Thornleigh to Hornsby via the Benowie Track

This was an excellent walk, a little more strenuous than many OFF walks, but not too hard. The only downside is that many members missed out on some beautiful bush, resplendent with wildflowers, including an early flowering Waratah – a highlight of the day.

Just five lucky members made it, with some unable to make it due to illness, but where were the rest of our members? They missed a lovely day starting with a nice coffee at Thornleigh, following the train trip through the Chatswood to Epping tunnel (a first for us), then the walk past Zig-Zag Creek to Fishponds, and finishing with the stunning Blue Gum forest below Hornsby.

We lost count of the wildflowers on the way and spent much time admiring them.








One area we passed had obviously been burnt a year or two ago and was covered in flowering spear trees, including one with two inter-twined spears. Very eye-catching!

It was obvious that summer is on its way when a group of walkers in front of us disturbed a Diamond Python basking on the track.

Thanks to Adrian Buzo for another great walk.


Myles Dunphy Flying Fox Camp has grown to over 2000

Bats March 2017Report from our resident Flying Fox watcher Geoff Francis – About 2350 flying-foxes flew out from the camp at Myles Dunphy Reserve on 19 March 2017. This is the largest number roosting in the camp since April 2011.
P1010377The camp has spread out from the wetland onto the neighbouring foot slopes. The northeast end of the expanded camp is only about 35 m from the boundary of the proposed development site on the former bowling club and about 85 m from the location of the proposed five storey seniors’ apartments building. There were greater than usual numbers of flying-foxes using the northeast flight path, and many of the flying-foxes came out on the northeast flight path but swung around onto the main north flight path. Thus I was unable to count the numbers for the two flight paths separately. However, at least 200 flying-foxes flew through the airspace where the proposed five storey building would be located.
 paperbark-melaleuca-Melaleuca-quinquenerviaLilly-Pilly-FruitThe flying-foxes are feeding on flowering Melaleuca quinquenervia street trees and some flowering Corymbia gummifera in the Oatley area. They are also feeding on a few (planted) flowering Eucalyptus grandis, and numerous fruiting Lillypillies (Acmena smithii). The flowering of the M. quinquenervia and fruiting of the A. smithii which commenced early last week has significantly increased the available food in the local area, and the increase in flying-fox numbers appears to be a response to this.
 On evenings with good visibility I have noticed substantial numbers of flying-foxes from the Kareela camp flying west past Gungah Bay towards Oatley Park, but this evening visibility wasn’t good enough to tell whether this was still occurring.
 Report from our resident Flying Fox watcher Geoff Francis (20 march 2017)
Flying Foxes important part of an healthy sustainable ecosystem.

Kosciuszko National Park January 2017

2017 Snowy Porritt(272)This is the second year we have stayed in Pygmy Possum Lodge at Charlotte Pass and again it was very satisfactory; fourteen OFF members spent three to seven days there during the week of 8-15th January. It was also a pleasure to have the company of some of the ski club’s members who were welcoming, helpful and knowledgeable.

2017 Snowy Porritt(154)The bedrooms, all with en-suites, were comfortable and warm, and the kitchen very well-equipped (but it called for some complex choreography when everyone was preparing dinner at the same time). The lounge afforded spectacular views of jagged granite tors, snow gums and olive-green shrubs, all occasionally blotted out by sweeping curtains of rain that briefly dampened our enthusiasm for the outdoors.

2017 Snowy Porritt(196)During inclement weather we occupied ourselves with reading, needlework, jigsaws, crosswords and identification of plants and animals we’d photographed. There was a happy hour each evening which sometimes developed into serious wine-tasting, and one night to admiration of the full moon as it rose in a crystal clear sky flushed by the sun’s afterglow.

2017 Snowy Porritt(278)This year was particularly good for wildflowers – daisies everywhere, mintbush and eyebright on the upper slopes, clusters of magenta trigger plants, cream candle heath and glossy buttercups in low-lying areas. Photographers found it difficult to capture the depth of colour in bluebells, flax lilies, violets, fan flowers and others in the blue – mauve spectrum.

2017 Snowy Porritt(165)

2017 Snowy Sharyn Cullis (7)

2017 Snowy Porritt(239)Fauna was not conspicuous but there were grey kangaroos on the Waterfall Track and we saw two large echidnas. Piles of dung, scratchings and big burrows were the closest we got to wombats. Around Charlotte Pass were Flame Robins, Brown Thornbills, Australasian Pipits, Crimson Rosellas, Little Ravens, Striated Pardalotes and Welcome Swallows.

2017 Snowy Porritt(228)There were some introduced animals including hares, a black rabbit, a feral cat (which we reported) and Common Starlings. A variety of sleek high country skinks was seen, and several “large dark snakes” (probably copperheads). There was a dead alpine funnel-web on Porcupine Track and colourful live grasshoppers and beetles were photographed on leaves and flowers; a few Bogong Moths secreted themselves in the Lodge at night.

2017 Snowy Sharyn Cullis (5)The legacy of snowfalls late in the season was evident in the high water level in Lake Jindabyne and good flows in the alpine streams. The countryside was green and snow gums were regenerating well, although the rate of regrowth is noticeably slower at higher altitudes. March and bush flies seemed more than usually abundant and persistent, perhaps another consequence of the recent rain and snow.

2017 Snowy Porritt(197)Weather conditions were generally mild and conducive to walking. Our first walk was to Porcupine Rocks, an OFF tradition that prepares us for more demanding tracks. Many small patches of snow were visible on the Main Range and we admired “Jan’s tree”, a magnificent old Snow Gum beside the track that escaped the ferocious alpine fires of 2003. On our return to the Kosciuszko Road, we indulged in hot drinks and burgers at the Alpine Eyre café at Perisher Gap; it was a popular meeting spot for the rest of the week.

2017 Snowy Sharyn Cullis (3)Other walks completed by members of our party included Dead Horse Gap via the Thredbo chairlift, Blue Lake, Mt Kosciuszko via the Summit Road, Rainbow Lake, Guthega to Illawong, Waterfall, Mt Stilwell and Charlotte Pass Village to Alpine Eyre café. On the windiest day, while some were battling gales around Mt Stilwell, one couple enjoyed a peaceful riverside picnic in the sheltered woodland of Island Bend. At the end of the week the remaining ten people lunched together at Parc Café in Jindabyne and spent time in the displays and shop in the NPWS Centre.


Native Plants of Oatley Park

Plants of OP cover Oatley Flora and Fauna Society have produced a photographic guide to the native plants of Oatley Park.

Oatley Bushland Park occupies a promontory at the junction of Georges River and Lime Kiln Bay in Southern Sydney. Its 45 hectares consists mainly of sandstone woodland with shrubby understory. Over 310 plant species have been recorded in the park. The park is an important regional sanctuary protecting a number of plant species not found anywhere else in the St George area.

For printed copies of the photographic guide published by the Society – phone Secretary on (02) 9580-6621 or email Website Officer at Alternatively, download the A3 print quality file using the following link:





Spring in Muogamarra Nature Reserve

CIMG6767Muogamarra Nature Reserve was awash with native flowers of bright pinks and sunny yellows on 31 August. A group of 30 members of OFF, Menai Wildflower Group and Hurstville Council Bushcare enjoyed the splendour of the last winter’s day of 2013. Our group was a little too early for the flowering of most of the waratahs, but we did manage to see some of these iconic specimens. But, the boronias, eriostemons and pultenaeas were in full flower.

This reserve offers various walks of different grades, aspects and views and has a deep history of colonial existence. The NPWS staff and volunteers were very knowledgeable and extremely helpful about the program of walks available – either as a guided walk or as an amble at your own pace.

This is the second year Sharon and I have been to this reserve and we always experience or see something different. As this reserve is only open 6 weekends a year check out NPWS website for next year’s opening times.

Muogamarra Nature Reserve Walk on 31 August 2013 was led by Jason Cockayne and Sharon Pearson

Click here to see movie of Spring in Muogamarra Nature Reserve on our Face book site

“Marvellous  Muogamurra”  A series of pamphlets by – Tom Richmond a Local historian is a great resource on the history of the area which can be accessed pdf form from the links below.

Short movie on the plants of Oatley Park

A.helianthi3Banksia ericifoliaDear Oatley Park Friends,

You might be interested to know that our organisation (The Film Seen) will be showing a short movie on the plants of Oatley Park.

The Film Seen is a not for profit organisation showing Art House and Australian movies in the Civic theatre McMahan St Hurstville on the 3rd Sunday of the month. We will be showing the movie “Quartet” and the Oatley short movie on 15th September at 1 pm with afternoon tea following. Hurstville Council has provided both of the movies and will also provide afternoon tea.
Normally attendance is by membership (3 months for $20) but for this special screening a non-member may attend for $7.
If you would like any further information on the event or our organisation please contact me.
Robin Upcroft
Membership Officer

The Film Seen
Phone: 9522 7478
Mobile: 0414 903 104

Seasonal Blooms

Oatley Park flowers in June


Red Five Corners Styphelia tubiflora Black-eyed Susan Tetratheca neglecta
Small shrub with pointed leaves and conspicuous red tubular flowers. Plateau and slopes. A small shrub with whorled leaves; flowers pink with 4 petals and a dark centre. On the plateau near the lookout but uncommon.
Needle Bush Hakea sericea Finger Orchid Petalochilus pictus
A medium shrub with needle-like leaves and abundant white flowers. Found chiefly on the plateau Formerly called Caladenia. Ground orchid to 30cm tall with white to pink flowers. Plateau and slopes.
Sunshine Wattle
Acacia terminalis
Sweet-scented wattle
Acacia suaveolens
Shrub to 2 m tall with bipinnate leaves and yellow flower balls. One of the earliest wattles to flower. Common and often dominant along roadsides.   A Slender shrub, with narrow phyllodes and pale yellow flower balls.  
Queensland Silver Wattle Acacia podalyriifolia Green Five Corners Styphelia laeta
Although not a local native, a couple of trees make a brilliant show of yellow near the picnic ground   Two small shrubs covered with lime-green tubular flowers along Lime Kiln Service Track
Coast Banksia Banksia integrifolia Pink Spider Flower Grevillea sericea
A medium tree along shoreline    Small shrub with pink spider-like flowers. Widespread and common.  
 Green Spider Flower Grevillea mucronulata
Pine Heath Astroloma pinifolius
Small shrub. Flowers green with a pink style. Leaves roundish.   Low shrub with crowded needle-like leaves. Flowers tubular, red with a yellow-green tip.   

For More information on the Flora of Oatley Park and Sydney Region check out the publications below:

  • Native Plants of Oatley Park Compiled by Alan Fairley, copies available at Oatley Flora and Fauna monthly meetings.
  • Native Plants of the Sydney District an identification guide, Alan Fairley & Philip Moore, available in book shops.

May Blooms in Oatley Park

Flax Wattle
Acacia linifolia Queensland Silver Wattle Acacia podaylriifolia
An early flowering wattle, brightening the bush in autumn when little else is in flower. A shrub to 3m tall, with narrow phyllodes to 5cm long. Common on plateau and slopes.   Not a local species but conspicuous trees are located around the playground. Foliage is silver-grey and flowers are bright yellow balls.   
Sweet-scented Wattle
Acacia suaveolens Prickly Moses Acacia ulicifolia
An early flowering wattle, commencing to flower in April and lasting until November. A slender shrub with flat phyllodes to 12cm long. Buds enclosed by brownish bracts which fall to expose yellow flower heads. Widespread and common.   Another small wattle (to 2m tall) which flowers from autumn to spring. Flower balls a light cream and phyllodes rigid, angular and needle-pointed.  
Pixie Caps
Acianthus fornicatus Black She-oak Allocasuarina littoralis (male)
Small ground orchid with 4-6 reddish green flowers on stem to 20cm tall. Leaf basal, heart-shaped and seen on the ground even when there are no flowers. Very common in sheltered understorey. .   Erect to spreading tree with pine-like leaves and teeth in a whorl around stem joints. Male and female flowers on separate trees. Male flowers along tan spikes at the end of branches. Common in Park.  
Native Fuchsia
Correa reflexa Tall Greenhood Pterostylis longifolia
Erect shrub to 80cm tall with opposite stem-clasping leaves which are covered with hairs.  Flowers bell-shaped, yellow-green. Common in sheltered sites.   Ground orchid with up to 7 flowers on an upright stem to 30cm tall. Flowers pale green with a green and black labellum. Leaves along stem each 3 to 10cm long. Uncommon in Park on moist sites on lower slopes.  

For More information on the Flora of Oatley Park and Sydney Region check out the publications below:

  • Native Plants of Oatley Park Compiled by Alan Fairley, copies available at Oatley Flora and Fauna monthly meetings.
  • Native Plants of the Sydney District an identification guide, by Alan Fairley & Philip Moore, available in book shops.

April Oatley Park Blooms

Smooth-barked Apple
Angophora costata Heath-leaved Banksia Banksia ericifolia
Large beautiful tree with twisted branches. Trunk smooth, salmon to grey-blue, with bark shed in patches in November. Flowers white; fruit ribbed. Common in Park. Usually flowers Oct – Dec, but late flowering in 2012 Tall shrub. Leaves narrow and crowded. Flower spikes orange-red. Uncommon in Park.
fern-leaved Banksia
Banksia oblongifolia Common Bossiaea Bossiaea heterophylla
Medium shrub. Leaves toothed, with underside of new growth covered with brown hairs. Flower spikes green-yellow. Uncommon in Park, occurring on drier plateau areas.   Shrub to 1m tall with flattened stems and small alternate leaves. Flowers yellow with a red keel conspicuous in undergrowth. Along Headland Track and slopes.  
Red Bloodwood
Corymbia gummifera Hedgehog Grass Echinopogon caespitosus
A medium to large tree with characteristic rough tessellated bark often blackened from fire. White flowers borne at the ends of the branches. Fruit urn-shaped. Widespread and common. Usually flowers Feb –March, but late flowering in 2012. Tufted grass with slender sandpapery stems to 60cm tall. Leaves mostly basal. Flower spike cylindrical. Common in open forest on sandy soils. Flowers from November to April.
Native Olive
Notelaea longifolia Australian Bluebell Wahlenbergia gracilis
Tall shrub with lance-shaped leaves. Young branches softly hairy, becoming hairless with age. Flowers small, yellow and borne in clusters from leaf axils. Fruit a blue-black berry. Scattered throughout the Park.   Small many-stemmed plant to 50cm tall. Leaves sparse at base of stems. Flowers blue, bell-shaped to 6mm across. Scattered in the Park in sheltered shaded locations.  
Woollsia pungens Hairy Xanthosia Xanthosia pilosa
Shrub to 2m tall. Leaves crowded, ovate, tapering to a pungent point. Flowers white borne in attractive clusters in the upper leaves. Conspicuous as it flowers in autumn and winter. Common in sheltered spots.   Small plant to 40cm tall, wholly clothed in long weak hairs. Leaves toothed, to 50mm long. Insignificant cream-green flowers borne in the leaf axils. Widespread and very common. Some flowers all year round.  

For More information on the Flora of Oatley Park and Sydney Region check out the publications below:

  • Native Plants of Oatley Park Compiled by Alan Fairley, copies available at Oatley Flora and Fauna monthly meetings.
  • Native Plants of the Sydney District an identification guide, by Alan Fairley & Philip Moore, available in book shops.