Four days of rain preceded the walk on the 2nd of March to explore Bushland reserves in the South East Corner of Georges River Council. Four people started out, and the weather remained fine. Near Quarry Reserve we entered the northern end of Poulton Park where Oatley Bay Creek was flowing freely into a pool that was a popular swimming hole in the 1930s. The sewer main on the eastern side of the Park had not overflowed, a positive sign that it was not being infiltrated by stormwater.
As we descended the valley, the transition from shale soils to sandstone was reflected in the trees – fewer figs, cheese trees and blackbutts, more angophoras, peppermints and bloodwoods. Graham pointed out areas formerly occupied by dairies and a quarry, where contractors had carried out bush regeneration. At the southern end of the Park a control burn about six years ago has resulted in extensive regeneration of wattles and heath species. Close to Morshead Drive we visited the mangrove boardwalk opened by Kogarah Council in 2001 with support from OFF and Coastcare.
Zig-zagging along streets above Kyle Bay, we entered Kyle Williams Reserve at the end of, Wentworth Avenue. The peppermint, bloodwood and blackbutt woodland had undergone a recent ecological burn; a hyacinth orchid was flowering and dark green spear-shaped leaves of bonnet orchids were common in patches. The lower slopes of the reserve were heavily infested by exotic plants but there was evidence of recent work to remove lantana and other weeds. We found an overgrown exit at the southern end and headed to Carss Park to meet up with three more OFF members.
Tim Ball provided a welcome morning tea while Liz quoted from Alan Fairley’s history of OFF, some of the obnoxious actions and words of Kogarah councillors who opposed the protection of Poulton Park’s mangroves in the 1970s.
A variety of salt-tolerant herbs and shrubs, including samphire, was growing vigorously behind a protective fence; the tide was high so we could not see if marine organisms had settled in the constructed sandstone rock pools facing Kogarah Bay. Georges River Council has just announced it will create another environmentally-friendly seawall at Dover Park West.