Hunter Region Landcare Network Committee December 2015
A foundation member of Landcare NSW Inc. representing Lake Macquarie’s Landcare community, John is also the current Chair of the Hunter Region Landcare Network, Chair of the Hunter’s Regional Landcare Facilitator Steering Committee, and a member of the Hunter’s Great Eastern Ranges team.
We had family picnics on bush creeks most weekends, and camped on the coast most holidays. I guess that’s why I chose to live at Catherine Hill Bay 20 years ago, despite the cottage having boards hanging off – the village, bush and beach were like home.
Our garden here is full of lilly pillies, callistemons, grevilleas, frogs, lizards and birds.
When my son became a Cub Scout, I soon took over coordinating 1st Swansea Scouts Landcare. We saw the hall become surrounded with bushes, the lake edge change from kikuyu to native plants, and best of all, local Indigenous elders joined us in planting a bush tucker garden.
Catherine Hill Bay Dunecare/Landcare then restarted and we joined them regenerating the dunes on Graveyard Beach and the banks of Catherine Hill Bay Ck, at the south end. The CVA week long visits and regular enthusiastic residents dwindled to just a couple of us, and for a few years we just kept all the walkways to the beach clear, replanting the pigface in bare areas.
2013 brought some welcome interest: Damien Hawcroft and other locals took on regenerating the slopes and dunes in front of the Surf Club and BBQ area, and I took over coordinating. These public areas look vegetated and cared for now.
Other areas are still black, burnt in October 2013, but we’ve gratefully received loadsof Landcare plants and are taking this opportunity from nature to get these into the formerly bitou areas.
Why am I still in Landcare? I’m continually inspired by the people in Catho still fighting to protect history and community; my bit is giving the flora and fauna a helping hand.
I’ve also joined the Lake Macquarie Landcare Network in 2013 and then became the Chair, so I represent us on the Hunter Region Landcare Committee, too.