By Naomi Shadwick
Friends of Stony Creek work in partnership with Maribyrnong City council and Melbourne Water to improve sections of Stony Creek. Council provide the plants and prepare planting sites, while we provide local knowledge, hands on work and have input into open space planning.
We’ve worked for many years to restore the native vegetation along the creek, often on land that was formerly quarried and is now kept as open space.
It started back in 1993. We were originally named ‘Greening Footscray’, but the group decided to concentrate on Stony Creek, which was environmentally impacted by its industrial past. We’ve revegetated many parts of the creek including Cruickshank Park, and areas from Cala St to Paramount Rd, and from Williamstown Rd to Francis St. With the help of Melbourne Water, we built two ponds at Cala St and in Cruickshank Park, and we’re looking to create other ponds and reed areas along the creek.
In 2011 a Master plan was commissioned by the Maribyrnong City Council giving new emphasis to work on Stony Creek and its environs. The plan created a more usable open space, and aimed to connect as much of the creek as possible with pedestrian and bicycle paths. The future of the Creek is bright with promise.
The extensive damage to Stony creek is being reversed, enhancing the beauty of this waterway. Litter is being cleaned up, weeds controlled, trees and indigenous vegetation planted and return of wildlife is being encouraged. There are new access tracks planned for walking and bike riding and pollution is being monitored and reduced.
Most of our current work is focused on the Hyde St Reserve in Yarraville but we also have plantings further upstream. Maintaining grassland takes a good deal of effort. Near Hyde Street we have a rabbit-proof enclosed area for grasses and forbs where we have put in considerable effort in recent years.
In conjunction with Melbourne Water, we undertake monthly water testing at sites along Stony Creek – environmental monitoring is an important activity. Some of our work has been funded by pollution fines imposed by the EPA.
We have good working relationships with others in our community; Mobil donated a motorised hole digger for planting, Melbourne Water has provided a Waterwatch kit and students from Victoria University (Horticulture) and Caroline Chisholm College have undertaken several plantings. Each year we do a planting with Parks Victoria in the Backwash State Park and another at Matthews Hill Reserve with Brimbank Council.
We welcome volunteers and conduct a number of plantings and maintenance days every year. These are organised either solely with the group or in conjunction with other community partners.
Our next planting day is Sunday 16th August from 10 am – 12 noon, between Cala Street and Paramount Rd West Footscray.
We are also holding a Stony Creek Photographic Competition. The theme of the photographs is to reflect the environment, public use of the creek and also personal vision of the creek’s past and its future. The completion categories are; under 16 year of age, 17 to 50 years, and over 50 years. Entries should be sent to: Friends of Stony Creek, 35 Severn St Yarraville 3013 by the 31st of September. You can enter up to 5 photographs and 2 will be displayed for each entrant. Print your photos at A4 size for display purposes with; title, details of photograph and your name.
The photos will be exhibited at the Footscray Historical Society, 66 Napier St. Footscray, from the 11th – 17th October, from 10am – 3.00pm. The winners will be decided by the committee and announced on 17th October at 1pm, followed by afternoon tea to be held at the Footscray Historical Society.
The prize for the overall winner is free choice of a course for one term at the Footscray Arts Centre (up to the value of $500).
While the prize for each category (and the overall winner) will be receiving your photograph mounted and framed.