Friends of Mt Majura (FoMM) Newsletter – August 2021

Third Sunday Working Party

Come along to the Fair on Sunday 15 August between 1 and 4pm. Choose your favourite activity – we will plant native seedlings of Blue Devils (Eryngium ovinum) and Variable Plantain (Plantago varia) in two of our seeding nodes, spread mulch at sites where contractors have recently sprayed highly invasive Chilean Needle Grass and Serrated Tussock with herbicide, check for and remove weeds such as Paterson’s Curse and Capeweed, if we find them.

Where: Register at the entrance to the nature park close to Tay and Ian Nicol Streets, North Watson

When: Anytime between 1-4pm. Come at 1pm for an introduction. Give whatever time you can spare.

Bring: Sun protection, drinking water, garden gloves and a trowel if you have them. We provide some tools, disposable gloves, hand sanitiser and a delicious cake for afternoon tea.

More information at

Volunteers enjoy a well-earned afternoon tea after the Third Sunday working party last month. (Photo Margy Burn.)
A site before and after the horehound blitz during Third Sunday working party last month. (Photos Waltraud Pix)

What a difference a decade and dedication makes

Nearly ten years ago, in 2012, Friends of Mount Majura began work to improve degraded grassy woodland in the nature reserve east of the residential estate The Fair in North Watson. The soil was either compacted and eroding or densely covered with herbaceous weeds such as Paterson’s Curse. Since then, the soil has been manually loosened and truckloads of woodchip mulch spread. Many woody weeds such as briar rose and hawthorn have been removed and replaced with local species which provide habitat for wildlife. Eight National Tree Day events and other smaller planting events have seen mass plantings of native trees, shrubs and flowering plants; native grasses have been direct seeded across the area. Our newest project has established seed nodes to protect herbaceous wildflowers from overgrazing and repopulate the surrounding areas via natural seed dispersal.

View of the northern part of The Fair project site towards northwest in May 2014 before volunteers began the control of Paterson’s Curse and other weeds and the same site in May 2021. (Photos Waltraud Pix.)
The hard work of volunteers over the years has transformed the site, creating a diverse grassy woodland that is attractive for wildlife and human visitors. A new web page documents this inspirational project with a timeline of photographs showing the dramatic changes to the landscape.
Volunteers Margy, Avery and Min planting native forbs (herbaceous flowering plants) in one of the seed nodes at The Fair, in June 2021. (Photo Waltraud Pix.)
Senior Ranger Michelle visits The Fair  (Photo Margy Burn)
Meet and greet contractors spraying Chilean Needle Grass at The Fair. (Photo Margy Burn)

National Tree Day Event

Undaunted by the cold and grey wintry weather on National Tree Day, Sunday 1 August, some 45 people and a well-behaved dog enjoyed a walk led by ecologist Michael Doherty to learn about the trees that populate the nature reserve. Forecast showers did not eventuate and the sun came out briefly. We were delighted to be joined by local member for Kurrajong and Minister for the Environment, Rebecca Vassarotti, shown in this photograph with other walkers listening to Michael.

National Tree Day walk with local expert Michael Doherty. (Photo Max Pouwer )

Mondays at the Fair

Each week a group of volunteers meets at the Fair site. Our current focus is removing horehound growing under old dead trees on the north-western slope, in an area which includes many native plants, including the beautiful and endangered Hoary sunray (Leucochrysum albicans) and Bear’s ears (Cymbonotus sp.).

Join us anytime between 9.30 and 12.30 on Monday mornings. We meet at the nature park entrance close to Tay and Ian Nicol Street, North Watson.

Volunteer Grace weeding horehound in the open forest uphill of The Fair project site
Bear’s ears uncovered after weeding. This native perennial can persist in grazed sites and disturbed areas. Its yellow daisy flowers from August. (Both photos Waltraud Pix)

Other Events of Interest

Monday 16 August, 6.15 to 8.30 pm: The ACT Conservation Council will host a seminar at ANU on First Nations experiences and environmental justice. Registration costs $15

Sunday 22 August, 10 am to 3 pm: Molonglo Conservation Group is hosting a workshop on Improving Water Quality in the Jerrabomberra Creek Catchment. This hands-on workshop focuses on tools to manage water quality and biodiversity. Register at

Saturday 11 September, 9.30 to 11 am: Friends of Black Mountain are hosting a ramble among the wattle, led by Michael Doherty. Book by emailing

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