The intriguing Galada Tamboore area of Merri Creek can now be explored via a new shared cycling and walking trail recently completed by Parks Victoria.
The trail runs from Somerset Road in Campbellfield, along the top of the creek escarpment, then crosses the Merri Creek via a new footbridge which is roughly in line with Barry Road. It then links, via a gravel trail, to the footbridge across the Hume Freeway which leads into the Whittlesea Public Gardens in Lalor.
The project has been achieved in collaboration with Merri Creek Management Committee, the Cities of Hume and Whittlesea and Melbourne Water.
In early 2011, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal rejected a proposal for three three-storey townhouses next to Merri Creek in Northcote. VCAT accepted key arguments submitted by MCMC and recognised the need to protect the visual character of the creek. Link to the decision here.
On Thursday 16 September, MCMC Administration Officer, Ray Radford was lucky enough to see a Platypus about 30cm long in the Thornbury/Coburg area of Merri Creek. Ray went to look after a couple of other reports at the same site and he was able to watch it for about 20 minutes while it hunted, swam, went in and out of its refuge and even had a scratch while on a rock.
Geoff Williams, from the Australian Platypus Conservancy, said: “As far as we are concerned, this is the first really confirmed record for Merri Creek itself since the Australian Platypus Conservancy conducted trapping surveys (with negative results) in 1995."
Based on known movement patterns at this time of the year, Geoff thinks that this platypus is either an adult male travelling around very widely in search of potential mates, or it is a young animal from last summer's breeding season which is still dispersing from farther upstream in the Yarra system and is checking out vacant territories. Because of the relatively high flow in the main river over the last couple of weeks there would also be the incentive of making use of the tributaries. As it has been described as a fairly small animal, he's leaning to the likelihood that it is a disperser - although size can sometimes be a bit deceptive.
If you site a platypus or a water rat, please report it to the Australian Platypus Conservancy through the link on their website: www.platypus.asn.au
Wurundjeri Elders joined staff of Merri Creek Management Committee (MCMC) in an ecological burn of Bababi Djinanang (Jukes Rd) Native Grassland in Fawkner on 17 March 2011. We were honoured to have Wurundjeri Elder, Uncle Apples, start the burn and Uncle Ringo to assist.
The Wurundjeri people are the Traditional Owners of the Merri and burning of Native Grassland is a traditional cultural practice.
MCMC has been burning Native Grasslands for 20 years to help to sustain their biodiversity. This is the first time that Traditional Owners have joined MCMC for a burn. We are looking forward to Wurundjeri joining us for more burns and other activities. Next up is Ngarri-djarrang Grassland in Reservoir, followed by Kalkallo Grassland in Kalkallo.
Congratulations to our member group, Friends of Merri Creek, for winning the Port Phillip and Westernport Landcare Award in the category Community Group Caring for Public Land.
In the words of the judges, “The Friends of Merri Creek have shown great leadership and innovation in regards to protecting and enhancing the environs of the Merri Creek.”
This Award is great recognition for the work done by FoMC and is particularly special for FoMC as an urban-based group, when Landcare tends to be associated with rural-based groups.