Returning Public Land to the Community at Campbells Creek

Standing on the bridge over Campbells Creek at Princess St today, looking downstream across the platypus pools towards Alexandra St 800 metres away,  it’s hard to imagine things as they were not so long ago.

Until  the end of 2008 the public land corridor there was licensed to 3 neighbours for grazing and divided by internal fencing.  Horses and cattle used the creek.  A   few stately old River Red gums accompanied the many Willows planted along the banks.  Public access was discouraged.  The lower section was choked with head high Gorse, tree-climbing Blackberries and other weeds.  Residential subdivision had just begun on the farming land adjoining on the west.

After urging from the Friends, Council and the neighbouring schools, the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE, now DELWP) returned the Crown land and creek to public use for restoration, education activities, recreation and enjoyment.

The broad scope of what you see today was established in 2009.  The Friends applied over $30,000 of funding to run public meetings, gather community  support and develop a guiding plan, kill and remove the weeds, fencing and rubbish, develop outdoor education facilities, and plant, plant, plant.  Schools, DSE, the scouts, CFA and corrections teams all volunteered their time and expertise to help.  Council commenced building the Walking Cycle Trail.

A news article and these photos tell the tale. 

These photos were taken 4 years later

Work every year since has delivered the Information Shelter, nesting boxes, seating, and more creekside sedges and grasses.  Besides providing a link for wildlife and recreation through an increasingly urbanised landscape we believe that restoration of this section of the creek has contributed to the increase in local platypus numbers.  People comment on seeing more species of birds and hearing happy frogs.

Funding acknowledgements:
2nd Generation Landcare Grant (NCCMA) – Precinct Plan & Subgroup Development
Bush Guardians (DSE) – Campbells Creek Foreshore (Weed removal and clean-up)
2nd Gen Landcare (NCCMA) – Bringing Schools & Landcare Together in Campbells Creek (1) & (2).
Rotary Club of Castlemaine (to Castlemaine Scouts) – Funding towards outdoor education facilities