In 2008 Derek Goodwin saw the state of the Hollingworth Creek with despair. Overgrown, blocked, infested by invasive species it was a mess.
Since that time Derek has been tirelessly working on rehabilitating the creek. Cleaning out the rubbish and weeds, unblocking the creek and re introducing Native species to the area. Derek’s sister-in-law Kay also helps with the clean up.
Hollingworthcreek.com collects photographs of each sector showing it’s transformation from overgrown mess to mown parkland, rainforest or work in progress.
Here is the undertaking in Derek’s own words
About 6 years ago it was decided to start a Childcare Centre. Three of us erected a fence to give the children a safe area to play. I noticed that Lantana, Privet and exotic vines were quite close to the fence. I felt that it would be safer for the children if this was cleared away from the area. That is how this whole rehabilitation of Hollingworth Creek started. It is not a long creek starting out on the Tuncester Flat, west of Lismore. The main section is located in South Lismore and runs into the Wilson River at Riverview Park.
I started on clearing the first section and noticed that if I kept going for another 30 metres or so I would reach the creek. This was done and it now became evident just how much dumping had been carried out. As I continued to remove Coral Trees and exotic plants/shrubs that I have already mentioned I found more evidence of dumping. In the creek itself was wheel rims, an old rusty pram, a shopping trolley, rusty steel drums, old timber and the worst of all concrete and tiles. I was informed that not long before I started a local Tilt Tray arrived loaded with the concrete and tiles and just dumped them down the bank and into the water. Part of this were 6 large cement bases which took 3 of us to roll along the creek bed to a point where we could roll them up the bank for disposal. After clearing I purchased woodchip and covered the steeper banks and started to add plants. The plants were all recommended by Landcare. I was able to get a list of native, indigenous plants and this is all I ever use.
I then thought I would approach Lismore City Council re: rehabilitating the southern end of Crown Street. The answer was affirmative and this area was started. It was at this time my Sister in Law, Kay joined me to help on the creek. On this site there were 3 quite large Coral trees which were quite a challenge. After clearing the site we had 2 very large piles of Coral Trees. The Council cleared one large pile and Kay and myself cleared the other. Using a utility and large trailer it took us one and half days to load and take to recycling. Just to the east of this site was a large blockage in the creek, once again it was a large job taking about 14 hours work to clear. All this material had to be loaded and removed.
We now moved further up the creek to the west and cleared an area which was three blocks long, on the southern side of the creek. This was a straight forward job only a few trees to get rid of, although we did dig out the stumps of 4 trees so the bank close to the house could be mowed. Once again there were blockages in the creek, however, they were easily cleared.
Our next project was on the opposite side of the creek, 2 properties to be done. The western property had a number of Coral Trees to clear and the usual vines, however, after a couple of days work we had it under control. The second property was a nightmare. Besides the usual Coral Trees and a lot of other exotic shrubs, vines etc. the area was full of dumped concrete and steel. Kay and I had to hand winch a 4 metre girder out of the creek and then we started to clear the site initially of the green waste which was about 2 weeks work and then we started on the concrete. We carried up the bank all the sections that we were able to lift and then started to break up the larger sections with a sledge hammer so they could be carried. There were a number of really large blocks that had to be left in the bank as they were so thick that they could not be broken. We ended up taking 8 trailer loads of concrete away. Also large sections of rusting roof iron, rusty mesh and even an old Holden 6 cylinder motor came out of the bank. Finally after 8 weeks we started to spread about 10 metres of mulch and plant out the 2 sites.
We now moved to the property next to the Hall on the western side. This area already had some native trees planted previously which was a good start. The big problem was the site was covered in vines and Singapore Daisy. The vines were cut out of the trees as a number were really suffering from the invasion of the vines. Poison seemed to have little effect on the Singapore Daisy so we did the entire bank by hand with mattocks. Rather slow but very effective. The material formed large balls as it was rolled down the bank. Then loaded up for disposal. Once again the site was mulched and planted out.
Our next area was the largest area we had attempted. The area is on the Northern side of the creek bounded by Newbridge Street. The area is 5 house blocks wide and heavily infested with Coral trees. In all we had about 50 Coral Trees to deal with. All were poisoned than at a later date cut down. A very large Coral tree stump was blocking the creek, so by digging around the stump and cutting what roots we could see we were able to pull the stump out with a 4WD. On the Southern side of the creek was also cleared, however, this was not too bad and we were able to clear this area and remove the waste in about 3 weeks. With the disposal of so many trees on the Northern side, we were extremely fortunate to have Steve Cubis Tree Services see what had been done and offered at no cost to us to bring down his excavator fitted with a log grab and his very large tip truck. Steve worked for free for 2 days which we really did appreciate. This area took about 10/12 weeks to do and then as usual planted out.
We now moved onto the next area to be rehabilitated, which runs from 158 Union Street to the Wilson River. To help with costs on this section we were very fortunate in getting a Grant of $1000 from the Department of Fisheries. This is the area we are currently working on. Coral Trees have been poisoned where possible and some of the undergrowth removed. Two blockages have been cleared , however, there are still quite a number to deal with. This project will take several months to complete, but if you wish to see how it is going then the website will have regular updates.