On a sunny winter’s Saturday morning 15th July 2017 Darren Wright, Open Spaces Engagement Officer, and Sal Hussein both from the City of Wyndham, Frances Overmars of Pinkerton Landcare and Environment Group, and community volunteers conducted environmental restoration work at Cobbledicks Ford Reserve.
Article by Melbourne Water (also appeared in The Wyndham Leader, 26 August 2008)
At Cobbledicks Ford on the Werribee River a hardy band of volunteers, the Pinkerton Landcare and Environment Group, has committed themselves to restoring the health of this river crossing.
Daryl Akers is a member of the group and has played a key role in efforts to restore the site to good health. “We’ve had to approach rehabilitating this place from a number of angles,” he explains.
“The key here is that none of us have a ‘fly in fly out’ approach. We’re all working in a ‘patterned way’; everyone knows what everyone’s doing — we’ve got Melbourne Water as caretakers for rivers and creeks in the area and Wyndham City Council’s team are doing terrific work too. I can’t say enough good things about what we’re all achieving.”
Rehabilitation work at the site has been funded through Melbourne Water’s ‘Corridors of Green’ program. Weeds including willows, carpet weed, cactus and Chilean needle grass have been removed and the area replanted with Australian species native to the area.
Working together to rehabilitate Cobbledicks Ford: (left to right) Wyndham City Council’s Peter Gibbs, volunteer Daryl Akers and Melbourne Water’s Darren Coughlan.
“When you remove those weeds it allows our native plants to re-establish themselves,” explains Daryl. “Willows do such damage to the natural flow of our creeks and to the life in them. If we all do our bit and give nature the chance to heal itself the plants, water bugs, birdlife and animals that are all connected can make a comeback. I saw a sea eagle moving over here not long ago, it’s a great sign.”
Work to rehabilitate the site is ongoing and the Werribee CFA team are contributing their time by removing two car bodies from the river bed.
“It’s that partnership approach that will get us there,” says Daryl. “And it’s wonderful to know that Melbourne Water will be involved all the way and for ever more.”
Cobbledick Ford Reserve is situated at the bottom of a spectacular valley hidden in the Werribee River Volcanic Gorge. This scenic reserve is little known as it is located on a back road between Werribee & Melton, over the historic ford. This ford is a living reminder of the pioneering days when bridges were unheard of & local rivers could only be crossed at fords such as this.
It is also one of the few places in this region where we can see a wealth of native vegetation on a large scale, in a spectacularly beautiful setting. The Werribee River flows among large River Red Gums & Blue Box trees, many of which are several centuries old. Extensive environmental restoration & revegetation in this beautiful & historic reserve has been undertaken by Wyndham City Council, Melbourne Water & Pinkerton Landcare & Environment Group.
We even have our own unique variety of tree growing at Cobbledick Ford, the Blue Box, which is unique to our region. This distinctive but little known tree grows only in the Werribee River catchment & nowhere else in the world. Its closest relative grows in deep river valleys in East Gippsland. These majestic trees are quite common at Cobbledick Reserve.
This reserve features river flats surrounded by steep basalt cliffs & imposing escarpments. At the top of the rugged escarpment the historic ruins of the bluestone Cobbledick homestead can be seen against the skyline.
Jack Smith, a past resident of Mount Cottrell will reminisce about Mt Cottrell School, Cobbledick’s House, Crinnigans market garden and the Mt Cottrell P.O. & Telephone Exchange. Lisa Heinrich will describe the Cobbledick’s bluestone home &, past events & Rosemary Harrigan will describe river crossings. Frances Overmars will describe restoration of native vegetation by Wyndham City Council, Melbourne Water & Pinkerton Landcare and Environment Group.
We may wade across the river if it is low enough so bring your waterproof boots. Afternoon tea served between 3.30 and 4 pm. BYO cup and a chair to sit on. Gates open at 12 noon for those wishing to have lunch.