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With the numbers of houses constantly growing, areas of pristine Australian bushland are being slowly destroyed. Only 5kms from Sydney’s CBD is a once pretty gully which had been allowed to become ugly and unhealthy.

Group effort

As recently as ten years ago Flat Rock Gully was used as a rubbish tip. Waterfalls were filled in and the landscape changed forever. A group of residents, Willoughby council, historians, schoolchildren and Landcare Australia have banded together in an attempt to regenerate the bushland. Although it can never be quite the same, it is being repaired and will be a vast improvement on what it had become.


An aim of this project was to regenerate the land and increase the recreational area available for residents and visitors. In the early stages, areas of bushland and weeds were tackled and the weeds removed to allow the native plants to recover and reclaim the ground. Car tyres, rubbish and old fencing were taken away by these volunteers, and areas were replanted in the gully. Walking tracks, such as the Wilksch walk, have been established and stone has been placed in parts to prevent erosion. It was important to conserve the landscape, waterfalls, caves and vegetation from the impacts of storm water pollution.

Local schools have become involved in this project by helping with water testing. They also undertake scientific experiments as part of their class activities.

The residents feel that they have a duty of care to look after the gully. All Australians can help to preserve our bushland and waterways by not littering or washing rubbish or fertilisers down drains.

Landcare is a non-profit organisation which was set up in 1989. It is funded by the Federal Government’s National Landcare Program. There are over 4000 Landcare groups working on similar projects throughout Australia. To contact your nearest Landcare Australia group, contact your local council, Greening Australia or phone Landcare Australia toll free on 1800 151 105 (9am-5pm Monday to Friday only).

Did you know?

Henry Lawson, the Australian poet, once camped in a Flat Rock Gully cave while gaining inspiration for his poetry.