Contact: Graham Burgess (President) 0416 325266

Walks Contact: Margaret Carr 0417 275977

Email: illawarra@npansw.org.au

Facebook: www.facebook.com/NPAillawarra

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Meetings

Illawarra Branch business meetings are held quarterly. All members are invited to attend and contribute to the discussion. The Branch also holds occasional social events and information nights.

2017 Annual General Meeting

The 2017 Illawarra Branch AGM was held on September 16 in the Towri Centre in the Wollongong Botanic Garden. This is a lovely venue surrounded by native plantings.

The following branch committee was elected for 2017-2018:

  • President: Graham Burgess
  • Vice President: Pam Robinson
  • Secretary: Helen Wilson
  • Treasurer: Joy Williams
  • Activities coordinator: Margaret Carr
  • Committee members – Gleniss Wellings, Julie Jones, Col Meharg
  • State Council Reps: Graham Burgess, Helen Wilson, Alternate – Sam Garrett Jones

As is our custom, we combined the AGM business with some informative talks and refreshments for members. Firstly Leon Fuller, local renowned tree expert and author of Wollongong’s Native Trees, led a very informative walking tour of the Illawarra rainforest section of the Botanic Garden. He pointed out a number of local trees which though not necessarily positioned optimally in the Garden are nevertheless eminently suitable for gardens, streets and parks of our region. We made a submission to Wollongong Council’s draft Urban Greening Strategy along these lines.

After the walk people enjoyed afternoon tea on the Towri Centre’s verandah. This was followed by presentations by two Threatened Species Officers from the Office of Environment and Heritage, Kylie Madden (koalas) and Simon Tedder (quoll). Both speakers demonstrated how information about the populations, habits and movements of these species is gathered and what needs to be done to maximise their chances of survival in our area.

Current projects

As well as our busy activities program and participation in many local events, we continue to advocate for nature protection in our unique region. We take an active role in discussion of the Illawarra Escarpment and its urban interface.  In particular we have a long term aim of promoting an escarpment walking track. We continue to lobby politicians and other decision-makes, but have received little satisfaction so far.

We have been outspoken on the current development of a management plan for Mt Keira. We are monitoring what role will be allowed to mountain biking in this plan and on the escarpment generally. We have been represented on council committees covering these areas but the recently elected council has not yet established new community reference groups.

We are taking an increasing interest in the ecological health of Lake Illawarra and will make a submission on Council’s Coastal Zone Management Plan. We are also involved in planning issues at Tallawarra, particularly preserving the abandoned ash ponds as bird habitat. The establishment and maintenance of a green corridor from here to the escarpment is also a particular concern.

We have a burgeoning and ongoing association with Bushwalk the ‘Gong, a local initiative which has introduced many younger people and families to bushwalking through social media. In turn this is bringing us some new, young members and more awareness of the power of social media. We hope that our partnership and combined activities will make some contribution to addressing the challenges that social media is posing for park management.

Our president, Graham Burgess has been working with Destination Wollongong on producing walks brochures for the region.

The branch continues to express its concerns about mining in the Sydney water catchment.  On 4th December, member Dr Peter Turner, who is also Mining Projects Officer for NPA, gave a presentation to Illawarra Residents for Responsible Mining and others at Corrimal library. Peter has been researching impacts of longwall coal mining on the water catchment for many years and follows developments of the Illawarra’s coal mines closely.

On the same day branch member and renowned author Ann Young gave an author talk at Thirroul library on her new book, Upland Swamps in the Sydney Region. This will likely become the go-to reference for those wanting to learn about the very important environmental areas formed by the upland swamps and often affected by underground mining,

Volunteer awards

Two branch members have recently been included in the annual NPA Prudence Tucker Volunteer Awards. Adrian Jones received an award for bushwalking leadership and Graham Burgess a branch award for services to the branch.

Mailing address:

Illawarra Branch, National Parks Association of NSW Inc

PO Box 847, Wollongong NSW 2500

email: Illawarra Branch