Vision, knowledge and dogged persistence.
A major landslip occurred at Soapy Rocks, Point Roadknight in December 1973 (Soapy Rocks is beside the Surfcoast walking track between Anglesea and Pt Roadknight). The landslip occurred over a length of 200 m of the escarpment with a width of up to 20 m. It spread over an extensive area, from the current escarpment to the rocks along the beach. It is understood that during 1973 a large deep crack developed some distance back from the pre-existing escarpment edge. Stormwater and uncontrolled septic tank effluent were major causes of the landslip.
To control erosion on the site some plantings of non-indigenous plants including Giant Honey Myrtle, Melaleuca armillaris, and Bushy Yate, Eucalyptus lehmannii, occurred in the 1970s. Since this time there has been a major invasion of woody weeds, limited natural revegetation of indigenous plants and the formation of erosion gullies. The high density of woody weeds is seriously impacting on the relatively intact vegetation that surrounds Soapy Rocks.
Since 2012 Angair has worked to revegetate the site, achieving remarkable success considering the harshness of the environment, including having to plant in pink-brown clay subsoil, salt laden gale-force winds, and dry periods such as last summer.
Angair has obtained three separate grants from Coastcare. For these projects Angair has collaborated with Year 9 students from the Santa Monica Campus of St Bernard’s College, the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee and the Green Army. It is remarkable that the latest plantings in 2017 have survived even though we have been in drought since November and the plantings were in the harshest aspect of the site.
There has also been an explosion of natural regeneration. One favourite is a beautiful sedge, Bare Twig rush, Baumea juncea, with blue-grey glistening stems growing in profusion up to 60 cm high.
Angair’s small coastal group meets on the first Saturday of the month (Meet at the Angair carpark, 9.20 am). Would you like to help?
Plans for this year include weed control and further planting, usually followed by a convivial visit to a nearby café.
(This information was provided by Carl Rayner. Carl started with Anglesea Coast Action in 1994 or 1995. The group joined Angair in 2012 and became the Anglesea Coastal Group. After he retired in 2001 Carl became a regular Monday morning weeder, and since 2007 he has supervised many projects with St Bernard’s students. Carl coordinates the environmental care group within Angair and was awarded a life membership in 2015).