Photo Challenge 2019

For the past few years, OFF has produced a calendar that we normally release for sale at the Oatley Festival in October. The 2018 calendar featured wildlife of the Georges River area, this calendar proved to be very popular with very few copies left. Consequently, we are planning to produce a calendar with a similar theme for 2019. The major difference is that there will not be a competition for the images. However, photographers will get the satisfaction of seeing their images in the calendar.

The criteria for the images are that they must of flora or fauna of the St George area. Entries will close on Saturday 1st September 2018 in order to make the Oatley Festival deadline. Therefore, all photographs start clicking!

PHOTO ENTRY RULES

North Head Sanctuary Walk

A dozen OFF members and friends enjoyed a brilliant day out on Sunday 1 July. The walk had something for everyone – spectacular views, flora and fauna, sculptures and history. Despite the ever shifting railway timetables we all made it on to the 10 o’clock ferry to Manly. Sydney harbour was sparkling on a glorious warm sunny mid-winter day.

We walked from Manly ferry terminal across to South Steyne Beach, along Marine Parade which was busy with people enjoying the unseasonably warm day. There were some interesting sculptures along the way highlighting the aquatic life in the Cabbage Tree Bay Reserve.

 

Coffee break at Shelly beach, where we encountered some very bold Brush Turkeys who were keen to sample our morning tea cakes. We pressed on up the hill to North Head.

 

The top of the hill gave us some spectacular views north. Cunningham’s skinks were spotted taking in the sun and view. The walk continued through the walled area with endangered Banksia Scrub. Some recent back burning has been done in this area to help with the regeneration of the bush. Enough flowering plants were spotted to keep our plant experts busy. On our walk through this area some Wattle Birds and Regent Honeyeaters were spotted feeding on the Banksia flowers.  Our stop at North Head sanctuary foundation information centre was productive with an enthusiastic volunteer and lots of information.

The nearby sculpture gallery offered some artistic flavour to the day. As we walked on towards the centre of the headland, history buffs were kept happy exploring fortifications and military buildings.

 

After our lunch break, we walked the Fairfax loop which offered some stunning views of headlands of Sydney harbour and the city. We also glimpsed a few large splashes as whales frolicked amongst the flotilla of whale watching boats. The walk officially finished at the aptly named Bella Vista cafe where some stopped off to a well earned afternoon tea and walk back; others opted for a quicker return on the bus.

Our return ferry trip provided some magnificent sunset views of the harbour and silhouettes of the bridge.

SEE PHOTO GALLERY

OFF Rules Amended and Approved at Special General Meeting 25.06.18

At the committee meeting on 09 March 2018 amended rules of the society were accepted for approval by the membership. These rules will henceforth to be known as the Constitution. 

Changes are required to ensure that OFF complies with Associations Incorporation laws. The new Constitution will also incorporate a Mission statement which is a formal summary of the core purpose and focus of our organisation. 

Changes to incorporated associations constitutions require approval by at least 75% of members attending a Special General Meeting. Approval was unanimous at the meeting held on 25th June 2018, following the normal general meeting.

OFF Constitution adopted 25 06 2018

Elizabeth Farm – Rosehill

On Sunday 3rd June, eight OFF members took part in Vicki Bolling’s walk around Parramatta which followed on from last year’s successful outing.  Initially, we called in at the Lancer Barracks near the station, the barracks were built in 1818 and now as well as being an operational army unit it also houses a museum, unfortunately, we didn’t have time to do a tour but perhaps next time? It’s greatest claim to fame is that the Australian Light Horse was initially based at this barracks.

The primary destination our walk was to visit Elizabeth Farm, the property of John and Elizabeth Macarthur. Their house was built in 1793 and is recognised as the oldest European building in Australia.

After a welcome coffee, a volunteer guide, Lyn, gave us a wonderful tour of the restored homestead complete with many historical stories of the Macarthur dynasty. We were surprised at the size of the house and complex of buildings. Being allowed allowed to explore all the different rooms and even sit on the furniture gave us the opportunity to experience what life was like in colonial times.

The tour lasted 2 hours and I don’t think any of us became bored in that time. We finished the tour with lunch in the grounds. After lunch we returned to Parramatta railway station via another historic Macarthur property, Hambledon Cottage but as it was about to close we decided that we might visit it next year on the 3rd walk around Parramatta.

Thanks to Vicki for a great day Report By Graham Fry – Field Officer

CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS

Victoria Barracks

Excursion to Victoria Barracks 1st March
We were greeted with a lovely day as we gathered at Oatley station, then train to Central and bus down Flinders Street. In all, thirteen of us plus some extras entered the Barracks via the security check-point on Moore Park Road. It was largely a painless experience passing through the various barriers although several AFP officers were standing about portentously.

Once inside we were greeted by Sergeant Ryan and members of the Corps of Guides. We were divided into groups of four and headed off to explore the many historic sites that make up the barracks with our large Visitors cards dangling round our necks.

We learned that not only is Victoria Barracks a major historic site, built in the 1840’s, it is very much an active military base where the headquarters of Australia’s Land Army is found – ready to meet any emergency. We all admired the fine Georgian architecture of the original barracks buildings including soldiers’, NCOs’ and officers’ accommodations. We enjoyed hearing stories of the soldiers of the past and present from our excellent guides, all retired soldiers.

After coffee we visited the museum where Peter Ryan gave us an excellent account of life in the NSW colonial army, the battle of Vinegar Hill, the Soudan expedition and other exploits from Victorian times. He was really good.  SEE PHOTO GALLERY

One of our party Anne Cale was able to see her Great Aunt’s 1915 nursing war medals.

 

 

 

 

Our president Graham Lalchere was interested in the rats Tobrouk display, as his father served in Tobruk in WWII. The Rats of Tobruk was the name given to the soldiers of the garrison who held the Libyan port of Tobruk against the Afrika Corps, during the Siege of Tobruk in World War II

Following what was a demanding but highly worthwhile four-hour tour most of us retired to the Captain Cook Hotel for a good lunch and a walk back down Albion Street to Central Station.
 

SEE PHOTO GALLERY

 

Clean up Australia Day 2018

Another successful clean up Australia day was held on Sunday 4th March along the shores of Lime Kiln Bay. 27 people, including 6 Guides and their leaders, gave up some of their time to scour the mangrove edges for rubbish. Thanks to Alan Fairley for organising the day and manning the OFF marquee (before the wind blew it off!).

A dingy on the ponds allowed collection of rubbish otherwise inaccessible.

A total of 22 bags of rubbish was collected, plus car tyres, tube, bits of pipe, styrofoam and bits of wood. One OFF member even found a string of pearls !! (only costume jewellery)

A large amount of rubbish was found at the stormwater outlet that enters Lime Kiln Bay mangroves near the golf course leachate treatment plant. Loaves of bread in plastic bags with mushrooms growing out of the bags look like they may have been dumped. The large amount of rubbish collected highlighted the need for a GPT on the stormwater drain coming from the Peakhurst Industrial estate.

CHECKOUT THE PHOTO GALLERY

New Program for 2018

OFF Field Officer, Graham Fry and Program Officer Matt Allison have put together the program of activities for 2018. There is a mixture of easy excursions and some more demanding walks. Our monthly Monday meetings will feature environmental research, travel and tips on living sustainably.  CHECK OFF NEWS FOR DETAILS OF ACTIVITIES

Take a look at our 2018 Program- pdf copy can be printed or get a card at one of our talks or walks

2018 Program

MEETINGS: Held at 7.30 pm in Oatley RSL & Community Club, 23 Letitia Street, Oatley

CHECK OFF NEWS FOR DETAILS OF ACTIVITIES

 

FEBRUARY

26th Monday Meeting – 7.30pm

James Baxter-Gilbert examining eastern water dragons and their adaptability to urban habitat.

MARCH

1st Thursday – Field day

Victoria Barracks – tour of precinct with its early colonial architecture. Leader: Julian Sheen

21st Wednesday – Field day

Walk from Edgecliff to Circular Quay via Royal Botanic Garden. Leader: Keith McRorie

26th Monday Meeting – 7.30pm

Em Prof of Anthropology, Richard Wright OAM examines the Australian climate & environment of 10,000 years ago.

APRIL

23rd Monday Meeting – 7.30pm

Julian Sheen on The Old Burma Road to Shangrila: travelling beyond expectations in Myanmar and China.

27/29th Weekend field trip

Stay in Capertee NP homestead surrounded by wildlife; explore the valley. Leader: Deb Andrew

MAY

28th Monday Meeting – 7.30pm

Ecologist Dr Rod Armistead from Eco Logical explains the Phytophthora Dieback in Myles D R.

JUNE

3rd Sunday – Field day

Parramatta – further exploration of its heritage sites and parks. Leader: Vicki Bolling

25th Monday Meeting – 7.30pm

Author Paul Irish revealing his recent book “Hidden in Plain View” exploring Aboriginal lives post 1788.

JULY

1st Sunday – Field Day

North Head – medium walk through rare heathland and wildflowers. Leader: Melina Amerasinghe

23rd Monday Meeting – 7.30pm

Bev Debrincat shows how easy it is to establish small bird habitat corridors in our own yards.

29th Sunday – Field Day

Nattai NP – medium to hard walk to Bonnum Pic, spectacular views. Leader Adrian Buzo

AUGUST

27th Monday Meeting – 7.30pm

Movie screening of “Secrets at Sunrise”: Western Australia’s rarest bird: the western ground parrot.

SEPTEMBER

2nd Sunday – Field Day

Sydney Olympic Park – Heritage Railway tour, birds, wetlands. Leader: Liz Cameron

23rd Sunday – Field Day

Quarantine Station North Head – tour of heritage buildings, colonial history. Leader: Yvonne Penn

24th Monday Meeting – 7.30pm

Cliff Crane (The Banjo) reminisces on famous and little known Oatley Bushwalkers of Yesteryear.

OCTOBER

22nd Monday Meeting – 7.30pm

Prof Ross Jeffree shows it is possible with the “Conservation success stories of Bhutan”.

27th Saturday – Field day

Blue Mountains Botanic Garden – cool climate Spring flowers. Leader: Graham Fry

NOVEMBER

18th Sunday – Field Day

Stony Range Botanical Garden, an oasis of native plants in Dee Why. Leader: Graham Lalchere

26th Monday Meeting & Social Supper – 7.30pm

PhD candidate, Reannan Honey brings us up to speed on the results of her “Homes in Hollows” study which OFF is helping to finance.

DECEMBER

3rd Christmas Picnic in Oatley Park

PROGRAM 2019

FEBRUARY

4th AGM – 7.30pm

Followed by members’ photos & supper

COMMITTEE

President

Graham Lalchere 9580 3107

Vice Presidents

Alan Fairley 9570 8332

Julian Sheen 9594 4888

Secretary

Liz Cameron 9580 6621

Treasurer

Rodger Robertson 9570 7471

Program & Publicity Officer

Matt Allison 0408 605 923

Field Officer

Graham Fry 9580 6621

Membership Officer

Robin Dickson 9580 5663

Website Officer

Melina Amerasinghe 0400 300 662

Grants Officer

Kim Wagstaff 9580 7919

Additional Officers

Vicki Bolling 9580 3107

Peter de Beuzeville 8068 6149

Ben Hope 0402 358 348

Peter Mahoney 0435 990 965

James Deli 0434 441 800

Appointed Positions

Public Officer

Julian Sheen 9594 4888

Editorial Committee

Conservation Advisor

Deb Andrew 9570 2695

Hospitality and Welcome

Beverley Watters 9534 1096

Vicki Bolling 9580 3107

Sue de Beuzeville 8068 6149

Sue Howard 9579 1718

 

 

Annual General Meeting & 2018 Program

Presidential Address 2018 By Graham Lalchere

Graham thanked the outgoing committee, In particular Shaun Keays-Byrne who will not be standing for the committee this year and resigning from the position of Newsletter editor. He thanked Shaun for the great work he has done on the Newsletter, meeting posters and calendar this year as well our banners. He will be missed both as editor and from the committee.

We heard about an inspirational community campaigner from the Botany area of Sydney ; Nancy Hillier OAM. She was a truly outstanding campaigner for her local community, in development of services, championing the interests of residents, and protection of the environment in the Botany Bay region. A “Relentless rebel with many causes”.

 

 

……”Nancy began work at age 14 at Australian Paper Mills at Matraville, sorting paper for recycling into cardboard. She also took up her first issue. One of Nancy’s work companions said workers were not allowed to take toilet breaks in work time. Nancy thought this was wrong, and she told her fellow employees during their break that they should take off their underpants and wash them in the hand basin. She then took the wet garments and hung them on a line at the bottom of the stairs leading to the boss’s office. Naturally, the boss took offence, but Nancy said if employees were allowed to go to the toilet when they felt the urge, they would not wet themselves.”

Hillier was given many public roles, including a place on the Botany community consultation committee, the Botany industrial park environmental committee, the Port Botany expansion committee, the senior citizens’ advisory committee and the emergency management planning committee. In 2006, she was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia. Still she did not sit back. In August, 2012, the 88-year-old called on residents to fight and stop the state government’s plan to remove the container cap at Port Botany. She did not win that fight, but she would never be silenced.

Graham reminded us that we must remain vigilant to the issue of tree cover in our area.   We must ensure that the council’s announced tree canopy policy is a sound one and implemented properly, particularly when it comes to developments which are denuding our area. See more on Community Tree Watch

Read OFF-Presidents AGM Address 2018

 

 

Our Secretary Liz Cameron gave a good synopsis of the year’s happenings.

Some highlights include:

  • Initiation of a Research Grants Program

  • Establishment Community tree Watch

  • Completion of the wheel-chair accessible pathway in Oatley Park

  • Photographic competition that resulted in  Oatley – Nature in the Suburbs Calendar 2018

  • Greening of the River Road Reserve near the railway underpass in Oatley with 850 native plants.

  • We fielded 6 stalls at community events , these enable us to promote OFF’s objectives to a wider audience.

  • We continued to lobby MPs, Georges River Council and other authorities about environmental matters

  • OFF involves itself in a wide range of issues and we have made submissions on draft plans and legislation.

 Read Secretary’s Annual Report for 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Annual Visit to Kosciuszko National Park

Nineteen OFF members and friends stayed at Charlotte Pass for 3 – 7 days in January 2018. It was our third year in Pygmy Possum Lodge, which has stunning views and is convenient for walks on the Main Range. Also resident were three couples from Berowra who were very convivial and even bought an OFF calendar.

Wildflowers were colourful and abundant (thanks to a late snowfall in October from which many snow drifts remained) and much photographed.

The usual walks were completed, even a trek to Blue Lake in rain, hail and mist.

The less energetic enjoyed watching Flame Robins visit their nest on the lodge verandah, and reading, chatting and doing embroidery, word games and a jigsaw. Tim repaired a cassette radio that became welcome entertainment for Melina’s mother who was nursing a fractured arm.

Weather was changeable and there was a light dusting of snow on the peaks on the final Sunday morning.

CLICK HERE FOR PHOTO ALBUM

Appeal to New Councillors to Save Bowling Club Site

The society has written to the new Georges River Councillors informing them of the history of the acquisition of the land on which the Oatley Bowling Club (OBC) was built and issues important to the community in retaining the site for recreational community use. 

Please write to your Councillors asking them to consider retaining the site for community recreational use.

OFF letter to Georges River Councillors on planning proposal for OBC

Click here for list of Councillors and email addresses

 

Three facsimiles below are of 1944 Hurstville Council minutes that relate to the original acquisition of the land on which the former Oatley Bowling Club is situated.

Council minute 680 on 16/11/44- The blocks of land that make up this reserve were acquired in 1944-45 by council for a park

 

 

 

Minute 680 states quite clearly that the land was purchased for a park, lists the blocks bought, and includes all of the blocks on which the Bowling Club was built.

 

 

 

 

 

Minute 884 – Grant for acquisition of the lands.