Wildcare Friends of Wellington Park

Cathedral Rock Track Improvements

At long last Parks and Wildlife Service and Wellington Park Trust personnel were able to join Friends of Wellington Park volunteers for a day devoted to improving the track leading to Cathedral Rock. We all arrived early at the beginning of the track (end of Betts Road) but the start of work was delayed by the arrival of a large coach (40–50 seats). The driver took a long time and considerable skill in turning the bus around in such a restricted space. Our cars all had to be moved, it was indeed fortunate that we were still there and not away working. The coach contained about 15 or so school children and teachers. (Due to a communication mix-up an incorrect sized coach was used.)

The arrival of the school walking group aptly illustrated a concern that the authorities have—the track is becoming heavily used and needs to be upgraded to a higher standard. There were six FOWP volunteers and a similar number of PWS and Trust people so we all set off in two groups to start the job of upgrading. The volunteers were given the tasks of trimming encroaching vegetation (one of our specialties), assisting with drain clearing and, a new task for us, removing large clumps of cutting grass (Gahnia grandis) from the track. The other group used a chainsaw to remove fallen trees from the track, improved drainage, upgraded direction signs (arrows) and assessed future work (“scoping” was the word used).

The volunteers set off lopping and digging drains until lunchtime. A distance of about 2.3 km was achieved. The other group soon joined us and generously provided a cake for all to share. After lunch half the volunteers continued onward trimming vegetation until the slope of Betts Hill was reached. The other volunteers, after suitable instruction, commenced removal of cutting grass clumps. A few small ones were dug out with a mattock but the main technique involve using a hand-powered ‘Tirfor’ winch. One end of the winch was anchored on a nearby stout tree, a strop was wrapped round the clump of cutting grass. Greg power was then applied via the winch and the clump torn from the ground while Owen used a mattock to cut through some of the roots. In all about 50 metres of track were cleared but more remain.

Adrian Blackman, Secretary FOWP