Hill cash for weeds

THE Friends of Clontarf Hill have bucked the odds and scored nearly $50,000 from the WA government to continue their work restoring the hill to its natural beauty.

The friends successfully applied for a community stewardship grant through the Natural Resource Management Program to tackle several weed infestations, which long-time member Christine Duckham says might eventually pave the way for the site to be recognised as a park.

Its current zoning as a Main Roads road reserve made securing the grant difficult, as they’re not usually handed out for bushland that could theoretically be turned to asphalt one day, while securing access to the site and obtaining public liability insurance for the volunteers have also been obstacles.

But Ms Duckham said the selection panel found it was a genuine grassroots project backed by extensive collaboration.

The first focus of the funding will be to hack back the growing forest of pepper trees, which have already started to smother a well the friends discovered on a planting day a decade ago which is believed to date back to 1831.

“There was an old shack that was the remains of the market gardens from the ‘50s and the trees are starting to destroy the remaining tin,” Ms Duckham said.

She was pleased to hear that Clontarf’s Aboriginal heritage listing had been extended to the Hamilton Hill Swamp Precinct at the base of the hill, as she hopes it will bolster the local resident group’s campaign to prevent over-development of the precinct.

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