Saturday 6th October 2007
Guide: Leon Costermans Facilitator: Gloria Dean
Before the walk Leon gave a short illustrated talk about the Reserve’s history dating from the 1880’s when it was used as a Defence Reserve.
“The 222.57 ha at Langwarrin, as well as the fortifications at the entrance to Port Phillip Bay, provided the focus around which Victoria’s permanent and reserve soldiers were trained for the defence of Melbourne. (‘Australian Aldershot’ – Winty Calder).
During the military occupancy, about 49 ha. were cleared for buildings on the western side, including a prisoner-of-war depot and a hospital for V.D. At times there were almost 4000 men and 900 horses in the camp. These structures were removed in 1921. The area gradually regenerated over the next decades, although it was still used by the army and local rifle clubs. The Victorian Ministry for Conservation gained tenancy in 1980 and in 1985 the Langwarrin Military Reserve became the Langwarrin Flora and Fauna Reserve.
The walk was in the sand dune area in the NW part of the Reserve and took about 2 hours. Leon pointed out the changes in vegetation where the sandy soil of the heath land met that of the wet heath (as well as other topographic features).Many plants were flowering including: Wedding Bush; Dogwood; Silky Tea-tree; Guinea Flower;
Goodenia; Common Heath; Parrot-pea; Love Creeper; Appleberry; Orchids (Donkey; Rabbit-ears; Salmon Sun; Waxlip).
Bird sightings included: Rufous Whistler; Golden Whistler; White-naped Honeyeater; Wite-eared Honeyeater; Grey Shrike-thrush; Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike; Spotted Pardalote; Grey Fantail; Kookaburra; Scrub-wren. More than 20 species were seen.
Leon provided the group of 22 with comprehensive information about all aspects of the area which was very much appreciated.