The Honeysuckle Creek track is a pleasant 3km loop walking track was installed by a volunteer group called the Honeysuckle Recreation Environment Project Group (HREP) – find out more about HREP here.
You can join the track at any point along the Honeysuckle Creek within the Violet Town Recreation Reserve. An information brochure with map is available at the Violet Town Cafe, the Post Office or the supermarket - all in Cowslip Street. Or click on this link for a map of the Honeysuckle Creek Walking Track To read the brochure click here.
Since 2004 the HREP group has been revegetating the Honeysuckle Creek environment alongside the walking track and parts of the dry woodlands area north of the creek. Revegetation photos
Currently the main track to walk in the Shadforth Reserve is around the horse training circuit just inside the reserve. The large areas of remnant indigenous vegetation and plentiful birdlife make this a most relaxing and enjoyable area to walk through.
The Shadforth Reserve is located to the north of Violet Town along Shiffner Street between Baird Street (the Dookie Road) and Hoskins Lane. Until 2015 it was the Violet Town golf course with a central horse training track and sports fields. When the golf club closed, Shire and community discussions were held which led to the development of a new masterplan for the Reserve. Part of this plan includes the preservation of the eastern section of the Reserve as a conservation area. More walking tracks and bird hides are planned in the future development of this area.
The Honeysuckle Creek Recreation Reserve area is an ideal place to see much of the local wildlife, particularly birds. Since 2013 HREP have organised regular bird surveys along the Honeysuckle Creek walking track. Over 80 species have so far been identified. An excellent brochure has been produced called Birds of the Honeysuckle Creek and is available to purchase from businesses in Cowslip Street. You can also read the monthly reports of these surveys in the 2017 issues of the Village Voice.
A number of residents have also made lists of the birds they have seen in their areas. These locations are – a bush reserve near Koonda, a Upotipotpon property and a property in Long Gully road. View these lists here.
The Violet Town area is also home to the locally endangered Grey Crowned Babbler. Local resident Dr Doug Robinson has been the driving force behind The Grey Crowned Babbler Project for many years. Many revegetation plantings of Babbler habitat species have taken place as part of this project.
The HREP surveys, particularly the night spotlighting ones, have identified many other species of native animals living along the Honeysuckle Creek. The most important of these is the squirrel glider. These are listed as endangered so it is very pleasing that increasing numbers of them are being found in this area. The HREP group has been planting squirrel glider habitat vegetation along the Honeysuckle Creek and elsewhere within the Violet Town Recreation Reserve since 2004. The increase in squirrel glider numbers is most probably due to this increase in their food sources.
For other species sighted in the surveys click here.
Violet Town Community Sustainability Retrofit
The 2007 government funded Ecoliving Project made some very forward thinking energy saving changes to several Violet Town public buildings. A sign on the wall of the Cowslip Street Community Complex building describes the various changes made and what they achieved with regard to sustainability.
Stage 3 of the Honeysuckle Recreation Environment Project began in
mid 2016 when the group completed its four year Victorian Government
funded Communities for Nature Grant program and sought alternative funding.
As mentioned in the HREP Stage 2 description we had been successful in
receiving a one year Threatened Species Protection Initiative – Community
Volunteer Action Grant in late 2015.
This enabled us to not only continue our revegetation, fauna surveying and
community education program to the end of 2016, but to also analyse the three
years of data that had been gathered in fauna surveys from February 2013
- December 2015.
A second round of the Community Volunteer Action Grant was made available
in 2016 and we were successful in our application.
This grant meant that in Stage 3 for 2017 at least, HREP could
continue with the program of revegetation of the Honeysuckle Creek
environment and the grassy woodlands within the Violet Town
Recreation Reserve. The target threatened species needing protection
and habitat restoration are the Squirrel Glider and the Grey Crowned
Continue with the fauna surveys but now add identical surveys of an
adjacent area of the creek not revegetated. This enables us to
compare the impact of our revegetation program with an area of the
creek not revegetated.
Hold a field day about the threatened species present along the
Honeysuckle Creek (the Squirrel Gliders and Grey Crowned Babblers)
Produce written information about the issues of threatened species and
their habitat needs
Stage 3 was also been notable for its high rainfall.
Over the spring and summer of 2016–2017, the area experienced several high
rainfall events and consequent high water levels along the Honeysuckle Creek.
These dumped quite a bit of flood debris and silt on top of the revegetation
plants along the Honeysuckle Creek verges in the HREP project area. They also
caused a burgeoning of weeds and wash outs of parts of the Honeysuckle
Creek Walking Track.
There is never a dull moment for the HREP Group and we often call on the
wider community to give us a helping hand.
If you are interested in doing something positive to increase the survival
chances of our native flora and fauna or the health of our local waterways then
please join us at our working bees or join our group.
Everyone is welcome!
HREP Stage 1 2002 - 2011
Hurt Street plantings now. Click image
In 2005 the HREP committee, supported by VTAG and the Shire of Strathbogie, successfully applied for a cluster of grants - Regional Partnerships, National Heritage Trust, Regional Development Victoria and Helen McPherson Trust, plus support from the Violet Town Action Group, Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority, Small Towns Development Funds and the Shire of Strathbogie, Stage 1 of the HREP project was begun.
It was now able to begin implementing its Masterplan.
Indigenous vegetation near new bridge. Click image
A three kilometre loop walking track was constructed along both sides of the creek, sculptures, educational signs, seats and picnic tables were installed along the its length and large areas of indigenous vegetation along the creek sides and in the open areas were planted.
Later, in conjunction with the Shire, a new bridge was erected across the creek.
Tim Mahar and Robin Landvogt opening the new bridge over the Honeysuckle Creek. Click image.
The sporting groups located within the Recreational Reserve also implemented most of the improvements that they had envisioned for their sites.
By 2011 the period of funding by the cluster of grants had ended. The HREP committee needed to look elsewhere for new grants to enable it to continue its valuable project. Many aspects of the blueprint had not yet been achieved.
HREP working bee. Click image
So, late in 2011, a Department of Sustainability "Communities for Nature" Grant was applied for so that Stage 2 of the HREP Project could begin.
HREP Stage 2 2012 - 2016
At the end of 2011 the HREP committee made a successful application for a 'Communities for Nature' Grant from the Department of Sustainability. They were awarded $185,090.00 over four years to continue the HREP project.
Local MP Bill Sykes (back left) with representatives from the four Strathbogie groups who received the Communities for Nature Grants. Click image
HREP since 2012
Revegetation along the Honeysuckle Creek verge continued with great success. It included
maintaining the existing planted areas
six new areas planted
Several understory plantings under the main stands of remnant River Red Gums and Box trees in the Northern grassy woodland area of the Recreation Reserve
a large grove of 200 sheoaks and bulloaks created. It is hoped that this grove will develop into a restful and contemplative place for people to sit or wander through. Until 2014 good rains helped the new plants to thrive.
2014 - 2016 were increasingly dry and hot so a large portable water tank was purchased so that the HREP group could water the newest plants over the worst summer months.
The number of community members willing to help at working bees grew steadily. Working bees became good social events followed by a friendly tasty lunch or evening meal.
a purpose built trailer was made by local engineers to hold all the large tools, tree guards, ladder and picnic equipment needed at working bees and community field days.
Each year, 2 or 3 Field days have been held at which environmental experts led walks or made presentations that inform the community about the natural environment, the geology and geomorphology and also history of our local area.
Field days held since 2012 include:
Major Mitchell and the Honeysuckle Creek Chain of Ponds
The Chain of Ponds upstream
Creekside plantings on "Honeysuckle" farm
Nest boxes and Birdwatching along the Honeysuckle Creek
A Honeysuckle Festival every second year focused on a different theme.
Since February 2013, two night time spotlighting surveys and two daytime surveys per month have been conducted in the HREP area of the Recreation Precinct. Over time these surveys will determine whether efforts to restore the native habitat in parts of the Recreation precinct have had any effect on the numbers and varieties of native animals inhabiting it.
At the end of 2015 the HREP Group was successful in obtaining a 'Threatened Species' grant which was used to analyse the results of the fauna surveys completed so far. This has been used at several community and conference presentations
In 2015 the HREP group published the 'Birds of the Honeysuckle Creek' brochure which is designed to assist visitors to identify birds as they walk along the walking track.
In 2016 a further brochure was produced by the HREP group called the Honeysuckle Creek walking track. This is available free to locals and visitors from the businesses in Cowslip Street.
By mid 2016 the Communities for Nature funding of HREP ended. Again the HREP committee had to seek new funding sources to continue its project.
In 2017 HREP successfully applied for a more substantial Threatened Species Grant. This will enable Stage 4 of the HREP Project to begin.
For the bird watchers and those who may just have a passing interest in this fascinating section of the animal world, a list of birds that have visited Violet Town and surrounding areas.
Some residents have compiled lists of birds observed in their area of residence or in a particular bushland area close to Violet Town. These areas are Koonda, 12km north of Violet Town, Upotipotpon and Koornong at Long Gully.
The HREP Group has also carried out formal surveys of the bird life along the Honeysuckle Creek within the Violet Town Recreation Reserve since 2013. An article about these surveys has been included below and also a link to the colourful brochure Birds of the Honeysuckle Creek which was produced by the HREP Group in 2015.
Bird species of the Bushland Reserve near Koonda
The Bushland Reserve is located about twelve kilometres to the north of Violet Town on the Nalinga-Dookie Road.
Painted button quail*
Black fronted dotteral
Purple crowned lorikeet*
Red rumped parrot
Fan tailed cuckoo
Rainbow bee eater
White winged triller
Eastern yellow robin
Crested shrike tit
Grey shrike thrush
Grey crowned babbler
White browed babbler*
Superb blue wren
Buff rumped thornbill
Yellow rumped thornbill
Brown tree creeper*
Blue faced honeyeater*
White naped honeyeater
White fronted chat
Olive backed oriole
White winged chough
White throated treecreeper
White browed swallow
Black faced cuckoo shrike
Yellow tufted honeyeater
Sulphur crested cockatoo
White bellied cuckoo shrike
White plumed honeyeater
Horsfield's bronze cockatoo
Black chinned honeyeater*
Bird species of "pootong pootong" / Upotipotpon
Australian Wood Duck
Pacific Black Duck
Little Pied Cormorant
Australian White Ibis
Eastern Yellow Robin
The bird list was created by Lance Williams of Trust for Nature.
Birds seen at 'Koornong' in Long Gully near Violet Town
Horsfi eld's Bronze-Cuckoo
Little Pied Cormorant
Australian White Ibis
New Holland Honeyeater
Nankeen Night Heron
Australian Wood Duck
Pacifi c Black Duck
Eastern Yellow Robin
European Goldfi nch
Sacred Kingfi sher
Azure Kingfi sher
Honeysuckle Creek Wildlife, Part 1: The birds
Honeysuckle Creek begins its life as a small trickle somewhere in the vicinity of Boho South up on the Strathbogie plateau, then heads to the north-west and north down the slopes of the Strathbogie Ranges, widening out onto the plains towards the Goulburn River.
In Violet Town it runs right through our town from the base of the hills on to the plains; we can feel particularly blessed that we have this wonderful natural feature wending its way through an otherwise human-constructed setting. The Honeysuckle brings water – in the form of flowing stretches and still pools - and wildlife that find a place in the creek and the fringing plants and the broader width of vegetation. It gives us a wonderful opportunity to observe and appreciate a real slice of nature occurring on our town’s doorstep. We are fortunate that there is still a good - albeit narrow - cover of eucalypts, and other trees, fringing the creek (with, very notably, a number of large, very old, hollow-bearing individuals). Many of us appreciate the leafy environment, the water, the large eucalypts, the birds and the frogs.
As part of Stage 2 of the Honeysuckle Recreational Environment Project (HREP) we are undertaking surveys to observe and record the fauna that occurs along the creek.
There are several reasons why we want to do this. We’d like to determine which species of bird, mammal, frog and reptile live here, and where exactly. We also wish to learn just what effect our restoration and revegetation efforts are having on the fauna of the creek and its immediate environs, and what we can do better, in terms of our works, to improve their lot.
We are carrying out day time surveys (anything that can be detected, including frogs and reptiles, but mainly birds) and night time spotlighting surveys (mainly for arboreal mammals, but, again includes birds and frogs, and anything else we can detect).
So far, 44 species of birds (including three non-natives), at least 8 species of mammal (including three non-natives), and five species of frog (all indigenous), have been recorded in the surveys. (Regarding the mammal numbers, there are unknown numbers of small insectivorous bat species that are occurring along the creek, but we can’t determine the identification of these purely by spotlighting surveys.)
The surveys have already shown that a higher diversity and numbers of birds occur where HREP volunteers have put in indigenous ground and shrub layer plants, such as the area behind the Bowls Club. It’s in places like here that we are particularly finding concentrations of mixed feeding flocks of small insectivorous birds that include Striated Thornbill, Weebill, Spotted Pardalote, Striated Pardalote, as well as the odd one or two Grey Fantail (this one not ordinarily being a flocking bird). The improved condition, and increased complexity, of vegetation has made this area more attractive for these birds.
It is extremely pleasing to see that all the work that has been undertaken on the creek is actually providing increased habitat for these small birds. These species add so much to improve the ecological workings and health of the creek environment. Maybe the presence of such birds also adds to our own well-being. They are quite remarkable to watch through a pair of binoculars, and, as they work at gleaning insects from the branches and leaves, they are helping to ensure that experiencing our creek environment can remain an integral part of being a Violet Town resident and visitor.