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Somers Koala Reserve

The Somers Koala Reserve was originally a farmer's paddock.  Over the last 12 or so years dedicated volunteers have systematically revegetated the 17 acres with indigenous plants.  Here is a record of how the Reserve has evolved.

Below is an excerpt of a document detailing the origins of the Somers Koala Reserve.

The area was originally open padocks used primarily for grazing purposes.  It had a creek running through the middle of the land and out to the bay.

Melbourne Water purchased part of these paddocks from the owner to construct a Retarding Basin.  The basin was constructed during the 100 year flood.

After the Basin was constructed the local Hastings Council was given the responsibility to slash the area once a year for fire prevention  purposes.  

In 1989 the Superintendent of the Parks and Gardens together with the Warden of Coolart comprised a list of local indigenous plant species to plant throughout the basin.

The first plantings took place in November 1989, carried out by staff of the Hastings Council.

Further plantings were added to the area by Hastings Council during the spring of 1991 and 1993.

In late 1993 three council staff sat down to propose a plan to further develop the basin into an area for habitat enhancement and passive recreation.  With a particular focus on the Koalas in the area.

Koala numbers were increasing but their habitat and food source was slowly being removed for housing and farming.

A plan was drawn up and put to council for approval and approved later that year.  

In the summer of 1994 the first construction works began with the forming of the pedestrian access paths.

A viewing platform and some timber bridges were added once the path had been completed.

1995 was the first year and up to the present date that volunteers took over the planting and maintenance and management completely of the Koala Reserve.  More plants were then added  in 1995 with a particular focus on Koala food trees (Eucalyptus pyoriana - manna gum and Eucalyptus ovata - swamp gum).  These were complimented with other local indigenous plant species.  It was at this point that FOLKLAW was formed and became involved with the managment of the Koala Reserve.

Somers Koala Reserve 1996 Controlling Blackberries

During 1996 there were large areas which were infested with blackberries.  They had to be slashed and poisoned.

Koala Reserve 1998 pathway

Pathways were cracked due to the dry conditions.

Koala Reserve 1998 Moving Mulch

Tonnes of mulch had to be moved after the weeds had been sprayed to suppress new weeds and encourage the new plants to grow.

Koala Reserve 1998 preparing planting site

Laying newspaper under the mulch suppresses the weeds.

Some of the Volunteers and the Basin

Some of the FOLKLAW volunteers and the retarding basin in the Koala Reserve after a heavy rain.

South Beach Rd Track

Planting out the South Beach Rd track at the Stanmore Ave end of the Koala the July 2005 Working Bee.

Koala Reserve July 2005 working bee

The end is in sight for the planting at July 2005 Working Bee.

Koala Reserve Retarding Basin

The ephemeral retarding basin in the Koala Reserve taken in September 2005.

November 2005 Working Bee at Beach Hill Ave Track

Preparing the Campsie Crt end of the Beach hill Ave track for planting during the November 2005 Working Bee for planting on the July 2006 National Tree Planting Day.

July 2006 National Tree Day

Planting out the Campsie Crt End of the Beach Hill Ave track cleared above on National Tree Planting Day on 30 July 2006.

Beach Hill Ave track

View facing along the Beach Hill Ave track towards Stanmore Ave taken on 30 November 2008 - the bushes and trees are growing very well.

Retarding Basin Nov 2008

View across the retarding basin taken on 30 Nov 2008.  Originally the basin contained only grasses.   Many bushes and trees have now grown by themselves.

Understory suppressing weeds

View of understory suppressing weeds in Koala Reserve taken on 30 Nov 2008.

Pumping Station Area

View of the South East Water Pumping Station area of the Koala Reserve taken on 30 Nov 2008.  The area was destroyed in 2005 when South East Water installed reticulated sewerage in Somers and built a pumping station at this end of the Koala Reserve.  Some understorey plants have also been vandalised during the last 2 years.

bracken suppressing weeds

View of an area of the Koala Reserve taken on 30 Nov 2008 where bracken is suppressing weeds.

Understory still required

View of Koala Reserve taken on 30 Nov 2008 where no understory was planted when original vegetation was put in.  This has caused problems with weed infestations.  We hope to plant understory species in some areas over the next few years.

November 2009 view of  Beach Hill Avenue track planted
in 2005 (see above pictures).

November 2009 view of  Beach Hill Avenue track planted
in 2005 (see above pictures).

April 2010 - volunteers built new entry point at end
of Beach Hill Avenue track which finishes off all the work.

April 2010 - Victoria Avenue track into the Koala Reserve.

August 2014 - Arial View of Somers Koala Reserve

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