In December 2012 a few like minded people banded together to form a Friends group for the area of Mundy Regional Park which lies above the Lesmurdie Falls. This area had large infestations of weeds which had replaced the native flora and left the area badly degraded. The Friends of Upper Lesmurdie Falls have committed themselves to helping to rehabilitate and improve the appeal of the area.
Up the Creek
Since that time, the group has steadily grown and we have recently partnered with the Lesmurdie & Districts Community Association (LDCA) to improve the amenities at the site with the Up the Creek project. This project is sponsored by Kalamunda Rotary, the Shire of Kalamunda, Bendigo Bank, Lotterywest and the LDCA themselves.
We work closely with the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions and the State Natural Resource Management Office (NRM WA) on a program to eliminate weeds, undertake structural repairs to the brook and to replant denuded areas. Perth Region NRM also provided a lot of support in the early stages of the project.
Since 2015 we have been fortunate to have had the Green Army, from Conservation Volunteers Australia, involved on our site. These young people have done a tremendous job helping us reduce weed infestations and planting about 10,000 native plants. They have had a great impact on our progress. More recently, we have been fortunate to have the Kalamunda Rotaract group helping us out; they are a great bunch of young people with a strong community spirit and we have really enjoyed sharing a few Busy bees with this dedicated band.
Much of the park is in very good condition and the wildflower display during spring is impressive. However the areas along the brook that were settled in the past have become seriously degraded and that is where our help is most needed. Our most serious weeds are Blackberry, African Feather Grass, Watsonia, Freesias and a variety of non native trees and shrubs (woody weeds). As some weeds only grow during the wetter periods of the year, our control efforts for those weeds are restricted mainly to the winter and spring seasons. Watsonia and Freesias are such weeds and are present in extensive patches over large areas of the park – particularly those areas close to the brook. There are many annual weeds which also share a winter growth pattern and we will be targeting them at the appropriate time. Although these are the main weeds, there are many others which don’t occur in quite the same numbers but which are still a serious problem – South African Daisy, Cotton Bush, Polygala and Blue Broom to name a few.
Very large piles of woody weed tree material were created by the initial clearing program and inevitably it also involved some soil disturbance. Much of our effort over the first three months was to remove the piles of debris and restore the soil surface to a condition suitable for re planting with native flora. By March 2013 that stage was almost complete and we now concentrate on controlling the weeds that germinate in those areas. Now that the weed seed bank has been depleted (to the point where relatively few weeds will be present to compete with our plantings) we have commenced the replanting program. We need to be patient as that may take some time.
Wherever possible, all plantings will use stock raised from seed collected in the local area. Seed collection is underway and will need to continue in order to get as wide a range of plant species as possible. We have constructed two shade houses on land occupied by the Kalamunda Men's Shed; this will allow us to grow significant numbers of plants for our rehabilitation work but, equally, importantly, it will also give us space to hold plants supplied by nurseries.
Stream rehabilitation is a very important component of our work, as much of the section of Lesmurdie Brook which flows through the area was either eroding or prone to erosion. A high priority for us was to develop plans to stabilize the banks and improve the habitat surrounding the stream. We have installed two leaky dams which are designed to control water surges but allow water flow to be maintained for downstream users. We have also lessened the angle of the creek banks to stabilize them, allow replanting and slow the rate of water flow. Where ever possible we have installed cascade areas to aerate the water and provide habitat. We have planted reeds in and alongside the brook and these plantings have proved very successful indeed. We now have dense patches of Baumea articulate at both of the flowdams and the pond just east of the Weir Car Park. We have followed up with additional plantings and will continue during the summer, the only time stream planting is possible.
In addition to the rehabilitation of the natural environment, we also want to acknowledge the history of the area. Over the past one hundred years or so, a number of people have settled in the area. At various times there have been up to four houses on the site and it is our intention to research that occupation history and display it in an appropriate form. Those early settlers also left evidence of their occupation and we will try to preserve as much of that as we can.
Prior to European settlement, the indigenous inhabitants of the area would have used the site as a source of food and shelter. We are researching that history with the Whadjuk Working Party, the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and the Perth Region NRM Cultural Heritage Program. Ultimately we want to create a trail showing the plants that were used by indigenous people, as well as signage to highlight the way the land was used.
Kalamunda Rotary Creek Walk
The Up the Creek project has seen the recent completion of a 1.5 km walk trail – the Kalamunda Rotary Creek Walk. This trail is of a very high standard and most people will find it an easy and very rewarding walk. It links up with the trails heading down past the Falls to Forrestfield and thus it is possible to walk all the way from Palm Terrace in Forrestfield to the eastern boundary of the Lesmurdie Falls National Park in Lesmurdie – and return on a separate section of the path for most of the eastern half of that trail. There are three bridges and three stone crossings over the brook linking the two arms of the walk. So whether you want an energetic long walk or a short saunter, there are options available.
Another part of the Up the Creek project is the design and construction of seating for the rest points along the trail. These seats are not standard park benches but rather are specially tailored to fit into the natural environment using bush timber for a large part of their construction. Under the guidance of local craftsman Pieter Baarspul, students from St Brigids and Mazenod Colleges will design the seats while learning the techniques of design and construction of quality outdoor furniture. Five seats have now been installed. Pieter has also designed and installed the much admired hand rails which adorn our bridges.
Shortly we will begin installing signs to cover the basic needs for information about trails and features of the park, as well as additional information about the Aboriginal and European history of the site.
The Friends of Upper Lesmurdie Falls are also committed to improving the use and enjoyment of the area by the general public, and we have created places where visitors can rest and enjoy the park, along with a few areas suitable for picnics and other similar, low impact uses.
We have a very large task ahead of us and are keen to hear from anyone interested in contributing to this fantastic project. There are many different ways that people can get involved and some of them can even be conducted from the comfort of your home (e.g. historical research etc.). If you do decide to join us, we give you a firm undertaking that you will be the one who decides when and how they want to contribute. We will not pressure you to do more than you are completely comfortable with as we want you to enjoy your involvement with us.
For more information, call Mike Robinson on 9291 9929, email firstname.lastname@example.org. To join the group, fill out a membership form on the Contact Us page on this website.