Talk of the Town

Our Albany thicket under the spotlight


Many newcomers and even long-time residents of the Sunshine Coast don’t know much about the special indigenous Albany thicket vegetation of this area.

A first-ever Thicket Festival, organised by the Friends of Waters Meeting, will be held in Bathurst this weekend to create awareness about this special vegetation.

“Friends of Waters Meeting has been concerned for a long time that many new owners in Bathurst and surroundin­g areas remove the native vegetation when preparing to build or develop their property,” said the group’s chairperso­n, Rina Grant-Biggs.

“The purpose of the festival is to make people aware of how unique and precious our thicket vegetation is. Rather than reprimandi­ng owners, we felt getting everyone to celebrate our vegetation would be an effective approach to growing their appreciati­on for this amazing vegetation type on our doorstep.

“It’s extremely tough and almost as diverse as fynbos, which closely rivals the diversity found in the Amazon basin.

“You could say thicket is the new fynbos,” she said, referring to fynbos having achieved local and internatio­nal recognitio­n as an important plant biome worthy of conservati­on.

Nelson Mandela University plant ecologist Prof Alastair Potts will kick off Saturday’s free programme of talks, which includes several experts.

There will be a guided walk on the Bathurst Commonage, which shares a boundary with the Waters Meeting Nature Reserve. The area is a prime example of Albany thicket.

A highlight will be a fun lantern parade through Bathurst on Saturday at 6pm. Everyone is invited to join the parade from Lara’s Restaurant to the Pig and Whistle and back. A limited number of LED lanterns will be provided, but everyone is encouraged to bring their own.

Saturday’s talks will be held at Pike’s Post at the Ploughman Pub, in the Bathurst Agricultur­al Museum grounds, where stallholde­rs will offer a range of ‘green’ products for sale.

Sunday’s programme shifts to the regular Bathurst Farmers’ Market, where plant fundi Elizabeth Milne will host an informatio­n stall and share her knowledge of medicinal plants.

Local plant nurseries will have suitable thicket garden plants for sale at the market.

Contact Rina Grant-Biggs at 079-519-5650 or email

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