North Bendigo Landcare Group conducted a well attended tour of the Bendigo Creek on Sunday. Starting at Leans Road, the tour travelled six kilometres up the creek, culminating in the pleasant leafy surrounds of the White Hills Botanical Gardens, where a hearty lunch was provided.
Along the way a expert commentary was given, of the social and natural history of this reach of the Bendigo Creek. Bendigo’s fabled gold rush of the eighteen fifties, and the subsequent wide spread land clearing that followed, caused far reaching changes to the upper catchment hydrology.
This removal of vegetation greatly increased both the quantity, and the severity of rainfall run off events. When combined with the soil disturbance of intensive surface mining, large quantities of silt were deposited in the creek, causing regular flooding problems downstream in Northern Bendigo. An artificial engineering solution was instigated, a dredging regime, which converted the original curvaceous ephemeral creek, with its deep waterholes and diverse flora and fauna, into a denuded linear drain.
This troubled turbulent beginning was but a portent for more than a century and a half of disregard and misuse.
Changing times and attitudes have seen a welcome revival of interest in the well being of this sadly neglected watercourse. During Sunday’s walk we had the opportunity to inspect some of the on ground works that North Bendigo Landcare Group have undertaken.
Weed control and re vegetation are under way, nesting box’s have been installed, debris traps constructed, and the involvement of local school children fostered. Events such as the creek walk help to increase community awareness of the issues.
Landscape restoration is a painfully slow process, but it is moving in a positive direction in North Bendigo.