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

Sunday 28 April 2024


We have been advised by Sydney Water, that after two dry, sunny weeks, sewage contamination is no longer a problem at the Glowworm Tunnel.

It is still wet, muddy and slippery at the site and in the tunnel. Gumboots are advised.

New signs have been installed near the car parking area. Please read these signs before entering.

The Helensburgh Glowworm Tunnel is looked after by unpaid community volunteers. It would be appreciated if you could take your muddy shoes, socks, plastic bags and wipes home with you, and not just drop them at the site for us to have to clean up if the bin provided is full.

Saturday 6 April 2024


 The Helensburgh Glowworm is closed due to flooding and contamination from sewerage overflow. It is not known at this stage when it will be safe to go in again.

Tuesday 23 January 2024

Clean Up Australia Day, 2024


Step Up to Clean Up with Helensburgh & District Landcare Group


Clean Up Australia Day is on Sunday 3 March, and we aim to clean up Helensburgh’s footpaths, creeks and parks. Register at the Old Mine Surgery, 78 Parkes Street, Helensburgh, between 10 am and 1 pm. 

We provide you with a bag to clean up an area of your own choice – your own street, the park across the road, local creeks, etc. Once you have finished, return the bag of rubbish.

Please wear long pants and shirt, sturdy closed-in shoes, and bring gloves and water. 

For further information, ring Merilyn on 0414 819 742, or email merilyn@helensburghlandcare.org.au

Monday 31 July 2023

BE WEED WISE - Giant Bird of Paradise

 Giant Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia nicolai)

Giant bird of paradise, Strelitzia nicolai, is an ornamental evergreen, tall, palm like plant with large, broad leaves up 1.5 m long. During spring and early summer, it bears unusual beak-like, blue and white flowers with deep purple bracts. The entire flower can be as much as 18 cm high by 45 cm long, and is typically held just above the point where the leaf fan emerges from the stem. Flowers are followed by triangular seed capsules with black seeds with a bright orange aril attached.


Giant bird of paradise is native to South Africa and Mozambique.


Giant bird of paradise is sparingly naturalised in Queensland and New South Wales, also in Mexico. It has occasionally spread locally into our bushland. In favourable areas, they self-seed readily.


To ensure this plant remains in your garden, please remove spent flowers before seeds develop.


Grow Me Instead

Cabbage Palm, Livistona australis. This native palm has fan- shaped leaves and generally a smooth trunk, although old leaf bases are retained on young plants. Leaf ‘stalks’ have recurved spines mostly towards the base.   

Wednesday 12 July 2023

BE WEED WISE - Liriope

Liriope (Liriope spp.)

Liriope is a clump forming, grass-like plant with glossy dark green leaves. It has spikes of small purple, violet or white flowers, followed by black, pea sized berries with one seed. It is a popular garden plant used extensively for its hardiness.


However, its origin is east Asia and it is starting to become a problem as it is spreading into local bushland. Seeds are spread by birds and water, also by dumping of garden waste.


Control: In the garden, cut flower heads before seeding. In bushland situations: Dig out plants ensuring any fruit/seeds are bagged, or foliar spray with herbicide. 

For more information: https://sydneyweeds.org.au/weeds/liriopelily-turf/


Grow Me Instead

Blue flax lily – Dianella caerulea. A native hardy and very easy care clumping perennial plant, growing up to a metre high and wide. It has sprays of small blue flowers in spring. 


Tuesday 11 July 2023

BE WEED WISE - Asthma Weed

 Asthma weed, Parietaria judaica

Asthma weed, also known as pellitory of the wall and sticky weed, is a native of Europe, central and western Asia and northern Africa. It has invaded and is common in some part of eastern New South Wales, southern Victoria and south-eastern South Australia, as well as being present in other states and Lord Howe Island.

It can be found growing in urban areas (i.e. in walls, footpaths, embankments, etc.). It also inhabits gardens, rocky crevices, cliffs, coastal environs, riparian vegetation, waste areas and roadsides. In Helensburgh, it is present in damper areas, e.g. along creek and drainage lines, but is spreading.


As well as competing with our native species, it also has an impact on human health. Contact with the plant can induce severe skin reactions. Its pollen causes asthma, conjunctivitis, rhinitis and hay fever. 


Pellitory has inconspicuous small flowers in spring and into summer. Plants mainly spread by abundant seeds, which are dispersed by wind, water and by attachment to humans and animals by sticky hairs.

Carefully remove by hand being sure to dig out all the roots. Where roots are anchored in walls or rocks, herbicide may need to be used. For large areas spraying with herbicide will be necessary.

For more information: https://weeds.dpi.nsw.gov.au/Weeds/Pellitory

Monday 31 October 2022

Creating a Bush Friendly Backyard


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.

 1. What have you got?  Site analysis….


Sketch out what already exists in your garden using grid paper.

Identify aspect N/S, sun, shade, topography, soil type, rainfall, drainage, runoff, structures, vegetation, views, sight lines, neighbours-buildings/trees.

Establish what wildlife is using your garden, including resident, migratory, native and introduced species and their movements throughout the year.


2. What do you want?  Assess your needs


What you want and what you need can often be two different things!

Who uses the garden and who’ll be maintaining it!

Family use, extra living space, social, privacy.

High or low maintenance garden?

Type of garden – ornamental, structured, wild.

Attracting wildlife into your garden, providing a habitat link with bushland.


3. How to get it!  Planning & Design


Constraints – budget, space, time – if removing all vegetation at once some animals may die during removal or may not return – consider staged works making your plan flexible.


Access – pathways, tracks, driveways – straight or meandering.


Materials – consider infiltration, sourcing, availability; retain all natural features that exist in your garden.


Plants for your site – introduced, native and local species.

Plan to renovate your garden while maintaining habitat for existing wildlife.


Designing for wildlife – nesting, resting and feeding sites. Try to provide year round flowering & fruiting, safe havens of dense vegetation, dips, hollows, rocks & logs.

Tips for getting started


Every action has a reaction!



  • More than likely that overgrown unsightly corner in your backyard is home to a variety of local minibeasts. Observe your garden for at least a year before undertaking work.


  • Outsmart weeds – get to know your weeds, flowering and seeding times, fibrous or tap root, woody or herbaceous habit – then you can use the most effective method to control them.


  • Attracting wildlife – provide a range of habitats that attract a variety of wildlife, incorporate upperstorey, midstorey and groundcover vegetation layers into your garden. Plant clumps of dense shrubs and if you have room – plant trees to create aerial corridors.


  • Plant non-nectar, insect pollinated plants such as wattles, native peas and tea-trees to encourage smaller, insect eating birds.


  • Retain where possible all natural features – branches, twigs, mulch and rocks.


  • Compost all your weeds & trimmings under black plastic.


  • Find out about your local wildlife and the natural habitat of these species.


  • Plant or install alternative habitat. Wait for plantings to flower and fruit then gradually remove (over the years) the habitat unwanted by you. Observe how the tenants are responding.


  • Where territorial birds such as Currawongs & Noisy Miners are a problem, restrict the number of fruit bearing plants (berries such as Blueberry Ash) and heavy nectar bearers (hybrid Grevilleas).


  • Provide clean, constant water to increase bird species to your garden.


  • Nest boxes may attract possums and hollow nesting birds. Placing them up high and away from your home will limit nocturnal disturbances.


  • Try to be patient and remind yourself of the important role you are playing in maintaining Australia’s biodiversity.


  • And remember it may look like a mess but in essence it’s valuable wildlife habitat!




(Adapted from “Creating a Bush Friendly Backyard” Willoughby City Council)