Great time of year to volunteer…….

There are so many wildflowers out at the moment on the Headland, so if you’ve ever thought about joining us for a morning doing bush regeneration now is the perfect time. While there is always something to see, at this time of year there are extraordinary displays of  red and white epacris flowers, yellow flowers of the melaleuca, bright red bottle-brush flowers, banksias and so many more.

(Thanks to Robyn Stevens for the great photos and words – Ed.)

Dillwynia floribunda and Mirbelia rubiifolia

Dillwynia floribunda and Mirbelia rubiifolia

Banksia ericifolia and Epacris longiflora

Banksia ericifolia and Epacris longiflora

Melaleuca nodosa and Styphelia triflora

Melaleuca nodosa and Styphelia triflora


– Pollinators: native wasp, native bee, and moth (dart)

For more information about volunteering with our regular Thursday and Sunday bushcare groups, click here.

Friends to have stall at Randwick Eco-living Fair

The Friends of Malabar Headland will again have a stall the Randwick Eco-Living Fair to be held next Sunday, 15 September. The fair will run from 10.30 to 3.30 at 27 Munda Street, Randwick, next to the Environmental Park at the eastern end of what used to be the Bundock St Army site.

We will have a stall with native plants for sale and information about the headland. Letters will be available for you to sign and post to your members of state and federal parliament to remind them that making the remaining Commonwealth owned areas of the headland into national park and a community park is something Eastern Suburbs locals really care about.

The Eco-living Fair is a great event, run by the Council every year – for more information, click here.

Visit Malabar Headland National Park on Bushcare’s Major Day Out

This year, Friends of Malabar Headland are participating in Bushcare’s Major Day Out. Join our experienced bushcarers for a walk through Malabar Headland National Park, and learn about our work clearing bushland of weeds so that our native plants can thrive.

Join us between 9 am and 12 noon on Sunday 8th September 2013 at the Thompson Ave entrance to Malabar Headland National Park, off Broome Street, South Maroubra – Google Maps location.

Morning Tea will be provided. Please wear a hat, sturdy shoes, long trousers, long sleeves and bring gloves, water and a plastic bag.

For more about the annual Bushcare’s Major Day Out event, including a list of the many other sites participating in 2013, visit the official website.

Entries invited for Malabar Headland art exhibition

The Coast Centre for Seniors is holding an art exhibition on 6 – 31 August that will be devoted to works depicting Malabar Headland.

The centre is holding the exhibition to celebrate the creation of Malabar Headland National Park and the recent opening of the centre’s new art gallery space.

Members of the centre and non-members are invited to submit entries.

For full details, click here.

The exhibition will be opened on 7 August by Clarence Stockee, an indigenous floral educator with the Royal Botanic Gardens and presenter with Gardening Australia.

Community groups visit Malabar Headland site works

On 17 April 2013, FoMH members joined other community representatives for an inspection of the civil works being undertaken by the Commonwealth at the northern base of the Anzac Rifle Range section of Malabar Headland.

The purpose of the works is to trap and treat the contaminated leachate and groundwater that seep out of the landfill beneath the rifle range on Malabar Headland. Until now this leachate/groundwater has flowed into Randwick City Council’s South Maroubra stormwater channel and contributed to the pollution of South Maroubra beach, including the children’s rock pools.

A slotted agricultural collection pipe, located 6-8 metres underground on bed rock in a lined trench, will trap the leachate/groundwater before it can merge with the stormwater.

Randwick Council’s stormwater pipe crosses the path of the leachate capture trench and drain, adding to the compleity of the project

Randwick Council’s stormwater pipe crosses the path of the leachate capture trench and drain, adding to the complexity of the project

A pump facility will pass the collected leachate/groundwater through a filtration system that will extract ammonia and then transfer it into the existing wetland and reed beds. There the leachate will settle, be diluted with surface water, and by means of the natural action of the reed beds, be stripped of most of its remaining significant pollutants such as heavy metals.

An outlet channel will allow treated residue – mixed with surface water and relatively clean and free of pollutants – to flow out to sea well to the east of the children’s pools.

In the longer term it is intended that the leachate/groundwater will be pumped from this area up on to the rifle range and into a large settling pond, to be located in the vicinity of the former riding school. Wetlands will be constructed there, to provide natural filtration and a habitat for birds and other wildlife.

The current program of works is being undertaken by environmental engineering contractor Enviropacific and will be finished and fully operational by 30 June.

This complex and expensive environmental engineering project has been commissioned by the Commonwealth Department of Finance and Deregulation (DoFD) which manages the land, and is funded entirely by the Commonwealth. The capital cost of the works is being met from a $2 million allocation for remedial works on Malabar Headland in 2012-13.

The project represents a substantial, long term investment by the Commonwealth in a thorough and best practice rehabilitation of Malabar Headland following many years of environmentally insensitive use as a landfill site.

General view of the works area looking eastward

General view of the works area looking eastward

Finalists announced for UNAA World Environment Day Awards

Finalists have been announced for the United Nations Association of Australia 2013 World Environment Day Awards (World Environment Day is 5 June).

Our local federal member Peter Garrett nominated Friends of Malabar Headland for the Prime Minister’s Environmentalist of the Year Award category.

FoMH did not reach the finals. However we congratulate the finalists. There are outstanding entries in numerous categories and they demonstrate the range of positive environmental action and initiative taking place in Australian communities, schools, businesses, engineering projects and a great diversity of urban and rural landscapes – see World Environment Day Awards finalists.

Thanks for the nomination Peter.

Friends of Malabar Headland art prize 2013

The Randwick Art Society’s fourth annual Art and Craft Exhibition was held 15-17 March 2013 at the Prince Henry Centre, Little Bay.

The Friends of Malabar Headland Prize (value $100) for the best work celebrating Randwick city’s native flora and fauna was awarded to Marilyn Kime for her oil painting of Xanthorrhea resinifera (grass tree). This remarkable plant is part of the distinctive native flora of the Randwick City coastline and can be found in the Malabar Headland National Park.

Friends of Malabar Headland Prize section of the exhibition

The Friends of Malabar Headland Prize section of the exhibition

Marilyn Kime's winning entry

Marilyn Kime’s winning entry

Friends of Malabar Headland Prize citation

Friends of Malabar Headland Prize citation

Marilyn Kime with her winning entry

Marilyn Kime with her winning entry

Marilyn has told us some of the background to her painting:

Margaret Vazey (long term Friends of Malabar Headland member) is a tutor at our Oil Painting Group at the Coast Centre for Seniors. She has kept us all informed of the Malabar Headland and encouraged us to be interested and this year to paint it.

I used one of Margaret’s photos for my painting of three Xanthorrhea. They are such spectacular plants and looked so stately there amongst other bushes and trees.

I love the different colours of all the greens on the headland and I tried to make trees, bushes and even fallen leaves and twigs a part of the painting.

I am not sure of the exact location, except to say it is on the Malabar Headland!

Friends of Malabar Headland participate in Clean Up Australia Day

On Sunday 3 March, the Friends of Malabar Headland participated in Clean Up Australia Day.

The Western Bushland area (now Malabar Headland National Park) was accepted as an official Clean Up Australia Day site and FoMH members worked along the Broome Street boundary from the Thompson Avenue gate.

Claire Bettington, our Clean Up Australia day Coordinator wrote:

A very good effort was put in today for Clean Up Australia Day in the Western Section, now a National Park.

As you can see, Peter Garrett joined us mid morning to give us the latest news on the Headland, and to thank us for our work.

Right to left, Jenny Hunter (Peter Garrett's Electoral Officer), Peter Garrett talking with Peter Fagan (FoMH Chairperson) and Barbara Tooth (FoMH Secretary)

Right to left, Jenny Hunter (Peter Garrett’s Electoral Officer) and Peter Garrett talking with Peter Fagan (FoMH Chairperson) and Barbara Tooth (FoMH Secretary)

Peter Garrett with Claire Bettington, our Clean Up Australia day Coordinator and Don Kerr, Bushcare Cordinator for the Western Bushland.

Peter Garrett with Claire Bettington, our Clean Up Australia day Coordinator and Don Kerr, Bushcare Cordinator for the Western Bushland.

We are very pleased to report that there was a lot less rubbish this year, and it was mainly building materials, rubble, bricks, cans and bottles, with the odd bit of broken furniture.

FoMH volunteers with the rubbish they removed from the National Park

FoMH volunteers with the rubbish they removed from the National Park

FoMH volunteers with the rubbish they removed from the National Park

FoMH volunteers with collected rubbish ready for removal

Apart from some low mounds of building materials dumped long ago, we are now down to picking up shattered glass, mostly a legacy of past car dumping and trashing, and bottles smashed on the rocks or dumped in the bush.

Claire Bettington and Barbara Tooth scrape out and sweep up broken glass at the entrance to the Western Bushland

Claire Bettington and Barbara Tooth scrape out and sweep up broken glass at the entrance to the Western Bushland

Let’s hope that there is no further dumping over the coming year, now that the Western Bushland is a National Park.

Thanks very much to all participants, a great job!

Claire Bettington

FoMH identifies potential projects for “Green Army”

On January 30, Friends of Malabar Headland representatives met with Greg Hunt MP, the Federal Opposition Spokesman for Climate Action, Environment and Heritage, Senator Bill Heffernan and the endorsed Liberal Party candidate for the Federal seat of Kingsford-Smith.

One purpose of the meeting, which was attended by a number of local environmental activists, was to identify environmental projects for the Federal Opposition’s proposed Green Army, which would consist of thousands of volunteers working on environmental remediation projects throughout Australia.

Dr Feneley had proposed to Greg Hunt that a suitable Green Army project might be to assist the Friends of Malabar Headland, particularly focusing on our weeding and other activity in the eastern bushland section.

FoMH is not supportive of Malabar Headland as a Green Army project site because:

  • an extensive program of civil works commissioned by the Commonwealth has commenced there and will run for more than a year
  • there are workplace health and safety issues (WHS) specific to the site that are likely to be exacerbated by these works
  • the work FoMH does is often painstaking; it is best done by small groups of experienced people who have the required patience and pay attention to minimising damage to ground level vegetation and areas of the endangered ecological community Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub
  • as well as FoMH, at least one weed control contractor is already employed on site by the Commonwealth.

However FoMH sees merit in the Green Army proposal and agreed to try to identify other sites in the South Eastern peninsula where excellent work could be done by a “Green Army” as long as:

  • the projects are carefully designed and managed
  • effective supervision is provided.

Dr Feneley is understandably anxious to ensure that our area benefits from the enormous manpower on offer for environmental projects should a Coalition government be elected.

Dr Feneley explained that Green Army projects are intended to be highly collaborative and led by community environmental groups rather than being managed with a top-down approach. Each team would consist of 10 people, one of whom must be an experienced, salaried supervisor, while the others are young volunteers. These volunteers would be paid a training wage and would receive skills training and education for 20% of their project time.

At very short notice, FoMH produced a list of six projects that it considers are worthwhile and suitable for the Green Army as we understand it. The projects are:

  • Weed removal, creek stabilisation and ground preparation, South Eastern Equestrian Club site, Matraville
  • Bitou bush removal, bush regeneration and park creation, Little Bay Beach North at the site of the Male Lazaret (leper colony)
  • Bitou bush and lantana removal behind Little Congwong beach
  • Bitou bush and lantana removal, Happy Valley, La Perouse
  • Removal of drift plastic and glass, Curwee Cove
  • Bitou bush removal, reserved bushland areas Prince Henry north and south

The projects are outlined in a document prepared by FoMH – Potential Green Army Projects – South Eastern Peninsula.

This document was well received by Greg Hunt, Michael Feneley and Bill Heffernan who requested our permission to use it as a template for other groups preparing Green Army project proposals.

Other groups are welcome to read our document, comment on our proposals and develop their own proposals which they can pass on to Dr Feneley and Greg Hunt.

FoMH welcomes commencement of remediation works

Friends of Malabar Headland has issued a media release welcoming the commencement of significant remediation works at Malabar Headland.

The release follows. For a PDF version, click here.

Media Release

Friends of Malabar Headland welcomes remediation of Malabar Headland landfill and contaminants

Friends of Malabar Headland (FoMH, “the Friends”) has welcomed the commencement of significant remediation works by the Commonwealth at the boundary of the Malabar Headland landfill site and South Maroubra Beach.

Peter Fagan Chairperson, Friends of Malabar Headland said:

“The negativity surrounding local member Peter Garrett and the changes taking place at Malabar Headland is hard to understand.

We are extremely pleased that Peter Garrett has persuaded the Commonwealth to spend millions to clean the site up so it will be safe to use as public open space and will no longer be a source of contamination for South Maroubra beach and its children’s rock pools.

The Commonwealth has already gifted the Western Bushland section of the headland to New South Wales as a National Park.

And we understand discussions are in progress with the NSW Government to enable the magnificent bushland and coastal scenery of the Eastern section of the headland to also become a National Park.”

FoMH believes the Commonwealth’s commitment of resources to the Headland − $2m for 2012/13 and $6m for 2013/14, and a dedicated project team led by a senior civil servant − is long overdue, and what is needed to get the job done properly.

Peter Fagan said:

“Serious contamination seeping out of the landfill on the headland is an issue FoMH has been concerned about since our inception over 12 years ago.

We are delighted that the Commonwealth is at last investing the resources required to achieve a long term solution.”

The Friends would like to see all candidates for the Federal election commit their support to the Commonwealth’s multi-year program of civil works and accept that the cessation of all recreational activities on the site is necessary until the works are complete.

Regarding horse riding on the headland, FoMH urges all candidates to support the efforts being made to establish the South East Equestrian Association (SEEA) on an interim site at Franklin Street Matraville.

Peter Fagan said:

“We urge all parties to help with funding, materials and labour to get the SEEA up and running at Franklin Street while the remediation works are in progress.”

Further resources:

Friends of Malabar Headland member Claire Bettington has prepared diagrams that illustrate how the Commonwealth’s program of works will address the contamination and hygiene problems. For more information and to view Claire’s diagrams, click here.