Landcare is a non-governmental community movement dedicated to preventing land degradation and achieving sustainable land management. It consists of a network of local volunteer groups of which there are over 1700 in New South Wales alone. Each group works to find local solutions to local problems such as salinity, soil degradation, animal pests, weeds, vegetation loss, waterside erosion, poor water quality, coastal degradation and urban land degradation. If you appreciate how lucky we are in the Helensburgh district to enjoy a relatively unspoiled bush environment you should also be aware that it is under serious threat. read more

Friday, 19 February 2016

Clean Up Australia Day 2016

Clean Up Australia Day, Sunday 6 March, 2016

Clean Up Australia Day is a national clean up day that was started by yachtsman Ian Kiernan. Since the national event started in 1990, Australians have donated more than 27.2 million hours cleaning their streets, parks, bushland and waterways on Clean Up Australia Day. Every year Australia wide, hundreds of thousands of Australians get stuck in and Clean Up their local environment by collecting and removing rubbish. It is always held on the first Sunday in March. This year it will be held on Sunday, 6 March.

Helensburgh & District Landcare Group provide a registration point in Helensburgh for residents to come along and register, pick up a bag and then go and clean up an area of their choice. The filled bag is then returned to the registration point. This provides you with an opportunity to clean up your own street or the local park. We can also suggest areas which need a clean up if you wish.

The registration point is at the Old Mine Surgery, 78 Parkes Street, Helensburgh, 9.30 am to 12.30 pm. You will need to wear a hat, gloves and sturdy shoes.  For further information, ring Sean on 0410 694 811, email

Monday, 28 January 2013

Watch out for Bridal Creeper in your garden during winter

Bridal creeper is a climbing plant with small bright green leaves. It appears in winter, has small white flowers and, eventually, red berries. Bridal creeper is a Weed of National Significance. It is regarded as one of the worst weeds in Australia because of its invasiveness, potential for spread, and economic and environmental impacts.

Permalink | Leave a comment  »

Frogs in the Illawarra

Have you ever seen a frog in your garden and wondered what kind of frog it was? Would you like to know more about how to
make your garden frog-friendly?
In response to community demand for this information, the Illawarra Councils are pleased to introduce the new 'Frogs of the Illawarra' brochure.
More than thirty frog species have been identified in the Illawarra region, and this brochure includes a fantastic colour poster
showcasing sixteen local frog species.

Permalink | Leave a comment  »

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Focus Weeds

Here are just a few of the weeds in our region;


Helensburgh and District Landcare Group’s involvement with Streamwatch

In 1997, Helensburgh and District Landcare Group committed to being involved in Streamwatch for three years. We selected four local creeks and we had eight volunteers. A team of two volunteers went out each weekend to test their nominated creek. This meant that each of the four creeks was tested monthly (with a few misses) for three years.

The then Hacking Catchment Management Committee provided the funding for the Streamwatch kit. At the end of the three years, the kit was passed onto a high school in the Sutherland Shire for student involvement in Streamwatch.

Unfortunately, our test results are missing from the Streamwatch website. When we started testing there was no interactive Streamwatch website and despite several attempts to have the data put on the Streamwatch site, we have not been successful.

Landcare members using the Streamwatch test kit

We present the raw data for Camp Creek, Gills Creek, Kellys Creek and Wilsons Creek and also rainfall figures for the three years as recorded by one of our members. For more information on what it all means, please check out the Streamwatch website:

Other useful water quality information can be found at:

Camp Creek
Gills Creek
Kelly Creek
Wilsons Creek
Rainfall Helensburgh 1997-1999


Biodiversity is not just a trendy buzz-word, it is the term for the web of life we depend upon.  It includes the millions of species of living beings (microbes, fungi, plants, animals and humans) which inhabit the surface of the planet.  Dr Harry Recher who chairs the National Biodiversity Council recently estimated that we are losing 8 species an hour or about 70,000 a year worldwide due to human activities.  We cannot afford to go on like this.  Apart from the unknown effects of this loss on the whole biosphere, from a purely selfish point of view, some of these species could be very useful to us as food or medicine. 

If you would like to do something locally to help to preserve our biodiversity here are some suggestions: Make sure pet cats and dogs are desexed, kept indoors at night and attach bells to warn wildlife.
  • Use natural Australian plant disinfectants like Eucalyptus and Teatree oils.
  • Build a compost heap.  Shred and compost garden weeds rather than dumping them in the bush.
  • Make your garden a haven for native plants and birds.  Native species need less water, pesticides and fertilizers.
  • Drive slowly at dawn and dusk, and where trees grow close to the road.  Too many native animals are killed on our roads.

Creating a Bush Friendly Backyard

Why a Bush Friendly Backyard?
  • Low impact on the environment – less water, fertiliser, pesticide, construction.
  • Provides a refuge for local wildlife for nesting, resting and feeding.
  • It can be low maintenance, freeing you up for other pursuits!
  • It is your contribution to protecting our biodiversity.

Frogscaping your garden

Frogs have been around for over 200 million years yet in the past two decades their numbers have been declining worldwide at an alarming rate. We can help our local species by setting up a frog pond in our garden. Frogs require permanent water, together with humidity, shelter and food.
A frog pond can be as simple or elaborate as you wish. A baby's pool situated under overhanging vegetation can work just as well as a custom made model requiring far more effort. It is really up to you and the overall affect you wish to achieve.

Gardens for Birds

Native birds prefer nectar, seed, fruit and insects from native plants. Even a small garden can be planned to provide food all year round by choosing plants with a variety of flowering times.
Seed - can be provided by wattles, eucalypts, casuarinas and hakeas.
Nectar - is abundant in most banksias, grevilleas, callistemons, melaleucas and eucalypts.
Fruit - can be seed on pittosporums and lillypillies.
Insects - occur on all plants.


Biodiversity resides in unexpected places: roadsides, railway easements and small parks just like our Helensburgh Creek site.  By keeping these places weed-free and encouraging local native plants to grow there we can protect our local ecology.
We have two main sites where we are concentrating our efforts. However both these sites have deteriorated in the last couple of years because of the reduction in the number of active Landcare members. As we alternate between sites, they usually only have 3 hours every second month allocated to them and so when there are only two or three workers each time, it is very hard to see any positive results. It is also very heartbreaking to see all the good work of the past being overtaken.

Helensburgh Creek site

corner of Parkes Street and Junction Street, Helensburgh
This was the site of the old Band Hall until it burnt down in 1988.  It now houses the Mine Doctor’s Surgery, an important piece of local history and the home of the Helensburgh Historical Society.  Helensburgh Creek runs across the northern side of the site.  We have worked here for 17 years. It is reasonably clear of weed species and has some well established trees planted by Landcare plus dozens of young trees and shrubs which in time will help to create a sustainable weed-free area of native vegetation.  In collaboration with Wollongong City Council we have plans to extend our regeneration area across the whole site to make it a beautiful restful public park. The Helensburgh Creek site already shows a remarkable transformation from the degraded weed-infested patch it was when we started. Our previous propagation officer, Dean Hawes, did a magnificent job growing a variety of specimens suitable for planting in this area – all from local seed.
2010 Update: Unfortunately, cape ivy, Madeira vine, honeysuckle and bridal creeper are progressively taking over some previously good areas.

Old Station site

corner of Tunnel Road and Old Station Street, Helensburgh.

If you haven’t visited the historic Old Station site you really should do so as it has a wonderful combination of natural and cultural interest. The site’s history is explained on an interpretive sign at the entrance and you can see the old platform and restored Helensburgh railway sign and explore the railway tunnel with its glow worms.

Our regeneration work has made great inroads into the weed-infested slopes either side of the old railway line.  Over the past few years we have removed masses of lantana, wandering Jew, morning glory and some large coral trees. As well as some natural regeneration on the site, we have planted local species which are growing well thanks to the fact that this area is always moist.
2010 Update: Wandering Jew is overtaking the cutting and the station platform. The trees in the entrance are progressing well but we have not been able to make progress on the rest of the morning glory area - it is hard enough keeping it out of the good area.