Sunday, 29 March 2015

Dates for the Diary

  • Toronto Area Sustainable Neighbourhood Group : Wed 8th April The Hub, 97 The Boulevarde 5-6.30pm
  • Coal Point Progress Annual General MeetingMon 13th April, Progress Hall 7-8pm, Supper & social after the meeting.
  • Landcare Every Thursday April: Carey Bay Wetlands Planting, 9th & 16th : Community planting @ Excelsior Parade
    • and Gurranba Reserve
    • 1st Thursday of the month also at Threlkeld Reserve with TIN
  • Boatfest- classic boats- 4th & 5th April Toronto foreshore

Have you lost this ring? 
Contact Suzanne.

AGM anticipation

The Annual General Meeting is approaching and expected to run from 7-8pm. It would be wonderful if you wanted to come along and discuss some rather significant plans for the Association, what would still be great is if you popped in to say hello after the AGM to meet some local members.
A supper will be shared of wine, cheese and locally purchased delicacies, perhaps even a pizza or two. To enable us to cater effectively could you please RSVP by Friday 10th April to Suzanne on 0438 596 741 or by email

Agenda for AGM of Coal Point Progress Association 
Monday 13th April 7-8pm
Progress Hall, 197 Skye Point Rd, Coal Point
1. Welcome
2. Attendance & Apologies
3. Confirmation of minutes of previous Annual General Meeting held 7/4/14
4. President's Report
5. Treasurer’s Report
6. Landcare Report
7. Nomination of returning Officer
8. Election of Office Bearers and upto 7 other Committee members
9. Special Resolutions
Special Resolution 1: Adopt New Constitution
That the draft constitution attached to the AGM Notice of Meeting and titled "Coal Point Progress Association Incorporated (Established 1946) Constitution" be adopted in place of the existing Rules, subject to approval by the regulatory authorities.
Special Resolution 2: Sale of Part of Association Land
That the land identified as "Land Reservation Acquisition" on the maps published as part of the Lake Macquarie Local Environmental Plan 2014, being part of the association's land at 197A Coal Point Road, is to be sold to Lake Macquarie Council subject to:
1. the land remaining zoned as Environment Conservation (E2), and 
2. the acquisition price being consistent with other similar Council land acquisitions.
10. Close of meeting
11.   Supper & Social

Building a Buffer

Carey Bay Wetlands on Clean Up Australia Day 2003
The Carey Bay Wetlands will have some much needed protection from invasive exotic grasses and garden waste dumpers when a buffer zone of 700 Spiky Mat-Rush – Lomandra longifolia is planted on Thursday 9th and 16th during the April School holidays as part of the Threatened Species Last Stand on the Coal Point Peninsula project. 
The assisted regeneration of the Carey Bay Wetlands started in 2003 with Clean Up Australia Day providing the impetus to clean up the weeds. The lantana was as high as an elephant’s eye and a dozen years on you would have to search pretty hard to find any at all.  
There is still a lot to do though… when the lantana barrier came down, the edges became a soft target for dumping garden waste and the ex-lawn clippings took up residence as a Buffalo grass bandit, reaching out and into the Swamp Oak Floodplain Forest, an Endangered Ecological Communities (EEC). 
The buffer strip being prepared for the April 2015 planting
The wetland has shown amazing resilience. One local stopped by to share with the landcarers the history of the site and recalled when it was a farm and there was ‘no trees there at all’. Now there are three recognised EECs present with no planting having occurred. This is a testament to the longevity of the local seed-bank. Landcare is about supporting the natural process of regeneration and it’s heartening to know that a landcaring hand can make such a difference.
The local landcarers have been ably assisting by the TIN landcare crew, preparing the site for an April community planting.  The grass edge has been sensitively treated with glyphosate to ensure the planting has the best chance of survival. Rocks and bits of old wire fence from the farming days are being removed to ensure that there are no trip hazards, holes are being dug and the mulch will arrive in time for the planting process.
Everyone is welcome to come along to the planting between 9am and noon on Thursday 9th and 16th April, Excelsior Parade, Carey Bay, sign on near the Ambrose Street intersection. Wear sun safe clothing, enclosed footwear and a hat and BYO water bottle. Morning tea will be provided at 11am.

DA’s In play

The following information is abridged from Lake Macquarie Council’s Development Application Tracking website. Please consult the website to confirm details.
  • 65 Skye Point Road: Dwelling Alterations & Additions.Status : Lodged/Scanning documents
  • 84 Skye Point Road : Water Recreation - Slipway. Status: Lodged/Scanning Documents
  • 182 Skye Point Road : Deck Alterations and Additions. Status: Approved
  • 200 Skye Point Road: Swimming Pool Certificate Of Compliance . Status: Awaiting Information Requested
  • 77 Coal Point Road : Dwelling House and Ancillary detached Garage/Shed. Status: On Notification/Advertising
  • 131 Coal Point Road: Deck Extension. Status: Approved
  • 147 Coal Point Road : Foreshore Development - Boat Shed - Amendment. Status: Under Assessment
  • 269B Coal Point Road : Remove one (1) Tree. Status: Under Assessment

Colonel Granville John Burnage, CB VD.

Research by Dulcie Hartley
Granville John Burnage was born in Dungog, NSW on 14 December 1858.
His parents, Thomas and Kezia had arrived from England in 1853, having been encouraged to migrate by Thomas' old friend Bishop Tyrrell.
About 1870 the Burnage family moved to Newcastle, where Thomas established himself as a Wine Merchant. Later Granville assisted in the business which became known as T. Burnage & Son, of 3 Market Street, Newcastle.
In 1878 Burnage was one of the first recruits to join the Newcastle Infantry Company, New South Wales militia. He was commissioned lieutenant in 1883, promoted captain in 1885, and honorary major in 1896.
During 1901-2 Burnage saw action in the Boer War commanding IT Squadron, 3rd NSW Mounted Rifles Regiment. After the war Burnage resumed working in the family business and continued in the Militia. He was confirmed major and second-in-command of the 4th Australian Infantry Regiment. He became officer in charge of Newcastle port defences from 1909-13. He was promoted Lieutenant Colonel in 1909.
Although now 56 years of age, Burnage joined the Australian Imperial Force on 28 September 1914. He was in charge of Rosehill A.I.F. depot until 6th October 1914 when he was appointed to raise and command the 13th Battalion. Burnage was a strict disciplinarian, and in choosing his officers and other ranks he set an exceptionally high standard. During the training period of the battalion he made himself unpopular by the strictness of his command.
The battalion reached Egypt in February 1915 and soon became known as "Bill Burnage’s Circus", because its transport always carried streamers in battalion colours, the two blues, for identification during manoeuvres. They landed on Gallipoli during the night of 25 April 1915 and made their way to Monash Valley. Burnage had orders to reinforce Quinn's Post and Pope's Hill, and to help clear the enemy from Russell's Top.
In the first week of fighting his troops suffered heavy casualties and the battalion became known as "The Fighting Thirteenth". Burnage was continuously in the front line moving from post to post across the open ground. His fearlessness in action, and his concern for his men rapidly won him extraordinary esteem and affection.
During the 2nd May attack on Baby 700, a key enemy position, the men of the 13th reached their objective and held their ground, but were cut off without support. Burnage made his way back alone across an area swept by Turkish fire to report to brigade headquarters. He was ordered to withdraw his men under the cover of darkness. "The Colonel" wrote his 2nd in command, "was the last man out of that deadly fight in which we lost 300 men".
Such leadership from a man of 57 years won the highest regard from his men who now referred to him as "The Gamest Old Man". On 29th May 1915 his left elbow was shattered during a fierce Turkish attack on Quinn's Post. 
Burnage was invalided home, but first went to London where, on 25th November 1915, he married Helen Haslewood at St Peter's Anglican Church.
By August of 1916 Burnage had recovered sufficiently from his wounds to take command of Australian reinforcements on a transport. For the remainder of the war, Burnage was commanding officer on various troopships between Australia and England. He won commendation for his leadership when the 'Barunga' carrying over 800 troops, was torpedoed in July 1918. 
In 1916 Burnage had purchased land on the waterfront at Excelsior Parade, Carey Bay, and built his home Worilla' (extant), where he resided with his wife. There were no children from the marriage. Burnage's sister, Mrs Squirrell, lived nearby on the waterfront. Burnage commanded the 2nd Battalion, 13th Regiment, Australian Military Forces until March 1921, when he retired with the honorary rank of Colonel. Toronto was justly proud of Col. Burnage and for formal occasions in Toronto, particularly with visiting dignitaries, Colonel Burnage always officiated. Mrs Burnage also played a prominent role in the social events of the district.
A staunch churchman, Burnage donated a block of land in Excelsior Parade on which St Saviour's Church of England was erected. He predeceased his wife, dying at Carey Bay on 12th July 1945. A service at Christ Church Cathedral was followed by a private cremation at Beresfield.
Colonel Granville Burnage is commemorated locally by Burnage Reserve, situated adjacent to Excelsior Parade and Skye Point Road.

Another corridor in the Landcare compendium

In 1995 the Progress Association became a Landcare group, that’s 20 years ago! Our first landcare project was at Gurranba Reserve and we’ve continued to identify, protect and regenerate significant public assets throughout the community ever since.
In March another important parcel was added to the local landcaring compendium, the Hampton St to Laycock St corridor link was extended. Previously a triangular parcel of only 0.145ha at the Pony Club end the landcare site is now 0.596ha and covers the full length of the road reserve.
This narrow parcel of public land may at some time in the future become a road connecting Hampton St and Laycock St. The local landcarers are keen to invest time and resources to regenerate this parcel and increase the community awareness of this vital public vegetated corridor that connects Coal Point and Carey Bay at its narrowest point. 
Lessons learnt from 20 years of landcaring are many, an early one, which continues to resonate, is that not everyone sees the beauty in the bush and would rather the beasts that turn quality bushland into weed infested no-go zones. 
This appears to be the case in this small reserve where the full complement of environmentally destructive activities is found. It’s used as a communal toilet, parking station, green waste dump zone, stormwater outlet and backyard extension. It does beg the question would you let someone do this in your own backyard? And if this answer is no then why is it OK to do it in what is the public’s bigger backyard?  
And what about the bushland garden? What if someone came into your yard and chopped down the plants that you spent the last two years nurturing and watering in drought conditions, plants that were specially selected so the neighbours wouldn’t get upset, ones that would grow low and not be a problem and provide food for the local birdlife, would you be entitled to be upset? The local landcarers were. 
At the Hampton Street Corridor landcarers are trying to turn the tide of years of dumping, neglect and abuse of public land to make an area that is a community and natural asset, worthy of protection and hopefully strengthen the case for not putting it under asphalt at some time in the future.

If you’d like to be involved in the regeneration of the Hampton St Corridor or a local landcare project please contact Robyn or Suzanne for further details.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Energising Events

Coal Point Progress Committee Meeting :
Mon 9th March, Progress Hall, 197 Skye Pt Rd 4-6pm

Toronto Area Sustainable Neighbourhood Group:
Wed 11th March The Hub, 97 The Boulevard 5-6.30pm

Toronto Chamber of Commerce Networking Breakfast: 
March 26th 7.00am - 8.30am 
Toronto Multi-purpose Centre,9 Thorne St, Toronto
How to successfully network and the skills involved

Keeping Backyard Chickens Workshop:
Saturday March 28th 9am-12pm, The Hub,97 The Boulevarde How to keep chickens in your backyard. RSVP to council 49210333 

Jazz on the Lines:
Sunday March 29th 1pm to 5pm
Hosted by The Rotary Club of Toronto Sunrise in aid of Westlakes Driver Assist Program 2015.
Jazz, Wine & Fine Food at the Toronto Heritage Railway Station
Call Anne on 49594107 or 0401208503 to buy your tickets.

Bush Tucker Field Day:The hands-on will introduce participants to a range bush foods and traditional medicines whilst enjoying a walk through the Landcare site.The menu for the day will include bush tea, native jams, fish and kangaroo cooked in native herbs and spices.When: Saturday 21 March, 9.30am – 2pm
Where: Osmon Reserve, corner of Lakeside Drive and Wallarah Street, Swansea
RSVP: to 4921 0392 or email

Wicking Garden Bed Workshop:

Learn the principles behind these low maintenance garden beds and how they can reduce your water bill!
 Where: Teralba Public School, York Street, Teralba
When: Saturday 21 March 2015, 9am-12pm
Refreshments provided. Bookings essential. Contact 4921 0333.

Bush regeneration master class:hands-on training sessions teaching weed removal techniques, plant id skills and answer all your questions about vegetation management.
  • Tuesday 3 March - Dora Creek
  • Thursday 5 March - Kilaben Bay
  • Tuesday 10 March - Belmont Wetlands
  • Thursday 12 March - Kilaben Bay
  • Tuesday 17 March - Belmont Wetlands
Participants of all experience levels are welcome to attend.Morning (8.30 – 11.30am) and afternoon (12.30 – 3.00pm) sessions will be offered. Lunch will be provided. 'To RSVP to any of these sessions, contact 4921 0392 or email

Hunter Water Cleans Up Carey Bay

Clean Up Australia Day came a week early to Carey Bay Wetlands when Hunter Water came to the rescue to address an environmental incident that had been putting sewage into the Swamp Oak Floodplain Forest, an Endangered Ecological Community.
The local landcare team became aware the wetland was ‘a bit on the nose’ and reported the finding to Hunter Water just before morning tea. By lunchtime the advanced troop was out undertaking an inspection, treading where few have dared to tread and discovering what appeared to be solid ground was really an island of not much substance. Carefully maneuvering over a fallen log bridge to the inspection hole, the blockage in the sewer main was identified, the emergency call put out and an explanation of the process provided to the landcare crew.
Within an hour the mains un-blockers were there, the bog-logjam was released and the sewer system was once again flowing. Fortunately the lay of the land meant that spill was contained within the wetland system and not flowing directly into Puntei Creek and thence the Lake.
…then came the clean up.
Over the next few days the offending substances were sucked from the wetland and fresh water flushed through the ecosystem. The landcare crew were informed that water samples would be taken before and after the clean up treatment.
A week later and back landcaring at the wetland and the birds had a song in their voice, the landcarers had a song in their heart and no pong in their noses and the Swamp Oak Floodplain Forest showed very little sign of damage from all the activity.
Sincere thanks to Hunter Water for the expeditious Clean Up of one of our local treasurers.

Looking gloriously green from the excess nutrients
Looking like a Swamp Oak Floodplain forest should, Sea Rush-Juncus kraussii in the foreground, with the surrounding canopy of Swamp Oak- Casuarina glauca

Want to catch up?

Have you been wanting to  talk to someone about your block of land and what help you can get to look after the natives and remove the weeds? 
There’ll be an opportunity to catch up at the Seniors Expo on Friday 20th March at the Workers Club. Drop by the stall and have a chat about the hows, whens and what fors of the Threatened species last Stand on the Coal Point peninsula project.

Can’t make the expo…send Suzanne a message

Advance notice of Motions

This year’s Annual General Meeting will involve some big issues which we would very much like to discuss with our members.
This is a communication from the committee of  Coal Point Progress Association Neighbourhood Watch & Landcare (CPPANWL), to give you advance notice of two special resolutions the committee intends to put at the upcoming AGM in April.  The draft wording of the two special resolutions is:
Special Resolution 1: Adopt New Constitution
That the draft constitution attached to the AGM Notice of Meeting and titled "Coal Point Progress Association Incorporated (Established 1946) Constitution" be adopted in place of the existing Rules, subject to approval by the regulatory authorities.
Special Resolution 2: Sale of Part of Association Land
That the land identified as "Land Reservation Acquisition" on the maps published as part of the Lake Macquarie Local Environmental Plan 2014, being part of the association's land at 197A Coal Point Road, is to be sold to Lake Macquarie Council subject to:
  • the land remaining zoned as Environment Conservation (E2), and 
  • the acquisition price being consistent with other similar Council land acquisitions.

The AGM is scheduled for Monday 13 April, 7-8.30pm, at Progress Hall.

A formal notice of meeting will be issued in the second half of March to all financial members.  In addition to flagging these intentions in the February and March Chronicles we have sent this advance notice to all members who have given us an email address, in an attempt to get the most widespread and effective engagement with members as practicable on these important proposals.  If you have any comments or concerns, would like to become a member or would like to suggest any changes to the wording of these two proposals, please reply before the 13th March, by email to or to any committee member. Electronic copies available upon request.

Proposed sale of Part of Association Land

The Local Environment Plan aims to preserve the Coal Point ridgeline as "Conservation" zoning.  Council has for many years identified parts of existing lots backing on the ridgeline as "acquisition" - i.e. the Council would like to buy those parts of the lots and thereby expand the ridgeline conservation area.  The land at the "top" half of our block (from about 20m behind the hall) is one such area, and the equivalent parts of the lots on either side of the hall are already owned by Council.  Note that no change is proposed to ownership of the hall or the front part of the lot.
The committee believe that having this land in community ownership and zoned as Environment Conservation (E2) land is fully consistent with our objectives, and will contribute to helping the Council maintain a sufficiently large and contiguous area of land to be a viable, and substantial, conservation area.  The proposal would also give us a substantial injection of funds, and might result in a reduced land valuation and therefore a reduced rates assessment (Council rates being one of our biggest annual expenses).
If the special resolution is approved at the AGM the current committee intends that the immediate successor committee should open discussions with the Council and at least register an interest in selling the land.  It is unlikely that any sale will eventuate in the current financial year, but we should be able to, in effect, "join the queue".  We understand that the Council has a standard approach to valuation of land to be acquired and the committee's intention is to negotiate a price that is equitable with prices the Council has paid for other similar part-lots.

An Invitation is extended to all members of the Progress Association to discuss these proposals at the March meeting or with Committee members so that your comments can be included in the preparation of the documents for the AGM to be held at the Hall, 197 Skye Point Rd 7-8:30pm Monday 13/4/15. A light supper will be served on the night. 

T.R. – Terrorising the Region by Lois Simpson

Tyrannosaurus rex? No, but just as bad - it’s Turkey Rhubarb!  This insidious weed (Acetosa sagittata) is a native of South Africa. It thrives anywhere other than in the driest ground, spreading out of sight underground, with potato-like tubers forming along lateral rhizomes, which can be over a metre long. They are very tricky to remove. The above ground foliage, with its bright green arrow head shaped leaves, grows vigorously and will smother supporting vegetation. This pest is having a last flush of flowers before autumn. If these small clouds of pale green to pink flowers appear in your yard or nearby bushland, try to bag them securely and place them in your land-fill bin. The light seeds are carried far by the wind and there is no natural biological control to slow their numbers. 
Above: Turkey Rhubarb tubers have been found as big as rockmelons. 
The stems snap easily and care is needed to trace them back to the soil and dig them out.
Below: A prolific seeder, this is an easy way to locate it.

More Furry Friends by Robyn Gill – Landcare Group

Pic. John Gould [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons,
 John Gould, F.R.S., Mammals of Australia, Vol. III Plate 25, London, 1863
In the past year, while working at Carey Bay Wetland with its quite large tidal creek, landcarers have found dead three Native Water Rats (think of Rat in The Wind In The Willows). These are Australia’s largest rodent with scientific name Hydromys chrysogaster which refers to its golden belly fur, and were known as Rakali by Aboriginal people.
Native Water Rats are elusive and shy, semi-aquatic with partially webbed feet and very prominent whiskers. They are thought to fill the same niche in the environment as the Otter in the northern hemisphere. 
It’s lucky we have any left as during the depression of the 1930’s they were hunted for their water repellent fur when a ban was placed on imported fur. Earlier, during the Bubonic Plague, a bounty was put on rats and many of the locals were killed although the imported Black Rat was the culprit (as shown in some photos of the time). 
There is now a study underway in Sydney Harbour to observe them as it is thought they might be able to play a part in control of the Black Rat because of the larger size of the Rakali and its ability to defend territory if the invader can be reduced in numbers.

Feral cats and foxes are major predators but there is a also concern that they are being put at risk by coming into contact with baits aimed at the Black Rat, so care should be taken with placing of these baits.