Friends of the Upper Morwell River Inc
With scrumptious food and a photo presentation, the Friends of the Upper Morwell River Inc hosted a happy get-together at the Boolarra Hall on Australia Day. Two of the friends, Mick Schiller and Catheryn Thompson had received awards from the Boolarra community thanking them for their involvement in conservation projects around Boolarra. The Friends of the Falls photo presentation was begun with an acknowledgement from Catheryn of the cultural significance of land and water to the GunaiKurnai people.
“All the Friends love the river”, said Catheryn, “and we have had many working bees before and since the formation of the Friends in 2009”.
The Friends meet on the last Sunday of the month, rain or shine, to reclaim tracks that were once diligently maintained by prisoners from the now closed Morwell Prison Farm.
Mick has been constructing tracks & infrastructure at the Morwell River Falls and the Landcare Old Mill Site in Boolarra, while Catheryn has focused on projects along the Upper Morwell River and the Morwell River Falls. “Reclaiming the tracks from years of neglect is hard physical labour,” says Mick, “but it’s easy doing something you love”.
The slide show presented over 400 photos taken mainly by Yakshideva, with some by Alan Hall, Rodney Lloyd & Denise Schiller. The photos showed the many happy faces of people who enjoy the falls, the rainforest species that dominate the Falls, the flora and fungi changing through the seasons, and the Falls themselves either charged with water at high water flow, or rocky over the hotter months.
Platypus sightings have been recorded at the Falls and above Fox’s Hole. One man reports he was recently lying in the pond above the top falls when he saw a huge platypus cruising gracefully by him. Ancient crayfish hang out in the dark bottoms of the pools and yabbies have been seen scaling the falls walls. As well at this, as every camper knows, the dawn chorus of birds is truly spectacular.
Some may not know it, but there are three drops of the Morwell River Falls and when visiting from the Morwell River road, the tracks take you through pungent mountain ash regenerated forest and down through wet forest to cool temperate rainforest glades.
The Friends know that many people love the river and they are hoping for the day when the funding for railings to assure the safety of the new tracks is available, so that they can be officially re-opened.
“We know how important this river is to the health and vitality of Boolarra and the region”, said Catheryn, “and over the summer months there were many campers enjoying the beauty of the river and the coolness under the trees, with many visiting the Morwell River Falls as the highlight of their trip”.
Along with the ongoing tasks of blackberry control, invasive weeds and litter control (unfortunately some visitors are not as clean as they could be), the Friends educate themselves on various river management issues.
The next working bees are on Sunday 27th Feb and Sunday 27th March at the Falls with BYO lunch at 12, followed by track work. Info is available from the Boolarra Post Office or Top Shop or p: Catheryn – 0435 048 153 or Denise – 5169 6425