The Friends of Wireless Hill have an agreement with the City of Melville that the Friends will manage the area of best condition bush land at Wireless Hill (Bush Forever site 336) by hand weeding. This area covers almost 7 hectares and includes the Wildflower Walk with a great diversity of orchids and native herbs. Since 2010 the Friends have paid skilled bush care contractors to assist us with this hand weeding. We have had grants from the Swan Alcoa Landcare Program, the DEC Environmental Community Grants and the Commonwealth Caring for our Country program to undertake this work, generally paying for two workers for six hours (one day) per fortnight.
Recently the City of Melville agreed to extend the no-spray area to include the area between the Wildflower Walk and the Council offices. The Friends will manage this area by to be hand weeding. This area is valuable as it was the only part of the bushland not totally cleared when the Wireless Station was built in 1912 and still has some reasonably large trees as well as pink fairy orchids which have become scarce in the Park in recent years.
The Friends applied for a grant through the City of Melville’s Community Partnership Funding to pay for fortnightly weeding of this area over the next year. We are pleased to hear we have been successful and the City of Melville has provided almost $11,000 (including GST) for this project. Having paid professionals to assist our volunteers makes a huge difference to the rate at which we can remove weeds and allow regeneration of the native flora to begin. We are grateful for the support of the City of Melville in this project. The weeding will be undertaken by Tracy Evans and John Maliunas from SERCUL (South East Regional Centre for Urban Landcare).
Of course all urban bushland will need to be constantly defended for threats such as weeds, feral animals and arson, but our experience is that once the native plants are able to fill the gaps left by weeding it is difficult for weeds to reinvade. The practice of removing the weeds from the bush rather than leaving them to decompose on the soil is also beneficial in preventing the ready access to nutrients that enhances weed growth.