Dear OFF Members,

I hope you are all well and are able to deal with the difficulties of daily living during the current serious and restrictive COVID -19 situation. The speed with which it has developed has caused our whole nation to change and change rapidly.

Although we cancelled the general meeting scheduled for 23 March and the field day for 28 March, the OFF committee met (quite successfully via the ‘Zoom’ conferencing app) recently and decided to try to keep OFF operating to the greatest extent possible. We believe it is important to keep members informed and involved during this difficult period.In this regard we will continue producing this newsletter as long as it can be done remotely and in compliance with current COVID-19 movement restrictive rules and with everyone’s safety uppermost in mind. And of course we can post items on the OFF website and Facebook page for those who can access them.

General meetings in the RSL sub-branch hall have been cancelled at least until June when the latest situation will be reviewed. However as an alternative offering we will try to arrange for the scheduled speakers to deliver their talks over a suitable internet function. This may or may not include the ability to interact with the speaker remotely. We will also endeavour to record the proceedings for later viewing by those who could not access it on the night. If we cannot facilitate the speaker delivery on the scheduled date we will try to arrange it at an appropriate time later in the year when hopefully things might return to normal operations.

Likewise field days have been cancelled at least until June when the latest situation will be reviewed. Unfortunately we cannot arrange a virtual field day but we will again try to arrange the field day when and where feasible at an appropriate time later in the year.

I’m pleased to also say OFF will be undertaking production of the Oatley Calendar for 2021 as we have generally done on alternate years with the Oatley Heritage and Historical Society (OHHS). A call for submission of photos for potential inclusion is in this edition of the newsletter. We will be ensuring once again that OFF members’ and the wider community’s safety is highest priority in the process of delivering this project.

I look forward to your continued participation in OFF ‘activities’ over these difficult times. As you can appreciate this will be an evolving process over the coming months. If you have any concerns or queries or would like to provide feedback feel free to email or call me or other committee members.

With kind regards and please stay safe.

Kim Wagstaff



New Committee and Program for 2020

Welcome to the newly elected OFF Committee for 2020. Our President, Graham Lalchere, stood down after 7 busy years in that position and Vice-president Kim Wagstaff, was elected to take his place. We especially welcome three new committee members –Adrian Polhill, Sonia Baxant and Brian Dale –they come with fresh ideas and will be invaluable to the running of OFF.

Oatley Flora and Fauna Society have organised  another exciting year of speakers and walks for 2020.  Click here for OFF Program & Committee for 2020

MEETINGS: Held 4th Monday of the month, 7.30 pm in Oatley RSL Sub-Branch Hall, building left of 23 Letitia Street, Oatley


  • Prior to the State and Federal elections canvassing  prospective candidates on a number of environmental concerns.
  • OFF representatives had quarterly meetings with the Mayor and Directors of Georges River Council to discuss big-issue topics
  • Submissions were made on environmental issues.
  • We have liaised with, and supported many environmental organisations
  • OFF contributes significantly to the Council Bushcare program.
  • Members also undertook monthly Streamwatch sampling.
  • Thanks to generous donations from members, we were able to allocate $6,000 for three post-graduate student grants in 2019.
  • Monthly meeting  and field outings continue.
  • OFF has participated in stalls at community events which are an excellent avenue for raising OFF’s profile and discussing environmental issues.

Full Secretary’s Annual Report for 2019



At the recent AGM, Graham stated that this will be his last presidential address as
he is standing down; it’s time for someone new to fill the position and refresh the
role. He then thanked his fellow committee members, saying that the President’s role is
one of coordination as it is the committee members who manage the society and
come up with the ideas and plan and carry out our activities.

As well as the continuing committee members, he also thanked those standing down: Peter Mahoney, Peter de Beuzeville and Anne Cale. He then thanked other position holders, before giving a special thanks to past committee member, Shaun Keys-Byrne, who is leaving the district. He has been very helpful over the years in assisting with the development of much of our publicity material. For his last address Graham briefly discussed the OFF mission statement, which consolidates OFF aims into a short pithy statement:
Working to protect, conserve and enhance the natural environment locally and globally

This is carried out by following the society’s objectives, which he read out. He then clarified the mission statement in detail and illustrate it with examples:

  • Protect. Dict: To defend from trouble, harm, etc. This is the first level of ensuring our environment is cared for, at least make sure what we value does not disappear.

Preserve. Dict: To keep safe from danger of harm; to protect from decay or
dissolution. This is the second level of care for the environment. What we value may be
protected, and not allowed to deteriorate.

Enhance. Dict: To intensify or increase in quality, value, etc; improve, augment.This is our third level of environmental care. We build on the first two and advance our care of our environment and begin to ameliorate past damage.

Local. Dict: Characteristic of or associated with a particular locality or area.This is where our primary work is carried out. We work in our own area to ensure our local environment is suitable for both ourselves and other essential organisms.

Global. Dict: Covering or relating to the whole world; comprehensive.This is where we operate outside our local area, or our local efforts have an effect outside our locality.

He then reiterated that OFF has been Working to protect, conserve and enhance the natural environment locally and globally since 1955.

Click here for full President’s Address at AGM


Royal Botanic Gardens

On Tuesday 5 March 2019, eight members met at Oatley station and caught the train to Martin Place from where we headed through the Domain to the Information Centre of The Royal Botanic Garden where the tour commenced. As our intended OFF leader had a foot injury, we joined the scheduled 10.30 guided tour for the public but the group of 24 was too large for one guide. The Co-ordinator of the Garden Volunteer Program and a very experienced horticulturist, Paul Nicholson, stepped in to take our OFF group and a few others on our own very entertaining tour.

Points of interest included the oldest bridge in Australia; its antiquity was discovered when repairs were done early this century and confirmed by the convict marks on the handmade bricks. The bridge crosses a stream that flows into Farm Cove. Swamp Oaks (Casuarina glauca) more than 250 years old, growing on a hill near the Maiden Pavilion, mark the original high water level; the land below that has been reclaimed from swamp.

We looked at the recently-renovated pond with Lotus flowers & waterlilies, a few flowers still in bloom. The seeds of the Lotus will survive in the water for many years. Water droplets on the Lotus leaves stay in a spherical form due to hairs on the leaf’s surface and roll across the surface, cleaning off dust as they go. Amazing!

Paul led us along a mulched path to show us some most unusual blooms – the dramatic black, white and burgundy flowers of bat plants (Tacca species).

Southern Hemisphere conifers were another feature of the tour. A Kauri Pine is the tallest tree in the garden (33 m). We stood in the shade of a beautiful specimen of a Norfolk Island Pine; it was hoped they would provide timber for ships’ masts but were found to be most unsuitable as the timber splits at points of lateral growth. One of Australia’s rarest conifers, Wollemi Pines are being propagated and planted all over the world.

It was interesting to learn about the Grey-headed Flying Fox dilemma and how it is being resolved. Intense studies including tagging bats showed that the individuals roosting in the Garden during the day were part of a single population extending along the East Coast from Queensland to Adelaide.  So for two years the bats in the Garden were disturbed by noise at dawn and they have moved on to other colonies, of which there are a number in the Sydney region.

Fruit bats are vital for pollination of many native trees and enhance cross pollination because pollen sticks better to their fur than to birds’ feathers. At night the white blossoms of gum trees stand out and their nectar production doubles, making them highly visible and attractive to the bats. The bats
also eat the fruits of figs and other trees, assisting in dispersal and germination through their droppings.

The Australian White Ibis is increasing in numbers in the Garden; their probing is good for aerating the soil as well as for pest control. The Garden is currently participating in a study into their movements; the ibis are being tagged with numbers and the public is encouraged to notify where
they are observed. The palms are suffering as the ibis nest on their crowns, damaging the growing point and in time killing the tree.

We ended our tour in The Calyx, the glasshouse built to celebrate the bicentenary of the Garden in 2016. It is a horseshoe shape, three-quarters glass with the whole back wall covered in plants.

A fine mist of water keeps the plants hydrated and the glass walls and roof allow in light for photosynthesis. The current exhibition is of carnivorous plants – pitcher plants, sundews and Venus flytraps in all shapes, colours and sizes. The exhibition will close in winter but re-open in spring and continue till next year. The Calyx also has an excellent information section, amenities and café with seating outside overlooking a water feature that includes handmade glass pitcher plants, stunning!

On leaving the Garden, five of us went on to the State Library to see the new exhibitions including, among others, a collection of Myles Dunphy’s papers. We finished up with coffee in Oatley after a most enjoyable day.


Walk Report by Marie O’Connor & Photos by Graham Lalchere


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.



2019 Annual General Meeting


At the recent AGM meeting, Graham thanked the outgoing committee, stating that OFF could not function without a hardworking, productive and stimulating committee.

Graham thought it timely to remind members of the great things that OFF has been involved with over the years and the battles that our predecessors have fought. He is indebted to Alan Fairley for documenting OFF’s history in ‘Being Green’. To view, visit the OFF web site.

Rafe and Moira Kowron along with a few others, started OFF in 1955, when they became concerned about the wanton destruction and vandalism that was taking place in the natural bushland surrounding their new home. Over the years, OFF grew along with Oatley -which changed, not always for the better when it came to its natural environment. OFF members have fought many battles to retain and improve their local environment,

Our battle for the Oatley Bowling Club site is just the latest and continuing fight. Threats will always be there, so we need to remain vigilant and keep working to protect our precious environment, building on the legacy of past members.  Read Full Presidents AGM Address 2019


Highlights for 2018 included:

  • Georges River Council has decided to retain the Oatley Bowling Club site in public hands. OFF has campaigned tirelessly for this.
  • OFF identified six environmental priorities on which to base its political efforts for the State and Federal elections.
  • The grants sub-committee submitted consultant’s report on the restoration of Oatley Park Castle to Council.
  • OFF awarded grants to two post-graduate students and a previous recipient gave a talk on her project during the November 2018 meeting.
  • The ‘Nature of Georges River 2019’calendar made a surplus, and was sold at:four street stalls
  • We undertook revegetation at River Road Reserve and Moore Reserve, planting 1000 natives bought with funds from the NSW Government and Councillor Grekas.
  • Monthly Bushcare sessions in Oatley Parkhave continued.
  • OFF helped at Council’s National Tree Day plant giveaway but despite diligent monitoring and reporting by OFF members, trees are still dying and being illegally removed in our local government area.
  • We supported: People’s Referendum on coal and gas, banning mining under water catchments, investment in renewable energy, plastic-free Oatley, reducing pollution in our waterways, and saving the Streamwatch program.
  • OFF recommended the names Boorea Reserve for the River Road Reserve, and Myles Dunphy Creek for the stream in Myles Dunphy Reserve.
  • 27 people helped with Clean Up Australia Day in Lime Kiln Bay.
  • OFF and Bankstown Bushland Society cleaned up Beauty Point Reserve on the Georges River.

Read Secretary’s Annual Report for 2018

At the AGM on Monday 4th February, the following office-bearers and committee members were elected:

  • President: Graham Lalchere
  • Vice Presidents: Alan Fairley and Kim Wagstaff
  • Secretary: Liz Cameron
  • Treasurer: Rodger Robertson
  • Program & Publicity Officer: Matt Allison
  • Field Officer: Graham Fry
  • Membership and Welfare Officer: Robin Dickson
  • Website Officer: vacant
  • Additional Officers: Julian Sheen, Vicki Bolling, Peter de Beuzeville, Ben Hope, Peter Mahoney, James Deli, Anne Cale

The following OFF members accepted appointment to various positions:

  • Public Officer: Julian Sheen
  • Editor: Adelina Cubelic
  • Conservation Advisor: Deb Andrew
  • Hospitality and Welcome Team: Beverley Watters, Vicki Bolling, Sue de Beuzeville, Sue Howard

New Program for 2019

OFF Field Officer, Graham Fry and Program Officer Matt Allison have put together the program of activities for 2019. 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

OFF program 2019- pdf copy can be printed or get a card at one of our talks or walks



25th Monday Meeting – 7.30pm  OEH researcher -Dr David Eldridge: Conservation & management of Australian Drylands.


5thTuesday – Field day – Tour of Royal Botanic Gardens – history, wildlife and horticulture. Leader: Amanda Gibson

25th Monday Meeting – 7.30pm – Linda Groom from Save Kosci Inc walks the talk: Protecting fragile ecosystems in Kosciuszko NP.

31stSunday – Field day – Easy walk – McMahons Pt to Milsons Pt, Wendy Whiteley’s garden. Leader: Sue de Beuzeville


29th Monday Meeting – 7.30pm – OEH Researcher – Ross Crates – updates us on the fate of the endangered Regent Honeyeater.


5thSunday – Field day - Hard walk with easier alternative – spectacular Bargo R and Gorge. Leader: Sharyn Cullis

27th Monday Meeting – 7.30pm- Deb Andrew on Wildlife wonders of the Burragorang Valley – hidden refuge near here.


2ndSunday – Field day - Medium walk – Red Hand Cave stencils, axe-grinding grooves, Glenbrook. Leader: Matt Allison

24th Monday Meeting – 7.30pm - Anna Moltchanski from GRC-partnered Our Energy Future – Solar energy &reducing bills

30thSunday – Field day - Medium walk (some off-track) – Blue Labyrinth, Mt Whaite nr Wentworth Falls. Leader: Julian Sheen


22ndMonday Meeting – 7.30pm - Alan Fairley& Kim Wagstaff showcase the natural wonders of Western Australia – flora & landscape.

27thSaturday – Field day - Easy walk – explore Yeramba Lagoon at Picnic Point nr Georges River. Leader: Vicki Bolling


26th Monday Meeting – 7.30pm - Jayden Walsh displays extraordinary knowledge of reptiles and frogs of the Sydney Basin

31stSaturday – Field day - 15 km walk –Waterfall to Heathcote via Uloola Pools, Royal NP, wildflowers. Leader: K Wagstaff


23rd Monday Meeting – 7.30pm - President Graham Lalchere goes the extra mile with the history of Myles Dunphy, the man.

27/29thWeekend field trip - Stay in Capertee NP accommodation, explore the valley and enjoy the woodland’s rich fauna. Leader: Deb Andrew


28th Monday Meeting – 7.30pm - OFF’s research grant recipient- Justin Collette – reveals progress on his seed germination studies


3rd Sunday – field trip - Morning cruise – explore Hawkesbury R with commentary by local historian. Leader: G Fry

25th Monday Meeting – 7.30pm - Chris Lloyd takes us off the coast of Wollongong to the 5 Islands where he has been instrumental in the conservation strategies of these important sea bird refuges.

DECEMBER 2nd Monday Christmas Picnic in Oatley Park


FEBRUARY 3rdAGM – 7.30pm- Followed by members’ photos & supper

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



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.