The Friends of Aranda Bushland (FoAB) is a park care group interested in conserving and promoting their natural bushland environment, and adjoining bushland areas.
The Aranda Bushland is a 100 ha reserve of eucalypt forest and woodland on the southern slopes of Aranda Hill, the north side being the suburb Aranda. It adjoins Black Mountain Reserve to the east and The Pinnacle Nature Reserve to the west, and forms part of Canberra Nature Park, a network of urban open space reserves throughout the national capital.
We have been active in the conservation of the Aranda Snow Gums Heritage Site, a frost-hollow below the Aranda Bushland, adjacent to William Hovell Drive, the only surviving Snow Gum patch within the city of Canberra.
Snowgums lost through accidental spray drift from spraying briars have been replaced with seedlings grown from local seed by local schools. FoAB members also undertake regular erosion control, weed control and monitoring activities.
Monthly work parties
On the first Sunday of every month we have a work party, either in the Snow Gums or in the Aranda bushland. Activities vary according to the time of year.
In spring and summer our energies are concentrated on weeding – St John’s Wort, Paterson’s Curse, wild mustard, African Capeweed and others need to be controlled so that the native grassland species have the space to grow.
In autumn we switch to planting of native grasses and similar low-growing species. Winter is the time for repairing the walking tracks and controlling erosion in the gully.
Our next work party
Sunday 4th December, 8:30 to 11:30 am
COME FOR JUST AN HOUR, OR THE WHOLE MORNING
Task: Weeding in the forbs-rich area of the Snowgums reserve, targetting St John’s Wort and Paterson’s Curse.
Our delicious morning tea will be served at 10 o’clock.
Meet: 8:30 am at the “Environmental Work in Progress” sign on William Hovell Drive eastbound, as indicated by the arrow.
Wear/Bring: Wear strong footwear and bring a hat and gloves. Tools will be provided.
Contact: For more information contact Jenny Andrews (Convenor) on 0404 786 355 or at
FoAB mobile (on the day): 0405 357 914
Coming in January – AGM/Mid-Summer Party
Sunday 15th January, 11:30 am at 46 Mirning Crescent, Aranda
A brief AGM will be followed by a lunch party.
This year the Friends of Aranda Bushland lost one of our longest-standing and most admired members, the legendary Peter Ormay.
Peter was born in Hungary but his family fled the country after the outbreak of the Second World War, travelling by bicycle through the ruins of Europe, and eventually being accepted for resettlement in Australia. He was still a child when they arrived here, but within a few months he had picked up enough English at school to translate for his parents.
He grew up in the vicinity of Burrinjuck Dam and became fascinated with the flora and fauna of the area. After leaving school he became a carpenter, in which role he made trips to Antarctica and Macquarie Island, where once again the natural environment was a passionate interest for him. How many people can say that they have a mountain in Antarctica named after them?
Subsequently he trained as an ecologist and became a ranger with the ACT government. His knowledge of the local flora was astounding, especially the difficult eucalypts – the beekeepers of Canberra held him in awe. But he was equally knowledgeable about birds, insects, lizards and fungi, and was always our first point of contact for identifying an unknown species. As if aware of this, the first Emerald Dove ever sighted in Canberra had the good sense to land in Peter’s garden.
In the early 1990s he was one of the founders of Friends of Aranda Bushland, and he wrote the proposal to have the adjoining stand of remnant snow gums protected as a reserve. Another big contribution was to the production of the field guide Our Patch, which lists and illustrates most of the plants known in Aranda Bushland. This guide remains very popular throughout Canberra and is now in its second edition.
It was Peter’s long term vision to protect and interpret our now-rare conjunction of four distinct ecosystems containing ten eucalypt species, in a one to two hour walk in the heart of Canberra. This is now our “Frost Hollow to Forest” self-guided walk. His illustrated sheet on the twenty main eucalypts in the ACT is still widely used throughout Canberra.
Peter led many walks through the Aranda Bushland and inspired others to join the group and develop their knowledge of our local fauna and flora. He also encouraged members to experiment and innovate in our management of the Aranda Bushland, and to trial different types of weed control and mammal and reptile counts, for example.
Peter was a quiet, mild-mannered man, but one with adventurous ideas and the persistence to bring them into effect. He was a beloved friend, and we miss him very much.
Friends of Aranda Bushland Field Guide to the Flora of the Australian Capital Region as photographed in the Aranda Bushland (2nd ed, 2007). The guide contains 179 plant species, 302 colour photos, two maps and an index. It was put together by FoAB members with the help of the Botanical Gardens Herbarium staff and a grant from the Federal government. It’s a perfect size for carrying in pockets and backpacks, and provides an easy-to-use- aid to identifying the flora of the Aranda Bushland.
Our Patch is available from FoAB, but can also be obtained at the Botanical Bookshop, the Uni Co-op Bookshop and the Yarralumla Nursery.
We thank BluePackets for their generosity in hosting this web site.