Saturday, October 10, 2015

Weatherhead Bushland Reserve

This reserve is located in Fogarty Rd just east of Maryknoll, Lat -38.032, Long 145.614.

(Click on images to enlarge)

I could find out very little of the history of the Weatherhead Bushland Reserve. One Horatio Weatherhead moved into the district with his sons in 1908 and established a timber milling enterprise. I suspect the reserve is named after this family.

The settlement of Maryknoll itself has an interesting history that can be discovered here in the excellent Casey Cardinia– links to our past blog.

The principal trees in the Weatherhead reserve are Peppermints and Stringybarks and I suspect some Messmate. Understorey trees and shrubs consist of Black Wattles, Daisy Bush, Cassinia, and some Kunzea and Prickly Tea-tree among others.

Ground covering species include Bracken, Wire Grass, various Bush peas, Blue Dampiera, Mat-rush, Wiry Bauera and I came across some Tetratheca, Love Creeper and a small variety of other wildflowers and orchids.


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Mount Cannibal Flora and Fauna Reserve

This popular little reserve is situated at Garfield North, about 3km north of the Princes Highway, (Lat: -38.056, Long: 145.679). 
(Click on images for a larger view)

 Mt Cannibal is the clearly identifiable ‘flat-top’ hill in the centre-background of the image below.
Black Snake Range and Mt Cannibal in the background - noisy highway in the foreground

The name of Cannibal Creek is thought to have come from an incident when some early surveyors left their dog in camp beside the creek and returned to find it had been killed and partly eaten by dingoes. The Cannibal Creek Cattle Run was established in 1845 and the district began to prosper once the Kooweerup swamp was drained and the railway was constructed. To date I haven’t been able to discover much further history of the reserve – an exercise in progress.

From the carpark and picnic ground, (with toilets, tables, shelter and barbecue), a 2.3km walking track leads up to the summit with two lookouts. The track is steep and rocky in places but the views commanded from the top make the climb worthwhile. (The Cardinia Shire has a very useful pdf of Nature Trail Notes of Mt Cannibal Flora and Fauna Reserve.)
Part of the southern track
To the north is the imposing Black Snake Range within the Bunyip State Park and south is the panorama across Kooweerup to Westernport Bay.
Westernport Bay from the southern lookout
Messmate, Mountain Grey Gum, stringybarks and peppermints are the dominant eucalypts while the understorey is mostly made up of mixtures of Cassinia, Prickly Tea Tree, Dusty Miller, banksias, paperbarks and miscellaneous acacias. Groundcovers of herbs, wildflowers, grasses, creepers and orchids complete an impressive diversity of vegetation.

Black-anther Flax-lily
Landcare and Friends of Mt Cannibal help maintain the biodiversity with planting and clearing working bees. Weed species such as Sweet Pittosporum and Berry-flowered Heath are periodically targeted for removal, ensuring that other native shrubs, grasses, wildflowers and orchids are given the best chance to survive and expand.

Of particular interest to me is the wonderful diversity of orchid species that exist here. The wonderful David Piko site, Mount Cannibal Orchids, gives a great rundown of the species present and this blogger is having some wonderful times trying to track some of these down.

Common Bird Orchid
Birds abound too of course. My relatively few expeditions to the reserve, (thus far), have produced some interesting results that include the Scarlet Robin, Varied Sittella, Crested Shrike-tit, Leaden Flycatcher and at least five various honeyeaters. A folder of Mt Cannibal birds is underway.
I have ticked a Golden Whistler on each visit so far
White-eared Honeyeater serenading near the north lookout
The remnant granite boulders and fallen logs provide ideal niches for miscellaneous mosses, fungi, lichens and ferns. Scats provide plenty of evidence of kangaroos, wallabies and wombats and ‘diggings’ beside the track indicate that Echidna activity is plentiful at times.

Mosses enjoying a rock face - Berry-flowered Heath in the background
Mt Cannibal Flora and Fauna Reserve – well worth a look.

Thursday, June 11, 2015


Drouin, (Lat -38.136, Long 145.857), is located in West Gippsland, just less than 100km south-east of the centre of Melbourne but day by day the eastern suburbs are expanding closer – Pakenham is just 40km away. 

(Click on images to enlarge)

Like many regional Victorian centres, the end of the Victorian gold rush era saw plenty of interest in developing other localities within the state to take advantage of the natural resources on offer. Drouin originally was a whistle stop town for the thriving timber industry in the nearby foothills and ranges. Settlement began in the late 1870’s.

As the land was cleared, agriculture, particularly dairying which still continues today, took on a very important role for the district and eventually for the Melbourne metropolis.

There is some conjecture as to the origin of the name Drouin. Most acceptable opinions these days seem to settle on the aboriginal word for north wind.  

Current population is around 13,000 and growing rapidly. Drouin is in the Baw Baw Shire, which is the fastest growing non-metropolitan municipality in the state. The shire likes to highlight the attractive lifestyle mix of country and urban living available in the district.

The town is spreading in all directions, quickly consuming the fertile farmlands.
A small part of the bustling main street - 7 real estate agents!
Jackson's View estate and part of the McNeilly Wetlands

At just 3.95% in the December quarter last year, Baw Baw has a very low unemployment rate compared to most of the rest of the state – above 6%.

Many of the streets of Drouin are tree-lined with some magnificent eucalypts and of course the town is known for the many streetscapes containing the Ficifolia species that blossom each February-March.

Some old sections of town are well treed
Come and have a look. We’ve got heaps of parks, walking tracks, wetlands … and bakeries. What more could you ask for?