About Us

Activities
Triumphs
Snapshots

The History of our Group

A 47.5 hectares reserve that is a gift for local people to appreciate as a sanctuary for birds and native flowers must be a special place. Merthyr Park is. However it has a sad history.

On the Second River Road, 2.5Km North West of Lilydale, is a plaque inscribed -

"This reserve was presented by Lord Merthyr of Saundersfoot, Great Britain, to the Municipality of Lilydale for the use of the public for all time - 1938"

The land was officially transferred in 1946. This native bush was then debased through the development of a local tip (extending from 0.4 ha to 6 ha), inclusion of a hydatid testing strip and a 5ha plantation, all approved by the authorities of the day.

The reserve deteriorated further, becoming a source of firewood and a graveyard for car bodies, sheep, cattle and garden waste. Threatening weed invasion was inevitable. It is no wander it was called the "tip".

 

Spanish Heath as well as gorse make some areas of the park inpenetrable.

Canary Broom had reached forest proportions in some areas.

So who wants to befriend a rubbish dump?

The local people had become involved with the management of the Lilydale Falls Reserve resulting in the inception of the Lilydale Landcare Association. Subsequently the Launceston City Council's Parks and Recreation Department invited the newly formed group to help with the rehabilitation of the degraded bushland at Merthyr Park… yes the "tip". Since carting out truckloads of rubbish in the early stages this project has focused on the northern side (16 hectares) of the reserve, a filter for part of the Second River.

Fourteen families are members of the Lilydale Landcare Association. Interest and ages vary considerably, as do cultural backgrounds. We are a mini United Nations. Merthyr Park will be in good hands if the wonderful children growing up with this project retain their enthusiasm. Their inquisitive minds are refreshing. The sensitively executed illustrations of Merthyr Park vegetation, interpreted through their young eyes, are a colourful reminder of the treasures which can be found in our natural environment.

Young volunteers at work.

 

The protection, restoration and preservation of Merhyr Park for the enjoyment of present and future generations is a project we are proud to be a part of. At times we lament the loss of families who leave the district, despair at the task of ongoing weed removal, the destruction of native vegetation and the difficulties getting technical expertise to assist our volunteers. These issues do not wipe the smiles from our faces because our group is fuelled by a sense of fun, enthusiasm and pride in our achievements. Some of our activities include planting days, weeding, seed collecting, propagation, botanical drawings, education workshops, guided educational tours, track construction and maintenance, weed mapping, fauna and flora identification and surveys, celebration barbecues and working bee picnics.

 

Some of the rubbish collected from Merthyr Park during Clean Up Australia Day 1996

We successfully lobbied for a walking track, which was constructed by a Green Corps team and proved invaluable. Other groups that have been involved in the Lilydale Landcare Merthyr Park project include: Greening Australia, Understorey Network, Lilydale District School, Tamar Valley Weed Strategy Working Group, Australian Conservation Volunteers, Boy Scouts, Green Reserves Teams and the Tamar Region Natural Resource Management Strategy. There is also a healthy local government/community partnership present and public attitude is changing. Hearing people call the area Merthyr Park more frequently and not the "Tip" is very encouraging.

The transformation of a wasteland into a beautiful bushland for all time is a great example for other communities and groups that through hard work, commitment and determination an almost impossible and mammoth task can be achieved.

Walking Track extension with Conservation Volunteers 2003.

 

 

 

 

 

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This page last updated on 26-05-2004