Tower Hill

Sixteeen naturalists participated. The route was via the East Beach, and along the road d between Belfast Lough and the dunes on the seaward side.

By the time of arrival, the day was becoming quite hot, and the wind strong.

The group was met by John Sutherland who gave a highly informative talk about the geology and history of Tower Hill. A series of volcanoes from 32000 to 7000 years ago resulted in layers of volcanic ash. These layers have been exposed by quarrying for roadmaking. This, together with land clearance and annual burning for grazing had denuded the area, despite it being declared Victoria’s first national park in 1892.

Lobbying by the Warrnambool Field Naturalists resulted in commercial activities ceasing by 1970, and regeneration commenced. The status changed from National Park to State Game Reserve at tghe same time.

Walks were planned to the crater rim, but because of excessive heat, the more strenuous walks were not undertaken.

The group visited tha information centre which has an array of native arts and crafts. John explained various plants used for food and medicne by the aboriginals. They had inhabited the area for 40,000 years. However, their food sources were completely destroyed in 40 years of Europrean settlement,

Various raptors nested in the exposed volcanic ash layers and of particular interest was a pair of Peregrine Falcons which nested in the same spot each year. The chicks are banded and one of them turned up nesting in the Melbourne G.B.D.

A very favourable repsonse to the tour and the imprtted knowledge of leader John.

Contributed: Allan Thompson.