A successful weekend working bee

27th April 2023 |

Last weekend, Wildcare Friends of the Henty, with the help of UTAS Landcare Society, tackled huge amounts of gorse and broom on the Ocean Beach Trail. 

Volunteers from Wildcare Friends of the Henty and UTAS Landcare Society got their hands dirty for a full weekend of Landcaring on The Big West Coast Trip.

The three-day assignment, which began on Friday, 31st March, and concluded on Sunday, 2nd April, saw a full program of volunteers pulling, cutting, and even sawing through thousands of invasive gorse plants, as well as making some progress in the montpellier broom regrowth on the Ocean Beach Trail, at the mouth of the Henry River.

"We had 16 people on the ground, which made for much faster progress than we are used to!" said Luke Cooper, founder of Wildcare Friends of the Henty.

Setting out on Friday morning from Hobart, the UTAS Landcare Society stopped to admire the Franklin River rainforest and a gushing Nelson Falls, and arrived in Strahan with just enough time to set up camp before sunset. 

On the Saturday, volunteers met with Parks and Wildlife (PWS) staff and carpooled out to the mouth of the Henty River, where it meets the 40km long Ocean Beach.  PWS had already sprayed the bulk of the gorse a few months earlier, so most of their work was to pull out seedlings, or to cut the occasional larger plant and paste with herbicide.

Many people are shocked to hear the prickly Scottish gorse shrub which plagues farms and bushland throughout the Midlands and East Coast of Tasmania is present on the West Coast. But the low growing coastal plains, heathlands, and moorlands combined with the notoriously wet weather provide a perfect canvas for gorse to wreak havoc. All you need is a bit of disturbance and some gorse seeds stuck to some vehicle tyres!

The volunteers on the ground made quick work of it all, taking out thousands of gorse plants.

"We celebrated a day of good work with a cold swim at West Strahan Beach, and a viewing of The Ship That Never Was. We all enjoyed a dinner provided by Gordon River Cruises/NRMA, pushing Dianne's loungeroom to its limits with a new record of 17 people!" said Luke. 

"Sunday saw us return to our old friend; montpellier broom"

On Sunday morning, volunteers tackled the invasive montpellier broom. Though it is spineless, montpellier broom is closely related to gorse and also loves exposed and wet areas.

Concentrating on the Ocean Beach Trail, the team undertook trail maintenance and pulling out broom. Most of the broom has been removed over the last two years by the Friends of the Henty group, but plenty of regrowth is still popping up.

"We finished up at midday, and the UTAS Landcare group set off on the journey back to Hobart with their appetite for weedkilling satisfied"

The volunteers thanked everyone who came out and helped on the weekend, Landcare Tasmania for supporting the project, the Friends of the Henty Treasurer Dianne for opening her house, Parks and Wildlife for their help in planning, feeding, and driving, to Gordon River Cruises/NRMA for providing dinner, and Wildcare Tasmania for their support.

Like the Ocean Beach Trail, the Henty Backwater site will need consistent follow up. So stay tuned for updates on future working bees!

Information and photos kindly supplied by Wildcare Friends of the Henty and UTAS Landcare Society.

This project was supported by Landcare Australia with funding from Manheim Cox Automotive.