Wildflower and Art Weekend a success!

The annual ANGAIR Wildflower and Art Weekend was greeted with a glorious spring day to welcome locals and visitors to the event.

This year featured a hands-on amphibian, reptile and insect experience by Roaming Reptiles, which was greatly received by children and adults alike. Read more

Annual event signals start to spring

Spring has definitely sprung with the warm weather welcoming the ANGAIR Wildflower and Art Exhibition on the 19th and 20th September.

The event attracted locals and visitors of all ages the area to explore the variety of stalls ranging from floral arrangements, propagation stalls and walks and rambles around the Anglesea area.

IMG_4041 small
Many organisations hosted stalls at the annual event, including the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC).

There was a lot of interest in the GORCC activities, attracting children and adults of all ages with colouring ins, puzzles and valuable information on local flora and fauna.

GORCC Conservation Supervisor Georgie Beale said the weekend was a great opportunity for local organisations to raise awareness about the work being completed in the area and answer public questions.

“There was a good mix of everything on the weekend with lots of local organisations represented.

“It was great to see people of all ages enjoying the activities we had on offer and finding out more about GORCCs role in the community,” she said.

ANGAIR is a dedicated volunteer group that aims to protect and maintain the indigenous flora and fauna in the Anglesea and Aireys Inlet environments. For more information about volunteering in your local area visit our website.

What were your highlights from the day? Share them with us in the comments below. 

Funds for rare flora

A local environmental group has been granted $9000 to enhance two rare flora populations on our iconic coast.

The state government awarded Jan Juc Coast Action (JJCA) with $9000 in funds as part of the Communities for Nature Grants program.

Chairperson of Jan Juc Coast Action Luke Hynes said the grant will foster the protection of two state significant flora species and enable them to continue their weed control efforts.

“We will use these funds to assist botanical experts Neil Anderton and Graeme Stockton to propagate the Swamp Diuris and increase the diversity of the Peninsula Daisy-bush in Jan Juc.

“We need to work actively to prevent these species from becoming locally extinct, encourage the recruitment of seedlings, and ensure populations are secure into the future,” he said.

Mr Hynes believes the grant will have significant benefits for the local coastline.

“This grant will benefit our coast by helping us protect local ecological values through weed control and protecting and enhancing these rare plant species,” he said.

The Peninsula Daisy Bush
The Peninsula Daisy Bush

The JJCA group works for the preservation and revegetation of the Jan Juc coastline with Indigenous species and the removal of environmental weeds, erosion control and provision of tracks and lookouts.

The group has been been working tirelessly to protect the survival of these precious flora species.

In 2010 the group pollinated Swamp Diuris by hand and collected seed to ensure the survival of the species.

This complex process required members to pollinate the tiny orchid flowers using tooth-picks.

The community can support the group’s efforts and help to ensure survival of these species by planting indigenous flora in their own gardens and removing environmental weeds.
“The invasion of foreign pasture grasses, noxious weeds and escaped garden plants are common threats to these fragile species.

“The Gazania, a common, pretty garden plant, is a particular threat, especially to the Swamp Diuris.
“Most community members don’t realise how easily these garden plants spread and how devastating they are for the environment,” said Mr.Hynes.

For more information on coastal volunteering in our region, visit www.gorcc.com.au.
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Rare orchid flowers following fire

Autumn orchids are flowering across the Surf Coast including a rare species which rarely flowers unless stimulated by fire.

The Fringe Hare Orchid (Leporella fimbriata) sighted in Anglesea, flowering well after fire, is found in sandy soils and flowers mainly from March to May. Photo: Margaret MacDonald
The Fringed Hare Orchid (Leporella fimbriata) sighted in Anglesea, flowering well after fire, is found in sandy soils and flowers mainly from March to May. Photo: Margaret MacDonald

Anglesea, Aireys Inlet Society for the Protection of Flora and Fauna (ANGAIR) sighted a number of orchids during their nature ramble walk, including the Fringed Hare Orchid (Leporella fimbriata).

Orchid expert Gary Backhouse said while the species is common in Western Victoria, with some colonies containing many hundreds of plants, the Fringed Hare Orchid only flowers under special conditions.

“It flowers well only after summer bushfires, with only a small proportion (sometimes none) in flower in the absence of summer fire.”

ANGAIR member Yvonne Coventry said she was one of five who had sighted the orchid.

“The area has undergone a burn in the last 12 months so there were a number of different plants coming up including a small patch of Fringed Hare Orchids.

“The Fringed Hare Orchid is very beautiful and very rare,” she said.

Mr Backhouse said the Fringed Hare Orchid does not only flower in specific conditions, but requires specific circumstances for pollination as well.

Winged male ants pollinate the plant by attempting to mate with the labellum (part of the petal that forms a lip) as they are attracted by the orchid’s scent which mimics that of a female ant.

“The winged males usually emerge from their nests only in warm, humid conditions, often just before rain, and have a very short flight period.

“There may be some years when orchid flowering and male ant emergence do not coincide, and very few, if any, flowers will be pollinated.”

Fringed Hare Orchid 2

Other orchids spotted by ANGAIR members this month include over thirty Fringed Midge Orchids (Corunastylis ciliate), a species which had not yet been sighted this year and the Parson’s Band Orchid (Eriochilus cucullatus).

ANGAIR and Friends of the Eastern Otways member Margaret MacDonald said there are 110 species of orchids in the Anglesea area and that there were many things we don’t yet understand about the plant.

“All orchids are rare and protected and they interest me because of their beauty, uniqueness and complexity.

“People can get involved by joining the Australasian Native Orchid Society which is based in Geelong or by contacting ANGAIR and arranging a walk,” she said.

ANGAIR holds guided walks every second Monday of the Month.  To learn more about orchids on the Surf Coast or to get involved please contact the ANGAIR office on: 5263 1085 or visit www.angair.org.au.  

This article appeared in the Surf Coast Times Green the Coast Column.

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ANGAIR Wildflower Show this weekend!

With the end of September fast approaching, the annual ANGAIR Wildflower Weekend and Art Show is on again, offering an opportunity to experience amazing wildflower displays, wildflower walks and tours, kids activities and much more.

Orchids, such as this Spider Orchid, will be a feature of the Wildflower Weekend and Art Show.

With the remarkable number of orchids and other wildflowers that grow throughout the Anglesea and Aireys Inlet district flowering in springtime, the Wildflower Weekend provides the perfect opportunity for visitors to admire the beauty on display.

Mayfly Orchids are one of the orchids that grow in the Anglesea district.

The show includes spectacular displays of native flowers and opportunities for people to take guided walks and bus tours to visit the bushland and flora reserves to see indigenous flowers in their natural habitat. There are also native plants books on environmental subjects, cards and various forms of craftwork for sale.

This year, GORCC will be holding a fun, interactive stall with educational activities provided free for all ages.  GORCC has commissioned local organisation EcoLogic to run the activities which all have a coastal focus.

Georgie Beale from our GORCC Conservation Team will also be there to answer questions and chat to community members about GORCC and what we do,  so feel free to come over and say hi! Georgie is an expert on conservation and land management and can answer your questions about our environmental work and how you can care for the coast.

All proceeds from the show will go towards land conservation purposes.

 Come down to the Anglesea Memorial Hall, McMillan Street Anglesea from 10am-4:30pm this weekend of the 22nd and 23rd September to get involved in all the wildflower action!

For more information, click here, email info@angair.org.au or call 5263 1085.

Indigenous gardens come to life

The recent discovery of a rare butterfly in a Jan Juc Garden demonstrates how indigenous flora has the power to bring Surf Coast gardens to life.

Jan Juc residents Ian and Roma Edwards were delighted to discover their indigenous garden was home to a rare Bright Copper Butterfly (Paralucia aurifera).

Click Here to see the Bright Copper Butterfly Fact Sheet

“We also have the endangered Rufous Bristle Bird in the garden, which is now extinct in Western Australia, and often see an echidna,” said Mr Edwards.

The garden features rare local flora and is an impressive example of the beauty and benefits of indigenous plants.

Great Ocean Road Coast Committee Conservation Supervisor Georgina Beale encourages others to follow in the footsteps of the passionate pair.

“Indigenous plants are not only a haven for wildlife, but are easy to grow and care for being perfectly suited to coastal climates.

“You don’t need to water indigenous plants as often and there is much less maintenance involved,” said Ms Beale

Mr and Mrs Edwards’ garden was established quickly, and now, at the age of 10, is an impressive sight to behold.

“All the plants that we have used are particularly suitable to the area.  Once they are established you can almost forget about them,” said Mr Edwards.


Graeme Stockton from West Coast Indigenous Nursery says an indigenous garden also assists in battling environmental weeds.

“70% of all indigenous plants are threatened and weed invasion plays a big part.  Weeds invade indigenous plants and degrade habitats,” he said.

The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee actively works to preserve and protect coastal habitats and raise environmental awareness in the community, and battling weeds is one of the organisation’s major priorities.

“At the moment we are working with various groups to maintain the integrity and beauty of our coastal environment.  We are removing weeds, mulching, and preparing sites ready for Spring planting.

“Having a completely indigenous garden is ideal, but you can make small changes and still reap the benefits.  A great step is simply identifying and removing environmental weeds from your garden,” said Ms Beale.

Jeff Clarke from Otways Indigenous Nursery says the best time of year to plant is March to September/October and that there were a large variety of beautiful and interesting indigenous plants available

“For a start there is approximately 100 species of orchids as well as a huge range of wildflowers, shrubs and trees,” he said.

Ms Beale encourages everyone to discover the wonderful world of indigenous plants.  “Many Australians know so little about Australian indigenous plants and yet they can name hundreds of exotic species,” she said.

For more information contact your local indigenous nursery or local environmental volunteer group.  More details can be found on the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee Website at www.gorcc.com.au.


Winning battles in the war on weeds

There’s a war on weeds being staged at the Great Otway National Park and some dedicated environmental warriors have been winning significant battles.

The Friends of Eastern Otways have been working tirelessly to protect and rehabilitate the internationally significant coastal heathlands at Anglesea – renowned for their wonderful flora and fauna biodiversity.

The 1983 bushfires that swept through the Anglesea area allowed many environmental weeds to invade these precious heathlands smothering and crowding out many smaller, more delicate, indigenous plant species.

More recently, fuel reduction and ecological burns have also influenced an increase in the weed load due to stored seedbanks in the ground responding to the stimulation of fire.

Coast Wattle and Coast Tea-tree have been the major offenders.  These plants form monocultures (meaning only that one species grows in the area) and smother all neighbouring plants.  Coast Wattle in its pure form, does in fact belong in the area but has hybridised with the Sallow Wattle in the form of a weed.

In 2005 the Friends of Eastern Otways commenced a project to remove the environmental weeds that had invaded the heathlands along the Great Ocean Road at Anglesea.  No replanting was required, as the existing seedbanks germinated following the removal of weeds and the addition of rain.

Various conservation, community and student groups have assisted with the project which has also been supported by Parks Vic, DSE and GORCC.  All these efforts have returned, what was an almost an impenetrable barrier of environmental weeds, into a highly admired heathland.

The wonderful success of this project has been marked by an impressive comeback from wildflowers and indigenous plants.

Silky Guinea-flower, Common Heath, Twiggy Daisy-bush, Common Wedge-pea, Silver Banksia, Chocolate Lilies and Native Violets are just some of the flowers growing where weeds have been removed, while terrestrial orchids can be found scattered throughout this restored environment.

Despite the accomplishment, work must continue in the area.  Environmental weed seedlings continue to appear and the war is never won.

Would you like to help?

The Friends of Eastern Otways meet on the second Tuesday of each month in the above area near the corner of the Great Ocean Road and O’Donohue Road, Anglesea from 9.30am to 11.00am.

This small group of volunteers work in a beautiful setting against an ocean backdrop to ensure that this very special area of the Great Otway National Park is protected for future generations to appreciate and enjoy.  The group would love to have some more helpers and you will be ensured of a warm welcome if you would like to come along.

Contact Margaret MacDonald (03) 5289 6326 or margmac@iprimus.com.au.

This article was published in the Surf Coast Times as part of the publications fortnightly “Going Green Column”.