2009 – Present
The primary land use round Catherine Hill Bay has been underground coal mining. All the timber needed for the mine, railway and housing was taken locally. There has been stockpiling of coal over large areas and coal chitter was used for fill. Significant resources have been required for rehabilitation due to contamination of the soil, erosion, non-native plant introduction and weed invasion.
Planting 400 Acacia sophorae after the bushfires in 2013.
Catherine Hill Bay Dunecare activities were launched on Clean Up Australia Day in 1991 to work on the dunes at the southern end of Catherine Hill Bay (CHB) beach around the Surf Club, and from 1995 on the dunes at Graveyard Beach to the north where we have also preserved 3 historic graves dating from 1897. In 2005 the group joined Lake Macquarie Landcare and we have continued to work on both sites, and at times on CHB Creek in the south, and the wetlands below the dam to the north of the villages.
After the bushfire of 2013 planting 400 Acacia sophorae in the black, bare bush was therapeutic. These became lost in the thick regrowth in autumn. That bitou will always be with us!
We have focused on dune regeneration by removal of weeds and stabilisation by plantings. Lake Macquarie Landcare poison weeds such as blackberry, lantana and bitou bush that are too large for manual weeding.
The south site is now in good condition as is the area between the cemetery and car park at Graveyard Beach. Bitou maintenance weeding is an ongoing task. We are now enjoying working at Graveyard Beach with easier weeding in the sand!
We enjoy doing our bit for bush regeneration and dune stabilisation – it is great to see the difference we have made to the dunes and also restoring the bushland setting of the unique heritage village of Catherine Hill Bay.
People who want to ‘garden’ and improve their view need to be patiently coaxed into loving our endemic plants and leaving weeds to shade, scaffolding and mulch, however untidy!
The bird population, permanent residents and visitors, is a pleasing indication of the health of the bush. It is also rewarding to know that the three gullies that feed into Puntei Creek are filtering good run-off towards Lake Macquarie.Learning to care for the land has been a huge.