Robin Hood – City View

SONY DSCThe Dunedin Amenities Society have been working closely with the Dunedin City Council to restore the traditional viewing point of the city at Robin Hood Park. The viewing point is part of the Town Belt Management Plan for the reserve and had over the years become overgrown and reduced by weeds, sycamores and other trees. Participants in the Society’s Town Belt Traverse last year raised the loss of the viewing area with the Society which began working with the Council to restore the area. The Society had developed the Robin Hood lookout as part the Queens visit to the city in 1954 and included two commemorative seats to Kathleen Gilkison and former Society President and renowned alpine botanist George Simpson. The seats had been damaged and removed but new replacements have been returned to their original position by Delta contractors. The plinth holding the direction finder was also damaged and local stone mason Marcus Wainwright generously donated his time in restoring the plinth.

Shirley Stuart of the City Council Parks team has made a significant improvement to the viewing site and the Society are grateful for her efforts. The Society will fund the replanting of the cleared area with low-growing native vegetation and have the paving area with its commemorative plaques cleaned and repaired. There is still some minor clearing and pruning to be done, but overall the improvement to the outlook is significant. The area has been used by local landscape artists for a number of years and is a pleasant area of the Town Belt to view the city and its surrounds.

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126th Annual General Meeting

Town Belt Traverse walkers in the sun

The Dunedin Amenities Society is holding its 126th Annual General Meeting at the Maori Hill Community  Centre in Highgate at 5.30pm. The guest speaker will be walking author Anthony Hamel discussing the Town Belt Traverse. All are welcome for a glass of wine and nibbles.

This is a great opportunity to learn more about the Society and become an active member of NZ’s oldest conservation society.

Find the venue on the map below (see you at the little blue flag)

Craigieburn and Toitu

Craigieburn RimuThe development of a pilot education programme with Toitu – Otago Settlers Museum is a great opportunity to bring the Craigieburn story to a new and young audience. As an organisation the Dunedin Amenities Society has a role in providing opportunities for learning with a view to developing the future landscape, environmental and heritage stewards of the future. That’s a mantle we should be prepared to pass onto others not as a burden but as a pleasure and privilege. With the development of the partnership programme we’ll see 300 children visit Craigieburn this term and they’ll experience hands on what colonial life was like in the forests of nineteenth century Dunedin. Importantly too, they’ll be able to learn more about the unique conservation legacy that Craigieburn has with its rich rimu forest. This programme will also bring teachers and parents into contact with Craigieburn and the values of the Society and hopefully that will inspire them to explore the City, their roots and our environment further.

This is an exciting opportunity for the Society, Toitu and the City Council to create a strong partnership that adds value to our community and one of Dunedin’s really special places.

Read the Otago Daily Times article here…


The Town Belt Traverse

Town Belt TraverseThe Dunedin Amenities Society is celebrating its 125th anniversary and is going to celebrate by returning to the roots of its foundation with the Town Belt Traverse.

The traverse is a 7.9 km walk through the Town Belt from the Southern cemetery finishing at Woodhaugh Gardens on Sunday 3rd November. The route is a pram friendly event for people of all ages stopping off at five points along the way. The Participants will receive a map and ticket at the old morgue building next to the Southern Cemetery. The traverse starts at between 10-10.30 am and all participants must complete the traverse by 1.30. Collect a stamp at all five marshal points and you can be eligible for some great local  prizes.

The Dunedin Town Belt is one of New Zealand’s oldest reserves and plays a special part in the physical and historic landscape  of Dunedin. It has a rich history  that dates back to the planning of Dunedin before settlers arrived here in 1848. The Town Belt covers 203 hectares and includes the two historic cemeteries and the Botanic Gardens. With its extensive parkland and forest remnants it creates a green corridor through the heart of the city.

Today the Town Belt is an important recreational and ecological asset for the city and provides invaluable habitat  for kereru, bellbird, tomtit, tui, rifleman, morepork, and shining cuckoo. The vegetation is an eclectic mix of exotics that dominates the southern area of the ‘belt to the more kanuka and fuchsia dominated ridges and gullies of the northern areas. At Woodhaugh an old stand of kahikatea remains as a reminder of a significant wetland forest that once stood there.

For the Dunedin Amenities Society the protection and enhancement of the Town Belt was the beginning of its foundation in 1888. The Society was founded through the energy of Thomas Brown and Alexander Bathgate to protect, enhance and promote Dunedin’s landscape and biodiversity. The Town Belt Traverse is your opportunity to explore through a self guided walk one of New Zealand’s great reserve sites.

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Traverse Highlights

  • The outstanding views from Admiral Byrd’s lookout at Unity Park
  • Walking through Jubilee Park (Thomlinson’s Paddock) the site of the foundation of the Society and a  temporary camp for miners on their way to the goldfields
  • Serpentine Avenue where toitu stream once flowed
  • Learn about the old tram line running through Robin Hood Park from the High Street cable car group
  • Visit the gardens and grounds of the Olveston stately home
  • Experience the lushness of the fuchsia dominated forest of Queens Drive to Cosy Dell
  • Hear local poets perform at the Clear in honour of Charles Brasch at Prospect Park
  • Enjoy lunch at the old wetland forest remnant at Woodhaugh (Free BBQ supplied)

What to Bring

  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • A warm jacket (you won’t need it because it’ll be warm and sunny!)
  • A drink and a snack for energy (we have a chocolate bar to get you started)
  • Your camera
  • Your inquisitive nature
  • Your friends and family (dogs on leads thanks)

Transport

Parking can found at the starting point around the Oval. You can return to your vehicle using the Normanby – St Clair bus that leaves opposite the George St entrance to Woodhaugh at approximately, 1:45, 2;45, 3:45 and goes to the Oval via the Octagon.

Check the Bus timetable here….

This event is free and open to anyone wanting to enjoy Dunedin’s best kept secrets. We have a selection of great prizes from local venues around the city. So take this opportunity to visit the Town Belt, get some fresh air and exercise and enjoy wonderful part of your city.

Check out the Route

Use the map to find were the Town Belt Traverse  starts and finishes. You can change from a map view to an aerial view and navigate using the toolbar on the map. Good luck and we look forward to seeing you at the Traverse.

Putting the Spade in the Ground – Craigieburn

Otago Polytechnic Horticulture students spent a day planting native trees and shrubs at Craigieburn recently. The planting was the 19th year of the planting project by the Polytechnic Horticulture students at the Craigieburn Reserve. The planting was a continuation of the last three years work strengthening the bush line along the central paddock.

Otago Polytechnic Horticulture students began planting native trees in the 1.5 acre grassy open paddock on the western boundary of Craigieburn in 1994, and after 9 years of hard work the paddock planting was completed. The totara, rimu, miro and matai have shown phenomenal growth and through the students work a new piece of sustaining native forest cover has been created. Otago Polytechnic Course Co-ordinator Lisa Burton and Craigieburn Project Manager Paul Pope were able to show the current students the positive impact that the preceding students have had on the reserve over the last 19 years.

The Amenities Society takes great enjoyment in hosting the students and staff at Craigieburn, as their enthusiasm and energy is uplifting and inspiring. The project also serves an important purpose in the preparation of the students towards their horticultural qualifications. These will hopefully inspire them in their own projects, future studies and employment in the horticulture industry. On behalf of the Dunedin Amenities Society our thanks for your efforts to make our site a great success.

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Climbing to the Top at Craigieburn

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Students and tutors from the Otago Polytechnic Arboriculture course spent three days at Craigieburn undertaking some essential work on the reserve’s trees. The students removed deadwood and damaged branches from the large macrocarpa shelter belt in the main paddock. The programme is the second year of three-year partnership between the Otago Polytechnic and the Craigieburn Committee where the site is used for training purposes. Craigieburn Project Manager Paul Pope asked the students to put their climbing skills to the test and inspect some of the rimu canopies while he bravely gave words of encouragement from the forest floor. The trees range in age with the oldest being around 550 years old and the students inspected the trees for wind damage, disease and rot. Around 16 of the 52 rimu were climbed and in general all were in good condition. So we may get at least another 300-350 years from these wonderful trees. Otago Polytechnic Arboriculture tutor Matt Miller said that getting the chance to climb such old native trees in an urban context was a rare and an important opportunity for the students to experience. It was a real pleasure to have the students utilise their skills at Craigieburn and we look forward to having them back next year. Click on the pictures below for viewer.

Les Cleveland

Members of the Dunedin Amenities society will be saddened to learn of the passing of Society life member Les Cleveland. Les was a man of outstanding achievements, businessman, philanthropist, regional councillor, environmentalist, family man, opera singer but above all, he was at heart, a gardener. Les trained in horticulture at the Dunedin Botanic Garden before embarking on a successful business career that led him into the wider fields of interest that he pursued with the vigour and enthusiasm that was his hallmark.

Dunedin City and the region has benefited from his efforts in many of these fields of interest especially those associated with arts and culture where he was a generous benefactor. The Society will always remember his outstanding contribution to the city’s amenity and townscape values. In particular the planting of many city reserves, beautification of areas with daffodils and rhododendrons and his fundraising for the Society’s development of the Anzac Square Gardens at the Railway Station. These projects are a lasting legacy that have created valuable and beautiful open spaces for our city. His humour, good will, and generosity of spirit will be greatly missed.

Video and story of Les and the Society planting trees at Woodhaugh 2011