March 2024 Newsletter

After some good early summer rainfall at Rockleigh the predicted hot, dry spell finally arrived and the
countryside has now browned off. The Tothills has experienced a particularly dry season and some autumn rain relief would now be very welcome.
The property management activities of the company do wind back somewhat over the summer period
although the Rockleigh team has still been kept busy with weeding, re-vegetation maintenance, mowing,
and track repairs. The tube stock plants are growing well in preparation for the 2024 Rockleigh planting
season, thanks to our capable and willing volunteers. Dates for the planting days at Rockleigh are being
firmed up and further details will be provided closer to the time.
Feral pest management is also ongoing at both Rockleigh and the Tothills with some success but more
effort required. Grant applications have been put in for both the Tothills and Rockleigh to defray some of
these costs. Hopefully the company will be successful, particularly given the current government focus on
eradicating feral deer.
There has been an encouraging response from members to the fund raising for the Tothills property.
External sources for additional funding are still being sought. However, we hopefully now have the means
for an initial partial land purchase with the potential of further phased purchases.

Property News

NVHA Grant Re-vegetation Project
Substantial progress has been made on this project with the exclosure in place, protecting and area of 13
hectares, and mowing and spraying to reduce weed competition. This expenditure in setting the project up
covers a significant portion of the grant funding with $61,000 of the $93,400 grant being spent to date.
We will be putting in over 2000 plants in the exclosure this planting season. This will be the first year of the
3 year programme to put in 10,000 plants. These plants are being grown by Second Nature Conservancy
(previously GWLAP) and Bushland Conservation volunteers from local provenance seeds.
The planting effort will be supported by Second Nature Conservancy but as usual, we will be looking for
volunteer planters. Fortunately no guards are required for plants within the exclosure, which will make the
job a bit easier. The dates for the planting day are yet to be finalised but details will be provided well
ahead of time.
The benefits of the exclosure in eliminating grazing pressure appear to be apparent already with strong
natural re-generation of saltbush and native grasses, in particular, in the north-western corner. This area
will not be re-planted, so it will be interesting to how it responds over the next few years.

Biodiversity Links Project Monarto to Tungkillo – Planting Dates

Further to the December 2023 Newsletter, the 1000 plants being grown by Bushland Conservation on
contract to Second Nature Conservancy (previously GWLAP) are coming on well. These will be planted at
Rockleigh, outside of the exclosure, in the 2024 planting season. The 15th June is scheduled for
preparing scrapes and holes and the planting will be carried out on the 16th June. Further details will
be provided closer to the time but please consider volunteering to support this planting effort.

Feral Pests

As a landholder, Bushland Conservation has a responsibility under the Landscape South Australia Act to
destroy feral deer on its properties.
A professional shooter has been engaged to reduce pest numbers, with a particular focus on deer, but also foxes and cats. The shooter has had some success destroying 3 deer and a fox but further visits will be required to reduce total grazing pressure and clear out the remaining foxes and cats known to be present on the property.

Bird Watering Station

The company has maintained the watering station set up some years ago for the Diamond Firetail research project. Graham White in particular regularly tops up the water supply, which is much appreciated by the finches, honeyeaters, parrots, etc.

Tothill Ranges

Andrew Wurst continues to be diligent with the camera surveillance. This has greatly assisted in identifying when and where deer are active on the property, enabling more efficient and cost effective coordination of shooting activities.
No Worm Lizards yet from the research project but Andrew was rewarded with 8 tawny dragons including
one hatchling .
There is Electrical and Telecommunications infrastructure on the Tothills property that requires regular
inspection and management of fire risk. These activities have been undertaken recently and are
coordinated under the company’s management plan

Kangaroo Island
The Kangaroo Island property is in good condition and continues to be essentially self-managed under the
watchful eye of our Kangaroo Island based members. The feral cat eradication program is continuing to achieve results and the occasional weed infestations are being treated.

Company News

Tothill Ranges Land Purchase Offer
There has been a good response to the request to seek funds through a capital raising for the purchase of land adjacent to our Tothills property. This property has a high conservation value and the board sees
substantial merit in merging the land into Bushland’s existing holding and putting it under Heritage
The funds offered by members to date will hopefully enable the company to purchase a portion of the land
on offer with the possibility of further phased purchases as additional funds are obtained over the coming
years. The board is seeking external sources of funding through donations.
Members will be kept informed of the outcomes of further funding efforts and on the progress of
negotiations with the vendor.

Talyala Land Offer
The board has been given approval to negotiate with the owners on the acquisition of this property but
there has been no progress due to the complex nature of the ownership of the property and any transfer.
2024 AGM

The 2024 Annual General Meeting will be held on our Kangaroo Island Property on Saturday 5 October.
Members are reminded to book the ferry early. More details will be provided closer to the time.

Peter Vincent