Yeramba Lagoon

OFF Walk to Yeramba Lagoon This month’s walk saw a change of pace with a fairly relaxed 1.8km walk around Yeramba Lagoon by 13 OFF members. The remediation work on the lagoon seems successful so far as the waters were mostly clear of the choking weeds. More work will be done in the future to enable flushing by the salt waters of the Georges River to prevent the return of the weeds.

Walking clockwise, the first section is more protected from the sun and less frequently burnt. We passed some beautiful small sandstone cliffs and rock outcrops. Members were surprised by the extent of the reserve(335ha) and the very good condition of the bushland although surrounded by suburbia.






After the walk we continued on to Lambeth Reserve for a quick lunch and then walked along the boardwalk beside the Georges River, downstream to the National Park There is some lovely bushland on one side and pretty views of the river on the other. Most of the group had not visited these areas before and were pleased to find some new bushland sites close to home.

Walk Leader Vicki Bolling


2019 State Election – Oatley Candidates responses to our questions

A questionnaire was sent by Oatley Flora & Fauna Conservation Society (OFF) to 3 candidates for the seat of Oatley to gain insight into candidates’ position and/or opinion on  environmental issues before the coming election.

The questions and candidates’ answers are published below as they become available. Answers are in order of receipt.

1. Establish a Sydney Marine Park – to protect this world class coastal region.

Mannering  Labor has been committed to a single, iconic marine park for  Sydney since     2014 and under a Labor Government a Sydney Marine Park will be established, not a series of disparate reserves tagged with the marine park label. Labor’s multi-use Sydney Marine Park would run from Port Hacking to Pittwater and including the harbour waters in between, and would be open to the public and cater for a range of sustainable activities including fishing, boating, dolphin and whale watching, swimming, snorkelling and kayaking.

Dragone -   The NSW Greens believe marine parks are essential to maintaining aquatic biodiversity. I cam endorse of a marine park within Sydney with an emphasis on sanctuary zones.

Coure – our questions were forwarded to the Minister for the Environment, the Hon Gabrielle Upton MP. Response from the Minister’s Chief of Staff, Mr Kevin Wilde.

2 Create a koala sanctuary in south west Sydney – to protect this iconic species

ManneringLabor has committed to a Koala national park in south west Sydney.

Dragone -I can endorse a koala sanctuary in south-west Sydney. The Greens are pushing for more protections for Koalas in that area (and around NSW), Greens Councillor Ben Moroney has been doing great work in that regard.

3. Set up a $2 billion regional renewable energy fund – to fast track the transition to clean energy away from coal.

ManneringFederal Labor has committed to a $15 billion renewable energy fund and a $10 million Clean Energy Training Fund. State Labor has committed to a new renewable energy corporation and has committed to assisting 500,000 households to install solar panels

Dragone – The NSW Greens have a policy of transitioning to 100% renewable energy by 2030. Our policy is not exactly to set up a $2 billion fund, but would involve significant investment in excess of $2 billion as direct government intervention into energy production. It is also our policy to establish ‘Power NSW’, a publicly owned and 100% renewable energy provider to address the failure of privatisation in creating clean energy or lowering prices

4. Set up a $1.5 billion land and biodiversity fund and end logging of public native forests – to protect and restore bushland and forest habitat.

ManneringLabor has committed to a new national EPA. I’m not aware of the proposal for a biodiversity fund – is this a state or federal issue? Or both!

Dragone – I can endorse the need for regeneration of our bushland and forests, and to protect them from logging. We do not have a specific dollar value on what we will spend protecting biodiversity, but I can assure you that $1.5 billion is more than reasonable. We will fight to protect the native environment of NSW even if costs exceed $1.5 billion.

5. Remove feral horses from Kosciuszko National Park.

ManneringNSW Labor has committed to repealing the Wild Horses Act and to reinstating the National Parks and Wildlife Act, and also acknowledges the environmental damage being done to a delicate ecosystem by feral horses.

Dragone – The NSW Greens acknowledge the need to manage feral species, especially in such delicate environments like the Kosciuszko National Park. I can endorse policy on feral horse removal, however we also stipulate that the removal of feral horses be done humanely.

6. Legislate to ban light weight single use plastic bags.

ManneringLabor has committed to legislating to ban single use light weight plastic bags.

Dragone – It is NSW Greens policy to ban single-use plastic bags, as supermarkets voluntarily giving up plastic bags doesn’t prevent a return in the future. However, we also acknowledge that the costs of climate change should be taken on by the large corporations who are causing it, rather than it being shifted onto ordinary people. To this end, I support this principle.

We have been distributing a leaflet  with questions you might like to ask your candidates in all  electorates.





Clean Up Australia Day 2019 at Poulton Park

A successful clean up Australia day was held on Sunday 3 March at Poulton Park.

25 people, including some young families and local residents, gave up some of their time to walk through the mangrove forest collecting rubbish.

A shopping trolley, fish trap and netting, timber and large exercise ball were some of the unusual large items found. 18 bags of rubbish were filled with the usual suspects – plastic bottles, cans, plastic bags, drink lids, straws and food wrappers.

Thanks to Alan Fairley for organising the day and manning the OFF marquee.

See more photos in album.



Myles Dunphy Flying Fox Camp

It appears that the Oatley, Myles Dunphy Bush Reserve Flying-fox camp has become a permanent camp.  The numbers of Flying-foxes have ranged from about 4,400-5,500 in February.

This is an unusually large number for the Myles Dunphy Camp, the most that we have had since a peak period in February-March 2009 when 10,000-13,000 were present.  Our local record keeper Geoff Francis  suspects that the unusually large numbers are partly due to the abandonment of Kareela Camp in September.





Public Land Remains in Public Hands

Georges River Council on Monday 17th December 2018 unanimously approved a mayoral minute to not proceed with the Planning Proposal to rezone and reclassify the former Oatley Bowling Club site for seniors housing. A subsequent rescission motion was also lost on 21 December with all Councillors keen to ensure the public that the land is to remain zoned open space and for recreational use.
The St George and Sutherland Leader has already reported this on its web site :
Thanks to all who have fought against this proposal over 12 or more years.

2019 Calendar – The Nature of Georges River

Oatley Flora and Fauna Society, Oatley Heritage and Historical Society and Oatley Lions launched a calendar for 2019 at the Oatley Village Festival on Saturday. The theme of the calendar is the Natural World of Georges River Council Parks and Reserves with photos from local photographers.

There are dates for important events, school holidays, public holidays and dates for various groups in the area such as OFF and OHHS.

The calendars are NOW $5 .  Calendars will be available at OFF meetings and events.

 Copies are also available at :

Mullane’s Pharmacy – 121A Mulga Road, West Oatley NSW 2223 Ph: 9580 2365

Poveli Café and Deli -15 Frederick Street, Oatley NSW 2223 Ph: 9580 1845

AdventureCo – 18 Frederick Street, Oatley NSW 2223 Ph: 8084 3060



Streamwatch – Up The Creek?

The future of the long running Citizen science program Streamwatch is in jeopardy.

The local group which includes representatives of the Oatley Flora and Fauna Conservation Society, Friends of Oatley and the Georges River Environmental Alliance. Plans by the Australian Museum to not continue with the community-based Streamwatch program has raised concerns amongst volunteers about the future of Georges River’s water quality.

The Streamwatch program has been going for almost 30 years and is run by 53 volunteer water monitoring groups at 120 sites across Sydney. Streamwatch was established in 1990 by Sydney Water and in 2012 it was transferred to the Australian Museum which runs it under its Citizen Science programs. The groups share free on the Streamwatch website giving a snapshot of the standard of Sydney’s creeks and rivers.

Pollution is extremely common in the creeks on Oatley especially after high rain fall. In addition Sydney Water sewer mains frequently overflow after heavy rain and this ends up in the Georges River and becomes a serious health and environmental issue. It is often volunteers who report these indents. The Sydney sewer system is collapsing under the pressure of growing population. 

The volunteers believe that the Australian Museum should see this volunteer program as part of its core business as it is about the environment, it is about science and has a huge role also in educating the public.

It is believed the Steamwatch program costs around $100,000 a year to run support the entire network of more than 50 Streamwatch groups testing more than 150 waterway sites throughout Sydney. Sydney Water reported a record profit of $447 million in 2016-17. The search is on for a new organisation to host the program from mid-2019.


READ OFF member Sharyn Cullis letter to The Leader (26 September)

Oatley West Public School Festival

The society participated in the Oatley West Public School festival on the weekend of 25 & 26 August. Our stall was staffed by OFF Committee members. We demonstrated the Australian Museum’s catchment model which shows where the rain and waste water ends up.

Other focuses were recycling, reducing the use of plastics (e.g., cloth bags), and there were brochures available. We also encouraged people to submit photos for our 2019 calendar and even sold a few 2018 ones. There was a lot of interest and participation from the public.


Photo Challenge 2019

Challenge is finished Thank You to those who contributed photos.

Calendar will be on sale at the Oatley Lion’s Fest.

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  Sat 8th  September 2018 in order to make the Oatley Festival deadline. Therefore, all photographs start clicking!


Flying Fox Count at Myles Dunphy Reserve


The Grey headed Flying Foxes departed the Myles Dunphy camp  between 8.05 and about 8.40 today. Several of us were treated to a spectacular display of about 3400 flying foxes making an exit North /Northwesterly direction from the top green of the former Oatley Bowling club site. Our resident Flying Fox watcher Geoff Francis documented the spectacle. This is the highest count since the all time high of 4170 recorded flying out on 29 March 2011. Residents have seen and heard them feasting on Figs, Palms and Bloodwoods.

Although they appear in large groups, numbers of Grey-headed Flying Foxes are declining because of habitat clearing. These bats are important to healthy forest ecosystems because they pollinate and disperse the seeds of many important tree species.

Read more at Sydney Bats website  

Also read  Sandra Guy, on Flying-foxes role in ensuring the ongoing health of ecosystems

Click here for  spreadsheet of counts from Myles Dunphy Bat Camp 2010-2018


 15 February 2018