Community caring for land

Community caring for land

From the tall – wet sclerophyll forest of Timboon to the coast gully thicket and riparian vegetation surrounding the coastal village of Port Campbell the Twelve Apostles Trail is a 20km journey through a magnificent part of SW Victoria.

Power Creek Reserve Committee of Management

Trail users beginning their journey in Timboon will be treated to the heady scent of eucalyptus and dappled light filtering through tall stands of Manna Gum, Messmate, Swamp Gum and Blackwood. The understorey is a haven for wet forest species including Musk Daisy-bush and Prickly Currant Bush. Look and listen for signs of koala, echidna, swamp wallaby, white throated tree creepers, yellow robins and ring-tailed possum.

This is Power Creek Reserve a magnificent section of forest cared for by a local volunteer committee of management. While many Victorian towns have been cleared and beautified with entrance avenues of exotic trees Timboon has retained its own unique arbour of Eucalypts, Blackwoods and other wet forest species.

The construction of the Twelve Apostles Trail is in line with a community vision for balanced management of Power Creek Reserve that allows for protection, recreation and education. Trail construction utilized and upgraded an existing trail near the southern boundary of the reserve to minimize environmental and cultural heritage impacts.

Heytesbury District Landcare Network

Beyond Power Creek Reserve and across a bridge into farmland visitors will begin to enjoy open rural views. Much of the area surrounding the trail was cleared for agriculture as part of the Bailey (1920’s – 1930’s) and Heytesbury (1950’s) settlement schemes where large areas of forest were cleared to create small agricultural lots for returned soldiers. Today it is part of the most productive dairy farming region in Australia.

Heytesbury District Landcare Network is a community organization that has been working with farmers, local communities, and natural resource managers to improve environmental outcomes on private and public land since 1995.

In that time, they have planted over 1.9 million trees, supported over 30 community-led pest plant and animal projects, found funding for over 80 projects in schools and worked with over 450 landowners. Look for shelter belts in gullies and along fence lines planted with endemic species including many of the species you will have viewed in Power Creek Reserve.

Port Campbell Biolinks

When the smell of salt enters the nostrils and the first glimpses of ocean blue greet the eyes trail users will notice the vegetation changes again. Welcome to the highly specialized and beautiful coastal gully thicket, wetland, dune and clifftop heath plant communities that surround the seaside village of Port Campbell.

Port Campbell Biolinks are driven by a desire to educate and encourage biodiversity in and around the township and the fringes of Port Campbell National Park.

“It used to be just autumn, but now it’s spring and the edges of winter and summer as well. We rest and plan when the soil is saturated and the sun rides high in the sky, “jokes Biolinks contributor Kylie Treble (owner of REAL pizza, pasta and salads and the Place of Wonder).
“We have been working on areas including the rare and unique Coastal Gully thicket on the southern entrance into Port Campbell for 20 years.” Kylie said.

More recently the group has been planting, pulling weeds, and encouraging biodiversity in internal township corridors. We begin with weed removal, top up with guarded endemic seedling plantings, encourage native seed fall in disturbed areas and continuously pluck new weeds as they emerge.

“Biolinks is the community. We have an extensive, supportive, engaged community who assist with planting and weed removal, but Biolinks is ultimately driven by one amazing lady to whom we, the plants, animals and people of Port Campbell owe enormous gratitude.”

At this point I was unsure whether Kylie was referring to Mother Nature or the tireless backbone and heart and soul of Port Campbell Biolinks, Annie Schofield. Who knows? On observation they may be one and the same.

About The Author

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Port Campbell Visitor Information Centre

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Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the Great Ocean Road region the Wadawurrung, Eastern Maar & Gunditjmara. We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging. We recognise and respect their unique cultural heritage and the connection to their traditional lands. We commit to building genuine and lasting partnerships that recognise, embrace and support the spirit of reconciliation, working towards self-determination, equity of outcomes and an equal voice for Australia’s first people.