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February Enjoyment Day

Our next Enjoyment Day is Sunday, 19th February, 2017 from 10.00am until 2.00pm, and all are welcome. Tea & coffee from around 1.00pm.

Heavy rains in the past few months have been of record proportions and the extreme weather expected at this time of the year is yet to arrive in heatwave proportions. Already we have had double the average February rainfall. This makes the landscape much different to that of previous years, with weed growth continuing and dam levels at record levels for mid-summer at Glenthorne.

This month we will be looking at preparations for plantings later in the year but may put a few plants in, knowing that soil moisture will be high and follow up watering will be available should the heat finally arrive. We will be terminating the lives of a few weeds around our 70 odd small plants, planted along the Native Grass Compound fence line in the past 2 years, which will provide a great habitat for small birds in the coming few years.

It won’t be all work. We always tour our revegetation efforts to see what has changed since last month, what work priorities need to be planned for and to see what visiting birds have dropped in. A Whistling Kite was spotted over Sheidow park in recent days and given reports of Square-tailed Kites around the metropolitan area recently, anything is possible for the keen-eyed birdos amongst us.

This is a great opportunity for any youngsters who are looking to improve their birdwatching skills, so please bring them along if you are planning to attend. Bird surveys are always recorded during our visits. We usually have tea or coffee and a discussion of recent events from around 1.00 pm.

We will be on site from 10.00am but if you arrive after 10.00am please call Alan on 0411 595 910 for entry instructions.

Rebuilding nature – Bouquet to City of Marion

Many of us were heartbroken by the devastation caused by the expansion of the Southern Expressway in recent times, especially to the beautiful walking trail which ran between the western boundary of the Southern Expressway and the back of the Trott Park Neighbourhood Centre. If you have not been back there for a walk since the Expressway was expanded, I would recommend it to you. The plantings have started to grow and blend into the existing large gums and the water retention ponds are a great feature. This trail, although much narrower than it once was, is potentially a great wildlife corridor and is a pleasant and shady walk, or bike ride for locals. You may even see a number of endangered bird species frequently the woodland close to the Trott Park Neighbourhood Centre or hear the native frogs along the water course.

It is understood that the City of Marion has contributed to the re-establishment of the vegetation along this trail and all of those involved are to be congratulated. If you are looking for a nice local walk, the trail from Adams Road to Lander Road is recommended. We do recommend that the olives and weeds are continually addressed before they take over and this trail leads to further trails heading south along the Southern Expressway. This is a small example of what ‘living with nature’ can mean in our local community.

The Friends of Glenthorne are actively involved in discussions with the City of Marion and the Liberal Party and are willing to speak to both the State Government and the University of Adelaide about future plans for the property. Grey Box Grassy Woodland is rated as endangered under the Provisional List of Threatened Ecosystems in SA 2001 and is down to less than 3% of its pre-European levels (see EnviromentSA Website article here).

Our unique wildlife, especially our woodland birdlife, is suffering as a direct result and the Friends believe that effective practices and experience in rebuilding this landscape are available and should be engaged to restore this property back to something which will support these species. This is not rocket science and has successfully been proven in many other locations, including Monarto SA, Mt Bold Clarendon SA by SA Water and at 100s of locations by Greening Australia, where reconstructed complex grassland plant communities have successfully been re-established on bare field sites, such as ex-agricultural land simlar to Glenthorne Farm.

What a wonderful backdrop to Community learning and recreation could be established within such a project, involving our local school and university students as well as those amongst us who are longer in the tooth and looking for healthy and active ways to spend some of our increasing leisure time and put something back into the landscape for future generations.

The Friends will be increasing our lobbying efforts in coming weeks and months and we are looking to you, our supporters, to help spread the word. Please keep listening for ways to help pressure the State Government into doing what should have been done many years ago.

Letter to the Advertiser

Below is a copy of our recent letter to the Advertiser Editor.  If you share our sentiments, then please let your voice be heard, and email to the Advertiser Editor at

Dear Editor,

The Friends of Glenthorne are appalled at the University of Adelaide’s latest plans of open space destruction in the southern suburbs at Glenthorne Farm.

Haven’t we lost enough of our valuable and unique woodland? Isn’t it time to start putting something back before all is lost

The University should not be involved in setting up residential properties, business hubs, public sports fields, but should stick to what they are meant to be good at, education and research.

It is truly unbelievable that the University of Adelaide dis-regards current research, (even by its own) which states that to hold back local species extinctions and reverse the “extinction debt” of native birds in the Mount Lofty Ranges, our unique landscapes need to increase from the current less than 10% remaining (of the original pre-European) to about 30%.

Glenthorne Farm is a critical component of the environmental recovery of Adelaide and its surrounds.  It is also an important wildlife corridor between local parks and other open space. It seems that the University are not interested in this. 

Despite invitations, the University has not taken part in any public meeting concerning the future use of Glenthorne, but it does seem interested in making as much money as it can from the sale of the property at the Community’s long term expense. A sale which it promised would never happen.

The original 2001 Deed of Sale, from the CSIRO, stated that Glenthorne Farm should remain Open Space, with no development whatsoever. The sale from the CSIRO to the University of Adelaide only proceeded because the Federal Government received contractual assurance through the Deed that this site would be maintained as Open Space and because the SA State Government gave the University of Adelaide $7.0 million of our taxpayer’s money. The University of Adelaide’s recently revealed plans for Glenthorne are a clear dis-regard of this deed and the promise the University made almost 16 years ago.  According to the Deed, the State Government has the legal right to buy the property back from the University for $1.00 if the Uni’s plans for the property contravene the deed. Simply planning housing and other urban development is a breach of the deed and the deadline for an acceptable Concept Plan from the University is years overdue, a further breach. 

The Government has been very patient with the University of Adelaide, allowing them time to develop suitable plans for the property, but these latest plans must be the final straw for the State Government. I can say that the Community lost patience many years ago and are looking to the State Government for action. The State Government should remove control of Glenthorne Farm from the University and give it to those dedicated and qualified in keeping, not selling, its ecological value. 

Glenthorne Farm and the surrounding Conservation Parks are a State treasure for us and future generations, and should not be sold and lost, just to re-fill the coffers of a tired University. This disregard for unique local biodiversity and future generations of South Australians is unacceptable.

In the recent years the University has raised over $50 million through the sales of bequeathed properties, Moralana Station, Mundunney at Spalding and Martindale Farm at Mintaro. When will the destruction and selloff stop?

The State election next year will certainly be a time when the People of South Australia will decide if the State Government does the right thing or not in this regard and in the meantime we will be stepping up our campaign to save this irreplaceable and beautiful property. There will be no second chances. There is only one Glenthorne.

Signed: Alan Burns, Secretary / Treasurer - Friends of Glenthorne Inc.

Feeding Birds - Citizen Science

Do you have a Bird-bath, or Bird-Feeder in your back yard? If so, then you may be interested in a current "Citizen Science" study currently being undertaken by Deakin University and Griffith University.

Visit and register. All you have to do is count the birds visiting your bath/feeder, for 20 minutes, 3 days per week, for 4 weeks.  How simple is that, eh?

Their website states:

"We do not know how providing food and water might impacts on bird ecology and diversity in Australia. While providing food and water to birds is a popular activity, little is known about what species are attracted to these resources and why people like to provide them. Most importantly we need to understand the ecological and behavioural effects of bird feeding as almost all information from other countries regarding bird feeding simply does not apply here. We acknowledge that feeding of wild birds is an important activity for large numbers of people and that the practice may be a significant way for many to connect with nature. 

The Australian Bird Feeding and Watering Study aims to gather quantitative data on the effects of supplementary feeding and providing water for birds and the reasons why people provided food and/or water. In doing so we aim to develop purpose guidelines for people who feed birds to do so with minimum risk to birds"

Your contribution to this research will be greatly appreciated.

Volunteer Survey

Can you help with a research project on volunteer committees by completing a survey?

Funded by the Australian Research Council, this Flinders University research project aims to understand what motivates people to volunteer on committees, what inhibits some from doing so, and what can be done to encourage more people nominate. We are looking for survey participants who are members of community groups, clubs and not-for-profit associations.

The survey will take about 15 minutes to complete and responses will remain strictly confidential. Respondents can also elect to be entered into a draw for a set of books on volunteer engagement donated by Volunteering SA & NT. To complete the survey, click on this link:

If you have any questions about the project, please contact:

Christel Mex, PhD Candidate
School of History & International Relations
Flinders University


Your membership is very important to the Friends of Glenthorne. If you are interested in receiving postal Newsletters, updates and reminders from the Friends, please reply to this email with your most recent postal address. We do appreciate your membership in order to carry out our ongoing work.

The Friends will be garnering support for the long term protection of Glenthorne Farm from all politicians in the coming 12 months and we need your ongoing commitment to this cause. Please send us an email with your postal address for future mail outs and please renew your membership, if you are able, and look out for our petition against the recurring housing plans of the University of Adelaide. The City of Marion’s Mayor Kris Hanna and councillors, David Speirs MP and Corey Wingard MP have all stood up for the long term protection of Glenthorne and we encourage all other State politicians to do the same, as the March 2018 State election approaches. The Friends understand the importance of 2017 to the 20 year struggle to protect historic Glenthorne Farm and we need your support.

Note that it is important to put your name on any payment direct to our bank account and please send us a followup email so that we have your contact details, if you are a new member.

Membership is $10.00 individuals, $20.00 family and $35.00 institutional.

Bank Account Details
Account Name: Friends of Glenthorne Inc.
BSB: 015209
Acct No: 198 876 197
Bank Reference: Enter your name

The report of our 2015 "Community Vision Day" can be downloaded here. (PDF format)

Friends of Glenthorne

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