Latest News from the Friends

1 April, 2020
Welcome to the April Newsletter with all the latest from the Friends of Kings Park.

Find out about news at the Friends of Kings Park.

Read on for news about how the Friends are responding to the COVID-19 crisis and our plans for the May Plant Sale.

In this issue

President’s Report

“May you live in interesting times” is supposedly a traditional Chinese curse. We are certainly living in interesting times now – unprecedented in our lifetimes, for most of us at least.

The first three months of this year went wonderfully well. We had a successful plant sale in March and have just mailed out the March edition of For People and Plants. Thank you all for your work and support during this time.

However, almost all volunteering work in the Park has now ceased, as a result of measures taken to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The garden and bushland carers, orchid carers, Wanju Marr carers, Office carers, and Climate Watch friends are no longer on site (note that tracking Climate Watch is something we can all continue to do, unless a complete lockdown in imposed by the state). A skeleton crew of Growing Friends is continuing to work in the nursery, practicing social distancing and following strict disinfecting procedures.

Helena (our Administration Officer) and Alex (our Events and Communications Officer) have just started working from home, but are still contactable by email and are looking forward to staying in touch with you all. It will be business as usual for them, albeit working in a different environment. Meetings of the FoKP Management Committee and subcommittees will either be cancelled or will take place in virtual space (via Zoom), with further communication by email. Across the board, operations of the Friends of Kings Park have been scaled down very significantly.

All FoKP planned events (talks, presentations, etc) have been postponed until the situation improves. Volunteering WA has notified us that no events will be held to celebrate National Volunteering Week (18-24 May). We had applied for funding for an event at Wanju Marr to celebrate the work of all our volunteers. Our application to Lotterywest for funding for the Kings Park Festival is also in abeyance. Funding will depend on whether Lotterywest decides to support public outdoor events during the crisis, as well as whether BGPA and FoKP have enough staff and resources to devote to preparing for the Festival in the event that it is given the go-ahead.

Our plant sales for the remainder of the year are also up in the air. We are planning to conduct on-line sales in May. The Friends will make a decision about the September plant sale, independently of whether or not the Kings Park Festival goes ahead.

A complete lockdown/home quarantine across the State is not yet upon us (at the time of writing this report); although this remains a strong likelihood. Nevertheless, every dark cloud has a silver lining. Now might be the time to review our procedures, policies and activities, as well as to revisit some of the less urgent tasks we have put on the back burner awaiting some free time in which to complete them.

Keep healthy and please practice all the recommended ways of reducing the spread of the virus.

Best wishes

March Plant Sale

Thank you to everyone who helped out with our modified Plant Sale in March in these extraordinary times. We really appreciate your patience and flexibility in adjusting to the restrictions in place. We had wonderful feedback about the atmosphere of the Plant Sale and look forward to a time when we can hold the next one on the Exhibition Grounds in the future!

We were also able to contribute over $30,000 in funds to the Friends through the Plant Sale and the subsequent Staff sale.

Photo: Digby Growns

May Plant Sale

Plans are underway for delivery of our May Plant Sale online! Given the social distancing restrictions in place it will not be possible for us to hold an in-person Plant Sale, but we are in the process of setting up our website to take online orders with a click and collect style method of delivery.

We’re still working out the details, but will let you know as soon as there is more information. There are plenty of beautiful plants already potted and getting ready for sale so we look forward to offering you a new way of enjoying your garden, which we’re all spending more time in these days!

Stay tuned for updates!

Around the Park

Operations in Kings Park are changing but at this time, Kings Park remains open to visitors. There are changes to services including the closure of the Visitor’s Information Centre, Aspects, Naturescape and Frasers Restaurant. The cafes remain open for takeaways.

Please check BGPA’s website for up to date information on the Park

Our friends at WASO

Last newsletter our friends at WASO offered us some free tickets to their concert Dances with Daphins and happily some of our members were able to attend the Friday concert before further performances were cancelled.

To tide us over until we can enjoy one of their beautiful concerts again, visit WASO’s Facebook page for a video from the “Western Australian Social Distancing Orchestra” with WASO musicians bringing us Ravel’s Bolero from home!


New products and free delivery are enticing customers to shop online at Aspects of Kings Park Gallery Shop during the store’s temporary closure as a result of COVID-19. The Aspects team is increasing its online range, with more products currently being added on a daily basis. Customers are also welcome to email the store on [email protected] or visit www.aspectsofkingspark.com.au with specific requests or enquiries.

Book of the Month

Fire Country: How Indigenous Fire Management Could Help Save Australia – Victor Steffensen

Delving deep into the Australian landscape and the environmental challenges we face, Fire Country is a powerful account from Indigenous land management expert Victor Steffensen on how the revival of cultural burning practices, and improved ‘reading’ of country, could help to restore our land.

From a young age, Victor has had a passion for traditional cultural and ecological knowledge. This was further developed after meeting two Elders, who were to become his mentors and teach him the importance of cultural burning. Developed over many generations, this knowledge shows clearly that Australia actually needs fire. Moreover, fire is an important part of a wholistic approach to the environment, and when burning is done in a carefully considered manner, this ensures proper land care and healing.

Victor’s story is unassuming and honest, while demonstrating the incredibly sophisticated and complex cultural knowledge that has been passed down to him, which he wants to share with others. Fire Country is written in a way that reflects the nature of yarning, and while some of the knowledge shared in this book may not align with Western views, there is much evidence that, if adopted, it could greatly benefit all Australians.

For every copy sold, Hardie Grant will donate $1 to Firesticks, which empowers Indigenous fire management practitioners to revive cultural burning.

About the Author:
Victor Steffensen is an Indigenous writer, filmmaker, musician and consultant applying traditional knowledge values in a contemporary context, through workshops and artistic projects. He is a descendant of the Tagalaka people through his mother’s connections from the Gulf Country of north Queensland. Much of Victor’s work over the past 27 years has been based on the arts and reviving traditional knowledge values – particularly traditional burning – through mentoring and leadership, as well as on-ground training with Aboriginal communities and many non-Indigenous Australians. He is also the co-founder of the National Indigenous Fire Workshops, which have so far been hosted in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. Victor has also connected with First Nations communities in California, Canada, and the Sámi people of Scandinavia, sharing cultural knowledge practices related to caring for country.

Climate Watch

Readers have asked for more information on the Climatewatch App, so for those of you who have not yet downloaded and installed the free app, We have included some information from the website below.
We hold a number of walks along the trails in Kings Park so we can assist if you are having problems or just come along to join us.  Unfortunately, the last walk planned for 18 March was cancelled but we will plan more once the chaos from Covid19 has passed. In the interim keep up your walks and observations and if you have sheets for the Bush Trail keep sending them in and we will catch up at some stage.
The Climatewatch App is available free from the App store for download to your smartphone. The logo for the app is shown below.

Below is a description extracted from the App description
“ClimateWatch is the best way to record the seasonal behaviour you see in plants and animals, and help scientists understand how Australia’s environment is responding to climate change.

The ClimateWatch app is the perfect tool to use anytime you are bushwalking, in your local park, or relaxing in your backyard.

ClimateWatch offers the following features:
* Easy to use interface
* Ability to record your sightings even with poor mobile signal
* Your location, date and time are recorded with each sighting
* Take a photo and submit with your record
* Species information – what to record, where, when and why
* Species images to help you identify plants and animals
* Bird, frog and mammal calls to help you identify animals
* View your account details and sightings

Our website (climatewatch.org.au) is the online community where you can learn more about the ClimateWatch species, hear from scientists and other ClimateWatchers, and record what you observe.”
Why not download the App and do some recording along the existing trails or set up your own trail.