Waltraud Pix – Friends of Mount Majura

Waltraud Pix

Jan 272014

Cootamundra Wattle leaf

The Cootamundra Wattle, Acacia baileyana is an introduced and highly invasive species; the Silver Wattle, Acacia dealbata is native to Mt Majura and Mt Ainslie. Both wattles have blueish-grey-green leaves and flower early in spring.

They can be distinguished readily by their leaves.

The compound leaves are called bipinnate leaves: pairs of leaflets or pinnae (singular: pinna) are arranged along the main leaf stem (rhachis), and pairs of pinnules – the smallest unit of the compound leaf – are arranged along the stem of a pinna. The bipinnate leaves of Cootamundra wattles have 3-4 pairs of pinnae, the lowest pair is shorter, swept back and embraces the stem to which the leaf is attached. The bipinnate leaves of Silver wattles have 8-20 pairs of pinnae attached to the rhachis; the lowest pair is not swept back.

Silver Wattle leaf

Jan 272014

Woody weed working pair.

Cut stems close to ground level and immediately treat cut surface with herbicide glyphosate (Roundup or equivalent product) applied at high concentration e.g. 1 part glyphosate : 2 parts water; apply herbicide mix with spray.

The plant’s natural protective mechanism acts very quickly to seal off the cut surface which stops herbicide penetration into the sap stream. It is therefore important to treat the cut surface immediately, i.e. within 30 seconds after cut; the longer the treatment is delayed, the poorer the result will be. If necessary cut and treat each stem of a multi-stemmed plant such as Briar Rose separately to avoid a delayed herbicide treatment.


Feb 232009

Friends of Mt Majura and the Watson Woodland Working Group will hold a joint working party to remove woody weeds growing at the lower slopes of Mt Majura.
Sunday, 15 March 2009, from 9.00am to noon.
Meet at the nature park entrance off Antill Street opposite Carotel, North Watson
Bring and wear:
sun protection enclosed foot wear and full-body covering
All equipment will be provided.
For car pooling and other enquires: ph 6247 7515 or e-mail admin@majura.org

Please come along if you have some time to spare, sign the activity sheet at the rangers’ trailer, enjoy a cuppa and help remove woody weeds from the lower slopes of Mt Majura. Novice weeders are encouraged to be early for an induction on target weeds and on the save handling of equipment.

Waltraud Pix
FoMM co-ordinator


Firethorns (Pyracantha species) are some of the many common garden plants that have invaded Mount Majura nature reserve and other bushland in the ACT. Find out how you can help protecting our bushland reserves from the invasion of woody weeds.

Weed swap: swap your woody weeds for free native plants on 28/29 March 2009

Aug 052008

When: Sunday 17 August from 1.00 to 3.00pm
Where: Old Ainslie tip site off Philip Av Kellaway St Nature Park entrance (see map below)
Bring & Wear: sun protection, appropriate clothing, gloves, buckets, and a shovel if you have one

More than 120 volunteers helped planting 380 local trees and shrubs at the old Ainslie tip site on National Tree Day, Sunday 27 July (Report: Great Community Spirit at National Tree Day). Friends of Mount Majura and the Mount Ainslie weeders are now inviting volunteers to come along and help spreading two truck loads of wood chip mulch. This will suppress weeds and give the young seedlings a head start in the growing season.

Waltraud Pix
Enquiries: ph 6248 6307 or e-mail admin@majura.org

Download this poster for distribution

Jul 142008

Talk by Dr Beth Mantle, ACT Frogwatch Coordinator
21 August 2008
Blue Gum School Friends’ Lounge, Hackett shops

Find out about the frogs of the ACT region. What makes them special? How can we help to protect them? Learn how to attract frogs to your own backyard.

Based on the very popular resource, “Creating Frog Friendly Habitats”, Beth Mantle will take you through all you need to know to start turning your backyard into a beautiful suburban haven for many of our most common frog species. The talk will help you get to know some of the frogs of the ACT region, what they need to survive and thrive, and the ins and outs of encouraging them to your patch.

Enquiries: ph 6247 7515 or e-mail admin@majura.org

Download this poster for distribution

Peron’s Tree Frog: Copyright Lydia Fucsko (www.lydiafucsko.com)

The talk is part of a free lecture series
Hilltop to Backfence – Celebrating 5 years of ParkCare on Mount Majura

The lectures cover a range of local environmental issues and explore biodiversity on our doorstep.
Download the Hilltop to Backfence program (pdf file).

Jul 142008

When: Sunday 31 August, 1.00 – 3.00pm
Where: meet the Nature Park entrance Mackenzie St opposite Grayson St, Hackett
Bring and Wear: sun protection and appropriate clothing.
Enquiries: ph 6247 7515 or e-mail admin@majura.org

Join local botanist Michael Doherty for a gentle walk through various types of woodland and discover the range of tree species growing on Mount Majura. Learn to identify eucalypt species and find out how the trees have adapted to environmental conditions such as soils, fire and drought.
Two guides – Trees of Mt Majura and Eucalypts of the ACT – will be available for a gold coin donation.

Download this poster for distribution

Find a list of the tree species of Mt Majura (with comments) at majura.org/species-lists

Scribbly Gum (Eucalyptus rossii) with compression lines (left); Blakely’s Red Gum (E. blakelyi) clusters of buds (photographs Waltraud Pix)

The Eucalypts and Wattles

Australian vegetation, with the exception of smaller patches of rainforest and chenopod shrublands, is characterised by large tracts of eucalypt and acacia dominated forests and woodlands.

The genera Eucalyptus, Corymbia and Angophora (eucalypts, bloodwoods and false apples) comprise more than 900 species (800, 114 and 15 respectively), the vast majority of which are only found in Australia. Size varies enormously with species, ranging from the Mountain Ash (Eucalyptus regnans) forests of Victoria with giants greater than 90m tall to the dwarf Varnish Gum (Eucalyptus vernicosa) which often grows as a 1m dwarf shrub in windswept Southwest Tasmania.

The genus Acacia (wattles) is equally diverse and comprises more than 1500 species worldwide, more than 960 of which occur in Australia and all but 16 of these are only found in Australia. Although generally smaller in stature and often found as small undershrubs in many communities, Acacia tends to be dominant in inland Australia with such species as Mulga (Acacia aneura) and Brigalow (Acacia harpophylla).

In New South Wales, we find 264 species of Eucalyptus, Corymbia and Angophora (240, 10 and 14 respectively) and more than 235 species of Acacia (Harden 2002). This diversity of eucalypts and wattles is a reflection of the strong environmental gradients (climate, geology, soils) found within New South Wales, particularly those areas falling within the Sydney Basin geological area stretching from the Hunter Valley to Nowra and west to the Blue Mountains. The Great Escarpment in this area has been eroded from east to west forming intricate series of ridges and valleys. The complexity of this landscape is increased as it is interspersed with areas of residual basalt and old sandstone plateaus with complex drainage patterns all of which leads to a diversity of environmental combinations of slope, aspect, parent material, soil fertility, drainage, rainfall and temperature.

In the ACT, we also have some steep environmental gradients ranging from Mt. Bimberi (1900 m) in the Australian Alps to Lake Burley Griffin (550 m), with sometimes abrupt changes in eucalypt dominants. Eucalypts are the dominant trees of the woodlands and open forests of Mount Majura and Mount Ainslie and of the 25 species of eucalypt indigenous to the ACT, 9 species occur on Mt. Majura and Mt. Ainslie, although there are also some planted non-local native eucalypt species on the edges of the reserve. Additionally, of the 23 species of wattle that occur in the ACT (including 2 naturalised native species), 9 species occur on Mt. Majura and Mt. Ainslie (including the 2 naturalised native species Acacia armata and Acacia baileyana).


The genus name Eucalyptus derives from Greek “eu ” meaning well and “kalyptos” meaning covered. It refers to the ‘cap’ of the flower bud, which breaks off and falls away at flowering to uncover the pollen rich stamens and nectar laden receptacle of the young ‘gum nut’. It can take between one and two years between initial bud formation and final flowering. Eucalypt buds and mature gum nut fruits are key elements in identification of species as many of the species look quite similar. Primary distinguishing features of eucalypts are:

the shape of flower buds and the number of buds that form a cluster,
the shape of fruits (gum-nuts)
the bark type (e.g. smooth or rough),
the shape of juvenile (seedling leaves / leaves that occur after fire) and adult leaves,
the natural occurrence of species.

Wattles require a different approach and one of the major considerations in identification is whether the adult leaves are bi-pinnate or whether they are phyllodineous (i.e. instead of a true leaf, this latter group has modified leaf stalks acting as ‘leaves’). When young, all species of wattle have bi-pinnate leaves, but only some species retain this feature as adult plants. Other features useful in telling species apart are flower type (e.g. globular heads, elongated spikes) and legume (seed pod) shape and size.

Michael Doherty

Jun 222008

Talk by Dr Dean Rouse and Dr Peter Milburn, Australian National University
When: Thursday 17 July 2008, 7.30pm
Where: Blue Gum School Friends’ Lounge, Hackett shops

When it comes to sex, orchids exploit a whole range of deceptive strategies, of fraud and of disguise. You will hear about the bizarre pollination techniques and the unique ecology of this fascinating plant group. Discover the species growing on the slopes of Mount Majura and Mount Ainslie including rare orchids and a highly endangered species known only from this area.

Enquiries: ph 6247 7515 or e-mail admin@majura.org

Download this poster for distribution

The talk is part of a free lecture series
Hilltop to Backfence – Celebrating 5 years of ParkCare on Mount Majura
The lectures cover a range of local environmental issues and explore biodiversity on our doorstep.

Download the Hilltop to Backfence program (pdf file).

Canberra Spider Orchid Arachnorchis actensis (photograph: Waltraud Pix)

Jun 222008

Join Friends of Mount Majura and the Ainslie Weeders for planting local trees and shrubs on National Tree Day. Bring mum and dad, friends, neighbours, colleagues and a smile.

When: Sunday 27 July, from 11.00am to 3.00pm
meet at the old Ainslie tip site off the intersection Philip Av and Kellaway St; car parking at Kellaway Street parking area.
What to wear & bring:
boots, gloves, buckets, and a mattock if you have one. Wrap up warmly.
Enjoy: Warm-up drinks and a BBQ for the working crew delivered by the Majura Mountain Scouts.

We aim to closing the gap that the old Ainslie tip has left in the landscape.

Most of the hard work has already been done. Cadets of Australian Defence Force Academy (back from left) James Pak, Christopher Appleton, Benjamin Chaffey, Dylan Pearse, Hayley Fletcher, Owain Griffiths, (front) Ellie Aurisch, Wesley Bartlett, Marc Brown, Muhammad Abd Razak have volunteered to prepare the planting sites prior to the community planting event.

Waltraud Pix

Enquiries: ph 6248 6307 or e-mail admin@majura.org

Download this poster for distribution

Supported by the Molonglo Catchment Group, Greening Australia, Majura Mountain Scouts and ACT Parks, Conservation and Lands.

May 262008

When: Sunday, 15 June 2008, from 1.00pm to 3.00pm
Where: Former sheep camp, Mt Majura ridge, where the Casuarina trail hits the Summit trail.
Bring & Wear: Sun protection, sturdy boots, a bucket or watering can, a mattock, if you have one, and your best smile
What: Planting of native tree and shrub seedlings

Revegetation at former sheep camp April 2008 (photo: W. Pix)

We will plant Yellow box, Bundy, Scribbly gums, Silver wattle and Cassinia. You will be rewarded with splendid views, a pleasant winter afternoon, fun and social company, and the satisfaction of having contributed to the enhancement of the bushland on your doorstep.
Enquiries: ph 6247 7515 or e-mail admin@majura.org

Download this poster for distribution

May 082008

Talk by Belinda Cooke, Swift Parrot Recovery Coordinator
When: Tuesday 20 May, 7.30pm
Where: Blue Gum School Friends’ Lounge, Hackett shops
Swift Parrots migrate the longest distance of any parrot in the world. They leave their breeding grounds in Tasmania in autumn to forage on the mainland. Hear about the endangered birds and their visits to Mount Majura and view a documentary with fabulous footage by local ornithologist Geoffrey Dabb.

Photograph: Goeffrey Dabb

Endangered Swift Parrots visit Mount Majura

Since mid April 2008 bird watchers have observed more than 20 swift parrots at a time weaving through the canopy of the tall box trees around the drain line at the lower Hackett reservoir. A Hackett resident noticed a small flock as far back as March 2008. In March and April 2005 Mount Majura hosted more than 60 swift parrots, a number never before recorded in the ACT. The parrots were not recorded during 2006 and 2007.
The swift parrot Lathamus discolor is bright grass green in colour, and has patches of red on the throat, chin and forehead, which are bordered by yellow. It also has red on the shoulder and under the wings and blue on the crown, cheeks and wings. A distinctive alarm call of kik-kik-kik, usually given while flying, a streamlined body, a long tail and flashes of bright red under the wing enable the species to be readily identified.
Swift parrots breed in Tasmania and migrate to mainland Australia in autumn. During winter the parrots are semi-nomadic, foraging in flowering eucalypts mainly in Victoria and New South Wales. Small numbers of swift parrots are occasionally recorded in the ACT, south-eastern South Australia and southern Queensland. The parrots choose larger trees for foraging and feed extensively on nectar and lerp from eucalypts during the non-breeding season.