2018 Annual report

The Ludlow Tuart Forest Restoration Group (LTFRG) was formed January 2018 by a group of people passionate about reversing the declining condition of both the Ludlow Tuart Forest and the Ludlow Forest Settlement.

The task ahead was daunting. However Strong, growing and fearless public and private support, together with membership enthusiasm has given us the strength to work towards realising our objectives.

Achievements during this first twelve months have been many and positive. This report is a summary of those achievements and work in progress.

None of this would have been possible without the dedicated support from volunteer members who have taken on responsibilities sometimes well outside their experience and comfort zone and at considerable personal and family time cost.

We acknowledge the support of the Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) and the various parliamentarians whose support and encouragement has allowed these projects to proceed.

LTFRG executive on behalf of all members and the general public, take this opportunity, to personally thank everyone who has contributed in any way for their personal and dedicated support on behalf of the future beneficiaries’ of this vital work, our children and the remnant one and only tuart forest together with the historic Ludlow Forestry Settlement.

A number of community members were becoming increasingly concerned about the apparent debilitating problems faced by the tuart forest and decided to take positive action to formally understand and test the depth and breadth of their concerns for these iconic assets and to recognise and understand what had to be done to recover all of the inherent values.

This public interest supported by many publications and visitations led to an understanding that restoration was needed to recover, protect and promote this precious ecosystem and the history, heritage, education and tourism values contained in both the forest and the Ludlow forest settlement.

09.01.2018. The first exploratory meeting was called to discuss the issues and to gauge community support for restoration. As a result of the positive outcomes from this meeting, a second meeting was held on the 23.01.2018 to confirm commitment, elect an executive management committee and launch Ludlow Tuart Forest Restoration Group (LTFRG).

Over the following 2 months the LTFRG name was confirmed, our constitution written and adopted, Registration as a not for profit volunteer organisation accepted. Registration with the tax office and an ABN provided. A bank account established with Bendigo Bank Capel. The decision for committee meetings to be held fortnightly with special meetings as required. Life membership fee set at $10.

An introductory Letter was sent to all of the state government ministers and the premier with responsibility for issues concerning the tuart forest and the Ludlow forest settlement. Responses were few but encouraging with the majority being referred to the minister for environment the Hon Mr. Stephen Dawson MLC.

Mr. Dawson made time to visit our executive with the Hon Mr Mick Murray MLA at Ludlow and after a short field trip both were totally supportive and offered advice as to how we could progress the two projects.   

A hand out brochure was developed and printed for distribution to the general public to raise public awareness. Promotion of LTFRG through public meetings and presentations held in Capel and Busselton attracted over 300 concerned citizens. These promotions confirmed a high level of public interest and support providing the encouragement needed to increase our efforts.

Membership recruitment has continued to build momentum with political and departmental support resulting in a current membership of over 350 people.

A meeting with DBCA management in the Busselton office to explain our position and willingness to work with government to achieve mutually beneficial aims was well received. This meeting was followed with a guided field visit of sections of the tuart forest with DBCA staff and Des Donnelly who explained LTFRG intentions in regard to restoration of sections of the tuart forest and the Ludlow forest settlement.

19.02.2018. Presentations to explain our intentions to both Capel and Busselton local government elected presidents. (Mr. Murray Scott and Mr. Grant Henley)

26.02.2018. Public meeting Capel Country Club to launch LTFRG and to gauge community interest. Well received with attendance of over 150 people.

07.03.2018. Tuart forest guided tours provided for interested members of the public to explain our aims while viewing firsthand the issues faced in the restoration of the forest and settlement.

29.03.2018 during a meeting with Greg Overton of Cristal Mining, LTFRG ambitions was discussed. In particular the availability of tuart seed to cover our need to raise seedlings for the 2019 planned restoration planting and also the situation with the deep well bore as a possible future water source for the Ludlow settlement. Both requests received a positive and helpful response.

03.04. 2018 LTFRG event meeting to discuss Ludlow centenary day celebration

09.04.2018 Ludlow centenary celebration event planning meeting held on site at Ludlow. This event was organised and staged to celebrate one of the most significant changes to the forest industries in Australia. The writing and passing by government of the Forest Act and Regulations in 1918 introduced control and management of all of the values of Western Australian forests. Much of this work was centred on Ludlow and the tuart forest which became state forest Numbers 1 and 2, the first areas to be declared state forest in WA.

11.04.2018 Public meeting held at Busselton senior citizens club rooms to generate public interest in LTFRG and the upcoming Ludlow Centenary celebrations event.

13.04.2018 Hon Mr. Mick Murray MLA minister for volunteering attended a meeting at Ludlow which included a field trip and explanation of our intention to restore both and the Ludlow settlement and sections of the tuart forest. Mr Murray was very interested and offered support and advice.

24.04.2018 Presentation made to the full council of City of Busselton, followed by a Presentation to full council of Shire of Capel on the 26.04.2018

A decision was taken to open a face book page with immediate success. Thank you to the small band of volunteers for establishing and managing the site with regular and interesting posts attracting large numbers of followers. Ludlow tuart forest restoration group will find the face book page.

The centenary celebration day held at Ludlow on Mother’s Day, Sunday the 13th of May, confirmed public support with attendance exceeded 1,000 people and confirmed the public interest in the restoration, heritage and conservation values represented within Ludlow and the tuart forest.

The creation of LTFRG web page. www.ludlowtuartforest.org.au  built with enthusiasm and dedication by committee members and helpers who worked through this initiative with a splendid result. People can now join our group on line and keep up with developments.

Mr. Laurie Davies representing “Travel Australia” working privately to record rural decline across Australia spent 6 hours photographing Ludlow buildings and presented the collection valued at $6,000 to LTFRG free of charge.

LTFRG received a very generous donation of $1,000 from the Busselton Lions club to help with the centenary celebration day at Ludlow.

LTFRG developed a draft tuart forest restoration plan for discussion with DBCA and an agreement reached to work with DBCA to replant degraded areas within the tuart forest in Lockhart block. This area became available for replanting to tuart following the removal of softwood plantations.

Hon, Mr. Stephen Dawson, MLC Minister for Environment suggested we apply for a lease of the restoration area and also a lease over the Ludlow forest settlement. DBCA agreed this would not be necessary for the area to be planted and supplied a letter of agreement in support of our application for federal funding to assist with the replanting back to tuart. Approximately 180 hectares of clear felled pine plantation identified as suitable for and in need of being replanted back to tuart over the next 5 years.

LTFRG began negotiations to take on the lease of the Ludlow settlement for the purpose of restoration.

March 2018 an application for Federal government National Land Care grant funding was successful to the value of $50,000. Our thanks’ go to Mrs Nola Marino MP our federal Member for Forrest for her understanding, support and enthusiasm for the project. Mrs Marino presented the approved grant cheque at Ludlow on 31st August 2018.

Cristal mining through Greg Overton, kindly donated to LTFRG sufficient tuart seed to raise 30,000 tuart seedlings to plant the first 30 hectares in the Lockhart block.

Boyanup Botanical Nursery engaged by LTFRG to germinate and raise these trees beginning in October 2018. The trees are progressing well and will to be ready for planting 15th June 2019.

LTFRG organised on behalf of DBCA the removal of asbestos roofing from Ludlow heritage buildings with cooperation and financial support from Mr. John Cross of Picton Civil Contracting. These buildings within the compound are now waiting reroofing.

LTFRG prepared and presented to DBCA, a working plan to facilitate thinning of tuart trial plots prior to replanting taking place. This followed advice that a possible sale of product could be negotiated to cover the cost of this necessary work.

LTFRG prepared and submitted an application for a state government Community Stewardship Grant 2018. Applications closed in August with successful applicant notification’s due November. Today 02.01.2019 we received confirmation that this application for funding was successful and approved to the value of $108,000. Funds are to be used to support the restoration of tuart country in the Lochart block.

A small grant of $2,000 was received from Forest Products Commission to hold a children’s tuart seed planting day at Ludlow. This was a very successful and enjoyable family day involving families in forestry education and promotion. 140 children took part in planting tuart seeds in pots supplied by well-known gardening guru Sabrina Hahn. The children also enjoyed building native bee houses to take home. This was followed by a second seed planting day at the opening of Earle Scott Park in Capel.

Small community grant’s from the Shire of Capel together with a similar grant from the City of Busselton provided finance to cover the cost of boundary fencing to control entry to Ludlow buildings. The awarded combined value of $10,247 is gratefully received. (Shire of Capel $3,247 and City of Busselton $7,000.) To be spent on fencing in the respective shire areas.

Two other small community grant applications for in kind and financial support were unsuccessful.

Regular monthly meetings between LTFRG executive and DBCA management have been instigated to support, initiate and monitor restoration progress. These meetings began in October 2018 and have provided valuable and timely support.

Two on site meetings with WA Heritage and City of Busselton heritage planner and their private consultant have highlighted the challenges faced with building restoration to heritage standards. Work is underway to develop a restoration plan.

Application for LTFRG to receive tax free status is approved and being implemented. 

Application for a fund raising licence is under current active development for approval.

Police clearances for executive members have been supplied.

Working with children clearances granted to LTFRG member applicants.

Presentations re the tuart forest and Ludlow settlement restoration intentions of LTFRG have been delivered to various volunteer groups on demand. Busselton Men’s Shed, Busselton Lions club, U3A Bunbury branch, others pending. (Presentations are already booked with a number of Busselton and Bunbury service and special interest clubs’ and the Australian Wood Turners annual conference to be held in Toodyay 2019.)

Personal contact has been made with interested local parliamentary members and guided tours have been offered. Diane Evers MLA for the south west Greens has enjoyed a brief forest tour to better understand our intentions. Ms Libby Mettam MLA member for Vasse has also been briefed on our restoration intentions.

Radio, print and visual media releases have been overseen by executive through a supportive and encouraging network of journalists.

Three site clean-up days have been conducted at Ludlow in and around the compound to reduce fire hazard and improve safety. All working bees have been well attended and a considerable amount of work has been done. There is a great deal more to do particularly around cottages.

LTFRG have been encouraged to apply for a lease over the Ludlow settlement site to enable restoration work to begin. A false start meant the opportunity to lease had to be conducted through an open public expressions of interest process from interested public parties. This has slowed the process but we are told there are no other applicants and the lease documents are prepared and awaiting government approval. This 7 month delay has been frustrating but necessary. Completion of this process will allow restoration of power, water, toilets, security and selected buildings to begin.

LTFRG has engaged with the Department of correction services and private contractors responsible for placing unemployed persons in productive community work with a view to providing regular maintenance work to assist with restoration.

It is our intention to follow through with the sponsorship of 30,000 tuart seedlings to fund increased activity and ongoing maintenance of restored areas.

The hard work and dedication of this community based organisation has paid off and all members can be justifiably proud of their contribution to the current position and energised towards another busy and satisfying year.

Des Donnelly.

Vice Chairman.

03.01.2019. 

 

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