Do you know of Buckland Hill? It is located on the eastern side of Stirling Highway between Wellington & McCabe Streets, Mosman Park, Indian Ocean.
Governor Stirling was so taken by the imposing Hill and location in the late 1820’s he wanted to set up the new colony here.
The Dutch explorer, Vlamingh’s 83 strong possie headed for this high landscape point in 1697. His officers accounts’ gave us the first indication of what was growing here. The vegetation was so tall and thick at the top of the hill they could not see a thing.
Snippets in future writings, surveys, paintings and surrounding bushland give more clues as to what this significant Aboriginal site might have been like; Native cherries! Paper daisies of every colour! Photo Grevillea preissii
Since then, Buckland Hill has been quarried, scraped bare for the WW2 tunnels, grazed and burnt, Yet nature persists.
This degraded patch of limestone had a makeover in the 1990’s, the result of a win of sorts for passionate locals who grew up exploring the abandoned tunnels, junk left over from WW2 and the rough edges of quarries. One of our senior bushcare volunteers picked wildflowers there as a child.
The trade-off for the regeneration was to lose two thirds of the area to a housing development. Locals made sure nearby seeds were collected and propagated to revegetate the area.
Since then remarkable things have happened if you look beyond the fox burrows, grass and woody weeds and bridal creeper. The small area left for undisturbed regeneration has been burnt many times but it appears that fires started in the afternoon when the sea breeze was in, sparing plants on the west. Enough regeneration occurred to not only allow pink fairy orchids to grow in the cool dense shade of the Callitris but enough Callitris grew for DBCA to give it the status of a Threatened Ecological Community (TEC) The frequently burnt centre of the bushland regrew with weedy Victorian Tea Tree giving sufficient habitat for variegated purple backed fairy wrens to persist in what was one of their last refuges in Mosman Park. Thanks to the work of the Friends of Mosman Park Bushland alongside the Town of Mosman Park, these wrens are now in most natural reserves in Mosman Park.
Photo Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo in Banksia sessilis.
This important Sea to Swan River link is fragile and under threat. The Leighton Battery has been restored by volunteers who
believed it necessary to remove a section of the natural bushland and replace it with low lying species in order to return the view from the tunnels to that of the period when the battery was in use, from 1942 to 1945.
For those of us who know the importance of the natural bushland, in this precious sea to river corridor, this process was difficult to watch.
Photo of WWII gun at Buckland Hill Leighton Battery.
We are dreaming of the return of the Aboriginal Dreamtime Seven Sister hill, covered in blood-red flowering Templetonia, golden white stemmed wattle with Carnaby’s cockatoos calling out from trees ripe with local native pine nuts and banksia seed.
Photo of Templetonia retusa.
We want to give the most biodiverse area here under the management of Town of Mosman Park another chance to thrive. We were given a three year grant starting in July 2021, allowing us a full season of weeding before planting. Ground covers and super prickly species won't be planted until the third year as they are too hard to weed around.
Watercorp share the State’s Sea to River link, the ”Vlamingh Parklands” at Buckland Hill.
We are working with them to raise their awareness of the importance of this bushland
but there is no guarantee how long it will be a home for wildlife.
The State Government want to sell more of the Vlamingh Parklands to the west for urban development despite coastal erosion predictions. We continue to work at a furious pace for wildlife at Buckland Hill despite this insecurity.
The Buckland Hill of today may not be a great place to stop and look at vibrant bushland but the vista over the green sea of vegetation out to Rottnest is worth stopping to take in. Unbuilt vistas like this are particularly important for urban living Aboriginal people to connect to country. Indeed, this view is important to all of us, allowing us to take in the mood of the ocean and bushland and reminding us of the season, beauty and power of nature.
This grant just might make your visit more enjoyable!
We can’t return the native cherries to Buckland Hill, but we can return local biodiversity to build resilience. We can endear it to residents who might like to continue to care and watch out for it. Just as some people see others less fortunate than themselves and want to help them, we cannot walk past the poor state of the bushland and not hear it’s cry for help.
Sue Conlan, Convenor, Friends of Mosman Park Bushland. 0419942483