Australiaâ€™s First Mallee National Park
Friends of Wyperfeld
Dedicated to the memory of Frank Noelker, a foundation Friend of Wyperfeld, whose knowledge of the park was exceptional, and whose contribution to this book was invaluable.
WYPERFELD Australiaâ€™s First Mallee National Park
Friends of Wyperfeld National Park Inc.
Published 2001 by Friends of Wyperfeld National Park Inc. (A0028998F) c/- 10 Elizabeth St Elsternwick Victoria 3185 Sponsored by the Victorian National Parks Association Inc. National Library of Australia Cataloguing-in-Publication entry Durham, Geoff, 1931– Wyperfeld : Australia’s first mallee national park Bibliography Includes index ISBN 0 646 40101 7 1. National parks and reserves - Victoria. 2. Wyperfeld National Park (Vic.). I. Title 333.78099459 © Friends of Wyperfeld National Park Inc. This book is copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of private study, research, criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced by any process without written permission from the publisher. The author and publisher have endeavoured to ensure the information in this book is correct as at March 2001, but they accept no responsibility for any inconvenience, loss or injury related to its use. Editing, illustration, typesetting, image scanning and digital preparation by Leon Costermans Printed by JPR Printworks, Notting Hill, Victoria Cover photos Front: Kangaroos at sunset (Bob Semmens) Back: Mt Mattingley at sunrise (David Neilson)
Foreword Wyperfeld was Victoria’s first Mallee national park, and also the ﬁrst such park in Australia. At the time of the initial reservation in 1909 it was relatively remote and rarely visited. As explained in this book, the advocates for the national park showed great foresight and persuasive powers to have the area set aside, at a time when most people would have considered it to be useless scrub. Compared with other national parks which had been established up to that time, such as Wilsons Promontory, Mount Buffalo and Ferntree Gully, it lacked the popular scenic or recreational values which characterised most of Australia’s early national parks. But it did have, and still has, outstanding diversity of flora and fauna, which was the principal reason for its reservation. After almost four decades of visiting Wyperfeld National Park, including many working visits for extended periods, I find that I am still fascinated by the intimate relationships between fauna, flora and the environment which are a feature of that land. And there is always something new — changes in rainfall and temperature from one year to the next bring significant changes in the flora and fauna. This book examines and explains many of the remarkable relationships occurring in nature within the park, and there are many more for observant visitors to discover for themselves. The author, Geoff Durham, has also gone to great lengths to document as accurately as possible the human history of the area which, in its own way, is just as interesting as the natural history. Unfortunately, not a lot is known of the original inhabitants, the Aboriginal people, but we must admire their ability to live with and from this sometimes harsh land for thousands of years, leaving so little impact on it. Wyperfeld is no longer remote, with bitumen roads all the way from Melbourne and Adelaide to the park’s main camp ground. Nor is it all pristine; weeds and feral animals provide a constant challenge to the park’s integrity. But if you make the effort to walk away from the popular areas, along some of the walks mentioned in this book, you will find places of great natural beauty and solitude where you have the opportunity to refresh the spirit and be at one with nature. When you go to Wyperfeld, make sure that you allow yourself time to take in the subtle beauty of this land, its nature and its history. The Friends of Wyperfeld National Park are to be congratulated on publishing this book. It brings together a huge amount of information and is an excellent guide to Wyperfeld — a magnificent national park. DON S AUNDERS Director of National Parks 1979–1994 V
Acknowledgments This book has evolved within the Friends group over 25 years. Many Friends have contributed, in particular Jane Calder, Margaret Conochie (dec.), Elizabeth Doery, Judy Douglas, Geoff Edwards, Eileen McKee, Bob Reid, James Ross, Don Saunders, Tom Wallace, and especially Ian Maroske (dec.) and Frank Noelker (dec.). Friends and supporters financed the book through donations and fundraising. The Victorian National Parks Association has supported the project. Generous scientific input came from Joe Benshemesh, Leon Bren, Malcolm Calder, David Cheal, Leon Costermans, Fabian Douglas, Ian Endersby, Beth Gott, Tony Lee, Lindy Lumsden, Tom May, Peter Menkhorst, Terry O’Brien, Peter Robertson, Don Saunders, Neville Walsh and Alan Yen. In relation to the historical aspects we are indebted particularly to Terri Allen, and to Marion Button, Daniel Catrice, Barry Clugston, John Deckert, Ron Falla, Reg Johnson, John Kelley, John Landy, Bill Middleton, Susan, Brian and Sylvia O’Sullivan, Des Quinn, Phil Taylor and Doris Torpey. Many local residents responded generously to requests for information. Encouragement and assistance has come from past and present rangers and officers of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment and Parks Victoria, including Gary Anderson, Chris Ashe, Gary Backhouse, Paul Fitzsimons, Dale Fuller, Doug Hooley, Damian Kerr, Peter Kershaw, Andrew Marshall, David Martin, Greg Mattingley, John Miller, Peter Muller, Rod Newnham, David Newton, Peter Phelan, Peter Sandell and Priscilla Stevens-Guiney. We also thank Michael Fendley, John Grainger, John Langford, Mick Lumb, Sara Maroske, Rory O’Brien, Ian Ross, Deirdre Slattery, and Barbara Vaughan. For photographs and other illustrations we are indebted to Australian Centre for Remote Sensing, The University of Melbourne Baillieu Library, Department of Natural Resources and Environment (Historic Places Section), Museum Victoria, La Trobe Library, Parliament of Victoria Library, Birds Australia, Bird Observers’ Club of Australia, South Gippsland Shire Historical Society, David Ashton, Jenny Barnett, Andrew Bennett, Leon Costermans, Mike Coupar, Clive Crouch, Fabian Douglas, Con Duyvestyn, Barbara Maroske, David Martin, Gabby Martin, Ian McCann, John Miller, Euan Moore, Peter Muller, David Neilson, Susan O’Sullivan, Dawn Petschel, Bob Reid, Peter Robertson, Len Robinson, Peter Sandell, Don Saunders, Bob Semmens, Charles Silveira and Alan Yen. Elizabeth Morrison prepared the index. Leon Costermans provided much encouragement and expertise in the final stages of production: he edited the text, drew the maps, digitally set up the book, and saw it through to publication. VI
Contents Introduction .......................................................................................................................................................... 1 Map of the park and adjacent reserves ........................................................................................ 4–5 0!24 /.% 4(% 34/29 /&