Excursion 6: Won Wron State Forest

SEANA Spring 2023 Camp

Excursion 6a: Won Wron State Forest No. 1Saturday morning
Leader: Dr Margaret RoweFacilitator: Phil Rayment

Led by Margaret and assisted by Phil, our first stop in the Forest was White Woman’s Waterhole, where we were greeted by many King Parrots, used to being fed by the visitors. This site escaped the 2009 fires, unlike most of the area south of Napier Road. Margaret gave a short talk on the botany of the area, commenting on its dryness and Phil related a little of the history of the site, as outlined on the information board. Local legend has the site named after the sole female survivor of a shipwreck in the 1840s, who was purportedly taken in by the local Bratwoloong clan of the Gunaikurnai. Publicity and search parties were initiated by Angus McMillan and although the woman, if she existed, was never found, it is believed that reports of the incident were used to justify the massacre of aboriginal people at several sites in that part of South Gippsland.

We explored the plants on the ‘Waterhole Walk’, a short loop walk around the waterhole and along Lowes Road, in a wetter area of the forest, with Margaret and others pointing out the features of the plants along the way. There was a wide variety of species: mosses, Maidenhair Fern, Snowy Daisy-bush, Rough Guinea-flower with its tiny yellow flowers, the twiners Wonga Vine, Forest Clematis, Love Creeper and Common Appleberry. The canopy included Blackwood, the smooth-barked Mountain Grey Gum and Yellow Stringybark.

After morning tea, we drove to the southern area of the Forest, driving slowly past a glorious stand of Austral Grass Trees on Holmans Road and entering the Won Wron Flora Reserve between the Rifle Range Track and the South Gippsland Highway. There the soil was sandy and the vegetation changed to heathy. Magnificent old Saw Banksias dominated, with many small and medium seedlings regenerating. The under storey included Austral Grass Trees, Heath Teatree, Common Heath, Prickly Guinea-flower and Wattle Mat-rush. Thanks to Margaret and Phil for a most enjoyable morning.
Lorraine Norden

Excursion 6b: Won Wron State Forest No. 2Sunday morning
Leader: Rohan BuggFacilitator: Baiba Stevens

The rain was held back to give us a relaxing walk through the popular Won Wron State Forest, a native landscape of Manna Gum, Grey Gum, Yellow Stringybark, Black She-Oak and Bracken Fern. We also walked past the White Woman’s Waterhole and learnt about its sad history with the local Gunaikurnai aboriginal community. Our ears and eyes were open to identifying more than 20 birds, the highlights being the singing Olive-backed Oriole, screeching Gang Gangs, numerous King Parrots and two soaring Wedge-tailed Eagles. Although there were no flowering wattles to admire, we examined the interesting foliage of the Sweet, Varnish and Sticky Wattles. Careful scrutiny on the ground picked up a few orchids with the highlight being the Small Spider-orchid (Caladenia parva?). Another highlight was a beautiful large Cherry Ballart tree. Our thanks to Rohan and Baiba for taking us on this delightful walk.

Diana Droog

Saw Banksia B. serrata in Won Wron Flora Reserve (Will Norden)

Saw Banksia B. serrata in Won Wron Flora Reserve (Will Norden)