The Mt Leura and Mt Sugarloaf Management Committee
Working on behalf of, and alongside, The Corangamite Shire Council and The National Trust.
In 1991, the Town of Camperdown Council established an Advisory Committee to advise Council on management issues relating to the Mt Leura Reserve and to develop a plan to guide development of the site’s environmental, recreational, geological and cultural values.
The Mt Leura and Mt Sugarloaf Landscape Master Plan, Management Plan and Implementation Plan was finalised in 1994 and recommended the establishment of a Special Committee of Council to manage and develop the Mt Leura Reserve, in conjunction with the adjoining Mt Sugarloaf Reserve. From this recommendation, the Mt Leura and Mt Sugarloaf Development Committee (the ‘Development Committee’) and charged with the role of implementing the Management Plan. A revision of the Master Plan, Management Plan and Implementation Plan was undertaken in 2013.
Committee membership consists of six community members and one delegated Council representative, with each community position renewed at the end of a three-year term. A part- time Project Coordinator position is currently funded by Council and through grants secured by the Development Committee. The Project Coordinator undertakes on-ground works within the reserves as directed by Council and the Development Committee.
Here’s a general outline of objectives:
Objective One: Enhance the Visitor Experience
Objective Two: Protect and Enhance Environmental and Landscape Values
Objective Three: Develop Promotional and Educational Opportunities
Objective Four: Support Long Term Viability of the Reserves
Objective Five: Mitigate Risk to Users and Surrounding Residents
Restoration of the Mt Leura and Mt Sugarloaf Reserves
The key objective of the 1994 Management Plan was to ‘enhance the scenic, educational and scientific interest of the reserves through revegetation with indigenous flora’.
The plan included a landscape master plan which provided prescriptive actions to restore indigenous vegetation to the reserves over 50-80 years. The plan utilised historical records, existing specimens of indigenous vegetation and vegetation surveys within the surrounding district to determine the structure and composition of vegetation originally found on the reserves.
The plan outlined a list of indigenous species known or thought to have occurred on the mounts prior to settlement, and provided management guidelines for their reintroduction to the reserves. The indigenous vegetation once thought to cover the reserves prior to European settlement is an open-canopy grassy woodland known as ‘Scoria Cone Woodland’. This vegetation community, or ‘Ecological Vegetation Class’ (EVC), is generally composed of an open canopy of Manna Gum and Drooping Sheoak trees and an understorey dominated by native grasses and herb species.
The Development Committee has sought to achieve the original plan’s vision by undertaking an extensive revegetation campaign. To date, over 500 pine and cypress trees have been removed, with more than 35,000 indigenous trees and 60,000 indigenous grasses planted across the reserves.
A strong level of community ownership and support has been instrumental in the success of the project, with assistance having been provided by a broad range of organisations, groups and individuals over the years.
The Friends of Mt Leura Inc. have contributed a substantial number of volunteer hours to support the revegetation program and contributes to general maintenance of the reserves. The group also works to promote the project across the wider community. Staff and students of Camperdown College have also had a high level of involvement since the project’s inception.
A community nursery, constructed on college grounds in 1994, has been utilised by the school and by volunteers to propagate the vast majority of indigenous plants planted across the reserves. This partnership has served to build environmental awareness and appreciation among the young people of Camperdown whilst also fostering a sense of wider community ownership over the project.
Key Successes & Achievements
1: Additional Funding – Value Adding to Council Funds.
2: Development and enhancement of facilities and infrastructure.
3: Enhancement of Natural Environment.
4: Education & Awareness-raising.
5: Strong community partnerships and engagement.
Volunteers and/or staff from the following organizations have participated in work on the project since 1995:
Camperdown P-12 College
Friends of Mt Leura Inc.
Camperdown Rotary Inc and Rotaract
International Student Volunteers
Heytesbury District Landcare Network
Lakes and Craters Environment Group
Corangamite Catchment Management Authority
Conservation Volunteers Australia – Australian Trust for Conservation Volunteers
Department of Sustainability and Environment
Mercy Regional School, Camperdown
St Patrick’s Primary School, Camperdown
Bellarine Secondary College
Seventh Day Adventist Church Group – Melbourne
Colac Special School
Geelong High School
Gnurad Gundjid Leadership School
Federation University (Ballarat)
Community Jobs Program and other unemployment schemes
Also, MANY local individuals/residents and visitors to the area have participated and provided essential assistance.
6. Risk assessment policies and practices
These have been introduced and carried out on a regular basis.
7. Fire management policies and strategies
A Fire Management Plan has been implemented. Emergency entrances/exits have been created for CFA and other emergency vehicles.
While much has been achieved over the past 22 years, with the continued financial support from Council, the committee’s work will have TWO KEY COMPONENTS to the continued implementation of the current Management Plan.
Component 1: Ongoing management of ‘on ground’ and ‘off ground’ works including:
Weed control and contribution to weed research.
Mowing and maintenance of the walking trails.
Maintenance of existing infrastructure.
Maintain existing promotional resources and programs.
Continue workshops, onsite tours etc.
Maintain important view lines.
Maintain Fire management and Risk assessment practices – undertake necessary expenditure.
Fauna and vegetative monitoring continued.
Complete pine and other exotic tree removal from Sugarloaf quarry.
Continued development and management of the indigenous demonstration plant garden.
Component 2: New projects relating to further facility development, monitoring, promotion and an increased community use of the Reserves through additional educational, recreational & tourism opportunities.
Creation of geological learning opportun ities on the reserves (i.e. Geo-Trail interpretive signage).Replacement of old interpretive signage.
Development of the Reserves as a ‘Nature Play Space’ destination with associated equipment, facilities and programs.
Equipment for flora and fauna monitoring.
Additional infrastructure including additional picnic facilities at Lower Shelter/VEC area.
Continue to host regular community events and workshops in partnership with Friends of Mt. Leura, Mount Elephant Committee eg NAIDOC Week 2017; Geelong Field Naturalists.
Investigation of electricity supply for the VEC – including solar panels.
Investigation of composting toilet for the reserves.
Upgrades to the website and additional information on the Shire website.
Investigate working with private and public landholders to create vegetated links between Mt. Leura and Mt. Sugarloaf Reserve and other nearby areas of native vegetation to facilitate the movement of wildlife, creating a Leura Biolink.
Continue to strengthen and build relationships with relevant organisations eg Federation University.