If you haven’t heard of the Honeyeater Bushland Reserve in Junortoun, it’s a good news story you’ll want to know about!
Situated on the site of a former gravel quarry that was operated by the then Shire of Strathfieldsaye 25 years ago, this 17-hectare nature reserve is a vision of the Junortoun Community Action Group (JCAG) who decided that they could turn an abandoned quarry – full of weeds and rubbish – into a rehabilitated natural environment for fauna and flora, as well as a peaceful reserve for the local community to enjoy.
The group started planning the project in 2016 and officially took over management of the site in 2019.
Since then, great strides have been made in rehabilitating the site with tonnes of rubbish being removed, more than 2,000 trees being planted, new walking tracks, repairs to the wall of a the dam and the extension of a wetland that was the result of previous quarry operations. The expansion of the wetland will provide enhanced habitat for the threatened species, Bibron's Toadlet, which has made the wetland its home.
Chair of JCAG, Colin Smith said: "These are just some of the things that have been done and JCAG could not have achieved any of it without the phenomenal community support the project has received to date, with local businesses, schools, community groups, the City of Greater Bendigo and individual community members, all putting up their hands to help with the work that is needed to rehabilitate the site. JCAG is extremely grateful to Fosterville Gold Mine for the grant that made the enhancement of the wetland possible".
The reserve is also home to lots of beautiful Pardalotes – very small, brightly-coloured Australian songbirds (pictured above) - with a local men's shed and Catherine McCauley students having made numerous bird boxes (specifically designed for the Pardalotes) that have been erected in the reserve.
Will Wettenhall, the Community and Environment Manager for Fosterville Gold Mine, recently visited the reserve to see the progress for himself.
“This project is a great example of what can be achieved when community works together for the common good and Fosterville Gold Mine is thrilled to be part of it,” said Will.
Fosterville Gold Mine would like to congratulate the Junortoun Community Action Group for their vision and determination to create such a valuable space for the environment and community.
The Reserve is located on Honeyeater Lane, between Binks Road and Somerset Park Road in Junortoun and is easily accessed from the O’Keefe Rail Trail - visitors are very welcome.
Watch this space for further updates on the reserve!