the subjects where possible. If you want to be acknowledged as the photographer please let Alison know.

She does not guarantee to publish all photos but will keep them all on file so they can be accessed if needed.

So please dig up your photos of rocks and plants, birds and other animals, people and scenery and whatever else you may have which are relevant to Bushland.

Thank you.

I will be in Tasmania from 11th Dec to 5th January.

All the best for Christmas and the New Year,

August 2015 newsletter

Greetings All,


I hope you are all surviving the cold wet weather that Winter has brought. Kerry and I have just come back from the Arctic and I reckon the coldest day we experienced was Adelaide on the day we returned!


The main purpose of this newsletter is to supply the latest details on the program surrounding the AGM on KI. If it also prompts some more payments of the $100 annual payment it will save me a lot of phone calls.


The Program:

Tues    Several members arrive to camp and a bush loo will be set up.

Wed    Nothing organized but I know that John Smyth and Marg Brown (and cakes) will arrive.

Thurs  Visit the bush property of Dr Richard Glatz and Janine McIntosh at 10am. Dr Glatz will be speaking        at the AGM and they will both hopefully join us for the evening meal.

Fri       Visit The Moth site.

Sat       Walk led by John in the morning

AGM at 1:30pm

Shared evening meal. See below for latest news on this.

Sun      Expecting about 20 visitors, mostly from the Island. They will join us at the camp site at about         10am for cake, cuppa and a chat before breaking into groups for a walk. Please feel free to join them          and fill them in on details of our company and properties.

Mon    Tom Reeves has offered to show anyone interested around his nearby property. We will pool           vehicles and meet at his gate at 11am.

Tues    Most will be going or will have gone home.


Bill Blessing has generously offered to supply and cook steak, his specialty, and sausages for all present at the evening meal on Saturday. The rest of us may like to cook veges, prepare salads or supply desserts. Please choose one to contribute, ie veg. or salad or dessert, and let’s hope we get a good mix. Anyone not into such a meal please bring food of your own choice. There will be several options for cooking.


In the last newsletter I asked people to bring copies of up to 5 interesting photos taken over the past 40 years or any artefacts, historical documents, etc. This is a reminder that we would still like to have these to make up a display.


I have also attached the directions on how to get to the property in case you have lost the last lot.


I have not had any requests for transport to or from the ferry at either end. Please let me know if you need to be picked up or delivered.



This is a reminder that the annual call for $100 is due. If finances are currently a problem please let me know. The Board has the discretion to waive or delay at least part of the call in extenuating circumstances.


Many thanks to those who have already paid.


Election of Directors

Unfortunately, at this stage, no-one has nominated with the express purpose of taking over the secretarial role next year but both Bill Blessing and Janet Pedler have renominated for the 2 positions they vacate.


All the best to everyone, and for those coming to the AGM I hope you have a pleasant crossing.





notes from JS KI 20 October 2014

Hello friends,
I recently camped alone on our Kangaroo Island land for 15 nights and enjoyed some great walks on the sandy tracks and along the coast. The expected visit by the Copenhagen expert on primitive moths unfortunately didn’t eventuate, due to his ill health. He was coming to see the site on our land where local entomologist Richard Glatz discovered the tiny new moth species, soon to be described as a new Family of insect! I met Richard at the site, the Callitris (Native PIne) trees on the Willson River estuary. We didn’t see any of the moths, probably because it was a bit early in the short season of their adult life, but did see a specimen of a new Genus of parasitic wasps also discovered by Richard, for which the larvae of the moths are a host species. These discoveries are scientifically most interesting and it is exciting that they occurred on our land.
Although the Spring rains have been way below average on the Island our mallee scrub is still looking good and the coastal wildflowers are lovely. The Calytrix and Lasiopetalum are in full flower as are the Orthrosanthus (blue morning flag) tussocks. I had kangaroos around my tent many times at dusk, sometimes within 5 metres, and Bush Stone-curlews calling close-by at night. I think they were using the vehicle track through the thick mallee as a “landing site”, there being many large bird tracks each morning in the sand there. The notoriously shy Western Whipbirds were calling close to my camp and I managed to get a short sighting of one. At the coast the pair of Ospreys have moved from their previous nest site at Black Point to breed this year on a low limestone sea-stack close to where our track terminates. The female was on the nest despite the high seas sending showers of spray over her; occasionally she stood to shake herself off. I think they would need to be lucky to raise a brood there!
I saw several goannas and wallabies and just one echidna, a very red-brown one compared to the dark-brown to black Tothills specimens. The dawn chorus of honeyeaters and Golden Whistlers was lovely to hear. I  walked around Black Point on a day of Southerly gales and huge seas crashing on the rocks, such a contrast to the peaceful days and nights in the quiet scrub.
The only whale remains still in evidence at the coast are 10 articulated vertibrae and associated gristle and blubber on the rocks about 200 metres east of where the skull used to be. It was a privilege to be able to spend a couple of weeks in such delightful country.
I have attached some photos for those of  you getting this email version of my letter.    Regards,    John.