History Week has grown to a May month long “About Time” festival with over 500 events around the State.  Gawler has nine activities and events during which provide a range of opportunities for discovering local history.  The program for the month can be accessed on the “abouttime” website and is well worth a good look.  Local libraries also have information available.  Gawler is particularly celebrating the 150th anniversary of the McKinlay expedition which left Willaston/Gawler in 1861 to search for the lost Burke and Wills explorers.

Saturday 7  – Gawler Community Picnic

A community picnic including old time picnic games as well as more modern entertainment.  Fun for all ages.  Relax and enjoy the family atmosphere and company.  Listen to music while soaking up the beauty of this parkland.  Bring your own picnic lunch or purchase drinks and tasty food from the BBQ.  Some BBQ facilities available.  Bring own seats.  Parking available. 10.30am-4.00pm, Clonlea reserve, Murray Road, Gawler.  For further information phone Phillip Tow (08) 8522 5171.

Tuesday to Friday and Sundays 1pm – 4pm – Blast The Flies

Come and see a display which celebrates the 175th anniversary of the arrival in Australia of McKinlay and the 150th anniversary of his Burke and Wills relief party in 1861 – 1862.  There is much to learn about one of Gawler’s favourite sons and ‘one of Australia’s most intrepid and skilful explorers’.  Limited wheelchair access to building display on ground floor.  Bookings required for groups only. Gawler Branch, National Trust of South Australia, The Old Telegraph Office, 59 Murray Street Gawler. $2 per person. For further information phone Rob Richter (08) 8522 4709 or Gillian Richter 0427 005 492

Saturday 21 May – From Parachutes to Panties

A fabulous fashion parade of original male and female 1940s clothing and accessories.  This includes Army, Navy and Airforce uniforms and is presented by Viotel Rowe and her team.  Enjoy the old favourite wartime songs and listen to the wartime anecdotes.  Supper provided.  Parking available – Bookings required.  Gawler Branch, National Trust of South Australia. 7pm – 10.30pm.  Gawler elderly Centre, 37 Fourth Street, Gawler South.  For more information and tickets phone Bev Thom (08) 8522 2823 or Gillian Richter (080 8522 4709.

Sunday 1  – Tuesday 31 – Gawler’s Railway Heritage

View heritage buildings and a display including original plans for trains and a map of Australian dating from 1644.  Weekdays 5.45am – 5.30pm, Weekends 7.30am – 12 noon.  Gawler Heritage Kiosk, Old Railway Station, 23rd Street, Gawler.  For further information phone Jill Vandelen (08) 8523 2477 or Carolyn Vandelen (08) 8523 2477

Thursday 26 May to Sunday 3 July – Gawler Imaging: Geoff New’s Art, Craft, Cartoons and Life

Geoff New was an iconic figure in Gawler for 40 years until 2001.  His artistic activities included painting, sculpture, foundry casting, poetry, cartoons, writing and film making.  Geoff was a thinker, dreamer and community environment and heritage campaigner.  This exhibition draws together items, themes and reminiscences from Geoff’s life and his creative process and studio experimentation with materials and traditional methods.  Venue upstairs – not suitable for some people with impaired mobility.  Gawler Environment & Heritage Association. Thursdays – Sundays 10am – 4pm.  Gawler Community Gallery, Gawler Railway Station Building, 23rd Street, Gawler.  For more information phone Adrian Shackley (08) 8522 4636 or 0429 0054 363, Gawler community Gallery phone (08) 8523 5995

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Gawler Rivers project.  A final community walk to look at plans for Stage 2 of the Gawler Rivers Project will occur on Sunday 8 May.  The walk will start at 1.30 pm at Apex Park Julian Terrace and will move along the South Para to the river junction and then along the North Para to the Caravan Park before returning to Apex Park about 3 pm.

Approval has been given for restoration of the large waterhole which used to be a feature of Dead Man’s Pass.  Work will be slowed down by the continuing flows in the South Para and the silt removed will need to be dried out for several months before being spread in an area where previous sand mining has lowered the usual level of the river flats.  Work is also continuing on signage for the river walk and collection of information about aspects of the history and significance of the rivers.  Further information is available from Rachel Yacoumis on 0407 775 868.

NRM volunteers walk and talk.  Dead Man’s Pass will also be the site for the northern NRM volunteer activity for 2011.  The event on Saturday May 14 from 9.30 am will feature guided walks by Gawler Environment and Heritage Association and Gawler Regional Natural Resource Centre volunteers around Dead Man’s Pass featuring the history and conservation significance of the area.  The event includes a catered lunch and short talks on regional environment activities.  Book in at the Gawler NRM office on 8523 7700 or email geha1@bigpond.com

History Festival  History Week has grown to a May month long “About Time” festival with over 500 events around the State.  Gawler has 9 activities and events during which provide a range of opportunities for discovering local history.  The program for the month can be accessed on the “abouttime” website and is well worth a good look.  Local libraries also have information available.  Gawler is particularly celebrating the 150th anniversary of the McKinlay expedition which left Willaston/Gawler in 1861 to search for the lost Burke and Wills explorers.  See later for some Festival event details.

Carbon – money growing on trees?  GEHA presents a workshop explaining opportunities for storing carbon through revegetation projects on local farms and small rural properties will be held in Gawler on Wednesday May 11 at 7.30 pm.  Guest speaker Leonard Cohen from the Canopy organisation is a leading expert in South Australia on carbon storage through revegetation and on the costs and benefits of contracts for carbon storage which can produce income for landholders.  Results will also be provided for the project to measure carbon storage in local remnant vegetation.  The venue for this event is the CWA Hall at 29 Tod St Gawler – about 250 metres west of the Reid St/Tod St roundabout.  There will be tea, coffee and a light supper –  we would appreciate advice of likely attendance to plan for supper.  Ring Adrian or Sue on 85224363 for more information, for pre-workshop  documents and to book in.

Para Woodland planting. Saturday June 18 will see a major planting day at the Para Woodland reserve.  This year will see major planting of grassland species as well as the rarely seen free lunch.   Details and form to RSVP is available on the “milliontrees” website.

What’s On

Can we have it all

Regional Development Australia Barossa has a high powered Forum on protecting farming, landscapes and the environment on the edge of urban areas.  Speakers include Deputy Premier John Rau, Tim Horton and Professor Randy Stringer.  This Friday 1 April 9.30 am start and including lunch at Peter Lehmann Wines.  Cost $55.  Information/book with Barbara Lightburn at RDA Barossa 8563 3603.

Yellow tailed black cockatoo recording for people in the hills area – contact  Joanna Park  City of Playford   for more information or to report sightings  E-mail: jpark@playford.sa.gov.au Ph: 8256 0425

Gawler Rivers Project – Rachel Yacoumis is working short term on the Gawler Council Rivers Project collecting stories and information about Gawler rivers.  Rachel will be at Gawler library Reading Room on Friday April 15 from 1-3pm.  Drop by for a chat, see some old photos and media stories of the rivers and to pick up a brochure about the new pathway and bridges. Contact Rachel on rivers@gawler.sa.gov.au or 0407775868 or alternatively the Gawler Regional NRC on 8523 7700.

NRM Volunteers Walk and Talk in the “Northern” NRM area is on in Gawler this year featuring conservation in Dead Man’s Pass and the Gawler Rivers Project.  Sat 14 May 9.30 am and including lunch.  Bookings essential to 8273 9120 or 8523 7700.

Carbon in farm trees

Sequestering for biodiversity

Gawler Environment and Heritage Association is working with Leonard Cohen of the Canopy group on a project to estimate Carbon stored in long standing native vegetation on the Adelaide Plains and foothills around Gawler.

The purpose of the project is to estimate the Carbon which is likely to be stored with revegetation of farm land or from restoration of existing areas of native vegetation which have been partly cleared.  This is the basis on which landholders can work out the benefits which are available from Carbon offset contracts which are available for carbon pollution offsets.

Data is collected from representative 30 metre square areas.  All significant trees and shrubs in the area are measured.  This data is then put into a national CSRIO developed computer program.

The GEHA project will measure mallee woodland at Reeves Plains and Wasleys, River Box open woodland at Roseworthy, Mallee Box/blue gum grassy woodland along the foothills and Peppermint Box grassy woodland at Freeling.   One of the issues with carbon storage on farms is that if Carbon storage is not considered in conjunction with biodiversity outcomes, then mono-culture plantings will be encouraged at the expense of biodiverse outcomes.

Information on the project is available via geha1@bigpond.com or Adrian Shackley on 8522 4363.

Steve Taylor, Senior Ranger Barossa District; Dr Peggy Rismiller and Rob Swarbrick, from Cockatoo Valley at the Echidna Workshop.

Over 40 people attended the Gawler NRC “Secret lives of Echidnas” talk by Dr. Peggy Rismiller at Para Wirra Recreation Park.  Many were local landholders that have seen echidnas on their properties although Rob Swarbrick from Cockatoo Valley said that he does not see them as often as he used to.  An Echidna was recently spotted on the Gawler East Development Site.  See previous post.

Echidnas occur across most of Australia from the inland deserts to the coast – they are even found above the snow line.

Echidnas can live for 40-50 years and have home ranges up to 250ha so it is difficult to determine their numbers in the region.  Their major threats are feral cats, dogs and foxes.

“Echidna’s are perceived as ‘common’ yet no one knows how many there were at the time of settlement or how many there are today” Dr. Rismiller explained  “A lot of facts are needed before their conservation status can be determined”.

If you spot an echidna, dead or alive Peggy encourages you to send details of your sighting to Echidna Care: echidna@kin.net.au or pick up a form from the NRC.  This will help scientists create better population and distribution information.

Creekbed would be disturbed by burying of sewer pipe

GEHA has submitted a response to Delfin Lend Lease’s referral of matters regarding the Gawler East Development under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.  The GEHA Submission requests

the EPBC assessment body to require prior to a final assessment:

  1. Adequate areas  to conserve and expand the area of Iron-grass natural temperate grassland and to provide an additional buffer for managing interface with housing.
  2. Adequate buffer areas to protect the various areas of Eucalyptus porosa grassy woodland so that the Recovery Plan fauna species and other fauna are able to use these areas without undue interference.
  3. Suitable buffers around conservation areas (South Para River corridor, iron-grass area and Eucalyptus porosa Woodland areas) to provide access for management vehicles including fire trucks and machinery such as slashers in order to protect the conservation areas with firebreaks and the like. In some cases these buffers will be provided by the buffers set out in 1. and 2. above.
  4. The presentation of Gawler East Infrastructure Masterplan, particularly as it relates to earthworks (pipes, bridges, tracks etc) affecting proposed conservation areas in the South Para and central creek localities.
  5. Further information via the Gawler East Infrastructure Masterplan, or otherwise, on the excavation and filling proposed for the eastern part of the central creek and the filling of all or parts of tributaries into the central creek.
  6. A report from Coffey International (via Delfin Lend Lease) on the hydrology and conservation of waterholes and wetlands on the South Para and central creek.
  7. Either a commitment from Delfin Lend Lease to provide for long-term management of the conservation areas or agreements with other people or bodies to provide for the conservation of the set aside conservation areas including the South Para river corridor.

And then to allow interested persons an opportunity to comment further on the additional information or proposals from the applicant.  Given the timeframes involved for applicant and response submissions this seems appropriate.  View the Full GEHA Submission: EPBC Referral Reference 2011 GEHA

Other News

Cleanup Australia Day is coming up on Sunday March 6.  If you have any suggestions about possible cleanup sites or know of a cleanup site that might be suitable to join in with please contact Vanessa Freebairn on 0408 537 650

Rivers project. Gawler Regional NRC has been engaged by the Rivers project to put together proposals for signage for the project and do some community engagement.  Rachel Feuerherdt will be working on Mondays at the NRC office for a few months on this – Rachel can be contacted on 0407 775 868.  Associated with this there are 2 walking/talking activities proposed for Sunday Feb 27 9.30-11.30 am at Clonlea and 9-11 am Saturday March 5 at Dead Man’s Pass which will  be an update on what is happening with the rivers project, information provided about history and natural history of the rivers and reserves and hopefully some stories, pictures etc from people who turn up which can help with signs, web page information etc.  Book in by return email or with Rachel or the NRC office 8523 7700.

Related to the Ngarrindjeri display at the Community Gallery in recent news – a day workshop to learn some basket weaving and feather flower making is on at Gawler Community House on March 19.  Cost is $150.  Details from Gawler Comm House or Jelina Haines jhaines8@gmail.com

The Gawler East Development area contains a threatened ecological community – Iron Grass Natural Temperate Grassland of South Australia (Lomandra effusa – L.multiflora ssp.dura).  Delfin Lend Lease has referred this and other matters to the Federal Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities.  Please view the referral

GEHA is currently formulating its official response to the documents.

Please view the following photos and video of animals and habitat under threat at Gawler East

A Kangaroo at the Gawler East Development Site

Rainbow Bee-eater Habitat scheduled for removal

Sheep grazing unfenced near threatened irongrass

Thriving Kangaroo Grass

Delfin Lend Lease calls this a 'central drainage tributary'

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The current plan is to bury a sewer main through the centre line of the creek upstream from the photo of the ‘central drainage tributary’

GEHA will post its official response to the EPBC Act notification shortly.

The Rivers are flowing and Pat Wake has taken some great photos.