Unique bushland to be preserved
Wonthella Bushland is now officially in the hands of the friends of Geraldton Gardens, commonly known as Froggs.
This small piece of natural bushland just opposite Flores Road and next to the clay-pigeon shooting club is an area of just over 3ha that has mostly been preserved in its original state.
Froggs has signed an everlasting agreement with the City to care for this valuable slice of bushland.
It is mostly populated by wattle, Acacia rostellifera, which is commonly known as summer-scented wattle or skunk tree. This is a coastal tree or small tree in the family Fabaceae.
Endemic to WA, it occurs along the west coast as far north as Kalbarri in the savannah ecoregion, and along the south coast as far east as Israelite Bay.
This wattle generally reproduces by suckers from underground stems. Because of this suckering, the species often forms thickets that exclude all other species and it has done that here.
I met Irene Ghannage at the reserve, she is chairwoman of Froggs and we went there to work with two prisoners and a guard who had volunteered to come along and clear out the pathways and set up some form work for small shade and seating the City of Greater Geraldton had given to the park.
Wendy Payne from the City met us there and the men were doing a good job of cleaning up.
Irene told me that even though wattle is dominant in most of the park, it does die and create understorey which in turn helps fauna to establish themselves.
The fauna can transport seeds of other bushland varieties, so ecologically, the bushland, if left alone will regenerate itself in a variety of species.
That is what makes this park important to Geraldton as it is and will become more so, close to development.
There are some banksias on the eastern end of the land and orchids in season.
Once the paths and firebreaks are cleared, it will be a great place to visit on a hot summer’s day as the new pergola will provide shade.
Some of the existing seating is shaded by the wattle. Come along to have a rare bushland experience in the city.
Entrance on foot is by a gate up near the clay pigeon shooters club house.
Our arboretum in Strathalbyn, Wonthella Bushland and the Chapman River are some of the amazing native bushland experiences close to where we live. The Friends of Geraldton Gardens hope to engage a landscape architect to design stage one of a botanical garden of Mid West flora in Maitland Park. To share your Geraldton garden with
Geraldton Guardian readers, call Stan Maley on 0428 230 029.
Irene Ghannage and Stan Maley in Wonthella bushland.