My grant application has been in for a couple of weeks, and this last Thursday I joined the Warringal Conservation Society. Then this morning I was trying to work out what to put in the post today and thinking about all the photos of Banyule that I have taken since the beginning of the year, especially as I have Social Snappers excursion there this afternoon. So today, I thought I would go through those photos and make a selection and show them again. I hope you don’t mind.
There is lots of evidence or remains in this area which says it used to be farming land. Everyone who lives around here knows that, but it has been interesting, especially since my involvement with the WCS, how much of it was farmland until the 1970’s. I know that the house I live in was once in the middle of a paddock, and paintings by some of the Heidelberg School show that. I think it is interesting that it was once bushland, converted to farmland, and now is all set to be bushland again, well if the developers don’t get their way.
One of the biggest threats to this area is the North East Freeway. In Australia it seems that roads and freeways are more important than anything else, and “we must have as many as we can. It is important that there are roads everywhere because the only way people can travel is by car. Public Transport, bite your tongue”. Well, that is how our government seems to be. Caring for the environment and what we have always seems to be secondary, or thirdary, I don’t know, a long way down on the list. Part of the reason for starting to document Banyule Flats and some of the surrounding parkland was, hopefully, to draw more attention to what we are trying to conserve here.
Really, in a nut shell, this is the main part of it. This beautiful wetlands that is accessible to anyone who wants to visit it. Anyone who cares about the environment and want to find some peaceful place in a city that is becoming very fast.
Shall we put some perspective on this. Melbourne is a big city, not necessarily in population, but in land mass. Everyone wants their quarter acre, so Melbourne has spread out, and spread out a lot. It is becoming one of the largest cities in the world due to the size of it, or geographically. It spans 100km from East to West, I suspect more North to South, but not sure. Still that gives you an idea. So one of things that makes Banyule Flats so unique is that from the city centre we are only around 15kms from it. Which means there is this amazing parkland, with lots of wildlife, only a 30 minute drive from the city, there is public transport and a train to Heidelberg will get you here in about the same time.
This is parkland, but it isn’t manicured parkland. There are parks everywhere in the city, but this one is more special because it is about the land returning to its original state and being bushland again. It is a place where you can go walking, and you might see kangaroos, at night you will see wombats. There is an abundance of birdlife in and around the swamp. It is a place that is like an oasis in the middle of suburbia. I don’t know how many times people come to visit me for the first time and they can’t believe where we are, it is like we live in the country, though we don’t.
My grant application is about producing something that will help people understand how beautiful this area is, hopefully, if I get it, I will produce a book on the area, something that will include the history and what the area is significant. Development isn’t always the answer, and sometimes it is great to just let things be, for now and in the future.
I have a gallery with some of my favourite photos taken since February. They show the different seasons, different times of the day, and just how beautiful it is. I hope you all agree that conservation is good and think about what you can help conserve in your local area. I’m looking forward to taking more photos there this afternoon with my Social Snappers group, explore some areas I haven’t been to for awhile.