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A special place in Lake Macquarie
30 Oct 2008

This is a story about Galgabba Point in Lake Macquarie and the people who care for it.

Galgabba Point is located at Swansea, on the eastern side of Lake Macquarie. It is the traditonal home of the Awabakal people and has seen some interesting times.

Seven years ago the eight-hectare area of bushland was being used as a council rubbish tip. It was home to an endangered ecological community and threatened species but was being strangled by weeds, including coral trees, lantana, madeira, morning glory and bitou bush.

Galgabba Point resident Sharon McCarthy, not prepared to sit back and watch, quit her job and set up the Galgabba Point Landcare group and began working towards saving this significant area of bushland.

The group spent a year investigating the best ways to protect the forest, wetlands and mangroves and established a management plan with the help of the Community Environment Network. They also knocked on doors to find out how the community felt and to get support.

One of the first steps was removing the seventy coral trees along the roadside. Sharon says it was like pulling up a blind on a magical world. Larger species such as eucalypts and other shrubby natives were planted to provide a buffer to the wetlands area behind.

Over the past nine years the group has completely transformed the site. They've planted thousands of trees and shrubs and the group has grown from three people to up to 60 people working four to five days per week.

Some of the species that grow in abundance at the site are cabbagetree palms, tetra thika, cycads, tuckeroos, native frangipani, and mangroves along the bay.

Now the Swamp Wallabies are back, there are Sugar Gliders and Feather-Tailed Gliders, and amazing birdlife. The group has seen Powerful Owls and Sea Eagles.

The group are determined for as many people as possible to be part of this living corridor, and have not only encouraged community members, they have worked closely with developers to ensure wildlife is not forgotten.

Sharon tries to teach people about why they need the environment that is in their own backyard, and shows them what they can do to look after it.

The group has received support from Lake Macquarie Landcare, Lake Macquarie Council, the Australian Government, and local businesses who have provided cardboard boxes and bark chip for mulching.

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