June 30 - July 6, 2013: Issue 117

 Katandra Bushland Sanctuary
by David Seymour

Katandra Bushland Sanctuary will begin its 2013 open season on Sunday 7th July with a new bridge along its walking track replacing the bridge destroyed by a fallen tree last year. The bridge is one of two that spans the gully across Katandra Creek. The walking track remained closed at this point for much of last year while the task of removing the twisted remains of the old bridge and building the replacement was organised and carried out.

Built in 1992, these bridges were officially named the “Villani – Polglase Bridges” in recognition of the funding support provided by long-time supporters of Katandra Jeanne Villani and Pamela Polglase. Jeanne and Pamela had opened their home gardens to the public with funds raised being passed on to Katandra to help with the cost of materials. The construction was done by volunteers from the “Friends of Katandra” with help from the West Killara Venturer Scouts. The work on the new replacement bridge was done by a local company “The Gardenmakers” as the overall task, which included cutting away the fallen tree, was considered too dangerous and difficult to be attempted by volunteers.

This gully is one of the most beautiful and peaceful sections of the Sanctuary where the creek winds its way down the gully, fringed by rainforest trees, cabbage tree palms and ferns. It is an area where echidnas have been seen and where the lyrebirds can be
regularly spotted scratching their way through the leaf litter looking for food.

The mass of branches and logs that remains behind in the gully serves as a reminder of the event which saw a giant rough-barked eucalyptus tree fall, also bringing down a large casuarina tree. Both trees fell across the first section of the bridge, totally destroying it and damaging the handrails of the second section. This occurred at a time when the Sanctuary was closed so no visitors were in any danger. The tree appears to have been healthy so it is possible that the fall was due to the waterlogged state of the ground due to heavy rain at the time.

Katandra Bushland Sanctuary occupies much of the escarpment overlooking Mona Vale between Mona Vale Road and Cabbage Tree Road, an area of approximately 12 hectares. It originated from a gift of land by the late Harold Seymour who had purchased the land just after the Second World War. The beauty of the area and the encroaching development led Harold to approach the NSW Lands Department with the offer of the gift of land so that it could remain in its natural state for the enjoyment of future generations for all time. In 1967 it became gazetted as a bushland sanctuary dedicated to the preservation and study of the native flora and fauna of the area. There is a plaque in the Sanctuary with the inscription “Katandra Bushland Sanctuary – a bounteous gift to naturalists from Harold Seymour”.

Katandra is now owned by the NSW Lands Department and administered by a voluntary Trust. A small but active group of volunteers maintain the sanctuary, removing weeds and keeping the walking track cleared. This 2.5 km track winds its way through a remarkable range of habitats, from moist rainforest to tall open forest, open woodlands and wet heathland, while also passing an ironstone cave with centuries-old stalactites and stalagmites. A shortcut cut track can reduce this to about 1.5 km for those not up to making the full distance. Surveys have identified over 350 species of flora and fauna within the Sanctuary which also acts as an important corridor linking bushland areas to along the Warriewood Escarpment to the south with Bayview and Ku-ring-gai National Park to the north. Eucalypts, casuarinas, turpentines and angophoras form the canopy whilst the understorey houses a wealth of flora. During the spring months, Katandra bursts into colour with a display of wildflowers.

Katandra, an aboriginal word meaning “the song of birds”, is open to the public every Sunday from July to October, 10am to 4pm. Entry is by donation of $3. Located on Foley’s Hill, it is accessed from Lane Cove Road, Ingleside, off Mona Vale Road.

Further information can be obtained from Katandra’s website – www.katandra.org.


The new bridge 

 To Celebrate this beautiful Sanctuary's 2013 Season Opening we have images taken at Katandra to share as this week's Pictorial

Copyright Katandra Bushland Sanctuary, 2013.