Thank you one and all!
A big ‘thank you’ to all volunteers who took part in our two community planting days on 21 and 28 May.
Last Sunday a further 74 people took part and were able to cover three plots with 875 shrubs. That means, thanks to the combined energy and efforts over two weekends, the plantings were an overwhelming success with more than 1600 shrubs planted. This is a great start to restoring a patchy shrub layer in the Ginninderra Box Gum Woodlands.
We extend our thanks also to our collaborators Ginninderra Catchment Group, Our Dream Café for refreshments, Horizon coaches for onsite transport and Shelter ACT and Hall Rotary for the barbecue lunches.
If you enjoyed the woodland planting day and are interested in future events like this, you can register to receive our CSIRO Ginninderra newsletters or keep in touch with Ginninderra Catchment Group and Landcare.
Early birds can catch the prize – register by 10 May for our community planting days
Early bird registrations for the Ginninderra community planting days close at midnight on 10 May.
All early bird registrations will be in the running for several prize packs from CSIRO that will include the Greening Australian glovebox guide ‘Bringing Back Birds’ and an author-signed copy of the publication: ‘Jewels in the Landscape – Managing very high conservation value ground-layers in Box-Gum Grassy Woodlands’ by CSIRO’s Jacqui Stol and Suzanne Prober.
Register now at www.csiro.au/GCPD or by calling 1300 363 400.
Forging new partnerships as we rediscover Ginninderra’s past
The rich history of Hall and district, and the areas once known as Ginninderra and Palmerville, have been a focus of ongoing conversation and discovery for the Hall community and its Progress Association. Now it’s a focus for CSIRO too.
As CSIRO’s Ginninderra property includes parts of the old Palmerville estate and borders on the former Ginninderra village, centred around Gold Creek, we have been keen to learn more about this history and understand how a new development might be able to connect with, and complement, this heritage.
Similarly, the Hall and District Progress Association has been keen to learn about, and have input, into the proposed Ginninderra development, and this has led to a series of positive meetings. CSIRO representatives attended the November meeting of the Progress Association, and the Association has used its own website to encourage Hall locals to keep in touch with the Ginninderra Project.
“We have appreciated the willingness of CSIRO to talk openly with us about the project and we will invite them back to provide regular updates,” said Gavin Mansfield, President of the Association.
Traffic, sustainability, plans for the area north of Kuringa Drive and water quality issues around Halls Creek have been some of the key topics covered in conversations.
Prior to European settlement, the area was known as Ginin-ginin-derry and was home to Aborigines for many thousands of years. While the first European settlement in the area – the Palmerville settlement – is located on or close to the boundary of the CSIRO property, only a precious few physical features remain.
From the 1850s, the Ginninderra village developed along the Queanbeyan-Yass road and included in its heyday a church, two schools, store, police station, post and telegraph office, School of Arts, boot maker, nursery, Farmers Union hall, annual show, sports teams and a hotel.
The farmlands surrounding the village developed an outstanding agricultural reputation growing grain for the goldfields of Araluen and Majors Creek and then wool for the Sydney markets. In the early 20th century, Ginninderra produced high quality merino wool and Henry Curran of Deasland (the homestead is just across the Barton Highway from where the front gates of CSIRO Ginninderra are today) achieved a world record price at auction.
But when Ginninderra and other NSW lands were resumed in 1915 to create the Federal Capital Territory, the influence of Ginninderra was already fading.
Through the ACT Heritage Grants Program, the story of Ginninderra can now be explored online on the Hall School Museum and Heritage Centre website.
‘Rediscovering Ginninderra’ was the title of an exhibition staged by the Centre for the 2016 Canberra and District Heritage Festival in April 2016.
The material from this exhibition has been made accessible via an online searchable database and the interactive format allows users to explore prominent people and places through photos, documents and references to publications.
Honorary curator Phil Robson said, “This exhibition is informed by the prodigious research and writing of leading Canberra historian Lyall Gillespie, whose collection we now hold. There will be further displays on Ginninderra to come. Meanwhile we hope that recent arrivals to the ACT, descendants of settler families, and everyone else curious about what was here before Canberra will take the opportunity to rediscover Ginninderra.”
The online database is a compilation of Lyall Gillespie’s collections of Canberra’s historical materials and provides links to a wide range of other resources relating to the history and heritage of Ginninderra.
All photos supplied by, and published with the permission of, the Hall School Museum – Gillespie Collection.
Project update – December
This month we continued to work with the community, while applying CSIRO science to restore and improve key environmental values.
Strong autumn and winter rains and the enthusiasm of many volunteers from the Ginninderra Catchment Group, universities and environmental groups, enabled the planting of one thousand plants on the site as part of the Ginninderra grassland project.
Citizen science is an important focus for us and it was wonderful to have local people and groups participate.
This was a follow-up to the autumn burn grassland restoration trials set up across 13 sites (five of them on the CSIRO Ginninderra property) in the Ginninderra catchment in April 2016.
As progress continues in our search for a development partner, we have refined our vision and are in the process of setting goals, objectives, benchmarks and measures that will underpin Ginninderra and make it unique.
Our next update to the community will be at the Gungahlin Community Council Annual General Meeting tonight (Wednesday 14 December).
We remain committed to engaging with community groups and individual citizens as we move deeper into planning processes in 2017 and beyond.
If you would like to stay up-to-date with our news on a more regular basis, please like our Facebook page.
We would like to wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season and look forward to communicating and working with you again next year.
Grass-roots effort plants first steps to recovery
Described as ‘sweet with a flavour of coconut’ the Yam Daisy was a nutritious staple of the Aboriginal people of NSW, ACT and Victoria until it was almost grazed into history.
Early European settlers to south eastern Australia reported seeing fields of striking yellow-flowered plants being harvested by Aboriginal women and children who used digging sticks to recover the fat and nutritious roots.
The Yam Daisy (Microseris lanceolata), also known as Murnong, was the yellow-flowered herb targeted and its starchy tuberous roots made it a valuable food source, typically roasted or pit baked by our first Australians.
Unfortunately introduced sheep learned how to ‘root-up’ the plant with their noses and cattle also developed a liking for the above-ground part of the plant. This grazing, combined with other activities such as the addition of fertilisers, reduced Yam Daisy to a precarious presence in the landscape.
Thankfully the Yam Daisy survived and now it is one of the first five natives being planted back into the Ginninderra grassland restoration project being led by the Ginninderra Catchment Group, CSIRO Land and Water Fellow, Ken Hodgkinson, and a growing army of volunteers.
“Yam Daisy is one of a number of species that have typically disappeared from our endangered grasslands due to grazing and development, and it’s one of the species in our restoration trial,” said Ken. “There are also two lily species whose tubers were eaten by Aboriginal people.”
The other four species selected for the project are ones that have similarly diminished in numbers under agriculture and are:
- Nodding Chocolate Lily (Dichopogon fimbriatus)
- Bulbine Lily (Bulbine bulbosa)
- Billy Buttons (Craspedia globosa)
- Common Everlasting, Yellow Buttons (Chrysocephalum apiculatum)
“We’ve taken the opportunity of good autumn and winter rains and the enthusiasm of many volunteers from the Ginninderra Catchment Group, universities and environmental groups, to plant several thousand plants into the Ginninderra grassland project,” said Ken.
This is a follow-up to the autumn burn grassland restoration trials set up across 13 sites (five of them on the CSIRO Ginninderra property) in the Ginninderra catchment in April 2016.
“We are bringing together modern science with some of the same firestick farming methods of our first Australians,” said Ken.
To maintain preferred herbaceous food plants like the Yam Daisy, the Aboriginal people are understood to have carried out patch burning in woodlands and grasslands in late summer, with burning at three to five year intervals.
“Thanks to the vision of the catchment group and funding and support from the ACT Government, through the ACT Environment Grants, we have been able to source and buy sufficient numbers of each of the five species from Greening Australia.”
The team planted 10 repetitions of those five species in each of the four treatment plots across the 13 sites, using a ‘Latin Square’ layout, according to Ken.
“All up that is 2600 plants and 1000 of those are planted on the sites at CSIRO Ginninderra.”
The Latin Square is a randomised plot layout that will enable Ken and the team to account for the variation in plant responses and survival caused by differences in slope, aspect and other variables.
“We also have a variation of sites in terms of the quality of remnant grasslands and position in the landscape – for example some at the top of hills, on slopes and in wetter areas at the bottom of the slopes.”
“Some of those sites will dry out very quickly while others can remain wet for long periods and this could be a key factor affecting survival over a hot and dry summer.”
“In line with CSIRO’s aspirations for the Ginninderra property, our goal is to restore and improve key environmental assets. This project will help us to understand which of the management approaches is best for achieving the survival and subsequent spread of the native plant species.”
The four management treatments under trial are:
- mowing six times a year (common practice in ACT),
- autumn burn every two to three years,
- autumn burn every four to six years, and
- a control (no treatments).
“We have started assessing the number of species in each plot and their relative abundance and will do this annually to determine trends,” said Ken.
It is very early days but there are some signs already that there are differences.
“One of the first forbs to flower was Early Nancy and we have observed that it is more abundant in the autumn burn plots than in the mown or control plots,” said Ken.
Measurements to begin soon include soil water content, comparative survival of populations of certain native plant species at different altitudes, insects of the grasslands and soil organisms, especially mycorrhiza. The experimental sites are available for collaboration with other scientists.
“Volunteers have come from everywhere to get this project off the ground,” said Ken.
In particular, he expressed his thanks to:
- Ginninderra Catchment Group leaders and volunteers
- Members of Landcare Groups including: Umbagong, Wallaroo and North Belconnen
- Friends of Grasslands
- ACT Government groups for funding and services
- Rural Fire Services from Molonglo, Gungahlin and Hall
- ANU Fenner School of Environment and Society post graduates and undergraduates
- University of Canberra Institute for Applied Ecology
- CSIRO for contribution of five trial sites at the Ginninderra property
- Yingxin Wang, CSIRO PhD student from China’s Lanzhou University
“We have local and neighbouring farmers also taking a keen interest by hosting trials on their property and offering to help with the plantings. It really is citizen science in action.”
Project update – October
Off the back of the community drop-in-sessions we held at the end of August, we are pleased to be able to release the report that documents the feedback we received from the community.
The sessions were designed to build on the previous neighbourhood drop-in sessions held in September 2015.
174 people attended the two sessions at Evatt and Gold Creek with a variety of comments and questions raised by attendees.
In response to our four themed stations at the drop-in sessions, comments and questions provided on feedback forms included:
- Housing – 24 comments/questions.
- Community Facilities – 21 comments/ questions.
- Conservation – 19 comments/ questions.
- Roads and Transport – 8 comments/ questions
Further topics commented on through the feedback forms were:
- CSIRO’s consultation with the community – 5 comments/ questions
- Impact of urban development on residents of neighbouring suburbs – 4 comments/ questions
- CSIRO’s role in development at the Ginninderra Field Station site – 3 comments/ questions
- Other: International design competition (1 comment); Impact of development at Ginninderra on ACT electoral boundaries (1 question)
CSIRO is committed to taking on board the comments received in future planning and design processes.
We have updated the FAQ’s section of our website to answer all the questions that were asked by the community at both the drop-in-sessions, along with the continued questions we are receiving through the website and on Facebook.
We are continuing to meet with interested groups and organisations to discuss the project, and have been invited to present at the Belconnen Community Council meeting on Tuesday 18 October.
If you would like to discuss the community engagement report or any other aspect of the project with us, we invite you to contact us by either completing a feedback form, emailing the project team or engaging with us through our Facebook page.
170 residents drop-in for 360 degree views of Ginninderra
Canberra residents took the opportunity to ‘fly’ over the drone-captured 360-degree landscape of CSIRO’s Ginninderra property while providing feedback at two community drop-in sessions on August 25 and 27.
The community drop-in sessions at Evatt and Gold Creek unearthed a wealth of ideas and views that will inform and influence the vision and early planning of CSIRO’s future sustainable development at the Ginninderra site.
More than 170 citizens took part in the sessions focused on providing updates, answering questions and gathering ideas to feed into the early planning stages.
Key topics discussed at these drop-in sessions corresponded with the four main areas of interest raised by the community at initial meetings in September 2015, which were: housing; roads and transport; community facilities; and conservation.
“As with our earlier meetings, the ideas and feedback from these drop-ins will be recorded in engagement reports that will help to further shape the vision, principles and concepts that in turn influence the more detailed planning to take place with anticipated joint venture development partner when we get to that stage.”
The latest drop-in sessions follow five years of preparation and investigation that led to the approval (in May 2016) for CSIRO’s Ginninderra Field Station to be classified as ‘Urban’ under Amendment (86) to the National Capital Plan.
Share your comments, ideas and questions
We provided community feedback forms to those who attended our community drop-in sessions in late August 2016.
We invite you to use this form to provide your ideas, comments and questions on topics related to the CSIRO Ginninderra Project.
Thank you for taking time to provide feedback.
Privacy statement: Your personal information is being collected for the purpose of keeping you informed about progress at the Ginninderra Field Station site, and will not be used for any other purpose.
Drone’s-eye view of Ginninderra
Spectacular new aerial footage of Ginninderra captured from a drone will be on display for those attending the community drop-in sessions at Evatt and Gold Creek later this month.
A drone’s-eye view of the 701-hectare CSIRO property has been captured from a series of locations using both 4k and 360 degree cameras mounted underneath a remotely piloted drone.
The drone aerial survey led by a team from CSIRO Land and Water and Data61 has produced some stunning footage that CSIRO can use as a visual record and basis for further planning and modelling of development and conservation at the site.
“The cameras capture high resolution imagery of the property, providing not only a descriptive or educational resource but a contextual backdrop into which we can situate a 3D visual model and planning tool,” according to Data61 Experimental Scientist, Matt Adcock.
“A 3D visual model could provide the ability to ‘move’ through the terrain to view and receive community feedback on different types of development, infrastructure and conservation scenarios in the context of the surrounding landscape,” he said.
While it is early days in terms of planning future development, the drone footage will help in understanding the landscape, planning for the future and in being able to show changes over time.
A package of the available drone footage will be on display for participants at the community drop-in sessions on 25 August at Evatt Scout Hall (3-6:30pm) and 27 August at The Abbey at Gold Creek (12-4pm).
Project update – August
Over the past month the project team has continued to examine affordable housing and how planning and collaboration could address sustainable urban development at Ginninderra.
A growing population, rising tide of record high property prices, limited land release and broader economic and social change is swamping the great Australian dream of owning a home and even pushing rent payment out of reach for many Australians.
However, the encouraging response from our Affordable Housing Think Tank suggests there is a groundswell of innovative ideas – for example flexible design, tenure and financial models – that could make Australian homes more affordable and sustainable.
This month we are also excited to be talking to the community to gather ideas and create something unique at Ginninderra.
We invite you to attend one of our upcoming drop-in sessions to receive an update on the project and ask any questions about plans for the site.
Session 1 – Evatt
Date: Thursday 25 August 2016
Time: 3:00pm to 6:30pm
Venue: Evatt Scout Hall
Address: Heydon Crescent, Evatt
Session 2 – Gold Creek (Nicholls)
Date: Saturday 27 August 2016
Time: 12:00pm to 4:00pm
Venue: The Abbey
Address: Gold Creek Village, Nicholls
At these events, you will be able to talk with our project team and contribute your ideas, helping to shape our vision for the property and the principles that will guide sustainable urban development.
There will also be the chance to provide general feedback about the project. If you can’t attend either session, but still want to provide feedback, please complete the online enquiry contact form.
Many people have already taken the time to speak to us and provide their comments on the future of Ginninderra. Thank you for your valuable contribution.