2000 to 2009

The Story So Far:

2004 Planting site on the south west slopes

Recent Activites of the Management Committee of Mount Elephant:

The Mount Elephant Community Management committee opens Mount Elephant to the public every Sunday 1pm – 4pm, or by arrangement, and holds a management meeting (also open to the public) on the second Monday of each month. The Public Annual General Meeting is Monday 12 September, 2011 at the Derrinallum Hotel, 6.00pm for dinner, guest speaker and AGM.

Year 2000:

November 25 Music on the Mount – songs from the shows

December 6 Purchase of Mount Elephant from David Eldridge by Trust for Nature and the local community.

Year 2001:

February 18 Opening of public fund raising appeal, on Mount Mrs Eldridge cut ribbon to launch appeal.

March 5 Settlement of Mount Elephant sale.

April 3 Interview with The Age Journalists for story re purchase.

April 4 Radio interview 3AK

May 14 Meeting at Mount Elephant with Corangamite Shire representatives re future entrance access road.

August 9 Corangamite Development Board Awards Breakfast – MECM receive an achievers award.

August 29 Planted 500 trees and grasses to the north of the car park, with CCMA funding, and local community labour.

September 7 Filming of Postcards programme

September 30 Airing of Postcards programme

November Music on the Mount Festival

October 7 Flora and fauna audit

December 15 Spray for Paterson’s curse

Year 2002:

Mountain first opened for open days on the 1st Sunday of each month, 1pm – 4pm

February 5 Form Mount Elephant Community Management Inc, President Lesley Brown, Vice President Lyall Bond, Treasurer Clive May, Secretary Joanne McKnight (previously sub committee of Derrinallum Lismore Community Association).

February 8 Governor John Landy and Mrs Lyn Landy visit Mount Elephant

March 6 Meet with Ted Rowley (Amron Consulting Pty Ltd, consulting for CCMA ) to discuss possibility of funding for a management plan.

Ongoing 2002 Production of a management plan with the financial support of Alcoa and Corangamite Catchment Management Authority and the Centre of Environmental Management, University of Ballarat consultants.

April 2002 Main entrance access road, lease agreement signed between J. Maconachie, MECM and Corangamite Shire. Shire allocates $18,000.00 for development of access road and car park.

June 25 Work begins on access road

July 8 Excavation works – rabbit warrens

July 11 Public Meeting re management plan at Derrinallum hall

July 24 Public Meeting re management at Trust for Nature office

July 28 Planted 2000 trees and 2000 grasses to the west of the entrance car park with CCMA, Enviro fund funding, using volunteer labour, Tranzplant volunteers and school children.

September 19 Meet John Mitas Victorian Quarry inspector, Robert King Manager Minerals & Petroleum Regulations, the then Department of Natural Resources and Environment (now the Department of Primary Industries) to discuss methods to rehabilitate the quarry.

September 21 Planted 1600 native grasses in excavated areas in crater.

Phostoxin in burrows western/eastern slopes inside crater and above ballast pit.

September 23 Risk assessment of Mount with Sue Mudford TFN

October 22 Presentation from Jack Borbidge of $80,000.00 for the assistance of future works at Mount Elephant. Held at St John of God hospital Ballarat.

October 26 Mount Elephant featured on a Channel 10 tourism programme.

October 27 Spray Paterson’s Curse – County Helicopters 12.00 – 5.30pm.

November 4 Green Corp also assisted with fencing above ballast pit area.

November 6,7,8 Conservation Volunteers assisted with fencing above ballast pit area.

December 8 Opening of the Borbidge Track and the new main entrance road.

December 24 Jack Borbidge passed away.

Year 2003:

February 10 Meet South West Water representatives at Mount to discuss their request to explore possibility of accessing underground water (aquifer) for possible emergency supply to the towns of Derrinallum and Lismore.

March 10 Filming of programme Postcards at Mount Elephant, Derrinallum Hotel.

March 12 Repairs to pump and pump housing at south of Mount.

March 26 Rabbit baiting – 1st of 2 free feeds – carrots from Western Aerial.

March 29 Rabbit baiting – 2nd of 2 free feeds – carrots from Western Aerial

April 2 Rabbit baiting – 1080 poison carrots - from Eildon air strip, Lismore.

April 19 Friends and relatives of Jack Borbidge visited the Mount and spread his ashes at the trig point.

April 22 L. Brown made a presentation to the Corangamite Shire Councillors of the recently released Management Plan.

May 12 Risk assessment undertaken with Corangamite Shire representative Ross Boyd and Sue Mudford Trust for Nature, MECM representative Lesley Brown.

May 17 Members of family of Robert Fenton visited Mount Elephant and spread his ashes at the trig point.(Robert Fenton was a resident of Derrinallum, living opposite the Mount as a child). Family members were wife Mary, daughters Joanne and Helen.

June 7 Fencing above ballast pit area – volunteers ran out the wires in preparation for planting.

June 14 Fencing of ballast pit area – South West Fencing

June 20 Produced “Around the Lighthouse” oral history seminar

July 6 Members of the family of Andrew Volum spread his ashes at the top of Mount Elephant. Andrew had family connections with the family, and died of complications from multiple sclerosis

July 10 Presentation by David Hawker MHR of Enviro Funds for planting this year.

July 18 Derrinallum College students assisted with tree planting.

July 27 National Tree Day – major volunteer working bee to

July 30 Lismore Primary School students assisted with tree and grass planting across the northern face.

August Planning for Music on the Mount. Completed tree planting.

October 24 Visit from Terang College Year 8 Geography students. Teacher Sue Pollock 55 938258.

November 22 Music on the Mount 2003, Renee Geyer, Sweet Hearts of Swing,

November 22 Unveil interpretive signage, with funding from Jack and Millie Borbidge Fund and Alcoa

Commenced www.mountelephant.com website (now www.mountelephant.com.au).

Year 2004:

Open days on the 1st Sunday of each month 1.00pm – 4.00pm.

March 22 CCMA – Investor Ready seminar at Warrambeen. Presentation by L. Brown, MECM re the success that Mount Elephant has achieved through funding opportunities. This presentation to be incorporated in the booklet.

April 4 Open Day and Easter egg hunt.

April 15 Work Safe representative Marg Dwyer from Warrnambool completed an assessment of Mount Elephant.

April 28 Excursion to Mount Eccles, Mount Rouse and Penshurst Volcano Discovery Centre.

May 16 Lakes and Craters Fencing, Peter Noonan, began fencing on southwest side ready for 2004 planting programme.

June 9 Excursion to Inverleigh and Serendip Sanctuary funded by Corangamite Shire.

June 15 Excursion lead by Noel Dunn, Regional Inspector of Quarries, sites include Mount Shadwell, Mount Noorat, Mount Leura

July 12 Excavator for 4 days to rip warrens

July 23 Derrinallum College and Greencorp planting on south west slope.

July 25 National Tree Day – volunteers panted 2000 trees and 2000 grasses on southwest slope using NHT Envirofund funding. Local school children and volunteers.

July 25 Announcement and Presentation by David Hawker of Greencorp team for 6 months at Mount Elephant and district. August Commenced to upgrade the woolshed as a temporary visitor centre

Construct trials to assess methods of regeneration of native vegetation and control of Paterson’s Curse using Corangamite Shire Environment Support Funding.

September Erect restraining railing across the western slope below the summit using Greencorp and Conservation Volunteers.

November 3 First sighting of 3 wallabies on north face of Mount Elephant.

Ongoing maintenance of trees, monitoring of Patersons Curse outbreaks

Construction of access style

Year 2005:

January Rabbit baiting programme

Construction of new fence for 2005 plantings

Construction of fence at end of carpark

Complete construction of restraining rail at trig point

Seed collection for future direct seeding in trial plots

Year 2006:

Rabbit control works with further warren destruction using implosion methods

Patterson's curse aerial spraying works

Derrinallum College students designed and installed a picnic table

International student volunteers and conservation volunteers undertook tree planting. Was a mixed success due to the drought and ongoing weed and rabbit issues.

Year 2007:

Derrinallum College students designed, constructed and erected new walking track signs

International Student Volunteers and Conservation Volunteers Australia planted 2500 trees on the mount along the road and up the north east face.

Rabbit control works continued with a 1080 oats rabbit baiting with limited success. Implosion works will continue as soon as possible.

The Mount Elephant committee was unsuccesful in getting grant money for an information shelter and tea rooms.

Patterson's Curse was again sprayed and was quite successful.

Ballarat Agricultural install GPS base station mounted on the trig point.

Year 2008:

Has been a busy year so far with many projects on the go. Works are continuing on the rabbit control problem with around a 1km of fencing in the process of being erected from the northern end of the quarries over the top of the mount to the southern end of the quarries. The aim of this fencing is to stop the rabbit populations that keep emerging in the warrens above the cliffs which are so difficult to destroy due to issues of access from reinfesting the rest of the mount. In the past we would destroy warrens only to have them reinvaded due to the large number of rabbits re-invading these areas. Now with the rabbit proof fencing in place we can destroy the warrens, follow up with some baiting and exterminate them in the controlled areas. This will really help to recitfy the problem.

Patterson's Curse is going to be an issue this year as we so far have been unsuccessful in obtaining funds to undertake this work. The dry season will make this more difficult as they will mature early.

1000 trees were planted on the north face behind the pine trees in a rabbit proof area. This face has traditionally been the most difficult and will require a lot of work restoring it and the exclusion of rabbits is a great start. It is proposed to continue to fence off one hectare lots and plant them out and slowly move the fences back and detroy the warrens as we go. Over the last few years this slope has been almost completely bare due to the rabbit numbers.

2008 has also seen the beginning of the education and interpretation facilities on the Mount. The Mt Elephant committee has been seeking architect designs for a new interpretation and visitor information centre at the Mount. Two architects were selected from a field to develop concept plans. These plans have been on public display and the overwhelming consensus has been to select the Gregory Burgess plan (see below). Over the next few years the committee will be working with the Corangamite Shire, Trust for Nature seeking government and community support to develop these facilites. By 2011 it is envisaged that the visitors to the Mount will have a wonderful eco and environmentally friendly building to enhance the wilderness experience.

Year 2009:

This year 2500 trees have been planted on the north western side of the Mount adjoining the quarry. These were planted by community members and Conservation Volunteers Australia over the winter months. We have enjoyed a terriffic tree growing season this year with all trees growing very well.

68 heactares was sprayed for Paterson's Curse and we are now seeing a significant reduction in the germination of this weed.

Mount Elephant Community Management (MECM) were recently awarded the "Landcare Community Environment Group Award" in the Corangamite region for 2009.

MECM applied for a three year funding opportunity of $45,000 from the Corangamite Shire. This grant is specifically for our environment work including weed and pest control, tree planting and the development of a newsletter (brochure). The process was very competitive with only one group in the shire receiving the funding, and we were successful. We now have security for the next three years to continue our revegetation, pest and weed control programs.

VCAL students from Derrinallum College, designed and built a new barrier fence around the sign overlooking the crater. The MECM selectively grazes the Mount to minimize fire risk, reduce the overall burden of introduced plants such as phalaris and wild oats and to improve the management of the native wallaby grasses. To do this the information signs located on the mount need to be protected from cattle damage. The students will build two more signs to complete the project in 2010.

Rabbits have been a major problem on the mount. Over the past decade the MECM have baited, excavated, poisoned and exploded warrens with some great successes. The western slope however is extremely steep and has the large quarry underneath and has always been a difficult area to work. To this purpose the MECM decided to erect a rabbit proof fence to stop the large number of rabbits on these western slopes re-invading the rest of the mount where numbers had been significantly diminished. We are please to announce that the Landmate Crew have completed the fence which runs from the north face across the top of the Mount past the Trig point and down the southern slope. With this fence in place we can now concentrate our efforts in certain areas ensuring we can work towards eradicating the rabbits.

Stylised drawings of the propsed interpretation facility