2010 – Present
In 2010 Lois Simpson, a member of the Newcastle Ramblers Bushwalking Club initiated the formation of a Coastcare group to celebrate the Club’s 50 year anniversary and to restore native vegetation to Obelisk Hill and its surrounds in Newcastle. So commenced a wonderful eight years of effort to clear weed growth, mulch and replant the area with local native species. The baton was handed into the capable hands of Bob Clifton and the work area considerably expanded to include the Ordnance and Wolfe Street verges, and in the last three year across Wolfe Street into Arcadia Park. Along the way we have received great support from Bushland Services of the Newcastle City Council in the form of advice, mulch, plants, a storage container and several grants for specific projects. Trees in Newcastle (TIN) assisted in some projects and with the supply of plants.
Working on Obelisk Hill and Arcadia Park in Newcastle, the group is addressing the control of weeds in an urban environment and the enhancement of biodiversity by re-establishing native coastal and littoral rainforest habitats, and protecting remnant Themeda grasslands.
They have also installed nesting boxes for birds and mammals in Arcadia Park and are creating an awareness of and interest in the beauty, diversity and value of small pockets of native habitat in a city environment. Additionally, their activities involve the removal of weeds including weed trees (African olive and date palms), and replacing them with native tube stock. The group find that the maintenance of restored areas is ongoing and the work load reduces as new plantings take over.
Maintaining such a longstanding and enthusiastic interest by Club members and the local community in our projects.
It takes patience to work with natural environments.
The groups numbers are increasing as they now have 10-15 regulars for work sessions which are held on the first and third Fridays of the month. We have been joined by the students of Newcastle East Public School and CityServe volunteers for special and larger projects. Our achievements are also documented on our Instagram account (obleisk_arcadia).
The group is proud to have successfully raised the interest of Novocastrians in Arcadia Park, a little known location in Newcastle, as in the last two years we have transformed a neglected park into a beautiful and popular bushland setting, now being used by visitors to the city and our community. At any time of the day you will see people enjoying the quiet bushland, wildflowers and birdlife. It is popular with joggers, with birthday parties and picnics and has even been featured in photo shoots for weddings.
The benefits of being a part of this landcare group have included, being more physically active, camaraderie, meeting new friends and neighbours, morning tea after 3 hours of effort, and the sense of achievement. Additionally, the many thanks and compliments received from passersby are appreciated and boost morale.
At first the appearance of the job looked daunting and overpowering but we made a start and were surprised by what was achieved. Success breeds success. We face on the job challenges including keeping water up to new plantings in hot weather and weed control in replanted areas. We have been lucky as people are keen and the community participates in weeding when they walk through the park.