Newsletter February 2020

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.

Marg and I also carried out a bit more veldt grass destruction around the current campsite which is looking remarkably veldt grass free until closer inspection. Persistence must eventually pay off.

All up it was a rewarding day out. The early morning weather was delightful and made bird watching a pleasure. As the wind and humidity picked up birds were less willing to reveal themselves but it was still quite reasonable working weather.

If you haven’t driven through the Onkaparinga Valley towns hit by the bush fire, the rain has seen the blackened ground transformed to green though the trees still look rather stark.

I hope all is well with you.

Best wishes,


Newsletter January 2020

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.





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


Newsletter July 22nd 2019

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  or mobile 0404 038 852 or land-line 8370 7951) to share your thoughts.


Bill Blessing (Chairperson)

Graham White (Secretary)

ps: we thank Margaret Brown for her wise input into this Newsletter

Public Parks NOT Private Playgrounds – Get Back on the Track!

Kangaroo Island Update 19/02/2019 forwarded  from Janine Macintosh, Bushland Conservation member and a passionate advocate for the KI environment.
Friends of Parks members on Kangaroo Island have ceased volunteering on parks and reserves in protest over the decision to build two luxury private accommodation villages on prominent fragile coastal sites in wild and unspoilt parts of Flinders Chase National Park. The sites are outside the development zones listed in the Park Management Plan (Amendment 2017). There was no community consultation.
Members of other Friends of Parks groups and other community organisations have joined the protest against the development. What is happening in Flinders Chase can happen elsewhere.
What are we protesting about? The 5-day Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail already has four campsites adjacent to existing road access and discreetly located in secluded sites away from sensitive coastal habitats. However, the Department of Environment and Water has endorsed a proposal by the Australian Walking Company to develop two private luxury accommodation villages away from the Trail: • each village has 10 substantial buildings, plus water tanks, lookouts and    connecting paths • they are located up to 3 km from the Wilderness Trail • they are conspicuously placed on pristine coastal sites overlooking wild    and remote beaches • an additional 3 km of road will be bulldozed through native vegetation    to service them • they require an additional 7 km of cleared walking track to connect them with the Trail.
What do we want? The Minister and his Department to return this development to the one specified in the Management Plan and in the investment documents: that is for small scale luxury accommodation along the trail, close to existing road access and away from the sensitive coastal zone.

Join us in fighting against cuts to our parks and reserves: • Contact Minister Speirs, Premier Steven Marshall and your local State     MP and tell them you want our National Parks protected from inappropriate    development  • Write letters to media outlets (newspapers, radio, TV)  •

Follow us on Facebook:  •

October 2018 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.


Bill Matheson’s Memorial Planting Day

Rockleigh Saturday and Sunday, 7–8 July 2018

We have decided on the weekend of July 7th and 8th for the annual planting day at Rockleigh, which this year is in memory of our much loved and respected Bushland member and Director, Bill Matheson.

We welcome you all to come to our Rockleigh property to help with the planting and celebrate Bill’s contribution to our company. Bill and Doreen’s friends and fellowship group from the Magill Uniting Church will be joining us on the Sunday.

*We will meet at the old campsite.

*For those able to assist with planting please bring your tools and other suitable equipment, and your lunch. Long-handled (post hole) shovels and mattocks or hoes are best for the sandy ground at the planting site.

Saturday 7th July

Planting will commence from about 10 am at the old campsite. Lunch around 1 pm. Please bring your lunch, the billy will be boiling and we will provide tea, coffee, fruit and cake.

 Sunday 8th July

Planting will commence at 10 am at the old campsite. Lunch around 1 pm. Please bring your lunch. Doreen and friends will come around 1.30pm for the brief commemoration and afternoon tea. The billy will be boiling and we will provide tea, coffee, fruit and cake!

Seed growers

Please contact Bren (on Bren’s phone: 0430 595 947 or Bis’s phone: 0400 254 350) as soon as possible so we know how many seedlings we have for planting.


We hope as many of you as possible will join the directors camping at the new campsite on Friday and/or Saturday nights.Do feel free to come even if you are not able to assist with the actual planting work. Hope to see you there.

Bren Lay        (on behalf of the Rockleigh Management Team: Graham White, Tom Reeves, Marg Brown and Bren and Bis Lay)

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 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.

Next year’s AGM will be held on KI, hopefully on the middle weekend of the holidays (6th Oct). Once the date is finalized early next year I will make it official in a newsletter. John  and Reiko  have offered accommodation at their nearby property if you do not wish to camp.


Newsetter August 2017

  1. Call

The annual call of $100 is now overdue. Many thanks to the 36 who have already paid. If you have any problems paying at this time please let me know.

Management Plan Question

Those of you who have not as yet said whether you would like a printed copy of the updated management plans, please do so by the end of next week (Friday 18th Aug). My thanks to those of you who promptly replied.

If you don’t receive emails you will get a copy of the plans.


As reported earlier, the AGM this year is to be held in the Tothills at 1:30 on Saturday 7th October at the usual site in the regrowth at Webb Gap. Several of us will be camping on at least the Friday and Saturday nights so please feel free to join us. (A ‘not very long drop’ loo will be in position! )

Denzel Murfett will speak of his work photographing and collecting the seeds of rare plants. See ( Retiring Directors are myself, Alison Bullock and Bren Lay. All three of us have renominated . If you would like to become a Director, and particularly if you would like the challenge of being secretary at some stage, please nominate yourself by letting me know by the end of August or have someone nominate you at the meeting.

Rockleigh Working Bee

A very successful working bee was conducted over the last weekend of July despite some very unpleasant weather. The track to the old campsite which had been overgrown by all the regrowth was tamed and the track itself repaired and upgraded to ensure water causes less erosion. The netting on the northern boundary fence was reattached where necessary and kangaroo runs filled in to prevent access by sheep. Some 50-60 plants were planted and many guards removed or replaced. Much weeding around plants was carried out. The invading false caper, Euphorbia terracina, was hand pulled but is an ongoing problem. Quite a bit of veldt grass was removed from the campsite area and around established plantings.

Due to the high winds and some rain we were unable to do the spraying of the slashed area of veldt grass or remove overhanging limbs along the southern fence line. That will be done in the next few weeks by the Rockleigh management group. See below for more details.






Working Bee at Rockleigh July 2017- 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.

Lunch on the Saturday was a sausage sizzle and salads which was enjoyed by all as we sat around out of the wind. There was plenty of discussion as we also enjoyed tea and a variety of cakes. Many thanks to our small Rockleigh Management Group for their supplies and preparation.

On Sunday we had 5 on deck; new member Michelle, Janet, Andrew, Marg and me.

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.

After lunch, eaten while sheltering from the rain, we spent the time removing guards, weeding seedlings and upgrading guards where possible.

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

July 2017

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.


A reminder that the AGM this year is to be held in the Tothills on Saturday 7th October. Further information will be supplied in the next newsletter