What weather this summer! Hot dry weather and Total Fire Bans, and a horrible hail-storm. So many of our Friends have had damage from fire and/or the hail-storm and/or know relatives and friends who have. We wish you all the very best for smoothest repairs and recovery.

The hail has stripped about 80%-90% of leaves from trees on the north, north east and north west sides of the nature reserve. We are looking forward to seeing fresh shoots on the trees during our walks and work parties.

It is the first year to have a sequence of 2 work parties cancelled because of hot dry weather and total fire bans, and the next work party cancelled because of wet weather. Our wonderful weeders are very keen and looking forward to kinder weather.

On 7 March, we shall focus on the small remaining area of woodland in the south west corner of the Black Mountain Nature Reserve.

We shall break for morning tea at about 10:00 a.m.

Please note the weather; the work party will be cancelled if there is a Total Fire Ban on the day.

Weeders at work southwest corner



We are looking forward to seeking butterflies in the Black Mountain Nature Reserve … Butterflies love the warmth of sunshine so we are keeping our fingers crossed for a delightfully sunny day …

In Autumn, we see not only how colourful butterflies are when they fly but also how well “camouflaged” they are when resting on logs or rocks. Will we see Imperial Jezebels, Australian Painted Ladies, Common Brown butterflies and/or others that are around in Autumn. We all love sunlight, and we owe many glorious and sweet-scented flowers, at least those of long tubular form, to the butterflies and moths that pollinate them. Join our local expert, Suzi Bond to see and hear about butterflies and the plants they like near the summit of Black Mountain. 

The walk will be a generally easy walk with some steep sections and steps. Copies of the “Field Guide to the Butterflies of the Australian Capital Territory” by Suzi Bond with Steve Holliday and John Stein will be for sale. Other booklets will be for sale, too.

Happy butterfly watching!


Macleay's Swallow Tail butterfly


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2018 —Year in Review

The biggest event for FoBM was the Black Mountain Symposium 2018: the past 50 years informing the next 50 on 24-25 August 2018. Many people have said over the years that a lot was known about Black Mountain, and we were keen to bring together this accumulated knowledge.

Mick Gentleman
Opening of the 2018 Symposium by Mick Gentleman (Photo: Murray Fagg)

Various experts prepared 19 papers on the natural and cultural values of Black Mountain.

The Symposium included a full day of presentations by 15 speakers to about 145 people on 24th August, after the official opening by Mick Gentleman, ACT Minister for Environment and Heritage, then the following morning themed walks for 77 people in Black Mountain nature reserve.

Several aims were achieved:

  • an up-to-date, detailed account of Black Mountain's natural features and its social and cultural history
  • a comprehensive synthesis of Black Mountain's plant and animal diversity, an assessment of changes that have occurred in them since the area was declared a nature reserve, and provision of a benchmark for better monitoring future biodiversity changes
  • identification of key management issues for maintaining Black Mountain's ecological integrity in coming decades

These were covered in more detail by Sarah Ryan at the end of the symposium (now a paper Black Mountain Symposium 2018: synthesis).

Symposium Papers are available at www.friendsofblackmountain.org.au/symposium

FoBM extends heartfelt thanks for the expertise and more than 3,300 volunteer hours contributed by authors, speakers, organisers and helpers, especially Dr Rosemary Purdie; and to the sponsors: CSIRO, CANBR, ANBG, Four Winds Vineyard, Nick O’Leary wines, Black Mountain coffee, ACT Government, Molonglo Conservation Group, and to Murray Fagg for photographs.

Regular activities continued, too. About 30 wonderful weeders gave 623 volunteer hours to remove 9410 weeds from Black Mountain, and over the fence in the Australian National Botanic Gardens in conjunction with the Friends ANBG.

Our guided rambles attracted 300 people this year, including our Heritage Festival walks and the annual Spring Wildflower Ramble. Our Winter Talk in June attracted about 30 people to hear Threatened and Nocturnal Birds of Black Mountain by Geoffrey Dabb.

FoBM participated in the ParkCare display at Jamison Plaza again, with several other ParkCare groups and PCS.

Frogwatch heard fewer frogs, probably because of the dry winter and spring; but did hear Eastern Banjo Frog (Limnodynastes dumerilli) in March; later than the usual September to January.

Bird Blitz revealed fewer birds busy at their nests and hollows this year, and Vegetation surveys of our 3 sites were done.

We warmly thank the Black Mountain Symposium 2018 volunteers and sponsors, along with our valuable botanic advisers, speakers and guides on rambles this year; Rosemary Purdie, David Albrecht, Wally Bell, Mark Butz, Suzi Bond, Isobel Crawford, Geoffrey Dabb, Michael Doherty, Jean Geue, Michael Mulvaney, Ajay Narendra.

Thank you to everyone in FoBM, MCG, PCS, ACT Conservation and Research, ACT Heritage, ANBG and Friends of ANBG, ANPS, CIMAG, FoAB, FoG, FoMP, FoTPin, FNAC, GCG, NPA, STEP, radio and print media, and other organisations for their part in this seminal and very enjoyable year.

Wally Bell
Wecome to Country by Ngunnawal Elder Wally Bell (Photo: Murray Fagg)


Rosemary Purdue
Presentation by Rosemary Purdue (Photo: Murray Fagg)